November 19, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
Jesus says we are not to judge, or, more specifically, to have a spirit of judgmentalism. In the Sermon on the Mount we learn that if we are to move beyond this spirit of judgmentalism we have to have the right attitude, the right humility, and the right sensitivity. The right attitude is one of compassionate correction instead of tearing someone down. The right humility means we don't look for faults in other people because this only blinds us to faults in ourselves, the first of which may in fact be judgmentalism itself. The right sensitivity means we yield our need to correct someone to God's way and God's timing. In order to have warm relationships in our community, in our church, and in our families we have to overcome our judgmental attitude.
November 5, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
To get a handle on how to deal with money and wealth we have to understand that there two types of treasure, two types of vision with regard to wealth, and two potential masters we can follow. And we have to make the right choices: Will we choose to most value, to treasure, those things that are spiritually focused or earthly focused? Will we choose to stay in the dark about how blind we can be to the sin of greed, or will we find the help we need to get our eyes opened? And will we let ourselves be mastered by the greatest Treasure, which is Jesus, and His Kingdom, or by the things that make money fly right out of our pockets because they satisfy our perceived needs and desires? It is only when we can see that the answer to all these questions is always found in Jesus, that all worry can fade away and that we can become very generous people, just as Jesus was and is.
October 29, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
As we continue through Matthew's account of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, we find ourselves more and more blown away by the radicalness of Jesus' words. We find that because God is present everywhere, there is no place for anything but full truth in our speech. We also find no place for revenge or pay backs in the life of Christian, but that instead we are to be fountains of grace. And then, to top it all off, we are told to love our enemies. But in all these things we see that Christ has already lived, and died, this way for us, even when we were His enemies.
October 22, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
"You have heard it said, but I tell you..." These are common words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount as Jesus specifically addresses some specific commands found in the Law and tells us the rest of the story. When it comes to the commands regarding murder, adultery and divorce, Jesus teaches us that the real issue, the real sin, is the way we devalue people and relationships when we harbor anger and unforgiveness and when we look for sexual relations outside of marriage. We end up treating people just like consumer goods that can be replaced or put aside for something that might seem better to us or bring us more satisfaction. The only thing that can deliver us from selfish consumer relationships is finding our satisfaction in the love of Christ.
October 15, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus teaches His disciples how the idea of law fits into His Kingdom. Contrary to common belief, this is not a passage specifically about fulfilling the Ten Commandments. Instead, Jesus is here dealing with His fulfillment of the entire Law and Prophets, which simply is the Old Testament. He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets in two ways: first by keeping and completing them, and then also by paying their penalty, which is really our penalty, because it is impossible for us to keep the commandments. We might think we can keep the commandments, but only by minimizing them. We need to understand that we should instead, as members of the Kingdom of Heaven, focus on love, self-giving love that follows the example of Christ. Actions which flow out of this love are what pleases God, and they should come naturally for us if we truly love God.
October 1, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
In Matthew 5, Jesus calls us to live as Christians in the world in two ways: first, as salt, preserving that which is in decay; and second, as light, bringing the truth and hope of salvation to an otherwise dark world. But Jesus is emphatic in telling us also that as Christians, when we are truly acting as salt and light, we will also suffer hurt, just as Jesus Himself did and as all the prophets before us have. But we can resist any self-pity because our reward is in heaven!
September 24, 2017 - Pastor Gerry Koning
In his Gospel, from start to end, Matthew portrays Jesus as the King of a new Kingdom, and the Sermon on the Mount then teaches us how to live in that Kingdom. Our guilt and bondage to sin would keep us from entering the Kingdom, but Jesus dealt with that in His baptism and temptations, and by His death on the cross. So now we can enter His Kingdom and the Beatitudes teach us what heart attitudes we must have in order to receive all the blessings of the Kingdom, including our very salvation.