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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 04) - The Other Side of Blessing - Part 2

Sunday English Service - 19 NOV 17


Let's turn to Matthew's gospel Chapter 5 please. In our teaching on the series on work, we first talked about what God's original design was for work, how God designed it for man. Before the sin and the fall came what was God's original design and purpose in giving man work. That was the first part we talked about. Then we talked about how work got difficult after sin and the curse as a result of sin came into this world - how it made work difficult. Then now the third part is about how after Christ has come, after our redemption, how that affects our work. See, after sin came the curse came - the curse made everything difficult. After Jesus came, curse was removed; that is what Galatians3:13 says. Curse was removed and the blessing of Abraham became ours. And how does that affect our work? We are working not under curse now, we are under blessing. We as people of God - redeemed people of God do our work under blessing. Sure, we live under a fallen world, but we are blessed. And how does that make a difference in our work? That is what we are talking about right now.

Now in this blessing, you have two different aspects: One is the aspect that we know very well. That is blessing is a divine ability, a power or an empowerment given to us to succeed. That's found in Genesis 1:28. God blessed Adam and Eve and said, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue and dominate". That's an ability, empowerment given by God to man to succeed - to bring everything under control, to dominate over every situation, to multiply, replenish, subdue and all that. So, one aspect of the blessing is this aspect of success in spite of all the odds that are out there to succeed, to bring under control everything that goes wrong and succeed. But there is another aspect - that is what I began to talk about last week. I want to continue this week. This is the other side of blessing. That is why I titled this message last week and this week as the otherside of blessing. One side is the side that says we have the power to succeed; that is one side of blessing.

What is the other side? The other side is that we are changed from the inside. The blessing of Abraham is not just a material blessing or the blessing to succeed, but it is also a blessing whereby faith in Christ Jesus, we are saved, we have become a new creation, we become born again. So what does this do to us, inwardly, how do we become? We are blessed in that way. That was a blessing of Abraham that even Abraham could not experience. That remained only as a promise for Abraham. Abraham could not really have it. It was a promise - promise to Abraham but Abraham died without even seeing it. So, how does this blessing, which became reality under Christ that we can be born-again and have a new nature -how does that affect us today and how does it affect our work? So, that is why we began to look at the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus makes eight declarations, which start with the word of "Blessed"- the Beatitudes. The word "Blessed" is the thing that it starts with. Each verse starts with the word "Blessed" from verse 3 all the way to verse 10. So we will looked at 3, and I want to cover the rest of it today. If you look at verse 3, it says, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. I showed you what that means. The poor in spirit meant the person realizes a person who is blessed in this way, realizes his need for God - his utter inability to do anything without God. He realizes his need for God. The poor in spirit means that a person realizes that without God He is nothing, that he needs God's help. That is what drives a man to salvation. So that is how it begins. Salvation comes to people when they say, "No, not my righteousness. It is His righteousness. I cannot, no matter how good I am. I cannot of my own bring my righteousness however how good it is, it is like a dirty rag before God. My righteousness is like a filthy rag before God. So, I need to bring to God His righteousness. Therefore I can't do it unless He gives it to me. This is Martin Luther's dilemma.

See, Martin Luther, this was his problem 500 years ago. As a young man, 21 years old, he got the bible for the first time in his hands, when he entered into the seminary. And he started searching for the answers to this problem because he had a very sensitive conscious. He felt guilty. He wanted to be freed from this guilt. He knew that he was a sinner, he knew that however good he maybe and no matter how much he tries to be good, his goodness is like filthy rags before God. So, at one point he hated God because he thought how unreasonable this God is. He is so holy and I can never produce a holiness like God's holiness; yet God requires me to have a holiness that is equal to His holiness. He wants me to come with that kind of holiness to Him. He says if you don't have that kind of holiness, you cannot even see me, you cannot even come in. How unreasonable is this God. He said I hated God, because how can I produce that kind of holiness being a human being and a sinner. No matter how good I am, it is only filthy rags. Then he started reading Romans chapter 1 verse 16 and 17 because his job was, in the university as a university professor, he was to teach the book of Romans and he was reading. And as he read he came to Romans chapter 1 verse 16 and 17, which says, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God for salvation to those that believe. And then in verse 17 it says, As it is written the just shall live by faith, the righteousness of God is revealed in and through the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed through the gospel or manifested through the gospel.

