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Lesson 108: The Goal of the Gospel: The Glory of God (Romans 16:25-27)

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How do you end a letter like Romans that has often been called the greatest letter ever written and the greatest book in the Bible? Normally, Paul ends his letters with a benediction, such as (1 Cor. 16:23), “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.” (See the end of each of his letters.) He has already given such a benediction in Romans 16:20 (16:24 is probably not in the original text). So now, as he thinks back over what he has written, Paul wells up with praise toward God, who has provided such a glorious gospel for people from all nations.

The problem is, in his burst of emotion, Paul piles up phrase after phrase and doesn’t supply a verb (in the original), so that the structure of the paragraph is difficult to decipher. I would not want the assignment of diagramming it! But many commentators observe that this short outburst of praise sums up all the great ideas of this epistle. William Sanday and Arthur Headlam (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans [T. & T. Clark], p. 436) state,

The doxology sums up all the great ideas of the Epistle. The power of the Gospel which St. Paul was commissioned to preach; the revelation in it of the eternal purpose of God; its contents, faith; its sphere, all the nations of the earth; its author, the one wise God, whose wisdom is thus vindicated—all these thoughts had been continually dwelt on.

They go on to suggest that Paul wished to end the letter with its former loftiness and thus perhaps wrote these verses with his own hand, bringing his argument to this eloquent conclusion.

We saw a similar outburst of praise in Romans 11:33-36, as Paul thought on the glorious truths that he had been writing on:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

We saw there as we see here that the goal of theology is doxology. The goal of sound doctrine is a heart that overflows in praise to God. Paul reminds us in this conclusion that the goal of the gospel is not only our happiness. Certainly, we should be exuberant that God has rescued us from judgment and bestowed on us every blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3). But our happiness is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal of the gospel is God’s eternal glory. We can sum up our text:

The goal of the gospel is that we would glorify the only wise God through Jesus Christ as we live in obedient faith and proclaim Him to the nations.

As you know, the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” To glorify God, in simple language, is to make God look good as He truly is. J. Dwight Pentecost states (The Glory of God [Multnomah Press], p. 8), “Glory is displayed excellence.” Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology [Zondervan], p. 221) states that God’s glory “is the visible manifestation of the excellence of God’s character.” Robert Reymond (A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith [Thomas Nelson Publishers], p. 165, italics his) puts it, “God’s glory is the sum total of all of his attributes as well as any one of his attributes.” John Piper (“To Him be the Glory Forevermore,” on DesiringGod.org, italics his) defines God’s glory as, “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.”

This concept, that the ultimate goal of the gospel is not about us, but rather about God’s glory, is a crucial and practical paradigm shift from the commonly held notion that the gospel is all about us. It affects, for example, our view of suffering. If the gospel is all about us and our happiness, then how do you deal with suffering and death, which aren’t happy experiences? But if the gospel is not ultimately about our happiness, but rather about God’s glory, then you can even face possible martyrdom as Paul did, with the goal that (Phil. 1:20) “Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”

Of course, as John Piper has often pointed out, our happiness and God’s glory are not at odds, because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. And we are most satisfied in Him when we get a glimpse of His “infinite beauty and [the] greatness of His manifold perfections.” Just as when you view a spectacular sunset at the Grand Canyon, you exclaim, “Wow!” so when you see the beauty and greatness of God, you spontaneously praise Him. That’s the goal of the gospel.

Let’s break our text into three parts:

1. To glorify God, we need to be established according to the gospel and live in obedient faith.

In other words, we need to believe the gospel and our faith must translate into a lifestyle of obedience to Christ in thought, word, and deed, so that others will see how great God is through us. We’ll look at five aspects of being established in the gospel:

A. God has the power to establish us according to the gospel.

Romans 16:25a: “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel….” The gospel is the good news that while we were yet sinners, God graciously sent His only Son to bear the penalty that we deserved. He rescues us from sin and judgment when we turn from our sins and trust in Christ alone. Paul calls it “my gospel” not because his gospel was different than the gospel of Christ and the apostles, but because Paul had received the gospel through direct revelation from Christ (Gal. 1:11-15). Thus he was certain of its content and truth. The other apostles later confirmed Paul’s gospel as authentic (Gal. 2:1-9).

He says that God is “able to establish you according to my gospel.” Other literal versions translate “establish” with the word “strengthen.” It originally meant to “fix something so that it stands upright and immovable” (Gunther Harder, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. by G. Friedrich, trans. by Geoffrey Bromiley [Eerdmans], 7:653). “The effect or aim of strengthening is the impregnability of Christian faith in spite of the troubles which have to be endured” (ibid., 7:656). In view of Romans 16:17-20, it especially means being established so that you will not fall prey to false teachers (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans [Eerdmans], 2:240). C. E. B. Cranfield (A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans [T. & T. Clark], p. 809) says that it means that God is able “to confirm you in your belief in, in your obedience to, the gospel.”

There are two sides to this strengthening or establishing us in the gospel. In Romans 1:11, Paul used this word to emphasize the human side of it: “For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.” Through Paul’s ministry, he hoped that they would be established in the gospel. Peter uses the related noun (“steadfastness”) also to put the emphasis on human responsibility (2 Pet. 3:17-18): “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” Peter is emphasizing the same truth, that as we are steadfast or established in the gospel and resist the errors of false teachers, God will be glorified.

But in Romans 16:25, Paul’s emphasis is on the God-ward side of things: God is able to establish or strengthen us according to the gospel. As Paul puts it (Phil. 1:6), “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Since it took God’s resurrection power to raise us from spiritual death to life (Eph. 2:1-5), God is able to sustain and keep us so that our lives glorify Him.

Before you can be established according to the gospel you must have believed the gospel. Make sure that you have turned from your sins and trusted in Christ and His death on the cross as the only payment for your sins. This means repenting of trusting in your good works to contribute to your salvation. If you had anything to do with your salvation, then you have reason to boast in yourself. But there is no room for boasting if all you did was to receive an undeserved gift that God provided at Christ’s expense. Once you have trusted in Christ, you never outgrow your need for the gospel. Meditate on it and let it warm your heart every day: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me”! Glory to God!

B. God establishes us through the preaching of Jesus Christ.

That phrase has two possible interpretations. It could mean that Christ is the one doing the preaching, either during His earthly ministry or through Paul. Or, more likely, it means that Jesus Christ is the one whom Paul preached. The gospel is the message about Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul said, “But we preach Christ crucified.” In 2 Corinthians 4:5 he put it, “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” In Colossians 1:28 Paul explained his ministry: “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”

Preaching Jesus Christ does not mean focusing on Christ to the exclusion of practical matters. In 1 Corinthians, where Paul said (2:2), “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,” he went on to talk about how to deal with an immoral man in the church, lawsuits between believers, singleness, marriage, divorce, and many other practical topics. But in each practical area, Paul always brought things back to Jesus Christ as Lord. He didn’t just dispense helpful hints for happy living that could easily have appeared in Reader’s Digest. He related all matters to the gospel and to the lordship of Christ.

By the way, you don’t have to be a preacher to “preach Christ.” You should preach Christ to yourself as you read God’s Word each day: “What does this text tell me about Jesus Christ and His lordship over my life? What does it tell me about His love, His grace, His authority, His holiness, or His promises?”

And if you get an opportunity to talk to others about the gospel, focus on the person and work of Jesus Christ. People will try to divert you onto side issues: “What about evolution? What about all the errors in the Bible? How can a loving God allow all the evil in the world?” Etc. I’m not suggesting that you totally dodge these questions, but don’t get bogged down with them. At some point, turn the conversation back to Christ by asking, “Who do you think Jesus Christ is? Have you ever read the gospels to discover who Christ claimed to be and why He came to this earth? Have you considered the evidence that supports His bodily resurrection from the dead?” You can also ask, “If I can give you a reasonable answer to your questions, are you saying that you will turn from your sin, put your trust in Jesus Christ, and follow Him as your Lord?” Jesus Christ is the issue everyone has to face!

C. God establishes us according to the revelation of the mystery that has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested.

This phrase could refer to another means by which God establishes us, parallel with, “according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ.” Or, it could be modifying those two phrases Murray, ibid., p. 2:241). If so, by “the mystery” Paul is referring to the gospel, which God planned before the foundation of the world.

In the New Testament, “mystery” does not refer to something mysterious or to a puzzle that needs to be solved, but rather to something previously hidden that is now revealed. The problem is, if Paul is referring here to the gospel, then how it was kept secret for long ages past? After all, we see it in type when the Lord slaughtered an animal and clothed Adam and Eve after they sinned. The Lord prophesied about the gospel in Genesis 3:15, where He promised that the seed of the woman would bruise or crush the serpent’s head. We again see it in promise when God tells Abraham that He will bless all the families of the earth through him. It’s implicit in the story of God providing the ram as a substitute sacrifice before Abraham has to slay Isaac. It’s pictured in the Jewish sacrificial system as set forth in the Law of Moses. So how was the gospel kept secret in long ages past?

There are perhaps two answers. First, even though we can now look back on these Old Testament texts and clearly see the gospel, it wasn’t always so clear to the people then. They knew that God promised to send a Savior, but even the disciples who believed in Jesus as that Savior did not understand beforehand why He had to die (Matt. 16:21-23). Concerning the inspired writers of the Old Testament, 1 Peter 1:10-11 states, “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” So in that sense, the gospel is “the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested.” We can see it much more clearly looking back than they could looking forward.

But Paul may be referring to a further aspect of the gospel here, namely, that the message would go out to the Gentiles and that they would be on equal standing with the Jews in the body of Christ. Paul has stressed this truth throughout Romans, especially in chapters 9-11. The Old Testament reveals in many places that the gospel would go to the Gentiles, so that was not a mystery. But the Old Testament never reveals that through the gospel the Gentiles would be fellow-heirs on equal footing with the Jews. God revealed this mystery to the apostle Paul (Eph. 3:4-6). That aspect of the gospel was often a stumbling block to the racially proud Jews. But it’s radically good news for the Gentiles. It strengthens and establishes us to know that God has given us equal standing with the Jews before Him through the gospel.

D. God establishes us by the Scriptures of the prophets.

This raises the question, “How could the gospel be kept secret in the ages past and at the same time be revealed by the Old Testament prophets?” The answer lies in the first aspect of the mystery that I just explained. There is a sense in which the gospel that we see clearly in the Old Testament on this side of Christ was in the shadows for those before Christ. It was in the prophets all along, but it didn’t come into sharp focus until after the death and resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45).

The way that the Old Testament prophets establish us in the gospel is, as you read the Old Testament, look for Christ. Ask, “What does this text tell me about the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow?” (You can refer back to my message, “Why You Need the Old Testament,” on Romans 15:4, for further detail.)

E. We know that God has established us in the gospel when we believe it and live in obedience to Jesus Christ.

The gospel leads to “obedience of faith.” We saw this phrase in Romans 1:5, where Paul said that his aim as an apostle was “to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake.” Paul does not mean that we are saved by faith plus our works. That would be contrary to everything he wrote about the gospel in Romans 3 & 4. Rather, he means that genuine saving faith always results in a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. Jesus was clear that if we say, “Lord, Lord” and even do miracles in His name, but don’t obey Him, our faith is worthless (Matt. 7:21-23). James 2 makes the same point, that faith without works is dead faith, not saving faith. 1 John 2:3 plainly states, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” Those who profess to know Christ, but who live in perpetual disobedience, do not glorify Him. To glorify God, we must be established according to the gospel and live in obedient faith.

