My Search for What is Spiritual Chapter Four

CHAPTER FOUR

WHAT ARE THE SPIRITUAL WORDS OF CHRIST SPOKEN IN MATTHEW 5 AND 6

     When I was in college and taking a Bible class in Christian education, we had to study the Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew 5:2 states that Jesus opened His mouth and began to speak words of instruction about the kingdom of heaven. Instruction about humility and its value, He also spoke of knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, in these instructions you will find the comprehensive teachings of Jesus to His Disciples. One might interpret Matthew 5:2 as Jesus preparing His Disciples to become Apostles to hand down His commandments regarding the kingdom of heaven and life eternal to come. The fact cannot be ignored that Jesus is the teacher the revealer of God’s will presented here in the gospel of Matthew. At that time in my studies I did not think of this as a spiritual introduction or spiritual words of Christ and His spiritual teachings. The Sermon on the Mount is recorded in three chapters of Matthew 5-7 and is found nowhere else in the four gospels, the nearest equivalent being what has become known as the Sermon on the Plain in the gospel of Luke 6:17-49.

     The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain comparing these two teachings of Christ, both have in common and in how they differ, is a fastening exercise which provides an excellent example of the inner structure of the New Testament and how the four gospels relate one to another. For most of you spiritual leaders it is generally accepted that the gospel of Mark is the earliest writings which we possess, and that the gospel of Matthew draws heavily on Mark, incorporating most of it while at the same time changing it and adding to it in many ways. Some time back in my research on the New Covenant that I discovered that Jesus was teaching an interwoven message of His Father’s will regarding the Old Covenant. Jesus is taking the Old Covenant and relating it to the New Covenant and showing what it means to be spiritual in His Father’s commands or commandments. Therefore, the Lord’s interwoven message is vital relating the higher level of the Old Covenant.

     Spiritual leaders in the ministry, I believe that it is vital for a minister or teacher to describe the full aspect of the Holy Scriptures. It is the key here in Matthew 5-7 for Christ opens up the Old and New Testaments that cannot be exaggerated. The Sermon on the Mount is words of our Lord that relates the spiritual fullness not only to the Jews first but also to the Gentiles. My reasoning and logic for this that all Christians and especially those who are already spiritual leaders and for those of you who are going to be ministers and teachers are to study Jesus’ teachings as well as His Father’s Word so you will have a rational interpretation of Jesus teachings. You will find the Sermon on the Mount hold dimensions of moral and ethical importance in our daily lives. In addition, this sermon is a reality that applies to all Christianity.

     To the spiritual leaders if you were to make a list of every issues Jesus addressed in this Sermon on the Mount and then study the Epistles you will find that Jesus teaching to be the foundation that the Apostles teach throughout the Epistles. Furthermore, as you read the Sermon on the Mount you will find that God and His Son if preparing the people for the day that God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. You could also interpret it as God and His son making you ready for the spiritual kingdom to come, primarily eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.

     Jesus goes on to speak in the beatitudes of desires or spiritual desire. According to Jesus this spiritual desire is those who hunger for the word of God as their holy ambition. This is reaching out for Jesus and the kingdom to come, and as Paul states, reaching out for the mark and prize of the high calling. I feel what Christ is teaching here is vital for spiritual leaders who are spiritual hungry to know they can be filled with the word. In addition, those who thirst will also be satisfied. What I am saying is they will receive the word of truth of spirituality. Spiritual fullness is to be our deepest need to having our cup full and overflowing. Furthermore, this fullness of blessing, joy, wisdom of God, of the spirit and the fullness of Christ found in Matthew 5: 6.

     Matthew 5: 8 Jesus talks about the pure in heart they shall see God. There is two ways of looking at the text. One is a spiritual vision and two, seeing God. Let us deal with spiritual vision first. According to Jesus, the pure in heart would mean those that have the vision, it is essential to be pure in heart or mind. These believers alone understand that because Jesus is now in the kingdom of God, that they process the ability to see God. Another way of stating it is they have received the spiritual sight or insight to see God or their eyes were opened. With our eyes being opened, I would say that it brings to mind inspection, revelation and instruction of Jesus the teacher. In addition, Jesus brings out vision of being one with the Father as He is and by this divine manifestation we will hunger and thirst after righteousness. Pure in heart also means by seeing God that the heavens opened to the children of God.

