Life in the Kingdom 2

Dallas Willard Part 6 of 22

Dallas agreed to teach two weeks for the Renovaré Institute in Denver, a cohort of 40 students, mostly in ministry positions. He rehearses many of the themes from his speaking ministry elsewhere, so there is little new to be heard, but with more time with the group he is able to be more comprehensive than usual.


Now, we want to return to the Sermon on the Mount. It really is sitting in front of us and now we say, “What are we going to do about that?” In general, both in scholarship and in our churches, we don’t know how to answer that question. We have our little children in Sunday School sing a song about the man who built his house on the rock and the man who built his house on the sand but that doesn’t show up in our morning worship. What’s the dis-connect? [00:59]


We teach our children in Sunday School that we ought to obey Christ and follow Him and they love it. They are not easy with it but it makes sense to them. But, then most of the rest of what we hear are excuses or explanations of why we don’t do it. We need to try to understand. It’s no good just trying to force it on someone. Many people’s response to the Sermon on the Mount is just to feel guilty. They look at The Beatitudes and they read them as telling you that you are supposed to do something and they are not going to do it but they feel guilty.


So, I think that what we have to understand is something has gone wrong in the way that we are looking at all of this and I think what has gone wrong and is the missing link here is understanding how you go about to do these things and we simply read them as commands. Mourn! Well, how do your realistically—what are you going to do about that? And actually, Christianity has taken on that kind of augubrious tone; not a sort of happy thing. It is very difficult to think, for example of Jesus being with His friends and one of them tells a joke and it just kills Him. You see Him laughing so hard that He is staggering around and leaning against a tree. Does that fit your picture? Well, no, not usually is that how we would think of Jesus as being “broken up” by a joke. So, we have a kind of “sour cast” that comes from things and gives the impression that somehow that the more miserable you are, probably the holier you are—and that get’s hung over in things like how you handle money, the meaning of wealth and power and the misinterpretation exacts awful prices. [4:00]


Now, the Sermon actually is namely a response to those four questions: What is reality? Who is well off? Who is a really good person? How do you get to be one? There is less on the last point but the Sermon addresses the three first questions. It simply says, what is reality? Well, reality is lots of things but the Kingdom of God is real and it’s accessible to you so you think in terms of our way of living. We all believe, for example that electricity is real and that it is accessible to us. Because of that belief, we enter into a relationship with the kingdom of electricity and believe me; it really helps, doesn’t it? When the power goes off suddenly, our world kind of collapses and we don’t know what to do. And you think, how did they do before they had it but they were used to it but they were limited.


So, looking at this we see Jesus systematically answering, “Who is well off?” Now, Jesus teaches in a way that confuses people in our time because they think He is doing it like we would do it and He is not. Jesus teaches concretely so He doesn’t raise the question, “Who is well off?” He just shocks the pants off of you by announcing this and people are well off that you never dreamed were well off and that the whole culture is set to say that they are not well off. Then here He comes and says, “Well, you know, some of those are well off too.” And of course He’s got right in front of Him a whole crowed of people who fit the descriptions because these people in this crowd were a needy people and they were not people who had lots of resources and all of that. Perhaps some of them had resources but they were up against something like a sickness that their money wouldn’t help. So, Jesus shocks us by giving us a list of people that we didn’t think were well off and “by George,” He says that they are. What could this possibly mean? See, that kind of teaching is designed to get you to think—not to tell you what the deal is but to say something to you that will shock you into re-thinking it and coming to the right conclusion on your own. That’s how He teaches and He can teach us a lot about teaching because you know, if you ask people questions or make statements that put them on a journey, when they come to their conclusion, it will be theirs. If we aren’t careful, we will lay it on them and it will never become “theirs.” [7:49]


That why many—we used to call them “primitive cultures” and so on—and now we’ve learned there aren’t any but in cultures of that kind, whatever you want to call them, people resent being told how it is. They don’t appreciate that. You have to learn to sit with them and listen to their stories and then you tell them your story and let it emerge but we have a lot of teaching that says, “No, you just know how it is and you start at the top and you just go down the list and He doesn’t do it like that. [8:31]