2. To glorify God, we must proclaim His gospel to the nations.

Paul writes (16:26b), “according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations….” Although some understand “the commandment” here to refer to the Great Commission, it probably rather refers to “God’s own determination to make known the mystery at the time that he did” (Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans [Eerdmans], p. 940). For reasons that we cannot fully know, before Christ came, God mostly restricted the gospel to His chosen people, the Jews. But after His resurrection, Christ commanded us to take the good news to the nations. Even then, the apostles were a bit leery of Peter going into the house of a Gentile centurion and preaching the gospel (Acts 10-11). But then God saved the militant Jew, Paul, and commissioned him as the apostle to the Gentiles.

When Paul says that the gospel “has been made known to all the nations,” he is not saying that the missionary task has been completed. He has just stated how he aimed to go to Spain (15:24, 28). Rather, he is emphasizing “the universal applicability of the gospel” (Moo, ibid.). God is glorified when people from every tongue, tribe, and nation believe in and obey Jesus Christ. We all need to labor to that end.

3. The goal of the gospel is that we would glorify the only wise God through Jesus Christ forever.

Again Paul marvels at the wisdom of God, as he did in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” When he says that God is “the only wise God,” he is not implying that there are some dumb gods out there, too! He is the only God and He is infinitely wise. His plan of salvation is not something that men could have thought up. It is not the composite of the best thoughts of all the religious geniuses down through the ages. We never could have come up with it on our own. Rather, God planned and revealed the gospel in accordance with His infinite wisdom to bring Him eternal glory through Jesus Christ.

Stephen Charnock discourses for over 100 pages on the wisdom of God from our text (The Existence and Attributes of God [Baker], 1:498-606). He observes (p. 502), “No man or angel could imagine how two natures so distant as the Divine and human should be united; how the same person should be criminal and righteous; how a just God should have a satisfaction, and sinful man a justification; how the sin should be punished, and the sinner saved.” God’s plan for the gospel reveals His infinite wisdom! Our eternal destiny is to worship and glorify God throughout the ages, so we had best start now.

Conclusion

Paul ends with “Amen,” which means, “This is true,” or “so be it.” The message of Romans regarding the gospel of God (1:1, 16) is true. It reveals the wisdom of God. You can stake your life and your eternal destiny on it. The goal of the gospel is that we would glorify the only wise God through Jesus Christ as we live in obedient faith and proclaim Him to the nations. Amen! So be it!

Application Questions

  1. What truth in Romans has most impacted your life? How?
  2. Do you live each day with the prayer, “Lord, be glorified in my life today”? If not, what would you need to do to begin?
  3. When you share the gospel, why is it important to stay focused on the person and work of Christ? How should you handle questions and objections?
  4. What are some of the practical benefits of “preaching Christ” to yourself each day?

Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation

Related Topics: Evangelism, Faith, Glory

The Gospel Of Matthew

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This expositionary series by David Anderson was preached at Littleton Bible Chapel beginning in 2012. Articles by him contain the audio message and an outline. Articles by others in this series may only contain the audio messages.

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Christology, Gospels

Lesson 1: The Genealogy Of The Promised King (Matthew 1:1-17)

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I. Introduction to Matthew

a.       This is actually a fun message to start with because when we read a genealogy our expectations are low.  But God’s Word is inspired and there is always food for the hungry.

i.  Ron Blankley a former area director for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) was walking through the student union of the U of Penn and saw a student reading the Bible.  He remembered Phillip’s approach to the Ethiopian so he walked over to the student, introduced himself, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”

ii.                        The student said, “No, as a matter of fact, I don’t.  I’m reading the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, and I don’t understand them because they seem so different.”

iii.                      Blankley explained it and as a result of that whole experience, the student came to saving faith in Christ.

iv.                      It’s like the down and out man who was without a home and without a job and found himself in a motel room.  He found a Gideon’s Bible, looked in the introduction and contents and saw the book of Job.  He thought to himself, “Well, I need a job, so he read Job, and ended up trusting Christ.”

v.                         The Word of God is inspired.  All of it.

b.      Author and date:

i.  When Jesus was born Israel had been under Roman control for about 60 years.

1.      Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?

a.       The head of gold- Babylon

b.      The arms of silver- Medes and Persians

c.       The torso of bronze- Greece

d.      The legs of Iron- Rome.

ii.                        One of the black eyes of the Roman government was its heavy taxation.

iii.                      There were two main taxes:

1.      Toll tax= which was basically like income tax.

2.      Property Tax.

iv.                      The elite (senators and rich folks) could buy at a public auction, the right to collect the toll taxes in a given area, at a fixed rate for a five year period.

v.                         Whatever was collected beyond that fixed rate was profit.

vi.                      So if you held the rights to a specific area, you would then hire people to actually collect the money.  And you would usually hire people citizens of that country or regions to collect the money.

vii.                    And any money they collected, above and beyond their requirement, was profit for them.

viii.                  So there was a HUGE incentive to tax as much as possible, AND you had the backing of the Roman government and the Roman army.

ix.                      So naturally, if you are a Jew collecting money for Rome, at a rate that handsomely pads your wallet, you are not going to win the popularity contest at the local synagogue.

x.                         Usually tax collectors were not allowed in the synagogue.  Rabbis did not associate with them.

xi.                      In fact they were seen as traitors.  They were on the same level as prostitutes and Gentiles.

xii.                    That’s Matthew.  Or Levi as he is called else ware.  He is a tax collector and Jesus calls Him to be one of his 12 disciples.

xiii.                  Matthew’s gospel was written sometime before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

c.       Why did we choose Matthew?

i.  One of the major themes of Matthew of the Kingdom of God, or “The Kingdom of Heaven” as Matthew calls it.

ii.                        We just finished Daniel, which makes a case for the coming kingdom of God, and Matthew picks this theme up.

iii.                      It’s almost like Daniel Part 2.

iv.                      In fact, Matthew is the most Jewish book in the New Testament.  He quotes the Old Testament more than any other gospel.  It is a continuation of the Old Testament.

d.      The Four Gospels all tell the same story in a different way:

i.  Mark is a bird’s-eye view.  It shows Jesus as the Suffering Servant.

ii.                        Luke is a Doctor and shows Jesus as being compassionate to the outsiders and outcasts.

iii.                      John is different.  92% of John is unique. Emphasizes that Jesus as the Son of God.

iv.                      Matthew is catered to the Jews.  He makes a case that Jesus is the Promised Messiah, the King.  He is the fulfillment of the OT.  Almost every paragraph in Matthew points to His Kingship.

v.                         So this is how Matthew starts off.  He starts off with a genealogy!

vi.                      Now at first this might sound like a great way to put people to sleep, but it’s actually fundamental.  Because if Jesus is NOT the fulfillment of God’s covenant to Abraham and David, then this isn’t the right person.

e.       The main point of this genealogy is this:

i.  Jesus Christ is the Promised Messiah.  The Promised King.

II.                      Matthew 1:1-18 (Four Highlights)

a.      #1- Jesus is the Promised King.

i.  The main point of these 17 verses is that the promised King is on the scene.

ii.                        So Matthew begins his book with a genealogy.

1.      Genealogy lit. mean “genesis” or beginning or origin.

2.      So this account is about the earthly origin of Jesus.

3.      The first two chapters will give us the earthly origin of Jesus.

iii.                      The importance of ancestry and origin.

1.      Let me ask a question, “How far can you trace your ancestry?”

a.       Most people can only go back grandma and grandpa or great grandma and great grandpa.

b.      Even if we are interested in genealogies, we still can’t go back more than three or four generations.

c.       But family history is important.

2.      This summer we had our grand finale Anderson Family reunion at our farm in MN.

a.       The oldest member of the family, uncle Tom gave a nice report and told the story of our ancestors immigrating, starting farms, settling down in Wisconsin, then MN.

b.      Very interesting.

c.       I grew up in a culture that was naturally interested in heritage.

i.  There were small towns that were predominantly Norwegian, or German, or Polish.  Almost all 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants.

ii.                        So there was cultural interest in last names and family trees.

3.      Moving in to college here in CO, and my roommates last name was Westerhoof.

a.       I asked if he was German, and he looked at be totally befuddled.

b.      He had no idea.

c.       I had another friend at college and she was Jewish.  Her name was Edith Zang, and she could tell you all about her heritage.

4.      If you understand where a person comes from, you understand more about the person.

5.      Family Trees are important, but they are REALLY important if you are royalty.

6.      So keep in mind that we are not the audience, first-century Jews are the audience, and they cared a great deal about their family history.

iv.                      Genealogies were really important to Jews. 

1.      The Jews are and were notorious for keeping accurate genealogies.

2.      The temple had an archive of ancestry that was meticulously documented.

3.      There were practical and legal purposes to these genealogies.

a.       For instance…

b.      It was legal proof of inheritance, of rights, kingship, etc.

c.       It was used to settle disputes over land, property, etc.

4.      So Matthew is basically making a legal case for Jesus.

5.      He is saying, “look at the records…go to the temple…read it yourself…this is public information…this is not a scam…reason with me…”

v.                         “of Jesus Christ”

1.      Jesus was the name given to Joseph by the angel.

2.      Jesus meant “He will save His people from their sins”

a.       Mat. 1:21

b.      Yeshua was a common name, but there is more to it.

c.       This name was synonymous with Joshua who led the people to the Promised Land.

d.      So this name indicates the type of person Jesus will be.  He will save His people, like Joshua did.

3.      “Christos”

a.       Meant messiah, or the “anointed one.”

b.      Israel’s prophets, priests, and kings were all anointed.

c.       Jesus is all of those.

vi.                      “The son of David”

1.      2 Sam. 7:12-16, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”

2.      This promises was NOT fulfilled on Solomon.

3.      The Jews hung on to this promise, this covenant!

vii.                    “The son of Abraham”

1.      Abraham was a moon worshiping pagan just like everyone else, when God called him out of UR, and made a covenant with him.

2.      God made a covenant with Abraham and told him that through Abraham’s line the entire world would be blessed.  So it makes sense that Matthew mentions this.  To NOT mention it would almost seem like a denial of the main theme of the Old Testament.

3.      These words are a summary of the Old Testament.

4.      What Matthew is saying is that if you don’t understand and appreciate the background of Jesus, you won’t understand and appreciate the person of Jesus.

5.      The long-awaited, promised Messiah, the restorer of God’s kingdom and the redeemer of his people, is Jesus himself. This is Matthew’s central message, his purpose for writing his book.

6.      The Old Testament culminates with Jesus!

a.       World History is marked by the coming of Jesus.

b.      The whole of the Old Testament is coming together at this point in time.

c.       The whole Old Testament points to Jesus!

7.      Both Abraham and David received covenantal promises from God.

8.      Matthew is implying that these covenants find their fulfillment in Jesus, the new King of Israel who will extend these blessings to all nations.

9.      So when Matthew starts off with Abraham and David, he is essentially saying that God has remained faithful even though they haven’t.

viii.                  Matthew’s first point is that Jesus is the theme of this book.  Jesus is the Promised King. Jesus is essential.

