Matthew 6:19-24 King James Version (KJV)
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
The motivation behind this series of teachings is to get you to consider and reflect on what our Christian existence should really look like. Why we do and say the things we say; why do we respond and react to situations the way we do; why do we often live outside the power we have been given in the Holy Spirit in pursuit of the ideals and priorities of this material world we live in? These teachings are meant to inspire, challenge and react to what we put at the forefront of our lives. I pray you receive this with the love of Christ that is in me, but quite frankly, some of the ways we live, expose more about what we don’t know about Christ, than what we do know about Him. Why we sometimes fall apart amid challenges, even though we make proclamations that we serve a powerful risen Savior. If we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus, if we are fearfully and wonderfully made, if we are the head and not the tail, why do we fall apart often at the first sign of conflict? Again, we are using portions of the 1999 movie, The Matrix as our outline for this series of teachings. Please keep in mind, I am using this particular movie because it has been analyzed and scrutinized by so many sources…many pagan worshippers and new agers have used some of the principles of this movie to encourage their followers away from Christ; my intent is to wrap a beautiful bow around the major themes the movie shares, and reveal the reality of Christ, while at the same time addressing the fake, disoriented, banalities of our natural surroundings.
For the past two months, I have working from the following 7 principles:
(1) Life Without Understanding; (2) Realization You Are Unfulfilled; (3) Seeking Truth; (4) Rebirth and Cleansing; (5) Training & Discipleship; (6) Adversity & Conflict; (7) Victory.
We last ended talking about principle (4) Rebirth and Cleansing. We followed our protagonist of the movie, Neo, through his process of living a life without understanding, knowing that at the end of the day, he was unfulfilled and undernourished. We follow him as he reaches out to his acquaintance, Morpheus to seek truth and go through the cleansing process of having the bile and stink of our materialistic world removed, that he would be clean and see the Light; being removed from the dark existence of the computer-generated dungeon…to be lifted into the marvelous new hope of glory in Christ. So now, where do we go once the Light has been revealed.
Let me make a personal note here. Often, we go out into our streets and communities to witness the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST…and I love this. However, what happens next to this new person in Christ once they are exposed to the Light? Reflecting on our movie, there is a scene where Neo and Morpheus go through a combat training simulation inside the Matrix…remembering the Matrix represents this computer, battery operated world we call real. Here is a direct quote for the definition of the Matrix as spoken by Morpheus to Neo:
Morpheus: I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something.
What you know you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Neo: The Matrix?
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind…. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes… Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more… Follow me
I will not be able to cover every aspect of training and discipleship in one lesson, but let’s begin to uncover what this means to the Christian.
Before the actual scene takes place, Neo is exposed to hours upon hours of combat training…think about receiving pages upon pages worth of biblical reference material to study. Neo absorbs all this knowledge in record time and is now ready for his first assimilated training in the mechanism of the Matrix. For the believer, this could test or pop quiz that designed to see what you have or have not learned.
In the movie, Neo and Morpheus are inside the Matrix ready to do martial arts training. The dialogue here is fascinating and I will try my best to capture it in words for this broadcast. Neo and Morpheus are going for it, making moves against each other that defy our natural perspectives of space, speed and time. Morpheus is pushing Neo to move faster, to hit him, to have Neo defy his concept of what he can physically and mentally do. We get to a point where Neo has lost the first round of sparring and this fascinating exchange happens between the two of them:
Morpheus: How did I beat you?
Neo: You’re too fast.
Morpheus: Do you believe that my being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles in this place? You think that’s air you’re breathing now?… Again.
They begin to spar again. After a series of rapid pace jabs in the air, Neo finally has the opportunity to make the last punishing blow to Morpheus’ face, but stops short of hitting him. Then comes the following verbal exchange:
Morpheus: What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are…. Come on. Stop *trying* to hit me and HIT me.
Neo: I know what you’re trying to do.
Morpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo, but I can only show you the door, you’re the one that has to walk through it. You have to let it all go, Neo, fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.
Even though there is another training program for Neo to go through called the Jump program…where he must leap from one building rooftop to another one, at great distance…of course at this point he fails…that is another lesson for another time…The point of the training was to reveal what Neo could and could not do…the only difference is, these tests where not about physical prowess or abilities; no, they were about how open one’s mind is to defy the world’s logic.
Let’s go to a familiar passage of scripture found in 2 Timothy 2:11-15:
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
My argument is we generally study to prove ourselves unto men, and not GOD. I remember many ministerial lessons I received as part of “my training” for the gospel ministry and for outreach, and upon reflection, none of them challenged me about what I knew or did not know about GOD. Again, this is in no way throwing shade at those who labored with me, for I believe they were doing what they had been taught to do…Matrix thinking you can call it. Cemetery training is what others may call it. The simulated training of our Christian training and discipleship is determined by our faith. Remember, the natural limitations of this world are of no consequence to GOD. For example, I work with numbers for a living, and every day if I add 1+1, I will always get 2. Do we believe this works the same for GOD? Do you think our mathematics, geography, world history, science, astronomy, biology have any influence on GOD? Remember this scripture from Psalm 33:4-9
4For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
5He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
6By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
Does anything about creation make any earthly sense? NO!!!! Why then, my Beloved, do we try to make natural sense out of Godly happenings? In our movie, Morpheus challenged Neo to free his mind…this is not an easy thing to do when that same mind has been programmed for years by worldly programmers, to think, act, perform in a certain fashion. May I be frank, many of the “churchisms” we practice have no foundation in Christ. The struggle is real my Beloveds, to break free from the boundaries of teachings and practices that may make earthly sense, but have no foundation in heavenly places.
2 Peter 2:1-3 King James Version (KJV)
2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 King James Version (KJV)
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
Matthew 7:15-20 King James Version (KJV)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
1 Timothy 6:1-4 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
6 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
We are just at the beginning of training and discipleship. Look for more lessons concerning this subject in the month of September. I am spending a major portion of time here because the training and willingness to sit under correct teaching, is crucial to the believer. To be able to discern and decipher false teaching and rhetoric, from the gospel message; to free your mind to experience the wisdom from our father in heaven, and to take that wisdom and share it to others…now that is witnessing in Christ to the fullest extent!