Now, within His teaching there will show up some things that have a general bearing and when He is asked questions, He may give an answer like, What’s the great law? Well, okay, you asked, I’ll tell you. “Love God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” So, then you get a little discussion there. The guy who asked the question says, “Well, how do you do that?” And Jesus says, “Well, you know, you are not far from the Kingdom of God.”  See, that’s the teaching interchange that is going on and of course Jesus is conscious of the guy who is asking the question—where he is coming from and what his status is and so He gives him and answer that is suited to his level of sophistication and Jesus knows He is undergoing a kind of oral examination here and so He responds in that way there but generally He doesn’t do that and the same thing is true now in the Sermon on the Mount. You would have to understand how He is teaching or you will never get it and He teaches mainly by letting the air out of prevailing assumptions. [9:58]


Let’s spend a little time in Luke 14 just to illustrate that. Luke 14—Jesus has been invited to dinner—a party and the typical party behavior is going on. People are jostling for positions, trying to get a good seat and in Luke 14, Jesus comes in and He notices how people have been picking out the place of honor at the table. See, He teaches concretely. What is happening? OK; He teaches in terms of that so He says, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not pick the place of honor lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited. And He who invited you both will come and say, ‘well, you get up and go down there. Give place to this man.’ Then in disgrace, you proceed to occupy the last place.” I mean, you stop and you think, was Jesus really concerned about that? He knew that didn’t matter but He is addressing people who think it matters and so He says to them, ”When you are invited, go and sit down at the last place so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘friend, move up higher’ and then you have honor in the sight of those who are at the table.” Now, see, He is acknowledging that’s what they were doing. They wanted honor. Don’t do it that way; do it this way. [12:03]


Now, you could build a denomination on that. I’ve been trying to get my Baptist friends that have a Last Baptist Church for a long time and I haven’t been able to get them interested. [Laughter]


Now, He is not telling them what to do in this regard. He is calling attention to what they are doing. He is helping them see it and then He gives a general lesson. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” That’s not a recipe for behaving. That’s like saying, “Oh, you would like to be exalted so humble yourself.” Looks like that. [12:56]


He gives another lesson. When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your relatives or your rich neighbors. That’s a load off, isn’t it? The Bible says you should not invite your relatives. Doesn’t it? [Laughter] You have a few you don’t want to come? This is your verse!!! [Laughter] Now, of course, He is not teaching that. See, what happens when you take what He is teaching, often very concretely and then you try to turn it into a law is “you go wrong.” You have to remember that now when you read Jesus. Sometimes, He is giving stuff that is completely general but it’s rare that He is doing it–very rare—because He mainly teaches by asking questions and of course, He will respond to questions but you recall how in one occasion the Sadducees came around and gave him a roast and then the Herodians came around and gave Him one and the Pharisees came around and gave Him one. He answered them all and then said, “Now let me ask you a question. What do you think of Christ? Whose son is He?” And actually that’s a very profound question and it has to do with what we were talking about earlier, “Is the Christ going to bring the political kingdom back?” That’s really what their question is about. “What do you think of Christ? Whose son is he?” “Well, He’s David’s son.” Well, okay, work on this one. Psalms 110—David calls the Messiah, Lord. No Jewish Father is going to do that to his son. You see; that’s how Jesus teaches. [14:59]


Now, when you read the Sermon on the Mount, remember that. Ok?  It will take some sorting out but then that will alert you to what’s happening in The Beatitudes. He is not declaring that everyone who is poor is blessed. He is not declaring that everyone who mourns is blessed. He is saying, “Look, here are some people you don’t think are blessed but in the Kingdom of God, they are blessed.” They are not blessed because of their condition. He never said that. He never tells you to go out and do this. Let’s look at the grammar on that point but He is talking in a context where people have the wrong idea. He’s been proclaiming the Kingdom of God, manifesting the Kingdom of God teaching—now He is teaching more about The Beatitudes are Gospel. They are Gospel. They are good news. [16:00]


Good News! It’s about the accessibility of the Kingdom. It’s accessible to anyone and the prevailing idea was of a system that crushed the life out of people because it made it practically impossible and one of the verses in Jesus’ teaching that really helped me, I think when I was much younger was He said to these people, “You compass land and sea to make one proselyte and when you’ve made him, he’s two fold more the child of hell than you yourself.” Hmmm! You won’t go into the Kingdom of God and you won’t let others in. That’s pretty serious stuff.