1.      You can take away Buddha and you still have Buddhism.

2.      But you can’t take away Jesus and have Christianity.

3.      He is essential!

4.      Jesus is essential to forgiveness of sins, essential to our reconciliation to God, essential to our Eternal Life.  Essential to Joy.

5.      This is why Matthew starts off his gospel by saying this book is about Jesus Christ.

6.      Abraham was a great Patriarch, David was a great King, but this book isn’t about them, this book is about Jesus.

b.      #2- There are three sections of 14 generations.

i.  Why three sections? (v. 17)

1.      The three sections:

a.       14 generations from Abe to David (1:2-6a).

b.      14 generations from David to the exile (1:6b-11).

c.       14 generations from the exile to Jesus (1:12-16).

ii.                        Why does he do this?

1.      For memorization.

a.       Believe it or not, it was not uncommon to memorize genealogies.

b.      It’s not a complete list, but it serves Matthew’s purpose.

2.      For Kingly significance.

a.       There was a Jewish practice of assigning significance to numbers.

i.  It was called “gematria.

b.      Each Hebrew consonant had a number assigned to it. 

i.  DVD= 4+6+4

c.       So the name David would correspond to the number 14 in Hebrew.

d.      So by alluding to the number 14 three different times, the interested student would have no doubt been pointed to the fact that this Jesus is the Son of David, the Promised One.

e.       It’s also deliberate that David’s name is the 14th name listed.

f.        And David is referred to as the “King.”

g.      And, the title “Son of David” occurs more in Matthew than anywhere else.

h.      Clearly there is a special emphasis on the fact that Jesus is King.

iii.                      Summary:

1.      Jesus is the son of David.  If Jesus were to wear a jersey, His Jersey would have the number 14.

c.       #3- There is a difference between Luke’s genealogy and Matthew’s genealogy.

i.  Lots could be said about this, and I cannot answer all of the questions between the differences between the two genealogies, but let me propose this…

ii.                        Matthew’s genealogy highlights Jesus as the King by showing his legal descent from David to Joseph.  Joseph is the legal father, but not his natural father.

iii.                      Luke’s genealogy traces Jesus royal decent through his mother, Mary.  He traces it all the way back to David.

iv.                      Luke emphasizes the royal blood descent, and Matthew emphasizes the legal line.

v.                         In both cases, Jesus is doubly qualified to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament Covenants and Promises.

vi.                      One interesting fact:

1.      Notice in verse 16 Joseph is not the father, but is referred to as the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born.

2.      The virgin birth of Jesus was significant for a number of reasons, but one of them is that Jesus would have been disqualified if He was born of Joseph, his earthly, legal father.

3.      One of the great grandfathers, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) was a really wicked king and God said, “

a.       Jer. 22:30, Thus says the Lord: “…for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah.”

4.      That would have disqualified Jesus as being a possibility of the promised King if he were the natural biological son of Joseph who was a great, great….grandson of Jehoiachin.

vii.                    So Jesus is circumvented from being disqualified as the King.  He does not come from the same blood line.

viii.                  His human, biological right to the throne comes through Mary, not Joseph. (Luke 3)

ix.                      So Jesus is both protected from being disqualified, but he is also uniquely qualified to be the promised King.

1.      He is legally qualified through Joseph and he is regally qualified through Mary.

d.      #4- Jesus is a friend of sinners.

i.  Martin Luther summarized it well when he said, “Christ is the kind of person who is not ashamed of sinners—in fact, he even puts them in his family tree!”

ii.                        Why does Matthew highlight the skeletons in the royal closet?

1.      Because Jesus is a friend of sinners?

2.      You might be tempted to say, “If God knows the skeletons in my closet, he won’t want anything to do with me.”

3.      Matthew is deliberately making the point that that is not true!

iii.                      The significance of women in the genealogy:

1.      It’s worth noting that Matthew mentions five different women in this list (which was rare).

2.      Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba were all women of questionable behavior.

a.       Odd people to highlight in your family tree, for sure.

b.      Tamar was a woman who was wrongfully denied motherhood by her husband and after he died, then her brother-in-law.  They both refused to sleep with her, which was immoral and illegal.  She disguises herself as a prostitute and ends up sleeping with Judah, the son of Jacob…

i.  And this is Jesus’ family tree!

c.       Rahab was a professional prostitute in Jericho.  She’s a Gentile.

d.      Bathsheba, was complicit in one of the most notorious adulteries of all time, not resisting the advances of the king while her husband risked his very life on their behalf. Hmmm.

e.       Ruth is a godly woman, but she is a Moabite.

3.      Interestingly, these women mentioned represent different time-periods in Jewish history where a Gentile displayed great faith when the Jews didn’t.

a.       Tamar verses Judah’s disloyalty.

b.      Rahab verses a faithless generation of Jews.

c.       Ruth verses the period of the Judges when everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

d.      Uriah’s (a Gentile Hittite) faithfulness even when David was unfaithful.

iv.                      So it’s probable that Matthew is doing a couple things here.

1.      He is showing us that the grace of God is wide.

a.       Jesus is a friend of sinners.

b.      His grace condescends to the lowest.

c.       His grace reaches to the Gentiles.

d.      He is suitable to be a King of Gentiles as well as a King of Jews.

2.      There is no pattern of righteousness in the line of Jesus.

a.       There are adulterers, prostitutes, warriors, heroes, and Gentiles.  Wicked kings and good kings.

v.                         So that’s the gospel of According to Matthew!  Jesus came for sinners!

1.      Pastor Matt Chandler writes about a time he and a couple of his friends invited a young woman named Kim to a gospel concert. Matt was hopeful that Kim would come to Christ that evening; however, what occurred was a "train wreck." In retrospect, Matt was grateful for the experience because it changed the way he saw how to proclaim holiness in light of the cross of Jesus. Chandler writes:

a.       The preacher took the stage, and disaster ensued …. He gave a lot of statistics about STDs. There was a lot of, "You don't want syphilis, do you?" …. His big illustration was to take out a single red rose. He smelled the rose dramatically … caressed its petals, and talked about how beautiful this rose was and how it had been fresh cut that day. [Then] he threw the rose out into the crowd, and he encouraged everyone to pass it around. As he neared the end of his message, he asked for the rose back …. [But by now] it was broken and drooping, and the petals were falling off. He held up this now-ugly rose for all to see, and his big finish was this: "Now who in the world would want this?" His word and his tone were merciless. His essential message, which was supposed to represent Jesus' message to a world of sinners, was this: "Hey, don't be a dirty rose."

b.      Matt didn't hear from Kim for a few weeks, until one day her mother called Matt to inform him that Kim had been in an accident. Matt immediately went to visit her.

c.       In the middle of our conversation, seemingly out of nowhere, she asked me, "Do you think I'm a dirty rose?" My heart sank inside of me, and I began to explain to her the whole weight of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that Jesus wants the rose.

d.      It's Jesus' desire to save, redeem, and restore the dirty rose.

e.       He WANTS the ROSE!

vi.                      In Luke’s gospel there was a sign given to the shepherd’s…

1.      2:10, “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’”

vii.                    The sign will be a “baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a feeding trough.”

1.      He enters the world with the lowliest in the lowliest of places:

a.       This was spoken to the shepherd’s.

b.      God has been incarnated into human flesh and He chooses to identify with the shepherd’s.

c.       Think about it, His first residence is a feeding trough rapped in rags.

2.      Jesus enters into the dirt!  He makes his family tree a group of questionable riff-raffs.

viii.                  The Incarnation of Jesus into this world is a message that Jesus is not afraid of sin.

1.      He enters our dirty hearts.

2.      He is drawn to your inadequacies, and weaknesses, and sins.

3.      He wraps himself up in swaddling cloths our wicked hearts and takes up residence there.

4.      He enters the dirty mangers of our hearts.

ix.                      It is a holy invasion!

1.      He doesn’t ask you to clean up first.

2.      He’s not put off by us and our sin, rather He enters into it!

3.      He’s isn’t put off by our dysfunctional families, He becomes part of it!

4.      He seeks us out.  He comes to us.

5.      He becomes part of our family, that we might become part of His!

x.                         Jesus is for all people and He came to rescue us!

1.      “He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a distance: He did not stand upon the shore and see the wreck, and behold poor drowning sinners struggling in vain to get to shore. He plunged into the waters Himself: He came off to the wreck and took part with us in our weakness and infirmity becoming a man to save our souls.  As man, He bore our sins and carried our transgressions; as man, He endured all that men can endure, and went through everything in man’s experience; as man He lived; as man He went to the cross; as man He died. As man He shed His blood, in order that He might save us, poor shipwrecked sinners, and establish a communication between earth and heaven! As man He became a curse for us, in order that He might bridge the gulf, and make a way by which you and I might draw near to God with boldness, and have access to God without fear.” J.C. Ryle ‘Old Paths’

xi.                      Someone might ask the question, “How exactly is Jesus a friend of sinners?  How is for all people?”

1.      There is a clear link between this first verse of Matthew and the last section of Matthew, the Great Commission.

2.      In the very last section of the very last chapter in Matthew Jesus tells his disciples to make disciples of “all nations.”

a.      All Nations” is comprehensive of Gentiles and Jews. 

i.  This picks up on the first verse of the book 1:1 “Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

ii.                        God promised Abraham that the people would be blessed in his “seed.”  Jesus now fulfills this.

iii.                      This is how all nations will be blessed through the Abrahamic Covenant.

iv.                      The Bible is coming together in this passage.

III.                   Application (What are some take-aways from this?)

a.       What’s your Legacy?

i.  There are 42 names listed.  The list is not complete, but it’s full of all kinds.

ii.                        Some of these people we know very little about, and some of them we know nothing about.

iii.                      It brings up the question (even if it’s not the main point) of legacy and generations.

iv.                      It’s at least worth asking, “How will you be remembered?”  “What are you living for?

1.      John MacArthur’s father (Jack) died about five years ago and John pointed out, with great emotion… “Never a sexual scandal, never a financial scandal.  Just faithfulness and integrity to God’s Word and God’s people.”

2.      Don Carson wrote a biography on his father entitled, “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor.”  In the final pages of the book Don says this about his father who was a pastor all his life.  He pastored small struggling churches of about 40-50 people in Canada.

a.       “When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcement on television, no mention in Parliament, no attention paid by the nation.  In his hospital room there was no one by his bedside.  There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again…But on the other side all the trumpets sounded.  Dad won entrance to the only throne room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man—he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor—but because he was a forgiven man.  And he heard the voice of him whom he longed to hear saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.’”

3.      It’s okay to be obscure by the way!  But what is your legacy?

v.                         Sarah Edwards (Married to Jonathon Edwards, the Great American Preacher and Theologian)  Sarah was quite a woman.

1.      Beginning on August 25, 1728, children came into the family—eleven in all—at about two-year intervals, this was the beginning of Sarah’s motherhood.

2.      In 1900, A. E. Winship made a study contrasting two families. One had hundreds of descendants who were a drain on society. The other, descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, were outstanding for their contributions to society. He wrote of the Edwards clan:

a.       Whatever the family has done, it has done ably and nobly. . . . And much of the capacity and talent, intelligence and character of the more than 1400 of the Edwards family is due to Mrs. Edwards.

