Minister’s forum: Back to basics
The longer I study the Bible, the more I realize that the heart of the Gospel is really found in the basics. After studying Matthew, Chapters 5, 6 and 7, known as the “Beatitudes,” some of the most simple, yet profound teaching in the Bible is found in these three chapters.
While theologians contemplate the deep meaning of the Christian life and principles relating to the end of the world – heaven, hell, etc. – there are some really clear, simple directives that are there for all of us. Let’s look at just a couple of these simple truths:
1) Love your enemies. Most of us have enough trouble loving each other, friends, family, etc., but Jesus tells us to love our enemies. In Matthew 5:46 Jesus says, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” Even sinners do that. It’s really hard to do, but really simple in concept. That one principle gives us a lot to work on.
2) We often call this the Golden Rule: “Therefore, whatever you want me to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” We used to say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
What this is simply saying is that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Think about the people that we encounter every day, maybe a checker at the market or waitress at a restaurant. It’s so easy to say, “That person was rude,” or “They had no patience,” etc.
The question is, “How do we treat others?” We have all had mixed experiences. We may leave a really good tip when we are treated well. Sometimes we say, “What goes around comes around.” This is simple, but difficult to put into practice, and profound in its effect on how we interact with each other.
These are only two of the many “beatitudes” in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. As Mark Twain said, “It’s not the things in the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the things I do understand.”
– Jerry Foster is pastor at Calvary Chapel.
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