Gamma 15 – Sermon on the Mount (Study 3)

BEATITUDES PART 3

HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

GAMMA FACILITATORS

John Goh012 207 6125jgoh2004@yahoo.com
Dr Lee Fook Sin019 230 9492lfooksin@gmail.com
Moh Ee Lin019 273 2468moheelin@gmail.com
Kong Yew012-2902389kongyew.my26@gmail.com
Michael Tan017-3770008michaeltanttc@gmail.com
Ng Cho Hoo012 878 2128ch88.ng@gmail.com
Patrick Khoo019-2516889patrick_khoo@yahoo.com
Cathrine Ng012-2128086catherine.ngsk@gmail.com
Susanah Ng012 3088670susanah84@gmail.com

Kindly contact any of these Gamma Facilitators. They will be hosting Zoom meetings for Discussions every Wednesday starting from April 1, 2020.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS – STUDY 3

Righteous Living

Instructions
Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to
cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions. The answers will be posted on the web the next day

What is your understanding of what righteousness is? What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Why should this attribute be part of a disciple’s aspirations? Why can’t one be a private Christian or be a monk and be holy to the Lord? How do we do it in our lives please share? How are they satisfied?

ANSWER
There are three aspects to biblical righteousness.
The are legal righteousness which is our standing before God in terms of sin and judgment.
The second is our moral or ethical righteousness which is our how our character and conduct is conformity to God’s character which pleases Him. This is often referred to as our “godliness” which is simply the extent to which we reflect Him.
The third is social righteouness or justice which John Scott defines as “what we learn from the Law and the Prophets, is concerned with seeking humanity’s liberation from oppression, together with the promotion of civil rights, justice in the law courts, integrity in business dealings, and honor in home and family affairs”.
Righteousness is the reflection of the character and goodness of God, this is God’s world and we were made in His image as in Genesis 1:27 to exert dominion to fill the earth and when we do it, we do it in every corner of the globe reflecting who He is which is His righteousness in the way we love and interact. When people see us they should see a semblance of who God is. God is a Mission always God and his creation is the way He has expressed Himself to the world and we are his ambassadors. As such we should love His character, we should be proud to shine for Him and love like Him and act like Him. Righteousness reflects who He is and if we are His image our hunger and thirst is that the whole world be brought to reflect the one whom we love. Hence our faith cannot be a private affair. We cannot retreat to the back side of a mountain and have a kind of private righteousness and not care that there is injustice in the world. We as image bearers of all people are to have that kind of practical spirituality that compels us to stand up for the helpless advocate for the oppressed and move society to wards social justice.
One day the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord and every knee shall bow and declare Jesus is Lord and our deepest aspirations for righteousness will surely be realised it is only a matter of time we just need to do our part in our neck of the woods in our time.

What does it mean to be pure in heart and how shall they see God? See 1 John 3:2. Why do you think that this is a particularly hard attribute of a disciple to aspire to? Why was hypocrisy and a self righteousness by the religious elites like the Pharisees so common?

ANSWER
Pure in heart is an internal integrity that manifests itself eternally. In Jesus time, the main icons of religiosity were the Pharisees who numbered as a 7000 member elitist group known for their “spirituality” which was patently fake as repeatedly exposed by Jesus. Their devotion was only skin deep and was no reflection of their inner hearts desires which was anything but directed by love towards God hence their rejection of Jesus. They worked and sacrificed to gain the recognition of men and never really desired God. They were thus not pure in heart. Jesus required people who were genuinely lovers of God who desired Him for His sake and not as a means to their own ends and such people will see God in His glory one day. I John 3:2 shows us that if we bear this desire and hope it will direct our external behaviour in a sense “ purifies “ or rather modulates our behaviour towards one which is consistent with godliness which is a genuine external expression of our inter aspirations rather than a fake hypocritical act directed towards men to impress them rather than towards God.

Looking around in our society today who did you think it is that requires mercy shown to them? Why did you think these folk whom you have suggested actually need mercy? Do you think you Gamma group can actually carry out an exercise in mercy ministry within the community this year after the lock down has been lifted?

Do the people whom you show mercy to have to deserve your care or even be grateful? Can you discuss?

