Sermon on the Mount 1

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)

 

The Beatitudes

Jesus, the disciples, the people (a divine staging)

Before, on the lake stage of Galilee, Jesus had yet preached (Matth. 4, 17):

“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

“How, where, what? Where kingdom of heaven?” some people may have thought, when they heard Jesus preaching sitting in the rowing-boat of the fishermen. But the one, preaching about the kingdom of heaven, he himself was it. The ordinary man Jesus from Nazareth was Christ the Son of God. The heavenly king visits his people in the form of an ordinary man, and must be realized as Christ by faith.  His words and works that means his powerful words and divine works testify that he is the Son of God. Therefore the disciples didn’t doubt that Jesus was the Christ and followed him.

Maybe the people wanted to enthrone Jesus when they saw which miracles he did, but Jesus doesn’t want to be an earthly king, because  he is the king of an invisible kingdom (by the way when Jesus would reveal himself in visible glory that would mean judgmentday). Of course Jesus is a king, but at first he wanted his royal rule to be hidden, because at first he didn’t want to judge, but to save people.

Jesus feels himself forced to leave the midst of the people.

Jesus stages a divine opera on a natural stage for the audience of people. Jesus the main “actor” comes on stage and after him the disciples. What shall be acted?

Answer:

The people see Jesus coming out of the multitude going upon the mountain. By an invisible force the disciples are attracted to their master. They join him and stay by him. Men in communion with Christ, the objective of history.

The choreography is pefect: Jesus and his disciples like a city on the mount  which cannot be hidden: The City of God (Civitas Dei).

Jesus beatifys his disciples:

Jesus bows down to the poor little sinners (the disciples considered themselfes as poor sinners) and dresses them with clothes of honour of divine words: The Beatitudes. The poorest people on earth – God himself dresses them with clothes of salvation. The breath of the watching people is taken away, and they stand there with open mouth the jaw hanging down.

The disciples had left the world which is locked up in primitive categories, and followed Jesus. By accompanying Jesus they expressed: this middle-class world is somehow backward, and we want to live in the categories of a new world together with Jesus. Compared with Jesus all shine (selfrighteousness, honour, power, beauty) and wealth of this world seemed to be junk for them.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. The disciples had to start again from the beginning in the communion of Jesus. A carpenter apprentice compared with his master carpenter is poor concerning the know-how of making roofs. The disciples were poor compared with Jesus concerning the know-how of pastoral care. They just came out of this bad world of the selfrighteous, egoists, estimating the worth of human beings according to their usefulness.

The disiples are ready to go to Jesus shool. They admit that the world had almost assimilated them, and with joy they shift under the care of Jesus. Jesus fills up the poverty of his beloved apprentices by giving them the kingdom of heaven (note: he himself is the kingdom of heaven), that means they are allowed to be in Gods presence from now on up to eternity. The poorest people on earth – God invites them to sit at a table together with him.

Blessed are they that mourn. The longer they follow Jesus the more the disciples will see the world with Gods eyes. The judgementday approaches and only a few people prepare themselfs for this day. To the contrary the people defraud themselfs and fix their gaze on the visible things. The disciples love their fellow human beings and want to wake up them from their deadly sleep. Although the disciples just want to help the world, the world perceives them as trouble-makers. The world wants to continue to dream for ever and doesn’t want to be woken up. The disciples are not allowed, and also don’t want to use violence to bring someone to heaven. They just can preach the gospel, and then commend the people to God. The mouth of the hell is open very wide and the disciples helplessly watch people entering and getting consumed by the hell.

Is there a bigger pain, is their a bigger sorrow, than to see things like that? The disciples find no comfort on earth, but in Gods presence they shall be comforted now and for ever. The disciples don’t feel happyness in this world, but they mourn. Because of that they are called enemies of mankind. The sorrow without measure would have to consume the disciples, but God himself wants to be their comfort. God himself will wipe away their tears. The followers, rejected and chessed away by the world, find God welcoming them with open arms.  Fear, pain, sorrow will be consumed by the deep love of Jesus Christ in Gods City, yet visible on the mountain slope.

