Saturday, January 20, 2018, 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
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Genesis 2:18 states that God said “it is not good for man to be alone.” God created us in his image with a desire for relationships. We believe in order to grow together as daily disciples, togetherness is a key component.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
It can be easy to read this passage and assume that having money or financial independence is somehow wrong and against the teachings of Jesus. Not so. The Bible applauds good stewardship, saving for the future, and taking care of one’s own household. However, when our eye (a metaphor here for our ethical perspective) focuses on selfish gain and ambition, then our whole selves follow leading to stockpiles of treasure on earth but souls that come up empty-handed. If we can instead devote ourselves to consistent growth as a daily disciple of Christ and live generously with what we do have, we will be richly rewarded by our Father in heaven – an eternity that is promised to be better than we can ask or imagine.
It’s also important to point out that this passage is, at it’s core, about our heart and not about the absolute amount of money in our bank accounts. It’s easy for this passage to call into mind an Ebeneezer Scrooge-type character, lording over his piles of gold and shaking his cane at good-hearted Bob Crachit. But a man whose net worth is $1 is just as at risk of serving the wrong master as a man whose net worth is $1 million. It’s easy to play the game of ‘if we just had a little more, then we’d be secure’ or to let financial worry and anxiety cloud our view of God’s promise that He will meet us with our daily bread. Let us pray for God’s wisdom in managing our resources , and that our trust will remain in the Almighty rather than in the almighty dollar.
- Diana Crysler, Director of Women's Ministries
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me? Give them my coat too? To help me feel better, I like to imagine the people listening to Jesus speak on that mountainside were asking similar questions to those that I have when I study these words. This passage is one of the more challenging and revealing teachings of Jesus – his first recorded teaching after his baptism and time in the wilderness.
It strikes me that Jesus’ first sermon to a large group of people is something like a guidebook for how we should live out our relationships and love those around us…friend or foe. It is both challenging and convicting because it is so contrary to my normal thinking and reactions especially when I feel I have been wronged. As I walk with Jesus in my life, he graciously reveals to me that my normal response is full of pride, selfishness, and anger. He slowly helps me to strip away a little more of myself so I can learn to be more like him. Just as Paul teaches us in Romans 12:1, “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God”
As I grow in him, I slowly learn to respond in better ways when I feel offended by someone (e.g. receiving harsh criticism, cutoff in traffic, wrongly accused). Then Jesus points out something new – my feelings of being offended and where my heart is towards that person. He is gentle and kind, yet direct, as he shows that next layer of pride and sinfulness I need to shed.
Jesus loves us too much to have us stay where we are. As we walk through these 90 days with Jesus, let us ask him to reveal how we can grow and be more like him in our relationships. “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
- Jim Brandt, Director of Administration
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 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.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
Serving isn't just an optional step at Southeast—we believe it's essential to spiritual growth and transformation. God does something sacred in us when we invest in and serve others.