So he began to get a revelation of that and said, "Well if the righteousness of God is manifested through the gospel. What does the gospel say?" The gospel says that God knows that you cannot, with your righteousness come to God. God knows that you cannot save yourself, God knows that your righteousness is not good enough and He requires His righteousness and only His righteousness will satisfy Him. Therefore God sent His son and put our sin upon him and took the righteousness of His own son, God's righteousness. He took that and laid it upon us and given it to us as a gift. So all of a sudden Martin Luther realizes that God is a good God. He said, "Wow, I thought He is a bad God, He is a terrible God, unreasonable in His expectations about me. He wanted me to produce a righteousness that I could never produce. But the story goes like this: that He gives His righteousness that I can have salvation only by grace through faith. He gives it and I just take it by faith. This is what salvation is."

And then he started preaching it powerfully. This is what brought us the Protestant Reformation. And that is why we are called "Protestants". We got into this. It is a great discovery by Martin Luther - a truth that had been hidden for so many hundreds of years has been unearthed by Martin Luther. He brought it out. So, that is where salvation begins. The poor in spirit are those that have realized their need for God, their utter failure and then they realized that God's gift of righteousness is what saved them, that without God they cannot save themselves. And how about a man who comes to work with that kind of a thing. Even at work he realizes it is God's wisdom, it is God's strength, God's ability, God's gift, God's grace that helps him to succeed at work. Even at work he carries this thing that unless God enables me, unless God gifts me, unless God gives me His wisdom, unless God is gracious to me and helps me, I cannot succeed in my work. Therefore He is a different kind of person at work. The poor in spirit are very successful in work. We looked at it already.

The second thing is - Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Mourning is the emotional part of the same thing - realizing that you are poor in spirit is a mental recognition of our poverty spiritually. And the mourning is the sadness or the sorrow or the remorse we feel as the result of that. He says, "They shall be comforted." That means those who are mourning like Martin Luther, for their own sin - feeling sorry for their sin, really desperate and hopeless; they shall be comforted, it says. And then we came to third one - "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." Now this is something that a lot of people in the world are not able to understand how the meek will inherit the earth; because they think meek is weak. I showed you last week a few things. Let me just say this about this: Meekness is not weakness. Moses, the bible says, was the meekest man of all people in the whole world, yet he led 30 lakhs people; he was the leader of 30 lakhs people and one of very difficult groups of people, one of the difficult bunches that you can ever have. He was a leader for them. Jesus himself said that, "I am meek and lowly", yet he sometimes displayed such furor and rage like he did in the Temple when he drove out the dove sellers and the money-changers and so on. People say, "What is this?" He said, "I am meek and lowly" and look and him here driving out people.""

See meekand lowly is not to be mistaken with weakness and inability. No, that is not what it is. Meekness is power under control. I showed you that meekness is power under control. Which means this - that a person has a lot of power, he can do a lot of things but he does not flaunt his power, display his power, and does not use his power recklessly. Uses it purposefully, justly and correctly and restrains it a lot of times. Instead of using it quickly, he restrains and keeps it restrained. Even though he has powerhe has the power, he does not show it. Even though he has power he does not all the time, he uses it only to do good. That is the way the power is used. That is what meek is - meek is not a powerless, useless person. Meek is a powerful person, thinking twice before he uses his power. A powerful person not displaying his power - that is what it is all about. And we showed how this works out in the workplace. In the work place this is a wonderful quality. You know in the world people won't believe if you say the "Meek will inherit the earth". They think the aggressive, the ones that put their foot down, and the ones that really show themselves as some kind of dynamic person who can do all kinds of things - they would only dominate, they would only lead and be able to come up and so on. That is the idea that the world has.

But now they are teaching actually in the world that people that are restrained in the use of power, in the display of their power; people that are not aggressive in the wrong way, people that are meek in the way that the bible describes other people that experience success in the long-run. In the long-run these people would be successful and they would be successful for a long period of time because their success is a success that can be sustained for a long period of time because it is based on this thing that the bible talks about; that is meekness, which does not display its power, and does not recklessly use power to do things for one's own self.

So work place is very much affected by the blessings that born again people possess. These blessed people - the ones that are blessed with these qualities are people that achieve great success in work, the bible says. So every believer ought to be a different kind of person at work. It ought to make them qualitatively a different kind of person at work and a great success at work because of their under-girding quality - this under-girding quality.

Alright, let's go to the next one - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled (verse 6). Hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What is the hunger and thirst for righteousness all about? Hunger and thirst for righteousness is a consuming desire for righteousness, both in one's life and in the lives of others; to do the right thing before God. And to behave in the right way always towards men - in our dealings with man. To do what is right, what is just, what is good always before God and before man; and carry on the right kind of relationship with other people, and right kind of relationship with God. They are consumed with this desire so much so that they cannot keep their minds or anything else. They crave and long for righteousness. Now take it to work and see how it works. You see this is a very important spiritual quality and it affects our earthly life and work. See the word "hunger" is used. Hungering for righteousness - the way it is said is, "hungering for righteousness".

