Sunday, September 27, 2009
Matthew 13 The parable of the weeds And The Problem Of Evil
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself is it considered a hostage situation?
A question worth asking.. when it rains why don't sheep shrink.
If the police arrest a mime do they tell him he has a right to remain silent.
Why do they report power outages on tv?
What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
Why is there so much evil in the world? Epicurus schematized it this way:
If a perfectly good god exists, then there is no evil in the world. There is evil in the world.
Therefore, a perfectly good god does not exist.
God exists God is omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good A perfectly good being would want to prevent all evils. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence. An omnipotent being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and perfectly good being, then no evil exists.
Evil exists (logical contradiction)
However one wants to figure it, the problem of evil , the problem of pain, has been a stumbling block to many. My Aunty angrily and vehemently denied the existence of God after her husbands schizophrenia and her son's terrible death with Leukemia.
"Weeds"--NIV, Phillips. b. "Thistles"--Living Bible. c. "Darnel"--NEB, NASV d. "Tares"--KJV, NASV. "Tares" are weeds that go by the name "Bearded Darnel". In the early stages of its development, it looks exactly like wheat. It is only when the plant has matured and the kernels have form in the head of the genuine wheat plant that the 2 plants can told one from the other. The bottom line is this: The wheat has fruit in its head, while the head of the tares is filled with little black seeds. The seeds of tares are poisonous to humans because of the parasitic growths they contain. They produce vomiting & other types of discomfort.
The interpretation of the parable is made for us by the Lord Himself
The sower is Christ. The good seed is the Gospel of grace. The one who sowed tares is the devil. The wheat are those who are saved. The tares are those who are unsaved, but have the appearance of salvation. The tares are those in the church who look saved, act saved, sound saved, but who are in truth deceived about their salvation. The tares are those who expect to go to heaven when they die, but will, in fact, go to hell! You see, just like tares, lost sinners, even those who act saved, are good for one thing and one thing only, and that is to be burned.
1. The Sowing The Problem of Evil,.. "Where did evil come from?"
"Where did evil come from?" It is a real thing not a fiction. The Lord Jesus makes a clear and direct statement about the source, the origin of evil. Evil is something real. It isn't something to deny as the Buddhists and Brahman of India do. It doesn't vanish into the all of nothingness. It is real.
"Where did evil come from?" There is an enemy: He says clearly that the source of evil in the world is Satan.
Since the Garden of Eden, Satan's plan has been to destroy God's kingdom. God had created and established the perfect world order. There was no sin, no sickness, and no death until the crafty serpent approached Eve and questioned God's authority, sowed seeds of doubt in the minds of God's creature. Thus the beginning of Satan's plan to corrupt, destroy, and terrorize God's creation. The forces of Satan are real. Jesus believed in and taught of a personal being called Devil. He did not teach that he is equal in power to God, there is no sense of dualism here. He was not denying the overall Sovereignty of God over all events and circumstances. He was asserting the reality of evil.
Many people question the reality of an omnipotent God who would allow evil to come into the world. In this parable, Jesus asserts the fact that evil exists. He exerts the fact that behind it is "an enemy". To him the tares are tares. They are not imaginary. They are very real and very poisonous weeds. They war against the harvest of all that is good. And they were put their by a real enemy, Satan. The enemy who sowed them is the devil.
Satan particularly works to destroy the good works that the Lord has done with the gospel.
"Where did evil come from?" There are those who serve the devil's purposes. Yes we may think of Hitler, or Stalin or Mao and the millions who have died under their hands. The Pol Pots and every petty tyrant.
So often its people that cause us the most pain. Yes there is the pain of bad relationships through selfishness envy power and pride. What Jesus has in mind here are largely the teachers of evil under the guise of religion. Those are what he calls "the sons of the evil one." In other words, he thinks of the whole human race as a field, bleak, and lifeless. At the beginning, he scattered in it men committed to him, men and women in whom the truth of the Word had taken root and had come alive. He thrust them out into the field, scattered them here and there, in order that they might reproduce themselves and yield men committed to him. Then Satan came and did the same thing. He deliberately scattered in this field of rather lifeless humanity certain evil teachers who appear to be religious and righteous. Jesus began by scattering men committed to the word of truth in order to produce more like himself. Satan began by scattering men committed to the lie in order to produce more like himself. And so both grow together now until the harvest. See how they grow.
2. The Growing The Problem of Evil, "Why doesn't God Do Something?"
An enemy did this!' he told them. " 'So, do you want us to go and gather them up?' the slaves asked him.
29 " 'No,' he said. 'When you gather up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I'll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but store the wheat in my barn. ' "
"Let both grow together until the harvest." "Why doesn't God Do Something?" Ther is a harvest coming at the end of the age.
Notice here, the field is the world. Its not the church. We are to try and keep the church free from false doctrine and attacks by the devil on the gospel. But the field here is the world. Its in the world that both tares and wheat grow up together. 38 The field is the world,
This does not mean that we are not to expose false teaching and to meet them positively with the teaching of the truth. We are. Nor are we to allow those who exhibit clear forms of error to take leadership within the church. Other Scripture helps us here. But what our Lord wants us to understand is that no human effort is going to eliminate error from the world. "Let them both grow together," he said.
Baptists have always stood for freedom of religion. We believe that the gospel prospers most when everyone is free to believe as they will and preach as they will. So we defend even the rights of the heretics to be free.
"Why doesn't God Do Something?" There are yet tares that will become wheat.
We believe that God will honour His Word. We separate ourselves from evil, but we do not take up arms against those who are in error. Instead, patiently gently we exhort them to come to the Lord. 2 timothy 2:24 The Lord's slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil's trap, having been captured by him to do his will.
It's not the time for this to get sorted out yet.
More people are yet to be saved. 2 Peter 3: Dear friends, don't let this one thing escape you: with the Lord one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that [day]the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, [it is clear]what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness
The evil works of the ungodly are to become more and more apparent. The reason for their judgement, the sins that have captivated them will become the more and more evident as the tares grow taller and taller.
"Why doesn't God Do Something?" There is some wheat that might get rooted up as well
The servants immediately wanted to remove the tares but the master refused. Why? He knew that to do so would uproot much of the good wheat. You see, it is only at the time of the harvest that the ear is completely formed and the nature of the grain is evident. In our haste to judge we may attack and uproot unwheatly wheat thinking it is a tare. We may offend innocent bystanders causing them great spiritual harm.
