Sunday, November 23, 2014

Power: Mathew 5:7

By Odon Bulamba


You can’t know the quality of a cake until you have tasted it.  I have seen people holding a board with a picture of a burger on it and when you see the picture, you feel attracted to it and you can’t resist buying a burger.  You expect the big mac to look huge like the poster but it is small.  One day I asked why the picture looks more attractive and they said, “sorry, next time but give me your money in the meantime and next time we’ll see”.  In my country, they say, tomorrow never comes so when someone doesn’t want to give you something, they will say tomorrow so when you go back the next day, they will say, I told you to come tomorrow not today.  For God, He is talking about today and not tomorrow so we have to focus on today.  We have to follow God today and ask for forgiveness today, we can’t wait until tomorrow because tomorrow never comes.


Today I want us to chew on the Word of God and eat it.  The message today is about mercy. Everyday people talk about mercy and we hear people cry out to God to have mercy on them. What does mercy mean for you? What does mercy mean for God?  This word mercy starts from the beginning of the Bible to the end - the Bible is full of mercy, every verse and chapter. 


Before to eat the cake, normally we look first for the knife to cut the cake but our fingers could break the cake or we could just pick up the entire cake and put it in our mouth.  We need a knife so we can make the cake into nice attractive pieces that people can easily pick up a portion.  If I ask you to bite this cake and then I ask the next person, we won’t be comfortable to bite the cake after someone else has already done it – we might be afraid of germs etc.  In the Kingdom of God there are things that God wants in order.  We have to take the knife first before reading Word of God. The role of knife is to cut and once the knife has cut, the food has a good shape that is easy to eat.  We have to cut the Word of God into portions we will be able to easily undertand.


Mathew 5: 7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Are we merciful?  If yes, then we obtain mercy.  If not, we should never expect mercy from any person or from God.  What a condition, what a tough game – to be merciful.  Someone killed your mum and now you have to have mercy and let it go.  Someone hit your car, or stole from you but now you have to have mercy and let it go.  How often are you ready to be merciful?  How ready are we to make it one of the qualities in our lives, to be a character of ours, to make it be a part of our behavior?  I hear people say, I’m so angry, I’ve given you too many chances so no mercy now.  How often should we be merciful to others?  70 x 7.  That’s a big mathematics.


Mathew 18: 21- 35, Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.   As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.   “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled the debt and let him go.  “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


This story is a good example of mercy.  It started with a character called Peter (there is no character in the Bible like Peter – he is really a character).  Jesus is telling them they have to live in unity because you are all like one body and so you all have to stay together, work with one another and love each other.  Peter was like, “how can I be in unity with x person because they keep making mistakes, should I tolerate them more and more?  Should we only forgive 7x?”  Peter had already forgiven someone 7 times and now he wanted that person to be removed.  Jesus replied saying, not only 7x but 70 x 7.  Meaning that if someone does something wrong, we don’t’ have to say, “I’ll give you one more chance,” but instead we have to keep forgiving that person and keep having mercy.


Jesus came with a different angle and said, look at the Kingdom of God, I want you to be in unity because of the Kingdom of God, he secret of the Kingdom of God is like the following:  a king woke up one morning and checked his books, like an auditor.  Auditors don’t tell you when they are coming, they just turn up and they use their intelligence and calculator and go through all your items.  If you sold two boxes of chocolates, you write it down in the book and the auditor will ask for that book, he will ask for the record.  The king decided to have an account with all his servants. 


The first man was to be audited was a servant who was given 10,000 talents which equals 344,000 kg of gold.  1 kg gold equals US$38K so 344 thousand kilograms of gold equates to millions of dollars.  The king trusted that servant with a huge amount of wealth.  The servant did not use it properly - maybe he was taking money from it to organize a party, to travel and he didn’t keep his records clean.  When the auditors came, they took the servant to the king and said, “he doesn’t have your money”.  The servant begged the king and promised to pay back that HUGE amount of money.  How long would it take to pay all of that back?  The servant fell at the king’s feet begging for patience. 


God has trusted you and me and given us more than 10,000 talents.  First, you are alive.  You have your family, you can see, touch, move, and it is all at zero cost.  Many will tell you they wish they had eyes, others wish they could have legs.  How many people in this world wish they could be the way you are?  Do you know? 