Now, I remember when I was young, I used to eat well, like all the other young people, you know. Six, seven idlis are nothing - I can put away. And all of a of a sudden I remember at one point I was a teenager and all of a of a sudden I lost appetite. My parents did not rejoice over it. They didn't say well, "At least one fellow is not eating nowadays. We have few idlis left, it is good for us." No, they didn't think it was good. My father got very concerned. He took me to doctor. And that doctor checked me out, and everything. He said something like the liver is sluggish or something; and gave some kind of tonic, you know. And I started taking the tonic. Within just a day I started feeling better, I started feeling hungry again. Not feeling hungry is not good. It's a disease. You can't rejoice over the fact that you are not hungry. You can't say well for the price that everything is selling now, thank God I am not feeling hungry. No! It is a sickness. Not being hungry is a sign of sickness. So, hunger is a sign of life and health. You are hungry, it's a sign of life and health. Inspiritually also it is true. If a person does not feel hungry and thirsty for righteousness - to be right with God, always thinking about God. How do I look before God? Are my actions right before God? Have I done the right thing before God? What does God think of me today? Am I right before God in my speech and in my deed? What I have done and what I say, does it please God? Is it right, is it just before God? Can I show my face to God with this kind of thing? That is a good way to think about it. Those who are hungry for that and yearn for that, and want to be right before God, and want to be right before men - that is a good sign that they are spiritually alive.

You know some people become very spiritually dead. The bible talks about 1 Timothy chapter 4 in verse 2 onwards; talks about people who have seared conscious. Have you read about that? Seared conscious. It is talking about people who are false teachers. Who are teaching all kinds of nonsense - like don't marry and all those business you know. It specially mentions those things: Don't eat this, don't marry, can't enjoy this and that, and all that. He says they have a seared conscious. What is a seared conscious? Seared conscious is you know that it is not right, but you started teaching it because whatever organization you belong to believe in that and you start teaching it, and you started justifying it. And then because you taught it, you start believing it; because you have been teaching it for so long, you start believing it, you start believing the lies that you teach. So these are people who have seared conscience. Seared conscience is where you drink something so hot and you don't even feel it because you have been drinking it hot for a very long time. You got used to it. It works the same way with sin. You know you sin for a long time and then when you sin, you don't even feel bad. It's like a murderer who murders for the first time, maybe he won't be able to sleep all night. But after he's done about a dozen murders he will probably buy biryani and go to sleep. You know, not even feel anything about it because his conscience has become seared. He has allowed his conscience to become seared. Such people they cannot depend on their conscience to do anything.

But if your conscience is tender, and it works well, anytime you do wrong, because you are made by God as a spiritual person, immediately it alerts you. Even a person who is unsaved is conscious of his wrongs. He knows that he has done wrong, he know that he is guilty, it is not right, it's not just. Even the people out there in the world, they feel that. And if you keep ignoring it, every time you do wrong then you will have seared conscience soon because you keep doing wrong, you keep justifying it; and then you start having seared conscience. Martin Luther had very sensitive conscience. He always felt this thing. He felt guilty very quickly because had had done something wrong - he is very sensitive. He was always was conscious about what he was doing, and how it looked before God, and how he was weak on certain things, and so on. That is what led him to search for an answer, search for salvation and so on. The hunger for righteousness is a sign of life. And how does it work out in the work situation? Such a person when he is working in organization, working in a company, working somewhere; he is always conscious of doing that which is right. Walking according to hisconscience, doing that which is right before God and before men; and doing what is right always, so that his conscience is very clear - that he has a clear conscience. As Paul says, they are always counting on that - which is good. And every Christian must have conscience like that. That conscience, you know, any human being can do wrong, but when you do wrong, when you feel bad, and you correct yourself and change yourself and remedy that situation and change, that is what it is all about.

Hunger for righteousness - to be right. So you may do wrong, but you want to be right next time. You don't want to do the same wrong. You may have done something that is not right, but you repent of it, you change and you quickly turn to God and seek God's remedy for that situation. That is what hungering for righteousness is all about. Now, such people when they come to work, they work on the same basis in their workspots and they move around with others with the same kind of approach, you know, their relationship with others also.

