Saturday, May 16, 2015

New Testament Lessons 51-60

New Testament- Lesson 51

Matthew Chapter 5- Part 11

15. Sons of the Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:43-48)- Leviticus Chapter 19, among other things, speaks of how to deal with the neighbor (interpreted by the Israelites as one of their own). Though it said, love your neighbor, it did not say, hate your enemy, but that was an addition to the law perhaps through oral tradition. Quoting the right and the wrong here (love your neighbor and hate your enemy), Jesus set a new standard in loving those whom one may not naturally love. The standard set here was that of God's divine love, causing the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sending rain on the righteous and the unrighteous and Jesus said his followers should follow the same. The aim was perfecting God's love by loving one's enemies (not retaliating but being kind and gentle), praying for them who persecuted (praying for God's mercy for them to come to a knowledge of the truth and to serve God), and loving all with true love that comes only from God.

New Testament- Lesson 52

Matthew Chapter 6- Part 1

1. Practicing righteousness before men (Matthew Chapter 6:1-8)- When done to be noticed by men, one will not be rewarded by the Father in Heaven.

a. Teaching regarding giving (v.2-4)- When done to be seen by men and to be praised, such people already have their reward from men, so the Father in Heaven won't reward them. Those who give alms in secret, will be openly rewarded by the Father who watches secretly.

b. Teaching regarding praying (v.5-8)- When done to be seen by men and to be praised, such people (hypocrites) already have their reward from men.

How to pray?- In secret, without using vain repetitions, because the Father in heaven knows what things we need before we ask him. When done in such a manner, not to receive glory from men, the Father who watches in secret will openly reward.

Jesus was not condemning praying openly or corporate prayer but teaching of how our prayers should be God directed and not with an intention of receiving applause from men.


New Testament- Lesson 53

Matthew Chapter 6- Part 2

2. Jesus taught his followers how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13) (Luke 11:2-4)-

Our Father in Heaven- 7 petitions, 1 declaration

a. Let your name be hallowed

b. Let your kingdom come

c. Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

d. Give us this day our daily bread

e. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us

f. Let us not be led in to temptation

g. Deliver us from evil

h. Yours is the kingdom, power and glory, for ever.


New Testament- Lesson 54

Matthew Chapter 6- Part 3

3. Simple terms of forgiveness (Matthew 6:14, 15)- For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.

4. Personal Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18)- Fast secretly (let not others know; oil the head and wash the face) keeping matters between oneself and God; such a fast will be rewarded by the Father in heaven. Fast not like the hypocrites who disfigure their faces to show off their fasting; they are already rewarded by receiving applause from men.
New Testament- Lesson 55

Matthew Chapter 6- Part 4

5. Lasting Treasures (Read Matthew 6:19-21)- Jesus taught that his followers must give more importance to spiritual matters than material ones. He did not mean that we should not save money, but his thoughts were about them who loved money and hoarded treasures. Their hearts would be always concerned about their material treasures whether they would get spoilt or thieves would steal them. When the heart is treasuring spiritual things rather than material, eternal treasures of such keep increasing and eternal life with rewards would be the end result and such treasures can neither be spoilt nor stolen. He ended by saying, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21)

New Testament- Lesson 56

Matthew Chapter 6- Part 5

6. The light of the body is the eye (Matthew 6:22-24)- Continuing with his teaching about a disciple's priority to spiritual matters rather than material possessions, Jesus said that as the eye gives light to the whole body (referring to the notion of people during ancient times that light entered a person's body through the eye) and if the eye is blind there is no vision or darkness, one's thoughts should be focussed on God and not amassing wealth or material possessions. If the spiritual vision of a disciple is right, he will have a right perspective of material possessions too. He ended by saying that a disciple cannot serve two masters; one cannot serve God and mammon (material riches/wealth) at the same time. Jesus did not condemn one having material possessions, but if the love was for mammon, serving God whole-heartedly was not possible.


New Testament- Lesson 57

Matthew Chapter 6- Part 6

7. God cares and provides for his children, but his children must give priority to spiritual matters (Matthew 6:25-34)- Jesus exhorted his followers not to unduly worry about future provision of food, drink and clothes. He gave examples to illustrate the same...

a. Regarding eating & drinking- Birds do not sow, reap or store in barns, yet the heavenly Father feeds them.

b. By worrying, we cannot add to our height (or to our life span). (v.27-cubit-approx.18 inches)

c. Regarding clothing- God clothes the lilies and makes them beautiful, though they do not labor or spin; even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as these.

Jesus said that it was the ones who did not know the Father in heaven who kept worrying about food, drink and clothes, but his children should be at peace knowing that the Father in heaven knows and will provide these if he is doing it for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.

In summary, Jesus emphasized- His followers must first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all needed things will be provided by the Father in heaven. There are enough troubles for a day, so do not unduly worry about future provisions.


New Testament- Lesson 58

Matthew Chapter 7- Part 1

1. On judging others (Matthew 7:1-5)- Jesus' teaching indicated that the heavenly Father was watching at all times and when one passed a judgement on another without knowing the facts or for condemnation sake, he/she were liable to be judged by the Father in heaven. With whatever measure one judged, he/she would be judged in an equal manner according to God's righteousness. Many involve themselves in picking out faults of others, when they themselves have many faults and Jesus taught that such hypocrites should first rectify their own selves before trying to point out the faults of others or trying to correct them; he used the illustration of someone trying to remove a speck of dust in someone's eye when he/she had a plank in their own eye clouding their vision.

2. Dogs & Swines (Matthew 7:6)- Jesus taught that one must not give what is holy to the dogs nor cast one's pearls before swines meaning that there would be them who would deliberately reject the Gospel and it's truths without even listening to it and laboring on such would be without any gain and even dangerous to the presenter. "Be cautious"was what Jesus meant to say.


New Testament- Lesson 59

Matthew Chapter 7- Part 2

3. A good and impartial Father in heaven who answers prayers (Matthew 7:7-11) - Jesus taught about his Father in heaven who loved his children and wanted to answer their prayers. He said, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you" and added...For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.

Luke 11:9-13 is a similar passage with a few differences.

Combining Matthew 7:7-11 and Luke 11:9-13

Jesus said that even earthly fathers who had faults in them cared for their children and gave them good gifts; they would not give a stone, a serpent or a scorpion when they were asked for by their children for bread, fish or an egg (respectively). (Luke adds egg and scorpion in addition to the other two)

The heavenly Father who was faultless would give much more to them who ask him, seek him and knock at his doors. Matthew writes about the Father giving good things in answer to asking, seeking and knocking and Luke writes of him giving the Holy Spirit to them who ask, seek and knock.

Knocking is much more than asking & seeking, seeking is much more than asking and asking is the simplest form of prayer.

In these passages, only the time factor is not mentioned as to when the Father will give. It may be immediate or after a while; it's the Father's perfect time.


New Testament- Lesson 60

Matthew Chapter 7- Part 3

4. Golden Rule Of The Bible (Matthew 7:12)- Jesus taught, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." The term "Golden Rule" is not found in the Bible but has been coined by Bible Scholars. Eastern religions have a rule somewhat similar but which says that "Do not hurt/cause pain to others if you do not want the same to happen to you" highlighting the negative aspect, it was Jesus who spoke about the positive aspect i.e. what we must do to expect good from others. Give love; appreciate; care; respect etc. if you expect these from others.

Jesus summarized the whole Old Testament (summing up the Law and the Prophets)with this one teaching of his.

The mark of a true Christian is loving others with the love of Jesus.

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