March 20, 2015
During the past few months, I've been sharing in our local fellowship a revelation from what we commonly refer to as The Sermon on the Mount. As I was reading Matthew 5, 6 & 7, I suddenly realized that Jesus was sharing with the folks a whole lot of character pictures which epitomize the very nature of His being, makeup and personality.
Before we dig into Jesus' teaching, let's consider the context of the things Jesus is sharing in this "sermon." In Matthew 3, we have the revelation of Jesus' baptism and Father making abundantly clear to those who were watching that, "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!" It was a remarkable statement for Father to make of Jesus, but it was one that was common to Jewish society.
Whenever a son reached a point in his life where he was both learned and practiced in his father's business, and sufficiently seasoned at it that his father could literally turn the entire operation of the business over to him, the father would call together his friends, family and business associates for a public ceremony in which he would announce officially that "this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." At that time the father would also provide the son with a signet ring with which he could set the father's seal to any official document, acting in the stead of the father with the father's full backing and approval.
By this time, the son had observed all that the father would do in the course of fifteen to twenty years of working with him (that period of being "under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father") after his "bar mitzvah" at age 12, he had learned to say what his father would say in virtually every situation. The son, therefore, became the father's representative and alter-ego wherever he went, and whatever he said or did was done in the place of his father as though his father was actually there.
Thus, when Jesus was given this magnificent public approval by Father, Father also sent His signet ring in the form of Holy Spirit, Who settled on Jesus in the form of a dove. It couldn't have been clearer to all who witnessed the event.
Consider the following scriptures within the context of these two pictures; namely, that of the learning under tutors and governors to do and to say all that the father said and did, and finally, the giving of the signet ring to seal everything done in the father's name.
John 8:26, 28-29: I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
John 10:30: I and my Father are one.
John 14:10: Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
When Jesus, therefore, made the statement that He and Father are One, He wasn't saying that they were the same person, He was following the protocol that mandates His acting in Father's stead, saying exactly what Father would say, and doing the works that Father would do were he present in person.
Now, take a look at the picture of the signet ring.
John 6:27: Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
The KJV uses the word "sealed", and that's a poor translation. I won't take the time to re-translate that whole verse to you, but the Greek word which is often translated "sealed" or perhaps "signet" is the word, sphragizo. Here's how J.H. Thayer translates this word: to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp. The word literally describes a signet ring or an official seal that a king would use to authenticate a document or a decree. With that in mind, consider now how Paul uses this word, sphragizo.
I Corinthians 1:21-22: Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Ephesians 1:13-14: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Have I drawn this picture sufficiently for you? My objective is to lay the groundwork for understanding that when Jesus began to teach the multitudes, the things He was sharing were inherent to His character, makeup, and personality. And Jesus was sharing -- and this is important in our understanding -- exactly what Father had said to Him, and what Father was saying to us! He was sharing those things that will cause us to become naturally supernatural -- naturally spiritual, as measured by the fact that a signet ring has been impressed into our minds, our thoughts and our behavior.
When I use the term, naturally supernatural, I am referring to the fact that we are no longer part of this world, this world's kingdoms, this world's mindset or this world's behavior. What the world considers as "natural" is, in fact, sub-natural. It is not normal in any way shape or form to the way we were designed by God in the first place. Thus, when we are in Christ Jesus, and He is in us, He has placed His "super" upon what we have known and lived in as "natural."
OK? Sorry if I've dragged this out or been too exhaustive in my explanation, but it is necessary for all of us to have the proper context for what Jesus began to share when He opened up to the multitudes. That said, let's begin with the very first statement that Jesus made when He began to share what we commonly refer to as "The Beatitudes."
Matthew 5:3: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
If ever there was a verse of Scripture that has been taken out of context, this is it! Folks with a poverty mindset have abused this for generations, focusing on the first four words, “Blessed are the poor,” and stopping there.
The word, poor, if taken alone in this verse certainly could be taken that way. The Greek word, ptochos, literally translates to: destitute of wealth, influence, position or honor. But that’s NOT what Jesus said. He didn’t say that it was blessed to be poor; He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
The apostle Paul fully understood what Jesus meant when He made that statement and he put it in its proper context for us when he wrote to the Ekklesia in Philippi.