     In Matthew 5:14, Jesus states that we are the light of the world, the spiritual light. A spiritual light is a light that reflects the light of the Lord. The spiritual leader is to bring the light of Christ and the light of God for guidance, enlightment in the manner of the God and Christ promises. Another way of describing spiritual light is spiritual insight that could also be interpreted or called illumination or illuminated. In the modern day, we could say these individuals are the light workers of church or leaders that believe in the spiritual light in the effect their personal insight. The spiritual light is an energy wave that produces the spiritual light with the inward motion made through Christ. For a spiritual leader, what is important for them to see the wave of the spiritual light work and reach the critical points to make changes? The spiritual light has to have a source of energy in both Christ and humankind…   

     To define it in another way the light of Christ evolves around the source of energy of the Father. Let us look at this example, you are out at night and you have no light, it is hard to see at any distance to let you know where or what direction you are going. However, when you look around and you see a light you now have a direction to where you are going. What I am saying, when you see this light it now brings about an awareness and direction. This is one way of saying that the light makes a point of focus in the right direction. Therefore, the light becomes vital to the direction and in like manner, the light of Christ is vital to life. Furthermore, I feel that Jesus is saying that His light indicates our spiritual behavior and furthermore, how we share that light together.

     The light describes the Divine light of what it consists of in the impressions of the mind. It is an impression on the mind that no one can see bodily with the natural eye; it does not contain any visible luster or brightness. Our mind of our imagination may be strongly interested to impart such things; however, this is not the spiritual light. I am not suggesting any new doctrine or any new truths or prepositions. What I am suggesting is the doctrine of the New Covenant written within the mind and the revelation of the written word of God’s inspiration such as Christ spoke and taught. In addition, is it not every affecting view of humanity of the things of religion to be interpreted as a divine light?

     When it comes to the human understanding, there is the knowledge of right and wrong or good and evil that the human mind is capable of. When it comes to judging matters, we judge of it is good or bad or is it to our advantage or not. Another way of looking at this is in opinions, there is a sensible opinion, there is unreliable opinion, and these consist of the heart. You could also say one is a holy opinion and the other, unholy. What I am truly saying is there is a wide difference a mere opinion and judging anything or anyone of being good or evil.

     I would that it be known in this fact that the spiritual light was given by God and therefore only obtained by spiritual means. It is in the means of the spiritual light to influence and change the nature of the human soul. It will turn the heart to conform and embrace the joy of our Lord and Savior. The spiritual light and only this light has the universal holiness of life. In understanding the covenant written within as it reaches to change the nature of the old unto obedience that draws forth the heart of God.

     In Matthew 6 as well as other books of the Old and New Testament foretells and reveals the blindness of God’s people. The scriptures refer to the blindness as darkness and in the Old Testament; Moses foretold that Israel’s blindness was how they rebelled against God. Because of spiritual blindness, results will lead to serious consequences. It led to Israel being in the wilderness for forty years. I am honestly saying that in both of the Old and New Testament the prophets and the disciples repeatly emphasized the rebellion against God and His ways that led to their blindness. Matthew 13: 14, Jesus tells the disciples of the prophecy of Isaiah where Isaiah said that Israel would hear not and neither would they understand. Not only is this speaking of blindness, but also the spiritual deafness in Israel’s ears and the ears that are dull of hearing.

     The gospel of John 8 and 9, Jesus teaches in John 8: 42-47 the spiritual blindness of the Jews. Jesus first tells of His heavenly origin and the He is the divine messenger and that they do not understand His speech. Jesus’ response was to the spiritual leaders then was you are try8ng to convince me if I tell you the truth, you will not believe what I am saying. Do we have the problem in the church today of men and women of Christ trying to tell the truth of scriptures and those listening believe not?

I CAN’T PRAY, LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT

     Much has been written upon that of our calling, prayer, faith, of the prophets, apostles and finally family prayer. Also, in the gospel of John is even Christ’ prayer for the disciples and the church. I even remember many times in church of those who had walked with God in their intimate prayers and pouring out their heart before God in worship. . How blessed we are by these prayers and how they are esteemed by their utterance to Christ during their days here on earth. Why I bring this up is for the spiritual leader, we should listen to these prayers and be willing to look at the long distance of how they have walked to find God’s favor in life. These individuals fouled no inconvenience in their walk-in faith and if you asked why, they would say it is required for our instruction.

