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The Flood Gates of Regeneration: Matthew 5:12-13

The Flood Gates of Regeneration: Matthew 5:12-13
““12) You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “13) You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;”. Matthew‬ ‭5:13-14‬ ‭
I believe Jesus was making an application from the beatitudes listed in verses three through twelve. He was saying; “As long as my people consistently live out these qualities, they become the salt of the earth and the light of the world!”
The problem is that fallen human nature is contrary to each of these qualities. God’s people as a whole have fallen short of these qualities through the ages. Religion alone is a poor vehicle to change the human heart. If it had been effective, Judaism and the Law should have produced good salt and shining lights.
Jesus came to a thriving religious system, but the salt was tasteless and the light was hidden and dim. In the balance of the Sermon on the Mount in Mathew 5-7, Jesus exposes how broken the system had become.
So how do God’s people consistently put on these qualities expressed in the Beatitudes? I believe Matthew 3:11 gives us a preview; “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The whole Sermon on the Mount was exposing a thirst and hunger for the deep inner ministry of the Holy Spirit.
This is “the Promise” Jesus talked about in Acts 1:4-5. This is the inner well He promised to the Samaritan woman in John 4:13-14; 22-24. These are the rivers of living water Jesus spoke about in John 7:37-39 that would flow from the innermost being on those filled with the Holy Spirit.
I certainly believe people should consciously plant and cultivate the Beatitudes into their lives. Character development takes time and effort. But I also know that the filling of the Holy Spirit can open the flood gates of regeneration.
Take some time and compare the Beatitudes with the Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-24. The secret to becoming the salt of the earth and the light of the World will become obvious.
The past decade has launched me into a deep quest for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life. It had been a hunger and thirst for a long time, but my formal theological training inhibited me. My journey to faith, freedom and fulness has taken longer than some, but God has been so good in helping me lay a deep biblical foundation for the liberating and powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit.
I see in these verse in Matthew 5:13-14 the hope of revival and awakening within the Body of Christ today. God is at work healing the breach between the evangelical/Spirit-filled camps.
I see this crucial, deep and biblical work as the primary restraint against the rising tide of sin, compromise and false teaching coming in like a tide in the apostate church. I pray for and welcome genuine biblical revival and awakening… but I wholeheartedly reject the woke church movement!
If it is not Holy, it is not from the Holy Spirit! If it does not line up with Matthew 5:3-16 and Galatians 5:22-24, it is tasteless salt and fake light! If it is not biblical, it is tyrannical! If it does not bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, it’s origin is not in His Kingdom of light! (See Colossians 1:13-14)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Willing to Be Ridiculed: Matthew 5:11-12

Willing to Be Ridiculed: Matthew 5:11-12
““11) Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew‬ ‭5:11-12‬
Over the years, I have conducted numerous evangelism training workshops. The reason most Christians give for not sharing their faith is fear of rejection. Second is fear of ridicule. Notice, they both start with the word “fear.”
Yet Jesus said it is a blessing to have people cast insults at you for the sake of the gospel. Why? False accusations and persecution help focus attention on the message.
Paul discovered in Acts 21-22 that bystanders become an audience in the face of persecution. It opened to door for him to preach the gospel time and again.
Acts chapter 4 makes the case that earnest prayer, boldness and anointing grow out of persecution. The prayer meeting that spontaneously developed after the release of Peter and John was visited with a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The ground was shaken, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (See Acts 4:29-31)
There are many fillings of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.” Those who endure ridicule, name calling, public scorn or persecution for the sake of the gospel are often given special unction before the throne of grace.
Look at the prophets. They endured rejection from men, but they had VIP favor with God. Many of them had “God encounters” that were beyond description. If you doubt me, read again Ezekiel 1-3 or Daniel 9-12.
If you aspire to be a soldier in the Army of God, you better die to any fear of ridicule or name calling. Ephesians 6:10-20 is not for sissies!
Paul nailed it in witting to Timothy. Listen to his admonition; “3) Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4) No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy‬ ‭2:3-4‬) If you want to live in your comfort zone don’t expect to experience the glories of the “God Zone.”
Verse twelve concludes by saying there is a great reward waiting for those willing to endure hardship for the sake of the gospel. Being despised by the world for the sake of godliness translates to honorable stature before God.
I confess, I enjoy award ceremonies at the end of grueling events in the Olympics. It takes years of training, discipline and dedication to get on the podium. The personal interest stories are often inspiring. Can you imagine the award ceremony when we all get to heaven?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Persecuted Church: Matthew 5:10

