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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Kingdom Of Heaven

Matthew 5: 17 - 20, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. NKJV

Today, we will learn a very important lesson concerning the truth!! Peter admonishes us in his epistle that no prophecy that is contained in scripture was given by personal interpretation of the prophets, but was God-inspired through the power of the Holy Spirit, who moved upon them.

When God invited Israel to meet with Him at the base of Mount Sinai to become acquainted with Him, His presence and power made them afraid. Out of fear, they chose not to hear the voice of God; they wanted to listen to Moses instead. This is dangerous for two reasons: It gives place for people to dismiss man as their spiritual authority, as we see in the account of Israel under the leadership of Moses, and it also gives place for leaders to begin to misinterpret the Word of God and to lead people astray. Jesus didn't come to earth as our High Priest to get "in the way" of mankind getting to God. He came to be the "ONLY WAY" for man to know God.

The latter reason, dealing with leaders' misinterpretation of the Word and leading others astray is where the Holy Spirit is leading us today. In the context of today's scriptures from Matthew's gospel, we see Jesus establishing truth with those who were present that day. He told the Jews that He had not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. In order for Jesus to fulfill the Law, He had to have been sent by God. This statement set Him apart from the other leaders of the temple and Judaism. He proceeded to inform the people that anyone who disobeyed the Law and taught others to follow suit was the least in the Kingdom of heaven. He went on to say that whoever kept, or obeyed the Law completely, and taught others to do the same would be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Once again, He set Himself apart from the religious leaders of His day with this statement. If you read Matthew chapter 5, you will notice how Jesus begins to teach them what has been said of old; then He begins to set the record straight. Further, He told the crowd that their righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, or they wouldn't be allowed to enter the Kingdom of heaven. 

When Israel rejected the opportunity to hear the voice of God, it opened the door for Satan to lead God's people astray from the true righteousness which comes by faith and not through works of man. When the Law proved to be more demanding on them than the people wanted to bear, they simply interpreted it to mean what they wanted it to say... according to their own lusts and sin. They allowed men to lead them according to their own point-of-view rather than God's intended view. This practice caused Israel to establish their own form of worship and righteousness... according to Matthew 15 and Romans 10.   

Therefore, Jesus began His teaching ministry with His longest sermon, revealing the false doctrines of the Pharisees. Later, Jesus privately warned His disciples of the leaven (sin) of the Pharisees. You can see through today's word what happens when God's people ignore, or refuse to listen, to the voice of God. It gives place for the flesh of man to misinterpret the truth of God's Word to fit our carnal ways and lusts.

Jesus tells us in John 10 that His sheep know His voice and another, they won't follow. If you find it hard to hear and know when God speaks to you as one of His own, then you must invest time in His presence and seeking His face. He will open your ear to hear the Holy Spirit. As Israel ignored the voice of God, it gave place for a group of men to arise on the religious scene and to lead them astray. As the Old Testament closes, you hear of prophets, kings, priests, and high priests, but who were the Pharisees? I guess you could call them lawyers, who took it upon themselves to interpret correctly God's Law when they, themselves, according to Jesus' teachings didn't know God. They come on the scene between Malachi and Matthew's gospel. Doesn't it seem as though we are living in a time when men are trying to rewrite and misinterpret the Word of God through political correctness? Just sayin'

You Shall Know the Truth,
Pastor Asa

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