     The second fact that was impressed on me during my youth is that these are the spiritual man and woman who would bow on knew before the Lord. This has brought a special measure of understanding of their prayers in the spirit that has been a remarkable spiritual growth in my life. I have seen the love of God and Christ in their members and within the mystical body of Christ. Before proceeding any farther, I want to point out to the spiritual leader that the scriptures have a wide range of prayers written by the Prophets and the Apostles.

     A spiritual leader needs to seek God for a special measure for themselves so that they appear that they have been favored by God in their spiritual well-being. In this seeking, we always need to make known to God that we are unworthy in approaching the Most High God. Moreover, we need to remember what we are, who we are, namely the creature that God has created and that we need to bow before Him. May I so boldly speak, prayer is our confession of sin, and it is also our petitions for our spiritual supply and the homage of our heart. When we embrace prayer and the scriptures, we further embrace the scope of God in us.

     Everyone knows that the New Testament books call attention to the ministry of duty. It points out their obligations of what they are charged to do in the parable of the sower of the seed. You can see in the many prayers of Paul alone that he devotes himself continually in prayer. Therefore, as spiritual leaders, it is our privilege and duty to go to our secret altar and ask God for the words to say to touch the hearts of many. Words that even our enemy hears and knows that we are sowing the seeds that God blessed and that our fruit bears up to God for eternal praise. This goes not only for the preacher but all of you need much supplication, meditation and tribulation to walk the walk and talk the talk.

     In addition, prayer is one of the marks of a spiritual leader that young and old look for in the leader. Why I say this, many look for the characteristics in our prayers that bear the gifts of the Spirit. For example, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom is two of the gifts of the Spirit God gives. As the Apostles were models for petitioning God for words to convince, there is no better way or more practical way than bearing your prayers up to God. This God of all Deity, we address there are a variety of names we can express. However, the most frequently names is Father, the Father of mercies, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I could go on. Most of the prayers you can find in the scriptures are very brief, maybe one or two verses of scripture or even a short sentence.

     There is a great diversity among the people in the church over praying in church. The fact also holds true for spiritual leaders in their spirituality. According to what Paul wrote about the gifts of the Spirit that there are varying degrees of light and different gifts. Therefore, God has given to humanity or the church the opportunity to exercise all the blemishes and infirmities to Him in prayer. I can give you a few of the reasons when I started my Christian walk about praying in church. They were that I was too proud to let someone hear my words spoken in public. Another way of putting it was I had no backbone to stand up for God in church.

     Furthermore, I went to great lengths to avoid giving my testimony in public as well. If I rightly interpreted my own acts of what I did then was to mar the word of God on my heart and prevented the blessings of God for me. What I am saying is in any individual their different reasons for their conduct of personal feelings, for example their apprehension which restrict them from praying in church or praying aloud. My prayer is that some of the terms here will help the spiritual leader to view proper insight or application to aid the church.

     Of course, there is the negative attitude of why I cannot pray that signifies the doing of something I do not like to do. It is in this thought of likes and dislikes that are quite evident if we pray, we will show our ignorance when it comes to praying. Paul relates all of these problems in his letters to the different churches and lets it known that the spiritual leader of the church is to bear the infirmities of the weak in prayer. Therefore, as you read the text in the Bible, try to put yourself in the place of Paul who was given the duty of the Gentiles and his Jewish brethren, to let it be known that they were new creatures in Christ Jesus. Paul’s duty was to relate that their past life is now in the promise of the Lord Jesus of what He has granted to free us from the bondage of sin.

WHY CAN’T I PRAY?

     Prayer and praying are great issues of life for many. I know this is a sad thing to say, however, many of us put restrictions by our unsought concerns for grace, love, of God and Jesus to allow us to stand in the promises and freedom of God’s will. Another reason we cannot pray is what will, the people think of the terminology of my prayer. Let me make it clear that prayer is not for pleasing your neighbor or the congregation, it is to please God and God only. Furthermore, there is no mere industrious way to promote the privilege of prayer in how we secure God. In addition, it may prove if we resent our efforts to pray, we insult God in our own conscience. For Christ gave us the example of when He was tempted by Satan to say, but it is written, meaning we are not to please ourselves, but go beyond the reproach of Satan and quote the Word of God in prayer aloud. When you hear the sound of God’s Word in prayer to give us the certainty of what the Lord Jesus said.