To be able to open it up and say, “Anyone can come;” see, that’s the big stampede. Luke 16:16 and Matthew 11:11-12—parallel chapters and parallel verses talking about “the accessibility.” Until John, the law and the prophets were preached and listen, if you lived in that day and you were not among the few people who thought they were blessed because of their position and so on, the law and the prophets killed you and everyone knew that and Jesus goes over that as you recall both in His oppress to the Pharisees and the Sadducees in Luke and in Matthew. He said, “You bind intolerable burdens on people’s backs and you won’t move a finger to lift them yourselves.” And, that’s what He is up against. [17:56]


So, He comes now and He is ministering and people are coming from all over the areas to receive His ministry and now He does what’s really important. Healing is important for the people to get healed but that really wasn’t why He came. He came to bring the Kingdom in to people where healing would come as it was appropriate in God’s eyes and people could exercise initiative in that regard and the manifestation of the presence of the Kingdom would be an extension of the first verses of the Bible where God created by speaking. [18:34]


See, that’s Kingdom behavior—speaking. We elect people to speak. We elect people to sign their names. That’s how government works. God spoke and there was life. The logos came and creation manifested its subjugation to the logos and He creates a people in which He lives and there are amazing things that happen. If we just opened up the discussion here and went into the things that have happened to you, we wouldn’t have enough time to hear. I know that. Some of you shared things with me since I’ve been here.  That’s God at work. He is manifesting Himself in your body and all around you. [19:33]


And now, Jesus teaches and He begins with, who is blessed? A real test of our understanding of Jesus is who we would put on the list and I really challenge you while you are here to write The Beatitudes. Who’s going to be on the list when you write The Beatitudes?  That will be helpful for you in understanding the gospel of the Kingdom of God.


To whom would you be able to say in their condition, blessed. Imagine yourself going to people who are on the outside, probably more in their own eyes than anyone else and say, “Hey, did you know that people with children who are failing, businesses that are failing, health that is failing—did you know that people who have HIV can be blessed?” See, that’s the kind of thing we want to be thinking about. And for many people, perhaps most people, they have some little thing in their life that says, “Whoever is blessed, it’s not me.” Can you preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to that person? [21:31]


Now, that’s what Jesus is doing and it’s so shocking that He has to say to them, “Don’t think that I have come to destroy the law and the prophets. Now, when do you say that to someone? When they think you are dying. You just destroyed them among the prophets. “Oh no, don’t think that.” But why would they think that? Because they were living in a system of values that governed their culture that said, “The law and the prophets say ‘if you are poor, you are not blessed. You are not blessed. You don’t have the right kinds of education. You don’t have the right kinds of connections. You are not blessed!’ “ That’s where they were living and so whenever Jesus said, “Hey, you are blessed in the Kingdom of God!” They said, “This guy is rejecting the law of the prophets.”


Now, let me tell you. If you make a big deal out of the sort of stuff we are talking about here, you are going to have people look at you and say, “You are rejecting the law and the prophets.” I know people who have gone into leadership positions with the firm expectation that they are going to get it and they didn’t get it because when they didn’t say the right thing. They were asked, “You know, well if you lead, what is going to be your project?” And they didn’t say, “outreach,” they said, “discipleship” and they didn’t get the job because the people thought, “Well, if you do discipleship, you are not going to bring a lot of people in. The money will dry up. We have to keep people coming in. Get them in here!” And we tell them we are trying to save their souls but actually, we are trying to make our church prosperous. You know, you have people say that to YOU if you preach this gospel. They will say to you, “You are trying to destroy the law and the prophets.” Well, their version of the law and the prophets will differ depending on the historical and denominational setting and so forth but it all means the same thing and Jesus, said, “No, no, no, I am not trying to do that. I am here to show you how to fulfill the law.” [24:07]


