In a world where there are so many ideas and opinions, how do we define what the "God Life" is supposed to look like without falling into our own wrong ideas?
I. Ministry To Sinners
Matthew 1 "Do R220 not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by R221 F121 your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look R222 at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 "Or R223 how can F122 you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 6 "Do R224 not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
A.Notice that this verse is not to those that simply criticize, but those who actually try to minister to people with larger sin in their own lives.
B.Verse 6 seems unrelated, but actually illustrates the dangers of trying to help sinners who will only trample upon God's wisdom and love. Know that someone deelpy in sin will more than likely continue in that sin until God's Spirit intervenes, like dogs return to their vomit and pigs to their mud (Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary).
II. The Source of Provision
7 "Ask, R225 F123 and it R226 will be given to you; seek, F124 and you will find; knock, F125 and it will be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you who, F126 when his son asks for a loaf, will F127 give him a stone? 10 "Or if F128 he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how R227 much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
A.God is the sole source of our provision. We should never see ourselves as our own providers.
B.God gives good things. He also knows what to give and what not to give us. This scripture infers that God will always give us something excellent and never something bad.
III. Live Outside of Your Self
12 "In everything, therefore, R228 treat F129 people the same way you want them F130 to treat you, for this R229 is the Law and the Prophets. 13 "Enter R230 through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
A.Making the shift from self-centric religion to people-centric servanthood is one of the most crucial shifts that a believe can make.
B.Narrow, greek "thlee'bo", means something painfully narrow and pressing - something that you would have to probably walk sideways to get through. This shows us that servanthood is usually awkward as compared to the wide, spacious way of the sinners.
IV. Identifying Dangerous Company
15 "Beware of the false R231 prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous R232 wolves. 16 "You will know R233 F131 them by their fruits. Grapes F132 are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "So every R234 good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every R235 tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know F133 them by R236 their fruits.
A.Many people talk and look like the real thing. But, what they produce is more important than how they look and act
B.God expects us to be result-oriented, looking for growth and impact in everything we do.
V. Make Sure That You Are Real
21 "Not R237 everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many R238 will say to Me on that R239 day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' F134 23 "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; DEPART R240 FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
A.There are people that know how to talk the talk, but live like the world. Many times, they claim to "love" or "know" God, but they refuse to serve Him on His terms.
B.This verse also shows us that people can appear to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, but they were so focused on their own glory that they took their eyes off the true mission - to experience and share His love to transform lives.
VI. Build a Strong House on a Strong Foundation
24 "Therefore everyone R241 who hears these words of Mine and acts F135 on them, may F136 be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 "And the rain fell, and the floods F137 came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act F138 on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 "The rain fell, and the floods F139 came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall."
A.Those who keep falling when trials come do so because of their shaky foundation. If you keep falling, something in your Christian foundation is unstable.
B.The process of regeneration is a process of training your flesh-person to follow the desires of a sinless, redeemed, resurrected soul. It is the basis for a solid foundation - a soul that chases God's favor.
C.How many times has your house fallen - spiritually, emotionally, physically?
D.God's plan is bulletproof and powerful to keep us together when the strongest of winds come - but are we building according to His plans?