I once read the story of a young, devout Catholic girl, Mary, who fell in love with a staunch Baptist boy, a fellow named John. They wanted to get married, but Mary's mother strongly objected to her daughter marrying a Protestant. Mary was heartbroken, but her mother suggested a solution: "Sell John on the Catholic Church," she told Mary. "Tell him all about our traditions, our long history, our beliefs. Tell him about our dedicated martyrs and noble saints. Once you persuade him to become a Catholic, you can marry him." So Mary dried her eyes and went to see John. Later that evening, she returned home and burst through the door, sobbing. "What's the matter?" her mother asked. "Couldn't you persuade him to become a Catholic?" Mary answered, "Persuade him? I told him all the things you said, and now he wants to become a priest!" That is the danger of overreaction. Luke 9:54-56 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 "For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." And they went to another village.
We often become impatient with unbelievers who oppose the truth of God, wanting an outward and final judgment on them now. But Jesus in the parable says we are to leave them alone and they will become manifest, gathered and judged in the end. Our response must be one of patience not judgment. We need to want to see them saved. We want them to not be tares any longer but wheat. "The church is called to preach and teach against sin and all unrighteousness, but, in doing that, its purpose is not to judge but to win souls, not to punish but to convert sons of the evil one into sons of the kingdom." -- John MacArthur
3. The Reaping The Problem of Evil, "Why would God create hell?"
Jesus was asserting something about evil. Yes there is a punishment for sin. There is a punishment for not being in his Kingdom. Nothing shows the evil reality of evil better than the wrath of God against it and the eternal perdition of those who choose evil.. It's judgement and the requirement of expiation for that judgement to be removed, prove to what extent God takes evil seriously." Henri Blocher.
"Why would God create hell?" God takes sin seriously and He is boss. Evil is real and very present in our world, but God is ever guiding us to that great day when He will say to His angels, "Now is the time. Go in and harvest. Separate the wheat and gather them into my house where there will be love and joy. But the tares, those who have never accepted my loving grace, who have never accepted my Son as Lord and Saviour of their lives, take and bind them and cast them into the fire that is never quenched."
"Why would God create hell?" There will come a day when all will know and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, willingly or unwillingly.. Phil 2:8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
"Why would God create hell?" All creation will vindicate God's Justice: The angels will work with the Lord at the end. They are coming with Him when He returns. 2 Thess. 1:7-9 and [to reward]with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. [This will take place]at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don't know God and on those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction, away from the Lord's presence and from His glorious strength,"
"Why would God create hell?" To warn you of the severity of God's Justice The punishment of the wicked is one of the main points of the parable. "Furnace of fire" - One of Jesus' expressions for the eternal hell fire. "Wailing and gnashing of teeth - Because of the intense pain and suffering. Jesus' teaching should cause us to utterly fear hell. We should do all we can to avoid going there.
"Why would God create hell?" God's Justice will be glorified in the punishment of all evil Rom. 2:6-9 He will repay each one according to his works: 7 eternal life to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth, but are obeying unrighteousness; 9 affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek;
Good men are getting better, and more powerful, and more extensive; and evil men are getting worse, and more powerful, and more destructive. The two sowings are growing up to a harvest, side by side. If evil is getting worse, God is matching it with a demonstration of his power and with the increase of good. That is why I think it is logical to expect that, as we near the end of the age, and increasingly see evil amassing itself and breaking out in tremendous authority and power, we will also see the Spirit of God breaking out in authority and power among the same groups of people and an awakening will occur right along with the deepening decline into darkness and evil. That is what is happening in our own day. Jesus says it will go on until the harvest. And when the harvest of earth comes at the end of the age God will begin to reap -- the good to be his, the evil to be destroyed.
Now, where do you stand?
That is the question we leave each one with today.
Is the seed of the Word of God growing in your heart? Are you a son of the kingdom, and therefore an influence for good throughout the earth?
Or are you a son of the evil one, beginning to spread lies, deceptive concepts, and to spread abroad the destructive philosophies that are so widespread in the world today. They are part of the lie of Satan that man can live by himself, that he is self-sufficient, that he is able to carry on his own affairs, that he can run his own life, and, therefore, does not need God. That is the great lie which always marks the philosophy of the devil.
Or are you one of the sons of the kingdom whom God is using in this day to bring this great harvest to fruition and to produce that which will glorify and delight his heart throughout all time?
A few thoughts about the Apologetic method of the Lord Jesus Christ used here.
- It was a straight out declaration and assertion.
The authority for his assertion is that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
The authority for His assertion is that it accords with Old Testament revelation.
The authority for His assertion is that it accords with human understanding and is a credible account.
The authority for His assertion is made simply, powerfully and memorably.
The authority for His assertion demonstrates His earlier statement that those who understand will understand more fully and those who do not understand will be in the dark. Matthew 13: 12 For whoever has, [more]will be given to him, and he will have more than enough. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. 14 Isaiah's prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive. 15 For this people's heart has grown callous; their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn back— and I would cure them. 16 "But your eyes are blessed because they do see, and your ears because they do hear!
The authority for His assertion reminds one of the moral responsibility that there is to hear and understand.
(and also indicates that the lack of hearing and response is a moral fault in the hearer).
The authority for His assertion demands response.
Are you with Him or against Him?
Several Baptist churches in New South Wales are considering the opportunity of a 4 day evangelistic crusade and Kids Bible Club during the July School holidays in 2010. Teams from the Southern Baptist Convention in the USA will come out from several churches there and conduct morning Kids Club VBS’s (Vacation Bible Schools) and Evening Meetings July 10th – July 14th consisting of a Saturday night fellowship, Sunday services and then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for the VBS and Evenings for evangelistic services.
The US team would then go sight seeing on Thursday, and then return to the USA on Friday July 16th.
Participating Pastors and churches would be responsible for all of their team’s travel and accommodation whilst in Australia.
If you would like to be involved please contact Rev. Steven Grose quickly.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Matthew 13:1-23 What God's Word can do
Matthew 13 of follows chapter 12! Novel idea! It says in 13:1 On that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 Such large crowds gathered around Him that He got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd stood on the shore. 3 Then He told them many things in parables, saying: "Consider the sower who went out to sow.
