Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 December 2018 Matthew 7:20.

Matthew 7:20.   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 
Aye friends, the ole fella is somewhat listless and lethargic this Saturday morning yes! And the aches and pains not helping the situation either nuh. But yuh know what, we not giving in to the feelings today. The aches and pains might slow us down some, but we not stopping. Remember the race is not for the swift but for the sure of foot, and yuh better believe when I plant my big feet down they stay down! (smile) 

Yeh, it’s just one of those days; the weather doesn’t look good, the body doesn’t feel good, but GOD IS GREAT! That’s something we can always count on, for He has said so in the promises of His Word, and His Word does not lie! Give Him some thanks and praise my people! 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week in his noble attempt to aspire us to a better tomorrow. And this one jumps right out at me today: ‘You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.’ Wow! That’s gospel truth! For none of us can do it all ourselves. As they say, no man is an island. The Lord made us to fellowship with each other and to help each other, not to be single and all sufficient in our selves. 

And on that point, hear what the Good Book says: ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God.’ (2 Cor.3:5) Now that says it all! 

And this next quote also points directly to God: ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.’ You do have all of that, but only if God is sincerely in your efforts! 

Now listen to this one: ‘It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.’ 

Yes friends, it is an awesome opportunity we’ve been given to live for Jesus on this earth. And to use that opportunity properly, we need to remember these two scriptures. In the immortal words of Bruh David: ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.’ (Ps.34:8) And also: ‘The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.’ (Ps.145:9) 

It’s all about our heavenly Father my people! And this quote exemplifies that: ‘We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.’ That goes right back to the first quote, we can’t be successful on our own, for success means taking others on that journey with us, both individually and communally! That’s how the Lord designed it! 

And this last quote covers them all: ‘When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of people we are.’ And today I want to focus on that last line; how we live our lives determines the kind of people we are. 

Yeh friends, we can live our lives like the Pharisees did, outwardly showy and hypocritical, or like Jesus recommended, honest and truly considerate of others. For as He says: ‘Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them.’ Yes friends, by our deeds we shall be known. And hear some deep insights of Jesus on the subject of how men live their lives. 

First off, He states very clearly: ‘A good tree cannot bring forth evil (bad) fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.’ (Matt.7:18) And that’s not rocket science, just plain, basic logic. Then Jesus lays it out in plain terms: ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’ (Matt.15:11) 

Oh friends, I hope we understand that. We can’t bear good fruit unless what is in us and what comes out of us is good! What’s in our hearts determines the kind of people we’ll be! 

Hear Jesus again: ‘Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out (eliminated) into the draught (body waste)? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’ (Matt.15:17-20) 

Yeh friends, that whole argument began when the Pharisees complained that the disciples were eating with unwashed hands, which they considered a big thing. But Jesus, as usual set them right. And in Matthew 23, (please read it) He really lambastes the Pharisees, who looked real good on the outside but were dirty as hell on the inside! 

And we’ll end with this description: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres (white washed tombs), which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (lawlessness).’ (Matt.23:27-28) 

And the scholars offer this explanation: ’23:27-33. Whited sepulchres: Since contact with a dead body rendered a person unclean according to the Mosaic Law, graves were customarily painted white to make them conspicuous and give the opportunity of avoiding contact with them.’ 

Oh friends, please let us live lives that will not cause those unpleasant comparisons to be said of us nuh. Instead let us be good and uncorrupted trees, so that we can bear good fruit in Jesus’ name and make a productive difference in the lives of those around us. Much LOVE!

…whatsoever is in our heart…will undoubtedly manifest itself in our outward behaviour…that’s why we need a clean heart to live for Jesus…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 August 2014 Matthew 5:20

Matthew 5:20.    For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 
Ah Friends, the ole fella’s paying the price for disobedience this morning, an aching back. Too much rest it would seem. (smile) Apparently I ignored the wake up bell this morning and slept in. But my body was tired, I pleaded! No excuse, I was summarily informed. When the bell goes, you arise. End of story! 
 

Ah what a hard taskmaster. But I guess dem’s the breaks! (smile) I know the rules, so if I don’t abide by them, I’ll just have to pay the price. And that’s the way it is with most things in life my people. If we don’t do right, especially if we know what’s right, then we pay.
 
