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What Jesus Teaches About Our Treasure

During the ministry of Jesus, many Jewish people were under the impression that those who were wealthy had been blessed by God. In Deuteronomy 28, the Bible teaches that those who follow God’s commandments will be rewarded and those who disobey God’s commandments will be disciplined. For this reason, many Jewish people were obsessed with material possessions; which is something that is all too familiar among today’s American culture. During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took some time to correct this misunderstanding.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19 NASB

Jesus made it clear that large bank accounts have little value in his kingdom. Loving service to others is the currency of our Lord. Our wealth in heaven will be the accumulation of good deeds done here in this life. Our genuine love for friends and family is far more valuable than material wealth.

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:20-21 NASB

Jesus wants us to understand that material wealth clouds our vision and makes it difficult to see what God truly desires for our life. When we are consumed with consuming, we are traveling down a dark tunnel to nowhere.

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23 NASB

When we center our lives on chasing a bigger house, a newer car, or a larger bank account, we are essentially disconnected from God. One of the most-well known verses in the Bible is an admonition from Jesus that makes this understanding crystal clear.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24 NASB

A heart focused on serving God by serving others is our greatest resource for true wealth. When we leave this life behind and join Jesus in all eternity, we will take nothing with us, except for the blessings we have shared with others. This simple truth plays a major role in our lives in this world and in our lives to come. We should all consider carefully this important teaching from Jesus.

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What Jesus Teaches About Prayer

Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God; it is our primary source of communicating with God. Jesus himself prayed often, setting an example that we should follow. When Jesus was asked specifically how to pray, he provided us with The Lord’s Prayer. We are all familiar with this prayer but I think it’s a valuable exercise to break down this teaching into its individual parts. Sometimes, when we recite something that is very familiar, we lose track of the deeper meaning. So let’s take a few minutes to slow down and take a closer look at The Lord’s Prayer.

“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

It doesn’t appear that Jesus intended for this prayer to be repeated word-for-word since the preceding verse states that repetition is meaningless.

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition.” Matthew 6:7 NASB

It seems more likely that Jesus intended for this prayer to be a model or example of the direction an individual prayer should take. The Lord’s Prayer starts with worship and devotion to the Father. This is followed with the expectation that the Father’s kingdom will one day be established. At this point the prayer becomes personal, asking for God’s assistance in life, followed by a request to be forgiven for misdeeds. At the same time, The Lord’s Prayer guides us into following his example by forgiving those who have aggrieved us in some way. We are to conclude our prayer by acknowledging our need for assistance in fighting the battle against evil.

Jesus teaches us that prayer is a simple personal conversation with God and not some kind of grand spectacle designed to impress those listening. When we pray, we acknowledge our Creator with praise and worship, we proclaim our trust and faith in Him, and we demonstrate our dependency on him by making our request for assistance known. This is the simple teaching Jesus provides.

Jesus continues his teaching on prayer by emphasizing the importance of forgiving those who harm you.

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15 NASB

Our ultimate, never fully attainable goal is to be like Jesus. By following the example of The Lord’s Prayer, we can pray like Jesus. In so doing, we learn to worship the Father like Jesus, trust God like Jesus, and forgive like Jesus. Amen.

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What Jesus Teaches About Showing Off

There’s some extremely important teaching from Jesus that applies directly to today’s believers. This is a problem that is seen far too often among Christians. Remaining humble is by far one of the most important teachings of Jesus. In that regard, precisely how we practice our faith is of paramount importance. God is watching our every move and he is fully aware of the motives of our heart. Our righteousness is a gift from God, we have no part in attaining that lofty designation; nothing we do is truly of any value to God. If we use our relationship with God as a tool to attain favor among those around us, God is not pleased.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 NASB

During the life of Jesus, the Pharisees believed they had earned their righteousness by their meticulous adherence to the law. What the Pharisees lacked was a pure heart. They were more interested in demonstrating what they believed was righteousness to men, rather than truly pleasing God. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called out this backwards practice.

