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Are you living for eternity or today?

Are you living for eternity or today?
Are you living for eternity or today?

Are you living for eternity, or are you living for today?

Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

Jesus presented values that were contrary to the thinking of the day, and this is a perfect example. The world doesn’t say the hated, excluded, reviled, and cast out are blessed. The world says these people are cursed.

What’s Jesus describing?

  • “Excluded” from synagogue or temple worship. The Amplified says, when people…exclude you[from their fellowship].” The parallel for today would be getting kicked out of some religious circles, because you’re too conservative or too bibilical. It’s tragic that in some Christian groups today – and I use the word “Christian” loosely – if you talk about sin, repentance, or holiness, you can find yourself excluded. Suddenly you’re legalistic, judgmental, hateful, or self-righteous.
  • “Reviled” and having “your name cast out as evil”are synonyms for being slandered. If you take a stand for Christ, people might try to destroy your reputation.

Continue reading Are you living for eternity or today?

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There’s no blessing for being obnoxious!

There's no blessing for being obnoxious!
There’s no blessing for being obnoxious!

Do we suffer for Christ, or for being obnoxious?

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, exclude you, revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake” (Luke 6:22).

The last six words make an important point: there’s only a blessing for suffering for Christ.

There are times we’ve all been selfish, unkind, and harsh. We haven’t listened well, and we’ve acted arrogantly. As a result, people have hated, excluded, reviled, or criticized us.

But there’s no reward for this.

It’s unfortunate when we’re disliked or rejected because of our selfishness, but we say:

  • I’m suffering all this persecution, because of the way I live for Christ.
  • Everyone hates me because I’m such a strong Christian.
  • Others don’t have it as bad as me, because they’re not as committed to the Lord as I am.

Sometimes we’re persecuted, but it’s actually because we’ve failed to demonstrate Christ-like character. Yes, there’s rejection for living like Christ, but there’s also rejection for being an insensitive or inconsiderate person. Continue reading There’s no blessing for being obnoxious!

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Do we grieve over our sin?

Do we grieve over our sin?
Do we grieve over our sin?

A previous post laid a foundation for understanding the Beatitudes. Then we considered the first two Beatitudes: spiritual poverty and spiritual hunger. The third, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21b) led to a discussion about grief over the sin around us. While we should be grieved by the sin around us, the more important issue is, do we grieve over our sin?

A love for God demands we grieve over our sin. The Amplified says, Blessed are you who weep now [over your sins and repent].”

While I don’t want to minimize sinning, the truly important issue is how we respond when we sin. We’ve all seen people fall into one of two categories:

  • People who sin and couldn’t care less.
  • People who sin and are genuinely grieved and broken over what they’ve done.

The latter is “godly sorrow [that] produces repentance” versus “worldly sorrow [that] produces death” (2 Cor 7:10). This is the grief Jesus said leads to blessing: “You shall laugh.” Continue reading Do we grieve over our sin?

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4 Challenging Examples of Grief Over Sin

Do you experience grief over sin?
Do you experience grief over sin?

Do you experience grief over sin around you?

A previous post laid a foundation for understanding the Beatitudes. Then we discussed Jesus’ words about spiritual poverty and spiritual hunger. The third Beatitude: “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21b).

Jesus presented values that were contrary to the thinking of the day, and this is a perfect example. The world doesn’t say those who weep are blessed. The world says they are unfortunate or cursed.

Jesus isn’t describing the joyful weeping that might take place at a wedding or the birth of a child, or even the sorrowful weeping that might take place from a loss or suffering. We live in a fallen, sinful world. Everyone weeps at times. In other words, Jesus isn’t saying blessed are those who experience something painful.

Instead, just like the first two Beatitudes, the third also needs to be viewed spiritually. Jesus is describing weeping over sin and wickedness. If you have a heart for God, you’re going to be grieved by the evil that surrounds you, because you know it’s rebellion against Him. Here are four examples…

Continue reading 4 Challenging Examples of Grief Over Sin

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Do you have a spiritual hunger?

Do you have a spiritual hunger?
Do you have a spiritual hunger?

A previous post laid the foundation for understanding the Beatitudes, and the last post discussed the first Beatitude: spiritual poverty. The second Beatitude discuses spiritual hunger: Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled” (Luke 6:20). 

Jesus presented values that were contrary to the thinking of the day, and this is a perfect example. Hunger isn’t a common problem in our wealthy nation, but in other parts of the world – and in Jesus’ day – it’s one of the worst trials people experience. For many it means starvation and death, and for this reason those who hunger aren’t blessed. The world would say they’re cursed.

Scripture also doesn’t present hunger as a blessing:

  • Proverbs 30:8-9 Feed me with the food allotted to me…Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
  • In Isaiah 8:21 God said the Assyrians would invade the land, consume everything, and leave the Israelites destitute: [The people] will pass through [the land] hard-pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse…their God, and look upward.”

Continue reading Do you have a spiritual hunger?

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What does it mean to be spiritually poor?

Do you know what it means to be spiritually poor?
Do you know what it means to be spiritually poor?

Last post laid a foundation for understanding the Beatitudes. Now we can discuss the first one on the spiritually poor.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20).

Jesus presented values that were completely contrary to the thinking of the day. This is a perfect example—the world says the poor are cursed.

But the Bible also doesn’t say the poor – at least financially – are blessed: “[Do not] give me poverty…lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Pro 30:8-9).

Poverty can tempt people to steal or curse God. If it were a blessing, God wouldn’t have given wealth to people, i.e. Abraham, David, and Solomon. Being financially poor isn’t a blessing, any more than being financially rich is a curse.

Jesus’ words only make sense if we understand He’s discussing spiritual poverty. The parallel account in Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” This means recognizing you’re a sinner who’s spiritually bankrupt, with nothing of value with which to purchase salvation. Continue reading What does it mean to be spiritually poor?

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5 Tips for Understanding the Beatitudes

5 tips for understanding the Beatitudes.
5 tips for understanding the Beatitudes.

The next few posts will discuss the Beatitudes in Luke 6:20-23, and I thought it would be fitting to begin by providing some tips for understanding them correctly.

TIP 1: THE BEATITUDES DISCUSS SPIRITUAL FAVOR.

The Greek word for blessed is makarios, and it means, “happy, fortunate, blissful.” The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin word for “happiness.” We associate happiness with feelings and circumstances: “I feel happy, because _______.”

But this isn’t what Jesus meant by the word blessed: “Blessed are you who weep now” (Luke 6:21). People weeping don’t feel too happy. Instead, Jesus is describing blessings based not on physical circumstances, but on spiritual status with God. Jesus is discussing the special joy for those favored by God and able to experience His grace.

TIP 2: THE BEATITUDES ARE BLESSINGS FOR BELIEVERS.

Continue reading 5 Tips for Understanding the Beatitudes