Blessed are the meek. Jesus said: “they own the kingom of heaven and they shall be comforted”. Not now but, in the future the  disciples will own the kingdom of earth. “They WILL own the earth”. It is important to notice that Jesus said: “in the FUTURE they will own, but not now“. Jesus allows the religious leaders of Israel to hunt him from one place to another. When he is persecuted at one place he gives way and goes to the next place. Jesus doesn’t resist by violence. He preaches the gospel and heals the sick people, that’s all. Jesus speaks plainly and clearly, but he doesn’t use violence. This is simply Gods nature: he prefers to be struck instead to strike. The citizens of this world don’t hate anything more than meekness. The citizens of this world put through their rights by every means. Although Jesus was the lawful king of Israel and could have ruled by violence, he behaved meekly: He doesn’t use violence, he gives way when he is persecuted, tolerates to be abused as a possessed one, tolerates to be chessed away out of synagogues, to be robed (Jude), tolerates to be called a gluttonous and winebibber and finally tolerates to be struck, to be spat upon, to be mocked and to be crucified. Starting from Golgatha where the most meek one died the earth will be renewed.
People living in the meekness of Jesus will own the kingdom of earth in the remote future. The people who had nearly no space on earth will own the earth in the future. With his powerful words Jesus comforts the disciples and gives them hope in a world where they can see no future for themselfs. The congregation of the people having silently tolerated to loose all, king God will give them the whole earth! A mountain had become a cathedral, later a cathedral the whole earth will be made.

To be continued.

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The Cross

The discipleship and the cross

 

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and [of] the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. 34 And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8, 31-38)

Jesus should not merely die for the sinners, but also be rejected. The crucifixion of Jesus did not mean mere suffering, but being rejected. At the cross Jesus suffered, rejected, without dignity and honour, by virtue of divine necessity.

The disciples knew, that Jesus was the Messia (Peter had that just confessed in Caesarea Philipi on the disciples behalf). They could imagine to rule together with him, but when Jesus began to speak about suffering and rejection Peter found it necessary to require Jesus to calm down. Yet in her first beginnings the Church didn’t want to share the cross of her Lord.

Jesus must tell it the disciples plainly and clearly that he cannot spare them from suffering and to be rejected in the discipleship of their Lord. Someone who doesn’t want to suffer and to be rejected with him, cannot be his disciple. If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Take up one’s cross, means: to suffer and to be rejected like Jesus.

As we have heard already baptism is the call to discipleship. As soon as we hear the call, wanting to live our baptism, our life must change totally. The baptism means death and life for us. Without baptism we could never bury our old life and begin a New Life. At baptism we die together with Christ and at baptism we resurrect together with Christ. Christ calls us out of our old attachments that means out of our old life by baptism and that means suffering and dying. In chapter “call to discipleship” we have already seen that the beginning of christian life can be accompanied by some trouble. The joy of discipleship is the community of the believers in the Church.

Because of our belonging to Christ we will be rejected by the world.

After we have been called by Christ we daily fight against sin and devil. Every day we will face new attacks by flesh and world and that means another suffering.

Particularly the christian will be strongly attacked and consequently must forgive much, also that is suffering.

The true Church will prefer suffering and rejection instead of being ashamed of her Lord. The true Chruch will not be ashamed of both her Lord and His commandments, but prefer suffering.

