In Matthew we read how Jesus holds them responsible for their thoughts.
Matthew 9:4. And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Why are you harbouring evil thoughts in your hearts? (KJV)
Guard your Thought Life.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
8 Gates to the mind.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
1. Jaffa Gate – What is True.
The Reliance Test.
Is the thought you are having right now true?
Can you rely on it?
We live in a generation today that doesn't ask, "Is it true?" Instead, they ask, "Does it work?"
Don’t consciously, let anything dwell in your mind that isn't true.
Ask yourself, am I thinking about something that is a lie?
Is my meditation in accord with what is true?
Only thoughts that are true are allowed to enter my ‘Jaffa Gate.’
2. The Zion Gate – What is Honorable.
The Respect Test.
We are to be thinking things that are honorable.
Do you let dishonorable things get into your mind?
Satan loves to fill our minds with shameful thoughts so we must be diligent.
Ask yourself, is this thought honorable or noble, if not, don’t allow it lodging in your mind.
3. Dung Gate – What is Just
The Rightness Test.
We are to be thinking about things that are "just."
This word means straight as opposed to crooked.
Don't let any crooked thinking enter your mind.
This gate is where all the Garbage or Refuse is removed. Valley experiences are used by the Lord to clear away the rubbish so that true faith, refined by the fire, can come forth and produce fruit.
Only thoughts that are just must be allowed to enter this gate.
4. The Golden Gate — Pure thoughts.
The Reverence Test.
We are to be thinking about things which are pure.
This word means free of contamination. Originally, this word was used to describe whether an animal or object was pure enough to be used in worship? That is, could it be offered to God? Could I take this thought and say, "Lord, I worship You with this thought"?
The Messiah has already entered the predecessor of this gate once before riding on a donkey a few days before He died to pay for our sins. Soon He will return to claim His rightful kingdom.
Only pure thoughts can enter this gate.
5. The Lions Gate- Lovely thoughts.
The Relationship Test.
The word lovely here doesn't mean beautiful.
It literally means causing you to love.
Does this thought cause you to love, or does it cause you to criticize unjustly, or bring division? Then, it is wrong.
When Stephen was dying, as he was being stoned, he saw Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father.
Stephen’s dying works echoed the love of God to those who were stoning him.
We are to think about things that cause us to act in love towards others.
Only entertain thoughts that cause you to love.
6. Herod’s gate-Good report.
The Refinement Test.
The Greek translation of "good report" literally means for us to think about things which are high-toned. IE: They sound good and are refined.
Gossips spread “bad reports”, so this kind of thinking will shut down a gossip mill.
“Bad reports” are also given when we have a human perspective, seeing through the natural eye, instead of seeing with the eye of faith. We need to have a Godly perspective as we saturate our minds with His Word.
Are the thoughts that you are entertaining, things of good report, things that are commendable?
The 8 gates we need to guard our minds.
True Gate ~ Jaffa
Honorable Gate ~ Zion
Just Gate ~ Dung
Pure Gate ~ Golden
Lovely Gate ~ Lion’s
Commendable Gate ~ Herod’s
Excellent Gate ~ Damascus
Praiseworthy Gate ~ New
The Damascus Gate- Excellent thoughts.
The Damascus Gate is the most impressive of Jerusalem’s gates. It is called Damascus Gate because the road coming out of it leads in the direction of Damascus.
The Arabs call it by a most interesting name:
“Bab el Amud” meaning the “Gate of the Column/Pillar.”
The Romans would place milestones along the roads and highways that they built throughout their empire in order to measure distance.
Point zero in the land of Israel was a great pillar just inside Damascus Gate.
The pillar, after which the gate was named, has been seen in ancient art works, but it has not yet been found in excavations.
What does “going the second mile” mean?
Jesus said, Matt. 5:41. "And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two”
Here is some background information concerning this practice of compelling someone to walk a mile.
Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia, invented the postal system to carry letters and documents from one place to another. To make his system work, a courier could force anyone to carry the mail for one mile, but only one mile.
