THURSDAY, JANUARY 11
Scripture: Matthew 5 – 10
In Matthew chapters 5-10 we have the Sermon on the Mount. In these teachings Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ministry. Matthew 10:1-10 was where He first sent out the twelve. In first sending out the twelve He tells them not to go into the way of the Gentiles and do not enter a city of the Samaritans, but go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This passage says, “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. ‘But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. ‘And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” In this passage of Matthew they were being prepared to evangelize the Jewish nation and because they were going to covenant people they were told, do not resist an evil person. Their assignment was to sow seeds of salvation bringing the kindness of the Lord that leads people to repentance. It is primarily when the church is in the evangelistic mode sowing seeds of salvation to individuals that we overlook their evil. Once we move away from that evangelistic, personal arena of ministry, then we are free to restrain the evil with Spirit-initiated prayers of judgment! By teaching Matthew 5:38-39 as the full definition of the love of God we turn the entire church into Elis who did not restrain evil but were passive in the face of death and destruction and that is how all seven mountains slid further into peril. It is obvious where we missed it. The church today is nicer than their God!