Purity, Prayer, and Possessions

March 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Matthew | 6 Comments
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Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Matthew 5:17

The Pharisees had placed a crust around the seed of God’s Word. Jesus broke the crust, but He did not destroy the Law. He fulfilled the Law. A seed can stop being a seed through destruction, or through fulfilling its purpose. Remember, Jesus came onto the scene of public ministry after working for years as a carpenter, and His job has always been that of a builder.

In Christian maturity we move past rules and regulations (outward), and get directly to the attitudes of the heart (inward). Imagine if I dug a well, attached a faucet, and filthy water came out. Would I just change the faucet? No, I’d dig a new well. The hearts we were born with can produce only sin and evil. When we trust Christ, He removes the old heart, and replaces it with a new heart, from which can flow God-pleasing purity.

Matthew Chapter 6 deals with prayer, fasting, and money. Have you ever thought about why God commands us to pray when He already knows our needs? One reason is that prayer is the God-appointed way for getting those needs met. Here’s how it works. You pray to discern God’s will (“Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”). God allows needs to come into your life, and you draw close to Him in prayer (Psalm 50:15). God shows you that all you really need is Him (II Corinthians 12:7-10). You become thankful to God, even about your needs, and you stay in an attitude of prayer and ongoing communication with your God (I Thessalonians 5:17-18). Prayer prepares us for the proper use of what God already knows we need.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

Matthew 6:19

Materialism is when we stop possessing things, and things start possessing us. Idolatry of things enslaves. It enslaves the heart.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:21

It enslaves the mind.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:22-23

What you say is what’s in your heart; what you look at is what’s on your mind.

It enslaves the will.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:24

Imagine: Your heart, your mind, your will – all enslaved to a bass boat or a TV set or a retirement account or a Cadillac. It’s not a pretty picture. However, in Christ, we can win the victory over our idolatrous desires to be rich, to own property, to possess things. Even worry about the basic necessities of life needn’t ensnare us.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Matthew 6:25

“Things” used for God will bring glory to God, but things used for me cheapen the things, and cheapen me as well.

Dr. Law and Dr. Grace

September 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Doctoring, Romans, Salvation | 16 Comments
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Two of my favorite sermons of all time are Payday Someday by R. G. Lee and Dr. Law and Dr. Grace by Lester Roloff. Once I used Dr. Law and Dr. Grace for a Sunday School lesson, and I modified it a little. I’m going to present “my” version of it here, without any claim of originality whatsoever. For any part of it that is helpful, all the credit must go to Brother Roloff. For any part of it that is incorrect or unhelpful, all the blame must go to me.

Dr. Law and Dr. Grace is the story of two doctors. These doctors are very unusual. They are unusual for two reasons: (1) They never make a mistake when they diagnose a patient; (2) they never charge any of their patients any money. Despite these remarkable facts, however, most people still flat-out refuse to go to them for help.

Here is a prospective patient: He has read in the Bible that there is none righteousness, no not one, and none that really knowingly seeks after God. (Romans 3:10-11) But he knows something is wrong with him because of his symptoms, his condition, and his behavior.

So he goes to see Dr. Law. Dr. Law is always in his office. He is already waiting for this patient. There is no one else waiting to see him. The patient starts to tell Dr. Law about the signs and symptoms of his illness, but Dr. Law says he does not need the patient’s help to make a diagnosis. The patient is surprised that Dr. Law thinks he can make a diagnosis without any input from the patient, but Dr. Law says that he doesn’t “think” he can make a diagnosis – he already knows what the problem is: The patient has a heart problem.

The patient tries to argue: “But, Doctor,” he says, “I’m having trouble with my hands: They want to fight, and click the mouse on my computer at the wrong times, and point my fingers at other people who are having problems.”

“No,” says Dr. Law, “the problem is your heart.”

The patient objects: “It’s my eyes – they want to look at things I shouldn’t be looking at.”

“No,” says Dr. Law, “it’s your heart that has a problem.”

