Thursday, September 22, 2016

Matthew 10:1-23 Sermon Notes

Matthew 10:1-23
You can listen here:
Not What We Signed Up For
September 18, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Remember that in the last several sermons we have been talking about who will follow Jesus. Will you follow Him through a storm? Will you follow Him when He has no place to lay His head? Will you follow Him when they run Him out of town?
         Many of us think that following Jesus is the way to happiness and smooth sailing. And no doubt, there is indeed  a tremendous amount of blessing in following Jesus. He promises to take care of us and He does. But His care does not protect us from trouble. It is, in fact, His will that we encounter trouble. Some of this trouble is quite severe.
         Jesus has gathered a handful of disciples. They recognize that He is a great man going to high places. This appeals to them and they immediately begin to follow Jesus. But Jesus constantly surprises them. He goes places and says things that do not meet their expectations. Still, they recognize His authority, the power of His Words and the great miracles that He does, and so they follow.
         In this chapter, they begin to receive some of His authority. This is what they hoped for. They are being promoted to work in the coming kingdom, even with authority over spirits and sicknesses. This is appealing and yet Jesus surprises them again. Their work and authority is going to be questioned. They will have some level of success but not without suffering and persecution. What they thought would be their ascension to the right hand of Jesus turns out to be their humiliation. And this is just how Jesus would have it.

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Jesus is beginning to pass on His work to His disciples. They power to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all sorts of sicknesses and diseases.

2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;  3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;  4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Jesus is into nepotism. Peter and his brother Andrew. James and his brother John. And to make the nepotism worse, 1/3 of Jesus’s disciples were in business together. Peter and Andrew and James and John all worked for their fathers who were partners in the fishing industry.
Phillip and Bartholomew
Thomas and Matthew the Publican. Matthew mentions himself as a publican, which is a derogatory term to the Jews. It is as if he is proud of it now that Jesus has called him.
James and Thaddaeus.
Simon the Canaanite
Judas Iscariot, who now carries the words, the one who betrayed Him.

Matt. 10:5   These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
Jesus sends His disciples only to the lost sheep of Israel. Since that is the case, you would think that He is sending them into friendly territory instead of hostile territory. However, that is not what happens. In fact, the disciples receive a much better reception into enemy territory than they do into friendly territory.
This later also proves to be true of the ministry of Saint Paul. Wherever he goes, he is received. But then the Jews show up and stir up the crowds against him.

6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
You would think that lost sheep would be pleased to be found. Some are but many will not be helped. Jesus looked at His people as sheep without a shepherd. He is the chief shepherd and now commissions His undershepherds to the work.

7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What is the kingdom of heaven? Is it a kingdom in the heavens? Jesus says in the Lord’s prayer, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. The kingdom of Heaven is God’s will done on earth. Jesus is inaugurating that kingdom. That is the message of the gospel. The kingdom of heaven has come to Earth. Jesus is the King of that Kingdom and all men everywhere must worship Him as the King.

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
The proof of Jesus’s authority and of apostolic authority was these miracles.
These are the same things that Jesus did and so when His disciples do these same things, we know that they are sent from God.

9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Jesus is the Great King and He can and will provide for all those that He sends out to do the work of the kingdom. The worker is worthy of his wages. These ministers are providing benefits to the sheep and should be remunerated accordingly. They are to be given food, drink, clothing and shelter.

11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
God’s people are everywhere. Those who receive the sent ones belong to the Lord. Furthermore, they are glad to serve God by serving His ministers.
The peace of God is to remain on those who serve God’s ministers. But if they will not, then they will  not keep His peace.

14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Jesus does not expect His disciples to plead with or prounounce any blessing on those who will not hear them. Just the opposite. They are to shake off the dust of their feet as a judgment against them. It is a sign of the curse they have brought upon themselves.
To reject Jesus and His disciples is worse than the debaucheries of Sodom and Gomorrha.

Matt. 10:16   Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
What, we go out among wolves? Jesus, this is not what we signed up for. Surely, Your people will respond to Your as the King and will gladly join our cause. But Jesus reminds them that their trouble is just beginning and it is beginning within the house of Israel.
Wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Christians should know what is in the heart of man. Christians understand the sinful nature and are therefore quick to receive forgiveness and to strive to walk according the power of the Holy Spirit. We know the subtlety of men’s devices. Thus, we should protect ourselves from them. Be wise! But don’t be like them. Do not begin to use worldly means. The end does not justify the means. Be like innocent doves.