Someone was created crippled or blind just because God wanted to be glorified.  How will you feel if God created you blind just for His glory compared to those who see.  When my father became sick, my family took thousands of dollars and begged doctors to keep him alive, “if he stays alive, all this money will be yours”.  Doctors could not keep him alive.  We breathe freely and breathe as much as you want but my father who was paying money to keep breathing could not.  Doctors fight to keep their patients alive but when the breathing stops, there is nothing more that can be done.  But God who is the supplier, keeps giving you the free oxygen everyday and we are to keep notes in our books.  The supplier will come one day and ask what we did with that oxygen.  What will you answer? I was playing soccer?  God will ask you, “Did I give you that breath so you can misuse it?”


Because He is a God who trusts us, He gives us everything we need and trusts when He comes back there will be a good record of how we used what He gave us.  He gives us the body shape that others can appreciate.  I saw a man in Asia who looked so terrible – a very deformed face and we can’t look at him twice because it is so hideous and this man was proud walking around.  God created him that way and people stared at him.  We stand in front of the mirror and the ladies will trim their eye brows, apply powder and turn around and around looking at themselves in the mirror and people appreciate the way they look.  Have you seen someone refusing to look in the mirror?  I have seen someone smashing a mirror because he believed he was ugly.  So when you look at yourself and you see you are so good just remember that all the wows from others are glory that belongs to God.


When people comment and say how good you are at something, just remember that you didn’t buy those talents with money - God gave them to you.  When He comes back to audit you, he will say, I trusted you with these qualities, what did you do with them?


At night we sleep for free but many people can’t sleep and require medicine to fall asleep.  You have nice dreams but others can’t even sleep.  The first thing in the morning we do is to look for breakfast. You can have eggs for example, but how many chickens have you created to produce those eggs and God supplies everything for you but you don’t even think about it.  One chicken gives one egg per day and only for a period of time.  If you take 30 eggs, you take the lives of 30 chicks.  Some people complain about the price of eggs or the price of milk.  How much effort does the cow do for the milk?  God keeps trusting you and making people and animals work for you to buy a tray of eggs for $5.  Sometimes we are even picky and we don’t want to eat that.  God looks at us and wonders why we don’t stop and think about how blessed we are.


The servant lost the 10 thousand talents and he begged the boss for patience.  The king forgave him and said don’t pay anything to me – be free.  Imagine buying a car with finance but when you ring the finance company and tell them you can’t afford to pay and you need time, they say, “you don’t have to pay it back, keep the car.”  Imagine if it were a house. What will your first impression be?  You’ll be confused.  Imagine you miss one payment on your $600,000 house and the bank tells you that you don’t have to pay the loan.  Will you cry? Smile? Say thank God or will you doubt and ask the bank to put it in writing. 


This man was forgiven and the Lord had compassion on him.  He was full of joy because he was told that that the servants should take him and sell him and sell his wife and children and everything that belongs to him. 


Have you heard about the selling of human beings?  Slavery: people would come by force and take you somewhere and you become a product that they will sell and trade.  You will be given to someone you don’t know and normally they will treat you as a slave and not as a free person, they will be harsh to you and if you attempt to escape you might be beaten to death.  I have seen in Africa places where they used to store slaves and it was a very tall building with one small window and people were packed in the room and no chance to go out of the room for the toilet. You might be allowed out of the room for a toilet break once every three days.  Once the room is filled with slaves, the ship will come and take you to the US.  It can be hot or cold but you have to wait in that room.  Many people lost their lives.  They stayed in that room for montHoly Spirit until it was filled.  They will put a choker around the neck and a rope to stop you from running because it will choke you if you tried to run away.  No matter how strong you are, if someone touches your throat, you are nothing – it is the weakest part of the body.  This man in the bible knew that his wife would also be sold and now his relationship with her would be over.  Imagine how much his wife was in love with her husband and now she will be separated.  How will you feel if your child has to be sold into slavery?  That is so very hard and all because the servant didn’t keep his book in order.


Your weaknesses and sins can have an impact on those around you, your family and nation.  Today the church doesn’t want to recognize that.  After forgiving the man, he was free and shouting and then he sees one of his servants and tells him he is owed 100 denaries which is about $700. He jumped on him and attacked the neck and strangled him, he wanted to kill him.  Because of that action of attacking someone else and not listening to him the other servants went back and told the master, “that same person you forgave does not have compassion”.  Here God is teaching us the power He has given us.