Sam was very upset because the church member whom he lent $ 5000 to had consistently refused to return his money . He had even gone to the extent of accompanying the person whose name was Sebastian to the ATM to retrieve the money but once there he apparently forgot his PIN number. As it turns out there were others in church who had also lent money to Sebastian but had no received a cent back. He was obviously a fraud and preying on the gullible church members. As the leaders investigated he had also had left a trail of victims in another large church. Sam was determined to make a police report on him but Sebastian came to him in tears and begged for mercy and said. That this would devastate his wife and poor young children. He actually Sermon on the Mount how disciples should be merciful.
A. If you were in Sam’s shoes what would you do?
B. How do you need for justice and righteousness with mercy? Look at Micah 6: 8 (NLT) No,O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. How does this help?
C. What is your attitude towards your enemies when they come into trouble , is your response mercy ? What did Jesus say about his persecutors whilst he hung on the cross? Does that go you a clue? Why is it so difficult to show mercy to the people who have hurt you.

Daniel was the interim pastor of a large community church which was beset with lots of squabbles. He was on probation for the year before he would secure permanent tenure in the church. He was doing his best to serve attending the prayer meetings, leading in committees. One day two of the deacons got into a huge argument. One of them was trying to sell unit trust investments to church members on a Sunday and quite as large group of members had bought from him. This came to the notice of a another deacon who confronted him and cautioned him not to do this. Obviously the deacon because very upset and defensive and a loud row ensued and the Pastor Daniel was brought into the matter. He counselled the two men over some time it was very difficult but in the end he insisted the two of them shake hands and bury the hatchet. The first deacon was asked to repent for being too sensitive to criticism and he agreed as long as the other deacon apologised for being petty and judgmental. Peace resumed in the church and everyone was impressed with Pastor Daniel’s peacemaking abilities. The deacon continued to sell his unit trusts to all the new Alpha converts and even recruited other deacons and they were all happy.
A. Was Pastor Daniel being the kind of peacemaker Jesus was describing? Which beatitudes would apply in this situation?
B. HHow do you hold the different beatitudes in tension and not breach any of them?
C. What does it mean to be pure in heart and how shall they see God? See 1 John 3:2.
D. How can we be peacemakers the proper way in church?
E. What is the difference between the secular idea of peace and the biblical concept of “shalom”?
F. How can we be peacemakers in our families and in society?



ANSWER
Pastor Daniel was being a peacemaker but he was not hungering and thirsting for righteousness. He was only interested in re-establishing peace in the church as probably that would be one of the factors that would have been taken in to consideration for the ultimate vote on his tenure at the end of his probation. The selling of unit trusts by a officer of the church would be an obvious conflict of interest on the part of the first deacon. He would be leveraging his position as a spiritual leader in the church so that he could profit from the sale of unit trust for which he would gain a handsome commission. The second deacon was right to confront him as he was standing up for righteousness within the church. Pastor Daniel did a great disservice by making them both apologise as the second deacon did nothing wrong. He was not being judgmental in pointing out the wrong doing and instead he was forced to apologise for a sin he didn’t commit in the came of peace. This kind of peace is a sham and totally hypocritical. The end result is more evil as the deacon continued with his bussiness activities completely unchecked.
The third beatitude involved in this affair is the one that states “ blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. Pastor Daniel’s motive for sorting the matter out was not truly to ensure the integrity of the church and the honour of the Lord would be upheld. He was nor solely desiring the glory of God as how could the glory of God be upheld if peace is established at any cost as it would make a mockery of the death of Christ on the cross and the peace that brought between man and God. No he was only interested in making sure he was seen to have sorted the matter out by burying the sin. This is not want it means to be pure in heart. Pure in heart is an internal integrity that manifests itself eternally. In Jesus time, the main icons of religiosity were the Pharisees who numbered as a 7000 member elitist group known for their “spirituality” which was patently fake as repeatedly exposed by Jesus. Their devotion was only skin deep and was no reflection of their inner hearts desires which was anything but directed by love towards God hence their rejection of Jesus. They worked and sacrificed to gain the recognition of men and never really desired God. They were thus not pure in heart. Jesus required people who were genuinely lovers of God who desired Him for His sake and not as a means to their own ends and such people will see God in His glory one day.
I John 3:2 shows us that if we bear this desire and hope it will direct our external behaviour in a sense “ purifies “ or rather modulates our behaviour towards one which is consistent with godliness which is a genuine external expression of our inter aspirations rather than a fake hypocritical act directed towards men to impress them rather than towards God.

Answers will be available on April 16, 2020.

Please feel free to post your comments in the comments section.

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