A Bible Study of the Commands and Acts of Jesus

Matthew Chapter Five

A Bible Study of the Words and Acts of Jesus from a Traditionalist Methodist“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

“Blessed are those who mourn.”

“Blessed are the meek.”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

“Blessed are the merciful.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are righteous.”

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, say all kinds of evil things against you because you are a follower of Christ.” Matt 5:3-12

“You are the salt of the earth.” Matt 5:13

“You are the light of the world.” Matt 5:14

“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” Matt 5:16

“I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come to fulfill them.” Matt 5:17

“Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen will disappear from the Law.” Matt 5:18

“Anyone who breaks the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:19

“Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:20

“Anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement.” Matt 5:22

“Anyone who says, ‘You fool’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matt 5:22

“Go and be reconciled to your brother.” Matt 5:24

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who takes you to court.” Matt 5:25

“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her.” Matt 5:28

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.” Matt 5:29

“If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” Matt 5:29

“Anyone who divorces his wife except for martial unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress.” Matt 5:32

“Anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” Matt 5:32

“Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matt 5:38

“Do not resist an evil person.” Matt 5:38

“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matt 5:39

“If someone wants to sue you, let him.” Matt 5:40

“If someone forces you to go one mile, go the extra mile.” Matt 5:41

“Give to one who asks.” Matt 5:42

“Do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matt 5:42

“Love your enemies.” Matt 5:44

“Pray for those who persecute you.” Matt 5:44

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matt 5:48

 

 

A Bible Study of the Commands and Acts of Jesus

Matthew Chapter Four

A Bible Study of the Words and Acts of Jesus from a Traditionalist Methodist“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matt 3:8 (John the Baptist)

What does repentance fruit look like?

“The ax already at the root of the trees. Every tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matt 3:10 (John the Baptist)

Who or what is the ax? How do we produce fruit?

“I baptize you with water for repentance.” Matt 3:11 (John the Baptist)

Why is water baptism important for repentance?

“Jesus will baptize you with fire and the Holy Spirit.” Matt 3:11 (John the Baptist)

What does Holy Spirit baptism look like? How can you be sure you have received the Spirt of Christ?

“It is proper for us to do this (be baptized) to fulfill all righteousness.” Matt 3:15 (Jesus)

What do you think Jesus meant by this?

Jesus was led by the spirit. Matt 4:1

How can we know when we are led by the Holy Spirit? This week look for evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading you.

“Man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matt 4:9 (Jesus)

Are there words, commands, stories from God you refuse to accept?

“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Matt 4:7 (Jesus)

In what ways do we put God to the test?

“Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Matt 4:10 (Jesus)

What other things do you worship rather than God?

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt 4:17 (Jesus)

Continually examine your attitude toward Jesus’ call to repent to see if you are trusting him entirely.

“Come, follow me.” Matt 4:19

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? What does that look like?

“I will make you fishers of men.” Matt 4:19

Describe what a “fisher of men” looks like.

Jesus went throughout teaching, and preaching the good news of the kingdom. Matt 23

Do we teach the good news of God’s kingdom? Do we preach God’s good news or let others do the preaching?

Jesus healed every disease and sickness He healed their suffering, severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, the paralyzed. Matt 4:24

When was the last time you asked Jesus to heal you of an affliction or sin?

 

The Meaning of Christmas

Today and in recent days you will hear or have heard and read messages about the meaning of Christmas. That God came to be with us: that he is Emmanuel. That we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. That God came to bring peace on earth. That we are made in the image of God and God loves us all, each and every one. All of that is true.

But if that is the only reason God came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus then his death on the cross failed. We do not love our neighbors. There is not peace on earth. Though we may be made in the image of God, we are poor replicas. Anyone who takes time to read the Bible – or at least the New Testament – will find that the overwhelming reason that God came in the form of a man named Christ was to save us from our sins.