When you are someone somewhere, how do you use your power?  How do you control yourself in order to not harm yourself or others?  How many times do you hurt your heart, your Holy Spirit, your Christian life, your personality and you make yourself look stupid.  Some get drunk and they make themselves look so foolish by banging into things, or beating people.  Where is compassion on your behavior, your personality, your Christianity and after doing all that rubbish, they will tell you that they will never do it again but they do. The Lord told the bad servant, I forgave you but you didn’t forgive so for that reason, give back what you owe me.  You lose the blessing of God sometimes when you don’t have compassion on others, He reverses his blessing. 


Because you didn’t have compassion on your life and the people I gave you, you have to pay back the blessings I gave you and they will all be flushed down the toilet.  We want so much to get glory and money but many don’t want to be known as Christians – they are ashamed because they want to live their own life.


Jesus said, this man was given to those who know how to torture until he paid back everything.  Imagine having a conflict with God because you didn’t want to have compassion/mercy for others.  You tell others, “You keep doing the same thing so I break the relationship”.  The solution is to break the relationship rather than having compassion.  You tell them to stay in your corner and we will go somewhere else. 


We always meet here to pray because we are preparing the way to the Kingdom of God.  We need to know the rules of Kingdom of God to enter it.  We need to understand the rules.  When we became citizens of New Zealand, we had to repeat what we needed to say and once making the oath, it is a big engagement.  When you became a Christian, you told God that you now live for Him and you took a big engagement with God.  That was the beginning of accounting and God is looking at you.  I give God false promises but live my own life and still want God to bless me.


Some people have lost their sense of taste and everything is tasteless but those with a good tongue will know how tasty the cake is.  Have you lost the taste of the Word of God in your life?  Does your tongue feel that you really belong to Jesus?  If not, now is the time to fall at the feet of God and cry out for mercy and then change your life. What you are living now is yours but after tomorrow you don’t know.


Lebon and I were watching the news yesterday and in Hamilton, after celebrating a party, a house caught on fire.  Three people died.  They were sleeping and then fire.  Although the house had windows and doors, they died.  We don’t have to be foolish and think that we will jump through the window when the time comes.  Don’t think you still have time to fix it.  God is not our friend in the world’s way of thinking of friends.  We don’t have to tell Him to wait until we are ready.  The auditor is at the door and He will ask you, “what did you do with your hands, feet and everything you have?”  It will be a shame if you have to use excuses because God will tell you, “no you should first take care of your soul”.  You might say, I didn’t do your work God because I was sitting next to someone who is sick but He will tell you, “being next to the one who is sick cannot stop him from dying”.


When Lebon was in hospital I remembered how he always talks about being strong and fit which he is but now he is in hospital.  He was talking about how cold he felt but why couldn’t he run and warm up his body to remove the cold?  It was serious.  A girl came with a blue shirt and she had to take blood sample.  Lebon has very big veins and when the lady tried to take blood it was impossible.  No veins.  Lebon was suffering.  After doing that, another nurse came to try to get blood and Lebon started to shake.  The body that you believe is yours puts you in trouble.  You look after your body but it doesn’t look after you.  You wash it and put on make-up but it doesn’t look after you.  You have to look after your body but you need to also look after your soul because your soul will look after you.  If you don’t’ look after your soul, you will lose.


I used to drive Lebon every day of the week to his training like a taxi driver and I had to pay sometimes for his accommodation and then suddenly he had to go to Japan to represent NZ in his age group for soccer.  The trip cost $10,000 for one week.  All of that money?  And you give and give to the point that I started to forget my other responsibilities and praise God he grew up and can now drive himself.  Lebon’s soccer boots were around $350 and he needed about 5 per year.  I was investing time, effort, energy, brain etc for Lebon to be on a soccer team.  We need to remember that we belong to God’s team.  We have a role to play and what are we doing as parents for our children, what are we doing for our neighbours, our friends our work collegues?  We do our physical exercises but do we spiritually run and walk or do we say we are tired?  We should be active spiritually.  Give to Cesar what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God.  Do we only give to Cesar or do we give to God as well?  


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