Anyway, today I want to share with you a couple of passages from an article in the July issue of In Touch Magazine, titled ‘Know Your Place,’ by Jim Daly. Some of you might have read it already, but didn’t even pay it any real serious attention, but Friends these words and actions are of vital importance in the life of each and every Christian believer.
 
Mr. Daly quotes Timothy Keller, from his book, ‘The Prodigal God.’ “You can’t live the Christian life without a band of Christian friends, without a family of believers in which you find a place.”
 
And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! We can’t live a truly Christian life alone, it’s too difficult to do, especially with all the inviting and exciting wrongs the world has to offer nowadays. We need the empathy, encouragement and bolstering that a tightly knit group offers.
 
And in any case, Jesus didn’t desire and plan for His people to be separate and apart, but be together as one, as one body in His name. It’s all well and good to go to church and participate in the ceremonies and rituals on an individual basis. 
 
But as Mr. Daly later adds: ‘But if we’re not making an effort to connect and engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re missing out on a key element of the church as described in the New Testament.’ And that’s the fostering of true community amongst the Christian brethren.
 
Oh Friends, that’s why there is so much resentment, jealousy and antagonism in the church today. We don’t individually nor collectively foster a sense of true community in the body of Christ. We talk it, but don’t actually walk it. Consequently, we’re not able to be as productive in spreading the good news of the gospel, as we ought to be.
 
We need to put away the selfishness and petty things that keep us apart, die to our own selves, and encourage the things that truly bring us together. And though the leaders in the church might be to blame for some of that, every single believer also has to shoulder some blame too, because it all begins with us as individuals.
 
And that brings us to this passage from Bruh Paul’s epistle to the Romans, where he talks of the people having zeal but no righteousness. ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel, is that they might be saved. For I bear them record (witness), that they have a zeal of (for) God, but not according to knowledge.
 
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law, for righteousness to every one that believeth.’ (Rom.10:1-4)
 
And the scholars have a good explanation of that scripture. ‘10:4. Christ is the end of the law.  Israel mistook the purpose of the law. The law pointed to the righteousness that is attainable only by belief in Christ. Israel also mistook the scope of the law.
 
The righteousness to which it pointed was universally available to all who responded to God’s revelation of Himself through the law. But by Paul’s time many had substituted works for faith. Rather than seeking redemption in God’s mercy, they pinned their hopes on their own religious achievement.’
 
And sadly my people, today too many of us are still doing the same thing; depending on our own religiosity rather than God’s available mercy and grace.
 
But please note what our Bit says about that behaviour. ‘For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case (by no means) enter into the kingdom of heaven.’
 
Those are the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, so obviously there’s no doubting them!
 
And the scholars provide a wonderful explanation of all that. ‘5:20. Because of the necessity of righteousness as a requirement to enter heaven, Jesus then declares that except their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees they could not enter heaven.
 
The significance of this is seen in the fact that the Jews of Jesus’ day considered these people to be the most religious in all Israel. However, their religion was largely an outward show of self-righteousness.
 
In communicating the depth of His message, Jesus used a series of contrasts between the outward behaviour demanded by the law and the inner attitude of the heart desired by God. Here we discover the practical application of genuine Christian character to true spiritual living. Here we see the gospel in action:’
 
Sadly Friends, it’s the same thing a lot of us are still doing today, depending on self, rather than God. And the scholars add a very useful list of what the Law required and what the Spirit of God desired.

 LAW                                                                        SPIRIT

 

No murder                                                                No anger

 

No adultery                                                               No lust

 

No divorce                                                                Commitment

 

No oath-taking                                                          Speak the truth

 

No retaliation                                                            Forgiveness

 

Hatred for your enemy                                              LOVE for your enemy

 

  (tradition allowed it)                                                   (commanded)

 

And there we have it my people, a simple breakdown of the things the religious Law called for and/or allowed, as well as the things that Jesus desired, and still desires, of His true and faithful followers.

 

So let’s sit down today and consider our own reaction and behaviour to all those things nuh, and then, as always, sincerely ask God to help us improve in whatever way we need to. That’s heavenly wisdom my brethren, for we know He will NEVER refuse any requests to draw closer to Him! Much LOVE!

 

…to be a true believer…one must lose the self in self-righteousness…

 

P.S. That makes up for the short Bit yesterday. (smile) Much LOVE!