Inspectors

So, give fear the boot (Matthew 10:26-33). As we follow Jesus, we can expect slander and persecution, adding to this Jesus says we are not to fear those who malign and persecute us Matthew 10:26~So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (ESV) Why do they want to persecute us or be destructive? It is because they fear and reject the truth. Proverbs 29:25~Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (NIV) 

Who here has ever been caught in fears trap? You’ve been ensnared, by fear? Yeah, of course, fear can paralyze us causing us not to respond, or it can incite panic in us, leading to poor choices. Jesus says, trust the Lord, He is the only safety we have. He continues by saying a time is coming when everything covered will be revealed and everything hidden will be made known (Matthew 10:26). In time, sin will be revealed for what it is and righteousness revealed for what it is. Listen to Ecclesiastes 12:14 ~For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (NIV)

Saints our lives will be judged at the (βῆμα bēma) seat. Bema means to ascend, it’s a step, like an Olympian who ascends the box to receive his or her prize for winning. Jesus will have us ascend the step before His throne. All who are in Christ, whose name has been written in the Book of Life. Understand everyone at the Bema gets into heaven, but it is at the Bema seat where our reward is given to the Saints. How many of you ever took a final exam and wished the professor would unpack the grade. Well, Jesus is going to do just that for His followers.

1 Corinthians 3:12-13~Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 

1 Corinthians 3:14-15~If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (ESV) This moment is not about salvation, that happens later for the lost, at the Great White throne judgement of Revelation 20:11-15, rather this judgement is about what we’ve done with all the Lord has given to us. The Bema is for believers, John 3:16 whosoever believes in Jesus Christ is saved. 

Paul writes for us the process of salvation Romans 10:9-10~because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. (NKJ) I hope to see you at the Bema. As an aside, for those still struggling with their judgy ways: We are asked in Romans 14:10-12 why do you judge others? Or look down on others? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat, the (βῆμα bēma). Let God be the judge, we will inspect the fruit, as we share the hope of Jesus Christ. 



Fight the Good Fight

Slander Will Be Levied (Matthew 10:24-25). In these two verses, Jesus shares His definitive teaching about discipleship. He says a disciple is not above his teacher. Matthew 10:24~A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant (δοῦλος doulos) above his master (ESV). Don’t get it twisted, we are not and never will be above Jesus. A disciple is one who learns and follows, becoming more like his or her teacher, and is still under their teacher, though mature. (δοῦλος doulos), A servant or slave is one who is beneath his master socially and economically. This illustration teaches the two most important parts of discipleship: the first is humility, as John said in John 3:30 I am the friend of the bridegroom, I must decrease and He must increase. This leads to the second thing revealed here, and that is submission. First humility, then submission. As a disciple of Jesus, we must willingly submit to Jesus and His plan.

Jesus continues in Matthew 10:25~It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul (Βεελζεβούλ Beelzeboul), how much more will they malign those of his household? (ESV) Teaching about this same truth, Jesus says everyone who is fully trained, or perfect, will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40~The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. (NIV) Our ultimate goal of discipleship is to emulate, to mirror Jesus Christ, as we become more Christlike. However, since the leaders of the Jews have called Jesus, the Head of the house, Beelzebul, He warns us that we will be called so much worse.

The name Beelzebul, or Beelzebub, is a term of slander that can mean lord of dung or ruler of demons and refers to Satan. No, Jesus and Satan are not the same person. If Jesus, who is perfect and the epitome of love, was slandered, how much more can, will they Levy slander on us, His dutiful followers. Do you want to be like Jesus? Then you, we are going to come into the Line of Fire: where Slander is Levied.
 
Perhaps you are facing a difficult place in life right now. I want to encourage you to turn to Jesus who can sooth the weariness of life and a reprieve from the battle you are facing. In your quiet time with the Lord worship Him and watch as you are restored by the joy of His presence. Praise is such a wonder weapon for us, worship the Lord today.


Mirrors

Did you know that as the disciples of Jesus Christ we have come into the line of fire. When we set out to follow and emulate Jesus, we will take on some fire from those around us. The word emulate means to strive to imitate. The Bible teaches we are in every way to grow to be more like Christ. Ephesians 4:15~Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (NIV) Thus, the goal of discipleship is to be more and more Christlike in every facet of our lives. How do we do this? 

We accomplish imposing task by allowing the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives. Galatians 5:22-23~But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. (NIV) This is a wonderful word picture of Jesus, as these nine characteristics become hallmarks of our active, participating faith. These nine spiritual fruit born in or produced in our lives are byproducts of our spiritual growth in God. As we learn to live in the vine (John 15), melded to the Holy Spirit, who like sap flows through our branch, we will produce these fruit. Yes, it’s singular, fruit. In pericope this week from Matthew, we come into the Line of Fire: as we learn that following and emulating Jesus will cause three things to happen in our lives. 
 
Why not take time today to ask God to help you in your fruit production. Ask Him to release the fullness of His Spirit in your life, as He fills you with the Holy Spirit. Then walk yielded and quick to respond.