17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Beware of men. YOU be like innocent doves. But devlish men will be like crafty serpeents. They will seek to catch you in your words. They will seek bodily harm against you. They will spread lies and rumors about you. They will you falsely accuse you on the account of serving Jesus. Do not be surprised by this, for men are sinners and the chief sin is that of envy. It is a powerful sin that drives men even to murder.

18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
How is this a testimony against governors and kings? Because these Christians are innocent as doves. They are accused of wickedness but cannot be proved to be wicked. However, the lack of proof does not halt the powers of injustice. If they cannot contrive proofs, they will gladly conspire punishments without proofs. Thus, they become judges of their own wickedness.
It is also true that to be brought before governors and kings is to testify to them. Through the ages, many rules have submitted themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and this has been peace to God’s people and a benefit to that ruler’s kingdom.

19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 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.
These disciples are to exhibit great faith. They were to go out without money and minister the deeds of God while relying on the people of God to support them.
However, they were going to generate a great deal of opposition. And when that happens, Jesus reminds them to exhibit the same kind of faith in God and reliance upon His Holy Spirit.
Brother delivering up brother is nothing new. That is the old way that Jesus has come to crush. It should not surprise His disciples or us that the devil still works that way. Those who resist the will of Jesus will find themselves at odds with the brothers and sisters of Christ as well as their own brothers and sisters.
Envy is the driving sin in this brother to brother clash. Do not be envious of your brother or sister. Envy kills gratitude and provokes enmity, hatred and eventually murder.

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Jesus, we signed up to be loved by all for Your name’s sake. What do you mean that we will be hated by all?
As the light shines brighter and brighter to a full day, there will be more of those who love you for Jesus’s sake. But the worldly minded will always hate you for Jesus’s sake. Get that in your mind now.
How are the worldly minded? Generally speaking, they are the sophisticated, the well educated, the well-healed, the rich, those in the know. These people hate the simple unsophisticated faith in Jesus Christ. Always have, always will.

Let us not seek their praise but rather the praise of God, the praise of Jesus. Those who lose their life for Christ’s sake will find life.

Persevering Food

This is persevering food. I don’t mean that the food, itself, perseveres, although it does. Like Aaron’s rod that budded and the manna of remembrance in the Ark of the Covenant, the food lasts as long as the Lord needs it to.

But I mean to emphasize the effect of this food. Those who eat and drink it in faith, persevere. Jesus is our hope and stay. He is our sustenance. He is our strength. He is our ever-present help in time of trouble. He is the way when we are lost and confused. He is the light when we have wandered into the darkness. He is the truth when we act like Eve and start believing lies.

You need Jesus and this meal is a statement by you of your need and a statement by God that He will supply your need according to His abundance in Jesus Christ. That is why this food is persevering food.

Grumble Stumble

         'It’s hard' is not a reason to sin. 
         The life of the saint is the life of a soldier. He presses forth in extreme difficulties. His commitment and submission to authority keeps him moving forward.
The Christian life is the life of the farmer, who toils in the dirt. He plants and cultivates and waits upon the early and latter rains. He is at the mercy of the elements and of His God but if He grows weary and walks away, there will be no harvest.
A Christian is an athlete who buffet his body in order to win the prize. But if he cheats or grows discouraged or shrinks from the hard work of training, then the prize is forfeit. It is only those who press on, looking for the prize on the other side of suffering who hear those anticipated words, “Thou good and faithful servant, enter into your rest.”

