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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hard Saying of Jesus (and St. Paul)

Most people agree that there is something special about Jesus and His message. Many religions, especially new age religions claim that Jesus was a member of their group. But what many people don’t like to lay claim to is the entire gospel message.
What people tend to skip over are those hard sayings of Jesus. Those hard saying that make us cringe a bit and ask – really Jesus, really? Did you really mean that?

Here is one about the gospel itself.

Matthew 7:12-14    "Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 

Great we are all in agreement there…

"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.   "For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

So the road and gate to destruction are broad and many people enter by it, while the road and gate to life is small and few find it.

Ouch. Doesn’t this sound like Jesus is saying that many people are going to hell and few are going to heaven?

The problem, I believe, is that we don’t take Jesus seriously when we should. This time we have right now is a battle, it is us vs. the world, the flesh, and the devil. Now God is on our side, but his army is unconventional. It isn’t made of ‘good people’. It is made of holy people.;

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

That is hard to hear – without holiness, we won’t see God.

You might be telling this to someone someday, maybe today I hope and they will say. “Good luck Christian, I hope you make it, I don’t want to get involved in such things.”

Tell them this – you are already involved, and the battle is on. By not – so called – choosing a side, you are choosing the wrong side. Now that isn’t a very charitable way of saying it dear listener, but pray the Holy Spirit says the same thing through you but in a more charitable way. 

Matthew 10:37, 38 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Now how are we to understand these words? I think exactly how he says them. Jesus needs to be Lord of our life, not adviser, and role model, LORD.

It is here that we see one of those Christian paradoxes with this verse. If we love Jesus above all people in our lives, you will then come to love those people more than you ever could have imagined because when Jesus is first in your life, you begin you love things with a divine love and not merely with a human love.

Mark 10:17 -27 And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.  "You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"  And he said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up."  And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.  And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, "How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!"  And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  And they were even more astonished and said to Him, "Then who can be saved?"  Looking upon them, Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."

Why is this? Because when we have wealth we find comfort in those things here and our eyes are set on this world, not the one to come.

My wife and I use to pray that we would win the lottery. Now we would never play it, but we would talk about what we would do with the money when we won.

What I came to realizes for myself is that I wanted to be more independent from God, because we were constantly praying to God to help us with the bills or with our broken car. But our Heavenly Father wants us to be dependent on Him, and I stopped dreaming about winning the lottery that I never played. Now even super rich millionaires are dependent on God, but do they acknowledge it? This is where the difficulty comes in. Do we say that we and our work are the source of our life, or God. It becomes easier when you depend on God for everything  like the poor do.

Hebrews 2:1-3  how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

We can loose our salvation through just neglect. Let me ask you dear listener, are you busy about the Lord’s work? Every parish that I know of is busy with activities and it is usually the same 15 people hosting each one of them. Get involved. Is your reading Danielle Steel or the book of Daniel in the Bible? Would Jesus be hanging out with you? If not, why not? Start there and ask Him for help in turning your life around.

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