Here are seven stories Jesus told in Matthew 13. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus gave these parables on "that same day." What same day? Go back and read Matthew 12 and you'll see that it happened on the same day that the Jewish leaders accused Christ of working miracles by the power of the devil (Matthew 12:22-32). Jesus then pronounced judgment on that wicked and adulterous generation (vv. 33-37).
After the public controversy with the Pharisees in Matthew 12 when they accused Jesus of doing his miracles by the power of the devil, one logical question would be, "If you are who you say you are, why doesn't everyone believe? And why did the religious leaders reject your message?" That question rings across the centuries in many different ways. Why does a wife believe and her husband reject? Why does one brother become a missionary and the other a pornographer? Why do two children raised in the same family end up with completely different values? How is it that the same Word of God produces such differing results in the human heart?
Most messages on this parable discuss it from the standpoint of the four soils. I want to look at it in terms of what it teaches us about sharing the gospel today. We have been through an interesting time. Some have responded to the gospel in recent weeks. How do we understand that one church had 100 responses to the gospel and another only a few?
1) No Matter What the Word of God is our overarching duty
Matthew 13: 19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom
Jesus said the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). It's the only thing that has the power to change the human heart.
Some churches are programme driven. They hope that by putting on enough programmes they can attract people to the gospel. Programmes are not wrong in themselves, but sometimes it's possible to mistake busyness for godliness and activity for spirituality. The only thing that produces lasting growth is the Word of God. Preaching and programs without the Word may produce quick growth but it won't last. We need Word-centred ministry—and that must start from the pulpit on Sunday morning. Preachers who preach about everything under the sun except what God has actually said rob their congregations of the one thing they desperately need.
I've been around long enough to see the trends come and go. Here's a short list:
Sunday School campaigns Sharing services Church growth movement Evangelism Explosion
Charismatic renewal Contemporary worship Seeker-friendly churches
Purpose-Driven churches traditional worship Cell group movement churches The Emerging Church Movement. I have heard of everything that people do to win people to Christ: Jesus All About Life.. etc etc, but when it comes down to it, its only so far as someone actually shares the WORD of God at these functions that anything actually of an eternal nature will ever occur. Does Jesus All About Life actually bring people into contact with the Word of God? That will be the question we must ask ourselves next week as the campaign goes on TV. Never substitute a trend or a fad or the hottest new thing for the simple, systematic teaching of God's Word. Without the Word, our churches may grow but they will not produce fruit that lasts.
2) No Matter What the Word of God produces differing and unpredictable results in the hearers.
This is the central teaching of the parable. Remember that there is nothing wrong with the seed. The same seed that the birds eat is the same seed that produces a good crop. And it's the same seed that produces a plant that withers away or gets choked by the thorns. Good ministry can't be defined solely in terms of its visible results.
A Closed Mind.
A Cloudy Mind,
A Cluttered Mind
A Committed Mind.
Stories to help people understand truth. Stories with a point. Stories to conceal truth as well.
If you seek to understand God's Word, it can change your heart.
Matthew 13:9 Anyone who has ears should listen!" there is something to get in the story and not everyone will get it!
The ability to understand the Word of God is not a function of the intellect, it's a function of the will. . 9 Anyone who has ears should listen!" there is something to get in the story and not everyone will get it!
If you choose to understand it, it takes root in your heart, and you are changed .
The story of the Smalls, convicts and the first Methodist church in Australia.
I heard about one man who in his early years did evangelism among one particular tribal group and saw hundreds if not thousands come to Christ. Then he was transferred to a primarily Muslim area of Nigeria where he labored for years with only a handful of converts. What happened? Had he suddenly become ineffective? The answer is no. He still preached the same Good News but the field was much harder because of the hold the Muslim religion had on its followers.
Good ministry is like that. A man may see huge results in one church and then struggle for years in another church. One tribe is open to the gospel; another is resistant. One city welcomes missionaries; another opposes them. And so it goes around the world. And you can't know in advance how your ministry will be received. That's why Jesus told this story. Our job is sow the seed but as we sow, we need to be realistic and not starry-eyed dreamers. Some seed will fall on the hard path, some on the stony ground, some on thorny soil, and some will fall on good soil. But you can't know in advance where all the seeds will fall.
Good ministry of the Word produces differing results. That happens in every church and in every ministry. Jesus told this story so we won't be surprised and we won't be discouraged when things don't go the way we expected.
1 Corinthians 1:30a (HCSB) "But from Him you are in Christ Jesus…"
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. John Newton
We were lost and God sovereignly "found" us; we were blind, but God made us see!
This wonder of God's sovereign choice to find us and make us see overwhelmed Isaac Watts when he wrote:
While all our hearts and all our songs join to admire the feast,
Each of us cries with thankful tongue, "Lord, why was I a guest?
Why was I made to hear your voice, and enter while there's room?
When thousands make a wretched choice, and rather starve than come?" Isaac Watts (1725-1807)
Jesus speaks to the crowds in parables, but the mysteries are the things He tells those who are His in private. The mysteries were the truths that were hidden and had to be revealed.
2) No Matter What, early success does not necessarily indicate Success For the Word of God.
Often when we enter a new ministry, there is a sudden growth spurt. I remember being told that when a pastor goes to a new church, there is generally a quick rise in attendance followed by a plateau followed by a period of much slower growth. This makes sense because a new pastor brings new excitement, a fresh perspective, new ideas and an infusion of energy. It's not unusual for people to come to church to check out the new guy. So the first few months of a new ministry normally produce a bump in attendance. It's easy for a pastor to be misled by that bump. He can start to think, "Hey, this is easy." The ministry may be many things, but it is not easy.
But that's precisely what Jesus told us to expect. I find it fascinating that the longest portion of Jesus' explanation (vv. 19-21) deals with the seed that fell on stony ground. Remember, it sprang up quickly. Early success! Nothing better than that. We're going to have a bumper crop this year. But that seed sprang up quickly because it had no deep roots. When the sun beat down, the young plants withered and died.
So let us take the warning to heart. Wise farmers know that there is always a long period between planting and harvesting. The "early responders" won't always be around when harvest time comes. Don't be misled by early success. It's not always a guarantee of things to come. Think of it this way. Three of the four soils responded positively at first. But only one produced lasting fruit.
