Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Matthew 8:1-17 Sermon Notes

Matthew 8:1-17
Sermon Notes
You can listen here: http://providencekirk.com/sermons/
So Great Faith
August 21, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
The sermon on the mount was a hit. It brought Jesus many followers. They responded to His teaching and to His authority.
In this next section, Jesus heals three people, and a group of people, a leper, a Centurion’s slave, Peter’s mother-in-law, and people who are demon possessed and sick.
We continue in our study to look at the character of Jesus. We are not interested simply in what He does but also why He does so. What kind of man is He?
Jesus heals the leper because the leper asks with faith. Jesus was willing to go the Centurion’s house as soon as He was asked to heal his slave. In both instances, Jesus was willing to heal at the smallest request. He wanted to heal people. It was not a burden for Him to do so. He was willing to do so when He was tired at the end of the day, as in the case with Peter’s mother-in-law.
Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law because she was sick and He was near. In that instance, we are not told if she asked. He just touches her and she is healed. Then she gets right back to work.
Then in the evening after the meal, many sick and demon possessed people are brought to Him. So much for quiet repose. He casts out the demons and heals the sick. Why? Because He wanted people to be healthy of body, mind and soul.
Jesus is tireless worker, particularly when it comes to meeting the needs of needy people.


 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Lepers were not allowed to approach. They were unclean and considered contagious. But Jesus not only lets the leper approach. He touches Him. When an unclean person touches a clean person, the clean person becomes unclean, then they are both unclean. Not so with Jesus. When clean Jesus touches the unclean, they both become clean. This is a significant difference between the Old and New Covenants.
The man was certainly a leper. Lepers not only were unclean with sores. Their flesh was eaten away. Jesus didn’t simply stop the spread of this disease. He restored that which was lost. Jesus was able to create.

4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
We see in the after story why Jesus told the man not to tell about the miracle. The crowds press on Him and He has to depart. Furthermore, He was not simply telling the man to keep this miracle a secret. Jesus wanted the man to be obedient to the law. The law required a leper to be declared clean by a priest and to make a thank offering to God.

Matt. 8:5   And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,  6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 
This man’s occupation is important. He is a centurion, a commander of 100 men. Centurions were highly regarded in the Roman army and well paid. This was an important man.
Luke gives us a few more details to the story. The man first sent a Jewish delegation to Jesus. He then sends one of his servants to tell Jesus not to bother to come to his home. This might look like he was not interested in Jesus coming to his house. But his motives were pure and of the highest order. He had such great respect for Jesus that he didn’t even want to bother Jesus to come to his house. He knew that Jesus was the supreme authority of the land and was humbling himself before Jesus.
In Matthew, the word here for servant is pais, which mean child, boy, youth and can mean servant. In Luke, the word is doulos which refers to a slave. It makes sense that this person is an important and trusted slave in the household of the centurion.
This speaks well of the Centurion’s character. Slaves did not have much status. They were often mistreated but the Centurion is personally invested in the welfare of his servant.
The man is sick of the palsy. He is paralyzed and grievously tormented. He is in much pain.

7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
Jesus has no problem going to the home of a Gentile, even to the home of a leader of the occupying forces. He holds no grudge against Rome, her soldiers or her servants.

8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.  9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 
This man knows what it means to yield authority. When his superiors give him commands, he responds, “Yes sir!” Now, he is making it clear that Jesus has the ability to command even sickness. He knows that whatever Jesus says will come to pass. This is tremendous.
He might have heard that Jesus was a great healer. In the immediately preceding miracle, Jesus touched the leper. At other times He spit and made a clay, or took the hand of the person that was healed. It would have been easy to think that His ability to heal was in some power that physically passed from His body into the body of another. But the Centurion knows better. This is very nearly recognition that Jesus is God in the flesh. Only God can control the details of a man at a distance.

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Jesus marvels. He is amazed at the man’s response. He is amazed because of the level of faith exhibited. Furthermore, the faith of this Gentile puts to shame the response of Israel to Jesus. He has much greater faith than those who were supposedly waiting for the Messiah.