Now, don’t take the tack of saying, “Oh, that means He is going to take our beating.” That’s not what He is talking about when He talks about fulfilling the law anymore than that’s what Paul is talking about in the opening of Romans 8 when he talks about fulfilling the law. He is also not talking about legalistic perfection. You have to put that off the scales somewhere and forget about it but He is saying, “I am going to tell you how to become the kind of person who fulfills the law” and in the process of doing that, He makes the amazing statement there in 5:20, “Unless you go beyond the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees.” Now, that was what many people thought was the law was the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees—if you don’t shift into another gear—if you don’t get into another place, you are not going to make contact with the Kingdom of Heaven. You are not going to enter into an intimate, interactive relationship with the Kingdom of Heaven if you stay at the level of doing and not doing specific things. You have to become a different kind of person. You move to the level of the heart. It isn’t just that you don’t kill people; you become the kind of person who actually treasures and loves people. [25:48]


Now, you go through what He says there in 21 and following and watch how he deepens it and he moves from speaking with contempt. “Don’t call people fools. Don’t say, ‘Raca.’”  Raca is thought to be a kind of slang word that mocks the sound you make when you clear your throat to spit. You can almost hear it. If you say “Raca” in the right way, you will clear your throat. [And maybe spit.] Don’t call people fools. He is getting away from the idea that I am okay if I just don’t kill, so I can think about them anyway I want to as long as I don’t kill them and Jesus says, “You are not going to make contact.” It won’t work at that level because if you have that stuff in your heart, when the situation is right, you will kill somebody and you would say, “Good riddance.”  Yes, sir? [27:07]


Q: As I mentioned yesterday about my group, Celebrate Recovery that I work with. On Monday nights, I feel like what you are saying and that this is the best church I’ve ever been to and I feel like—I just come to tears thinking that alcoholics and sex addicts could ever have grace from God but there is a little bit of a disconnect when I think about are they gonna leave again and are they gonna go back to that and I want, with a 100% of myself to be able to go home and say, “You may have wrecked your whole life but you are part of the blessed because their life doesn’t seem blessed.


Dallas: Well, maybe they aren’t blessed. If they are not in the Kingdom of God, they aren’t blessed. See, they are not blessed because of the condition they are in. The blessing is in the Kingdom, not in the condition and if they’ve got the condition without the Kingdom, they are dead in the water.  The blessing is in the Kingdom and many times, people who are in the condition of apparently some of these folks; they don’t like what they are suffering. They don’t even like their own failures but they have not surrendered to Christ in His Kingdom. Now then, at that point, they are blessed and on the way to more blessed. But now, you see, the problem is that people read these and they identify the blessing with the condition. The condition is not the blessing. The blessing is the Kingdom. [29:07]


Q: Yes, but I guess what I am saying is that the people that you are referring to seem to be outside of the social status and that since more of the social status thing rather than a behavioral thing and that’s where the disconnect comes. These people want to love God. That’s why they are there and some of them have grown up in the church but they have never felt comfortable in church and now they are about to bring their brokenness out into the open and I feel like they are on their way but if they don’t stumble many times but it is a behavioral thing. That’s where I feel a little confused about being blessed or cursed. [29:53]


Dallas: Well, there is room in the Kingdom for failure. It’s a matter of where they are going and where their heart is because if you are in the Kingdom, you take your failures and you learn from them and you receive grace in the midst of them and you change. See, another problem that we have today is we idolize brokenness and we think brokenness is the solution. Brokenness is not the solution. It can be a stage in the solution but brokenness is not an ideal condition of any sort. But because of the background theology, you find a lot of people that just think brokenness is the whole deal and they celebrate brokenness and that’s not helpful.


Now, the Kingdom receives broken people and the consciousness of brokenness can be a help in entering but you find many people who are experiencing brokenness and they still haven’t given up. The still think they are going to solve the problem; maybe by engaging in some program.