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The Call

The call to discipleship

Introduction

The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works. In our subsequent chapters we shall try to find a message for those who are troubled by this problem, and for whom the word of grace has been emptied of all its meaning.  This message must be spoken for the sake of truth, for those among us who confess that through cheap grace they have lost the following of Christ, and further, with the following of Christ, have lost the understanding of costly grace. To put it quite simply, we must undertake this task because we are now ready to admit that we no longer stand in the path of true discipleship. We confess although our Church is orthodox  as far as her doctrine of grace is concerned, we we are no longer sure that we are members of a Church which follows its Lord. We must therefore attempt to recover a true understanding of the mutual relation between grace and discipleship. The issue can no longer be evaded. It is becoming clearer every day that the most urgent problem besetting our Church is this: How can we live the Christian life in the modern world? (this text was made by D. Bonhoeffer, book “Cost of Discipleship”, Chapter 1)

Gospel of Mark 2.14: And as he passed by he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the place of toll, and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

Is Jesus mad? Who shall collect the toll when Levi leaves his place? What will the romans say? What shall be the livelihood of Levi now? All this questions Mark doesn’t deal with, because they are unnecessary. Mark didn’t note by intention more than this short text, because he doesn’t want to answer this questions.

We must take in account, that Christ, the Son of God is the calling one. The highest person of the universe (higher than Caesar or king) comes to Levi and requires him to follow. The highest doesn’t have to justify himself for his action.

When Levi arose and followed he became a believer.

Believer means believer as we understand it today.

God calls Levi and under the influence of this powerful call Levi subordinates himself under the rule of God, that means he becomes a believer.

Are we allowed to imitate Levis action 1:1? Answer: The action of Levi means for us to let Jesus rule all areas of our life, when he calls us.  Considering Levi, Peter, John etc. we must take in account, that Jesus actually had a task for them, which was more important than their earthly profession: Fishing man.

Yet when Jesus lived on earth there were a lot of diciples and he just ordained 12 of them to be Apostles. The most of us will first stay in their job, but it is chrystal clear for them, that their job can be placed to disposal for kingdom of heavens sake everytime.

There is no need for explanation that there are jobs, not compatible with christinity: Pimp, publisher of porn, prostitute, casino-boss, pub-boss etc..

Even in a honorable profession sometimes a decision is necessary: It can happen that someone must shift his working place, because the boss requires things, bringing someone in conflict with the commandments. Lorry driver is a very honorable profession, but what will be when the boss requires to defraud concerning the times of rest. The fraud would be the least, but a driver hasn’t slept enough will put at risk his own life and the life of the other road-users: You shallst not kill!

What about the seller being required to put new labels on spoiled meat? If he is christian he doesn’t want solely to be obidient to his boss but he is also concerned about the health of the customers: Love your neighbour like yourself!

What about the farmer, whose monthly income is directly proportional to the quantity of pesticide he uses. When he is a christian he will not be solely concerned about his income but also about the people who will eat the bread made out of his wheat. You shallst not kill!

Can a christian pay dumping wages and at the same time live in a palace in Beverly Hills.

The list could be continued without end. Finally everybody is responsible before God, what he can do and what he cannot do.

Now we have realized grace can really be costly.

When Jesus lived on earth he called by audible voice. Today he calls by Holy Baptism. Baptism is administered by the Church. God is the actual baptist. Baptism comes from above that means from heaven. It is not very important which Church baptizes as long as the Church acknowledges the sacramental character of baptism. Someone who has been baptized can no longer claim he is not able to believe because by baptism he has experienced the most powerful revelation of the living God. After baptism there is sole obidience.

By the way Grace is not only costly because we have to leave things but also because we are not allowed to be ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should try to keep in touch with other believers no matter what other people will say. Keeping in touch with other believers we keep in touch with Jesus Christ because he is present in his Church. Faith is not compatible with cowardice.

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Confessing Church

Confessing Church

 

During the Third Reich true christians saw a problem emerging, the Nazis tried to rule the German Evangelical Church (DEK, today EKD). Regrettably a lot of the members of the DEK welcomed the Nazi-rule both over the DEK and the state. When the  faithful christians noticed that the Nazi-rule over the DEK grew more and more they decided to establish the Confessing Church. The Confessing Church was the real Church of Jesus Christ in Germany during the Third Reich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the most gifted theologian of the Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer was very straightforward and sometimes his “speed” was to high for other members of the Confessing Church.

