Matthew

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Be Faithful

January 21, 2018 | Matthew 25:14-30 | faithfulness, goals

Americans love a success story. We love a winner. We may give out participation trophies to our kids, but once they’re grown up, we expect them to see second place as no better than last place.

But God’s economy is different than the world’s. His goal for you is not that you would be successful. God’s goal for you is that you would be faithful!

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them his goal for them to be faithful with the talents he had entrusted to them until his return. We can be faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to us until his return.

“Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.” (Matthew 12:32 NLT).

January 18, 2018

IS THERE AN UNFORGIVABLE SIN?
Yes. But it’s not what most people think. It’s not mass murder or some heinous crime. The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover any sin. But it cannot cover the continual, willful rejection of the Holy Spirit’s testimony concerning Jesus Christ. The Pharisees had witnessed Jesus setting a demon-possessed man free, restoring his sight and speech, yet they attributed the miracle to Satan. Even though they had knowledge of the Scriptures, which spoke of Christ, they had evidence of His miraculous power, they had the Spirit bearing witness to His identity… They willfully rejected Jesus. How can God forgive the one who will not recognize and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord? They have rejected the very One who would forgive them by rejecting and even speaking against the Holy Spirit who testifies of Jesus.

“My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:27-28 NLT).

January 16, 2018

THE SON REVEALS AND CALLS
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, has been given “everything.” Whatever belongs to the Father belongs to Jesus. Jesus is the One who makes the first move towards us, choosing to reveal the Father to us. Then, Jesus is the One who calls us to “come unto” Him.

If you hear the Son’s call, then come. Come and find rest for your souls. Come and truly know the Father through Jesus, the Son.

‘Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?”‘ (Matthew 9:4 NLT).

January 12, 2018

When Jesus forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, some religious teachers who witnessed it said to themselves that he had committed blasphemy. For only God can forgive sin. Yet, Jesus “knew what they were thinking.” They must have been shocked to have Jesus turn to speak to them as they stood along the back of the crowd, whispering among themselves. However, there is no record of their repentance. Their intellectual pride prevented them from seeing Jesus for who He is–– the Son of God and Messiah.

In this one encounter, Jesus forgave sin, caused the lame to walk, and knew what others were thinking and what was truly in their hearts. Who else but God could do this?

The religious teachers said to themselves, “Does he think he’s God?”

Yes. Yes, He does. And so do all those who believe in Him.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NLT).

January 8, 2018

In Christ’s sermon on the mount, we learn something about persistence in prayer and more importantly, about the goodness of the Father in answering. Jesus taught His followers to be persistent in “asking, seeking and knocking.” Then, He revealed the Father’s heart by comparing the good gifts that even sinful parents give their children with how much more the Heavenly Father will give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:11).

The currency of the kingdom is asking. As the apostle James wrote, “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2).

Be a Follower

January 7, 2018 | Matthew 16:24 | following, goals

The new year is upon us and with it many of us are setting goals we’d like to accomplish this year. We want to be winners and leaders. We want to achieve greatness in some arena of life. We want self-fulfillment. These are admirable goals, yet the way the world seeks such goals is very different from the way the Lord would have us take. For the Lord teaches us that the way to winning is losing, the way to self-fulfillment is self-denial, the way of greatness is serving. He teaches that in order to become a great leader, you must first learn to be a follower.

The world’s path is very different from the Lord’s. The world’s way may seem to work for a season, but many of us have tried to climb the ladder of success only to find that it was leaning against the wrong building. A man achieves that big promotion, but loses his family in the process. A woman tries to be a super-wife, a super-mom and seek super fulfillment in her career, but all she feels is super-burned-out. A teenager wears the latest fashions, listens to the latest tunes and tries to use all the latest lingo, but still feels alone and unaccepted at school.

Yet, as people of faith, we are not to live as the world lives. We’re supposed to be different. We don’t follow a philosophy, we follow a Person. We don’t follow a system, we follow our Savior. In the book of Matthew, Jesus described what it meant to answer the call to come after Him and be one of His followers. We can answer the call to be a follower of Jesus.

Red Christmas

December 17, 2017 | Matthew 1:18-25 | christmas

Have you noticed how prominent the color red is at Christmas? Red bows and red wrapping, red poinsettias and red holly berries, red striped candy canes, Santa’s suit is red, and even Rudolph’s nose! Red is everywhere this time of year! The color red reminds us of the love of God and the blood of Jesus, which He willing shed for our sins. We can’t really understand the meaning of Christmas without Easter. The cradle points to the cross. God’s “love ran red.”

In the gospel according to Matthew, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream to announce that his betrothed, Mary, would give birth to a son who was God’s loving gift of salvation. We can trust in God’s Son as His loving gift of salvation.

White Christmas

December 10, 2017 | Matthew 2:1-12 | christmas

What is it about this song “White Christmas” that stirs us so? Isn’t it the desire to have the perfect Christmas? To experience the wonder and expectation that we once felt as a child? Don’t you desire to have the perfect Christmas? Don’t you feel the pressure to make it happen? To spend more money than you have in order to give your kids everything on their list? You decorate your house. You cook and clean. Because you want a “White,” a “Perfect,” Christmas. This longing for wonder and beauty, this longing for the eternal is in every human heart. It’s what moves us to dream of something perfect and lasting. It’s what moves us to worship.

In the book of Matthew the story of the birth of Jesus was told within the political backdrop of the times. Jesus was the one prophesied to be King, but He came in the most unexpected way. And from the beginning there was a battle between His Kingdom and the false king that usurped His Throne. The challenge for us is to remove our worship from the false king and to put our worship on the true King, Jesus Christ. After all, it’s His birthday we’re celebrating. Not ours.

Three Commitments to A Better Life

August 20, 2017 | Matthew 4:18-22 | three commitments

In the book of Matthew, Jesus challenged the disciples with a simple commitment: “Follow me.” Jesus called them to a relationship with Him. He called them to be Jesus-followers. Of course, this meant leaving everything else behind. It was such a simple commitment, yet it led to a radically better life. We can answer this same simple commitment to follow Jesus and experience the better life He promised.

Lose to Find

May 14, 2017 | Matthew 16:13-26 | identity

How do you answer the question, “Who am I?” For many of you, you’ve tied your identity to your name, “I’m John or I’m Susie.” Others might say, “I’m a father or mother, or I’m a husband or a wife, I’m a son or daughter, I’m a teacher, I’m a nurse, I’m a coach, I’m a dog-lover or cat-lover. How do you answer the question? In Tim Keller’s book, Making Sense of God, he describes two ways that people have found their identity. One, he calls the “traditional path,” where the individual finds identity from the community in which they are born and grow up. The second path, Keller calls the “modern” or “secular” approach. This is the new emphasis on looking “inward” to find the true self, where one’s desires and dreams are to dictate one’s identity.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told His followers that they must lose their former sense of self in order to find their true identity in Christ. The only way that we can discover our true, God-given identity is by losing our former one and finding our true identity in Christ. How can we find our true identity in Christ? The text gives three steps to finding your true identity in Christ.