4) No MatterDon't despair because of early difficulty.
Three of the four soils failed to produce good fruit. Is Jesus suggesting that 75% of our efforts will be unproductive? No, but sometimes it can seem that way. Some churches are hard, others are easier. Some missionaries see amazing results. Others struggle for years with little to show for their efforts. Good soil can be hard to find. The flip side is that when you find it, it can produce amazing results. And some people will be thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred-fold in what they produce for the Kingdom. God can do a lot with a little. That's the encouraging news from this parable. A few seeds sown in good soil can ultimately revolutionize a church, a town, a school, a family, a neighbourhood, or when God wills it so, an entire region.
5) No Matter What Your initial judgment of people will often be wrong.
This truth cuts both ways. You can't tell by looking what sort of heart a person has. That is, you can't infallibly know who will respond to the ministry of the Word and produce the good fruit Jesus talked about in this parable. As the seed is sown in many places, it will find its place in many hearts. You simply cannot tell in advance how people will respond over the long haul. Some people you "knew" would make good elders and deacons will fall away or be tripped up by the cares of this world. And sometimes the unlikeliest people will become mature believers. We have to give the Word time to do its work. Eventually the Word reveals the true condition of every heart.
6) No Matter What Sow widely because you don't know where the good soil is.
The farmer in this parable "broadcast" his seed. He carried it in a pouch slung around his neck and threw handfuls in every direction. He knows that a certain amount of the seed will fall on the beaten path where it cannot take root. What the farmer doesn't know—and can't know—is where the stones and thorns are just under the surface. And therefore he also doesn't know where the good soil is that produces lasting fruit. So it is in his own best interests to sow his seed as widely as possible. The same is true in evangelism. The best way to reach more people is to sow the seed of the Word in as many ways possible, using every avenue open to you, reaching out to every age and every interest group you can find.
7) No Matter What When you find good soil responsive to the Word of God, cultivate it.
It's easy to be sidetracked into a thousand things that don't really matter. When you find good soil, cultivate it. That's what Jesus did. Though he spoke to the masses, and though he had time for individuals, he gave the majority of his time to training the twelve. He found them, he called them, he trained them, and he allowed them to come alongside and be with him up close and personal. He poured himself into that small band of men knowing that after his departure they would become the leaders of the movement he had started. They were the good soil that would multiply 30 60 or a hundred-fold. That is the point of the parable. The Jewish leaders were not good soil. The scribes and Pharisees were the quick growers that would be crushed by the worries and cares of this life and the desires for other things.
I don't think we can improve on Jesus' plan for reaching the world.
He preached to the masses. He ministered to individuals. He poured himself into a small group of key followers.
He called an even smaller group to be his apostles. That small group of 12 men (which eventually became eleven after Judas defected) was the real focus of Jesus' earthly ministry. After he returned to heaven, they became the foundation for the church he was building (Ephesians 2:20).
Find a group of key men and women and pour yourself into them. Teach them. Pray with them. Listen to them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Challenge them. Encourage them. Call them at night. Send them a weekly email. Bring them into your confidence. Let them see your heart. There is only one thing wrong with this plan. It takes a long time and it takes a lot of energy and you have to be really committed to it. This isn't a quick-rewards program.
"I'd like to do that but I just don't have the time. I'm overwhelmed with too many things to do already." It is a sober statement of reality. He really didn't have the time. One of the other men in the room commented, "It must not be very important to you or you'd find the time to do it." He didn't argue and he wasn't offended. When I saw him a few months later, he said, "I want you to meet my men." And he introduced me to a group of 8 men, each one handpicked and prayed over. They were meeting weekly to read theology and pray together. And after some period of time, each man will pray about it and handpick his own men to repeat the process. The best ministry is always life on life. A passion for God is better caught than taught. 2 Timothy 2:2 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. When you find the good soil, cultivate it! Work with it so that eventually there will be a multiplied harvest for the Lord.
8) No Matter What Without prayer your ministry cannot be effective.
We do the sowing, the seed must do the work, but it needs a receptive heart to bring forth fruit. What does a farmer do with unproductive soil? He plows it up, throws out the rocks, pulls up the weeds, waters the ground, and plants it again. God farms the human heart like that. Jeremiah 4:3 says, "Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns." Things don't have to stay the way they are today. Remember what God promised to disobedient Israel in Ezekiel 36:26, "I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
A new heart! A spiritual heart transplant!
That goes beyond the parable Jesus told and it takes us into a realm of enormous spiritual promise. The farmer cannot of himself transform rocky soil into good soil. If you've ever seen the hillsides of Galilee, you know that they are more rocks than soil. You could never get rid of all the rocks. But God can!
And this is why the final word belongs to the Lord and not to us. After all, we were all once like the seed sown by the path. But God in his mercy intervened. He removed the heart of stone and gave us a heart of flesh. He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He gave us a brand-new heart.
We believe God can do things that are far beyond our expectations. He's done it before. He can do it again. And he's doing at this moment all over the world.
This parable teaches us both patience and hope. We need patience because some of the seeds we sow will never produce the fruit we hope for. But others will produce one hundred times more than we expect. And this is why we preach and pray and keep on sowing the Word. There is good soil out there even though it's not always easy to find.
If we keep on sowing the Word, we will reap a harvest in God's time, by his grace, for his glory. Amen.
With Thanks To Ray Pritchard Keep Believing Ministries
Titus 2 and Irritable Man Syndrome
Titus 2 Being Godly Men
1. But you must speak what is consistent with sound teaching. 2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. 3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. [They are]to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God's message will not be slandered. 6 Likewise, encourage the young men to be sensible 7 about everything.
Dr. Thom Rainer went to visit Billy Graham in his home in Montreat, North Carolina just last week . His time with Billy Graham was poignant because he is in his twilight years. He will be ninety-one in November. He wrote to me "I came away realizing that I had been on the mountaintop in more ways than one."
A life pleasing to the Lord is a life of integrity. The name of Billy Graham inevitably reminds us integrity. His is a life that did not compromise morally. It is a life that has been above reproach financially. And his is a life of incredible honesty. Leadership at any level cannot begin to function well unless the leader has integrity.