3.      By 1900 when Winship made his study, this marriage had produced:

a.       13 college presidents

b.      65 professors

c.       100 lawyers and a dean of a law school

d.      30 judges

e.       66 physicians and a dean of a medical school

f.        80 holders of public office, including:

i.  3 US senators

ii.                        mayors of 3 large cities

iii.                      governors of 3 states

iv.                      a vice president of the US

v.                         a controller of the US Treasury

4.      Members of the family wrote 135 books. . . . edited 18 journals and periodicals. They entered the ministry in platoons and sent one hundred missionaries overseas.  Winship goes on to list kinds of institutions, industries, and businesses that have been owned or directed by the Edwardses’ descendants.

5.      We might well ask with Elisabeth Dodds, “Has any other mother contributed more vitally to the leadership of a nation?”

vi.                      The book “Embracing Obscurity.” (written by “anonymous”)

1.      “The thought of being just another of the roughly one hundred billion people to have ever graced this planet offends us— whether we realize it or not.”

a.       Webster’s defines obscurity as, “relatively unknown: as . . . (b) not prominent or famous.”

b.      That pretty much sums it up doesn’t it?

2.      “Even those rare men and women who make a mark on our society— a passionate speaker, a star athlete, an active politician, a gifted musician, an empathetic humanitarian— they’re still “relatively unknown” in the grand scope of the world’s consciousness and especially in light of history.”

3.      Even when an overarching, global obscurity has been assigned to us, we still have a choice of whether to embrace personal obscurity— an obscurity of heart as much as position. And that is the message I believe God has for us, a message He modeled as well as taught.”

vii.                    It’s okay to be obscure.  In fact it’s good to embrace it.  Jesus did.  But what is your legacy?

1.      How will you spend your time and your life?  To what end?

b.      Let us worship the King!

i.  We will together spend the next year and a half beholding Jesus.  And I invite you to “Come and let us adore Him!  Come let us worship the King!”

ii.                        We are not a religion that primarily follows a code of ethics.

iii.                      We are not primarily a people committed to a specific philosophy.

iv.                      We are a people who follow, obey, worship, and enjoy a person.  The King Jesus Christ.

v.                         So let’s get back to basics.  Let’s get back to the simplicity of knowing, following, obeying, worshiping, and enjoying Jesus Christ.

vi.                      Become fascinated with Jesus!

vii.                    He is the fountain of everything good.

viii.                  He is the incarnation of every precious truth.

ix.                      Come and behold Him!

1.      May your capacity to appreciate and enjoy Christ only increase.

2.      May your fondness for Jesus Christ grow and increase.

3.      Let us enjoy and appreciate Jesus!

4.      “What makes one man more spiritual than another…appreciation for Christ.”  William Kelly

x.                         Lloyd-Jones and the “paying the bill” illustration.

1.      “Imagine that a friend of mine comes to see me and says, “Hey, I was at your house the other day, and a bill came due, and you weren’t there, so I paid it.”

2.      How should I respond?  The answer is that I have no idea how to respond until I know how big that bill was.  Was it just postage due?  Just a few cents.  Then I would say thank you.  But what if the IRS finally found you?  What it was ten years of back taxes?  What if it was an enormous debt?  Until I know how much he paid, I don’t know whether to shake his hand or fall down on the ground and kiss his feet.”

c.       Let’s re-commit ourselves to conforming ourselves to Jesus.

i.  He is the King!

ii.                        If He were to walk down this aisle right now would we all fall down and pay homage?

iii.                      If He were to stand before us this morning, we would all pledge our lives to Him?

iv.                      We are about to spend over the next year with Jesus.

v.                         We will listen to what He taught.

vi.                      We will learn what he did.

vii.                    We will be challenged and confronted by Jesus, loved and accepted by Jesus.

viii.                  At the beginning of this study Matthew wants us to know that this is the Son of David, the King!  The Lord!

ix.                      And people will respond to Him in different ways…(The four soils)

1.      Some will respond to this Gospel at first with excitement and anticipation, but then fizzle out.

2.      Some people will respond with excitement, but then be lulled away by drink, by money, and by pleasure.

3.      Some people will outright reject it.

4.      But a few will here this gospel of the kingdom, and respond, and bear fruit, and their lives will be totally different.

5.      He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

d.      You can be a part of Christ’s inheritance!

i.  The genealogy doesn’t end with Jesus…

1.      You can be a child of God.

2.      John 1:11-13, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

3.      Mat. 12:49-50, “And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

ii.                        No matter what your background is, no matter what your pedigree is, no matter what your last name is, you can be counted as one of God’s children.

IV.                    The Gospel.

a.       Come talk to us about the gospel.

Related Topics: Christology, Introductions, Arguments, Outlines

Lesson 2: The Birth Of The Promised King (Matthew 1:18-25)

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I. The Setting:

a.       When a baby is on its way, preparations are made.  Parents know that life is about to be very different.

i.  We have been preparing for our third baby for quite some time.

ii.                        Re-paint the babies room.  Order extra newborn diapers. Deep clean the house, again.

iii.                      Get the car-seat ready.  Time the contractions.

iv.                      Google some videos on “How to speed up labor?”  Try to find a magic bullet to get this baby out.

v.                         Finishing touches here and there.

vi.                      Because we know that when the baby comes, our lives will be different. We will be a family of five, not four.  Getting places will take longer, again. 

vii.                    Kiss the routine good-night sleep goodbye.

viii.                  People with multiple children are often asked, “What is a bigger change going from one to two, or two to three?”  People with more than four kids usually just say “After four it doesn’t really matter anymore.  It’s just a blur.”

b.      Everyone knows that when a baby comes, your life is changed in some ways.

i.  Well that’s what’s happening in this story.  Only it’s a bit different, because of the nature of baby that is about to come.

ii.                        But we will see that this baby who is on His way, will dramatically change some lives.

iii.                      And that’s the point…

iv.                      This baby is different.  The nature and essence of this baby is different.  And He will dramatically change the lives of some people.

c.       The story is told from Joseph’s perspective, not Mary’s, like in the gospel of Luke.

i.  Luke’s gospel account focuses on the incredible faith and character of Mary, Matthew’s gospel focuses on the incredible faith and character of Joseph.

ii.                        Mary, rightfully gets a lot of press, but it’s interesting Joseph doesn’t really get that much press.  He seems to kind of be in the background.

iii.                      But Matthew places him front and center.

d.      The story has three parts:

i.  An Awkward Situation.

ii.                        An Angelic Visitation.

iii.                      A Christmas Incarnation.

e.       The BIG IDEA or main point of this story is…When Jesus comes, he changes everything.  Has everything been changed for you?

i.  Sir James Simpson, the famous Edinburgh physician, was made famous with his discovery of chloroform and its use as an anesthetic.  He was asked what he considered to be his greatest discovery, and he answered, “That I have a Savior.”

ii.                        I pray to God that some will make that same discovery this morning.

 

II.                      An Awkward Situation (1:18-19). “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

a.       “Mary had been betrothed to Joseph”

i.  They were engaged to be married.

ii.                        A bride would be betrothed to a groom and it would be a firm commitment that would usually be about a year before the actual marriage.  During that year, the girl would remain with her family, but it was like the first stage of marriage, minus the consummation.

iii.                      Engagement frequently occurred when girls were 12 years old, but the bride would stay with her parents for a year or two before she came under her husbands authority and she moved in.

iv.                      So Joseph and Mary were engaged, publically and legally committed to each other, and virtually married.

v.                         For instance, an engaged woman could be punished as an adulteress, whereas, the punishment of a virgin who wasn’t engaged, was a different kind of punishment.

vi.                      So this was a very serious situation.

vii.                    Not like today, where guys will say, “No ring, no thing”

1.      Meaning, if she’s not actually married, then there is still hope.

b.      “before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.”

i.  Matthew doesn’t really give any details, He just says that Mary is with Child, and it’s due to the Holy Spirit.

ii.                        This is the “Virgin birth” which is actually a misnomer, neither Matthew or Luke talk about a virgin birth, but technically it’s a virgin conception, which was hinted at in v. 16.

1.      Joseph is referred to as the “husband” of Mary, not the biological father of Jesus…

iii.                      We will look at this more in a minute.

c.       Joseph is put in a really awkward situation:

i.  It’s hard to overestimate how awkward and difficult and life-changing this situation is.

ii.                        This is an unprecedented situation.

iii.                      Imagine finding this out…

iv.                      Imagine the conversations…

v.                         He knows the public will be less apt to believe him.

vi.                      He will face accusations that he “jumped the gun.”

vii.                    Or…“Sure Joseph, your fiancé is pregnant by God…couldn’t you come up with a better story?”

viii.                  “Mary always seemed like such a good girl…I never would have guessed Mary…”

ix.                      It would literally take an act of God to convince someone of what Mary had claimed.

d.      Joseph was a “just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”

i.  Joseph is really an incredible guy. 

1.      Not many songs are sung about Joseph. 

2.      If you look through the hymns, you don’t read a lot about Joseph. 

3.      But Matthew puts him front and center.

4.      He is mentioned twice as much as Mary is in this story.

ii.                        “just” means he is a devout man who obeys the Law of Moses.

1.      Even though he obeys the Law of Moses, he is not willing to use the law in all its rigor to shame Mary.

2.      He basically had mercy on her.  He plans a quiet divorce.

3.      He could have given her a bill of divorce and it’s over.

4.      All he knows is that his fiancé is pregnant, and he is not the father.

5.      Mary at least, had a growing fetus to confirm the angels words.  But Joseph didn’t have the same kind of confirmation.  In a sense, he displays greater faith.

6.      There are men who are righteous, but not kind, and there are men who are kind, but not righteous.  Joseph is a righteous and kind man.

e.       Observation: The Coming of Jesus is disruptive.

i.  In a sense it’s an illustration of the gospel coming to a person.

ii.                        When Christ comes, will you welcome him, or will you spurn Him?

iii.                      It will change the way we live.

iv.                      It will change the way our family and friends think about you.

v.                         It will disrupt your life; but it will make all the difference in the world.

III.                   An Angelic Visitation (1:20-21) “But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

a.       The angel gives Joseph five important details:

i.  First, it is God’s will that you marry Mary.

1.      Jospeh is wondering what to do…Do I marry her or not?

2.      When I was dating Lonnalee I quickly knew that this is the type of woman I wanted to marry.  But I was still not sure.  We had only been dating for a few weeks, but I wanted to know.  Then I met with Doyle!

3.      He gave me great advice… “Is she committed to Biblical principles?”

ii.                        Second, Mary’s pregnancy is supernatural, it’s miraculous, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit.

1.      It makes sense that an angels of God is they only way Joseph would be assuaged.

2.      But now he sees the whole picture, or at least more of it.

3.      Like any conversion, the scales fell from his eyes, the veil is removed.

4.      By God’s grace his eyes are now opened to reality.  He sees things clearly now.

5.      Mary is exactly who He thought she was…and now so much more!

iii.                      Third, your baby will be a boy.  A male.

1.      This is before ultrasounds.

iv.                       Fourth, the name of your baby boy will be ‘Jesus.’

v. Fifth, in connection with his name, your baby boy will be a Savior, and he will save his people from their sins.

