Fighting the Good War

Session 2, Lesson 95 (Wednesday, May 13, 2020) (COVID-19, Zoom)

I.       Introduction and Overview

II.    The Four Enemies…

A.     The Flesh/Self

B.     The Sin

C.     The World

III. The World…

A.     The Prayer Against – Free, Deliver, Save, Liberate, Free, Empty, Overcome, Defeat, Destroy… The World, The Aeon, The Age, The God of This Age, The Spirit of This Age, The Lust of The Eyos, The Lust of The Flesh, The Pride of Life, The Idols, The Idolatries, The Idealogies, The Idealogues, The Systems… in my life in the lives of others, in the church!...

IV.  Into the New Testament World

A.     Kosmos, Cosmos, World, Fallen Sinful World

                                                            1.      I John 4: 7-18, vv. 9, 17…

                                                            2.      I John 5: 1-5…

                                                            3.      I John 5: 18-20

 

Reading: Dallas Willard (ed. Gary Black Jr.), Renewing the Christian Mind, p. 287

            Because he set aside the human reference points of evaluation and decision, his words were perceived as revolutionary. Social and political order in the present world is based totally upon false assumption about who is better off than others. Simply to tear aside those assumptions would throw life into chaos. The common people to whom Jesus spoke saw their religion as certifying all the worldly assumptions about well-being. Thus he knew that those who heard he beatitudes would think that he had come to set aside the law and the prophets. The beatitudes clearly imply that common and undistinguished people from the cursed rabble that “knows not the Law” could also serve as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Therefore, Jesus quickly adds: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them”.

            At this point in the Sermon on the Mount our Lord does something that has the most profound of bearings upon his followers’ relationship to the poor. He moves from his explanation of blessedness to the more fundamental issue of righteousness. True blessedness is of course founded upon true righteousness.

            Externalization of blessedness and righteousness leaves them subject to manipulation, so that humanity can maintain the illusion of control over them.

            But Jesus pointed out that entry into the rule of heaven, the experiential reign of God over our existence, comes to us only when we seek our righteousness beyond the field of specific action, where the scribe and the Pharisees play, at the level of fundamental aims and attitudes. It is at this point that the law and prophets see their intent realized. Here they can be fulfilled, and not abolished. Attitudes of heart inspired by faith’s vision of good in God’s living rule over us, a vision brought to stunning focus in the death and resurrection of his son on our behalf, reshape all of human relationships.

            It is this vision of human relations under the loving rule of God that is the only possible foundation for the life of faithful service to our neighbors, including those who are poor. No amount of charitable action—even the surrender of all our possessions, or consuming devotion to the formation and application of charitable laws or institutions—can serve in place of a heart completely immersed in that vision.