Our first ministry is to our family. The home of Billy Graham is a home of love. It is the place where Billy and Ruth Graham raised children and welcomed grandchildren. At one point in my visit with Mr. Graham, he pointed to a portrait of his late wife Ruth. With tears in his eyes he said, "I can't wait to see her in heaven." Thank you, sir, for reminding me again of the priority of family.
WOW. Wouldn't you and I like that experience to learn how to make an eternal impact with our lives in the lives of others. Yet we can learn from God's Word, for here in this short passage, the Apostle Paul has given you and I some directions to really make an eternal impact.
Our God is a Consuming Fire (Deut. 4:24 ; Heb. 12:29 ); and He forever dwells in Unapproachable Light (I Tim. 6:16 ), surrounded by His exquisite creations that chant Holy, Holy, Holy—and fall down in worship before Him (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8 ); and since the Lord God Almighty is Immutable, He is always that way, He will never change —it is we who MUST change.
Grace does not change God, it changes us. Grace has opened a way to God, a safe passage through the fire. Christ's work on the Cross opens the way for us to approach and know, serve and love our Holy God.
Knowing our Holy God
How constantly we need His life-changing grace, to energize us in our struggle against the flesh within, and the sins that so easily beset us. Sin constantly surrounds us, like flood waters; and swirling around, seeks to seep into any crack or unprotected area of our life. Salvation described by Jesus is, "knowing God". Grace made us able to know the Unapproachable, Holy God of the Universe. But our God says that there is a choice about our purity we must make.
Participation in Purity is Demanded by God for all , including the Older
men .. well by comparison to younger men, the younger men were probably in the under 30's category. Any one over 30 was regarded as an older man. What was the life expectancy in New Testament times? Psalm 90: 10 Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years.
There are particular temptations that occur to men as they grow older. These temptations are not dissimilar to those that younger men face. But it is interesting to note how they affect us all.
Older men are to be self-controlled,
This highlights the issues of anger that men face. The movie Grumpy Old Men and its sequel Grumpier Old Men are comic portrayals of anger in older men. The reality, however, is far from funny. According to the Senior Journal, the stress chemicals that are released during anger episodes can speed the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, and contribute to a faster-than-normal reduction in lung function due to aging. A seven-year study at Harvard University shows that older men with high anger scores on a personality test have about a three-times-higher risk of heart disease than men with lower anger scores. Anger remained associated with heart disease even after adjusting for smoking, drinking, being overweight, and other factors. Scientists speculate that anger releases stress hormones into the bloodstream, increases oxygen demand by heart muscle cells, and increases stickiness of blood platelets, leading to blood clots that initiate heart attacks.
What Is Irritable Male Syndrome Irritable Male Syndrome is defined by Dr. Diamond as A state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration, and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal imbalances, stress, and loss of male identity.
Chronic anger and stress can also lead to the beginning of a drug and alcohol problem, or exacerbate substance abuse that was already occurring. Substance abuse can cause erratic behavior, including anger or irritability. With the loss of inhibitions due to drugs and alcohol, this anger can quickly spiral out of control into physical violence or emotional abuse of a spouse or caregiver.
That the aged men be sober νηφαλους εiναι, σεμνος, σwφρονας,
Key Cause of IMS Biochemical changes
We've all heard about brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and how they can impact our moods. Having a constant level of serotonin is vital for men if they are to prevent IMS from upsetting the balance of brain chemicals that we need to maintain a positive mood. Siegfried Meryn, M.D., author of Men's Health and the Hormone Revolution, says, "The more serotonin the body produces the happier, more positive and more euphoric we are. It plays an essential role in psychological stability and affects eating behavior, the circadian rhythm, mood, sexual behavior, and the perception of pain. Low serotonin can contribute to a man's irritability and aggression." So how do we keep our serotonin levels up? It's actually quite simple. One of the things we can do is eat the right foods for mood stability. Too much protein suppresses central nervous system (CNS) serotonin levels.
Communication and conflict resolution Conflict is inevitable in relationships, but this doesn't mean that every disagreement needs to lead to an angry fight.
Relaxation Anger can be the result of a build up of unresolved stress, bottling things up or a front for other unexpressed emotions
Changing the beliefs that contribute to anger Some anger problems are related to underlying belief systems about how the world 'should' be. If you have a belief that the world should or must conform to your expectations, when in fact it doesn't, you may experience a lot of frustration and anger. Changing the beliefs that cause anger can take some time and effort.
Older men are to be worthy of respect, grave,
Levity is unbecoming in any, but especially in the aged; they should be composed and stayed, grave in habit, speech, and behaviour; gaudiness in dress, levity and vanity in the behaviour, how unbeseeming in their years!
I don't actually think that the issue Paul raises before them is the use of humour. Rather I think that this is one of the chronic problems of men in mid life crisis that is being described. Men in mid life find that their hormones run wild.
Mid life depression.
Many men reach mid-life and their emotional world begins to come apart. The slide may be triggered by physical illness, the death of a parent, the loss of a job, or the dying of a dream. They begin to feel that their life has no direction. It's as though the rudder of their ship has been damaged and they can't steer a straight course. They feel lost and alone and terrified. However, on the outside they may appear to be on top of the world. They are successful at work and good husbands and fathers at home. However, the rust of despair is eating away at the foundation of their lives. Afraid to confront the wreckage of the past, they go for the quick fix. Their unconscious mind grabs a hold of their psyches and whispers, "Get away, get away. It's your old life and your old wife that is the problem. Create a new life and everything will be fine."
Contrary to literary tales, we must go home again. We can't run away from ourselves. Mid-life is either a time of withdrawal and retreat or a time to go deeper. We either heal the old wounds or they will eat away at our bones.
When people think of irritability, anger, hormones; they often think of a football player or weight-lifter juiced up on anabolic steroids with everything bulging—hi neck, his biceps, his eyes. Though a small number of males experience IMS because of hormone levels that are too high, the more typical problem is that hormone levels, such as testosterone are too low. Dr. Gerald A. Lincoln is a research scientist at the Centre for Reproductive Biology in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Lincoln and his team were trying to develop a male contraceptive. One of their studies involved lowering the testosterone levels of rams to see if it prevented conception. It didn't. But surprisingly he found that it did make the animals "irritable."