Q: Do you distinguish a program just by willingness the way you are using it just then? [31:33]


Dallas: I would certainly want to distinguish that, yes. Brokenness sometimes amounts to no more than wallowing in your misery. Our question, what would you do to change? See, then, many people are in a theological context, which says you can’t do anything with change. You are going to be a miserable sinner until the day you die and it’s just a question of how well you carry that on. Money helps. [Laughter]


So, we have to not celebrate brokenness. We have to say, “All right, if you are genuinely broken, then maybe you should give up your projects and many people get hung in brokenness because they hold on tenaciously to projects that they have and it’s amazing the forms these can take. Usually, they are thought or rooted in some image or thought process that simply won’t let them let go and if you see a person who continually repeats behavior that you know and they know is going to come out at the same failing place, that’s a person who is hung up on brokenness and they may even be taking comfort in being broken.


So, we need to teach. We need to talk to these people individually and find out why, if they continue to fail, why do they continue to fail. There is a reason and no matter the belief of addiction or whatever you are caught in, there is a reason and the task of the minster and the person who is teaching and leading is to help people find those reasons and change the reasons. [33:40]


I’ll be talking more about that tomorrow because we are working our way into the fine texture of all of this and one of the things we learn is you don’t just keep trying. You find out why you fail and you change that, and then you try. “Try, try again” is one of the worst things that a human being can learn. The right thing is to find out why you fail; change that, and then try. You can usually find out.  Yes? [34:19]


Q: Is there something in the tenses in the Greek or just in the context back then that people would have understood if Jesus was saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs can be the Kingdom of Heaven instead of for theirs IS the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Dallas: Yes, the custom modes of discourse did not include generalization the way that we are used to using it so if we say or we see something that says, “Blessed are the such n such;” well, all of them are. Right? Blessed are the poor—okay, you ought to be blessed if you are poor and most people who talk about this have never known poor people. They don’t know that poor people can be just as wicked and mean as rich people and being poor doesn’t fix that up.  [35:09]


See, that’s why I mentioned something about how Jesus teaches because in that context, you will understand how things are being said in a way that we don’t and that’s why we have to talk about that. In general, in “so called” primitive societies, they don’t generalize like we do and yet you might want to remember that, by the way when you read Proverbs and Ecclesiastes because you will read something that says, “Money is the solution to all problems!” No, not really, but it helps!


So, that kind of hold on things in the Biblical world is very different from the way we think. We think you get the generalizations, you get it down and say, “Is that generalization true?” Well then, if it’s true, it applies to everything in the class mentioned and then you go on down to the next level and you keep trying to go down. Every level you want something that is absolutely true of everything that I have mentioned. The mind of human beings throughout history has not worked that way. That’s a reflection of a mode of thought that has grown up basically in European society since the rise of Science. And you go back even to someone like Aristotle and you say, “Well, is it true that you ought to be courageous in certain circumstances?” Well, it’s true on a whole and for the most part. That’s a standard piece of language; true on the whole and that’s where we get the word “Catholic”–catha-holae; it’s true on the whole and for the most part and so when you read Jesus and He is talking about specific situations, keep that in mind. Now, a person trained as we are in our world is apt to think, “Well, my goodness, that’s sloppy. That couldn’t be right.” You want to study the context. [37:26]


Q: Well, you know, when you think that way, I think we often need to look at our programs because if our programs are set to success and someone is failing, we just keep trying to put the program on them again and again and again; then I think we need to look at our program.


Dallas: Well, we want something we can trust and if you’ve got something  [Yep] that is totally universal, you can trust it. So, we want a program. We want a program that works every time. Now, then you go to something that does work like the AA program; that’s true on the whole and for the most part but it depends, because not everyone who goes in that comes out dry. So, there are a lot of factors and that’s how life really is so it’s kind of hard to say because it isn’t grammar, you know, it’s style of discourse is about as close as you can come to it. The reason I gave you the things from Luke 14 is so you would see, “He’s not saying that generally. He’s not saying never have your relatives over but it sounds like that. Right? He is not telling you how to be respected and take the last seat. Well, some people just think you are an idiot because they think they way you do it is you take a better seat, right? [39:00]


OK; now, we’ve got to spend a little time on the details of the Sermon and add this thing to your stuff. I’ve just broken out the main topics that come in His discourse and what I want to say to you is that you will want to re-learn these as illustrations of what a person living in the Kingdom of God might characteristically do. That’s what these are. These are illustrations.