How do you get to the point where you quit Jesus? I call it the grumble stumble.  A little complaining here and a little grumbling there and eventually the weight of the marathon run of the Christian life accumulates to unbearable. Then you hit stop. 
        Repentance, forgiveness and gratitude make all the difference. They produce perseverance. Let us take that road.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Matthew 9:10-38 Sermon Notes

Matthew 9:10-38
Sermon Notes
Blind and Dead, Seeing and Living
September 11, 2016
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Those of the Old Wine or Old Wine Skins are Blind and Dead. Only those who partake of the New Wine in the New Wine Skins can see and live.
         Jesus speaks this truth and then He gives us several examples of what the new wine and wine skins look like.
         The blind see. The dumb speak. The dead are raised.
         But the Pharisees remain blind. They are unable to speak the truth. They remain dead in their sins. In the context of the Kingdom of Jesus, being dead is not a huge problem. Refusing to be made alive is a huge problem.
         Being blind is not a huge problem. Refusing to see is a huge problem.
         Being mute is not a big problem. Failing to speak the truth is a big problem.
         The devil occupies the old wine skins. j
         The old wines skins have burst.

10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.  11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Mark tells us that many people, publicans and sinners, followed Jesus.
This is still about who will follow Jesus. Matthew follows. Sinners follow. Tax collectors follow. Prostitutes follow. But the Pharisees will not follow. The scribes refuse Him.
Their question is telling. Why does Jesus eat with publicans and sinners? Because Publicans and sinners need Jesus. Because Publicans and sinners need forgiveness. Because publicans and sinners know that they are sinful and desire restoration and healing.
The Pharisees should have been able to answer the question but they could not.  They neither understood God nor people. They are deaf and blind in nearly every conceivable way. They have no capacity to love as they should. They do not love God or their neighbor.

12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Publicans and sinners know they are sick. The sick Pharisees think they are healthy. Denial is the problem. The first step to any sort of healing, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, habitual is to acknowledge the need.
AA opening- Not sure why I’m here. Nothing you can do. But, I’m Bob and I’m a drunk. Okay, now we can get going.
I will have mercy and not a sacrifice. What is Jesus saying to them? 1. He is stating God’s view. Extend mercy where it is needed. Where is it needed? To those who are sinners, publicans, prostitutes, drunks, drug addicts, greedy people.
         But to those who continue in their religion in a smug way, offering sacrifices without humility, there is no grace extended. In fact, God says that He hates such sacrifices. To God, these kinds of sacrifices stink. They make Him sick.
         Only the repentant receive mercy. The unrepentant are repugnant to God. A failure to repent of sins will incur strict judgment from God. Jesus thinks these scribes and Pharisees stink.
         The gospel is for sinners. The righteous cannot receive the gospel.

Matt. 9:14   Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 
John’s disciples were true disciples of God but there is an interim period here. The Messiah has come but some of John’s disciples do not yet recognize Jesus and make the transition. They do so later. But right now, some are following John more than they are following Jesus. Remember that John says that Jesus must increase and he must decrease. This is starting to become clear to John’s disciples.
What is being asked here? Doesn’t fasting seem more spiritual than not fasting? Why do you fast, then? Is it not to gain access to the presence of God? John’s disciples wanted this and sought for it honestly. But the disciples of Jesus were already in the presence of God and Jesus was not asking them to fast.
So, Jesus, tell us why your guys are more spiritual than we, and even the Pharisees, who practice spiritual disciplines?

15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
The question seems to be about whether fasting is a spiritual exercise or not. Jesus says, well, yes and no. John’s disciples may fast honestly but it’s hard to find an honest Pharisee.
Who are the children of the bridechamber?
Who is the bridegroom?
How is He taken away? Cross? Ascension?
Then is fasting to be done from Crucifixion to Resurrection?
Or, from Ascension to Pentecost?
After Pentecost, is the bridegroom with us? If so, then are we to fast?

Matt. 9:18   While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.  19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 
Mark tells us that this man was a ruler of the synagogue. He worships Jesus. That is, he prostrates himself. He bows down or he lays facedown in the dirt and acknowledges the Lordship and Kingdom of Jesus.
He has great faith. His daughter is dead but He knows that Jesus is the Lord of life.
This is certainly new wine, people expect the dead to be raised.

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 
While on the way to raise the girl, another miracle occurs. She was afraid to speak to Jesus but she had great faith.

