Christian Disciplines

Kingdom Character/Disciplines

Matthew 6:1-18

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE WITH CAUTION (vv. 1-4).

* Jesus’s first words in the first verse is “Take heed”, so there is caution needed in giving.
* Caution means giving without calling attention to your act.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO PRAYING WISELY (vv. 5-13).

* The hypocrites, to whom Jesus refers, probably spent no time praying in private, unless it was to build their praying vocabulary, and prowess in expressing the words they would pray in public.
* How the Kingdom Christian should pray –

+ When you pray Praise and Glorify the Father – Recognize Him for who He is; Holy, Righteous, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Sovereign, LORD of hosts, etc…;
+ For His will in your life as though you were in Heaven;
+ When you pray be sure that it is His will that you request most earnestly;
+ Request from Him what you need for the day – not wants and desires – your needs for the day;
+ Asks for forgiveness of your sins and transgressions against God and those you may have committed against your fellow man;
+ Asks for the power of the Word of God in your life to be delivered from evil;
+ As you are ending the time with the Lord end with recognition of His sovereignty, power, His kingdom, recognizing that His Kingdom is forever.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FORGIVING THOSE WHO ARE INDEBTED TO US (vv. 14-15).

* The Christian of all people should know how to forgive – We have been forgiven much.
* Lack of forgiveness can hinder our prayers, and rob us of peace.
* All Christians have been forgiven by God’s grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FASTING WITH JOY (vv. 16-18).

* Just as in their praying, so also in their times of fasting they begged the attention of men.

* Fasting is right and good when it is done with the right motive.

+ To seek God’s will in times of uncertainty.

+ To seek God for personal renewing, revival, and church renewal and revival; National renewal and revival.

+ To seek God for strength for going through a difficult time.

* Fasting is a means of disciplining the appetites of the body.

* Overcoming hypocrisy in fasting -+ Be honest with God in your secret life;

+ Fast seeking God with all your heart;

+ Pray from your heart, not form;

+ Fast secretly;
+ Please God alone.

* The purpose of fasting and prayer is to glorify the Lord, and then it matters not whether you get what you asked for yourself.

For the Kingdom Christian Giving, Praying and Fasting is so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus our Lord and Savior. All world religions have these as religious disciplines for the gaining of their salvation, or earning favor with their deity; whoever that may be. These become the Character of the true Believer of Christ – the true Christian.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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Communicating Perfection

Communicating Perfection

Matthew 5:33-48

We start off with an “Ye have heard…” statement. It is the fourth of five if you count the “It has been said” of verse 31. This shows us Jesus’s familiarity with Scripture and the Law. It also shows that He is familiar with the general interpretation of those Laws.

In looking at the SERMON ON THE MOUNT we must realize that for the time being these principles are our goal. I fall so short of these principles of His Kingdom. The only way they are lived is when we are in complete obedience to the leading of the Spirit within us. Let me say here that our perfection/completion is only by God’s own decree – “You are Justified. All your sins are gone. Jesus has paid your debt”. This is still our goal for now.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN LIVING HONESTLY, WITH HIGH HONOR AND INTEGRITY IS WITH JESUS CHRIST (vv. 33-37).

* When your heart is right with God your first responsibility of honesty is with Him.

+ He already knows your heart and thoughts why would you lie to Him.

+ Why lie to others, if indeed, you see the image of God in them, and we should.

* When making a vow, or promise, let your Yes, Be Yes; and your No, be No!

+ If you must swear on a “Stack of Grandma’s Bibles”, then, your word is probably as good as the ocean front property in Arizona.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN SEEKING THE GOOD OF OTHERS IS BY LOOKING AT THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BE LIKE HIM (vv. 38-42).

* Jesus even turns this toward those who would strike you.

+ Is it a wimpy thing for a man to “turn the other cheek”?

+ Is it the right and courageous thing to “turn the other cheek”?

* Giving others what belongs to you shows that you care for them more than we care for things.

+ Giving them our time – if you are “compel(led) to go a mile, go with him twain”.

+ Giving possessions – if he “take away you coat, let him have your cloke also” (vv. 40, 42).

“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 (KJV).

LIVING WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE OF RETALIATION IS A WORK OF JESUS CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS (vv.43-47).

* I recall nowhere in Scriptures which tell us to “Hate your enemies”.

+ Most error in such things comes from misinterpretations and evil hearts.

+ Here, Jesus quickly puts that thought out in the cold

* The law does teach, “Eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25).

+ Seeking justice and seeking revenge are two different thoughts.

+ You can still love the person when justice is being done, but revenge almost requires hatred.

* When we love those who love us, we are doing only what others will do.

+ When we love those who have stricken us, who have lied about us, who have harmed us, then, people will see the love of Jesus Christ, and the difference He has made in our lives.

+ We need to be strengthened by the Spirit of God each day to walk with Christ and be like Him, in loving and forgiving those who have despised us, even hated us.

THE PERFECTION OF GOD IS THE COMPLETENESS WE HAVE SOLELY IN HIM (v. 48).

* This is similar to God’s command to Israel:

+ “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45, and 1 Peter 1:15-16.

* Perfection is the work of God taking us and making us more into the likeness of His Son.

+ It is the goal of every follower of Jesus to one day be made like Him for we have the promise;

+ “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – Stewardship

Many people, and even some Baptists flinch at the word “Stewardship”.  A pastor stands behind the pulpit, and proclaims his subject as “Stewardship”, and the first thing that goes through many minds is, “Here comes a sermon on giving our money”.

Stewardship involves much more than money.  It entails the care of what has been given us for use.  I have lived in a rented house.  I am a steward of this house.  We now live in a house of our own [and the mortgage companies], along with a few acres of land.  It is the place God has provided my wife and I to live.  We have a 2000 and 2001 model Mercury Grand Marquis automobiles.  They too, were given us by God, to care for and maintain, and to keep in as good of care as we possibly can.  We are stewards of these things.

We are also all stewards of this planet called earth which we live on.  We are to give of our tithes and offerings.  Our Statement of Faith does not mention “Titheing” per se, but rather, “…binding stewardship in their possessions”.  We should count titheing as a privilege.  One hundred percent of our income is God’s, and all we are asked to return to acknowledge God’s ownership is 10% of it.  Gifts and offerings come above this.

Here is our Statement of Faith on the matter of Stewardship:

“XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.”

The tithe shows our recognition of God’s ownership.  There are many who want to tell us that the tithe is an Old Testament principle.  Jesus has taught it in the New.  Jesus tells us:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  Matthew 23:23 (KJV).

If you noticed He commends the tithe, but is condemning them for not practicing other matters of the law.  If Christians, and Baptists in particular would tithe to their local congregation, there is no church in the USA which would be hurting financially with the wise use of their resources, and missions and evangelism would be supported more effectively as well.

Be careful to take good care of the resources God has blessed you with.  Practice judgment, mercy, and faith, and take care of what God has blessed you with materially; and recognize God’s ownership of your income.

-T.A.