The Romans adopted this system for their military to keep their soldiers from getting worn out from carrying heavy backpacks, weighing about 66 pounds.
Roman soldiers could compel any Jew or foreigner to carry their backpack for one mile.
Roman roads had mile markers similar to the mile markers we have today on Interstate highways, so it was easy to know where each mile started and ended.
If someone refused carry the soldier’s backpack, he would be flogged. The Jews hated the Romans, so carrying a Roman soldier’s heavy backpack for a mile just added to their hatred.
The distance was actually two miles because he had to carry it one mile to wherever the soldier was going, and then he had to walk back a mile to get where he was previously. Now Jesus says, “Not only do I want you to carry it one mile, I want you to carry it an extra mile.” This was actually four miles (2 miles there and 2 miles back).
We don’t carry Roman backpacks anymore, but the principle applies to every area of our lives today, in our relationships, at home, at school, at our jobs.
Christ calls us to go the extra mile going above and beyond what is asked of us. A Christian should think differently and therefore behave differently.
What good can come from going the second mile?
A Roman soldier says to a Christian, “Hey you, carry my pack.” The Christian says, “Yes sir!” And then he joyfully starts walking along with the soldier. After one mile the soldier says, “Okay, you can put it down now.” The believer says, “I will carry it another mile for you.” The shocked soldier asks, “Why would you do that?” The Christian explains, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and He told us to do this for you.”
The soldier asks, “Who is this Jesus that you follow?”
A door to the Gospel is opened when we go the extra mile. Have you ever wondered why people don’t ask you about Jesus? Could it be that it is because they don’t see him in your life.
A very busy Arab bazaar is crowded and active just inside the Damascus gate.
The location of this gate today marks the location of a major city gate from when Herod Agrippa expanded the city walls in 41 AD.
The bridge leading into the gate spans an area excavated by the British between 1917 and 1947 where the first and second century gates were found.
This gate was the busiest gate around Jerusalem and brought you to the main road heading to all points north in Israel and to Syria and would have been the gate Saul left on his way to arrest Christians in Damascus.
1 Corinthians 12:29-31 & 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way……..
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Jesus showed us this excellent way on Calvary.
The Damascus road was likely the one next to which Jesus was crucified. Golgotha, (Aramaic: “Skull”, ) also called Calvary, (from Latin calva: “bald head,” or “skull”), skull-shaped hill in Jerusalem, the site of Jesus' crucifixion.
Romans crucified criminals beside the main road to teach a lesson to the passersby of what happens when you disobey Roman Law. Jesus the Excellent One was most likely led out of this gate, where just outside the city walls he was nailed to a cross and His Father placed the guilt of your sins and mine upon Him.
Jesus showed us a more excellent way - Love.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
The Damascus Gate and the Garden tomb.
The “Place of the skull”.
The place of the skull.
Something excellent is very good, great, or high quality.
Because Jesus died as a perfect human, the curse from Adam could be reversed, and we can be heirs and joint heirs with Christ, and partake in the benefits of His death on the cross.
Jesus is the Excellent One.
Are my thoughts clear and consistent with the gospel?
Are my thoughts excellent?
The 8 gates we need to guard our minds.
The New Gate- Praise worthy.
Since it is the most recent of all gates to be built it is called the New gate.
The New Gate ordered by Sultan Abed el Hamid, should not be confused with the New Gate of the Second Temple complex mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:10; 36:10) that served as entrance to the Great Sanhedrin's Hall of Hewn Stones, and was previously called the Benjamin Gate.
The New Gate faces Northwest and was not part of the original 1535 design of Suleiman the Magnificent.
Even though the New Gate is located just up the hill from the Damascus Gate in the north wall, there is clearly no comparison in grandeur. It was opened in 1887 by the Turkish sultan Abed el Hamid in order to give Christian pilgrims who had settled in this area outside of the Old City walls direct access to the sites holy to them in the Christian Quarter.
The sultan Abdul Hamid also wanted to assist the Christian pilgrims from Russia, (who stayed at the Russian Compound just outside these walls), so they could have easy access to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
For a Muslim, this is quite remarkable and praise worthy.