We are made in the image of God; that is true. But we serve a lesser god. We serve Satan. And until we acknowledge that we serve a false god and cry out to be free from his tyranny, we are destined to remain slaves to sin and die in our sins. The true meaning of Christmas is that God came to liberate us from the life we live and the death sentence we received. To elevate any other message above this as the reason for Christmas is to treat the death of God and his resurrection as a social movement that will fade – as have all other human fads.

The mystery of God coming in the form of a man named Jesus has perplexed men and women and religious scholars for years. Here is one way to think of the event and why it is crucial to your soul.

Adam was created by God. Adam was not born but built from dust and received his life from the breath of God. In that mouth-to-nostrils moment Adam received the divine spirit into his being. Then Adam faced a choice: side with Eve who had already disobeyed God and be with his mate partner, or side with God. Adam picked Eve – the creation over the creator – and the DNA of man (Adam) changed from divine to mortal. This is a mystery. But it also is an undeniable fact that every human born since Adam died or will die.

God in his love sought to restore us to his divine nature, to breathe his spirit into us anew and return us to our intended divine nature. So God picked a virgin to be his mother. This too is a mystery: that God would seed himself into Mary through his spirit and then be born from Mary as an infant. This act was necessary so that the DNA of God could be born into a man named Jesus. Christ possessed the DNA of Mary, his mother, and God his father: the divine and the mortal. To prove he was both divine and mortal, Jesus lived as a man, lived without committing one sin, and allowed himself to be falsely accused and executed for daring to claim his father was God: that in fact he was God. Dead and buried, three days later he came up from the grave and appeared to hundreds to prove his words were true and that he was God in the flesh.

Today, tonight, the next day, if you know in your heart that you cannot keep yourself from doing the things you know are wrong … if you sense in your soul you were created for something more, have a destiny greater than can be contained on this earth … if you fear death … ask Christ to meet with you. That’s it. That’s all. Just a meeting between you and God. If you don’t like his terms walk away. His terms, are simple: his life for yours – his spirit’s divine DNA for your spirit’s mortal DNA. If you accept his offer and receive his spirit, you will be changed: if not overnight then over time. The fruit of his spirit will testify to this transaction. But you must ask for his spirit, confess you need God the Christ to save you, and believe he will – believe that he has power over death and sin.

Today, tonight, the next day if you think exchanging your life for the divinity of God’s is a good deal, accept his terms. It is by far the best Christmas bargain you’ll ever find.

A Christmas Crisis Story

What is your Christmas Crisis Story?

A Christmas Crisis StoryOn Christmas Eve, when I was 18, I drove home from my girlfriend’s house and ran out of gas a little past 11 PM. I don’t remember how I located a phone. My guess is, I knocked on a door. I do remember when I got Dad on the phone and told him what happened, he said, “Boy, didn’t you look at the gas gauge before you left.” I said I had but hadn’t taken into account that stations would close early that night. If Dad said more, I don’t recall what it was. What I do remember is that he left Mom alone at home on Christmas Eve and brought me a gallon of gas.

That year on Christmas Eve my father came to me when I needed him. My Father in heaven still comes for those who need help and call out – who are empty spiritually, emotionally … broken down. I doubt Dad ever thought what he did that night reflected the love of God, but it did.

Tonight there are so many who are scared, hurting … lost in the darkness of a side road. I pray my Father in heaven will hear their cry and come to them in their hour of need.

What’s your #ChristmasCrisis story?

The Prodigal Brother

The Prodigal BrotherThere was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Give me my share of the estate.” So because the younger son had asked first, the father gave the younger son a double portion and said to him, “May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.” When the older brother learned of his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, father!”

But the father said, “Your brother came to me first. He has received the greater blessing and it will not be taken from him.” From that day forward the older brother held a grudge against his younger sibling. The older brother said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother.”

Not long after that, their mother came to the younger son and said, “Flee at once. Stay with my brother for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. So the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there he gained even greater wealth. In everything he prospered. After he had gained one wife, he gained another. Soon his family grew. But, there was strife between the younger son and his father-in-law. The two families argued over the flocks and fields. So the younger son hired himself out to his father-in-law, and worked for him, gaining even greater wealth for both men. But still the two families argued.

