On this day of cheer and good will to all men, its very easy to forget who we are celebrating, who we are worshipping here. When we look at just the baby, we see Jesus; meek and mild. But when we look at his teaching, this picture that we see every year is a far cry.
Instead of explaining why and preaching this out to you, instead I shall quote to you the beautitudes; modernized for easier reading. These words are very loving and correctful, yet can also be incredibly judging and eternally damning. To put this text into context, Jesus was speaking into a very religious and legalistic culture- they thought that they could save themselves. As we can see here, Jesus bluntly lays out the extent of what they must do not to sin, and the standard is incredibly high indeed.
Whilst reading these teachings, let us take them in and take them seriously, but also be greatful and thankful that Jesus Christ died and rose for our sins– so that we will not be judged if we slip up even once; we can always say sorry and turn back to God.
Blessed are those who realise that they are poor, for they will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who feel pain, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are those who are humble, for the humble shall inherit the Earth.
Blessed are those who yearn for justice, for their yearnings shall be satisfied.
Blessed are those who are merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them.
Blessed are those who are pure, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of the living God.
Blessed are those who are hunted down for doing the right thing, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people beat you, spit on you, joke about you, hate you and lie about you etc. etc. just because you are my followers. Be cheerful about it! Be incredibly happy! For a great reward waits for you in heaven. And don’t forget, the people who spoke up for God and followed him in the past suffered exactly the same things, be not afraid!
You are oxygen throughout the earth. But what good would it be if that oxygen loses its density, filtered into the atmosphere? It would be hard to get it concentrated as it once was before. It will be left to loss, and new oxygen will be used to take its place.
You are fire in a cold world- like a campfire in the middle of nowhere, where everybody can see it. No one lights a fire and then doesn’t use it; that would be stupid. Instead, the fire is lit for a specific purpose- to keep you warm. In the same way as this, let your good deeds and rightful actions burn for the warmth of others, so that everyone will respect your heavenly Father.
The law asks of us not to murder each other. But let me tell you this- even if you are just angry with someone, you are subject to judgement! If you call someone an idiot in an act of contempt, you will be in danger of being brought to the courtroom. But if you curse someone in your anger, you are in danger of the fire and flames of hell.
So, if you are doing a good deed in the name of God, or going to worship Him, and you remember that someone has something against you, stop what you are doing. Go and reconcile and be reconciled, then go ahead and do what you were doing for God.
When you are on the way to court as a defence, try to settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, you accuser might hand you over to the judge, who will sentence you and throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won’t be freed until you served every single day of your sentence.
We all know that having an affair is wrong. But I say, anyone who even lusts over a man or a woman has already had an affair within their own heart. So if your eyes cause you to lust, gouge them out. It is much better for you to enter heaven blind than to be thrown into hell with 20/20 vision. And if your hands make you sin too, you might as well cut those off before you do. It is much better for you to enter heaven limbless than it is to be thrown into hell with your whole body intact.
Don’t make empty promises, or swear on anything. Don’t swear on your mother’s grave, because that is disrespectful. Don’t swear on your life, for your life is sacred in God’s eyes. Don’t swear by the dust of the earth, because it belongs to God, not you. Simply just say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, anything beyond that is pointless and evil.
It is always feels right to take just retaliation for another’s actions, right? But let me say this to you- don’t resist an evil person! If he knocks you to the ground, get back up again. If he sues you for your house, laugh at him as you sign away the deed in trial. If a government decides to murder you in cold blood, pray forgiveness over them as they do it. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
We all think it is right to love your friends and families and to hate your enemies, right? But let me turn this on its own head- I want you to love your enemies too. Pray for them as they mock you and spit on you. You will be acting as true kids to your heavenly Father by doing so. Remember, he gives his own sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he send down rain on just and unjust alike. If you only love those who love you back, what good is that? Even notorious drug dealers do that. If you are only kind to your friends, how are you different to anybody else? Even terrorists do that. You are to be perfect, because your Father in heaven is perfect.
Watch it! Don’t make a big deal about your good deeds, to be admired by others, for you will get nothing from your heavenly Father in doing so. When you give to someone in need, don’t be a hypocrite and blow trumpets over it! Don’t call attention to your good charity! They have received any recognition they shall ever get. When you give to someone in need, do it unassumingly; in secret if you can. If possible, give your gift in private- you Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
When you pray, don’t big yourself up and make a show out of it. Whoever does this has already got the reward that they deserve. But I tell you this- when you pray, go away by yourself, in private, and pray to your heavenly Dad. Then he, who sees everything, will reward you.
