A New Attitude
How do you Enter the Kingdom?
A change of attitude toward…
How do you Express the Kingdom?
How can God stick out? If you are going to be a part of His kingdom, you’ll have to learn to live a kingly life.
vv. 6-8 tell us of 3 new attitudes which should ‘bee’ our attitudes:
1. A new attitude that is upward—A change in desires.
v. 6 This is an insatiable desire for God and the things of God. It’s not the kind of thirst you have after playing ball on a hot day…it’s the kind of thirst you would have after days in the desert without even a drop of water. It’s not the kind of hunger you have when you’ve missed lunch…it’s more like when you’ve gone several days w/out eating! Perhaps better English words to use would be ‘parched’ and ‘starving’.
Jesus says, blessed are those who have that kind of hunger and thirst for God! One of the proofs of a true salvation is that you have a new desire to know God and to make sure you are right with God! We all drift away sometimes, but there’s something that pulls you back when you have this hunger and thirst.
Ill.—raise your hand if you’d trade me your house for a glass of water. No one? I guarantee you there exists a set of circumstances where you would. Crawling on your face in the Sahara w/ tongue swollen and lips chapped w/ a mouth full of sand, on death’s doorstep, you’d give this preacher your house and everything in it, and even make a pledge to tithe!
And Jesus says, blessed are they that are desiring righteousness in that manner!
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…
It’s not just a passing thought. It’s not like the children of Israel had:
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
No, this is a hunger that motivates you to action, it demands to be fed, and each morsel makes you want another! The person who really wants something doesn’t just sit around waiting for it to come to them…no, they are motivated to ‘make it happen!’
Maybe you’re saved, but you’d say, I don’t have that kind of hunger for God. Maybe you need a new attitude that is upward! It doesn’t necessarily happen just because you got saved, and if it did, it can quickly wane and flee away.
There ARE some things you can do to help you to develop that longing for the Lord…a passion for the Christ!
You’ve heard the old saying, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ That’s true, but you can put salt in his oats!
So, how can you put some salt in your oats?
It may be that you’re sick, and need to get better.
Ill.—when you have the flu, the last thing you want to do is eat or drink! You wanna get better first.
Sin will keep you from this book / this book from sin!
Sin is harmful to our spiritual digestive tract. It affects our taste buds. Sin will dull your spiritual appetite. Let’s face it, if you feed the flesh … for the moment, you feel full / filled. But your spirit will starve!
“There is pleasure in sin…for a season”
“Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel.”
For many Christians, the devil’s weapon of choice isn’t out and out sin, but rather, just ‘stuff.’ Now I’m talking about things that aren’t sinful in and of themselves, but you just get so involved in so much stuff that you don’t make God the priority He deserves to be! For instance, hobbies can be nice, but need to stay in the right balance…if they end up taking the place of God, or coming before Him, they can become sinful.
There’s nothing wrong w/ the lake, w/ picnics, etc. But all you have to do is just let that take the place of a church service, and you’ll quickly begin losing your spiritual appetite!
Maybe sin, maybe just stuff, but Satan’s goal is the same, to kill our taste buds!
Deal w/ the sin, throw away some ‘stuff’, and watch what happens…
v. 6 The promise is ‘they shall be filled.’ Know what that means? You can have as much as you want! You can keep feasting! You can be as close to God as you wanna be! God can be as real and personal as you want Him to be.
Ill.—did you ever have an imaginary friend? Too many Christian’s view of their God is kind of like someone we think about, but He’s not really there in a concrete way. I’m here to testify you can have it much better than that. He walks w/ me and talks w/ me, and tells me I am His own!
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
So, we need a new attitude that is upward…a change in desires…
2. A new attitude that is outward—A change in disposition.
v. 7 Mercy is the way you treat someone who has done you wrong, when suddenly you find yourself in a position where you have them in your power.