So the younger son said to his father-in-law, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. You know how much work I’ve done for you. Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. ”

But that day he heard that the sons of his father-in-law were saying, “Our sisters’ husband has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” That evening the Lord said to the younger brother in a dream, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your brother, and I will be with you.”

So with his wives and children and flocks he set out. But while he was still a long way off, he looked up and there was his brother, coming with four hundred men. The younger son he divided the children among his two wives into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, “If my brother comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.” He put the female servants and their children in front, his first wife and her children next, and second wife and his son in the rear.

While he was still a long way off, his brother saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his younger brother and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

The older brother asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?”

“To find favor in your eyes,” replied the younger brother.

“But I already have plenty. Keep what you have for yourself.”

“No, please!” said the younger. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have forgiven me.” Because the younger brother insisted, the older accepted his gifts.

The older brother said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.” But though the younger son agreed to return to the home of his older brother, he did not but went another way.

Did God Really Say There Is Whispering Gallery Where We Can Hear His Voice?

Yes ... yes he did.

whispering dishDid God really say there is whispering gallery where we can hear his voice?

Yes … yes he did.

A whispering gallery is usually a circular enclosure, often beneath a dome or a vault, in which whispers can be heard clearly in other parts of the gallery. Such galleries can also be set up using two parabolic dishes. Sometimes the phenomenon is detected in caves. For Christians, God’s Whispering Gallery exists anytime the Spirit of Christ acts as one dish and God’s word as the other. By standing between the two we can hear God’s still small voice speaking to us.

Here is how Christ explained this Holy whispering gallery: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”John 14:26

At the time Jesus was speaking to his disciples. But it’s clear from the events that happened after this conversation — his death on the cross, resurrection, and establishment of his Church — that his instructions were and are for all who have his Spirit within.

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands. ” John 14:15.

Which commands? How many commands did Jesus give? Not very many. At least not that we find in the four Gospels. But we read at the beginning of John’s Gospel that Christ actually authored all the commands we find in the Bible and he did this on the instructions of his father.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:1-3  ALL of God’s commands, all his laws and statutes, originated through words and that Word was Christ acting on the instructions of his father.

But how does that help us hear God’s whisper today? It’s one thing to read and study God’s words, but too often we need daily direction and instruction that cannot be found by flipping through the Bible. This is where God’s Whispering Gallery guides us.

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

This Advocate, this Spirit of Truth, this Holy Spirit of Christ, is the one who teaches us all things and reminds us of everything Christ and God said. One way to hear God’s whisper is to listen for his echo returning to you when you seek direction. When faced with a decision, stand in the center of God’s Whispering Gallery (His spirit within, His word in your lap) and call out to God. If the Spirit of Truth returns God’s word to you, through Bible study or later through remembrance or a godly friend offering a scripture reference, then you can be sure your action is within the realm of God’s blessing. God may still ask you to wait or turn aside, as he did with Paul and others, but at least you will know that your decision is one God could bless. 

Because there are numerous spirits (competing dishes) at work around us, it is vital that we listen for God’s echo to return. “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4 “Every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” And even if a spirit does acknowledge that Jesus is from God, ask for further evidence.

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19.

Odds are Satan and his demons know the Bible better than you. They’ve had longer to study and memorize its words so they can deceive and defeat you.

“The devil took Jesus to the holy city of Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” “Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

We are not to put God to the test, but we are commanded to test every spirit that speaks to us. And who are these spirits?

