The Masters Call to Spiritual Heights or the Sermon on the Mount
And He gave it to people who thought they were spiritually rich, these Jews who thought they had attained salvation by their own self-righteousness. Who does He save? Those who are broken. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. I love Isaiah There are a number of places where this same emphasis is made, but maybe this is the most clear of all because the contrast is so great. Luke 18 and verse 9 told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. They trusted in themselves that they were righteous. And in order to be a tax gatherer in Israel, you had to buy a franchise from Rome, so you literally lined up with Rome to betray your own people, and they became literally the hated.
They became the most despised in that culture. And so into the temple came a Pharisee and a tax gatherer. I fast twice a week. I pay tithes of all that I get. Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt. Blessed are the spiritually destitute. Blessed are the spiritual paupers. Blessed are those who cringe and cower because they have nothing to offer.
Blessed are those who, before the high and exalted and holy God, realize their state of bankruptcy. We have a lot of emphasis on celebrities and experts and superstars and rich and famous folks, and a lot of the talk about the prosperity gospel. But the key to real happiness is sadness. Jacob had to face his poverty of spirit before God could use him. You remember, according to Genesis 32, he fought God all night. He fought God all night until God had dislocated his hip, put him flat on his back.
Isaiah was used wonderfully by God but never until his spirit was broken. He went into the temple because King Uzziah had died, and King Uzziah had been king for 52 years, and King Uzziah represented the success of the nation, the success of the theocracy of Israel, and they had been at peace with all their neighbors.
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There was a strong position in the cold war. The military strength of Israel was formidable and their enemies left them alone. There was flourishing economy in Israel. The crops were doing well. They were doing fine on the world economic stage. But there were terrible seeds of destruction in the nation, and God through the prophet in Isaiah chapter 5 pronounced a death sentence on Israel, death sentence came. And you remember in the vision of God, he was broken, he was absolutely shattered.
I look at myself and I see absolutely nothing. I need a preacher to go to this people that are under judgment. I need a preacher to go call them to repentance. Who will go? Get up and go.
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Are you kidding? How am I going to save Israel? How am I going to be the great leader? You see, the key to blessing and the key to happiness is always unworthiness. Think about Moses who felt deeply unworthy for the task. You remember. Do you understand who you have here? In the New Testament, we see it in Peter. He was the chief of sinners, he says.
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He was a blasphemer. He was a persecutor. He counted it all loss, he had no confidence in the flesh. He was not sufficient for anything. His strength was only found in his weakness. And he is the god who occupies the primary place in that shrine.
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The hardest thing the hardened sinner has to do is admit his utter bankruptcy and unworthiness. You think you found the way to get in?
There must be this emptying before there can ever be a filling. It was St. Augustine before his conversion, he was so proud of his intellect. Martin Luther entered a monastery in his youth and the reason he entered the monastery was in order to earn salvation.
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- Guide The Masters Call to Spiritual Heights or the Sermon on the Mount;
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His objective was to go to the monastery and earn his salvation through piety and good works. There are many people who have believed that through the years, those monastics. You go in there and somehow by your deprivation and contemplation, you earn salvation.
But Martin Luther had an acute sense of failure when he was in the monastery. He was hammered by guilt. Began to recognize his own inability to please God, began to empty himself of all efforts to earn his salvation, and only then did God save him by grace through faith.
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So the sum of this great truth is simply stated. And if you break any of them, you have violated the whole law of God. How righteous does it have to be? Your righteousness has to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees how far? It has to be as perfect as God is perfect. You have to be as perfectly righteous as God, as perfectly holy as God, before on your own you can enter the kingdom. Nobody qualifies. And there were some people in Israel who got the message.
We saw one in the tax gatherer of Luke There were more who realized their sinful condition, realized their inability to please God, recognized their condition, came humbly, confessing their helplessness, their sin, crying out to God for mercy. There were others who rejected this message and eventually executed Jesus because it was such an offensive message.
But the pattern is no different then than it is now. There are people today who want to bank their eternity on their own achievements, who want to hold to their own accomplishments, religiously and morally. And I would suggest to you that you need to know this in your own heart and for your own spiritual condition, and you need to know this so that you can effectively communicate it to other people.
There are degrees of wickedness.
It means by the deeds of the law, the works of the flesh, nobody is going to be justified before God, Romans and The third question that comes up in understanding this wonderful Beatitude is: What is the result of this attitude? Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is not a future millennial reality, there is a future millennial kingdom, this is not limited to heaven, the eternal new heaven and new earth.
source url Theirs is the kingdom of heaven now. Heaven is really the same as God. The kingdom of heaven is just another way of referring to God and also to refer to the rule of Christ.