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:2 NASB

Seeking public recognition for giving is not giving at all; that is simply buying the praise of men. Jesus made it clear that if you want the reward of men you may have it; but as a result, expect no reward from God.

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5 NASB

Jesus teaches that making a big show when praying is another example of being more concerned with making an impression among those around you and ignoring the desires of God.

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7 NASB

God is completely aware of our needs before we utter a word of prayer. Every word of prayer that goes beyond our desire to seek God’s will is simply wasted air delivered for praise from men and not from God.

“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8 NASB

Our righteousness is best articulated in private, behind closed doors, in the sight of no one else but God. When we pray, when we give, when we serve others out of love, there is no need for fanfare. True followers of Jesus Christ seek the will of God and his blessing without recognition from others.

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What Jesus Teaches About The Law

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes several of God’s laws and elevates them to a new understanding. Some seem to believe that Jesus is making it harder to achieve righteousness, but the truth is he’s pointing out the simple fact that we can never achieve righteousness without the Salvation that he will provide. Jesus is not making a new list of more difficult laws; he’s teaching us that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law.

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17 NASB

In contrast to Jesus, the Pharisees were fixated on the letter of the law. The Pharisees codified the law into 365 prohibitions and 248 commandments. They were trying to achieve righteousness in their own power. Jesus demonstrated that neglecting the spirit of the law rendered all of their effort null and void.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20 NASB

The Pharisees believed that taking another man’s life was the main offense in regards to the law that states “do not murder.” Jesus explained that the main offense was the intent of the heart.

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court.” Matthew 5:22 NASB

The taking of another man’s life is secondary to the breaking of God’s command to love one another. By focusing on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law – to love one another – the Pharisaic interpretation of the law of murder does not fulfill the righteousness of God.

Jesus also pointed out the spirit of the law of adultery.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 NASB

And again, he pointed out the spirit of the law of divorce.

“But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:32 NASB

Jesus was teaching that righteousness goes well beyond the letter of the law. The letter of the law is merely the result of the true offense which is a heart that has turned its back on God. Jesus wants us to understand that true righteousness is beyond the power of ordinary human beings.

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 NASB

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not making it more difficult to achieve righteousness by adding new laws; he is pointing out that that the only way to be acceptable to God is by placing your faith in Jesus Christ. Only salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ will provide the righteousness that provides admission into the kingdom of heaven. The message Jesus is delivering is that we need to turn from our sin and follow him.

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19 NASB

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What Jesus Teaches About the Christian Persona

Some of the most basic teaching Jesus provided is some of the most important. All believers know the teaching of salt and light; but how many of us truly take the message to heart and attempt to apply it to our daily lives? As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we have to be aware of our influence on those around us and seek to nurture and maintain our true Christian persona according to the teachings of Jesus. The teaching of salt and light paints a graphic picture of our responsibility as disciples of Jesus. We all would do well to consider this important teaching carefully and adjust our personality to better fit what Jesus expects from his students.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” Matthew 5:13 NASB

Salt naturally stimulates thirst and helps to ensure the proper consumption of water. Jesus wants his followers to create a thirst in others to know the Lord; we do this through our words and actions. We are told that our persona without salt is “no longer good for anything.” Clearly, our mission as followers of Jesus Christ is to maintain a constant witness through Christ-like behavior.

Jesus also teaches that believers are to be a light in the midst of darkness. When we serve God by serving others with a joyous spirit, our Christian persona reveals the truth of the gospel.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 NASB

It should be impossible to hide the radiance of a true believer. Our Christian faith should be obvious to everyone we come into contact with throughout our day. Christianity is not something that is hidden from view.

“Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:15 NASB

The gospel is a message of hope for all and should be shared at every opportunity through word and deed. Followers of Jesus Christ are blessed and expected to share that blessing with others. What we say and what we do should lead others to Jesus and glorify our heavenly Father.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NASB

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  • The teachings of Jesus are like musical scales that need to be played over and over again to perfect our faith.