Well, you mean it’s okay for us to be angry sometimes? Yeah! But, you better be careful with that and actually, you are probably better off not being angry but anger is not a sin. It’s just if you want to deal with people in a Kingdom way, at least you will keep it on a very short leash. Paul’s idea is, “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath” because the real problem is that anger is apt to take control of you, not that you won’t be in control of it. Things can go quickly! [40:23]


Anger is a willed response. You get angry when someone crosses your will. It doesn’t matter how trivial it is—cross your will, there is a natural response and that response is to hurt back. Anger is always a will response and it involves harm. “Maybe I don’t want to hurt you but I wouldn’t be totally unhappy if I saw you hurt.” Anger works like that and I think that it’s a good thing because what anger says, “It’s like pain.” When you have pain, its says, “Hey, something is wrong. Something needs to be done here.” Anger is like that. When you feel it coming up, okay, something needs to be dealt with and of course, what you would do is you would try to deal with that without anger because if you deal with it in anger, that’s what you will get back. When you are angry with someone, they know you would be just happy to see them suffer and that hurts them and you have crossed their will by being angry with them because they crossed your will. This just makes a mess out of life. It’s there because, given the human condition, we need it.


You know, there are people who can’t feel pain and so they have to take care of themselves without help from pain. That’s not a good place to be in. Suppose I smell burning? Oh, it’s my toe. [Laughter] Maybe I should do something, right? NO, NO, so, we are made in a wonderful way, both emotionally and physically so anger is there for a reason. [42:34]


Contempt is NOT there for a reason in my opinion. I’ll just say it and you can refute it if you want but contempt is a companion of anger. Contempt is like a built-in basis for anger because if you are contemptuous of someone, you can become angry with them much more easily and as it turns out, if you are angry with someone, it’s easier to be contemptuous of them. Listen to a family fight and see how quickly it descends into contempt usually manifested by language.


It’s one of the appalling lacks of understanding that you see in our culture where you have people who cannot understand why filthy language is not a good thing and you even feel “cute” or you are a comedian and you use filthy language to get a response. All is contempt—not good. There isn’t really anything you can do that’s good from contempt.


Now, the old saints had the whole idea of contemptus mundi—contempt for the world. Don’t do it! You don’t need to have contempt for the world to avoid the world and you will do much better with them if you don’t get into that. We should love the world. God loves the world. We should love it and do what is best for it and contempt will always shut the door and that’s where you get some incredibly harmful forms of so-called Christian spirituality.  In the history of that, historically that causes real problems for people who are interested in the whole issue of becoming Christ like through exercises. [44:40]


Q: How would you define contempt?


Dallas: Contempt is a regard of something as not worthy. Now, that’s the weakest form of it that you are regarded as not worthy. Apply it to human beings and of course that comes in various forms and contempt for human beings because of whatever their properties are. It’s a terrible thing. It lays the foundation for many of the mass evils that we experience. You go to the former Yugoslavia and you watch people, or maybe I shan’t mention particular groups because—but, go to the Far East and talk with the Chinese and Koreans and the Japanese an the Dauphines and all of that and watch how it works. It’s like having an open powder keg sitting in your kitchen. It will blow up. [45:59]


So, contempt, we want to get rid of that and then He moves on in His teaching to people who are engaged in lawsuits. This is the way of illustrating how far you move from murder. See?  He goes through the stage of a grievance that you have with your brother and you are engaged in a ritual in the temple and you remember that there is a grievance and you just stop and walk out. Now that was not hospitable. It was unheard of that you would interrupt a ritual in the temple for anything other than some ritual failure. Nothing, a mere mortal issue you shouldn’t interrupt. But, Jesus says, “Leave your offering. Go make it right with your brother.” That’s a teaching about—you see, you are moving away from murder and you go through using contentious language and angry language and then you go into interrupting your religion to take care of the issue. [47:25]