Now, one of the things that really, in the work place, becomes very difficult is the inter-personal relationships. A lot of people when they have problems at work it is because of people that are working with them; they just can't get along. They themselves will tell you - I just can't get along. That's a very bad work atmosphere - I just can't get along with the people that are working with me. Inter-personal relationships become very difficult. But when you seek to do that which is right, before God and before man, and that is the hunger of your life, I will tell you, you will not care about others do; but you will always seek to be right. You will do that which is right before God and before man; and that will carry you through till the end. That kind of a person will succeed till the end because the one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness shall be filled or shall be satisfied. And the way to understand it is they shall find a satisfaction in life that so many people are seeking to find, but are not able to find a satisfaction in life. True satisfaction comes when you know you that have done right, that you have corrected the mistakes, that you have done what is right before God and before man.

Now all the reformations that have ever happened in human society, happened as a result of people that felt a hunger and thirst for God, think about it... in reformation in society at large. People like Martin Luther, people that had a conscience like that, that people that had sensitivity like that, that you got to be right before God and before man. That thing is the thing that led them to bring about reformation. You know, slavery in the old days was common, not just Christian countries. Some people think only America had slavery or you know some other countries had slavery. Not throughout history slavery has been in existence for a long time, in many cultures. And so when these Christians countries came along, they simply adapted the world's philosophy. They also brought in slaves and bought slaves and used slaves. And slave trade was common in England and America and places like that.

There was an English man who all of a sudden became convicted as a result of this slave business. He was doing slave business, he was a slave trader. He was going and bringing ship-loads of slaves and selling them and making money out of it. All of a sudden he began to find conviction. He felt that what he is doing is wrong. And he turned around and fought against the system of slavery and worked on it so much so that the parliament had to pass a law against slavery. That man became a preacher later on. So reform came because one man had a hunger to do that which is right. He felt what I am doing is not right, it is wrong. Therefore he wanted to bring about a change - that is how reform came. Even in America, how they got rid of slavery was because some of these people that were deeply religious and biblical in their thinking began to think about how it is wrong. There were some other people that were also carrying the bible that did not think about it like that, but there were some people that were so hungry for righteousness. They said, "In our society this is evil. We should not have this. As long as we have this, we will not be right. We need to correct the situation." And so they took the action, made the correction, did everything right. It was as a result of their conviction that this is wrong. The hunger and thirst that they had for righteousness, even civil rights. You know, after slavery was abolished, for a hundred years there was no civil rights. The whites and blacks could not live together, could not live in the same area, could not go to the same school. There was no civil rights, you see - equal rights was not given to the people of other races, they were treated as second class. And you know where civil rights movement began? It began in the church. A preacher named Martin Luther King preaching in the church about civil rights. How that man was made in the image and likeness of God; therefore in the sight of God, all men are equal, they must be treated equal. We cannot have this disparity between whites and blacks and other races and so on. That all men must be treated equal if you want to live by God's bible. He began to teach it. It began as a movement in the church and then, a hundred years later, after the slavery was abolished, civil rights came. And today the whole thing is changed. You will find some racism here and there, but at large nobody would respect a racist anymore in America. It's becomes like that. There would be some people always who have some racism; but you will not find any respect for racist there, you know. The whole thing changed. Total reform came into the world, society as a result of people who hunger and thirst for righteousness. That became their work, that became their task - a lifetime task. Until they achieved, they never rested from that. Alright, so when hunger and thirst is there in a person's life, I tell you his world will be changed, his work will be changed. The total surrounding will be changed as the result of that person feeling the hunger and thirst for righteousness.

The next thing is in verse 7 - Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. See, each one you need to understand it generally and then apply it to work. What is this thing about being merciful? Being merciful means to be compassionate in spirit towards others. Why this compassion, this mercy is so important? Because it says here, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. And the merciful are people that show compassion and Ephesians Chapter 2 if you read verse 1 it says, We were dead in sins and trespasses. The next two verses tell us that we walked according to all that the devil led us into; we did whatever our mind wanted to do, we were influenced so much by the devil and so on. And then verse 4 says, God who is rich in mercy. In other words, we were dead in sins and trespasses. We went about living our lives the way we wanted to, we did whatever we wanted to do, didn't care about God, didn't think about God, didn't do... but God who is rich in mercy. Just turn and read it because it will give you the...Ephesians chapter 2 verse 1 -You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as others.