Older men are to be sensible, temperate,
Increasing stress Fifty years ago only bridges were stressed. Humans were irritable, angry, anxious, or worried. Since the 1950s stress has evolved from an engineering term to become the most prevalent cultural construct of our time. It seems that nearly everyone is stressed these days and the interest in stress and how to deal with it increases all the time. Interestingly, in 2003, I Googled "stress" and was given nearly 10 million listings to choose from. Googling stress" today I get 164 million listings. In the study I conducted for the book, 91% of the men I surveyed said they were suffering from stress in their lives. I suspect that number is approaching 100% now.
But what exactly is stress? For most of us, stress is synonymous with worry. If it is something that makes us worry, then it is stressful. However, our bodies have a much broader definition of stress. To our body, stress is synonymous with change. It doesn't matter if it is a "good" change, or a "bad" change, they are both stressful. When you find you find your dream home and get ready to move, that is stress. If you worry that you won't be able to pay for it, that is stress. If you get a divorce or fall in love, that also is stress. Good or bad, if it is a change in your life, it is stress as far as your body is concerned. Stress is part of life and we wouldn't want to eliminate stress, though at times, we'd like it to ease up a bit. We might think of stress that leads to Irritable Male Syndrome at "distress" or "overstress." When we have too much change in too short a time, our system gets overloaded.
Being temperate is knowing how to handle stress.
Becoming prayerful… Phil 4:6 Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1Peter 5: 7 casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you
If we do not handle the stress properly this stress can result in older men doing intemperate things.
The picture of the man in his 50's in the red sports car with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel sporting a gold chain around his neck with the hairs of his chest blown dried and bursting forth in plentiful array.
The picture of the older man sporting a younger woman under his arm, or making himself a fool for a younger woman.
As we come to understand the roots of irritable male syndrome and how it can impact relationships, we see that there is a strong connection to addictions. As men repress the pain and memories of childhood wounds, they often use various forms of escape in an attempt to deal with the pain. Some men overuse alcohol. Others, get hooked on marijuana, cocaine, or other substances. Gambling, over-eating, compulsive work, or sexual acting out, are ways men try to deal with the unresolved issues.
Since we live in a culture where addictions to legal and illegal forms of escape are the norm, we often don't even recognize the degree to which a man may be using one or more of these crutches. However, at mid-life, with stress mounting, the addictions may become more obvious and more serious. Men who have lead exemplary lives all of a sudden become sexually involved with someone at work. Men who have been life-long advocates of sound fiscal management become addicted to some get-rich-quick scheme and steal money from people who trusted them. Men who have been against drugs all their lives are suddenly arrested for the use and sale of large quantities of marijuana.
Older men are to be sound in faith,
Dr. William S. Pollack has spent a great deal of his professional life working with
males. In his book, A New Psychology of Men, co-authored with Dr. Ronald F.
Levant, he says, "Men suffer under a code of masculinity that requires them to be: · Aggressive · Dominant · Achievement oriented Competitive · Rigidly self-sufficient · Willing to take risks · Emotionally restricted."
It's a terrible bind for men. If we don't follow the masculine plan, we are told by society, in no uncertain terms, that we are "wimps," not really men. If we do follow the male dictates, we are told we are "unfeeling brutes" and we feel ashamed. It's no wonder we dream of escape, even through death.
Here in this passage is the solution.
How can you get through the crises that can change a man from changing from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, from Mr. Nice to Mr. Mean to Mr. In-the-Wind.
Be sound in faith. This has a two fold meaning. Sound in faith means being sound in our beliefs. Jude 3 Dear friends, although I was eager to write you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.
Titus 1: 9 holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it. So, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith 14 and may not pay attention to Jewish myths and the commandments of men who reject the truth.
2 Peter 1:3 For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.
It also means have a growing trust in God. In these times you may be tempted to find your own solution to your problems. Your anxieties, your desires and lusts! Don't! Trust the Lord to bring you through this crisis time. Trust Him that He has greater purposes to work out. Trust Him and rest on Him! Trust that those promises will work for you too!
Older men are to be sound in love,
Matthew Henry said : "love to God and men, and soundness therein. It must be sincere love, without dissimulation: love of God for himself, and of men for God's sake." Is there a time better suited to discover what it is to truly love people than as we get older? Love is being forbearing over the things that irritate us. Love is finding new reasons to love our spouses in spite of the changes within us that make us anxious and revive some of the old hurts from the past. 1 John 3: 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
Older men are to be sound in endurance, patience
Matthew Henry wrote Aged persons are apt to be peevish, fretful, and passionate; and therefore need to be on their guard against such infirmities and temptations. Faith, love, and patience, are three main Christian graces, and soundness in these is much of gospel perfection. There is enduring patience and waiting patience, both of which must be looked after; to bear evils becomingly, and contentedly to want the good till we are fit for it and it for us, being followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Billy Graham Listen to critics, but don't dwell on them. In my position, I am subject to criticisms more often than I like. Indeed I am pretty thin-skinned, so it is an area in which I constantly struggle. So I asked Mr. Graham how, in a lifetime of international ministry and scrutiny, he dealt with the constant stream of criticisms. He smiled at me and simply said, "I ignored most of them." While he never implied that he was blameless, he knew that dwelling on criticisms would distract and harm his ministry. So he simply moved on.
Humility is one of the greatest virtues of leaders. He has counseled presidents and kings. He has preached to millions. Volumes have been written about his life and ministry. Some have seen him to be the world's most influential person of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet in each of the times I have been with him, I have witnessed one of the most humble men I've ever known. Billy Graham never thinks too highly of himself. What an incredible example he is.
All that really matters is Jesus. Mr. Graham preached about Him for most of his life. The message of the gospel is the heart of his ministry. He understands the brevity of life. And he knows, when it is all said and done, our relationship with Jesus Christ is all that really matters.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Matthew 12 Receiving Or Rejecting Christ.
The other day I was asked to debate with a fellow about the gospel.. rather I was asked to help another pastor with a difficult fellow who was rude abrasive and arrogant, demanding that all join him in his rejection of Christ. Every time I tried to answer his objections he became more and more abusive and ridiculous in his assertions. How do you work with people who reject the good news of Jesus? What does the Lord tell us about handling rejection?
