The Doorway to the Kingdom

Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . —Matthew 5:3

Beware of thinking of our Lord as only a teacher. If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, then all He can do is frustrate me by setting a standard before me I cannot attain. What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possibly come close to reaching it? I would be happier if I never knew it. What good is there in telling me to be what I can never be— to be “pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8), to do more than my duty, or to be completely devoted to God? I must know Jesus Christ as my Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me other than that of a lofty ideal which only leads to despair. But when I am born again by the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come only to teach— He came to make me what He teaches I should be. The redemption means that Jesus Christ can place within anyone the same nature that ruled His own life, and all the standards God gives us are based on that nature.

The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount produces a sense of despair in the natural man— exactly what Jesus means for it to do. As long as we have some self-righteous idea that we can carry out our Lord’s teaching, God will allow us to continue until we expose our own ignorance by stumbling over some obstacle in our way. Only then are we willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This is the first principle in the kingdom of God. The underlying foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possessions; not making decisions for Jesus, but having such a sense of absolute futility that we finally admit, “Lord, I cannot even begin to do it.” Then Jesus says, “Blessed are you . . .” (Matthew 5:11). This is the doorway to the kingdom, and yet it takes us so long to believe that we are actually poor! The knowledge of our own poverty is what brings us to the proper place where Jesus Christ accomplishes His work.

by Oswald Chambers

Dealing With Wrong Desires

Psalm 145:18-21

Believers can have wrong desires. In fact, if we work hard enough—by pressing ahead of divine timing, manipulating our circumstances, and even acting dishonestly—we may be able to make those wishes reality. But anything gained apart from God will prove to be empty and disappointing.

Having desires is good—goals drive us and set the direction for our life. But we want our objectives to match the ones God has for us. Longings contrary to His purposes have the power to corrupt the body, mind, or spirit and can also cause believers to fall into temptation (2 Pet. 2:9-10 ; 1 Tim. 6:9).

How can we be sure our desires are right? A godly ambition is usually specific and fixed, and it will stand up to evaluation through prayer and Bible study. In contrast, a wrong desire fails to meet these criteria. For instance, some people have only a vague sense of what they want from life. Or their yearning changes easily as circumstances shift or time passes. Most dangerous is that goal which is pursued despite its incompatibility with a righteous lifestyle. In such cases, the believer has neglected to consider two vital questions: Does God want this for me? and Can I follow Christ and this objective at the same time?

Many of the things we desire are not specifically addressed in Scripture as “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not.” That is why God has given us access to the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and discernment. We must prayerfully evaluate our longings to ensure we are within the Lord’s will and pursuing His purpose for our life.

Moved with Fear

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

Noah was indeed a man of mighty faith, believing God’s word even about “things not seen as yet,” preparing for a worldwide flood in a day when God had never yet even “caused it to rain upon the earth” (Genesis 2:5). Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) to an unbelieving world for at least 120 years (Genesis 6:3), “while the ark was a preparing” (1 Peter 3:20), without gaining any converts except his own family.

But why would he have been “moved with fear”? Noah was surely not afraid to die! He had “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9) for 600 years (Genesis 5:32; 7:11) before the Flood, and he was certainly not afraid to die and go to meet the Lord now.

Evidently it was for “the saving of his house” that he was afraid, realizing that his own children would soon be engulfed by the awful spirit of unbelief and wickedness that pervaded the antediluvian world if they could not somehow be delivered from it. So he “prepared an ark,” and his house was saved. “Come thou and all thy house into the ark,” said the Lord, “for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). Although they could easily have refused, they all chose to follow Noah.

In a like manner today, God speaks to the head of each house: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). A consistent example of obedient faith set by a godly father (or mother, if necessary) almost inevitably results in his (or her) children also trusting in the Lord for salvation. Every caring parent should resolve that, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). HMM

The Lord do that which seemeth Him good

The Lord do that which seemeth Him good.—2 Samuel 10:12.

THE best will is our Father’s will,
And we may rest there calm and still,
Oh! make it hour by hour thine own,
And wish for naught but that alone
Which pleases God.
PAUL GERHARDT.

THY will be done.” For instance, when you wish, and by every means endeavor, to be well, and yet remain ill,—then say, “Thy will be done.” When you undertake something, and your undertaking does not succeed, say, “Thy will be done.” When you do good to others, and they repay you with evil, say, “Thy will be done,” Or when you would like to sleep, and are overtaken by sleeplessness, say, “Thy will be done.” In general, do not become irritated when anything is not done in accordance with your will, but learn to submit in everything to the Will of the Heavenly Father. FATHER JOHN.

Try to make an instantaneous act of conformity to God’s Will, at everything which vexes you. EDWARD B. PUSEY.

The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom

The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Matthew 27:51

The Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. — The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.

A new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; let us draw near.

1 Corinthians 11:23,24. John 6:51. John 6:53,54,56,57,61,63. Hebrews 10:20,22.

What profit is there of circumcision?

What profit is there of circumcision? Romans 3:1

Much every way. — Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart. —If … their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember.

Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. — In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. —You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and … put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness.

Romans 3:2. Jeremiah 4:4. Leviticus 26:41,42. Romans 15:8. Colossians 2:11. Colossians 2:13. Ephesians 4:22-24.