- In other words, we just lived like we wanted to do and the devil was guiding us, did whatever we lusted after, whatever our desire was, we went after that. We became as the children of wrath just as the others. But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which he loved us; even when we were dead in trespasses made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved and raised us up together, made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in ages to come he might know the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, is the gift of God. - In other words, very simply put, we were lost, we were dead in sins and trespasses. We lived according to whatever we liked, our whims and fancies. But to this most unworthy behavior - people with this kind of behavior, unworthy people - God came and because He was rich in mercy. Because of His great love of which He loved us, when we dead in trespasses, He picked us up and made as alive in Christ Jesus; He saved us in other words. Even though we were so unworthy, we never thought of him, we never respected His word and so on. He came to us when were unworthy and rescued us from the condition that we were in.So, mercy is an amazing quality. Mercy means that we treat people better than they deserve from us; that is what God shows through His mercy. We didn't deserve that kind of a treatment. We were lost, we were dead in sins and trespasses, we lived according to our whims and fancies, not deserving anything from God, yet God who is rich in mercy came and redeemed us. So mercy means treating other people better than they deserve from us. And it has a very practical effect in our work. Have you ever seen merciful people at work? They will display this tendency and quality. They will treat others who don't deserve to be treated good, they will treat them good, they will assist them, they will teach them, they will raise them up, they will train them, they will correct them. They will stay with them and work with them.

Merciful - have you ever seen merciful people? Merciful people are wonderful people. Even though the fellow does not deserve anything, deserves to be kicked out of the organization, of the company, deserves to be thrown out, they are merciful, patient, kind to the undeserving, they're kind. They work on that person, they reach out to that person, teach that person. Blessed are the merciful. Just imagine what work-places will become like when we have a lot of these kinds of people. They won't just display their power and use their power to just throw outa person just because he is a little bit weak in his performance of his work. They will try to be patient, try to coach, train; try to lead that person to become a good worker. And by doing that so many benefits are there. You know, whenever there is a person who is not merciful at the top, you know how it affects the people underneath? If they can't perform well they will cover it up. If they can't do a job, they will cover it up. If they make mistakes, they will not talk about it. Nobody will really speak the truth because they know there is no mercy at the top. That if you speak the truth and if you say that you failed and you didn't do a good job, they will crush you, you will be thrown out, you will be treated without any mercy. But if they know the person is merciful and kind, and generous, and will correct and help you change, and help you learn, they will reveal their faults, they will talk about it, they will seek help. And when that happens in a company or workplace, the whole workplace becomes better and the performance of the whole company or organization becomes better because there is mercy at the top. There are people that would guide and teach, and mentor and show the way at the top. Instead of just lords sitting up on top, telling you to get out, the first instance you make a mistake. They know that you can approach them, and they will treat you with some compassion, with some mercy and they will show you the way, and you can learn from them. It totally changes everything. And when they realize that mercy is not there, I will tell you, the whole performance of the whole place goes down. They cannot do good work there after because it will all be a cover-up; nobody will admit their faults. Everybody will act like they are doing something, but nobody knows everything, nobody does a good job. No mistakes are brought up, nothing is brought up.

Next one, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Let me talk about the result, Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. Now, if you are merciful towards others, one thing you need to remember, the result of that mercy - everything has a result. If you are merciful then you will receive mercy, it says. Do you know everything that you do comes back to you? The bible says, "Give and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over shall men pour into your bosom." Sometimes we think it has reference only to the money that we give; that when we give money, it comes back to us good measure, pressed down, shaken together. Actually if you read in context in Sermon on the Mount when Jesus teaches it, it is about criticism of others. When you are harsh with others, you know, you need to remember that whatever you give is going to come back to you Good measure, pressed down, shaken together. Look at the way it is said there, "Good measure, pressed down, shaken together." That means when it comes back, it comes back in good measure, pressed down, shaken together - that means, they fill it and fill it, and fill it; and shake it a little more and fill it to over-flowing.

So whatever you do, you are going to get it back. If you give love you are going to get it back good measure, pressed down, shaken together. If you give hate it is going to come back good measure, pressed down, shaken together. If you give mercy it is going to come back good measure, pressed down, shaken together. That means they are going to fill it to the brim and shake it up a little bit, so that they can put a little more. You are going to find mercy every which way you turn, one day when you need mercy. Now some of us think we will never need mercy. We are so perfect. We all need mercy at one point in our life. Some point in our life, at some stage in our life, we need mercy. And when we need mercy - Oh we really need it. Have you ever felt like, you know, when you got to get some things done, you go to one of these places of authority - offices. You know, you want mercy, you need mercy - somebody's mercy. You wish that somebody would come and help you. You must see those people that are very harsh and rude towards their subordinates in their work-places. When they go into these situations, they just wish that somebody would show mercy. And I have seen mercy in these situations. They would just look at you, something happens to them. They will be merciful to you; they will be kind to you. They will do for you something that they will never do otherwise. They will be kind towards you. Somehow, God gives them favour in their eyes - unexpected favour. They will be so kind - and you will be shaken in your boots, and they will just come in there and they will treat you so good - do you so good.

