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Dr. Ed Young - Mountain of Redemption

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    Dr. Ed Young - Mountain of Redemption
TOPICS: Redemption

In biblical days, the rabbis would walk around and teach, but when they sat down that indicated hold on. They were going to say something really eternal and important and, therefore, they were no longer walking around, but now they sat down, and the people were standing. Have you noticed that when you come to church that I've been doing the standing? Maybe we should... no, no, no, no, you may be seated. Jesus sat down and then we have five chapters in which he tells us, "This is how you live if you're in my kingdom". In other words, he gives us a spiritual examination. All of us have had physical examinations. I don't like them. You don't like them. Anybody who likes a physical, something is wrong with you.

You wonder about your report, how it will come in, but here Jesus gives a spiritual examination, and he says in these words, "If you are a kingdom person, if you are in my kingdom, if you belong to me, if you're my son, you're my daughter, this is how you are to live". And you read the Sermon on the Mount. It is a hard Word. I'll be honest with you. I don't like it, because remember what he did. He took the moral understanding of that day, and he elevated it to a level of right and wrong that the world had never heard of before. He said, "It was said of them of old time". He's talking about the Torah. "This is what God spoke in the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament". He said, "This is what you've been taught all of your life and all of you believe the Torah. It is the authoritative, final Word of God". But Jesus said, "I say unto you..."

What an obnoxious, overpowering thing to say and nothing he ever uttered was more staggering than those words. "This is what the Torah says, but I say unto you," and he took right and wrong to a level that the world had never heard of before and the world has never heard of since. Think about it. You've got your little private world. I do: my mind, my imagination, that voice inside of me, that voice inside of you. And that's hidden. Nobody knows what's going on in there, and you don't know what's going on in here, and I don't know what's going on in there, and surely that's something we can own, we can possess, we can control.

That has nothing to do with right and wrong, but Jesus says, "Wait a minute. It certainly does," because as you think, as your motives are, you're accountable to God for your thinking, your imagination, for your motives, of that part of you and that part of me that nobody can see. And that's where we get in trouble, isn't it? Yeah, that's where we get in trouble. I thought if I didn't do that and I did that, man, I'm okay. Jesus said, "Oh, no, no, no, no, it's the inside of you". You mean I can hate somebody and not let anybody know but that's... no, no, Jesus says you'll have to answer to murder. You mean I can have lust in my heart and nobody can know about that. No, you'll have to answer to adultery.

"Jesus, this is so high. This is beyond anything I ever imagined," and then we stand up, and he gives us this spiritual examination to see how you're doing and see how I am doing. And so, he starts off with what we call the Beatitudes, and it's interesting. There are eight of them. The eighth one is mentioned twice, and they all begin with the word "blessed," and I have taught this, and it's not a bad translation. You could say "happy are those," "happy are those," "happy are those," or "to be congratulated are those," or "to be congratulated". That's not bad, but that's not really what the word "blessed" means. The word "blessed" means to be approved by God, and Jesus is saying, "If you're to be approved by God and I'm to be approved by God, here is the grid. Here is the standard that we have to put down".

I don't like that standard. You don't like that standard, either, but it is the standard of the kingdom. The kingdom has come. The kingdom is here. It's God's standard for those who are in his family, and he says, "Blessed", it means approved by God. I wish we had time to stand up here, and I just say, "Hey, come up here and stand right here. Let's just give you a spiritual. Are you approved by God? And let's just look at all the areas and..." As I have in my life and, by the way, it wasn't a great, wonderful moment when I put myself in the middle of this and turned the light of God's truth on my life. I took the spiritual, and it wasn't the highlight of my week let me assure you of that, because if there is any garbage in any part of your life and my life, I can tell you we turn on the light, the penetrating light of God's Word, God's truth in this magnificent sermon, it's not very pleasant.

We take this, kind of, spiritual, because I believe everybody here, if you say, "What do you want more than anything else"? I want God's approval. I want God's applause. I want God's okay. I want God to say, "Yeah, you're all right. You're in the kingdom. You're doing a good job, or you could improve here, but, man, basically, man, you're on my team". That's what we wanna hear, God's approval. Nothing should be more important to you and more important to me than in your life and my life. Guess what? God approves of it, but we look at his standards, they are so high. Not on the outside, but the inside, so we look at what God approves of in the Beatitudes. I want us to look at them.

First of all, he said God approves of the merciful. What's a synonym for being merciful? What is that? What's the synonym? What's the word? What else means merciful to you? It's all right. What? Forgiving. What else could be merciful? Compassion. There you go. That's probably the best, but, you know, to be merciful, to have mercy is different than having compassion. Totally different. I love the story I read a long, long time ago, "Androcles and the Lion". It's, sort of, a children's story. George Bernard Shaw, and Androcles was a slave, and he was horribly treated. He ran away. He was a fugitive. There is a price on his head, and Androcles was hiding in a cave, and this lion came by limping and had a deep thorn in one of its paws, and Androcles boldly went out and approached the lion and took the lion in the cave and began to pull that thorn out with great pain to the lion.