However the Third Reich is over, but the German Evangelical Chruch (EKD) still exists and has a lot of problems. Of course there are evil powers not wanting that the problems of the EKD are solved. This powers don’t want that Bonhoeffer becomes well known as a theologian and try to turn publics gaze on the “agent” Bonhoeffer. They know the theology of Bonhoeffer would mean their sure downfall and distruction and would bring disaster upon them.

What is the special thing of Bonhoeffers theology?

The basis of the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer is the Holy Scripture and the Confessional Documents of the German Evangelical Church. Bonhoeffer was never a member of a Free Church, but of the Confessing Church. The Confessing Chruch was not a Free Church, but the lawful Protestant Church of Germany. Bonhoeffer never discarded the Sacraments and he called Baptism and Holy Supper  Sacraments. Bonhoeffer was far away from seeing the Sacraments as mere symbolic acts. Bonhoeffer was convinced, that God is acting during the celebration of the Sacraments. Bonhoeffer had a profound knowledge of the Early Church and knew that the sacraments had always been part of the ecclesiastical life. There is a big problem that today some Free Churches suppose that Baptism and Holy Supper had not been sacraments but mere sombolic acts in the Early Church and that the Roman-Catholic Church had later invented the sacramentel character of Baptism and Holy Supper. Free Churches should be carefully not to see Bonhoeffer as their special man, because he is not.

Is Bonhoeffer the special man of the current EKD? Not at all. Althoug the EKD keeps the true doctrine about the Sacraments  she abuses them. How? The EKD baptizes children in a sphere of unbelievers. On principle the infant baptism is allowed and was practised in the Early Church. But in the Early Church all people around the child were believers so that the child could have faith before he or she was baptized. Furthermore faithful parents teached the gospel to their children and took them  with themselfs to worship service and other activities of the Church. Bonhoeffer strictly rejected the infant baptism in a sphere of unbelievers.

Bonhoeffer said the basic problem of the EKD is that they preach the “cheap grace”. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship. The people want to have forgiveness, but they don’t want to follow Jesus. Bonhoeffer said one cannot seperate forgivness and discipleship from eachother. It is not possible to receive forgivness without discipleship.

What is the connection between abuse of infant baptism and cheap grace?

Unbelievers will never teach the gospel to their children even when they are baptized and will never go to church with their children. Gods call by baptism is upon the children but nobody explains it to them. On the contrary they maintain the fiction that baptism is all about christianity and discipleship is not necessary. The EKD should never baptize children in a sphere of unbelievers, because the Sacrament will be mocked. By mocking the Sacrament God is mocked.

Even when people go to Church they don’t hear the true gospel and that they are called by baptism to be disciples of Jesus Christ. By baptizing children of unbelievers the cheap grace is preached, baptism means sole forgiveness. And even when the people go to Church they will hear the gospel of the cheap grace. Thus in both cases the Sacrament is mocked and remains ineffective.

 

Bonhoeffer made a great discovery: By baptism Jesus calls people to be his disciples. Baptism is a supernatural call which must be responded by obidience. The call of God is very powerful. By the power of the call someone can be a follower of Jesus, but not by his natural power. The call is the mystery of successful discipleship.

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Costly Grace

Costly Grace

 

One may say: “What is costly grace?, how can grace be costly?” Of course grace is for free, that is the very meaning of the word. Surely, grace can never have a price, because then it would not be grace.

However in his book “Cost of Discipleship” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a pastor of the Confessing Church) uses the term “costly grace”. Bonhoeffer said there are people wanting to have forgiveness but don’t want to repent their sins. This people believe that God should forgive them only because they consider the term “God is gracious, Jesus loves you without condition” as a true term. Forgiveness without repentance is “cheap grace”. “Costly grace” means forgiveness in connection with repentance and the desire to be set free by Jesus.