It is unbelievable the mercy that you receive. That is why we need to be merciful because at many points in our life, this mercy can come back to us. You can count on it, you can count on reaping it. All of our life if we are just unmerciful, don't even show any mercy, then you can count on it. It's going to come back good measure, pressed down, shaken together. It will just come back, everything will come back. You will love and it will come back: Good measure, pressed down, shaken together. If you are generous towards other, it will come back, good measure, pressed down, shaken together. If you give it will come back, good measure, pressed down, shaken together. Whatever you give will come back, good measure, pressed down, shaken together.

Just look at two children fighting. One fellow will say, "You are a fool" and the other fellow will say "you are a double fool." - Coming back good measure, pressed down, shaken together. You get it back instantly. Whatever you give, you are going to get it back. Now that makes us merciful when we realize that - that makes us merciful in all our doings, in everything that we do.

Alright, let's go to the next one. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. What is this "pure in heart" about? Pure in heart are people who are devoid of sinful motives. See the heart of the person is the innermost part of a person from where everything comes. Jesus is talking about how all kinds of all evil things come from the heart. See the Pharisees were saying you got to wash your hands properly; you can do this - this ceremonial washing and all that. Jesus said, "Why are you worrying about so much about washing and all that, it is not going to do anything to you. Everything that is evil comes from your heart. You are not paying attention to your heart. You are paying attention to how you must do the religious washing of hands and washing of feet and all that." He says, "Pay attention to the heart." See religion always pays attention to outward things. Things that don't really matter - things that matter very little. But God cares about the heart, because heart is the thing that can be most damaging. What kind of clothes you wearmay not be most damaging. What you do on the outside may not be so damaging. But what it is in the heart must be checked always.

So the pure heart is about a heart that is devoid of sinful motives. The bible says you got to watch out for the heart,because the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. You don't watch out the heart, it can become a very bad heart; it can affect your life. Christians have a heart that has been cleansed from sins. And because their heart is cleansed from sins and they continue to keep it clean and continue to put good things in their heart, and not any bad stuff; because their heart is pure, devoid of sinful motivations - they can see God. They draw near to God, God draws near to them. How does it work when it comes to work? How does it apply? It's all about integrity - the heart condition is all about integrity which means a clean heart. The bible talks about a clean hand, a clean Hearts, right? Psalms 24 verse 3-5 says, Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand by His holy place? Those who have clean hands and a pure hearts, Who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. - So clean hearts and clean hands, talk about integrity. Integrity means, "Singleness of devotion, undivided loyalty." Integrity goes well beyond, just avoiding bad behavior. It is not just, "I don't do these things, and so on." The root of integrity is wholeness. Which means that our actions are not choices we put on and take off on the outside, whenever we find it convenient. It means that all our actions stem from the whole of our being, from inside - that is the way we are. From our heart, it comes. It is not something that we put on from the outside. It something that is there in our hearts.

How can we determine whether we are people of integrity? Several ways we can determine. You can find out how much commitment we have towards integrity in our work, in all areas of life. When we have integrity, every action comes from a very clean heart. Out of our heart, we do everything - with all our heart we do it. Not just always hypocritically on the outside, just to please somebody, just to make it look good. We do it from our heart. When we have integrity, we do not allow our opinions to be shaped by gossip and all of these other things that come our way; no matter how juicy it is, because we have integrity. Integrity means that I will not just believe everything that I hear, I will only believe it when it is right. I will only want us - make sure what I heard it right.I am not ready to believe anything that everybody says about somebody. I need to make sure that it is the truth because there is a lot of fake news and fake everything today. News has become very cheap now. You got WhatsApp, hundreds of them in a day. Most of it false - totally lies. Somebody is telling a lie, they don't even know they are telling lie. Somebody sent it to them and that somebody received it from somebody; that somebody received it from somebody. Nobody knows whether there is any truth. They will be declaring some wonderful things, you know - terrible things. And they keep passing on; you receive it, and you pass it on also. Integrity means, even in general things like that you don't want to pass on something that you don't know for sure whether that is right or not. You want to ascertain whether it is right or not. If you want to pass on something to somebody, it should be useful, should be beneficial. The other person must benefit from it in some way. Not irresponsibly just passing it on - just to pass it on. If you go on to WhatsApp, sometimes you don't even have some time to read the bible, you only have the time to read the WhatsApp.