1.      Your boy will be your Savior!

2.      This is quite a kid.  Not your average birth…that’s the point.

b.      This is a lot to take in…

i.  This is a life-changer for Joseph.

ii.                        Now you are taking in the woman who is publicly seen as unfaithful.

iii.                      For the rest of your life you will have to live with the accusations of naysayers.

iv.                      You are choosing to build your marriage on some hard-to-believe circumstances to the outsiders.

v.                         Certainly Joseph and Mary were convinced, but how convinced were their parents, or their uncles, or their neighbors, or their co-workers.

1.      “So yea, Mary is with child because of the Holy Spirit, huh?....”

vi.                      Let’s not underestimate how difficult this must have been.

vii.                    Only an angelic visitation could persuade someone.

c.       This is what happens when people come in contact with Jesus.

i.  Their lives are challenged.

ii.                        They are afraid.  It’s frightening.

iii.                      They realize that this will be life-changing.  Truly life will never be the same again.

iv.                      Christ changes everything!

v.                         And they couldn’t be more right!

vi.                      “Until this point, Christ had changed nothing in Joseph’s life.  From now on Christ would change everything. I wonder if everything has been changed by Christ, for you?”  Sinclair Ferguson

vii.                    When you open the door to Jesus, in simple faith and trust, it’s terrifying!

viii.                  Sometimes, I wish that more people would be terrified by Christmas…

ix.                      But the message from the angel is to not fear, do it!  Receive Him!  Open your lives and your closets, and your family to him!

d.      Will we trust the Word of God?  Or will we trust our own instincts?

i.  Christian blogger Tim Challies tells a story,

1.      One of the episodes unravels the story of a plane that only narrowly averted disaster. The airliner had been flying along with everything appearing normal when suddenly it began to experience all kinds of strange problems. It gyrated across the sky, plummeting thousands of feet at a time and turning violently to one side. One and then two of the four engines stalled and failed, leaving the plane without the power it needed to maintain level flight. The pilot and copilot responded instinctually, doing their best to right the course of the aircraft. Meanwhile hundreds of passengers waited in abject terror, not knowing if they would live or die. The pilots fought valiantly and eventually found they were able to control the plane. Mysteriously, the engines restarted and were again able to provide sufficient power. The pilots directed the plane to a nearby airport and landed safely. Only a handful of passengers experienced serious injury, though the plane sustained heavy damage from the immense loads placed on it during the erratic flight.

2.      In the aftermath, investigators found that almost everything that had gone wrong had been the fault of the pilots. When the plane encountered significant turbulence the pilots should have responded according to their flight training and according to the plane’s manual. Instead, they relied on instinct. And then, when the plane began to experience further complications, the pilots ignored the instruments that should have directed them to the source of the problem and the straightforward solution. They swung the plane violently from side to side attempting to right it because they ignored the aircraft’s instrument that told them where the horizon was and how to keep the plane level. They ignored the instruments that told them that their engine problem was not as serious as they thought. Blinded by the stress of the situation, they ignored the manual and did things their own way. It very nearly cost them their lives and the lives of hundreds of passengers.

3.      Those pilots refused to trust their instruments, relying instead on their flawed assessment of the situation. Even though they thought they saw the situation clearly, they were in fact flying blind because they refused to heed the information conveyed to them by their instruments.

e.       Joseph and Mary both illustrate for us what a simple trust in God’s Word is all about.

i.  They didn’t rely on their instincts, they relied on God’s Word.

ii.                        “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.”

1.      Joseph is portrayed as a man who knew the Law, but practiced grace.

2.      Joseph is also obedient in the same way that Mary was.  They believed the Lord in spite of harrowing circumstances.

IV.                    A Christmas Incarnation (1:22-25) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

a.       Notice Matthew’s comment, “This Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises of the OT

i.  In other words, this isn’t the beginning of new religion or sect.

ii.                        This is the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews.

iii.                      Salvation is from the Jews.

iv.                      2 Cor. 1:20, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

v.                         Mat. 1:1, “son of David, son of Abraham”

vi.                      In the beginning, Adam and Eve dwelt with God.

1.      They sinned.  God’s presence has left.

2.      Years later, God graciously gives plans for the Tabernacle.  Now His presence has returned in a modified sense and location.

3.      Then the Temple.   A more permanent location for God’s presence.

4.      Then, Jesus comes to earth.  And He dwells among the people.  He literally “tabernacles” among His people.

5.      History ends with the Redeemed in heaven dwelling with God.

6.      “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.”

vii.                    So the Christmas incarnation is a foretaste of heaven.  A progressive stage of development in the history of redemption.

viii.                  This is the fulfillment of a specific prophecy:

1.      Is. 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

b.      When Joseph woke up, he obediently fulfilled his obligation to his betrothed.

i.  Joseph takes Mary in, but does not “know her” until after Jesus is born.

1.      This is a euphemism and a gentile way of saying that Joseph didn’t have sex with Mary until after Jesus was born.

2.      This seems to imply that they did have sexual relations after Jesus.

3.      There is no indication in the Bible that Mary was a perpetual virgin, as some traditions claim.  In fact, Mary had other children—

a.       James, Judas, Simon, and others.

c.       The meaning of Christmas.

i.  Try to step back from this story for a minute…

1.      God is in the flesh…

2.      Try to imagine this…

3.      “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.”

ii.                        The Incarnation.

1.      Poem by By Glen Scrivener, an evangelist in England.

a.       “This God in the Manger uproots all our notions:
A heavenly stooping, divine demotion.


b.      Born in a stable, wriggling on straw, Fully committed to life in the raw. 

c.       Santa gives things and then goes away.  Jesus shows up, to befriend and to stay.


d.      Santa rewards those with good behaviour.  Jesus comes near to the broken as Savior. 

e.       If you don’t like God, I think I know why…
You probably think He’s St Nick in the Sky.


f.        You’re right to reject that far-away stranger!  This Christmas look down to the God in the manger.”

2.      Playing with my father.

a.       I loved when he would get down on all fours, come down to my level, and wrestle me and my brothers.

b.      He seemed more human.  He entered my world.

c.       I found this true with my own kids.

i.  When I play princesses with Mollie, or nerf gun with Ryle, or chase them around the house, you see them light up.

ii.                        Their eyes get bright.

iii.                      When I lay down and let them jump on me or wrestle me.  They love it.  It’s how I connect with them.

d.      It’s incarnational playing.  It’s incarnation.

3.      This is what God did; He stooped down to our level, and identified with us.

a.       It’s like becoming a dog to saves

d.      Sam Storms comments on the paradox’s of Christmas

i.  The Word became flesh!


ii.                        God became human!


iii.                      the invisible became visible!


iv.                      the untouchable became touchable!


v.                         eternal life experienced temporal death!


vi.                      the transcendent one descended and drew near!


vii.                    the unlimited became limited!


viii.                  the infinite became finite!


ix.                      the immutable became mutable!


x.                         the unbreakable became fragile!


xi.                      spirit became matter!


xii.                    eternity entered time!


xiii.                  the independent became dependent!


xiv.                  the almighty became weak!


xv.                     the loved became the hated!


xvi.                  the exalted was humbled!


xvii.                glory was subjected to shame!


xviii.              fame turned into obscurity!


xix.                  from inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief!


xx.                     from a throne to a cross!


xxi.                  from ruler to being ruled!


xxii.                from power to weakness!

V.                       Application (What can we learn from this story?)

VI.                    The Significance of the Virgin Birth.

a.      Is it even reasonable to believe in a virgin conception?

i.  We live in an age of science and reason.  Is it reasonable to believe that this story is true?

ii.                        Is belief in the virgin birth backwards and backwoods?  Is it tenable in the 21st century?

1.      In one of his columns for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof pointed to belief in the Virgin Birth as evidence that conservative Christians are “less intellectual.”

a.       “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time,” he explains, and the percentage of Americans who believe in the Virgin Birth “actually rose five points in the latest poll.” Kristof

2.      Al Mohler comments on this and says,

a.       “The real question is this: Can a Christian, once aware of the Bible’s teaching, reject the Virgin Birth? The answer must be no.”

3.      Nicholas Kristof pointed to his grandfather as a “devout” Presbyterian elder who believed that the Virgin Birth is a “pious legend.”

4.      “Follow his example, Kristof encourages, and join the modern age. But we must face the hard fact that Kristof’s grandfather denied the faith. This is a very strange and perverse definition of “devout.”

5.      Kristof’s grandfather, we are told, believed that the Virgin Birth is a “pious legend.”

6.      The very fact that Kristof’s grandfather was allowed to serve as an elder in his church raises a whole different set of questions.

a.       We live in a day when we can deny the authority of Scripture and be considered devout.

7.      Millard Erickson states this well: “If we do not hold to the virgin birth despite the fact that the Bible asserts it, then we have compromised the authority of the Bible and there is in principle no reason why we should hold to its other teachings. Thus, rejecting the virgin birth has implications reaching far beyond the doctrine itself.”

b.      Why is the virgin conception important?

i.  The Virgin Birth tests our Biblical fidelity.

1.      If you can make the Bible say that Jesus was not supernaturally conceived, than you can make the Bible say anything you like.

2.      There is a sense in which this story tests us and our Biblical faithfulness.

a.       Do we believe in a supernatural God or not?

b.      A God who is capable of doing miracles, rising from the dead, making the lame walk and the blind see?  Is this fabrication, or is this reality?

3.      The Virgin conception is miraculous, that’s Matthew’s point.  This isn’t a normal birth.  It’s divine.

a.       Story of C.S. Lewis

i.  There is a story that one day C.S. Lewis was sitting in his office in the English department when a friend, who was an unbeliever, wandered in. There were carolers below in the courtyard singing Christmas carols and as the two were speaking, they could hear them singing a Christmas carol that contained words about Jesus’ virgin birth. His unbelieving friend said to C. S. Lewis, “Isn’t it good that we now know better than they did.” C. S. Lewis said, “What do you mean?” “Well, isn’t it good that we now know more than they did.” “I am afraid that you will have to explain,” Lewis said. “Well, isn’t it good that we now know that virgins don’t have babies.” C.S. Lewis looked at him incredulously and said, “Don’t you think that they knew that? That is the whole point.”

4.      Matthew’s point is that this birth isn’t human in origin.  It is divine.  Supernatural.

a.       The first part of Matthew chapter one tells the Genealogy and human origin of Jesus Christ, Son of David, and the second have of Matthew chapter one tells the divine origin.  This birth is supernatural.

5.      If you take away a God who intervenes into creation, then you are left with something other than Christianity.

a.       If you don’t have a God who can create.

b.      If you don’t have a God who can raise people from dead.

c.       If you don’t have a God who can make blind people see.

d.      If you don’t have a God who can make deaf people hear.

e.       If you don’t have a God who is miraculously conceived.

f.        Then you don’t have Christianity.

g.      Call it something else, just don’t call it Biblical Christianity, call it another religion.

h.      You say, “Well I just can’t believe in a supernatural conception…” That’s fine.  Then don’t call yourself a Christian.

i.        Liberal scholars in the early 20th century tried to do this. 

i.  They tried to strip Christianity of everything supernatural.

ii.                        They reinterpreted the miracles, they reinterpreted the resurrection, they reinterpreted the virgin birth.

j.        They stripped everything supernatural away from Jesus.

k.      And they just kept the teachings of Jesus.  The ethics of Jesus.  The morality of Jesus.

l.        So Jesus became little more than a helpful guide and role model.  Someone to admire and respect and live like.

m.    Like the popular shirts “Jesus is my Homeboy.”

