Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Matthew 19:13-30 Sermon Notes

Matthew 19:13-30
Sermon Notes
Even This
February 26, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Jesus here expounds on several matters. The nature of the Kingdom and the extent of the kingdom. The kingdom is vast and its members numerous. However, the cost too be part of this kingdom is high. One must give all and submit to Jesus fully if he is to partake of the kingdom of Jesus.
         That cost is high. In fact, the cost is everything that you can muster. It must cost you your very life. That cost seems way too high, unless you consider the offered reward.
         But there is still a problem. If I give myself, what more must I do to be saved. We have this nagging worry that no matter what we pay, we always come up short. The value is so high that we can never pay it. If we think that, then we think aright.


Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
         The disciples’ response here is an odd one. What were they trying to do? Protect Jesus’s time? Or, did they think it was somehow frivolous for Jesus to bless the little ones?

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
The disciples rebuked the parents but Jesus rebukes the disciples. Jesus tells the disciples to let the children come to Him. Furthermore, He takes the opportunity to teach them a lesson. Not only do the children have access to Him, they are more worthy of access than the disciples and apostles. That had to be a curious statement to the disciples.
John Calvin uses this passage to argue against the Anabaptists. Anabaptists were those who rejected infant baptism long received by the church and thought to initiate in the church only beleivers baptism or what we call credo baptism. Now, this is the whole of the Baptist doctrine.
Here Calvin’s strong words against such a doctrine. “To exclude from the grace of redemption those who are of that age would be too cruel; and therefore it is not without reason that we employ this passage as a shield against the Anabaptists. They refuse baptism to infants, because infants are incapable of understanding that mystery which is denoted by it. We, on the other hand, maintain that, since baptism is the pledge and figure of the forgiveness of sins, and likewise of adoption by God, it ought not to be denied to infants, whom God adopts and washes with the blood of his Son. Their objection, that repentance and newness of life are also denoted by it, is easily answered. Infants are renewed by the Spirit of God, according to the capacity of their age, till that power which was concealed within them grows by degrees, and becomes fully manifest at the proper time. Again, when they argue that there is no other way in which we are reconciled to God, and become heirs of adoption, than by faith, we admit this as to adults, but, with respect to infants, this passage demonstrates it to be false. Certainly, the laying on of hands was not a trifling or empty sign, and the prayers of Christ were not idly wasted in air. But he could not present the infants solemnly to God without giving them purity. And for what did he pray for them, but that they might be received into the number of the children of God? Hence it follows, that they were renewed by the Spirit to the hope of salvation. In short, by embracing them, he testified that they were reckoned by Christ among his flock. And if they were partakers of the spiritual gifts, which are represented by Baptism, it is unreasonable that they should be deprived of the outward sign. But it is presumption and sacrilege to drive far from the fold of Christ those whom he cherishes in his bosom, and to shut the door, and exclude as strangers those whom he does not wish to be forbidden to come to him.”

15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
         Here Jesus lays hands on the little ones. Elsewhere we are told that this laying on of hands was a blessing. Infants and small children can be and are blessed by Jesus. This is true whether they assent to and understand the blessing or not.

Matt. 19:16   And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
This man seems to be an honest seeker. He is not asking a question to catch Jesus in a trap. He is asking a question that he really wants an answer to. In some sense, he may think that he is already doing those things that will inherit eternal life. But perhaps the fact that he asked the question reveals to us that he knows that something is missing.
His question reminds us that he thinks he can do something to earn God’s favor. This reveals to us that he has not yet come to grips with the idea that there is nothing he can do to earn God’s favor and that his salvation depends solely upon the grace of God.
This truth has to settle on us as a hard fact. When it does, it drives us to the grace a mercy of the Lord.
Luke says this man was an Archon, ruler, prince or magistrate. Our translations make it ruler. We may think of a magistrate, not necessarily a rich man. But given Jesus’s subsequent teaching, we must infer that this man was not merely a public servant but a wealthy man who was in some degree royalty or of the privileged class.
Mark tells us that he knelt before the Lord. Clearly, he honored Jesus as his superior even though he was a man of wealth and honor.

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Only God is good. The ruler wanted to be good and perhaps thought that he was good. But he was only relatively good and relatively good is bad.
Jesus’s answers are always full of surprises. The man asks a question about inheriting eternal life. That is the question he wants an answer to but Jesus seems to give Him an unasked for answer. The man thinks that he himself is good.
Jesus goes out of His way to burst the man’s bubble. It is as if Jesus is saying, no man is good and therefore though you think you are good, you are not. This man puts a high value on Jesus calling him good. But Jesus condemns all men in His answer.
The question then  remains as to why Jesus is not condemned in His own answer. If He is a man and no man is good, then He is not good. That is true, unless the man is also God.
Jesus tells him to keep the commands. If you can do this, you will be fit for eternal life.

18 He saith unto him, Which?
This man no doubt knows which commands. The Ten Commandments. Perhaps he thinks Jesus will offer some twist on the commands?

Jesus said,
6. Thou shalt do no murder,
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness,
5. 19 Honour thy father and thy mother:

Summation: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Paul says that this is the whole law and the prophets. If you can do this, you can inherit eternal life.
Why does Jesus answer this way?
What does He leave out?
He skips number 10 and goes directly to the summation of the law, Love your neighbor. Why? Because men covet and when men covet, they do not love their neighbor. And if they do not rightly love their neighbor, they do not fully obey the first table of the law. And if they do not fully obey the first table of the law, they are condemned as breakers of the law. Thus, this man is not good. He is condemned already.
Number 10: Why was 10 omitted by Jesus? Can any man perfectly obey the law?