When you pray, don’t waffle on as the religious do- there is no point (and it is boring!) Also, don’t keep repeating a prayer over and over again, thinking that God hears better the tenth time! Don’t be like them; your Father knows exactly what you need before you even ask him! Pray like this:
Our heavenly Father,
Your name be adored.
Bring your kingdom and will,
Onto Earth as it is in heaven.
Please provide for us today,
And forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us,
Please keep us from temptation,
But rescue us from evil.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive, your Father will not forgive you.
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious- unless you like being called a hypocrite. They try to look miserable and unhealthy so people will admire what they are doing. To be honest, their admiration is the only reward they will ever have. But, when you fast, look sharp. Comb your hair and wash your face. Make no deal of it, and no one will notice you fasting, except for your heavenly Father. And he, who sees everything, will reward you.
Don’t store up treasure here on earth, for inflation and time will make them worthless, they will rot away. Instead, store up treasure in heaven, where there is no inflation and time, where nothing rots away. Home is where the heart is, in the same way that your treasures will also be where your heart is.
Your eye allows you to see. If your eye is good, you will see very clearly. But if your eye is bad, you will be blind. And if you think you can see when you are blind, how blind are you!
You can’t serve two masters. You will find that you love one, and hate the other; all your time will be in one and nothing but contempt for the other. You can’t serve both God and money!
I’ll also tell you that you shouldn’t worry about today- where your next meal comes from, if you have clothes to wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than what you wear? Look at the birds. They don’t go shopping, and your heavenly Father feeds them. How much more valuable are you than they? Can any worry add a minute to your life?
And why worry about what you are wearing? Look at a rose- it doesn’t have to go buy new clothes and put them on to look beautiful. Even the best Dolce and Gabanna suit doesn’t beat nature. If God cares so much about roses which are here one day but not the next, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have little faith?
So don’t worry about what you will eat, what you will drink, what you will wear. These things dominate the non-believer’s thoughts, but your heavenly Father already knows exactly what you need. Hunt the Kingdom of God above everything, and live righteously, and he will give you what you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow; tomorrow brings its own worries. Today’s problems are enough for today.
Don’t judge others, and you won’t be judged. You’ll be treated how you treat other people. You get what you give, pay for what you ask for, judged in the same way that you judge!
And why worry about the dirt on your friend’s hand when your hands are covered in mud? How can you even think of saying ‘I can wash those hands for you,’ when your hands are covered in mud? Hypocrite! Wash your own hands first, then your hands will be clean enough to wash your friend’s hands.
Don’t give righteous gems to someone who isn’t righteous. Don’t throw your money to thieves, for they will take your money without remorse, and turn to attack you for whatever is left!
Just keep asking, and you will get it. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will gain. Everyone who searches will find. Everyone who knocks will have the door opened to them.
Parents- if your kid asks you for money, do you give them a stone? Or if they ask you for some pasta, do you give them poison? Course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your kids, how much more will your heavenly Father know how to give great gifts to those who ask him?
If you don’t take anything away from this, take this: do to others whatever you would like them to do for you. This is the most important notion I could teach on.
The entrance to God’s kingdom is a narrow door. The door to hell is a lot bigger, its hinges wide for all who choose that way. But the door to life is very narrow and hard to find; beyond a long and narrow road. Only a few ever find it.
Beware of false prophets who pretend to be one of my own sheep, but are actually vicious wolfs- ready and waiting to tear apart their next victim. You can tell them from their fruits, by the way that they act. Can weeds ever make grapes? Can ferns ever make apples? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is weeded out, or chopped down, ready to be thrown into the fire. So, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Not every man or woman who calls out to me “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgement day, there will be many who say to me “Lord! Lord! We performed miracles in your name, taught the truth and prophesised,” and I will say to them “Well, I never actually knew you! Get away from me, for you are lawbreakers.”
Anyone who listens to what I teach and follows it is wise, like a builder who builds their house on a solid foundation. As the rain and the floods and the winds strike the house, it won’t collapse because of its foundation. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is an idiot, like a rogue trader who builds there house without a good and solid foundation. As the rain and the floods and the winds strike the house, it will collapse because of its foundation.
Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year!