Then you move on about how you go to court. That’s a fascinating scene, isn’t it? It talks about—it doesn’t say, “Don’t’ go to court” but it tells you how to go to court. While you are on the way, work it out. Maybe give him a little bit that you didn’t want to because you are about to step into a system that will grind the life out of you but many people, because of the drive for self-righteousness will say, “Okay, I’m going to do it because I am right.” [48:08]


So, now, those are just illustrations as you go through the teaching in the Sermon, you are going to find free from grudges, fairness and paying back. You don’t let that governor. Does that mean you don’t stand for what is right? No, it doesn’t mean that. It means HOW you stand for what is right and also making sure that what you are standing for, you are standing for because it’s right and not because of your ego.


Loving enemies—blessing those who curse—not performing for human credit—now, say again. These are illustrations of the Kingdom heart. This is not a list. See, if you take it as a list, you say, “OK, I’ve done all that.” Yeah but they are not all on there.  They are not all on there. When you need the laws, you want it all on there, right? [49:18]


And by the way, that’s why if you read Paul or John or the others and they are talking about things that are argued, they don’t bother to say it in the exact same way. Paul doesn’t put it the same way to the Galatians as he does to the Ephesians or as he does to the Colossians. Why? They are not doing LAW! If you are doing law, you say it exactly the same way. Paul is doing HEART! And he knows if you get it in the way he is putting it to the Colossians, Ephesians will take care of itself and actually, you don’t have to do all of these; just do a few of them and the rest of them will take care of themselves. You will have changed the heart to such an extend that it will respond if you are able to love your enemies, for example, “bless those who curse you.” That’s total, personal transformation. [50:22]


Go read 1 Corinthians 13. What will that tell you what to do?—except  receive love. “I assure you a better way.” That’s the last verse in 12 referring to all the wonderful gifts and then he picks up on gifts. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love, I become sounding brass.” That’s a gong and he proves it; that is—no one really knows what I am saying. I’m not saying anything. I am just making noise. “Though I have the gift of prophesy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge but I have faith so that I can move mountains but have not love”—NOTHING! And then he goes on to talk about love suffers long. He didn’t say YOU suffer long so don’t try that. It is kind. Love is kind. Love suffers long. Love is sufficient. Love is not envious and selfish so, don’t get those; get love. Become a loving person and as you do that, then you will love your enemies and you will love those who “bug” you and you will love your neighbors. Love does that; you don’t do that. Now, of course, if you take love, then you will do that as is appropriate but you will not make a little law that many people do. They read 1 Corinthians 13 and they just say, “I’m wiped out.” Well, that’s true but it’s not a very hopeful point to build on—“I’m wiped out.” So, if I want to be kind, then I become a loving person. A loving person is someone who is set to do what is good and what is right and they’ve been transformed so that that’s just who they are. [52:59]


Well, I wish we had time to talk about the other things—the last part in Matthew 7 is especially important. It’s getting into the lives of people who try to manage other peoples’ lives through righteousness. Giving them good stuff but it doesn’t help them and that’s—Jesus knew that often happens that we give people things that we think is very good and should help them but it doesn’t help them. So, He is not saying anyone is a dog or a pig. He is just saying that if you give a dog a Bible to eat, it won’t help him or a pig a pearl. They are not set up for that so you know, you have to think about Jesus. You have to think, “This guy is good; He is creative. He reasons well. He addresses issues in the way that is helpful.” Don’t’ just stand around muttering laws and that will help you with the whole Sermon. [54:26]


I don’t have time to really bring up anymore on it because we have got to go on to something else but I do hope you’ve had time to look over Chapters 5,6, & 7 in Divine Conspiracy where I try to deal with each of the little points to help you see what is going on.


So, this is the heart that Jesus gives. Now, that sets us up for what we are going to do tomorrow and I am lagging behind a bit here but I’ll just have to pick up where I leave off now and Jan is going to come and help us and I will try to cover all of that outline tomorrow.

Listen to all parts in this Renovaré Institute: Atlanta Cohort series