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ITS TIME TO MAJOR ON WEIGHTIER MATTERS: TALK IT, WALK IT & LOVE IT (Matthew 9:36, Luke 10:25-37) PART TWO


We noted in the previous article that Jesus challenged the Scribes and Pharisees for neglecting the weightier matters of the Law i.e. JUSTICE AND MERCY. Any religious practices which lack justice and mercy are acts of hypocrisy. A closer scrutiny of Jesus’ life and ministry reflects that it was characterised by the statement: MOVED WITH COMPASSION. This statement means to have the bowels yearn, a Jewish idiom meaning having deep compassion. These are the BOWELS OF MERCY which Paul encourages the Colossian Community to have (Colossians 3:12-13). Could it be that those who want to serve God the Jesus way must have BOWEL FEELINGS which will move them with compassion in everything they do for Christ? Whilst the story of the Good Samaritan teaches us the behaviour of compassionate people, it is also a reminder that religious people can sometimes be heartless. Both the Priest and the Levite who who happened to be going down the same road where this half dead man was, simply passed by. They valued ceremonial cleanliness stipulated in the Mosaic law but ignored the spirit of the law where compassion had to out-weigh their outward cleanliness. They valued religious duties at the expense of a dying soul. Jesus asked the expert in the law, ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ He replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him’. How sarcastic it is that the expert in the law hesitates to say that it was the SAMARITAN but deliberately opted to reduce him to a statistic ‘THE ONE’. 
It is my prayer that the 21st Century Church should glean lessons from the 1st Century Church whose ministry was moved by compassion. Indeed weightier matters should propel us to action. When weightier matters become your passion, you will TALK IT. Paul declared before King Agrippa that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Its time to talk about Jesus wherever we are and whenever an opportunity arises. When weightier matters become your passion, you will WALK IT. Some TALK IT by the mile but WALK IT by the inch. Our greatest and most effective method of winning others to Christ is to WALK THE TALK. Somebody said it well that Christianity is easier CAUGHT than TAUGHT. Indeed actions speak louder than words. May the 21st Century Church produce WALKIE TALKIES for Jesus (WALK IT & TALK IT). Finally when weightier matters become your passion you will LOVE IT. Micah 6:8 rightfully says, ‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To ACT JUSTLY and to LOVE MERCY and to WALK HUMBLY with your God’. Truly humble people act justly and love mercy. You and I have to love weightier matters of justice and mercy. 
Check out some of the scenarios which moved Jesus with compassion:

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the SHEPHERD-LESS 

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the SICK 

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the DEGRADED

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the MOURNING

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the POOR

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the DISABLED

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the HUNGRY

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the SINNERS

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the HEAVY-LADEN

# Jesus was moved with compassion for the DEMON-POSSESSED
May weightier matters of the bowels be our passion.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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THOU SHALT MAJOR ON WEIGHTIER MATTERS: TALK IT, WALK IT & LOVE IT (Matthew 23:23, Micah 6:8, Mark 1:40-44, Colossians 3:12-13)

In order to make myself understood in this discourse, allow me to humbly propose an eleventh commandment; THOU SHALT MAJOR ON WEIGHTIER MATTERS. As I was celebrating my 55th birthday, I started reflecting and praying for God’s guidance on this journey of life and Christian service. Of all verses of Scripture, the Lord took me to Matthew 23:23 where Jesus Christ challenged the Scribes and Pharisees for disregarding WEIGHTIER MATTERS. The Lord challenged me to MAJOR ON WEIGHTIER MATTERS hence this sharing with my brothers and sisters in the Faith. 
Why WEIGHTIER MATTERS? This is about putting first things first. This is about letting what matters most, matter most. This is about value tags we put to the things we do. While a lot of people major on minors and others minor on majors, its time to major on majors. The Scribes and Pharisees in their endeavour to tithe to the dot, they would calculate one tenth of their proceeds from their small backyard spice gardens. But they neglected weightier matters of the law i.e. JUSTICE, MERCY AND FAITH. Jesus’ contention was that they should have practiced the latter (Justice, mercy and faith) without neglecting the former (Tithe). In a nutshell the Scribes and Pharisees focused on the LETTER OF THE LAW rather than THE SPIRIT/INTENT OF THE LAW. They gave meticulous attention to their tithes, offerings and prayers whilst ignoring issues of justice and mercy in their neighbourhood. To say ‘they ignored’ is actually an understatement. They violated weightier matters of ethical values of justice and mercy which enshrined the spirit or intent of the law.
Could it be that issues of justice and mercy have been put on the sidelines of the Kingdom Agenda because it has been misconstrued to be a SOCIAL GOSPEL which emanates from LIBERATION THEOLOGY? Truth be told, JUSTICE AND MERCY are at the heart of the Kingdom Agenda. The Church should be a shining example in the way it administers JUSTICE AND MERCY within its ranks before it moves out to the wider community. Justice is about administering what is just, factual, reasonable, morally upright, fair, righteous, impartial and legally correct. Justice is about being careful in our judgement of others well knowing that its easier to see specks in other people’s eyes whilst ignoring glaringly visible logs in our own eyes. True justice from a Christian point of view is administered with the HEART AND MIND OF GOD.
The existence of the MERCY SEAT upon which the High Priest sprinkled blood once a year on the day of Atonement is a reminder that God’s judgement is based on MERCY. God deals with our sins today from the MERCY SEAT OF CALVARY. Truly speaking if God was to do justice to the sins of Preachers and Parishioners who fall away from grace, we would all be dead because the wages of sin is still DEATH. Furthermore the Psalmist shows us that MERCY is one of the attributes of God and his mercy endures forever (Psalm 136). The Hebrew word for mercy is RICHAM which means to be soft or to be gentle. Another word in singular form is RECHEM meaning WOMB which denotes that mercy is something which should come out of our innermost being. This implies that merciless people are heartless and womb-less. In the Christian community, mercy is seen in how we treat each other. Mercy should indeed focus on the POTENTIAL GOOD that may come out of a BAD SITUATION. The Apostle Paul supports the dispensing of mercy when he says, ‘Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, BOWELS OF MERCIES (from our innermost being) kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; fore-bearing one another and forgiving one another…’ (Colossians 3:12-13). 
In Part 2 of this sharing, we will look at how our Lord Jesus Christ was moved by WEIGHTIER MATTERS in his earthly ministry and how this should move us to TALK IT, WALK IT AND LOVE IT.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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