Jesus taught His disciples to look inward and realize that His eight beatitudes would make them the salt and light the world needs. He also taught them to look around, apply those blessed attitudes to their relationships, and then to look upward and receive from God the spiritual disciplines and values they needed to continue being fruitful disciples. The last part of the Sermon on the Mount is a challenge: "What are you going to do about what you know?"
Jesus told His followers to make a commitment to look up. That is how we receive the spiritual disciplines and values that come from God. Jesus used continuous verbs for asking, seeking, and knocking in order to challenge His disciples to look up continuously and with perseverance. Seeking is repeated and intense asking, and knocking is repeated and intense seeking. Jesus was calling His disciples to be people who are passionate for God. He promised that everyone who asks, seeks, and knocks in this way will be answered. Then Jesus summed up His ethical teaching with one sentence: Do to others what you would have them do to you.This is known as the Golden Rule.
Having given three calls for commitment, which ended with the Golden Rule, Jesus now gives a hard invitation. This is a challenging call to become committed disciples, solutions and answers and to reach the world for Him. It is a pointed challenge that asks, "Are you going to be part of the problem or part of the solution?"
We begin a journey through the Holy Bible, a systematic yet practical study through all 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation. We will learn about the inspiration of God's Word that was penned by some 40 men, from all walks of life, over a period of about 1,500 years. The truths we find can correct us, lead us in the right paths, and equip us for every good work when we are willing to obey.
Understand how the Bible came to be and why God gave it to us. All of Scripture has four main purposes and they all point to Jesus. Those four purposes are; (1) To present Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world (2) To provide for us the historical context in which Jesus came (3) To lead the unbeliever into faith in Jesus and (4) To show believers how God wants us to live.
To study the Bible and apply its truths to life requires work. Effective Bible study is a three-part process: observation, interpretation, and application. In other words, we ask ourselves these three questions: "What does it say?" "What does it mean?" and "What does it mean to me?" The first book of the Bible, Genesis, helps us understand our world and ourselves as we were intended to be and as we are now.
As believers in God's Word we should understand how the biblical story of creation and science relate to each other. Creation versus evolution; What do scientists say about creation? What do creationists say about science? On what points, if any, do the two camps agree? These questions show us three missing links in the scientific theory, gaps only the Bible can adequately fill.
Genesis teaches that man was created in the image and likeness of God: spiritual, creative, thinking, feeling, and able to communicate. The image was marred when Adam and Eve sinned. The rest of Scripture deals with how to restore sinful man with a Holy God. God created first Adam and then Eve, the woman, to be a "completer" for man. Marriage, man and woman united exclusively, is God's perfect plan. As they grow closer to God, they grow closer to each other.
What is our greatest need? What happens if we fail to meet it? God provided Adam and Eve everything they would need. They faced the same decision we all face: Are we going to live God's way or our own way? Genesis 3 is a picture of sin and how God dealt with sinners, of sin and its consequences. God pursues sinners and asks man and is still asking man the same questions today.
Reconciliation is a major theme in the Bible; reconciled to God, and reconciled to each other. Genesis 4 helps us discover causes of conflict and some solutions. Cain and Abel both brought sacrifices to God. Cain's heart toward God was not right, therefore his offering was unacceptable. Cain became angry and depressed, and killed his brother. Learn God's foolproof solution that still works for those who are angry and depressed.
Jesus begins by teaching His disciples eight attitudes called, the "beatitudes," or "blessed attitudes," because each one is introduced by the word "blessed." Jesus is promising to bless the disciple who has each of these attitudes. This word "blessed" can actually mean "happy," "spiritually prosperous," or "in a state of grace." Each attitude also includes a promise that describes the form in which this blessing will come into the life of that disciple.
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the key teachings of the Bible. Jesus preached this sermon on a mountaintop in Galilee when He challenged people who professed to be His disciples to be strategically placed between the love of God and the pain of the hurting people in the world. He challenged His disciples to partner with Him and be conduits of His love. He concluded His sermon with a call to commitment. It changed the lives of many who heard it.
The word "mercy" means "unconditional love." When David writes in Psalm 23:6 that mercy will follow him all the days of his life, the word he uses for "follow" actually means "pursue." God's unconditional love will pursue David all of his life. This is the kind of love for others that we must have too, if we are to be like God.
Many people think Jesus was contradicting the Old Testament in these verses, but He was only confronting the teaching of the religious leaders. He was telling His disciples: "Everything I am teaching you is found in the Word of God, but what I am teaching is in direct conflict with what your religious leaders have been teaching you."
Believers sometimes have the misguided opinion that their faith is weak if they show signs of mourning. This beatitude not only supports mourning it links it to a blessing. Mourning a loss is normal and there are things God wants us to learn from the loss. We must let God use our mourning to move us in three ways. First, mourning helps us ask the right questions about life. Second, it helps us to seek God's answers. Third, it also helps us to accept the blessing God has provided including our salvation.
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