truly different

Have you been to foreign parts ?

I have visited various countries during my life. In fact, I have lived several years in another country where they speak a different language and have a different history.

It is striking that people from other countries can be different in a number of ways. Language is the most obvious one. And if you cannot speak the other person’s language then communication is limited. But difference goes beyond that to demeanour, to ways of doing things [customs] even to ways of dress – outward appearance.

A person with a different nationality may not necessarily be immediately obvious. But you find out when they open their mouths to speak !

Christians are to be different in just such a way. Their heavenly nationality should be evident in the way they behave and speak. It should reflect their status as citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

And please note this well. I said kingdom of heaven, not the denomination of any particular church or sect.

Christians may be found in different denominational churches and even none.

But what should mark them out as different ?

What is the type of difference they should exhibit ?

The answer is to be found [among other places]  in the next chapters we are considering in Matthew’s Gospel, starting in chapter 5.

Chapters 5 to 7 inclusively record the teaching called “The Sermon on the Mount”.

Jesus Christ himself preached this sermon.

Its teaching is challenging; it highlights  and describes the mentality which is required in Christians.

Jesus begins this long sermon with 13 critical opening words. They are like a key to the entire discourse; a key to the essential foundation for Christian living. They must be grasped as primordial; without a literal, heart felt and total comprehension, a person will entirely miss the point and live their life on false assumptions.

They may look the part – saying the right things and going to the right places, etc. But without a grasp of its fundamental reality and outworking, all the outward comings and goings will be no more than that. Outward appearance, not inward reality.

These are the words:

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Everything in the Christian life is predicated on having this mindset – both in coming to Christ and continuing the Christian life.


We cannot find Christ, and we certainly cannot continue with Christ, unless we are poor in spirit.

What does that mean ?

It means I have nothing to offer God. I have nothing to give him that can make an iota of difference to myself or to this self centered and wicked world.

Of my own humanity, I can do nothing for God; I can be nothing for God.

Because all my human effort, ideas and activity is born of the fallen, selfish “flesh” which can never honour God, or please him.

I come in total dependence on him, or I don’t come at all.

I serve in total dependence on him, or I don’t serve him at all.

I either live in him, or I don’t live the Christian life at all.

He alone can supply me with righteousness and acceptability.

He alone can give the strength and means to serve him and live for him.

He alone must be glorified.

He alone must be my God.

If in any way, I think or feel that I can bring anything of myself to God, I am mistaken.

And believe you me, God will show you – given, of course,  that you are actually his.

Given that you understand this, then the promise is explicit and unequivocal.

Yours is the kingdom of heaven

You will see the hand of God in the circumstances and events of your life. You will see him in charge of events and how they affect you. You will see him causing you to realise what needs to change in your life. You will see him bringing the strength and grace to respond as he wants you to.

You will also see him use you to influence others. Your life will count because God gifts you to serve him and others,  for his greater purpose and glory.

And yes everybody is gifted in God’s kingdom. Don’t mistake that for being called to full time ministry of the Word of God.

The ministry of the teacher and the preacher are very specific, very demanding and very evident when the person so equipped opens their mouth.

The teacher is a pastor and the preacher is an evangelist. And the person who is properly called a missionary [not an apostle !] is both a pastor and an evangelist combined.

[many people get called missionaries these days: they may be on the mission field, but they are support workers who are themselves gifted – as all believers are gifted in some way. That does not make them Pastor-Evangelists].

According to the New Testament, every Christian is gifted – they are enumerated in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.

A word of warning. The charismatic movement majors on such gifts and exalts gifts and ministry. And there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing operating there…

Gifts and ministries are means TO GOD’S GLORY AND GOD’S PURPOSE.

And the person so used by God knows full well that it is all of him and nothing of them !

When people want to make a spectacle of these things, be warned.

This world makes spectacles and boasts of what it can do. The church of Christ must not.

God’s kingdom is quite the reverse, as you will see when you read through these 3 chapters in Matthew’s Gospel devoted to Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.

Everything must be of God for it to serve and magnify God. Otherwise it will only glorify us.

What is born of the Spirit is spirit; and that of the flesh is flesh !

So we serve God as He Wants – not as we think fit.

Therefore, all Church activity and organisation must follow God’s ordained pattern.


Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: