Jesus finished His Sermon on the Mount with three allegories: Two gates – narrow or wide, two fruit trees – good or bad, and two foundations – sand or rock. The allegories are warnings that a choice about Jesus must be made. Matthew has portrayed Jesus as the adjudicator of humanities destiny, thus the choice is one with eternal consequences.
In Jesus’ allegories He asks, “What will you do with me?” Will you pass through the wide or the narrow gate? Will you follow me, or reject me for the world?” Jesus asks, “Will you find in me the inner source of transformation that produces the good fruit of life, or will you follow the voices of the world that promise everything, but deliver only emptiness?” Jesus asks, “Will you obey God’s will and come to me as your Lord and Savior, or will you chase after false manifestations of spirituality?” Jesus asks, “Will you build your life on my solid rock, or build on that which will leave you unprepared for the storms that are about to break over you and wash you away?”
Not pretty pictures are they? But these are the question Jesus asks you to answer. The days of this earth have been allotted, and this world may end sooner than you think, so you must be prepared at all times for what lies beyond. Therefore, I must ask, “What are you doing with Jesus?”
Phinehas was a priest in the time of Moses. In his day Israel began to worship the false god Baal with the daughters of Moab. Their worship caused a plague to break out in the camp, so when Phinehas saw an Israelite man and a Moabite women enter a tent together – yada, yada, yada – he took a spear and killed them both. His zeal caused the plague to end (Cf. Num. 25).
In Jesus day the Pharisees were the arbiters of the law, and took their definition of being zealous for God from Phinehas; zeal for God was at the point of a knife. However, these religious leaders were actually just zealous hypocrites; judging others, but not themselves.
Jesus’ instruction about judging is clear – Don’t do it (Cf. Matt 7:1). Why shouldn’t we judge? Most people, including Christians, are very critical individuals. Therefore, judging causes us to come across as harsh, vindictive, and cruel leaving the one who judges with the idea that they are superior.
When it comes to judging remember this: Nothing in the spiritual realm is accomplished by judging someone else. Also, every wrong thing you find in another person is something that you’ll find in yourself, and is something that you accept in yourself. Lastly, there is always one fact that you do not know about another person, or about a situation.
From the Pilgrims, to the leaders of the colonies each declared publicly and in writing their new commonwealth came into existence solely for the glory of God. This is our country’s history. No historian can rewrite it, no president can expunge it, if a 1,000 angels swore on a 1,000 Bibles that this was not true it would in no way alter the fact that the United States was conceived, established, dedicated, and founded on a biblical cornerstone.
Today God cannot be found in our country, for we have driven Him out of our land. We have exchanged our God for idols, our life for darkness, and our glory for that which cannot save us. Sadly, we are ready to risk what comes on the other side of that exchange when the blessings of God are removed from us.
We have come to a critical moment in our land. A moment similar to one when Elijah stood on the top of Mt. Carmel and cried out to Israel in her hour of decision. Standing between two altars and 2 Gods Elijah’s voice cried out to Israel to choose this day whom you will serve. If the Lord be your God then follow him, but if Baal be your god then follow him, and go to hell.
In response to Satan’s temptation to turn stones into bread Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus knows there is more to a person than physical needs; there is the spiritual too.
One of our responsibilities is to recognize the mysteries and yearnings of our life. The Greek philosopher agreed for he said, “Man, know thyself first.” Once a person knows the mysteries and yearnings of their life, what then? I would say it is their responsibility to yield to the ruler-ship of Him to whom life was conquered by – Jesus.
The 139th Psalm begins, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar,” (1-2). Now look how that Psalm ends, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” (23-24). The Psalmist asked God to search him. Make that the first, supreme, and essential business of your life to acquaint yourself with Jesus, and so be at His peace, and so find the meaning of life.
Have you heard anyone say, “What our nation needs is for revival to come,” or say in prayer, “Oh that revival would break out.” I say this, “Revival is here, if we will have it.” I pray we talk no more about the indifference of our nation, and instead talk of the indifference of Christ’s Church to its own evangel; its own living power.
Why do we call on Christ to awake and bring us revival when He has never been asleep? It’s His church that has been asleep. Did not Christ said, “I’m with you?” Yes, He did! Therefore, revival has not come because the church has not been with Him. If Jesus’ Church would come to the realization of His living presence, then it would know it does not have to ask for revival, for He is already waiting for His church to arise and build. It is not true to say we need more of the Holy Spirit, but it is true to say the Holy Spirit needs more of us. It is in the realization of the nearness of Jesus that His church finds strength for all He is calling it to do.
In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ genealogy, besides Mary, four women are mentioned: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife. This inclusion is unusual for the Mid-East is patriarchal, but also each of these women had questionable backgrounds: Tamar played a prostitute, Rahab was a prostitute, Ruth was a Moabitess, and Uriah’s wife was Bathsheba who David had an affair with.
Despite their backgrounds each woman represents a crucial turning point in Jewish history. When Israel reached that crucial point it was a Gentile woman who displayed extraordinary faith in contrast to a Jewish man who lacked courage: Tamar versus Juda’s disloyalty, Rahab versus the desert generation’s faithlessness, Ruth versus Naomi lack of faith, and Uriah versus David’s sinfulness with Bathsheba. Yes, Messiah was to come through Israel, but when Israel’s unfaithfulness hindered the promise God preserved the promise through these Gentile women, and through God’s grace these women were able to share in the promise.
Jesus fulfills God’s promise to all people from all nations with the evangel of salvation. In Jesus’ ancestry we find the all-embracing love of God emphasized. Nothing can stand in its path. There is nobody who does not need it. There is nobody who is not eligible to receive it. There is nobody who can stop it.