11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
As mentioned above, the Sermon on the Mount was a great hit, as were Jesus’s various miracles. As a result, great crowds followed him. But Jesus was a controversialist. He could not go many statements withtout saying things that really upset people, especially those in power.
Jesus takes another poke at them here but the stroke is broad enough that it catches some of his disciples, too.
Jesus has just healed a Roman soldier’s slave. He did so because the soldier asked and Jesus marveled at the soldier’s great faith. Jesus says that this is exactly the sort of thing that He is looking for, not the feigned faith of the children of the kingdom. He is contrasting two kingdoms that exist side by side, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of men. This point is made elsewhere in Scripture, not all Israel are Israel. Israel is the chosen son but not all those descended from him are chosen sons. Rather, those who have faith like Abraham are the true sons.
Jesus is pointing out that the false sons do not have faith in God. This is revealed by their bad fruit, their wicked deeds and even more particularly as they reject the Messiah, Jesus, Himself. Such unbelief will be thrown into the outer darkness.

13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
The Centurion is a true son.

Matt. 8:14   And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.  15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. 
Jesus touched Peter’s mother-in-law to heal her. After she was healed, she served dinner.

16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:  17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Many were possessed with devils. The demons seemed to have a heyday in Israel. They were not afraid of the religious rulers or the scribes. But Jesus had authority and He bid them be gone and they were.
Jesus healed all that were sick.
He bore our iniquities and sicknesses by taking them away. The chief way He does this for us is by taking away our sins. We still struggle with sickness, health issues and all must pass through the trial of death. But the Christian life is also one of general health. There are exceptions to this rule based upon God’s own choices. But we should understand that Jesus wants us to healthy of soul, mind and body.
When I say that He wants us to be healthy of body, I do not mean we are to follow every food fad or exercise fad. We can be generally health by receiving His gifts of food and drink with thankfulness and working hard as He has called us to do.

          Who is Jesus? How do you respond to Him?
         You have to know who you are. You are sons of the kingdom, like many in Israel were. But you are now sons of God in the church of Jesus Christ. That is a good and glorious thing but by itself does not guarantee your seat in heaven.
         The crowds who came to follow Jesus were sick and needy. As a result, they asked Him to help them and He did so. But the scribes and Pharisees thought of themselves as above the crowd. They did not think they needed healing and so they got none.
         On many occasions, Jesus forgave sins immediately before or after healing someone. His point was that the forgiveness of sins is our big need. The forgiveness of sins also heals the body. But in order to be forgiven sins, one must realize the need for forgiveness. But to all that come to Jesus as a humble suppliant, He grants them His grace and mercy. So, we must identify with the sick, the needy, the foreigner, the demon possessed. In these stories, those people are the true faithful.
         If you see this, your true need for Jesus, then you will be healed of soul, of mind and of body. But if you refuse to see this, confess to Him and repent of your sins, then you will be like the unbelieving Pharisees, chief priests and scribes whose place is the outer darkness.

         Now, I also want to say that the Lord makes us strong through forgiveness. We do grow. We do become stalwart sons of God who stand fast. But we never stand fast on our own. We always stand fast by standing on the rock that is Christ. That is part of understanding your neediness. Your strength, health, vigor, growth in grace, comes from Jesus. You may grow strong but you will always need Jesus, need forgiveness. You will always be needy in that sense.

As Thou Hast Believed

Jesus told the Centurion to go his way and may the healing be done to him according to his belief. What was the result? His servant was healed in the selfsame hour. 

What do you believe about Jesus? What do you believe about His grace extended to you in this meal? What do you believe Jesus says to little children who come to Him for blessing and adults who come to Him like little children? What do you believe Jesus does for those who prostrate themselves before His throne seeking only His mercy and grace?

This is a good meal meant for blessing for those who belong to Jesus, for those who believe Him to be the source of life and health through the forgiveness of sins. I call you to come to Him, eat and drink and may it be done to you as thou hast believed.

