“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and began to teach them,” (Matthew 5:1)
This series will be a brief study on several chapters from the Book of Matthew that I believe speak volumes for the time in which we are living. God is a God of love, grace, justice, righteousness and mercy. His just in all His ways He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
A biblical prophet, it has been said, is not one who sees into the future, as stargazers and crystal ball readers purport to do. Rather, he’s one who sees things in the present that others are blind to. And a prophet is one who warns us of what will happen in the future if we don’t mend our ways.—Chuck Colson, True Spirituality
In the Gospel of Matthew, he gives us the words and works of Jesus Christ, “the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). The church is the place where transformative good news should be proclaimed and heard. Most of us are familiar with the story of Christ birth, the calling of His disciples, and the many stories of healing and deliverance as told through the lens of Matthew, Mark and Luke in the synoptic gospels which describe events from a similar point of view.
We live in a culture rapidly changing in front of our eyes, and a nation that has sustained significant loss. At the moment we are facing life-threatening forces of destruction, including global climate change, environmental degradation, racial tensions, deepening inequity between the few who are privileged and the many who suffer in poverty, a global pandemic, Russian-Ukrainian war, growing inflation, and the rise of authoritarian regimes in formerly democratic societies.unbelievable culture wars, political upheaval, The most significant changes looming over everything else is the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, education and mental health. And the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capital.
On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Capital was attacked by an angry mob of supporters of former Republican President Donald J. Trump. I was setting in my home at the time shocked by the events unfolding at the Capital. The attack disrupted a joint session of Congress convened to certify the results of the presidential election of 2020, which Trump had lost to Joe Biden. Its goal was to protest and prevent a legitimate president-elect from assuming office. The attack was widely regarded as an insurrection or attempted coup d’état.
“Let no man think himself to be holy because he is not tempted, for the holiest and highest in life have the most temptations. How much higher the hills, so how much higher the life is, so much the stronger is the temptation of the enemy.”–John Wycliffe
The Holy Spirit used Matthew to accomplish three important tasks as a bridge builder, biographer, and a believer. Matthew is the only gospel writer to use the word church to describe believers (16:18;18:17). The Greek word translated church means “a called-out assembly.” Called out of what? “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10). As we have received mercy, we are walk as children of light” proclaiming the excellencies of Christ. Because we have received mercy we must learn to show mercy to others as Scripture commands.
Each year, I endeavor to share a prophetic perspective for the coming new year based upon what I sense the Holy Spirit is revealing to God’s people. In 2019, I along with other prophetic voices shared that we entered into a new era in the church. I sensed the church would be crossing a threshold into a new movement of righteousness. The Holy Spirit would be emphasizing the righteousness of God in 2019 and beyond. “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.” (Ps. 145:17). With that in mind I blogged incessantly about righteousness with an emphasis on justice.
So let’s begin this series with Matthew chapter 5, The Sermon on the Mount; The Beatitudes. So little is taught in our local churches on The Beatitudes. In August 2016, I wrote a post Getting Back To The Basics, in which I talked about the need for the church to get back to teaching the gospel message and Kingdom principles. The Kingdom is fast approaching. Luke 17:21 says, “For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Matthew Chapter 4 says, after Jesus had been tested in the wilderness, He began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” He called His first disciples and “went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
In the next post I will talk about the Beatitudes. I like to think of them as the attitudes we should display as Christians in our everyday life.
Minister A. Francine Green
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.