The Call of Matthew: Matthew 9:9-13

One day I received a call from a person whom I recognized. He was trying to pull a prank call on a random number and dialed mine coincidentally.
“Is you refrigerator running?” he said.
“Phillip? Why do want to know about my refrigerator?” I answered.
“How do you know who this is? Who is this?” he answered with a puzzled voice.
“You called me remember? How do not know who you called?”

Jesus had just left the house in which He healed the paralytic man and saw a man who was a tax-collector. He said two words to him. “FOLLOW ME.” That must have been enough because Scripture records that he got up and followed Him. We do not know the background story but we know that Jesus simply spoke a few words and Matthew obeyed.
Jesus is then seen sitting with other tax collectors (likely Matthew’s friends) and other “sinners”. Tax-collectors have always received bad raps from people and it was no different in this day. They were considered “cheats”, “sinners”, “traitors”, and just plain dirt. They were the ones that collected money that was sent to the Empire as taxes. Often the collectors would take more than what the citizens were required to give. This is why they were not looked on with favor.
While reclining and hanging out with these type people, Jesus was approached by the Pharisees. They pointed out that He was in the presence of these people and enjoying their company. This was done possibly to sway the disciples away by discrediting Jesus. But Jesus answered back: “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus was giving his disciples an example of evangelism and I would suspect that Jesus was evagelising the house. You see it is one thing for Christians to gather around and worship God and enjoy fellowship. It is another to actually GO OUT and “hang” around sinners and be the reflection of Christ. It is sinners that need the grace and MERCY of Jesus. Everywhere we turn we can find soemone who needs Jesus. Have we adeqately told them about Him?
Homework for today;
1. First, do what Jesus said and find out what is meant by “I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE” from verse 13. You may have to dig a little into Scripture.
2. Next, find someone who doesn’t know Jesus and strike up a conversation with them and ask God to provide a way to turn the conversation into “spiritual” things. Then start by telling how you came to know the Lord. Yes your testimony.

Legalistic Lawyers and Purposeful Propitiation Matthew 5:17-20

“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:17-20)

You have heard that people say that we are no longer under the Law BUT under grace. What exactly does this mean? Do we ignore the Law? Do we follow the Law?
I’m here to tell you- neither and both. 
HUH? Well think of it this way. Why do we need laws? Easy answer… so the people would not live in Chaos. If there were “rules” to society then people would be in a constant state of fear.
But instead, God gave the Laws (10 Commandments) to Moses so that he could start the government for the nation of Israel. 
“But I’m not Jewish!” says you? Ha, neither am I but God is still going to hold people accountable for all of the Laws, not just the 10 commandments, but all 600 plus commands.
“But wait, following the law to the “t” is impossible!” I know, that’s the point! When Jesus said that He didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill it, the Pharisees were in His presence. He briefly sides with them in that the Pharisees lived by these laws and thought that this was the key to heaven. But, instead Jesus ends this thought by saying that “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Those hearing this knew it was impossible to surpass them and much less able to keep the law. But that wasn’t the purpose of the Law. Jesus started by saying He was the fulfillment of the Law. It was never intended to draw man closer to God but rather to show man how far apart from God he really is. Jesus fulfilled the Law by being the propitiation for sin. It is impossible to keep the law even a small bit of it. Hence the need for a Savoir.
The next verses Jesus goes into detail in why it’s impossible to keep the Law. We will look at each of them individually.
Today as you go about. Think of the ways we break the law of today’s society. Speeding? Running stop-signs? Tax Laws? 

8 Habits of Highly Effective Christians

            Today’s Reading Matthew 5:1-12

8 Habits of Highly Effective Christians

Christians today are often mistakenly observed as being intolerant, and overbearing. Partially this is correct. Many take a stand on certain teachings but forget the focus of Christianity; love and humility. Jesus starts his famous Sermon on the Mount by presenting the ideals and traits he was looking for in His followers. Each beatitude contradicts society’s typical way of life. Jesus even showed us how to live by each of these by Hid own life. If our goal is to be like Him, the Beatitudes will challenge the way we live each day.

Benjamin Franklin kept a journal throughout his life and recorded his time management technique. It’s modeled by businesses and time managers worldwide and popularized by Stephan Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. When Ben Franklin was asked about what was important to him his answer was to upkeep a virtuous life. To do this he would list out the common virtues and out to the side he would rank them in the order he felt that he was proficient. He would then pick the virtue at the bottom of the list and concentrate on that one for the day.

In the Life Application Bible (NIV, 1986), the graphic illustrates what I have dubbed 8 Habits of Highly Effective Christians.
Take time to look up and read the references listed and concentrate on the Beatitude that you are weakest in, then move to the next one similar to the method of Ben Franklin.

Beatitude Old Testament Anticipation Clashing World values God’s reward How to Develop this attitude
Poor in spirit (5:3) Isaiah 57:15 Pride and personal independence Kingdom of Heaven James 4:7-10
Mourning (5:4) Isaiah 61:1,2 Happiness at any cost Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4) Psalm 51, James 4:7-10
Meekness (5:5) Psalm 37:5-11 Power Inherit the earth Matthew 11:27-30
Righteousness (5:6) Isaiah 11:4, 5; 42:1-4 Pursuing personal needs Filled (satisfied) John 16:5-11, Philippians 3:7-11
Mercy (5:7) Psalm 41:1 Strength without feeling Be shown mercy Ephesians 5:1,2
Pure in Heart (5:8) Psalm 24:3, 4; 51:10 Deception is acceptable See God 1 John 3:1-3
Peacemaker (5:9) Isaiah 57:18, 19; 60:17 Personal peace is pursued without concern for the world’s chaos Be called sons of God Romans 12:9-21, Hebrews 12:10, 11
Persecuted (5:10) Isaiah 52:13, 53:12 Weak commitments Inherit the Kingdom of heaven 2 Timothy 3:12