Fit For A King
Life From The Ground Up
September 11, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Every preacher knows that how a sermon is concluded can have a major impact on the listeners. Many books have been written that instruct the preacher how to "draw the net" so that the listener knows what to do with what they have heard. Jesus finishes up His most famous and longest sermon with a crystal-clear illustration that enables His audience to understand just how much is riding on their response to the Sermon on the Mount. Each one of us has the call to examine our own heart and to discern how our lives are presently aligned with what Jesus has said throughout this sermon. His final words serve as both an invitation and a warning to us. It is no small matter what we decide. Jesus is telling us that how we respond is a matter of eternal life or eternal death. He brings the entire sermon to a pointed end when He calls us to examine the foundation upon which we are presently building our lives.
Upon Closer Inspection
September 4, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Life for all of us is a summary of our choices and the results which come from those choices. We cannot control everything, but we can and must be proactively engaged in deciding what we will do without lives. The Christian life is no different in that all Jesus-followers make daily choices based on their identity in Christ and the level to which they are committed to follow Him by faith. Some would overly simplify the Christian life with clichés like, "Let go and let God!" Yet, there is a clear principle found in the bible that Christians must be prayerful, patient, discerning and wise when deciding how to live their lives. Ultimately, our lives are a reflection of what we think about Jesus, and that is not going to be revealed in excellence if we are casual. Many things in the believer's life requires closer inspection. In this message, Jesus calls for our careful consideration in four distinct areas when choosing our own paths during this life. A quick glance will not lead us down the right pathway. We need to pay close attention to who we are, what we believe, who we are following and where we are heading.
Pearls, Prayer, & People
August 28, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Sometimes, the Son of God went rapid-fire in His teachings. Sometimes, Jesus released some seemingly random teachings on His audience. While it is challenging to connect the dots in these teachings, we find within them some valuable help for our day to day lives. In this message, Jesus goes back-to-back-to-back with three Kingdom nuggets. From these teachings we are empowered in the areas of how to invest our lives, how to persist in a lifestyle of committed prayer and how to interact with other human beings in the normal rhythms of life.
Putting Down Your Gavel
August 14, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
As we enter into the final chapter of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, we encounter one of the clearest commands in all of this most famous message from the King. The command comes in the form of a correction. Jesus calls all of His followers to put down their gavels and cease from operating as verdict delivering judges against the lives of other people. The critical spirit is not imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. While Christians are called to declare the biblical truths concerning how God expects us all to live, there is a way that some believers operate which is nothing more than heartless judgmentalism. In this message, Jesus gives us both wisdom and warnings about our potential to live in this manner. Ultimately, Scripture reveals that there is only one final Judge. That judge is not me, nor is it you. We are set free through the words of Jesus to exit the lifestyle of evaluating, indicting, critiquing others. We are invited to love them in Spirit and in Truth.
August 7, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
There may be no greater commonality for human beings than our capacity to experience the activity and emotion of anxiety. Most of us have a worry impulse within us. We have a potential to worry about a whole host of things that comprise our lives on earth. Jesus did not ignore this reality and in this portion of His Sermon on the mount, He addresses this unhealthy reflex that lurks in most of us. Christians are not immune to worry, but we certainly do not need to tolerate it in our lives. Jesus reveals the weapon against worry, and it is within the arsenal of every one of His followers. In this message, Jesus invites us into a regular pattern of living that contains no lasting worries.
Picking Your Pathway
July 31, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
When the clock runs down and we find ourselves in the last days of our lives, we will be crossing the finish line that will have been defined by all of the countless choices we made during our lives. We ultimately arrive at the point of death in the place where we consistently aimed during our days of life. Taking nothing away from the sovereignty of God, the bottom-line truth about our lives is that we reap what we sow. Life is defined by our choices - what we did with what we were offered by God. In this portion of Jesus’ message on the hillside, He exposes one of the most familiar choices that all of us are faced with daily. Will we live our lives for the material world or the invisible world? Will we aim the trajectory of our lives for temporary treasures or eternal ones? We must answer this question while we are still living because the ultimate truth is that our own finish line does not actually occur when we die. We have an appointment after death with Jesus who will assess the full value of our lives and then dispense eternal rewards for us based on how we trusted and followed Him. It is in that place that we discover if we actually truly lived. In the end, we pick our own pathways.
Teach Us To Pray
July 24, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
The most famous teaching on prayer found in the Bible was actually part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Though Matthew does not disclose this detail, Luke 11:1 lets us know that Jesus released this teaching on prayer in response to some disciples' request to be taught how to prayer. Often called The Lord's Prayer, this simple teaching from the King helps us to grasp the heart of how Jesus desires for us to communicate in prayer with God. While there is not necessarily anything wrong with memorizing and repeating this prayer, Jesus was not teaching us to only pray these words. This prayer offers us a healthy heart-posture for our own prayers, which enables all the words we pray to God to become fruitful, honorable and powerful. Let's learn how to pray all over again by taking an in-depth look at Jesus recommended approach to dialogue with the Father.