Matthew 10: 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:
The theme of chapters 11-13 is the rejection of Jesus' message. Even in 10:17-25 Jesus had warned his disciples of future rejection and persecution. In Matthew 11 this warning becomes reality for Jesus himself as Matthew begins to emphasize that there is some opposition to Jesus. Matthew 12 relates events beginning the rejection of Jesus by the Jews. There is a theme.. John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Matthew groups together incidents that are similar. He is not always exactly chronological, and he often takes themes to show us how these truths were worked out. We have the collection of Christ's sayings in the Sermon on the Mount, followed by the collection of doings in chapters 7. and 9., the collected charge to His ambassadors in chapter 10., the collection of instances illustrative of the relations of different classes to the message of the Kingdom and its King in chapter 11., and now in this chapter a series of incidents presents to us the growing bitterness and antagonism expressed against Jesus by the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes, the traditional leaders of the Jewish community..
Why do people reject the Christ?
The Pardon Christ Gives Upsets The Ecclesiastical Applecart.
All the Gospels indicate that the breaking point between Jesus and the Pharisees was the Sabbath controversy (cf. Mark 3:6; Luke 14:11, John 5:9ff., and Matthew 12:14). Through the Sabbath controversy one discovers why the Pharisees particularly opposed Jesus. The way Jesus understood the Law was different to the way that the Pharisees understood the Law.
Plucking of ears of grain (v. 1) was actually not a crime. It wasn't breaking the Sabbath laws. (cf. Deut. 23 :25), But the Pharisees wrongfully regarded it as breaking the Sabbath law, as though it was "harvest work" (v. 2).
Christ quickly reminded them of two passages they ought to have known from their own Scriptures:
(1) 1Samuel 21:1-6 (vs. 3, 4), where David ate "shewbread on the Sabbath (Lev. 24:8); and —
(2) Numbers 28:9, 10 (v. 5), where priests in temple worked on Sabbath in course of their daily duties. So, if all work on the Sabbath was wrongful, as the Pharisees insisted, the priests would have been continually guilty.
In their endeavour to interpret the law, they had a field day with the Sabbath law, because the Sabbath law declared that they were not to bear any burdens on the Sabbath day. And so it was necessary for them to constitute what was bearing a burden. And it was decided that if you had lost your leg and had a wooden leg, that you could not use that on the Sabbath day, because that would indeed be bearing a burden. Well they went further then that. If you had false teeth, you could not wear them on the Sabbath day, because that also would be bearing a burden. As far as I know, false eyelashes weren't in at those times, but I would imagine they would have had to have ruled on that too. Today in Jerusalem in the Sabbath, they have elevators running continually between floors stopping a few minutes at each level so that no one has to do any work by pushing the button on the Sabbath.
(In the first century there were two major currents of thought with respect to what was lawfully permitted on the Sabbath. One is represented by the Dead Sea sect, as illustrated by the Damascus Document. The other is what generally appears in the rabbinic material. The first is more stringent, the second more liberal. For instance, the Damascus Document XI, 16-17 forbids the saving of a life on the Sabbath day, whereas this was permitted by the rabbis (Yoma 8:6,7; Mekilta Exodus 22:2; 31:13). Further, the Dead Sea sect forbade helping an animal out of a pit or ditch (Damascus Document XI, 13); the Pharisees granted that right (Shabbath 15:1ff; bShabbath 128b). Thus, the rabbis, at least in some respects, were more liberal than the Dead Sea community.
However, the Mishan agrees that the practice of medicine where life is not in danger (such as the setting of a broken bone) is forbidden (Shabbath 22:6). From the data it is clear that Jesus' controversy was with the rabbinic understanding and not with the Dead Sea sect. In Matthew 12:11 it is assumed that the Pharisees would permit a man to help his ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath. This indicates that Matthew's audience was more influenced by the rabbis than by the Dead Sea sect.
There were certain activities that were permitted on the Sabbath. One is mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 1:5: the sacrificial activities of the priests. Further, "the school of Hillel allowed visitation of and comfort of a sick man on the sabbath." Thus there was some diversity of thought as to what was permitted and what was not permitted on the Sabbath.)
The Lord Jesus accepts their position, and rather than argue against it, asks them what the scriptures actually do say in these matters. He asks 'Have ye not read? that they could not produce Scripture for their prohibition, as He would do for the liberty which He allowed. He quotes two instances in which ceremonial obligations gave way before higher law. The first, that of David and his followers eating the shew-bread, which was tabooed to all but priests, is perhaps chosen with some reference to the parallel between Himself, the true King, now unrecognised and hunted with His humble followers, and David, the fugitive outlaw with his band. Our Lord thus showed that while Fourth Commandment was binding, there was greater principle of human necessity making lawful certain activities on Sabbath; and, in light of that principle, there was no essential difference between disciples' ears of corn and David's shewbread.
Then Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 as a principle. If the Pharisees had known the meaning of Hosea 6:6, they would have had the theological lens through which to consider the actions of others. If they had known the meaning of Hosea 6:6, they would not have condemned the disciples.
When we evaluate others based on the technicalities of ritual and precision obedience, we miss the heart of God. God is relational, not technical. God is more interested in mercy than he is ritual. God is more interested in relationship than he is perfectionistic precision. That's what Hosea 6:6, means. We need it as a principle for living in relationship with others just as they did then.
This does not entail a rationale or an excuse for disobedience, but it should soften our heart with the mercy of God as we relate to others. After all, shouldn't we treat others with the mercy with which God treats us? And I am grateful that God's heart yearns for mercy more than sacrifice, for heart more than ritual, for relationality more than technicality. Can there be some that reject Christ today for these matters?
Salvation by the grace and pardon of God through the sacrificial work of Christ is too easy for some. They must add their extra rules for folks to be saved. And they object strongly to anyone who would indicate that we are saved by the mercy of God in Christ alone. Yes even some here today feel that way.
Now the Lord brings to mind something so revolutionary that it must have startled the Pharisses!
Yet.. One greater than the temple
Could it be that the issue of Jesus as Lord is the issue at heart for some people? Here is One greater than ritual, greater than religion, greater than our puny, weak ways of saving ourselves. And how that destroys our pride. Why He is greater than the Temple itself!
