Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: October 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Spiritual Depth of a Submissive Christian

1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:1-12).

The Beatitudes teach the attitudes necessary to be true disciples of Jesus Christ and they lay the foundation for true fellowship with God along with the resulting blessing of that fellowship upon a believer’s ministry and life. The word fellowship is often interpreted to mean friendship. That is not the true meaning of the Greek word koinonia (koy-nohn-ee'-ah). The word fellowship refers to an association for joint participation in something. When it is used in context with God, fellowship means to join with God in what He is and what He is doing.

The call to discipleship is both a call to be like Christ and to share a common goal or purpose. The Beatitudes reflect both of these two things. In order for a believer to successfully reflect the image of Christ to the world, he must first be honest with himself about what he is and where he is spiritually.

That is what the first two Beatitudes are about. We must have a correct attitude about what we are in the flesh and outside of Christ (5:3), “Blessed are they who recognize their own spiritual bankruptcy, for the Kingdom of Heaven is their present possession.” We must have a correct attitude about sin, “Blessed are they who are broken hearted over sin, for they shall be cleansed and comforted by God Himself.”

To know you are blessed of God is to know whatever you do with God and for His glory will be effective and fruitful. Therefore, one of the central purposes of the Beatitudes is the promise of this blessedness to those who will become the kind of people reflected by the Beatitudes. To be blessed (makarios, mak-ar'-ee-os) means to have a promissory pronouncement of God’s continual partnership and aid in whatever work is done for His glory.

The first Beatitude deals with the correct attitude about self. The second Beatitude deals with the correct attitude about sin. The third Beatitude deals with a correct attitude towards others. “Blessed are the meek: for one day God will give them this world to rule over (5:5).” The future exaltation of the Church Age believer is the promised blessing of God for voluntary submission today.

Because all human beings are born sinners, we are also born selfish. Spiritual meekness is supernaturally created in “born again” people. True spiritual meekness cannot be manufactured or forced upon the human will. Spiritual meekness begins with voluntary submission of the will to God in the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:11-13). Spiritual meekness then supernaturally flows into every other relationship we have in life (Eph. 5:21-33). Two central definitions of meekness are submission for the needs of others and obedience for the benefit of others. This is a completely different way of thinking about ourselves that is opposite of selfishness. Meekness is SELFLESSNESS.

Meekness is the voluntary gift of submission.

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” (Philippians 2:3-9).

Meekness is having the authority to command, but the willingness to be a submissive servant instead. Only those who recognize they are bankrupt of any kind of righteousness and are resultantly broken hearted about their propensity to sin will assassinate the pride in their lives and voluntarily submit themselves to become the servants of others. We cannot be used of Christ to accomplish His purpose in this world if we are trying to play king on the mountain.

Meekness should be the attitude of evangelism and ministry. The Christian cannot effectively lead people to be the servants of God when he is in a power struggle with those he is trying to win to Christ. To submit to the will of God must be a voluntary choice. The best way to lead people in that choice is to exemplify meekness by being willing to become their servant for Christ’s sake. That is what Christ did.

17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19).

It was in the middle of the turmoil created by this statement of Jesus in His overwhelming submission to die for the sins on mankind in submission to the will of God and the need of man that Satan interjects this completely contradictory spirit of a power struggle between the twelve disciples.

20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them {this is the worldly way}. 26 But it shall not be so among you {it is not the godly way}: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:20-28).

Christ gave another example of meekness and submission with what He did as recorded in John 13:4-17. An example is something intended to be replicated.

4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them (John 13:4-17).

The word “happy” in John 13:17 is the same Greek word translated “blessed” in Matthew chapter five. Foot washing was the duty of the lowest order of servant. Notice: the willingness to become the lowest of servants is a condition to being blessed by God.

God’s presence is always with the meek in spirit (attitude). Blessing their ministry becomes a priority with God. The opposite is also true. We see this in Abraham and Lot.

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:5-9).

To whom was the covenant given? Who then had the right to make the first choice? In meekness and faith Abraham allowed Lot to make the first choice, submitting himself to Lot and being willing to take what the other rejected.

Lot’s choice of the best was worthless without God’s blessing. Abraham’s willingness to submit may have left him with the lesser choice, but God’s blessing was on that lesser choice. No matter what Abraham’s choice was, it would not have mattered. The choice was not about real estate. The choice was about meekness. The person making the right choice regarding this attitude towards others always retains God’s blessing. If you are a Christian and unwilling to make an attitude adjustment from pride to meekness, you will always be on your own, in the flesh, out of fellowship with God, and out of His blessing on your life.

What is God’s blessing on meekness?

The blessing is present in the sense you will be used of God and blessed of God in your ministry in this world. Your blessing is future in that Church Age believers will rule as a Kingdom of priest during the 1,000 year reign of Christ.

In the mindset of the Jews at the time of Christ and most Christians today, the Kingdom of Christ would be won by military might, political power, and defiance of this world’s ungodly authorities. Christ says the Kingdom of Christ will not be won by any of these means. Christ says the meek will “inherit” it. The word “inherit” is from the Greek word kleronomeo (klay-ron-om-eh'-o) and means to receive an assigned or an allotted portion.

Christian, stop trying to buy this world. Stop trying to take it by power. Get out of the power struggle and become a servant for Jesus Christ. In your meekness you will be blessed of God. Whatever ministry you attempt to bring God glory with in meekness will be blessed of God. The meek Christian always minister with the authority of God’s Word, but also coupled with gentleness. Gentleness is one of the premier qualities of meekness.

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:22-26).

1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:1-3).

13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:13-18).

Forget about the political maneuverings and manipulations for self-exaltation. Forget about being king on the mountain. Selfishness will kill you. Selfishness is Satan’s methodology to get you to kill yourself through self-indulgence, self-pity, and various methods of self-destruction. Drive to the highest hill you can find. Get out of your car and look as far as you can see in every direction. Than understand, if you are “born again,” this world is already your inheritance.

21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (I Corinthians 3:21-23).

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a Title Deed to this earth written with the Blood of Jesus Christ, signed by God Himself and sealed with the Holy Spirit. The degree these Beatitudes are cultivated in your life, is the degree God turns up the wattage of your “light” output for Him (Matthew 5:16). These things are the attitudes that make your Christianity real and visible to a lost world. These are the attitudes of life that make you salty (Matt. 5:13).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.He has served the Lord for over 40 years.