Impact - August 12, 2012
- Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 10:43
- Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 10:39
- Written by Jonathan Woetzel
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Impacting the Culture Especially the Rejected
The early church:
In the days when Christianity had spread into
Under Roman government oppression, Paul said to pray for those in authority and express kindness and do good to overcome evil. (Romans 12:21). Peter said honor the king (small k).
The early Christians proved their beliefs and faith in their doing of the word especially loving their neighbors. They both spoke the truth and acted in truth and love. They looked at people differently than most people who lived out a self centered life.
Orthodoxy vs. Orthopraxy,
Orthodoxy is speaking the truth. Orthopraxy is the doing. Doing of the word in addition to speaking the truth.
How did Jesus see people:
Jesus saw people, great and small, as valued and loved.
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
In these verses we see that Jesus spent time with and cared for those rejected as sinners and hated as dishonest tax collectors. He even called some of these as His disciples. Tax collectors were rejected not only as sinners by the Pharisees but as the enemy by the general public. But Jesus saw them as greatly valued. He takes pleasure in you and in all His creation. You are a jewel, special, a treasure and a pleasure to Christ.
Matthew 8 lists the first 3 miracles/healings that Jesus preformed recorded by Matthew. Matthew did not record the miracle of turning water into wine or any other specific miracle first. What are the first 3 miracles recorded by Matthew? Miracles are a really big deal. Who were the recipients? Who did Jesus first perform miracles/healings on as recorded in Matthew?
Jesus Cleanses a Leper, Heals a Centurion’s Servant and a Woman
8: ¹When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. 2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed…. 5 Now when Jesus had entered
Jesus performed miracles (acts of power) for the sake of the second class citizens and the untouchables; the cast away people groups. The first three people touched by Jesus recorded by Matthew were as follows.
- Leaper – Unclean and unwanted.
- Gentile and enemy – Gentiles were defiled, outside of God’s covenant or rejected by God. A Roman centurion was considered an enemy.
was under and oppressive Roman regime. It should have been a Jew right? Israel
- Woman – More like property in the days of Jesus, a second class citizen.
What does Matthew bring out in recording the first 3 miracles regarding who was the recipient? Jesus is living for and loving the rejected. Again it’s a leaper, Gentile and a woman. Those that society would not chose as the first to receive a miracle.
Themes of New Testament:
One of the themes found in the New Testament is do not be like a Pharisee but rather extend love to your neighbor and have compassion on the downtrodden and rejected people. Call and receive the sinners to follow Christ. Jesus called the sinners to follow Him by receiving them and eating with them. Yet He did not compromise the gospel or the law. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery yet did not compromise the call to repentance.
In Matthew chapter 8 Jesus goes to and ministers to the outcasts and even the enemy (Roman Centurion) after He preached the Sermon on the Mount. Near the conclusion of the sermon in Chapter 7 verse 12 Jesus gives us the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you). At the end of the sermon Jesus says those who hear and act upon His words are wise and will not perish.
Christians are called to live out the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 - 7).
Love Your Enemies and You Shall be Perfect:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
You shall be “perfect” You can live out “perfect” love or a “perfected” life. In this passage “perfect” means in the Greek “being all you can be” in the expression of Christ or through Christ.
It’s interesting to look at these chapters in reverse to see Jesus healed the rejected and the enemy after he said those who do His word will not perish and this after He encouraged the crowds to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and this came after He said love your enemies and be perfect (be all you can be through Christ).
When we see the out cast, the weak, or the cursed like the man born blind do we ask who sinned and brought this curse on them? Was it they or their forefathers? Or do we pray blessings upon them and God’s will and purposes for their life? When we see or hear of someone committing a horrible sin do we speak condemnation and curses or blessings upon them? Pray God’s blessings upon them because God’s blessing is His will for them. All have sinned and fallen short. God’s will is that none should perish but all would come to the knowledge of Him. God is a God of second chances!
Then we must put action (if possible) with our prayer and faith or it is dead meaning it is quite worthless. (James 2:26). When we see or hear about someone sinning, we can pray that the Lord would open and change their hearts so that they would sin no more. Go and sin no more is the call of Christ. Salvation is God’s greatest desire. Jesus performed miracles (acts of power) for the sake of the second class citizens and the untouchables; the cast away people groups. Jesus saw people, great and small, as valued and loved.
May the Lord bless you greatly,