The Persecuted Church: Matthew 5:10
““10) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew‬ ‭5:10‬
This verse is talking about proven character that is solid and stable no matter what is thrown against it. Are your convictions real or merely convenient? Do you love those who love you and line up with your theology, or do you genuinely love all people, even those who differ from you?
Persecution is the perfect test of character because it usually comes with a “get out of jail free card!” If you bend the rules, look the other way or concede, your ordeal will usually come to a quick halt.
Hebrews 12:4 says; “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;”. If you are not real, the sight of your own blood being shed or the pain of being beaten will most likely modify your stance very quickly. For most, it only takes open ridicule and they quickly abandon their faith. The flesh is a coward.
If you are merely legalistic as a show of religion, you are vulnerable to be pulled into all kinds of secret sins such as bitterness, pornography, fantasy romance novels even substance abuse. Many Christian leaders have walked away from marriage and family for a more pleasurable lifestyle on the side of morality. This is simply another form of testing your true character.
True righteousness is a condition of the heart that defines you. It is tied to holiness and godliness. It deepens, grows and matures over time. It is both deepened through trials and hardship and validated through the same. When you squeeze true righteousness, holiness oozes out to the dismay and shame of the persecutors.
That’s what happened to Jesus as the crucifixion progressed. The hate and venom that nailed Him to the cross became hushed admiration through the process. The confession of the centurion and the guards by the end of the crucifixion is recorded in Matthew 27:54; “… Truly this was the Son of God.”
Many stories of martyred Christians through the centuries had the same impact on the mobs. They were deeply influenced for Jesus by the demeanor of the persecuted. The same happens today. Many come to Jesus through the silent voice of the Martyrs.
Acts 1:8 directly ties this to the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to His followers. The root Greek word for “witnesses” in this verse is the same root Greek word for “martyrs”. The Holy Spirit supernaturally empowers believers to shine and witness for Jesus in the face of persecution.
The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who have suffered for Jesus. They live and walk in the reality and power of the Holy Spirit in ways the Western Church cannot comprehend.
The Western Church specializes in theology. The persecuted church walks in supernatural kingdom reality reminiscent of the Christians in the book of Acts. The more time I spend with pastors and Christians leaders in 3rd world countries and with the persecuted church, the more shallow, exposed and pretentious I feel. I yearn for the kingdom unction that defines them.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Peacemakers: Mathew 5:9

Peacemakers: Mathew 5:9
““9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭
This beatitude is nearly self validating. Jesus as our Master and Lord is “The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) He came to make peace between God and man, and redeemed people with one another and the world around them.
It is an utter contradiction for anyone to be the source conflict, discord, tension, outbursts of anger, and strife… and still claim Jesus as Savior and Lord. These come from the flesh and not the Spirit. Something is tragically wrong! (Study Galatians 5:18-21) Look carefully, the third fruit of the Spirit is “peace.”
The contrast between the thief and Jesus in John 10:10 drives this point home. The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Jesus came to build up and not tear down. He came to heal and not wound. He came to make people whole.
Those who become whole become peacemakers. Blessings begin to pursue the peacemakers. Their inward makeup is transformed and their outward relationships begin to change. God surrounds them with favor.
My life is a testimony of this transformation. Before becoming a Christian, my life was driven by tension, inner torment and anger. I was abusive to people closest to me. When I invited Jesus into my heart, He immediately began a very deep work within me that He has been maturing over the years. I now live on the peacemaker end of the spectrum. My inner war is long over. For the most part, peace now reigns in me!
But let me make a final clarification. Peace itself is not the end game. For example, we do not sacrifice truth on the altar of peace. A right relationship with God is the goal of our ministry of reconciliation. A person can only have the peace of God if they have peace with God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: cofounder of GoServ Global