Connecting the New Gate to the Praiseworthy Gate.
We must continually praise the Lord, even in times of trial, because He is the Praiseworthy One.
Look at the example of David, fleeing for his life as Saul tried to hunt him down. David turned his thoughts to the Lord, and His faithfulness and found strength, and comfort to continue, until the Lord fulfilled His plan to place him on the throne of Israel. As we read the Psalms, they bear record of how David continually reminded himself of the goodness of the Lord, even in dire circumstances.
If in our thinking, we are focusing on things that are worthy of praise, thoughts that do not fit into this category, will feel out of place.
Is thinking of ourselves “Praiseworthy”?
The Self esteem gospel says that you must love yourself.
Jesus said there are two great commandments.
“love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength”
"love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 22:34-40).
If we say we can't love others until we love ourselves, which is the false message that is preached, we are essentially saying Jesus gave us a third commandment.
In fact, we are suggesting that to love yourself is the second greatest commandment, and that it comes before the commandment to serve others.
This is what the proponents of this false gospel preach.
They preach that loving ourselves is a precondition to loving others.
The New Gate- Praise worthy thoughts.
There is a big difference between thinking that you are worthless and thinking that you are unworthy.
The worth that God has placed on your life and mine, was demonstrated at Calvary, when God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sin.
That however does not mean that we deserve such a sacrifice, it is a reflection on God’s nature and not ours.
I commented on a Facebook post not too long ago from a fellow pastor who was trying to promote self-love and I said that someone should have informed Job.
This is the post that I am referring to.
I read a very interesting comment by John Ashcroft, founder of the Ashcroft Group when he said that we should not think of ourselves as being dirt. He went on to say that the Bible doesn't say we shouldn't think well of ourselves, he said the Bible says we shouldn't think ourselves better than others.
Two Scriptures came to my mind as I read that. the second part of the second Law says we should love our neighbour as we LOVE OURSELVES. The other is found in Eph 5 where Paul says that the one who loves his wife, LOVES HIMSELF.
Self-love is good. After all, we were created by God, and we are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Self-love is good. Pride is a sin. Sin leads to hell
I believe this type of reasoning opens one up to deception
What do you think of yourself?
This is what happens when we encounter the Lord
You said, Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.
Woe to me! I cried. I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus knees and said, Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!
The doctrine of self love that is taught in some of the modern day churches, is a false doctrine based on worldly phycology.
They say that man’s problem is low self esteem.
God’s Word tells us that man is self centred and self serving, which is a far more accurate assessment of man’s problem.
Scripture does not teach self-esteem.
We are told to esteem others better than ourselves.
Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
JOY: Jesus first
& Others in-between....
Great men and women of God like Mary Slessor have shrunk from having things like hospitals and Bible Colleges etc being named after them. A characteristic that has always been evident in these great Christian examples in the past, has been humility.
On the contrary, politicians have named streets and hospitals and towns and airports after themselves.
Galatians 6:1-3. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted…..
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
1 Corinthians 3:18.
Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise.
This is what God says about you and I.
Romans 3:10-18 (AMP)
THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS [none that meets God’s standard], NOT EVEN ONE. THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD. ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE. THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE;
THEY [habitually] DECEIVE WITH THEIR TONGUES. THE VENOM OF ASPS IS BENEATH THEIR LIPS. THEIR MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS. THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN THE PATH OF PEACE. THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD [and His awesome power] BEFORE THEIR EYES.
Unfortunately instead of thinking of the one who is worthy of praise and what His will is, our thoughts are all too often centred on ourselves.
This problem has been exacerbated by our sinful nature, which puts personal comfort and goals above all else.
It is further endorsed by this modern day heresy of self-love.
Have you seen yourself through God’s eyes.
You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
1 John 3:6. (To see yourself, you have to see the Lord)
No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.
Remember, the Lord only reveals Himself to the sincere seeker and opens their eyes to their sinfulness so that He can deal with it.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.
This Psalm of David can be found in 2 Samuel.
2 Samuel 22:1-7.
David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior from violent people you save me. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.
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