A Ministry of Christian Chefs International (CCI)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 2014

Blessed and Prosperous New Year! This coming year here on Master's Apprentice we will focus on discipleship and becoming more like our Master in both body and spirit. We will go through the Sermon of the Mount verse by verse, for it is here we find our Master's instructions to us in the most precise and concise form. 

We'll begin with the Beatitudes. 

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. 

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. 

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.  

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God. 

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matt 5:1-12, NIV)

This list is often considered impossible, a standard that is too high. And it is, from a human point of view. But we are no longer mere humans (1 Cor 3:3); we have been born again and become new creations, holy within and without; we have crucified the flesh with its desires, and live now by the power of the Spirit who dwells within us (Gal 5). That which is impossible for humans is possible for God (Mark 10:27).

What is required of the disciples of Jesus?

1. Poverty of spirit. This does not refer to a gloomy disposition. Instead, the one who is poor in spirit recognizes his own insufficiency wherefore he seeks wisdom and understanding from God.

"This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word (Isa 66:2 NIV).

Those who are poor in spirit, will receive the Kingdom of God, which God promised to those who love him (Jas 2:5).

2. Those who mourn. No, we are not attending a perpetual funeral; those who mourn, mourn because of sin.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (Jas 4:6-10, NIV).

Those who mourn will be comforted, their tears will turn into joy, for our God is a God of comfort (2 Cor 1:3-4).

3. The meek. Meekness isn't equivalent to fear or timidity; those who are meek trust in God. 

But I will leave within you
the meek and humble,
who trust in the name of the LORD 

(Zeph 3:12, NIV).

Those who trust in God's promise, and patiently wait for the promise to be fulfilled, will inherit the New Earth (Heb 6:15).

4. Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness. Ever been so hungry that you felt like fainting? That's how we should feel about God's righteousness. We should seek to fill ourselves with God's righteousness, instead of all the world has to offer.

 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt 6:31-34, NIV).

Those who seek righteousness will be filled.

5. Mercy.
A popular misconception is that being merciful is optional; it isn't.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (Jas 2:12-17, NIV).

Those who show mercy to the poor and the hungry will themselves receive mercy from God.

6. Pure in heart. The moment we came to God and confessed our faith in Jesus, our hearts were purified by the Holy Spirit. 

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith (Acts 15:6-9, NIV).

Those whose hearts are pure will see God. 

7. Peacemaker. Our Master is the Prince of Peace; he called us to create peace.

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Cor 13:11, NIV).

Those who create peace will be called the sons and daughters of God, for they live according to the Spirit instead of following the flesh.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom 8:12-14, NIV). 

8. Persecution. That you don't get your way doesn't mean you're being persecuted; it means you are being selfish. Real persecution is always a result of godly living.

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings-what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:10-12, NIV).

If you endure persecution, blessed are you for yours is the kingdom of Heaven.

In conclusion, disciples of Jesus are humble, they do not rejoice over evil, they seek righteousness, they are merciful, they love from a pure heart, they create peace, and they endure persecution blessing those who hate them. 

Susanna Krizo