Integrity demands that I believe the right thing. Don't just take something in just because someone send it to me, but I believe what is right. I want to believe only what is right, I want to believe only what is true; don't want to believe everything. Even T.V nowadays is very difficult. You don't know who is speaking the truth. You turn on one channel, they say one thing, another channel, opposite they are saying. Who knows what's the truth? I just turn all of them off. Forget it. Integrity is not there. Anybody can put anybody under their control and make them say whatever they want, so there is no integrity, there is no truthfulness. Whatever they are saying many times it's not true, it is not right. It is all made up, it is all tailor-made to deceive many times. And how can you do something like that? Only people without any integrity will be willing to do something like that, you know; to propagate something like that, to spread something like that. People with integrity will care about what is right and what is wrong. So personal integrity in work-place nowadays has become a joke. They think this integrity is weakness, integrity is not important. Good profit, good business, good sensational...something is very important. But the bible says, the person with integrity is the one that will be able to see God. God dwells in unapproachable light - the bible says.

God is a holy God. We can't be doing things like this and yet be having a relationship with God. A holy God demands us to be holy, and demands us to have integrity. So integrity is something that belongs to the pure heart - the pure heart is a heart of integrity. And that heart at work will do wonders. You can believe that person.

Seventhly, Blessed are the peace makers (verse 9) for they will be called the children of God. The peace makers, we know the trouble makers. The trouble makers show us that they and God has nothing to do with each other. Have you seen trouble makers - in organizations there are trouble makers, in homes there are trouble makers. Have you seen in homes, husband and wife will be living happily, somebody will get in there and cause some problems - say this to the husband or say this to the wife and soon these people will be fighting, throwing things at each other. Until that happens, they won't stop, trouble makers. Sunday they take the bible and go to church. They are trouble makers. And the bible says, Blessed are the peace makers for they will be called the children of God.

You know God is never a trouble maker, God is a peacemaker. God takes the broken things and puts them back together, makes it beautiful. If it is in a thousand pieces - when you come to God with all pieces, he will take it and again rebuilt it and make it so beautiful that you won't even recognize the patches that were put up. He will make it like wonderful and new, and beautiful. That is what God is all about. He will never make trouble. He is a peacemaker and those who are peacemakers they display the character and the quality that is in God Himself. Just like the son is just like the father many times, the same way the children of God display this characteristic of the father and they are peacemakers. And in work place, how does it work out? In work-place there is a very important thing called, "Conflict resolution". You know what conflict is - two people fighting about something. Having a difference of opinion. One person pulling this way, the other person pulling the other way. That is what conflict is.

And conflict resolution is a very big subject nowadays. They teach in college and all that - conflict resolution. Some people do conflict resolution in this way. They suppress by force any conflict that arises. So nobody could raise any voice. You know, they want it their way, otherwise they will suppress it. Conflict resolution is two people have to hear each other out, and openly hear each other out and bring a resolution to their problem. Sometimes a peacemaker is needed rightin between them, to make them sit together and hear their opinions, compare and consult and check into these things and see who is right on these things and determine what is right. Each person willinsist they are right and somehow peacefully, they have to come to a point where they say, "Well, we going to go with this because this seems better." While at the same time, respecting the other person and his opinion and his wishes, and so on. Not just oppressing that person or just kicking that person. Respecting the other person. This kind of conflict resolution is what the bible is talking about - peacemakers. Bringing two people together, to restore relationships, to bring peace in homes, to bring peace in relationships and so on.

See, God is a God of peace. Wherever God is there, there is peace. When God is there in a workplace, when God is in you and you are in a workplace you will never be that trouble maker, you will be the peacemaker. It is alright even if there are 4 or 5 others, who are trouble makers there; you will be peace maker. One peace maker will be more effective than 4 or 5 trouble makers; one peace maker will seem like the salt of the earth and the light of the world -light of the world before those people. Because this is such a positive effect.

And finally, 10th verse, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. And then verse 11 and 12, explains it further: Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Now look at Jesus' idea, the philosophy behind the whole thing. He says, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you." Now, there is only one thing, one suffering that God has left for us in this world. Listen to me carefully. There is only one suffering - as far as I can see that God says is left for us to experience in this world and that is, to suffer persecution. For other suffering, Jesus has done something on the cross of Calvary to deliver us, to help us, to give us relief, to give us healing, to give us blessing and so on. But the persecution is something that he says is here to stay as long as the earth is as it is and as long as we live in this fallen world, there is going to be persecution. So he says,"they are going to persecute you and revile you." And what kind of persecution is he talking about? He is not talking about somebody beating you up, kicking you are something, necessarily. He is talking about something very important here. He says, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you, falsely for my sake."

Now listen to this, "Falsely for his sake" - falsely. First of all when the people persecute us, it must be for things that we never did. If you did something wrong and you got persecuted, then you had it coming, anyway. But if you didn't do anything wrong and they persecuted you, then the bible says, "You are blessed." Consider this, Jesus says, "You are blessed if they persecute you for something that you did not do" - you are blessed. And especially for something for his sake; for the sake of Christ, because of your faith in Christ, because you are a Christian, because you believe in Christ and you love the Lord and follow him - because of that if you are persecuted. This persecution is there in the world for us. A lot of people suffered this persecution in the first century and centuries afterwards, they suffered this persecution. He says, "Blessed are you". And the kind of persecution (note), saying things - that is the kind of persecution. Not killing or beating or anything... saying all kinds of evil against you falsely.