6.      But he was not the Savior, they claimed, nor the Savior they needed.

ii.                        The Virgin Birth is essential to salvation.

1.      He became flesh, and is uniquely qualified to deal with sins.

a.       He is God, so He is infinitely holy, just, and perfect.

b.      He is man, so He can die.

c.       He is God, so He cannot die.  Death cannot conquer him.  He conquered death.

d.      He is God, so He cannot sin.  Sin cannot conquer Him.  He conquered sin.

2.      If a really really righteous person died, could he or she make atonement for themselves, or for another person?

a.       Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that a human was actually perfect.  No sin whatsoever.  Such a person would be neutral before God, like Adam and Eve.  And one could say they could theoretically be an atoning sacrifice for another person.  But that’s all.

3.      Jesus as God, is infinitely holy and his atonement is sufficient for every sinner and every sin.

4.      The sum total of all of the sins and wickedness of the world cannot match the infinite perfection and righteousness of Jesus.

5.      So Jesus, as the Son of God, is uniquely capable of being an infinitely satisfying sacrifice for sins.

6.      And Jesus, as the Son of Man, as a human, is uniquely qualified to identify with us, and actually become a sacrifice for sins.

7.      He is the God-Man, and no other option would have worked!

8.      God cannot die, and perfect humans are not a sufficient sacrifice.  Only an infinitely righteous God-Man could solve this dilemma.

9.      So, if Jesus is not God, we have some serious problems, and we are still in our sins.  And if Jesus is not human, we have some serious problems, and we are still in our sins.

10.  If you don’t have a supernatural Jesus, then you don’t have the Jesus of the Bible.  Please call it something else, because it isn’t Biblical Christianity.

11.  Jesus is our Uniquely qualified Mediator

a.       I suppose it’s possible for God to send Jesus down as a fully grown man, but then would we really believe that He is human and able to identify with us as a High Priest and a Mediator?

b.      Or if he was born of two human parents, would we really believe that He is God?

c.       In order for Jesus the Christ to die in our place, he had to be one of us.

iii.                      “It cannot be said that the incarnation demands the virgin birth, for God could have accomplished it another way.  But it can and must be said that the virgin birth of Jesus is entirely appropriate to the nature of the one who became flesh although he was equal with God (Phil. 2:6).” Donald Guthrie

VII.                The Significance of Jesus’ Name.

a.       Call him “Jesus” because he will save his people from their sins.

i.  This is central to why He came.

ii.                        He came as King, but

iii.                      “Jesus was not so much born to be king as much as he was born to be Savior.”  Barclay

b.      Names are important. 

i.  For the most part what your parents named you is what you carry around the rest of your life.

ii.                        We are about to have a baby, and one fun activity is to discuss names…

iii.                      The story of my name:

1.      My name is David Michael Anderson.  It’s a good name.  I like it.  But unfortunately, millions of other men have the exact same name.

2.      It’s like being named Jose in Mexico or Mohammad in Saudi Arabia.  There’s a lot of us…

3.      So when we were picking names I had picked names that had theological significance.  One name I really liked was B.B. Warfield.

iv.                      Weird Names:

1.      Batman Bin Suparman—things will go one of two ways for this kid.

2.      Pilot Inspector

3.      GoldenPalaceDotCom Silverman

v.                         When we talk about the name of Jesus it’s a little different:

1.      Names are important in the bible.  The word “name” is mentioned 764.

c.       Jesus’ Name tells us His mission in life:

i.  There are many different names for Jesus, but there is one that stands out in the birth narrative:

1.      He is called “Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, Holy One of God, Lamb of God, Prince of Life, Lord God Almighty, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Root of David.”

2.      But the name given to Him at birth, the name we predominantly use, is Jesus.  This was the name given to Him by the angels.

3.      Angels always show up when something huge is about to happen.

4.      They give interpretation to the events.

5.      Mat. 1:21, “She shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.”

ii.                        There is no exaggeration in His name.

1.      It’s not some gross-understatement.

2.      It is a name that is completely justified by the facts of His ministry.

3.      Spurgeon said that he once saw the grave of a child, which had this inscription on the gravestone, “Sacred to the memory of Methuselah Coney, who died sixth months.”  The infant had a name to which he did not attain.  Methuselah lived 969 years.

4.      People call their world leaders by names which make extravagant claims:

a.       “Alexander the Great”

b.      “Charles the Bold”

c.       “Richard the Lionhearted”

d.      “Jesus the Savior of the World”

d.      His Name tells us who we really are:

i.  If the very essence of His name means that He is a Savior, then we can only conclude one thing about ourselves, we need to be saved.

      1. The story of New Tribes Missions**
        1. Etau! (It’s true! It’s good!)

2.      A middle-aged couple from Pennsylvania moved to Papua New Guinea to serve a small village who had never heard the gospel.

3.      They taught on the OT for two months before they even mentioned the Name of Jesus.

4.      They proceeded to teach the New Testament and the birth of Jesus, then His Life, suffering, and death.

        1. They hammered sin and judgment and God’s demand for a blood sacrifice.
        2. When the got to Jesus, and heard about Jesus, they loved Him.  They were enraptured by Him.
        3. Then they got to the crucifixion.
          1. Some of the Mouk people stopped eating and sleeping they were so distressed.
          2. As the missionaries told the story the people were appalled. 
          3. They heard of people spitting on Jesus, they were visibly disturbed.
        4. They explained that Jesus is the lamb of God.  God is pleased with this sacrifice.  God is pleased to crush His Son instead of you.
        5. They then explained his resurrection.
          1. And people started yelling out, “I Believe!”
          2. I didn’t know what to do about my sins, but now I know God’s has made a way!
          3. Different people stood up and testifying that they are trusting in Jesus.
          4. Spontaneous rejoicing breaks out for two and a half hours.

iii.                      Christmas is a celebration of who HE is because of who WE are.

1.      ‎"If you do not love Christ, let me plainly tell you what is the reason: You have no sense of debt to Him." ~ J.C. Ryle

2.      “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.” Unknown

e.       When Jesus came, He changed everything for Joseph ad Mary…has He changed everything for you?

i.  Is this story of Joseph and Mary merely a cute story to you?

ii.                        Have you been challenged by Christmas?  Have you been invaded and has your life been turned upside down?

iii.                      There’s a difference between a profession of faith and a possession of faith.

iv.                      There’s a sense in which if you have not been made uncomfortable by Christ’s demands, you have not been saved.

v.                         Christ demands total allegiance, and He offers Himself as your Savior.

vi.                      There’s a sense in which this should make us uncomfortable, just like it make Joseph uncomfortable.

1.      This means you recognize your lostness.  Your helplessness.  Your rebellion.  Your wickedness.  Your sin.  Your heart.  That you have broken the first and greatest commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

vii.                    “Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.”

VIII.             The Gospel.

Related Topics: Angelology, Christmas, Christology

Lesson 3: The Wise Men Worship The King (Matthew 2:1-12)

Related Media

I. Intro and Recap:

a.       Chapters 1 and 2 are about the birth narrative. 

i.  Matthew gives two full chapters to the origin of Jesus.  His earthly origin, and his divine origin.

ii.                        But his primary point in these two chapters is this: Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets.  He is the fulfillment of the OT.

iii.                      He is the Son of David.  He is #14 (as we saw in the Genealogy)

b.      Recap:

i.  1:1-17- teaches that Jesus is the Son of Man.

1.      His genealogy is proof that Jesus is qualified to be the promised Messiah.

2.      He is promise of Abraham and the Son of David.

ii.                        1:18-25- teaches that Jesus is the Son of God. (virgin conception)

1.      His birth is not natural, and yet He is born of a woman.

2.      Chapter one tells us that Jesus is both God and Man.  He is the God-Man and is uniquely qualified to be the Savior.

iii.                      2:1-12

1.      Now we are in chapter two, and Jesus is a toddler, not a baby anymore.

2.      And we see two responses to this Savior-King.

3.      Herod and the Wise Men.

4.      Some people love Him and some people hate Him.

5.      Some people respond to Him, and others want to kill him.

6.      But the main purpose of these 12 verses is that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy.

iv.                      So the main point of this passage has to be v. 6, that from Bethlehem will come a ruler who will shepherd Israel.

II.                      Observations from Herod the King.

a.      A little bit about Herod:

i.  About 60 years before Jesus was born, the Roman General Pompey captured Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine.  The Romans installed local rulers in these areas, and eventually Herod became the ruler of Jews.  He was even called “King of the Jews” even though he was only half-Jewish.

ii.                        Historian Paul Maier:

1.      “You may be surprised to hear this, but believe it or not, if you are ever asked which is the one figure from the ancient world on whom we have more primary evidence from original sources than anyone else in the world, the answer is not Jesus or Saint Paul or Caesar Augustus or Julius Caesar—none of those. Alexander the Great? No, no.  It is Herod the Great, believe it or not. Why? Because Josephus gives us two whole book scrolls on the life of Herod the Great. And that is more primary material than anyone else.”

2.      Kind Herod was a paranoid tyrant who ended up killing three of his sons on suspicion of treason, putting to death his favorite wife (of his ten wives!), killing one of his mothers-in-law, drowning a high priest, and killing several uncles and a couple of cousins. They also talk about Herod’s plot to kill a stadium of Jewish leaders, and he even killed all the male babies and toddlers in certain village.

iii.                      Caesar Augustus even said he would “rather be Herod’s pig, than his son.”

b.      Herod is an illegitimate worldly king.

i.  He is the opposite of Jesus.

ii.                        Instead of using is power to serve people; He uses people to protect his power.

iii.                      Instead of serving people; he uses people.

iv.                      Herod represents worldly leadership and power.

v.                         Jesus comes lowly lying in a feeding trough…

vi.                      The ladder to greatness in God’s economy is the exact opposite of the world.  It’s down, down, and down.

vii.                    There used to be a popular TV show called “The Apprentice” and it is hosted by the famously wealthy man, Donald Trump. 

1.      It’s a show of leadership, business savvy, skill, and smarts.  The goal, if you are a contestant, is to eventually pass all of the tests to become your very own CEO of one of Trump’s companies for one year.  This show perfectly typifies the world’s understanding of leadership.  If you want to win you do everything in your power to get to the top.  You cheat if you have to, you lie if you have to, you use others at their expense if you have to.  You do anything and everything to get to the top; because that’s where you want to be.

2.      I remember as a child growing up in Minnesota in the winters we would play a game called, “King of the mountain.”  The goal was to do anything and everything to get to the top of a huge snow hill. 

viii.                  It’s a picture of the system of this world.

1.      But in the economy of God, it’s completely backwards. 

2.      Mark 10:42-45, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. ‘But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’ 

3.      But it is not this way among you!  The world has its way of operating, but it is not this way among you!”

4.      Jesus is the opposite of Herod.

c.       Herod represents the world’s hostility towards God.

i.  He is terrified and wants to kill Jesus.

ii.                        The right king would have rejoiced to see the King of Kings, but King Herod wants to kill him.  He sees Jesus as his mortal enemy.

iii.                      Herod is more interested in saving his throne than saving his soul!

iv.                      Herod hears of these wise men who have come to worship a king, and he is immediately threatened.

v.                         Herod (and others) are troubled by the news of a king (2:3).

vi.                       Herod is like the new Pharaoh.