He Can, He Will

A leper came to Jesus and asked if Jesus was willing to heal him. Jesus was willing and healed him. Here we are gathered as God’s people, by His Holy Spirit, in the presence of Jesus, with various forms of leprosy about us, sins in thoughts, words and deeds, sickness in body or mind, doubts, fear. The only way to not be healed of these infirmities is to not come to Jesus, not confess, not bow, not recognize the authority and healing power of our Lord Jesus.

         But I believe better things for you, things that accompany salvation. Do you believe Jesus can heal your soul? Do you believe that He is willing? And if He heals your soul, this will also bring life to your mortal body. Come to Him, bow before Him in confession, ask His pardon and know the peace and healing of the Lord.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Matthew 7:15-29 Sermon Notes

Matt. 7:15-29
Sermon Notes
Fruit Inspectors
August 14, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         We now come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Keep in mind the territory we have covered. Jesus begins the sermon by blessing His disciples, those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who are meek, who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers, who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
         Contrast these attitudes with the spirit that is represented by the scribes, the chief priests, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, He says that we will know the heart of men by the fruit that they produce.
         This fruit is various but it certainly includes the very attitudes that Jesus blesses at the beginning of His sermon. Those who display contrary attitudes and actions will not inherent the Kingdom of God.
But there is still time to turn around.
         Matt. 21:28   “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in ithe vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward jchange your minds and believe him.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Jesus warns the faithful that there will be dangers from within. Paul gives a similar message to the elders of Ephesus in Acts. Even among the faithful, men arise who teach false doctrine that can lead the faithful astray.
Initially, these false prophets look like true prophets. The look like sheep but they are not. Sometimes it takes time to figure this out. If things do not sound quite right, then watch and wait.
The word here for ravening is harpax. Ravenous means a wolf has a big appetite. He is sizing up the sheep getting ready to eat them. Another definition of this word is swindler from a root that means to snatch away. This makes sense, too. A wolf will snatch away the health and life of the faithful.
Keep in mind our previous section. Judge not, lest you be judged. For with the standard you judge, you shall be judged. Now, Jesus is telling us to judge the false prophets. Watch them. See what they do and say. See what kind of men they are. When you see bad fruit, make the judgment that they are bad men.
         Here the maxim, judge lest you fall into judgment would be apt.

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.
How do you judge? By fruit. What sort of fruit? I think at least two things are in mind here.
1.                  The teaching itself. Is it consistent with the revealed will of God? Are they teaching something contrary to Scripture? Then reject them outright. This presupposes that we can know what the Bible teaches. We do need Bible teachers and we need preachers. They help us understand the Word and exhort us to live according to the standard of the Word. But it is also true that when a true prophet of the Word speaks, you can see his words in the text. If not, then you are under no obligation to obey such a minister and you may be obligated to disobey.
2.                  The standard of life. Jesus is attacking the chief priests, elders and scribes. They are the one who want to kill Him. They are the ones who enter widows houses and take advantage of them. They are greedy and this is revealed over time. So, watch their life and make an apt judgment.

Small qualification here for pastors and teachers. Anyone can make a mistake, even pastors. Sometimes mistakes can linger for a time. So, a faithful man could get out of balance in his preaching or teaching. But he should be correctable.
Another small qualification is the life of a minister or teacher. One man said that the best of men are men at best. That is true. A good man can commit an egregious sin without becoming a bad man. Again, is he correctable?
But if a minister or teacher persists in false teaching or sinful actions and will not be corrected, then the Bible encourages us to consider him a false prophet and reject him. Such a man is not a good man. You will know him by his fruit.

Fruit inspectors will naturally think of the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Is this fruit evident? Is it balancing? Is it growing?
Furthermore, do the leaders show the sort of fruit that Jesus blesses at the beginning of the sermon on the mount? That is godly fruit. But the scribes and Pharisees did not display this fruit. They are soon to be cut down and cast into the fire.
Saints, do not be deceived, worldliness is tempting. Heed Jesus and His way and receive His blessing.