You know there is a proverb in English. They say, "As stick and stones hurt me, what can words do to me?" Well, that is wrong. Sticks and stones harm people - but you know there is something stronger than sticks and stones - words. I don't want you to raise your hands, make a confession right now. But how many of you just think about this.

How many of you have been hurt by words that others have used against you? Have you been hurt with words? People say words. Some people are specially gifted. They will come into the house and speak such wonderful words. Just open their mouth and they are just falling out - hurtful words. They just don't even think twice before they talk. They will go into a house where somebody is sick and they will say utter words like you know, that will make them even more sick. They can go into a home where they may be childless and already suffering because of this problem and they will speak works like, "What is there, you don't have a child, anyway." - Something like that. And hurt them like that. I mean, it's like tearing up a person just like that, upside down. "What are you worried about. You don't have a child anyway." That is the way they talk. Because they think they are so clever - uttering some wonderful words. Words hurt people. And you know Jesus is teaching here how you can handle that. He says, "When they say things about you, when they say things to hurt you, persecute you, when they say things that you haven't done, when they falsely accuse you of something; rejoice and be exceedingly glad. This is not sadomasochism, this is not a religion where you take joy from the suffering of others. When you suffer you become joyful. No, no, no, that is not what it is all about. Then what is it all about? This is saying, "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad." Everybody say, "Exceedingly glad." Not just rejoice and be glad - rejoice and be really glad. I mean, be overjoyed by it. That means have some kind of celebration. "For great is your reward in heaven." And in my experience I will tell you, you can now because I have gotten into the older side now - little bit, not so much. I am up there, border line (I wish). In my experience I tell you, not just in heaven, in the world itself, you can have your rewards. See, some people think God only keeps all the rewards up in heaven. No, no, in the world itself there are many rewards. When they say things about you, be exceedingly glad.

My policy is: They say something about you, whichis not right. If it is right, then you better correct yourself, repent, change, go to God, make amends, do something about whatever you have done wrong. But if they say something that is not right, that is not true, falsely accusing you or something -when they do that, that is the day to have a good paya - my favorite. That is a day to order something nice, celebrate, have something good. Some people say, "Well brother, you know from the time they said this I have not eaten. You know from yesterday I have not eaten because they said this and that, and I am so sad and I am just crying all day." I have done that also, before. "I have been crying since yesterday." I said, "Don't even say it out because if the guy heard it he will be very glad." The reason the say it is so that you will be hurt. The reason they say it is so that you will sit there are cry about. The reason they say it, you will allow it to discourage you, and run you down so that you fail in life and give up. That is the reason they say. And the reason why you must rejoice and be exceedingly glad is that that is the way you pick yourself up and keep going and not give up. Be exceedingly glad, rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Rejoice in the Lord because great is your reward in heaven. And then he says, "For they persecuted the prophets before you." He says remember how they treated the prophets - prophets of God, sent by God with words to them to teach them - they persecuted, he said.

And then look at Jesus himself. What wrong did Jesus do? They devil himself came and couldn't find one thing wrong with Jesus. Never did anything wrong. Look at how they treated him. At one point they said, "He is demon possessed". They said he is demon possessed, he is having the big demon in him - Jezebel. And through the big demon he is casting out this smaller demons spirit." This is what they said about Jesus. What an accusation? Terrible. Now that is an accusation where you want to sit and for one week you want to fast and cry. Jesus never did that. He just went on casting out devils, healing the sick and doing the work that he did. Why? Because great is your reward. What happened to Jesus? He died on the cross, yes. Shameful death, horrible death, but God raised him. And raised him up all the way to heaven and made him sit at the right hand, so that every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is God, to the glory of God the Father in heaven, on earth and under the earth. He has been given the greatest name, the more powerful name than any other in heaven, on earth and under the earth. He has been exalted, glorified and given power and authority like no other. Why? That's his reward. That is his reward for the suffering, that is his reward for what he went through, for all the accusations. That is his reward for the cross. Therefore God is highly exalted, the Bible says. And I tell you my friend, when you go through it remember to celebrate because great is your reward. Don't worry, nobody is going to crucify you, but yet it is important for you to celebrate and rejoice and believe in the reward that God has for you, because great is your reward, the bible says. And you believe it and you will have it.


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