Our Motives & Our Methods
July 17, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Have you taken time lately to think about that appointment we all have in the presence of King Jesus? Yes, all Christians are scheduled to stand before Him to receive a full evaluation of our lives as Christians. It is at this appointment that Jesus will assign a value and reward for how we lived for Him and what we did with what He entrusted to us. No matter who we are, what gifts and opportunities we were given or where we were born, Scripture declares that Jesus intends to reward us all according to our faithfulness to Him. This part of His message on the hillside calls us to think more thoroughly about how we are living - all the way down to the molecular level of our motives for worshiping, obeying and serving Him. Jesus calls people out of the form of religion and into the fullness of love and devotion.
But I Say to You: DIVORCE
July 10, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Divorce and remarriage are issues that the Church has offered various views upon over the centuries. While nearly half of all first-time marriages end in a divorce, it is not enough to simply acknowledge that there is a painful problem. One day, some religious leaders wanted to debate with Jesus over this issue. His response to their questions about divorce, alongside of what the Apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters, help us to understand much of the heart of God on the matter. There are two ditches that Christians must avoid when considering the issue of divorce and remarriage: indulgent coddling and loveless condemnation. We need to know what God thinks and exalt that as our own adopted view.
But I Say to You: ANGER
June 26, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
"As Jesus goes deeper into His message on the hillside, He begins to move His hearers beyond the popularly accepted religious teachings of their day. Opening with a shocking statement about the eternal destination of the Jewish leaders and teachers, Jesus intentionally shifts focus from our outward moral behaviors to the inward condition of our hearts. While all of those listening would agree that murder is a sin, Jesus calls them to address the deeper issue of unresolved anger in their hearts. In doing so, He begins a portion of the Sermon on the Mount that forces all of us to diagnose the status of our own hearts before His exalted Kingdom expectations for us. Actions are easier to manage than attitudes. The King wants all of His followers to know that He did not come to enforce a new moral behavioral list of regulations. He came to completely transform our hearts."
The Day Jesus Talked About Sex
June 9, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Most of us would be surprised to do a survey of the Bible with our goal to be to discern what is written therein about human sexuality. Scripture is filled with references about sex. These references include the beauty of marital intimacy, the prohibition from God of sex outside of marriage, and the consequences that arise when we lean to our own understanding concerning sexuality. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called His audience to develop and guard a holy attitude about sexual desire. There is one God-blessed outlet for human sexuality, and there are countless other outlets that people, even Christians, choose which lead to heartbreak, sin and personal loss. What did the Son of God have to say about sex? In the current generation that has much to say about sexuality, we need to listen carefully to Jesus and let His voice be the one which guides us.
June 5, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
Jesus calls His followers to live out well-seasoned and brightly shining lives. We are not to hide from the world. Christians do not live in retreat or recluse. The goal of the Gospel points upward in worship and outward in mission. In these verses from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us who we are in Him, and what He has fully accomplished for us. He exposes the weakness of trusting in moral religion. Jesus declares that He has fulfilled all that the Law demands so that we are free to live motivated by trust and love rather than fear and striving. He is calling us to put Him on full and public display as we live out our lives in a world that does not know Him. Religion demands that we behave. Jesus demands that we believe. Between these two demands, eternity hangs in the balance for us.
Groans & Glory
May 29, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
One of the most challenging things for us to process is how to reconcile the truth that all Christians are unspeakably loved, graced and blessed by God while, at the same time, recognizing that we are not kept insulated from loss, pain and suffering. As we approach the last beatitude, we hear what Jesus teaches about our being persecuted because of our loyalty to Him. The bible promises persecution for all who live committed lives to Jesus. But this is NEVER the end of the story. The Savior emphatically reminds us of the glorious end of the Christian’s story so that we might overcome the painful days that we experience before we reach that appointed end.
May 22, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
There are two misunderstandings and misrepresentations of Christians that are stereotyped in America. The first is that Christians are pushovers who are to roll over and play dead, passive, weak and irrelevant. The other stereotype is that we are militant, dominating, suppressive and threatening. Neither of these misrepresentations are sourced in the bible. The fact is that the Church of Jesus is the mightiest people on the planet. We have strength that no other people possess because it is imparted from God Himself. Yet, with that strength, we operate in love and gentleness. We are not threatening, intimidating or operating in fleshly dominance. The last four beatitudes reveal what it means for Jesus-followers to live as gentle giants.
The Blessedness Of Brokenness
May 15, 2019 • Jeff Lyle
As Jesus begins to release His sermon on the mount, He imparts to His hearers what are commonly referred to as the beatitudes. These are the core values of His heart and, therefore, Jesus’ Kingdom. While our tendency is to look at these beatitudes as rules to follow, that is not the intention of Jesus. He is simply stating these things as the things He values and what He imparts to His followers. With each beatitude, there is an attached reward. These first four of the eight core values that Jesus teaches deal with the inner condition of our hearts. Clearly, as we hear Him impart what He values to us, we are quick to discern that Jesus is completely different than the world around us and its values. He invites us to join Him in this life of distinction.