The Power of Mercy: Matthew 5:7

The Power of Mercy: Matthew 5:7
““7) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭
We are now introduced to the word “mercy.” This stands in contrast to the word “grace”, which means giving someone something haven’t earned and do not deserve. Salvation is a gift of grace. Mercy by contrast is not giving someone the judgement or condemnation they do deserve.
Another rule in Matthew 7:1-2 says; ““Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
This mercy beatitude is also closely related to golden rule as recorded in Matthew 7:12; ““In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
Notice that these are all found in the sermon on the Mount. God cares about the way we relate and interact with people. The theater of interpersonal relationships is boot camp for Christian growth and virtue.
Mercy has the power to build deep relationships. It is an expression of unconditional love.
Do you want mercy? Learn to show mercy. Do you want others to treat you with favor and grace? Do the same! Do you want others to cut you some slack? Don’t be so judgmental yourself.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Healing Power of Mourning: Matthew 5:4

The Healing Power of Mourning: Matthew 5:4
“4) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
The word “mourn” is a verb that describes deep grieving most often associated with the death of a loved one. It is an expression of inner hurt, emptiness, pain and bewilderment and is often accompanied by grief, weeping and remorseful crying. This is the word used in Mark 16:10 for the women who were mourning and weeping over the death of Jesus.
Mourning is an important part of the healing process in the face of death. It is normal and natural to mourn and openly express grief over the loss of a loved. For the non-Christian, it is often an expression of hopelessness, despair and fear over the power and permanence of death.
But something was coming that would bring great comfort. With the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a phenomenon took place for the early Christians. The fear and despair associated with death were replaced by hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 captures this concept when Paul acknowledged that Christians grieve, but not like those who have no hope. Why?
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 acknowledges that Jesus Christ has taken “the sting” out of sin and death through His resurrection. He conquered death and literally took the keys of death from the devil. (See Revelation 1:17-18) When the believer passes through deaths doors a very immediate and tangible glory awaits them.
Paul elaborated in depth on this in 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10. Often in the case of those martyred for Jesus and the gospel, an inexpressible joy, grace and glory comes upon the believer during the transition from this realm to glory. It is real and profound!
Stephen in Acts 8:54-60 is an example of this jubilation. The unusual joy and celebration of Christians in the face of death left a huge impression on Saul who was leading the charge to stone Stephen. After his conversion, Paul shared his own attitude toward life and death in Philippians 1:19-30. In verse 21 he said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Inherit the Earth: Matthew 5:5

