Matthew – Day 18 – Jesus’ Battle Plan

 In Bible Studies, The Book of Matthew

lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.

“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”

We have talked about how God had a plan and placed Jesus’ ministry in Galilee on the crossroads of the world, the Via Maras. As Matthew records the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry, we must remember that Matthew was Jewish and he is writing to a Jewish audience. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus delivered what Matthew called the “Sermon on the Mount.” Matthew understood that God’s people needed to be set apart again, and that Jesus would be the One to lead the nation back to God. Matthew presented Jesus’ teaching in a way that would speak to his Jewish audience.

The nation of Israel had been set apart as a nation at Mount Sinai. There, on that mountaintop, Moses received the instructions for how the Jewish people would become God’s people – the nation of Israel. The mention of the mount in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ sermon is interesting since there aren’t really any mountains per se near the Sea of Galilee. It is possible that Matthew, the Jew, wanted to draw the mind of his audience back to Sinai, as if to say: this is going to be the change in focus or the change in direction for the Jewish nation, God’s people, that sets them apart again. It is here on this “mount” where Jesus gives us our instructions on how we are to be set apart as the people of God today.

The Sermon on the Mount delivered the method of how Jesus wanted this new kingdom to happen. So if we see Jesus as being in a battle with the power of evil, the Sermon on the Mount tells us His battle plan. If you want to change your world, confront the power of the devil, and affect other people’s lives, the Sermon on the Mount will tell you how. What was Jesus’ message? “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Then He started to explain how it was going to happen.

Read Matthew 5:1-12 (out loud).

Jesus’ battle plan started in the heart of every warrior. It was a plan that would change each and every talmidim, which in turn would affect every follower to come  — which includes you and me. If we are to be His disciples, His talmidim, we need to know His plan, and we need to understand how to implement it in our lives. Let us take a broad look at this battle plan and how it applies to us.

The following is a basic overview to spiritual maturity – growing in your relationship with God:

  • The beginning point is being poor in spirit – not thinking that you have all the answers. Realizing that God is supreme.
    • Read Psalm 111:10 (out loud).
    • Why is the fear of the LORD the beginning of wisdom? Because we recognize that our opinion doesn’t count. What He says is truth, and we form our beliefs and opinions from His words.
  • Next, is being mournful. When we realize how proud we have been and what we have done to hurt His heart, it should make us mournful.
  • After recognizing our wrongs and being sorry enough to change, a meek attitude develops in the heart and in the mind. This attitude is one that yields to God and lets Him truly be LORD.
  • The result of meekness is hungering and thirsting for God’s Word and for learning how to live like Jesus.
  • The caution then comes to not let pride come in and take over, because then we are no longer poor in spirit. We are to be merciful toward others, not judgmental. We are to remember what God has done for us.
  • As this transformation continues happening, we become more pure in heart each day. Our heart becomes more and more like the heart of Jesus.
  • Naturally, as our heart becomes more like Jesus, we will become a peacemaker. We will not see as many opportunities to argue or fight with others, because our view of the world has changed.
  • The final thing to expect as we change in our heart and our actions is persecution. It may be through insults, rejection, lies, or physical abuse. At this point, Jesus says that we have now truly become like Him, because in the same way the people persecuted the prophets that came before us and in the same way they will persecute Him.

This is obviously not something that happens overnight. It is a lifetime journey. But it gives us great insight into Jesus’ battle plan to change the world.

Violence with the Zealots and the Christian Crusaders did not change the world. Living like the world has not change the world. Changing our hearts to be more like Jesus, which affects our daily decisions, is how the world is changed. And that is what God wants us to do.

Over the next week we will take a look at each of these more closely to see how they affect our everyday living. I encourage you to start trying to memorize the section of the Sermon on the Mount known as “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). Placing this teaching in your heart will help you as you daily grow in spiritual maturity

Ray Vander Laan – That the World May Know
Ray Vander Laan On the Life and Ministry of the Messiah, Lesson 4, “Korazin/Mount of Beatitudes: No Greater Love”

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