UPsideDOWN: Part 1

2000 years after Jesus Christ walked on this earth the world has changed dramatically; this includes the People of God. It is easy to see how technology and science have shaped our culture inside and outside the church. The way we view ourselves, the way we view our government, the way we view the family, the way we view the church, and the way we view need and want; has all been distorted throughout the years. When Jesus was alive on Earth the Roman Empire was ruling and reigning over much of the known world. This included God’s People the Jews. At the time, the time the Jews were allowed to worship, with some restrictions from Rome. Then Jesus came as the fulfillment of the promise to reestablish the relationship with God in Heaven that was fractured in the garden of Eden in Genesis.

Jesus began teaching things that were counterintuitive to common human thinking. He then reestablished who God’s People are through the disciples. He began to teach the idea found in Samuel…

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

1 Samuel 15:22

The Jews had been following the law the best they could with the sacrifices, but they were missing the true obedience the God delights in. They found themselves not living up to the standards Jesus was teaching.

Jesus began turning the world UPsideDOWN for the kingdom of Heaven.

As time passed that same ruling Empire, became the “beacon” of Christianity in the world. Then the church began falling into the same trap the Jewish leaders did while Jesus walked the earth. This caused the first reformation.

But NOW 500 years later we have begun to forget again that God Delights in obedience over sacrifice.

We have spent a lot of time attempting to obey and following the rules that have been set up we have forgot what it means to obey God. We have gotten caught up in the flow of the culture and have attempted to do “good” without true obedience.

What is the true obedience we are missing?

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:1-4

Matthew 5 is the teaching Jesus gave that is completely upside down called the Beatitudes. These first two “blessed are” statements do not logically make sense. Our understanding teaches us that those who are poor are not blessed; neither are those who mourn. We have been conditioned by our culture (including the church) to see blessing as emotional and physical provision in life. But Jesus wanted us to understand that blessing is not what we have found in the culture.

 1. Blessing is in Emptiness

Billy Gram put it this way…

“What did He mean? Simply this: We must be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant.

Jesus was cutting through the clutter of the religiousness of the day and I believe we must cut through today’s religiosity. Obedience can only be through the complete emptiness of our spirits fully yielding to Christ Jesus. Those things that we attempt to not do on our own is not the obedience God Delights in. This is because as Jesus stated later in Matthew 5:20

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

No matter how hard we try we can never be good enough to enter heaven on our own. The Apostle Paul, who was at one point a Pharisee wrote,

15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 7:15-25

With the mindset of sacrifice we can never measure up to who we need to be for God. But as Paul ends, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

It is only through our emptiness in Christ that we can be blessed and enter the kingdom of heaven. We may desire other blessings, but the greatest blessing is entering the kingdom of heaven to be with God for eternity.

James puts it this way

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10

2. Blessing is in mourning

Once we come to the place that we truly understand that we as John the Baptism said;

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30

We will begin too mourn for our depravity and the depravity in the world. Emptying ourselves gives us the ability to see through God’s eyes as He fill us. We are blessed because in that sadness of our sin; through the emptying of ourselves God through the work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we are filled and comforted. But we continue to have a heart of mourning for the world who is dying.

We allow the things that make God sad to make us sad, because we are no longer focused on our attempt to have a “good enough sacrifice” for God. We simply obey; all of what God said.

We get to the place where the mourning for people around us is a blessing, not the kind of blessing we are told from the culture is the goal. That mourning will push us to do something for God. Because we have been emptied and filled with with the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to obey not in our strength, but because Jesus Christ delivers.

But don’t stop there!

If we want to not fall back into the religiousness of “being a good person” we must allow the mourning to affect our lives and those around us. If we do not mourn for the eternal death and punishment of the people around us we will spiral into evil that is following the law without the grace that God gave to us. Who are we to not share that grace with others?

In the culture that teaches; do your best, strive for riches emotionally, physically and spiritually; remember that Jesus turned that idea upside down. When He said blessed are the poor and those who mourn. Strive for Emptiness and only Jesus in life.

God Bless BeTheLIGHT


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