1.      I think Matthew makes the connection between Herod and Pharaoh.

2.      Herod is like the new Pharaoh just like Jesus is like new Moses.

3.      Moses only foreshadowed what Jesus would do.  Jesus is the True and Better Moses.  Jesus is the True and better Deliverer.  Jesus is the True and Better Savior.

III.                   Major Lesson Learned from Herod the King--There will be hostility towards Jesus.

a.      This world is hostile!  Evil is all around us!

i.  Jesus is born into a hostile environment!

ii.                        We will look at this more in the next section, but soon after the Wise Men leave Herod commits a mass murder on a whole village.  He kills all the baby boys under the age of 2.

iii.                      Jesus was born into a war zone.

iv.                      In the words of Doug Wilson, “Nativity sets should include a pair of Herod’s soldiers.”

v.                         All is not well in this world we live in.

vi.                      How do you explain the mass murder of children without using the word “evil?”

vii.                    Evil exits.  Period.  Sin is alive. Period.

viii.                  Our hearts should ache for those who lost their little ones, and loved ones.

ix.                      We should weep with those who weep.

x.                         Not only is evil seen in humanity, horizontally; evil is seen vertically, towards God.

b.      There exists in all of us, a hostility toward God.

i.  By nature, are opposed to God.

1.      We are not by nature indifferent to Jesus, we are antagonistic towards Him!

2.      We do not appreciate His rule in our lives, by nature!

3.      We don’t want His government!  We don’t want His opinion!  We would rather not hear His Word.

4.      We are dead to Him.  We are immune to Him.

5.      He represents the highest threat to our sinful desires.

6.      R.C. Sproul, “If God were to expose His life to our hands, He would not be safe for a second. We would not ignore Him; we would destroy Him.”

ii.                        The King James says, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”  Or, “God has now made peace available.”

1.      There was ill-will.  Hostility.

2.      This explains wars, fights, everything.

3.      Rom. 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

4.      Rom. 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

iii.                      Tim Keller gives an illustration that is helpful.

1.      Let’s imagine a couple that was once in love, but they have become “estranged” which basically means, we used to be in love, but we have become strangers.  And if you ever watch how that works, this is how it happens.  You were in love and what made you in love with that person was certain characteristics.  But when you decide to get angry, you take all those characteristics that you loved, and you read them through your anger and turn them in to flaws.  You read the things you used to love, the very same traits, as imperfections and weaknesses.

a.       “She used to love the fact that he was poised and unwavering, but now she sees it as emotional coldness.  And she’ll use it to justify her alienation from him”

b.      He used to love the fact (when he was in love with her) that she was a detail person.  That’s why she’s done so well in her accounting firm.  Always checking up, always checking up.  Now he see it as a lack of trust, now he sees it as a critical spirit or nagging.

2.      What Keller is saying is that, “You have enmity in your heart, so that, the sovereignty of God, where God can do whatever He wants, you see it as unaccountability.  He does whatever he wants.  You see it as reckless.

3.      You have enmity towards the grace of God… “it’s too easy, you can’t just accept that, you have to work for it.”

4.      You have enmity in your heart when you despise Him.

a.       “How can I believe in a God that could let this happen?”

b.      “I can’t believe in a God who would let such horrible things happen to people.”

5.      That’s enmity.  That’s despising God.  You don’t really trust him.

iv.                      So when the angels pronounce peace in Luke chapter 3, they are pronouncing the end of hostility.

1.      When Matthew records what Herod did, he is showing the hostility and evil that Christ came to conquer.

2.      Through Jesus, you can have peace with God, and with one another.

a.       Vertical peace, and peace on earth.

v.                         One of the school teachers in the Connecticut massacre told Diane Sawyer the heart wrenching story of huddling her kids together in her room, moving a bookcase over the door as a barricade.

1.      With tears she told the kids to be quiet, “to be absolutely quiet, because I was just so afraid that if he did come in he would just start shooting the kids.  So I just said ‘we have to be absolutely quiet.’ I said, ‘there are bad guys out there…and we just need…to wait… for the good guys…”

vi.                      Well the good guys did come.  And in our story, the Ultimate Good Guy came…

1.      Jesus was born into a war zone.

2.      The Christmas story is smack dab in the middle of a story of Monster trying to wipe out an entire village of baby boys, and I don’t think the weapon he used was the main topic of conversation.

3.      He was evil.  Satanic. 

4.      Herod represents evil and hostility.

vii.                    In a world of hostility and evil and grief and pain…the Good Guy Came…

1.      And with tears in our eyes we can say, “Merry Christmas—Behold the Lamb of God Who has come to take away the sins of the world.”

2.      Rom. 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

viii.                  How do we make sense of suffering and evil and sin and death?

1.      The cross of Christ.

2.      Jesus is born into this world to be a Savior.

3.      Mercy and Justice collide at the cross.

4.      Sin is exceedingly evil.  The Son of God has to die because of it.  This massacre is exceedingly evil.  And on the cross, God the Father condemns it.  He condemns sin.  He pours out his anger at evil and at sin.  He rouses His fury against sin.

5.      His solution:  Put His own Son forward to be the sacrifice.  Pour out His righteous vengeance against evil on His own son.

6.      The Result:  Evil is dealt with, legally.  And justice is upheld, legally.  And now he can legally pronounce sinners as righteous.

7.      So God is holy and just, in that He deals with sin, he doesn’t let it slide, and yet He is merciful in that He offers peace to the world through Jesus Christ.

IV.                    Observations of the Wise Men.

a.      Who are the Wise Men? (2:1)

i.  These Maji are not identified with perfect precision.

ii.                        Educated speculation says that they were likely the priestly caste of the Medes and Persians.

iii.                      Daniel refers to the “magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams”

iv.                      This is likely the same group as the Magicians, or Maji.

v.                         These Maji are called “wise men” because they were people of learning.

1.      Think of these folks as a mixture of being the elite, the intellectuals, and the religious priests of their culture.  They were like science-math-literature-priests.

2.      They were astronomers/astrologers. 

3.      Star-gazing book worms.

4.      And they were Gentiles. 

5.      There is no indication they were kings. 

6.      And there is no indication that there were only three (there were three gifts)

7.      Sorry to ruin the Christmas song, “We three kings from Orient are...”

b.      Why did the Wise Men come?

i.  Undoubtedly, word of a coming king has spread beyond the borders of Jerusalem.

ii.                        How would they have known?

1.      Remember when Daniel went to Babylon, he studied under people who studied dreams and visions and stars.

2.      Daniel skyrocketed into fame when he correctly interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

3.      Daniel later predicted the three successive kingdoms that would follow Babylon, and then told of a coming King would swallow up every other kingdom in the world.

4.      It seems likely that these same Magi, these same Chaldeans from the East would have remembered Daniel’s words.  They would have been students of the Prophets.

5.      They would be interested in this coming Son of David.

iii.                      There was widespread expectation for the birth of a great ruler.

1.      They come to the “City of David” to look for the “Son of David.”

2.      Jewish prophecies and even Romans were expecting a coming ruler.  This is likely why Herod is so nervous.

3.      Numbers 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth…”

4.      Micah 5:2, “But you, O Bethlehem…from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

c.       When did the Wise Men come?

i.  They likely came about two years after the birth of Jesus.

1.      Hence Herod ordering to kill all the kids under two.

2.      And notice (v.11), Mary and Joseph are no longer in an INN, they are in a house.

d.      How were the Wise Men led?(2:2,9)

i.  2:2, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

ii.                        Notice, the ESV simply says the star “rose,” which is a better translation than saying it “rose from the East.”

1.      If these men came from the East, and the Star rose in the East, then they went wrong direction.

iii.                      2:9, “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.”

iv.                      Two major possibilities of what this star was:

1.      An actual star, or comet or, supernova, or planetary conjunction.

a.       Church father Origen had this view, and also later on, the father of modern astronomy, Johannes Kepler.

i.  Kepler thought it was likely the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn.

ii.                        Making one bright light.

b.      If this is the case, then the Magi most likely saw the star of conjunction of planets, figured out that it had something to do with the Son of David, and came to Jerusalem.

c.       Apparently, unusual stars have been noted throughout history.

i.  Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar had a type of supernova at their births.

d.      The main problem with this view is that the star moves.

i.  It stops when they get to Jerusalem.  Then is shows up again and even hovers over the exact house of Joseph and Mary.

2.      An angel- or some sort of supernatural light (The Shekinah glory of God).

a.       Light was used as God’s presence with Israel in the dessert.

b.      Possibly it’s the same kind of light, and they called it a star?

i.  These people didn’t realize that stars are actually millions of light years away and twice as big as the earth…

ii.                        The word for star can mean a star, or a heavenly body, or a supernatural light. 

iii.                      It is also used metaphorically for a spiritual leader, or even of Christ, or of the messengers of the churches.

c.       Angels are all over the scene during the nativity.

i.  Angels are even called stars.

ii.                        And, angels are all over the place during the birth narrative.

d.      The main reason this makes most sense is verse 9.  It moves.

v.                         Isn’t astrology condemned in Scripture?

1.      Doesn’t it seem odd that these Gentiles find Jesus using a system that is mocked in the Old Testament?  Forbidden in the OT…

2.      Matthew neither endorses nor condemns it.

3.      It is Mathew’s way of showing how God was reaching out to the Gentiles. 

4.      He is using their broken system of discovering truth and He supernaturally guided them to THE TRUTH.

5.      The Jews, who HAVE the Scriptures, and are 6 miles away in Jerusalem and are totally uninterested, while the Gentiles, from far-away, with a broken system, are coming to see the King of the Jews.

6.      You could even say that the Ox and Ass understood more of what was going on that the priests and the scribes.

7.      Mat. 11:25, “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children…”

e.       The Wise Men worshipped Jesus with gifts (2:10-11)

i.  The Wise Men rejoiced exceedingly with great joy (2:10)

ii.                        What is the significance of these gifts?

1.      We don’t know for sure if there is meant to be significance to these gifts.  At the least, it was a lot of money that helped finance Joseph and Mary’s trip to Egypt and back.

2.      But it’s possible, that these gifts indicate the kind of life this child will have…

iii.                      Gold- the symbol for a King.

1.      This is Matthew’s main point on this gospel.  Jesus is the King.

2.      Gold is the metal of kings.

iv.                      Frankincense- the symbol of he High Priest.

1.      Incense was used by the priests in their worship.

2.      Incense was never mixed with sins offerings like meat and wine offerings.  In other words it was pure.

3.      A white gum from a tree in Arabia

4.      It pointed to Christ as our High Priest, His entire life was pleasing to God.

v.                         Myrrh- the symbol of death.

1.      Myrrh was expensive and was used for embalming.  It was also a gum from bush.

2.      Myrrh was a valuable commodity.  In fact, the town “Smyrrhnah” was named that because it was a huge factory of Myrrh.

3.      Nicodemus used 100 pounds of myrrh for Jesus’ burial.

4.      They unknowingly gave Jesus a gift symbolizing death.

5.      Jesus would suffer and die a sinners death.

f.        More than likely these wise men had no idea of the magnitude of this king, but their gifts do foreshadow the kind of King this would be.