     In the message of the Sermon on the Mount, they ask Jesus teach us how to pray. I do not see any differences with people today. Many when they say they cannot pray are saying teach me how to pray. Yes, most can repeat the Lord’s Prayer; however, many are looking for a deeper meaning for prayer and in prayer. Paul in Romans 15:1-5 brings out these points of praying, it is a duty to pray for the weak, our neighbors, for patience and comfort of our hope and faith. Again, I must say, our aid in life is definitely sought in prayer. However, in today’s generation have their religious beliefs of the heart, prayer and it is an age-old problem of why Jesus said to go into your secret room and close the door and pray.

Consider this, spiritual leaders not only about prayer but also about life. If we will have any consolation with one another, we must be like-minded which is my opinion as well as the apostles. Why I say this, Paul said to be of one mind and one accord in Christ. I feel that what Paul was saying goes deeper than that regarding the nature of prayer for spiritual things to become a mature Christian and spiritual leader. In this like-mindedness of prayer, when you pray according to Paul, you bring in these precepts in the law of Christ and the example of Christ. In these three is the harmony and mind that gives power and strength to overcome the power of evil in life. In the scope of these words if we consider the light of what happens, the element of like-mindedness becomes the fullness of Christ to the Jews and the Gentiles according to the will of Christ.

     The spiritual leader is a contrast between natural and spiritual, and Paul expressed it very strongly in Romans 8:5-13, of what is the carnal mind and what is the spiritual mind.  As a spiritual leader, how do you describe these verses of scripture regarding the flesh and the spirit in humankind? First, who are the men, women and children who mind the spiritual things? Naturally, we all relate the flesh with sin; however, the spirit al individuals do not consider themselves spiritual men and women or would be thought of as such. To some they feel that the spiritual individual is a preacher or prophet. However, according to Apostle John we should try the spirits for not every spirit is of God. For if, you and the members of the body of Christ are to test the spirits to see if they are of God. For example, if the individual thinks they are a prophet or spiritual and they may well be, and yet be neither. That is why we are to test every spirit or everyone who professes themselves to be a spiritual individual. Whether they are or whether they are not; they may seem to be such. For we find in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that the Arch Deceiver has the power to transform to an angel of light. With this warning in mind for your help, I will say this to you.

     Not all who may say they are spiritual men and women and have spiritual gifts may be false prophets. A good example of what I am speaking of is in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 where it brings out the fact of the lack of spiritual insight which is the carnal mind or who lacks the degree of spiritual knowledge. I feel that God wants all men and women in humanity not to lack in spiritual knowledge and even those who are babes in Christ not to lack, but to grow, to try the spirits and then to choose to receive spiritual insight of discerning what is fleshly and what is spiritual. Then, in the things that are spiritual, does God and Christ make requirements? I know they do. Why I say this, in the gospel of John 3:5-8, Christ makes a requirement, to my understanding that we, the church cannot do without. According to the words of Christ, that of a man or woman are not born of water and the spirit they cannot enter the kingdom of God. Then Christ goes on to point out the great mysteries of being born of the spirit.

     What should be the acts of spiritual mindedness and what are they capable of? First, how did Christ tell us to worship God? I have stated earlier of the mind and the manner as well as the character of the mind of worship, it is to be in spirit and truth for there is no other way to worship God. Even to be so bold, we cannot come to the influence of God any other way. For Christ said you cannot serve two masters, for you will love one and hate the other. Therefore, you cannot be both in the church and the world in worship of God in spirit and truth. James talks about faith and of its wavering and the doubt that comes about with every wind of doctrine to let men and women expect anything from God. For in this thought of serving two masters, what Christ brings out, you are being double-minded. 

     Then in Romans 5:6, Paul states that the unity is not just to be of our mind but of the mouth also. Then the unity of prayer is what we speak according to Paul. Then what Paul must have been saying is you just cannot think it, you have to tell it where it can be heard. Another way we could look at why I cannot pray is; the mouth wants to be still and not heard. I am going to say this, that there is more required than just coming to church and being under the same roof with believers. Therefore, the church cannot be of one mind until they are of one mouth and message.