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Two interesting things going on here. One, the young man thinks he is capable of obeying the second table of the law. Two, he knows that for some reason he still falls short.
But Jesus didn’t give him a thorough argument. He did not mention the tenth commandment. Furthermore, Jesus did not elaborate on the teaching of Adultery or Murder they He did elsewhere. Instead of entering into an argument about what sorts of sins the man has in his heart, Jesus gets right to the man’s main problem of covetousness.
However, Jesus could have said, “Oh, have you obeyed all these commandments? Remember when you lusted after your neighbor’s wife? That was adultery in the heart.
Remember when you were so mad at your brother because you thought your father loved him more? That was murder in the heart.
You have never been a witness at court but have you never lied to improve your position?
I am glad to know that every thought, word and action towards your parents has been to honor them. No?
But Jesus didn’t take this tack. He let the young man declare himself what was his chief sin.
Matthew Henry says he could have said or should have said, “All these have I broken, what shall I do to get my sins pardoned?”

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
For the sake of his stuff, He missed Christ’s invitation. Come, follow me. To have Christ is to have all and this the young ruler could not see or hear because he was deaf and blind for his riches.
Jesus puts His thumb on the problem. The Bible nowhere requires us to sell all of our goods and give to the poor. This particular man thought he was good but Jesus points out to him that his life lay in his possessions. Did he really want eternal life? At what cost?
What else must I do? The young man would have us believe that he would do anything for eternal life, anything to please God and be with God forever. But he was only kidding himself. He would not even give up his possessions for eternal life.
Jesus here tells the man that to follow Him is the true cost of discipleship. Mark tells us what that cost is, take up the cross. What does that mean? Nothing less than laying down your all for Jesus.
The man appears to be a willing disciple of God but only on his terms, only if he gets to keep all his stuff and retain his life. That is not an option. The Lord will have all of us or none of us.
Mark also tells us that Jesus beheld him and loved him. No doubt, this man became a disciple of Jesus. His situation seemed impossible but not with God. God enables us to lay down ourselves, take up the cross and follow Jesus. It is God’s love towards us that compels us to this end.
Luke tells us that Jesus said, “Yet thou lackest one thing.” Covetous condemned the man.

Matt. 19:23   Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Why is it hard for a rich man to enter heaven? Because he has a lot to sacrifice and is unwilling to do so. A poor man has less to venture on heaven and is willing to venture all. A rich man has all to venture and is not willing to venture even part of it.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
In fact, it is so hard for a rich man to enter heaven that it is highly unlikely, near impossible. Can a camel go through the eye of the needle? No. Can a rich man get to heaven, double no.
Calvin says this word can mean a rope that sailors use as well as the animal camel. He prefers the former but the meaning is the same. Neither can pass through the eye of a needle.
Jesus is messing with their mind a little bit, here. A rich man cannot get to heaven but neither can a poor.

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
The disciples still do not get it. A child can be saved. Jesus came to serve the meek and lowly. He saves poor desperate women, Roman Centurion’s slaves, demoniacs in pagan areas, a Caananite woman, a Samaritan woman, and other poor and despised people. How can they not yet understand that it is not the wealthy and powerful people that are saved but the wretched and despised?
God is no respecter of persons. Here, Jesus reveals to us that the rich have harder time needing a savior than the poor. That is ever true. And we should note that in our day, we are those with great riches. Would you sacrifice all for Jesus?

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
A rich man is likely going to hell. But God has the ability to save him. In fact, God could save just about anybody.
Jesus says that His grace can cover EVEN THIS, a rich man who is unwilling to depart with his riches. First, we must see how much stuff has a hold of us. Then we must compare the value of our stuff to the value of following Jesus and dwelling in His kingdom forever.
How much stuff do you take with you? Is the glory of this life worth it? Will you trade eternity for a pile full of riches? For power? For fame? For pleasure?
The blood of Christ covers even this.

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
It is starting to dawn on Peter. We have given up everything for you. What will you give us? The ruler was seeking eternal life. Peter seems to be seeking temporal life still. Jesus is about to come into His Kingdom. What profit for Peter?

28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Calvin makes this regeneration the word renewal. He denotes the coming of Christ’s Kingdom. Jesus sits on His throne when He ascends on high. The apostles are not literally ruling the tribes of Israel. But Israel becomes the world and they rule in the church with Jesus. In a short time, the church grows rapidly to encompass the whole world.
Peter was wondering about his reward and the reward of the apostles. Their reward was ruling the world with Jesus. That is also our reward. Is that worth the cost?
In fact, Jesus promises a tremendous great reward to the apostles. They had hoped for twelve thrones, perhaps one to rule each restored tribe. But Jesus grants them a throse in heaven to rule for eternity.

29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Jesus left all and He owned everything. Thus, He receives a kingdom.
The promise of eternity and the rewards in the Resurrection are far beyond our imagining. Because they are more than we can imagine, Jesus speaks to them of earthly rewards.
Mark adds that we receive all these, with persecutions. How is this life better than riches if we are to be persecuted for the sake of Christ? Because of forgiveness of sin, peace of mind and the hope of the life to come.
Jesus’s kingdom extends into eternity but it starts here on this Earth. Jesus promises those who have forsaken riches or loved ones for His name’s sake and His kingdom’s sake, great rewards here and better ones hereafter.
Thus, the Church becomes closer to us than our own blood. Water is thicker than blood.

30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
When shall this happen. Those who are first in the kingdom shall be last to inherit that eternal life. They have the longest wait. But those at the last, enter into Christ’s heavenly kingdom soon.
Jesus taught that He is gracious to all who serve Him. His wages are not merited, not earned. His wages are out of the goodness of His kindness and mercy.

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