Finally, he got it out, and Androcles looked after that lion and its paw until the lion left. Years went by. Androcles was still a slave, and he was captured and caught. They put him in the Colosseum and the penalty was death, and so they let loose this lion to go and consume him, as they did others. And this lion came running out and all the people are applauding, and the lion goes and jumps on Androcles not to attack him but just to embrace him, and he begins to lick him, and Androcles begins to rub his back, and they, sort of, playfully wrestle and love together, and the people are astounded. Here is a lion, man, just starving, ready to consume him and here Androcles was playing with it, and they were having a great time together. Of course, it was the lion that he took the paw out years before.

I like that story. It's a good story but if modern novelists would tell the story, they would take it right up to this point, and the lion would go out and would have forgotten, and he would consume Androcles. That's the way we tell it today, but, see, that's a beautiful picture of mercy. The slave, at great risk, showed mercy to the lion, and the lion years later returned that mercy. "Blessed are the merciful. They shall receive mercy". And you say, "Boy, that's really a compassionate thing, but mercy is more than compassion". Fourteen-year-old boy broke into three stores in a small town, took things from all three. They caught him, stood before the judge, juvenile court, and the first merchant said, "You know, this boy is 14 and, Your Honor, I'm not gonna press charges. I think maybe he's learned his lesson. I'm not gonna press charges. I'm not worried about that which he had stolen from my store".

See, that's compassion, isn't it? And the second guy stood up. He said, "Look, I'm not like this other owner. I'm gonna press charges. I want the full extent of the law to be displayed in this 14-year-old. He needs to go to juvenile prison, he needs discipline, and I want to press everything. He gets the full power of the law for the crime he's committed". That's justice, isn't it? But the third store owner was a woman, and he had taken more from her than the other two combined, and when she stood up she didn't even look at the judge. She looked at that young boy and said, "Son, God doesn't want you to be a thief. He wants better things to come to your life". And he says, "For that reason," she says, "I'm gonna press charges, and I want you to be found guilty because you are guilty". But she said, "I want the judge to turn you over to me, and I want you to come and live in my home with my kids, and I want you to work in that store that you have stolen for because I believe in you, and I think I can help God build the right stuff in your life".

See, that's mercy. Compassion isn't, and we're so guilty of this. Well, somebody tells us a terrific problem, and we say, "I'm gonna pray for you. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna pray for you," when you could have helped and done something about that situation. I believe in prayer. Don't misunderstand me, but prayer without legs and generosity and walking into someone's life if you can is illegitimate. You show compassion. You don't show mercy. That's a difference. Jesus says, "You're on my team. You're in my family. If you show mercy, because you'll receive mercy," and, ladies and gentlemen, we all need a lot of mercy. Look at the next thing that we see here. It says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God".

A heart that is pure enables us to see God. What do we see? You see what you're trained to see. I see what I'm trained to see. You see what you're interested in. I see what I'm interested in. I drive around. You can't take me by a church. "I don't notice the church". Nobody has even noticed the church. I notice the church. Go off to the woods with a botanist. Man, we see trees and weeds and a few flowers. Go through with a botanist, and they will see, oh, the beauty of the flower. They may see something that's rare, something that's unique. And you walk through, a botanist, they see things and flowers and foliage in woods that we never see, because they're trained to see that. "Blessed are the pure in heart," unadulterated, unmixed, no other alloy there, "for they alone see God". Psalm 24, "Who shall I send in this holy place? Oh, only those that have clean hands and a pure heart," a pure heart.

Then look at the next one that we see there. He said you have the approval of God also if you are a peacemaker. It's blessed are the peace what? Makers. I don't just celebrate peace in my own life, in my heart. I'm in the business of making peace where I go. Now, to be a peacemaker is highly, highly risky. You know that? You take a chance. You become a peacemaker. Don't do it capriciously. I can tell you I've sought to be a peacemaker between a man and a woman, trying to get them back together, and when I got through they liked each other but they hated me.

A peacemaker is an activist, an activist. How do you make peace in the world? One historian said the only way it will ever come is we get invaded from outer space and all the aliens attack the earth, and we see that the earth is about to be destroyed. He said then all the people will come together and fight those aliens in order to save the earth. He said that's the only way we'll ever have peace.

