Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Guided by the Beatitudes’ – Part 1
(Part 2 Next Sunday)
© February 19, 2017 by Steve Mickelson
Based on a Message shared at BLCF on October 18, 2009
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer
Opening Hymn #204: There’s A Quiet Understanding; Choruses
Tithing & Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings
Responsive Reading #664 (About Spiritual Gifts – 1 Corinthians 12)
Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Guided By The Beatitudes’ – Part 1
Let us pray…
For our lesson today and next Sunday, we will examine how Christians, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, are guided along the Righteous Path, with the goal of a life that is best described as a beautiful expression of His gifts.
To understand this expression of God’s gifts of the Spirit, under His New Covenant through Jesus, let us look at the old Covenant, under the Old Law of what we refer today as the Ten Commandments.
In spite of our sinful nature, that began in the Garden of Eden, the Bible records that God has faithfully provided mechanisms for guiding believers along the “Paths of Righteousness”.
Before the advent of Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross, subsequent resurrection, and ascension allowed those who believe to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit, God gave the People of Israel the Ten Commandments, which we find in Exodus 20:1-17. These laws gave a nation of former slaves’ rules to guide the people along God’s path.
Over time, the Commandments have been expanded by the Jews into the Laws of Moses, comprising three Codes. The first Code is the 10 Commandments. The second Code consists of the Ordinances, a set of Spiritual specifications which include: description of the Tabernacle, Holy Days, acceptable offerings and activities or responsibilities of the priesthood. The third Code may described as a set of Social rules governing such things as diet, sanitation, quarantine, soil conservation, taxation, marriage, slavery, etc. Many consider these comprehensive Mosaic Laws as the foundation or template of our modern legal system.
While the first Code was given by God to Moses, the second and third were a human attempt to expand or embellish the original ten by covering every possible facet of society. Most importantly, as the man made Laws grow in number and complexity, in an attempt to address each new situation, there is a tendency to forget the importance of the original 10 Commandments and who authored them.
Jesus came not to do away with the Laws of Moses, but to fulfill them, as we read in Mathew 5:17, Jesus said that not that he came to destroy the law, or the prophets: but he came to fulfill them, and by his death and resurrection bring the Holy Spirit to those who believe.
Jesus did not come to end sin but to take upon himself the judgement for sin, which is death. And to those who receive Christ’s Gift of Salvation, also receive the Gift of God’s Holy Spirit, and the Spirit brings believers Gifts of the Spirit which are characteristics that are expressed as beatitude.
The Holy Spirit is the key to God’s plan for providing guidance to believers to keep along His path.
What is the Holy Spirit? Let us go to wikipedia.org for our Wiki bits answer.
What is the Holy Spirit?
Within mainstream Christianity the Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity. As such he is personal and also fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Son. He is different from the Father and the Son in that he proceeds from the Father (or from the Father and the Son) as described in the Nicene Creed. His sacredness is reflected in the New Testament gospels (e.g., Mark 3:28-30, Matthew 12:30-32, and Luke 12:8-10), which proclaim blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as unforgivable.
The Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian or the church. These include:
- Conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit acts to convince the unredeemed person both of the sinfulness of their actions, and of their moral standing as sinners before God.
- Bringing to conversion. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith. The new believer is “born again of the Spirit”.
- Enabling the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is believed to dwell in the individual believers and enable them to live a righteous and faithful life. The word Paraclete is specifically applied to the Holy Spirit in this regard. A paraclete is one who intercedes on our behalf, a comforter or an advocate.
- Inspiration and interpretation of scripture. The Holy Spirit both inspires the writing of the scriptures and interprets them to the Christian and/or church.
The Holy Spirit is also believed to be active especially in the life of Jesus Christ, enabling him to fulfil his work on earth. Particular actions of the Holy Spirit include:
- Cause of his birth. According to the gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, the “beginning of His incarnate existence”, was due to the Holy Spirit.
- Anointing him at his baptism.
- Empowerment of his ministry. The ministry of Jesus following his baptism (in which the Holy Spirit is described in the gospels as “descending on Him like a dove”) is conducted in the power and at the direction of the Holy Spirit.
And most importantly the Holy Spirit is God’s way of poring his love into our hearts Romans 5:5(NIV): And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
As a Christian, I believe that the Holy Spirit enables direct communication with God through discernment of God’s will. The Holy Spirit guides and empowers. But what can a believer do to draw closer to our Lord, to facilitate or augment the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives?
First, as believers, God, through the Holy Spirit makes available to us what is described as fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is described by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23:
“The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Evangelist Rick Warren believes that fruit of the Spirit becomes evident as a sign of Christian maturity:
Here goes…my mind is still spinning from the first session!
What causes relational conflict? Immaturity. It’s easy to measure financial and evangelical growth…but how do you measure spiritual growth?
Marriage counseling can be summed up in two words–GROW UP!
The proof in spiritual maturity is love! I Corinthians 13:11
Most churches are full of people who talk and relate to others in childish ways.
Maturity is relational–not intellectual. Jesus said love God and love others are the two MOST IMPORTANT commands.
A person can attend church all of their life and never mature…they are cranky, rude, irritable…how can some people attend all of their life and not love people?
The church should focus on two main aspects of meeting together–large group and small group.
Sometimes you have to kill something in order to start something new.
Rick said at one time his prayer was not, “Oh God, build a great church,” but, “Oh God, get me through Sunday!”
Discipleship is about turning the audience into an army!
“We practice church discipline in this church. We’ve disciplined people for not paying their bills. We’ve disciplined people for borrowing money from other church members and not paying them back!”
If maturity was perfection then none of us would be mature.
One day pastors will stand before God and be held accountable for their spiritual maturity! (DANG)
I was fortunate to attend a high school in Richmond Hill which had no bells between classes. If you were absent you wrote your own notes to sign yourself in or out. The expectation was if a student were given responsibility, he or she would grow and mature if the rules of conduct were minimized.
The slogan of Langstaff Secondary School was and is “Maturity through Responsibility”. As believers in Christ, God has removed the old rules or laws and provided, through the Holy Spirit, provided a beautiful and simple way for us to grow and mature, by accepting the responsibility of our spiritual maturity. He has given us his Beatitudes by which each of us may use to measure our spiritual growth on a personal level. By doing so we may grow and develop our fruit of the Spirit and draw closer to his presence with the help of the Holy Spirit.
However, Fruit of the Spirit given through salvation, which the gift of the Holy Spirit is free, not of works, lest anyone should boast. To grow the fruit of the Spirit does require conscious effort on our part as believers. For any of you who have grown fruit in the garden, must realize that it takes time, you may not get fruit in the first season. You must plant, water, prune, fertilize, spray, and protect a tree. You must provide the right soil and climate to allow the fruit to grow and prosper. And you must be persistent and patient to see fruit grow and mature.
People work their entire lives to achieve wealth, fame and power, which may bring material rewards. Christians believe, however, that those who live by the code of conduct outlined in the Beatitudes and pursue righteous lives will develop the quality of character God wants his followers to have and will ultimately be blessed with an eternity in Heaven.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #451: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus
Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26):
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.