There are spirits who:

  • Predict the future. “Once when Paul and Silas were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.” – Acts 16:16-18.
  • Cast spells. Anyone who [cast spells] is detestable to the Lord.” Deuteronomy 18:11-12
  • Consult with the dead. “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance.” 1 Chronicles 10:13
  • Promote false prophecies and dreams. ““Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.” Jeremiah 29:8
  • Encourage us to act out in the flesh. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. But, “The acts (spirits) of the flesh are: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery,
    idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and orgies. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
     Galatians 5:20-22
  • Practice magic and promote murder, theft, and perversion . “They did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk — nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Revelation 9:20-21

This is but a short list of the spirits who act in opposition to God’s spirit. Below are three verses that confirm that God speaks the truth, God does not change his mind on a matter (though he may delay judgement), and that God cannot make mistakes.

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said it, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19

“It is impossible for God to lie … so hold fast to the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:18

“No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21

If you hear a voice that contradicts the Bible, you can be sure the voice is from a spirit other than God and Christ. And if it is, you should loudly and with boldness say: “Depart from me!” Then wait for God’s whisper as he directs your next step.

The Day I Died

What's Your Story?

What's Your Story? The Day I Died

I don’t remember the exact date or time when I died but I remember it as if it was yesterday.

When I was ten or so, I became the 1000th member of St. Mark’s United Methodist church. At least that’s how I remember it. But who is to say how accurate a 10-year-old’s memory is when they are decades removed from the event. Not long after my parents grew disillusioned with Malloy Owens and stopped attending St. Mark’s. For reasons I still can’t explain, sometimes I would ride my single-speed Spider bike up Six Forks road to sit in the balcony during Sunday services a Bayleaf Baptist.

During my years at Millbrook High, at the urging of my friend Greg Martin, I attended MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). Later, during my first year at N.C. State, another friend, Greg Rogers, encouraged me to join Campus Life.

Then I died.

I’m not one hundred percent sure which came first: the incident at the pond or the encounter on the second floor of D. H. Hill library. I only know at some point I was alive and then I was not.

No one was with me that night in the theatre on the second floor of the library when I confessed to God that I could never kick my sin-habit: that given the choice, I would always steal, lie, cheat, cuss, and demand to be in charge of my life. My mind tended to wander towards lewd thoughts and violent fantasies. So that day at the pond on the property of New Life Camp I waded out, took a breath, and fell in.

After my baptism in New Life’s pond and receiving the Holy Spirit in D. H. Hill’s library, I died and came back to life a new man. To be honest, few things changed after my second birth. Most of my habits and inclinations remained. But one thing had changed: my desire to become more like Christ and less like the old Eddie. I’m convinced that when I became baptized with water and the Holy Spirit of Christ my spiritual DNA began to change. Slowly, so very slowly, but changed I am. I have an inner peace, a confidence, that when I die I will see Christ, His Father, and all my relatives and friends who also died and were born anew with the Spirit of Christ.

I come from a family of individuals who went to church on a regular basis but that couldn’t save me. My great grandfather was a primitive Baptist preacher but that couldn’t save me. I went to church most of my youth and became a member of a church at the age of ten but that couldn’t save me. I lived under a death sentence due to my sins. The only thing that could save me was exchanging my life for the life of Christ.

That’s my story. What’s your death-to-life story? If you do not have one ask yourself this:

* If Jesus Christ is a real historical figure … and
* If He claimed to be the Son of God … and
* If Christ was executed for claiming to be the King of the Jews and One who takes away our sins … and
* He was none of these things … then

Why would those closest to Him agree to be beaten with rods, stoned with rocks, whipped until their flesh peeled, and beheaded and crucified for a lie? What was their motive? What did they gain by spreading such a scam? Is it possible that a group of first century Jews despised the religious authority so much that they welcomed the destruction of the Temple — that they invited the mass slaughter of their friends and family?

Would you be willing to die for such a lie?

If not, if it makes more sense to agree that Jesus must have appeared to his disciples and at least 500 followers (as Biblical accounts claim), then at the very least consider that everything he said about himself is true. And if it is, then why not invite Christ to have a conversation with you. Ask. Start with a simple, audible request for the two of you to have a chat. Invite Him to join you.

If you have questions or wish to talk about any of this, contact me: eddie@eddiejones.org.

I love to tell His story.