The patients pleads, “What about my tongue? I accidentally mashed my thumb the other day, and my tongue started cursing. My tongue always wants to be sarcastic and put folks in their place, and it is constantly trying to set forth all my own personal opinions.”

“No,” says Dr. Law, “the problem is with your heart.”

The patient says, “It’s my ears – the things they like to hear! It’s my feet – the places they want to go!”

“No, son,” says Dr. Law, “you’ve got heart trouble.”

The patient, exasperated, demands, “I need you to recommend another doctor for a second opinion.”

Dr. Law says, “There’s only one other doctor I would ever recommend for you, and since you won’t admit it’s your heart, it won’t do you any good to see him.”

So the patient sets out to find another doctor on his own, and he finds one: Dr. Vain Religion.

Dr. Vain Religion looks exactly the way a doctor is supposed to look, and a part of the patient somehow just likes him right away. The patient tells this new doctor that he has already been to see Dr. Law.

Dr. Vain Religion says, “Ah, Dr. Law’s too old. He doesn’t know the modern ways. He’s confused about the method and the message. He hasn’t attended the same doctors’ seminars that I have.”

The patient agrees. He did not like Dr. Law, either.

Dr. Vain Religion examines the patient and he says there’s nothing seriously wrong. He recommends that the patient go to church. He also recommends that the patient get baptized, join the church, get a job at the church, and start helping others.

The patient is willing to do these things, and in fact he does. However, none of this helps. The patient gets tired doing these things. He gets weary, and his symptoms keep coming back. He winds up getting extremely frustrated, and, in despair, at his wits’ end, he goes back to see Dr. Law.

Dr. Law’s diagnosis hasn’t changed, but the patient asks him what he recommends, and he says: a new heart. This is a big problem. Dr. Law recommends a new heart, which requires a surgical operation, but Dr. Law does not operate.

“Great,” says the patient, “what you’re telling me is that I require surgery but you won’t perform surgery! Doesn’t that mean I have to die?”

Dr. Law says, “As far as I’m concerned you do, but I just make the diagnosis.” Then he takes the patient by the hand and leads him through a door to another office, and introduces him to Dr. Grace.

Just like Dr. Law had been, Dr. Grace seems to be waiting for this particular patient. Just like Dr. Law, Dr. Grace does not charge any money. There is a world of difference, though, in their bedside manners. Dr. Grace is warmly welcoming. He beckons the patient to come into his office. He is extremely glad to see this patient.

Dr. Grace tells him that all his first-time patients have the same trouble: they all need new hearts.

The patient is still nervous and scared. “Is there anyone else who can assist you in helping me, Dr. Grace?” he asks. “Do you have a nurse? Can I call my wife, or my best friend?”

“No, son,” says Dr. Grace, “this is a personal matter, just between you and me. You can tell your wife and friends about it later.”

“I’m not an idiot,” says the patient to Dr. Grace. “There is no way this is going to be free.”

“I don’t want to mislead you,” says Dr. Grace. “The visit and the consultation are free, but the operation costs a great deal. However – someone else has already paid for it.”

So, by faith, the patient lies down on the table, with no anesthetic, and he submits to the operation. For the first time he sees his old heart the way it really is. It’s rotten and black. It looks terrible and smells even worse. Out it comes, and in goes the new heart!

This new heart is pure and clean, and the patient feels a new flow of life. After the surgery, Dr. Grace tells the patient that no follow-up procedure will be necessary. The operation was successful and permanent! He does however recommend some exercises: some kneeling, some lifting up of holy hands in love, some walks through the community, knocking on doors, some exercise of the vocal chords in praise.

Before leaving, the patient gets to meet the Friend Who had paid for his operation. This Friend has nail scars in His hands. He has a spear-pierced side.

The patient goes back to thank Dr. Law. After all, Dr. Law had been stern and obstinate, but he had helped to save the patient’s life. This time, Dr. Law looks different. The patient realizes that he will always love Dr. Law for leading him to Dr. Grace, and for helping him meet the Friend Who paid for his operation: the Friend Who was really responsible for giving him a new, clean, pure heart.


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