Or, are the works of the flesh evident, which are: 19 Now bthe works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

7:21   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Who are the false prophets? The one who profess faith in Jesus but do not do what He says.
You do not earn salvation by anything that you do. It is all grace, God’s gift through the shed blood of Jesus. But salvation by grace alone is never alone. Those who truly belong to Jesus do what He says. They obey Him. They obey the Father who spoke from heaven. If you say you love Jesus but live a life that is hostile to His will, then you are a liar and will go to hell.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
What is it exactly that they did? Did they do these things? Or, just say that they did?
I suppose there are some works that religious people could flatter themselves with. Or, at least make the claim that they did such things. I have my doubts whether they ever actually do good works. The point here is that they claim to be disciples of God and yet blatantly disobey Him. Such people are not known by Jesus.

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The Lord never knew them. They were not faithful ones who fell away. These were wicked from the beginning. They were charlatans. Some of them were probably self-deceived. However, the context seems to make it clear that they knew exactly what they were doing.
Jesus’s contest with the Pharisees, Sadducees, Sribes and Elders prove this out. They thought Jesus might be the Messiah. That did not stop them from trying to kill Him. They were workers of iniquity.
On the Sabbath day, they oppose Jesus for healing, what they call ‘working’ on the Sabbath. So, they plot to murder Him on the Sabbath. Let us ask, which is a violation of the Sabbath, healing or murder?

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Not just hearers, but doers. If you hear and do the words of Jesus, you are established on the Rock that is Jesus.
What is Jesus talking about when He says rains descend, floods come, the wind blows and beats upon the house? He is talking about the Christian life. It is difficult. There is much trial and tribulation. If you are wise, you will prepare for life by building a good foundation.
Some of you face trials and temptations and waver a great deal. Your house is shaking. Will it stand? Yes, if it is built on Jesus. If not, no it won’t.
Do not be presumptuous. I have seen several friends after 20, 30, 40 years of serving Jesus, chuck it all. They decide it is not worth the cost. They cannot stand the storms of life. They get tired. The world becomes alluring. They lose the fruit of the Spirit called self-control and the sand of their foundation starts melting away. They find out that what they said, Lord, Lord, was not true. They were not built on Jesus. They were built on church, or family, or their own family tradition as Christian. But when it comes down to obeying Jesus, they refuse.
One man I know left his wife but was still claiming to be a Christian. The minister asked him point blank, “If Jesus was standing right here and told you to go back to your wife, would you do it?” His answer is telling, “If He also told me that I would be happy in one year.”
The storms include the rejection of a spouse, the failure of a child, the collapse of a business, the disgracing of a pastor. If these events derail you from the faith, then you are not built upon the rock. The storms will come. Will you stand?
Now, we do not get a guarantee on that part, happiness on our terms. The Christian life is full of joy and much happiness. But it also has rain, floods and wind. Will you obey Jesus then? Even when you are not happy and there are no immediate prospects? If not, then you are not built on Jesus. You cannot really say that you are His disciple.
Children growing up in this church, you have to decide this, today, tomorrow and the next day. You belong to Jesus and you are going to do what He says. If not, then your foundation is somewhere else. Some day your choice of Jesus will be that stark. You will be up against it to choose to serve and obey Him or not. Make the decision ahead of time. Make it today and then keep making it every day.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
If you will not hear Jesus, your house will crumble into the sea. If you hear the words of Jesus but will not do them, you will also perish.

28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:  29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Do the words of Jesus astonish you? If not, why not? His words are quite astonishing. What I am saying to you today is astonishing. It is with authority and not like a Liberal Seminary professor, a little of this a little of that, who’s to say, really? You don’t really have to believe everything in the Bible to be a Christian.  You don’t have to believe in historic Adam and Eve, a man swallowed by a fish, the sun going back on the dial, the virgin birth, or a man raised from the dead. Folks, that is false prophet talk.
The Bible speaks with authority because it is the Word of God, the Word of Jesus. You will have an authority. Which will it be? The sinking sand of man or the solid rock of Jesus Christ. There are only two options.