Many members of the current churches believe in the “cheap grace”. They see no necessity to follow Jesus in connection with forgiveness of their sins. All that people will get lost!!! The true gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ tells us that forgiveness must be connected with discipleship.

By the way it would not be correct to say we have to pay forgiveness with discipleship. Not at all. Even in contrary when someone thinks in this direction he is in danger to be damned, because he wants to pay a price he is not able to pay. This is the true gospel that forgiveness is for free.

Now someone may say:; “You are stupid, first you say forgiveness must be connected with discipleship and now you say forgiveness is for free, how do you mean it?” Here is the solution of the problem: In fact God wants to give us two gifts: Forgivess and a New Life. Either we take both presents or God will give us nothing. Assumed we take both presents we will not try to pay the forgiveness by our New Life, but the New Life is just a natural thing for us. When God has called us we live a New Life in the power of that call and at the same time we have forgiveness in the power of that call.

Someone may say: “I have understood that forgiveness and discipleship is connected, but I have not yet understood the meaning of the term ‘costly grace’.” God had to pay a high price for our redemption: The sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ had to become man and died for us at the cross of Golgatha. The Son of God was punished for our sins. God had a lot of trouble to make grace possible, thus grace should be precious for us. Because our sins brought Jesus to the cross, we cannot remain sinners. Jesus shed his precious blood for us consequently we have to give him our life.

Although the New Life is a gift we receive from above it can cost us a lot on earth. That is the second meaning of the term “costly grace”. The New Life is a life under the rule of Jesus Christ. When we start the christian life we must subordinate all areas of our life to Jesus Christ. An example: An employee of a bank wants to become a christian. Sometimes a bank trys to sell securities to its customers having more advantages for the bank than for the customer. Of course from its employee the bank requires not to tell the customer something about the disadvantages of a security and thus the employee is forced to lie.

Of course a christian is not allowed to lie and that means the employee has to make a hard decision. In this case subordinating his life under the rule of Jesus Christ means to hand in his notice. It is not easy at all to give up a job and it can cause a lot of trouble, but for Jesus sake one should be ready to offer his job. By giving up his job the employee doesn’t try to get the favour of God, but he just does a normal or natural thing in Gods eyes.

The worst heresy on earth is the doctrine of “cheap grace”. Everywhere is proclaimed the “cheap grace”: Believe the term “God is gracious, Jesus loves you without condition” and get saved. How can we get rid of false prophets, preaching such lies?

DANGER: There are some sects making an idol out of disipleship. How do I mean that? True discipleship starts with the call of Jesus Christ. Everthing depends on the call. The call is supernatural. Only the call makes discipleship possible. People trying to follow Jesus without HIS call make an idol out of discipleship. How does Jesus call someone today? Today He calls us through his holy Church. When Jesus lived on earth he called with audible voice: “Follow me!” Nowadays this call takes place through Holy Baptism. The Baptism is a sacramental act and God acts during Baptism. Peter was a believer by just following Jesus after He had called him. We are believers when we are just obidient after He has baptized us by his Church.

Note: Infant Baptism is valid. Re-Baptism is prohibited. An adult who has just found Jesus in his riper years can refer to his sacramental Infant Baptism, he mustn’t be baptized again. Even in the USA there are Churches keeping the one Holy Baptism as sacrament: Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran etc.. All re-baptizing sects don’t belong to the true Church of Jesus Christ.

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Crisis of the Christian Church

The Christian Church currently experiences a big crisis. Never in history homosexuals were ordained to pastors. When the Church continues to pervert the gospel, God will abort the Church.

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Homosexual pastors

It is a disaster that more and more churches ordain homosexual pastors. Someone must violate the bible to reason ordination of homosexuals to pastors by the bible. The statements of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans are very clear and one must have a twisted brain to misunderstand St. Paul or he wants to misunderstand by intention.

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