Comparing God’s blessing in the OT, to the NT. In the OT it was in provision, abundance, and protection. Which is still true. But in the NT, when Jesus spoke in Matthew 5 He talks about those who hunger and thirst, who mourn, who are meek... these things that seem negative, they are actually the one who’s blessed. In their brokenness they will see more of God. So if you feel like your house is falling apart, everything is a mess, relationships are straining... Jesus says you are blessed, because if you are willing, He will meet you right there.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11 Do you ever feel trapped by your past? Defined by your heritage? Have you ever experienced such trouble and distress that you felt out of options? The chains that bind you are not too heavy for our Rescuer. We want to celebrate the stories of conversion. The testimonies that changed the world. We all have a choice. Will we allow Love to break through to us?
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Mt. 21:1-3- Jesus asks His disciples to essentially go steal a donkey. Obedience isn’t the same as agreement. Obedience shouldn’t be conditional upon our understanding. Simple obedience marks the true disciple of Jesus (Jn 3:36) and child of God (1 Jn 5:2). Faith is not static but is active and leads to obedience (Rom. 1:5). It is the litmus test whether one is a follower of Jesus or simply a fan.
Water baptism may not be necessary to salvation, but it is essential to be a disciple of Jesus because it is an expression of repentance and allegiance to Jesus (Acts 2:37). Associating ourselves to the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is also how we live in victory over sin (Rom 6:1-14). We see the trinity in Jesus’ own baptism where the Father declares his approval of the Son and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus.
Going into all the world and proclaiming the gospel is the first step in making disciples (Maybe this can be a “Missions Sunday” emphasis?) Being sent out is to live as missional witnesses into our vocation in the marketplace where we work and in the communities that we live in. Being a faithful witness (strong work ethic, honoring those in authority, joyful attitude) at work bridges the credibility gap that many lazy Christians experience. A Spirit-filled home (Galatians 5) and intentionally loving our neighbors are keys to going where the people are at.
Jesus, our victorious and resurrected King has been given all authority in heaven and earth (1 Cor 15:27; Rom 14:9). This is the basis of discipleship. Christ followers have been commissioned and sent out with spiritual authority to preach, heal the sick, cast out demons (Matt 10:8). Believers are to walk out in God confidence in the spiritual authority in Christ.
How should Christ followers respond to verbal and physical persecution for Christ? Jesus teaches us that we are to rejoice and be glad in suffering for righteousness sake and describes us as blessed. Open your bible to Matthew 5:10-12 and let’s study Jesus’ conclusion of his vision of kingdom living in the Beatitudes.