It’s the attitude Stephen had toward the very people who were pummeling him with stones.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
It’s the attitude Jesus had on the cross.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
It’s one of the truest tests of Christian character. There are some Christians, perhaps many here, and you wouldn’t even consider taking a drink of alcohol…and you feel sooooo spiritual. You’d never consider adultery for even a moment, and as far as you’re concerned, you’re head and shoulders above most people in this world. But you know it…and God knows, that there is somebody in your past—and if you COULD get even, you WOULD get even! Think about it. Is that a merciful spirit?
Ill.—Corrie ten Boom spent years in a Nazi prison camp / many times guards would come in and beat her and her sister / she said one man’s face stood out in her mind / years later she was speaking in a church when in walked that man, she would know him anywhere / terror gripped her soul, along w/ a flood of hateful emotions / after the service he approached her and said, I’ve been saved, and I want to ask you to forgive me for what I’ve done / she later wrote: ‘right then I had to learn that forgiveness is a choice.’
Don’t ever say, “I can’t forgive that person, they don’t deserve it.” You can do anything you choose to do, w/ God’s help. Be honest and say, “I won’t forgive”. Be bitter if you choose, in hopes that somehow you’ll get even, but in the end, you’ll see, you’re only punishing yourself!
Ill.—Elisabeth Elliot’s husband Jim was the one at ‘the end of the spear’ [movie]. A tribal native made her a widow and their 15 mo. old son fatherless for life. Then one day she came face to face w/ that same man, following his salvation, and she was able to forgive him.
To have an unmerciful spirit outwardly to others is to thumb your nose at the merciful forgiveness of God you richly enjoy!
That’s the lesson of Matt. 18, the parable of the man forgiven a great debt, who later called in a small debt for someone else seeking mercy.
See the promise of v. 7, you’ll enjoy mercy yourself…you already have!
So far we see a new attitude upward, new desires and a hunger and thirst for God…a new attitude outward, w/ a new disposition to others…
3. A new attitude that is inward—A new devotion.
v. 8 Biblically, what is the heart? It’s the center of a person’s being. It’s the fountain of who you are, but also the seat of all troubles.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
One of the biggest lies these days is the thinking that man is in trouble because of the environment around him. May I remind you that when Adam and Eve sinned they were in a perfect environment? They could choose not to sin, but they chose poorly. Man will sin even in paradise!
Then there’s the thinking that education will solve any problem. You can take a thief and educate his head w/out changing his heart, and you’ve just got a smarter thief, now instead of putting on a mask and robbing a liquor store he can get a white collar job and embezzle from the company!
“Pure in heart” means “sincere.” It’s being w/out hypocrisy and w/ nothing hidden. No doubt this was for the Pharisees, who were only concerned w/ outward appearance, but Jesus said they were like whitewashed tombs, but inside were dead men’s bones! They were like a pot that’s clean on the outside but filthy inside.
We could think of it as an elegant restaurant, pristine and spotless in the dining room, but the health dept. comes in and shuts them down because of what they see in the kitchen!
Pure in heart means “What you see is what you get!”
Don’t hold things in, be forthright, be honest, ask questions, don’t let your imagination run away w/ things. This is really doing yourself a favor…you’re keeping a clean slate, making things right w/ God or others when you’ve done wrong. This helps keep your vision clear, much like wipers to the windshield. Notice the promise:
v. 8 They shall see God.
We know this is true as a future event, but I believe it applies to us now. Jesus said to remove the 2 X 4 from our own eye and then we’ll be able to see clearly! And then we can sense His presence like never before, and see Him in more reality than we ever could thru the muddy waters that result from an impure heart.
To be pure in heart is to be true to yourself as well. This is the end of our message, but the invitation is just about to start, and it’s a great chance to be honest with yourself and sincere before God. What do you need to come and lay on this altar? God already knows…He’s just watching and waiting to see if YOU will admit it before Him!
It’s not enough to just enter the kingdom of God…we need to learn to express it. God will ‘stick out’ and give us a new attitude: upward, getting right w/ God, and outward, dealing w/ others differently, and inward, being true to myself and to God in the inward parts!
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