     Taking this a step further, our being of one mind and one mouth cannot be used for the glory of God until the tongue we use quits backbiting. In addition, our tongues cannot sing together God’s praises until the tongue backbites no more. I feel safe in saying that Christ is asking us to overlook our minor differences and accept one another into the fellowship of the body of Christ as Christ received us with all favor. Therefore, by that favor the God of heaven is to be glorified by our mouth as we pray.

PRAYER IS OUR HOPE AND FAITH

     In Paul’s teaching on prayer in Romans 15 verses 1-5, Paul told whom we should pray for. Now in Romans 15: 13, Paul made the request that the God of heaven, of patience, and consolation would grant to the points of the church at Rome to be of one mind and accord one to another so the love of Christ might prevail among them. Then going back to Romans 15:5 there the mission of prayer is to embrace the eternal purpose of God for all His creation for the worshiping of God. Thus, all humanity and Christian Jews and Gentiles have no need of hesitation welcoming the hope and fellowship of prayer. In addition, in Romans 15:13, Paul offers vital instruction to be obtained in context to our salvation. Therefore, prophesies in the Old and New Testaments regarding prayers for proof of God’s divine inspiration and secondly of God’s revelation of His will be announced. Finally, that by prayer, we are professing that we proclaim the prediction of the divine promise for our hope and faith. I say to all, lay hold of these divine blessings and promises and with all hope anticipate their fulfillment.

     Promises of God and Christ namely turn to the believing person and those believing in prayer. Prayer is asking for God to lead us in the path of righteousness for His namesake. To my own personal feeling is prophesies are infallible assurance that God intends mercy to all He has created. In what is quoted by Paul in, his teaching the church at Rome was that he bowed his knee to the Giver of life for instruction him in His divine promise.  Paul here in Romans 15 in connection with the prophet Isaiah and the promise that would come out of the root of Jesse that would rise and reign over all who trust the Lord Jesus Christ. What may be or not be is the ultimate accomplishment of God made known to us and was predicted by the prophets for our fulfillment.

     To turn to the point that the closer a company of believers are drawn together in the Lord, the closer they are drawn to one another. Now, believers drawn together in all joy, love, peace will abound in and through the power of the Holy Spirit. As the Godhead is one and who has prepared the blessing and the author of our hope for eternal life. God and Christ have set before us the power of the Spirit to understand and believe the Words of God that our motives might be awakened to the principles of prayer. Furthermore, it is pointed out in the scriptures the good in prayer and to hold fast to Christ for the encouragement for one another and the Deity of Christ.

     Now the prayer of our Lord in the gospel of John 17 was not only for his disciples but for the saints of the church or all children of God. Paul in one way or another made the remark that because some fear or hesitate to cry out to God for their very blessing. Once again, we relate the fact that is clear proof that is found in the scriptures that is God’s revealed will for the church to be a rejoicing people. Paul also quotes an Old Testament scripture in Romans 15:10-12 about how the Gentiles should rejoice because out of the seed of David we would have the fullness of spiritual life.

     Again, before I proceed any further, I need to say that my writing on prayer comes from a wide spectrum of prayer from reading the Old and New Testament. In my studies, I have found that prayers prayed includes much more than merely making known a request to God. Moreover, I believe we need to be instructed in all aspects of prayer in this day and age. To the spiritual leader, I suggest that you find key scriptures when you present studies on prayer. For example, Philippians 4; 6 “Be careful for nothing; but everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God” (KJV) I would go on to say this, unless we express our gratitude for the mercies we have already received, how can we expect God to lean His ear to our understanding.

     Now to the spiritual leader to fulfill your duty of prayer, I want to stress this point of the Great Shepherd that was sent from above. Jesus is the Great Shepherd sent by the Almighty God and told by the prophets that He will feed His sheep. It is deeply important for the spiritual leader to view their own spiritual stature in prayer as well as their fellow brothers and sisters in the church. Why I bring this point up it is spiritually unhealthy to our spirituality if we do not look at spiritual progress. My Search for What is Spiritual Chapter Five