Inherit the Earth: Matthew 5:5
““5) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Nine words packed with volumes of meaning. Some translations render this as “blessed are the gentle.” It embodies the idea of being emotionally, mentally and spiritually composed no matter the outward circumstances.
Proverbs 25:28 says; “Like a city that is broken into and without walls, is a man who has no control over his spirit.” This pictures to opposite of meekness. Self control is a fruit of the Spirit. It is the ultimate expression of peace, composure and control. Make no mistake, meekness is not weakness!
Meekness is a personification of Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said; “28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (KJV‬‬) Notice the phrase “I am meek and lowly in heart.” Other translations say things like “gentle and humble in heart.” Jesus is giving us a glimpse into His inner tranquility.
Notice the context of these verses. Jesus is offering calm, peace, solitude and healing to those whose lives are pressured, exasperated or out of control. I dare say, Jesus is the only source of inner calm in this present world.
During his public ministry, Jesus calmed every storm He encountered. He offers to do the same for you and me. He doesn’t cause storms… He calms them. If your life is raging out of control, you need to put your faith in Jesus Christ and invite Him into your life.
Now the promise; “they shall inherit the earth.” In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel yearned to move from the slavery of Egypt to the promised land. The New Testament has a different focus. It ends with Jesus returning and setting up His kingdom on earth. (Revelation 20-21)
His kingdom will bring peace, calm, goodness, love, health and order to earth. Satan will be bound for one thousand years and there will be no pain, sickness, suffering or corruption. Those who come to Jesus as Savior and Lord will rule and reign with Him during that time. This will be the literal fulfillment of the promise that “the meek shall inherit the earth.”
Let me stress; this present world is not our home, we are just passing through. Satan is the god of this present world. This present earthly chaos is the result of mankind rejecting God. There’s not much here worth wrangling over. Don’t waste your time hoarding treasures here and now. They will rust out, break down and become a source of contention. They cannot deliver inner peace, solitude or hope. You will forever be worried and preoccupied about someone stealing your fleeting treasures.
Let’s face it, this present earth is a mess. It would be cruel humor for God to offer this present fallen and broken world as our inheritance. If this is where you are staking your claim, you are making a terrible mistake. He has a very different plan and something infinitely better.
As we read on in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His Disciples to pray; “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (See Matthew 6:10) We now encounter the word “earth” again, only this time it is connected to His coming kingdom. That catches my attention. My heart is focused on Jesus and the promised future inheritance that will accompany His kingdom and reign on earth.
This will be followed by the mystery of eternity and a new heaven and earth. That will also include the New Jerusalem. (Read Revelation 21-22) This is way to much to unpack in this post, but… I can only imagine!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Poor in Spirit: Matthew 5:3

Poor in Spirit: Matthew 5:3
““3) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:3‬
As Jesus begins to teach the beatitudes, He immediately exposes the proud and calloused hearts of the Pharisees and the religious elite. They looked good outwardly, but inwardly they were full of sin, self, pride and self deception.
The quality behind this first beatitude is difficult to describe. It might better be transliterated as “Blessed are the humble in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
I believe Jesus was elaborating a quality taught in Isaiah 57:15. It says; “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.”
This quality goes beyond being humble. “Poor in spirit” captures the idea, but does not communicate very well in English. It is hard to capture the meaning of lowly, contrite, poor in spirit and sincerely humbly.
Isaiah 66:1-2 returns to this concept and seems to connect it to the domain of God. Jesus may have referred to this domain as “the kingdom of heaven.” As we shall see, these two verses are profound.
“1) Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? 2) For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah‬ ‭66:1-2‬
It often takes a deep work of grace and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to bring a person to this point. It is a posture that sees the smallness and insignificance of self as compared to the greatness, glory and magnificence of God.
This quality seems to run contrary to the modern Christian emphasis of self significance, self confidence and self promotion. Let me emphasize that this quality does not crush the human spirit, it merely aligns the believer with their proper position and identity “in Christ.”
I see this quality as the perfect marriage between John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13. On the one hand, “apart from Him I can do nothing”, on the other hand, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Poor in human spirit is the pathway to becoming mighty in the Holy Spirit. We could conclude that being “poor in spirit is the only way to become mighty in Spirit.” It is the idea of being empty of self so you can become full of Christ.
I believe God will arrange trials and design circumstances to bring every believer to this heart posture. God will never be big in us or through us until we become small in our own eyes.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Comparison and Contrast between the Beatitudes and The Ten Commandments: Matthew 5:1-12 & Exodus 20:1-21

