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The Reason

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The Holy Spirit’s reminder to us of Jesus’ first in-depth teach or lecture to His disciples in Matthew 5, after His second return from Jerusalem, contains some commands and teachings that are very difficult for most of us to follow in our daily lives.  In particular, the teachings about turning the other cheek and letting someone who sues you for your coat to also have your cloak, because in our normal daily lives we work to keep what we have.  If someone strikes us, we strike back to defend ourselves.  If someone sues us, we fight back so as not to lose everything that we have worked so hard for.  As such, these teachings of Jesus are very difficult for most ‘Christians’ to follow, because they have been conditioned to live their lives out to old age with the view of being blessed by God like Abraham was… to live a ‘good’ Christian life, to die with a long ministry behind them, or a large family or wealth, or preferably all three, leaving behind a legacy for the generations that follow to admire, while they sojourn to the luxuries of Heaven.

Now a life lived to gather and store away wealth and reputation, even family, is in conflict with a life where you give to all who ask, allow those who sue you to take all you have and more, give away your riches, and allow those who strike you to have your other cheek.  A life that desires peace and prosperity in the person’s time will find it very difficult to not resist an evil person.  On the contrary, the standard Christian has been encouraged to take his stand against evil persons, even going to war against them.

You see, if we are to obey the Lord’s command to “…not resist an evil person,” [Matthew 5.39] then the Christians were not to resist Hitler and similar evil men of their time.  If one were to follow these commands to the letter, then it would appear that the Lord wanted His disciples to live downtrodden and oppressed lives as against the prosperous lives that many preachers speak of.  It is as if the Lord wants His disciples to suffer so that they can have an even bigger and better reward in Heaven.  So why did Jesus command us to live like this?

If you are still thinking that Jesus came to save sinners so that they can live a long and prosperous life on Earth and then die to go to Heaven for even more rewards, then you have not really been listening to Jesus at all, but to men who preach their own fantasies using Jesus’ Name.  First of all, Jesus taught all things knowing that the Kingdom of God was to come in power, so that these basic teachings are to be practised to prepare believers who have just started their careers as disciples.  You see, the teachings of Jesus start with the basics in Matthew 5 and go on to the finale of John 15, 16 and 17, by which time a disciple will at least be able to heal the sick, drive out demons, cleanse the lepers and raise the dead, so that they are ready to receive the teachings that Jesus would give them after the resurrection, and indeed also the more that the Holy Spirit would bring them.

Now we know that the whole process of the making of a disciple was disrupted.  Indeed, you would have to search far and wide for a church that is engaged in the making of disciples.  And for the record, going to Bible college is not discipleship, it is an education… neither is a Sunday sermon or a midweek Bible study.  Discipleship is when you, a teacher, call to yourself those whom the Lord has given to you, and you teach and train them as Jesus did the twelve.  A Bible college welcomes all who pays them.  A discipler never receives someone who pays him.  A weekend sermon or a midweek Bible study is given to all who come… to any who come.  A teacher draws his disciples aside when they are alone together and explains the secrets of his teachings to them.  Teachings and secrets you cannot buy in a book.  A true teacher does not sell his teachings.  Those who have been selling their teachings are merely merchants.

These basic teachings of Jesus, when practised without the power, are designed to do one thing and one thing only – to remind the disciple that he needs to have the power.  If one does not have the power of the Holy Spirit, then to be struck on the cheek is painful and certainly not enjoyable.  Indeed, a ‘Christian’ life lived where one does not resist an evil person, turns the other cheek, or lets someone who sues them take his shirt as well as his coat, is not an enjoyable or blessed life at all.  Now that is the first reason for these teachings of Jesus – to remind the disciple that he needs the power of the Holy Spirit, and quickly.  For when you have the power of the Holy Spirit, no evil person can harm you, not even a hair on your head can be touched.  When you have the power of the Holy Spirit, anyone striking you on one cheek will have that hand withered, and if he strikes the other cheek, he will then have two withered hands for you to heal.  Someone suing you for your coat will have your coat multiplied until he cannot even get into his house because of the coats.  A person who steals your watch can find himself buried under the weight of the watches that were multiplied.

Now for most of us, such talk is pure fantasy and nonsense, for how many of us have experienced such things?  Very, very few.  Why?  Because we do not listen to Jesus, we do not believe Him in His word, and we prefer not to obey His word, but rather, obey Moses.  But worst of all, we prefer to delay His return so that we can live out our lives to a ripe old age and build up a mighty ministry or a cathedral.  You see, when you say you want to plant a hundred churches over the next ten years, what you are in fact saying is that Jesus should not come back for another ten years until your have built your churches.  We constantly delay His return because we want to do things for Him first our way, instead of realising we need to do things His way so that He can return ASAP.

So, you have it.  The reason the basic teachings of Mathew 5, 6 and 7 can be difficult to uphold literally is because they are meant to be difficult.  They are designed to make life difficult for those who hold onto them without the power to remind them they need the power.  They are designed to make the ‘Christian’ life uncomfortable in the hope that you might seek the Lord for the power to live these teachings, and in seeking the power, which is part of the Kingdom of God, you might realise that Jesus did not die to give you a blessed ‘Christian’ life, but to save the world so that He can come back and reign upon it to restore it to what the Father had made it for originally.  The disciples were to work with power for one purpose only – prepare the Earth for the return of Jesus, not raise up Christians to die and go to Heaven.

You see, if the purpose of your life in Christ is to live and die to go to Heaven and do some good works along the way – feed some poor person, preach a sermon, run a ministry – then you have no need for miraculous power.  It does not take a Christian to feed the poor, anyone can.  It does not take a Christian to preach; even Hitler was a mighty preacher.  It does not take a Christian to raise up a large ministry; some of the largest ministries with billions of dollars to their names are not Christians.

But it does take a disciple of Christ to do the things that Jesus has been doing and the greater things, and for that the disciple needs the power of the Holy Spirit.  However, the Holy Spirit will give out the power to those who are living to see Jesus returned to Earth, not those who are living to go to Heaven.  Oh, He will confirm the gospel with signs and wonders when the gospel is preached by those who have in their hearts to die to go to Heaven, but that does not mean that He has given them any power to do what Jesus does.  That is the difference.  Those whose hearts are set on going to Heaven through death will and can only say, “It is the Lord who has done the miracle and the healing.”  However, if you have your heart set on remaining alive until He arrives and are working for His return, you will know that it is you who are doing the miracles with the power given to you because Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.” [John 14.12]  If you have faith in Jesus, then you know He is waiting to come back… so why not wait for Him here on Earth instead of crowding Heaven?  And better still, why wait?  Why not with your life get to work and fulfil the scriptures needed for Jesus to return?

So what is the reason for your life?  If you know, then you will know the reason why you are without miraculous power and thus cannot do what Jesus has been doing, or why you have the power entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit so that He can be taken out of the way to reveal the man of lawlessness as part of the preparation for the arrival of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Ed

Manager

Holy Spirit’s Workshop

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
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