"There was much hard work done in the temple on the Sabbath — sacrifices to be slain, fires and lamps to be kindled, and so on. That was not Sabbath desecration. Why? Because it was done in the temple, and as a part of divine service. The sanctity of the place, and the consequent sanctity of the service, exempted it from the operation of the law. And now here in the fields, here gathering the corn, 'In this place' — here among the growing corn, beneath the free heaven, far away from Jerusalem 'is one greater than the temple.' He is all that the temple symbolised. In Him the Godhead really dwells; He is the meeting-place of God and man, the place of the oracle, the place of sacrifice. Then, where He stands is holy ground, and all work done with reference to Him is worship". Alexander MacLaren.
In this claim, to be greater than temple and Lord of Sabbath, Christ was stating that, as Son of man, He knew what was best for man and, as Messiah, He represented Divine authority; further, He was placing Himself on equality with God and asserting that Jewish people were His people.
Here The Person Christ Is Upsets The Autonomous Individual
"The scene changes to a synagogue, Capernaum. Among the worshippers is a man with 'a withered hand,' who seems to have been brought there by the Pharisees as a bait to try to draw out Christ's compassion. What a curious state of mind that was, — to believe that Christ could work miracles, and to want Him to do one, not for pity's sake, nor for confirmation of faith, but to have material for accusing Him! And how heartlessly careless of the poor sufferer they are, when they manipulate his illness for their benefit." MacLaren.
And again the Lord demonstrates without a Word that He is Lord of the Sabbath.
Matt 12: And in order to accuse Him they asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
13 Then He told the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out, and it was restored, as good as the other.
I like how the Lord handled them here. He didn't actually DO anything. He merely instructed the poor guy to hold out his hand. Now what could these Pharisees do? Jesus hadn't actually broken the Sabbath, nor had the man! There was no law against holding out your hand! But He demonstrated by healing in this way that indeed He was Lord, Lord of the Sabbath!!
It was this beyond all else that aroused opposition of Jewish authorities, because they recognized that they would have to recognize Jesus as Messiah As Lord! As THE LORD! John 5:18, Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
10:30-33 and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
It is this that arouses opposition from mankind today. We acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We acknowledge that He is greater than all forms of religion, and He is greater than our lives and has the right to rule over our lives. He has the right to say how we may or may not use the Sabbath day and every other day of our week. Yes Christians worship Jesus as God! (this was the reason given why Christians were odd)
It is this more than anything else that arouses the resentment of our neighbours to the gospel. Why should we talk about One who has the right to limit our fun?
Why should we impose on ourselves some strictness and some disciplines that the world does not want to impose on itself. And when we do bring ourselves under the Lordship of Christ, then the world finds itself held guilty by our submission to His Lordship. His Lordship over our lives challenges their rights to live independently, and autonomously of God.
Here The Power Christ has upsets the Rationalist
Matthew 12 continues with Continuing rejection by the religious leaders.
And in (30-32) Jesus reveals the desperate place of those who could be hardened enough to attribute His workings to Satanic power. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come."
(43-45) The dangerous consequences of their rejection of Jesus. "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation."
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
The Rejection of Jesus. Receive Or Reject.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
If you receive Christ You receive His Claims (vs. 6-8) This was twofold:
a. Christ claimed to be "greater than the temple" (v. 6) and can command His disciples (v. 7), "greater than Jonah" (v. 41); "greater than Solomon" (v. 42); "greater than our father Abraham" (John 8 53ff.) ; "greater than our father Jacob" (John 4 :12ff.) ; "greater ... than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
2. The Response Of Jesus He Forewarns Of His Reception by the Gentiles
16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known,17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: (1) His Position (v. 18) God is the speaker and describes Messiah as His Servant, His Chosen One, His Beloved
18 " Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! (2) His Power (v. 18) I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. 19 His Program (v. 19) He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; 21 And in His name Gentiles will trust."
(4) His Patience (v. 20) The character of the Messiah is then described in relation to Jewish people who, like reeds bruised and flax smoking, are regarded as bowed and smouldering under load of ecclesiastical bondage; He will bear patiently with them, enabling them to stand upright and grow strong towards God; He is sympathetic with all who are in earnest about following Him; and He will lead them gently on until complete victory for His just cause is assured. Therefore, take heart, you are never beyond healing unless you are beyond humbling.
(5) His Promise (v. 21) The final outcome is to be that, notwithstanding the opposition of certain Jews, there will be Gentiles who will accept Christ and Divine blessing will be bestowed; if, therefore, His disciples follow Him in this attribute of a meek and quiet spirit, their influence will resemble His and hearts everywhere will respond instinctively to gentle, Christlike lives.
The People Christ Owns Upsets The Rest You are called to decide who you are with.
Matthew 12: 46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Who will you identify with?
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Some Misinformation has been spread
and in defence of another church and pastor, I am publishing the proposed itinerary.
The program was :
Sat 22 3.35pm Dr Jerry Arrives at Airport
(stays with Pastor Graham)
Sun 23 9.30am Speaking at Coast Church & Lunch
6-7.30pm Speaking at TableTalk
Mon 24 Free
Tues 25 9.30 Homegroup & visitation
Wed 26 1-2pm RE Primary
Tues/Wed? Evening BBQ men’s meeting
Thurs 27 9.30am Homegroup
3.30ff Kids Club at Coast church
Frid 28 RE Primary
Youth Groups 6.30-10pm at Coast Church
Sat 29 7.30am Mens Breakfast Coast Church
5.30 pm ff Community Dinner Graham’s church
Sun 30 9.50 am Church Anniversary Service
Mon 31 4.05pm Dr Jerry flies from Airport back to Sydney.
The pastor wrote “We will delete the children parts of it and try to find a few other adult opportunities. He doesn’t seem quite as flexible as I thought and hoped he might be.”
I counted 7 opportunities to speak to adults in church services (table talk is a church service conducted at coffee tables in the church over a meal with opportunity for folks to discuss the evangelistic message). or small groups... or special men’s functions (BBQ’s and breakfasts).
There were 2 preaching opportunities on Sunday the 23rd, and 4 preaching opportunities on the 29th and 30th.
There were a further 5 opportunities to speak to children and youth. these were cancelled when he protested against children and youth being included in evangelistic activities.
He stated in an email “I am just fine with speaking to the men's group at [the church] on Wednesday. I am, however, NOT prepared to speak to school groups or Kids Club's. This is not my area of ministry. My ministry has always been "preaching/teaching" expository messages to a congregation or group of adults. “