Comparison and Contrast between the Beatitudes and The Ten Commandments: Matthew 5:1-12 & Exodus 20:1-21
“1) When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2) He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5) “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10) “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11) “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12
The Beatitudes given by Jesus stand in stark contrast to the Ten Commandments given through Moses. A short comparison and contrast between the two proves that things were changing with the ministry of Jesus. A transition was taking place.
The way Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mountain might not mean much to you and me, but His introduction with the Beatitudes grabbed the attention of every Jewish ear. These words were not casual, they were radical. This was not new wine in old wine skins. Jesus was signifying a change. Something new was coming.
When the reader understands that Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience, it is not coincidental that he devoted three entire chapters of his gospel to the Sermon on the Mountain. But what is more astounding is that Matthew was not even called to follow Jesus until Matthew 9:9-13. The timeline places his call after Jesus delivered this message. I find that very intriguing!
Could it be that he was a bystander listening to the Sermon on the Mountain? Or even more impressive, was the Sermon on the Mountain so impactful that it spread like fire among the common Jewish people who initially followed Jesus because of His miracles?
We can only speculate. In wrestling with these questions, I came up with the following comparisons and contrasts between the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments. Undoubtedly you can come up with more, but I offer these as a starting point.
Eight Contrasts and Comparisons between the Beatitudes and The Ten Commandments:
The Beatitudes came after Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and nights Vs The Ten Commandments came after Moses was on the Mountain for 40 days and nights. The Beatitudes Open the Sermon on the Mountain Vs The Ten Commandments Open the Long Application of the Law! The Beatitudes Were Spoken by the Mouth of Jesus Vs The Ten Commandments were Written by the Finger of God! For the Beatitudes the People Came Near Vs For the Ten Commandments the People Stood Far Away! The Beatitudes were recorded on Human Hearts Vs The Ten Commandments were recorded on Tablets of Stone! The Beatitudes Focus on Internal Attitudes Vs The Ten Commandments Focused on External Actions! The Beatitudes Stress What to Be Vs The Ten Commandments Warn of What Not To Do! The Beatitudes Became the Source of Blessings Vs The Ten Commandments are the Source of Curses and Judgement.
Jesus was popular because of His miracles; He was crucified because of His teachings. It seems that His miracles were intended to open the door for His teachings. Devote time to studying the Sermon on The Mountain. It set the tone for the entire ministry of Jesus.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: CoFounder of GoServ Global

Becoming A Matthew 5:1 Disciple: Mathew 5:1

Becoming A Matthew 5:1 Disciple: Mathew 5:1
“1) And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.” Matthew 5:1
A subtle change takes place in this verse. Crowds were starting to gather and follow Jesus. Up to that point, He had been seeking them, now people were starting to seek Him.
In response, Jesus went up on a mountain and sat down. Soon His disciples came to Him. I don’t want to read to much into this, but at some point true believers will begin to seek and follow Jesus.
It seems that Jesus was not being accessible or user friendly in this verse. His disciples had to go out of their way to follow Him. The arrows had changed direction. He was not going to them, it was now up to them to go to Him.
This verse might capture a key difference between evangelism and discipleship. Evangelism goes to the lost with the gospel. Those who believe and become disciples begin going to Jesus and seeking His teaching. Notice, “His disciples came to Him.”
It was His healing and miracles that attracted the crowds in the previous chapter, but it was His teaching and instruction that attracted the disciples for the sermon on the mountain. They were drawn to His message. They wanted to learn from Him. In Matthew 5-7 Jesus doesn’t perform any miracles. His focus was on instruction.
Beware of merely chasing the miraculous and phenomenon. Jesus is the living Word. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. At some point you need to become a Matthew 5:1 disciple.
If you want to grow as a Christian, you need to start seeking Jesus through His Word. You need to study, learn and grow. You need to wear out a few Bibles. You need to spend time at His feet apart from the crowds. You need to go to Him in solitude, open your Bible and devour His Word.
Psalm 1:1-6 was the first chapter of Scripture I memorized. The Holy Spirit led me to it the night I became a Christian. This chapter set in motion the course of my walk with God. I started seeking Him daily in His Word way above and beyond church, Bible College and the latest seminars. I developed the discipline of memorizing and meditating on Scripture. God richly blesses those who go the extra mile to seek Him.
Take Matthew 5:1 to heart. Make it the pattern of your life to seek Jesus daily and sit at His feet. Do what the Apostles did in Acts 6:4 and do a reset in your life. Devote yourself to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Be proactive in seeking and pursuing Jesus in solitude.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global