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 
She wanted to be made whole. Israel, too, had squandered her fortune on seeking to be whole, healthy, wealthy, prosperous. But Israel’s wound was incurable. They needed Jesus but were unwilling to seek Him. Thus, they remained in their blood.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Mark tells us that even after she was healed she was fearing and trembling. This fearing and trembling woman comes to Jesus and he commends her for her faith.
It does not take that much faith in Jesus to be made whole. It does take sickness. It does take desperation. It does take humility. But this woman could not even bring herself to talk to Jesus. When He speaks to her, she is afraid. In many ways, she did not know Jesus well and was afraid when she should have had confidence. But she comes to Him anyway and He does not turn her away. He commends her for her faith.
Being fearful to the point of shaking in your boots is not antithetical to faith. You can fear and tremble and still have great faith. Where does your fear lead you? To Jesus? That is faith.
She was never comforted by physicians. They took her money and they did not heal her body. Jesus comforted body and soul. Luke tells us that she had been ill for 12 years and had spent all her money on physicians.

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,  24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
There are strange contrasts going on here. The girl has died and the people are in great morning. But as soon as Jesus declares that her death is only temporary, the mourners scorn. They laugh, they ridicule. But Jesus is not easily deterred.

25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.  26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
Jesus said to her, “Talitha, cumi.” Little girl, arise. The news of raising this girl from the dead spread throughout all Capernaum.

Matt. 9:27   And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 
Even the blind follow Jesus. They call Him Son of David. That is a kingly title. They want healing but they call out for mercy.

28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country. 
Jesus asked them if they thought He could heal them. They did. This miracle is slightly different than others. He does not simply heal them. He commands that the miracle be done according to their faith. It turns out that they really did believe Jesus could heal them because they were healed immediately.
The blind have their eyes open but those who see are blind. The blind follow Jesus but those who see will not follow Jesus.
Jesus tells blind men who can now see not to tell anyone. Does this strike you as absurd? We are not sure of the meaning of this statement. Perhaps Jesus knew that when the word got out, He would have to move on before He was ready to do so? That is the common take on this. Jesus clearly knew the absurdity of His command? If these men used to be led around by the hand but now they can go wherever they want to by their own volition, how could this be kept quiet?
The text says that He sternly spoke to them. Don’t tell anyone what happened! Well, they didn’t have to tell. It was written all over their formerly blind faces.

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.  33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 
The dead are raised. The blind see and now the dumb speak. Who are the dead, the blind, the dumb? Isaiah tells us clearly and this is quoted later in Matthew Matt. 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
The quote is from Isaiah 6 and warned of destruction to Israel.

34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
The Pharisees did not deny that Jesus cast out devils. However, they claim that it is simply a trick to make people think that He is good. The Pharisees claim that Jesus uses the authority of the arch devil to manipulate the lower devils. They claim that He is in cahoots with Satan.

Matt. 9:35   And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 
The devil is not interested in teaching the Bible, preaching the good news of the forgiveness of sins and healing every sickness and disease among the people.
These are things Jesus did. This fruit revealed clearly that He was not doing the work of the devil.  And yet the Pharisees claim that He is. Jesus has already said that you will know what is in men by the fruit that they produce.  See His fruit and know that He is of God.
If the Pharisees tell these lies about Jesus, then what spirit is animating them? Jesus says that their father is the devil.

36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 
The Pharisees, chief priests and elders should have been the shepherds of the people. They should have taught the Bible, preached the good news and healed the people. But they did not do so. Thus, the people, the sheep, were cast down. They were out of balance flat on their backs and in danger of perishing altogether.
Jesus is mad at the Pharisees but He is not mad at the multitudes He has compassion on them.

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
         Jesus wants a big harvest. He doesn’t want any of the produce to go to waste. This takes a great deal of work. There are few willing to do the work, so pray that God will raise up workers.

16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Jesus is speaking to the scribes and Pharisees as well as to the disciples of John Baptist when He talks to them about wine and wineskins.
Do you have the capacity for new wine? Only if you have new wineskin. The Bible speaks of this as being born again. It also speaks of it as having a heart of stone replaced by a heart of flesh. The essence of the new wineskin is recognizing that Jesus Christ is the New Wine and receiving Him by faith.
How do we do this? By confession, repentance and the forgiveness of sins. When we do this, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.”
But if we refuse to do so. If we refuse Him, we will burst. There will be no forgiveness. The cloth will tear, the wineskin will burst. We will perish.
I believe better things for you. Things that accompany salvation.