I can tell you that historian, Will Durant, did not know Jesus Christ, but in Jesus Christ you have peace regardless of background, culture, geography, or anything else. You see that. You can go around the world. I've been a lot of places, I've met a lotta people in every walks of life, and if they're a Christian it cuts across every other single thing in life. Peace. Blessed are those we're active in peace. We're active in bringing about reconciliation. We are peacemakers. That's the kind of person that God approves. And what is the result? He says, "You're in my family". I don't know what family you're in. The Youngs have a mixed bag, I will tell you that, but, boy, to be in the family of God, boy.

"You're in my family if you are a peacemaker". Then it says, "Blessed are the persecuted," persecuted for righteousness, for advocating goodness, for taking a stand for Jesus Christ, and the result is the same result we have in the first Beatitude. You get the kingdom of heaven, if you're persecuted for righteousness. Let me tell you something. Unless a church today experiences persecution, I doubt that's a church that's really a church. Do you understand that? Jesus said... look at it in John 15. He says very clearly what this is all about. He says, this is Jesus, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you". That's from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, persecution isn't what we think it is many times. You may be familiar with the story of the gospel blimp. It's a story of a small town that wanted to tell everybody about Jesus, and so they bought a blimp, and they wrote on the side of the blimp, "Jesus saves," and they put banners behind that blimp telling people to go to church, telling people they're going to hell without Christ. And they flew over a little town. They dropped tracts, leaflets out telling people how to know Christ. Then, finally, that wasn't enough. They got a loud speaker, and they went around preaching eight hours a day in this little town, shouting from the gospel blimp overhead.

Finally, the people had enough, and so they passed an ordinance, a law, that they could not infringe on the privacy of people the way they were doing it in a very obnoxious way. And then, somebody sabotaged the blimp, and they met in church, and they said, "Oh, we're being persecuted for righteousness' sake". No, they weren't. To be righteous means that we live as Christ. We put light in dark places, and he says blessed are those who are persecuted for righteous' sake, and then this last verse and, sort of, a staggering thing happens. I missed it for many years and when I saw it I said, "Look at this".

The 11th verse said, "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you". Up till this time they said blessed are those, all the other Beatitudes, those, those. Third person. Now, he underscored this kind of persecution and said, "Blessed are you". He brings it home. He's saying I have responsibility. You have responsibility. That when persecution comes, it comes right to us because we are seeking to live a life that is righteous.

Now, we take this spiritual and all of a sudden I say, "That's beyond me. Who can live up to this? Who can live up... how do we live this kingdom life, this heavenly life on this Earth"? That's what Jesus is asking us to do. How do we always make those righteous, good moral choices? Plato the philosopher said the answer is education. He said if you educate everybody and really teach them how to use their mind, their reason, and make choices, he said when they are well-educated we'll see that when I do something that is wrong the end results will be pain and misery, but I do something right, I make a right choice, the end result will be joy and happiness. He said if we can educate people and let them see that and that's the reason you got a lot of people around the world saying the answer to all the world problems is education, education, education, education.

By the way, as a parenthesis forgetting that Germany, prior to the coming of Adolf Hitler, was by far the most educated, literate nation in the world, but we won't bring that up, but it's true. Why is education not the answer? You know why? It's because your passions and my passions are stronger than reason. Oh, yeah, they are. They are. We live in a fallen world and therefore my will, "Oh, I desire," doesn't have enough strength to always make those good choices. My emotions, "Oh, I want to," will mostly be right, but my emotions, because my emotions are fallen, do not always make those choices, so how in the world can we live up to this? You can't, I can't, remember?

But as Christ being formed in you and formed in me, Galatians 5. And then Ephesian 4 it says Jesus comes when we invite him. He puts in you and he puts in me his righteousness. He puts in you and he puts in me his nature and then all of a sudden we have his divine power in us that enable us to have our reason redeemed, our emotions redeemed, and our will redeemed, because the bottom line in this kingdom-of-God business: we all are in rehearsal. This whole life is rehearsal. Did you know that? Our earthly life is simply a rehearsal for our heavenly life. A baby in the mother's womb is preparation for that baby to live in the world, right, outside the womb, right?

We in the world, seeking to be a part and living in God's kingdom, the world is a womb in which we live as preparation for us to pop out into heaven. It's a rehearsal. We'll be born from this Earth into heaven as we are born from our mother's womb on this Earth and that's what the kingdom business is all about. Oh, we summarize all these wonderful things by which God puts his approval on your life and approval on my life, but the Beatitude that I like best of all is God approves the pure in heart, for they shall see God. There is a Broadway play I've mentioned so many times. I didn't see it, but, boy, I love the title, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever". That's what we need. That's what Christ offers. Blessed. You have the approval of God when you have a pure heart, because you'll see God everywhere and every when, every time and every place that you go.
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