Philippians 2:5-8: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
We’ll come back to Paul’s statement shortly.
“Poor in spirit” is defined by J.H. Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon like this: destitute of the wealth of learning and intellectual culture which [academic] schools afford. Understand? OK, let’s put it in simpler language. Watch what happens when we fully translate Matthew 5:3 from the Greek.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed and highly favored by God are those who don’t eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and live their lives on the basis of intellectual learning and culture — those whose spirits are fed from the Tree of Life; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven — that dimension of the Spirit where the rulership of God enables us to function as Jesus did.” (RAC Translation & Amplification)
Consider how Paul expressed it when writing to the Romans.
Romans 8:5-16: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
It would take up too much space in this Coffee Break to amplify this whole passage, so let me deal with just a few segments.
Romans 8:5-8: “For those who live their lives based on what is a “reasonable” or “rational” mode of thinking and living behave according to their five senses, feelings and perceptions; but those who live their lives responding to the quickening of Holy Spirit live spiritually, opposing the dictates of the flesh.
“This is because thinking which follows that which seems reasonable and rational (according to feelings, emotions and human learning) is at war with God, is not subject to the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus — and, indeed, it cannot be.” (RAC Translation and Amplification)
Romans 8:13-16: “For if you live according to the demands of your flesh, your rational and reasonable thinking, you will die; but if you access the Spirit of life — that Spirit of God — that is within you and shut down and put to death the normal desires and acts of your flesh, you will [truly] live.
“For all those who allow themselves to be led and quickened by the Spirit of God will become — and be — the full-grown, mature sons of God. And that’s because you have not received in yourself slavery to spirits of fear; but rather that deep knowing within that you’ve been adopted into the Family of God so that your natural — spiritual — reaction [when in crisis] is to cry out, “Daddy! Papa! Father! You see] Holy Spirit witnesses within our spirits that we have become children -- members of the Family of God!” (RAC Translation & Amplification)
Was that clear? THAT’s what it means to be “poor in spirit!” Now take another look at the way Paul described Jesus’ mindset as he wrote to the Philippian Ekklesia.
He said, “Let this manner of thinking be in you!” Then he describes the kind of “poor [in] spirit” that ruled Jesus.
As the only begotten Son of God, Jesus knew with a certainty that He was in the form, likeness, nature and makeup of God; that as such He paralleled God in every respect — even in his human form — and yet he subdued His flesh and human cravings and desires in order to adopt the nature and character of a bond servant, becoming instead a normal man by all appearances and actions.
Now, think about the second half of Jesus’ statement, “For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
A kingdom, obviously, is the domain where a king rules — whose word is Law! When we talk about Heaven, we mostly think in ethereal terms of a place we will go to “in the sweet bye and bye,” when in fact there is nothing ethereal about Heaven. Heaven is simply a parallel dimension.
I realize that sounds a bit like some sci-fi story, but the truth is that Heaven literally parallels this time-space earth that we spend the majority of our time living in and with.
We were first designed as spiritual beings, and in fact pre-existed in Heaven with God before we ever came here. (I know that some folks really get a bee in their bonnet when I say that, but there are a fistful of scriptures to back it up. See, for example, Job 40:15, or Jeremiah 1:5) That said, Heaven is a tangible, multi-dimensional place which has authority and power over this time-space world in which we live. Heaven existed before there was ever an Earth or a Universe, and Heaven will still exist when this earth is dissolved and a new earth and a new “heavens” are created.
When Jesus said, therefore, that “theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” He was making it very clear that those who willingly set aside their rational, reasoning, human thought processes and become “poor in spirit” — not exalting their spirits, their minds and their own purposes above God’s plan and destiny for us — will be enabled to live a Kingdom life with ready access to the Heavenly realm.
OK. That was a mouthful. Let me put it more simply.
When God’s rulership in our lives becomes paramount and preeminent in our priorities, we have access to that Kingdom He has prepared for us. So long as we continue to walk and live the Kingdom life, a process of the rulership of the Lord takes over us, and begins to function through us.
Let me stop here, and we will pick this up again next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call is back on schedule for Mondays & Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
Also want to let you know that our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#.
Blessings on you!
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