False Prophets

Jesus tells us that many people will make the choice to take the wide path that leads to destruction, and few take the narrow one. We need to be intentional to create opportunities to build friendships with those taking the wide path. Jesus had ‘false prophets’ in his day…24 of the New Testament books caution us about false prophets. We are NOT to interpret that “by their fruits you should know them” is an evaluation tool for believers. We are not called to be ‘fruit inspectors’, rather, we are called to be fisher’s of men…New Life for the City tells us to stop evaluating Christians and start loving on those far from God.

Scripture: Matthew 7:13-23

 

Dogs, Pigs and a Way to Pray

At first read we may be asking ourselves, Is Jesus referring to some people as dogs and pigs? Is he judging them? Making degrading remarks to them? This passage tells us to use prayer and discernment as we share about Jesus. The later part reminds us that we need to keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking with our prayers… Not for wealth, rather that we will be loving, graceful and caring like Jesus has been talking about in the Sermon on the Mount.

Scripture: Matthew 7:6-12

The Rules of Grace

Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Jesus has just given some clear instruction on moral living, speaking to issues like anger and lust.

Jesus desire here is to uproot our hypocrisy. It’s a matter, not of being right or wrong, but a matter of posture. As people who have received grace, we must offer that same grace to others. These are the rules of grace.

Any correction that we offer the world does not come from a place of moral superiority but from a posture of humility and grace. God’s holiness is not something we hold over other people, it’s something that leads us to see our need for Jesus. The grace of Jesus is our hope, not judgment.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-5

Careless, or Carefree?

When most people read Matthew 6:25-34, they get this ‘Bob Marley’ laid back, hippy vibe from Jesus – “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

How do we practically make light of this when, statistically speaking, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population)?

We constantly find ourselves worrying about money, health, relationships, status and identity, popularity, etc. Yet, Jesus tells us that the key to living an anxiety-free life is to make the kingdom one’s priority. Until we remove our everyday worries, we will never be able to live everyday lives for Jesus and His kingdom.

Scripture: Matthew 6:25-34

In Light of Eternity, What Difference Does it Make

We’ve all heard, “In the end, the one with the most toys WINS.” We’ve also heard, You can’t take it with you. No matter what your spiritual beliefs are, the behavior from those two statements created constant tension in everyone’s life. This sermon looks at other treasures that may be causing ‘blindness’ and may be prohibiting us from serving in ways the God has designed us. Some say that the pinnacle point of the Sermon on The Mount is contained in these verses.

Scripture: Matther 6:19-24

The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is Christianity’s greatest prayer. It is also Christianity’s strangest prayer. This prayer crosses denominational lines and is both unique as a prayer and as instruction to the followers of Jesus. It is unique in all the prayers of the Bible and unique in all of the instructions of Jesus to his disciples. This prayer is a wonderful model on what we could say in our prayers.
– Praise
– God’s Will
– God’s Provision
– Forgiveness
– Freedom

Scripture: Matthew 6:7-15

What’s Your Reward?

Reward cards – they’re everywhere today! Our culture is entirely motivated and fueled by them even though the rewards really aren’ that big of a deal. Many of us treat religious behaviors – spiritual practices (prayer, tithing, serving, singing, etc.) essentially like social reward cards. We turn our ‘reward’ into social approval – feeling like a good, holy, religious person because we’ve prayed in front of people, volunteered for service, lifted our hands up during praise music, etc.

Not only are we being hypocritical then, but the deeper issue is that we’re selling ourself short on experiencing the greatest amount of pleasure that one could encounter – God Himself.

Jesus’ words here drive us to take up spiritual activities like prayer, giving to charity and fasting, not for human approval (not just to be religious), but rather for direct engagement with God Himself. Knowing that His presence is the greatest reward we could ever have.

Scripture Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Love Your Enemies

The Sermon on the Mount are tough words from Jesus…while providing freedom they also call for us to live a higher standard, just like Jesus. The more we are like Him the more we are like a chip off the old block. Loving our friends isn’t easy all the time, let alone our enemies. Yet we are called to do it! One key element in loving enemies is forgiveness, both are easier said then done and without God’s help, neither will be accomplished.

Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48

Eye for Eye

This very well could be some of the most difficult, confusing and miss quoted words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, maybe even in the New Testament. The key to understanding these potentially difficult passages is to keep in mind that the teaching from Jesus is about good not evil, grace not vengeance, love not hatred. We don’t live in a one size fits all world when it comes to responding to life’s more challenging and painful situations. Each person and each situation is different. For me, you and us as a community, Jesus presents to us a New Way to be Human one relationship at a time.

Scripture: Matthew 5:38-42

Oaths (To Tell the Truth)

Life in Jesus’ kingdom is set to a higher standard. This is true in the things we say and how we communicate. Jesus challenges us to make statements that are truthful. An oath is simply making a statement and calling God to witness to the truth of that statement; and invoking a curse from God, if you’re not telling the truth. The instruction Jesus gives is to practice truthfulness. Do not lie, but actively seek the truth and pursue faithfulness. When you make a promise, be faithful to the vow you make, with God as your witness, and remember that the words of your mouth reflect the condition of your heart. Let your heart love Christ fully and honor God completely.

Scripture: Matthew 5:33-37