V.                       Lessons Learned from the Wise Men.

a.      The Wise Men teach us that Jesus is for all people, Jews and Gentiles.

i.  The worship of the Magi implies that God’s redemption goes beyond the Jews.

ii.                        The response of Herod and the indifference of the religious leaders tell us that many of the Jews will not believe in Jesus.

iii.                      Jesus is the fulfillment of the hopes and prophecies of Israel but also as one who will extend God’s blessings to Gentiles.

iv.                      Paul says of the Corinthians that “…not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.”

v.                         They were wise according to worldly standards, they were powerful and influential, and they were of noble birth.”

vi.                      Jesus has come for all people!  Rich and poor.

vii.                    The grace of God is wide and reaches to all people.

viii.                  Even his genealogy proves this, as numerous Gentiles are mentioned.  The grace of God reaches far and wide…

b.      The Wise Men teach us what it means to be wise.

i.  What does it mean for us to be wise?

1.      1 Cor. 1, For it is written,  “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise...”

2.      “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”

ii.                        The wisdom of the world looks at this birth story and scoffs.

1.      He wasn’t born of a wealthy family, His parents were poor.

2.      He wasn’t born in the Temple.

3.      He wasn’t wrapped in kingly garments.

4.      He wasn’t born surrounded by dignitaries noblemen.

iii.                      The wisdom of the world mocks Christ and mocks Christmas and says,

1.      “In an age of science and technology and education, do you really believe in a virgin conception?”

2.      The New York Times thinks this is laughable.

iv.                      The wisdom of this world says that Christ is old news.

v.                         The wisdom of the world says that Christ wasn’t the promised King.

vi.                      The wisdom of this world is always dated….

1.      The wisdom of the age this year, will be ridiculed 50 years from now.

2.      Whatever the op-ed page of the NYT is this week, in 50 years will be mocked.

3.      The experts of this age will look ridiculous to the experts of your grandchildren’s age.

4.      Freud was in, then he was out.

5.      Every generation believes that our experts are different.

6.      NOT with the Truth.  The Truth is never old.

a.       Read Paul, read Luther, read Augustine, Sprurgeon, and they all teach the same thing.

b.      If you try to invent a new kind of Christianity, or redesign it, or take some of this truth and leave that truth you will come away a laughingstock.  Guaranteed.  50 years from now you will look like a caveman.  The wisdom of this world is always dated.

vii.                    The wisdom of this world is shallow.

1.      It values looks, money, relationships, power, it values pomp, it values prestige.

2.      The world want influence, the world wants power. 

3.      You don’t start your campaign in a stable, you start it in the temple.  You start it surrounded by powerful people, not shepherds.

viii.                  The wisdom of God is different.

1.      The wisdom of God is lying in a manger.

2.      The wisdom of God is lay dying on a cross.

3.      The wisdom of God foolishness to the world.

a.       The wise men go to Bethlehem.

b.      Ethnically, they were not the in people.

c.       Theologically, they were not the in people.

d.      All the right scribes and theologians and priests and dignitaries weren’t there.

VI.                    Observations of Jesus.

a.      Jesus is the promised King (2:5).

i.  Main point of 2:1-12 (Five times Matthew quotes the Old Testament).

1.      1:23;

2.      2:6,

3.      2:15,

4.      2:18,

5.      2: 23,

ii.                        This is a major motif that runs through all of Matthew.  Jesus is the fulfillment.

1.      Jesus is born in Bethlehem—a fulfillment of prophecy (2:1)

2.      He is called a Shepherd of Israel (2:5)

iii.                      Herod assembles the chief priests and scribes to talk about this.  These are not folks who all agree on every matter of doctrine, but they unanimously quote Mic. 5:2 and say that prophecy points to the Messiah being born in Bethlehem.

b.      Jesus confronts the powers of the world.

i.  Look at the ruckus Jesus makes and he is just a child!

ii.                        The entire nation is buzzing about the news!

iii.                      Jesus posed a threat to the powers of the world.

1.      “At the heart of the Christmas story is a baby who poses such a threat to the most powerful man around that he kills a whole village full of other babies. At the heart of the Christmas story is a baby who, if only the Roman emperor knew it, will be the Lord of the whole world. Whatever else you say about Jesus, from his birth onwards, people certainly found him a threat. He upset their powergames, and suffered the usual fate of people who do that.” ~N.T. Wright

iv.                      Jesus cannot be stopped by the powers of the world.

1.      The plan of God cannot be stopped. 

2.      No matter how much the world tries to stop Jesus, it can’t.

VII.                Lesson Learned from Jesus.

a.      Be prepared to be held in low regard, if you follow Christ.

i.  Rest assured, if you pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ your life will change.

ii.                        The powers of this world will rouse up with hostility towards you.

iii.                      You will be mocked.

iv.                      You will be belittled.

v.                         You will be patted on the head.

vi.                      You will be called a Exclusive.  Narrow.  Fundamentalist.  Backwoods.  Backwards.

vii.                    The powers of this world will hold you in low regard, just like they powers of this world held the Savior of the world in low regard.

viii.                  Rather than come in pomp, He comes as a Servant Savior.  Humble, riding on a donkey to His death.

1.      A Roman cross is His symbol.

2.      He was seen as weak and insignificant by the Vanity Fair of His day.

3.      But his weakness and death were actually the wisdom and power of God.

ix.                      Forbes:

1.      Forbes magazine presents their annual lists for the top 100 celebrities, or for the 400 Richest Americans, or the world's most powerful women. Other websites list the top ten most powerful people in the world, or the 50 most powerful people in Washington, D.C.

2.      But a website called 24/7 Wall Street has an unusual twist on this theme. They call it the "100 Least Powerful People in the World List." The list includes corporate executives, athletes, politicians, and celebrities who share one common characteristic—they used to be powerful. Here are some "Winners" (or "Losers") that qualified for this year's "100 Least Powerful People in the World List":

a.       Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP, in 2011 the 4th largest company in the world (based on revenues). After a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the BP board of directors eventually fired Hayward.

b.      Jim Keyes, the former CEO of Blockbuster, once one of the nation's largest retailers.

c.       Mike Jones, the current CEO of the former #1 social network—MySpace, which once had 70 million users.

d.      Arnold Schwarzenegger, the once powerful actor and politician in California, who is attempting to make an acting comeback after driving his state's finances into the ground

e.       Hosni Mubarak, the former President of Egypt who left the country in disgrace

3.      Some of the individuals on this least powerful list were victims of circumstances; others made poor business decisions; and others lost their influence because of moral failure. But none of them chose to become powerless.

4.      In contrast, through his birth, incarnation, earthly ministry, and death on the cross, Jesus the all-powerful and sinless Son of God chose to become powerless for our sakes.

x.                         If you follow Jesus, be prepared to be seen as insignificant and weak.

b.      Jesus is worthy of our worship.

i.  Is there hostility between you and God?

1.       

ii.                        Respond to Him with worship!

1.      Bring your own gold, incense, and myrrh.

2.      These Wise men were wise!!!

a.       They were wise enough to seek Jesus.

i.  “Wise men still seek Him.”

b.      They were wise enough to seek information.

c.       They were wise enough to worship him when they found him.

i.  They didn’t respond with hostility, like Herod.

ii.                        They didn’t respond with indifference, like the scribes and priests.

iii.                      They responded with worship.

3.      So I say with the Apostle Paul, “Where and who is the one who is wise?”

a.       They are humbling themselves. 

b.      They are worshiping the King. 

c.       They are bowing down and falling at His feet.

d.      They are acknowledging His Lordship.

e.       They are believing His Word.

f.        They are preparing the way with repentance, removing everything that offends the King.

g.      They are praising His names with the host’s angels. 

h.      They are counting the riches of this world as rubbish.

i.        They are ignoring the wisdom of this world.

j.        They are valuing the things unseen.

4.      So bring your gold!

a.       Worship Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s.

b.      King who rules a spiritual Kingdom which will some day come to His people and at which point He will rule the world.

5.      So bring your incense!

a.       Worship Him as the High Priest who can sympathize with your weaknesses and welcomes you just as you are.

b.      Emanuel, He is God with us, sympathetic high priest, able to understand and to aid us. 

c.       He is the Humble King who is approachable.  He is meek and riding on a donkey.  Humble and lying in a manger.

d.      He doesn’t run away from you and the dirt in your life.  He is drawn to it.  He is born into it.

6.      So bring your myrrh!

a.       Worship Him as the Savior.

b.      He was born to die.

c.       Jesus, He saves His people from their sins.

c.       Suggestions to prepare for Christmas.

i.  Prepare for Christmas as a family by going over the Christmas story.

1.      Have hot chocolate together and read Matthew and Luke’s narrative.

2.      Read through the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke—write down some new observations and discuss it.

3.      If you are single, do this yourself or with some friends.

4.      If you are married, do this with your spouse over a cup of coffee.

5.      If you have kids, have them act the story out.

6.      Have a series of family devotions on this.

ii.                        Talk about Christmas with your family over dinner:

1.      Don Whitney “10 Questions to ask this Christmas”

a.       What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?

b.      What was your best Christmas ever? Why?

c.       What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

d.      What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?

e.       What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child? 6. What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?

f.        What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?

g.      Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?

h.      Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a nearly worldwide celebration?

i.        Why do you think Jesus came to earth?

iii.                      Prepare for Christmas by playing good Christmas music.

1.      “Good tidings of comfort and joy” God rest ye merry gentlemen

2.      “Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"

3.      “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel”

iv.                      Watch the Nativity Story Movie.

1.       

v.                         If you host a Christmas party, share something meaningful.

1.      Read the Christmas story in Matthew.

2.      Make a few comments.

3.      Ask some questions to get people to think.

vi.                      Start some Christmas traditions.

1.      Make a special meal.

a.       Direct the conversation towards the Incarnation.

2.      Make a calendar of Christmas where you peel off a sticker each day of December.

3.      Francis Chan:

a.       We all have various Christmas traditions. Few of us probably have a tradition quite like the Robynson family's. In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan shares their story:

b.      This family of five, with three kids under the age of ten, chooses to celebrate the birth of Christ in a unique way. On Christmas mornings, instead of focusing on the presents under the tree, they make pancakes, brew an urn of coffee, and head downtown. Once there, they load the coffee and food into the back of a red wagon. Then, with the eager help of their three-year-old, they pull the wagon around the mostly empty streets in search of homeless folks to offer a warm and filling breakfast on Christmas morning.

c.       All three of the Robynson kids look forward to this time of giving a little bit of tangible love to people who otherwise would have been cold and probably without breakfast. Can you think of a better way to start the holiday that celebrates the God who is Love?

d.      Yes, Do all these things to help focus your attention on Jesus, But remember, Jesus came as Savior to deal with sin and evil.  And He has.  Now we wait for his final return and that great and awesome Day, when perfect justice is executed, and He saves those eagerly waiting for Him.

VIII.             The Gospel.

a.      Yes, Do all these things to help focus your attention on Jesus, But remember, Jesus came as Savior to deal with sin and evil.  And He has.  Now we wait for his final return and that great and awesome Day, when perfect justice is executed, and He saves those eagerly waiting for Him.

Related Topics: Christology, Prophets

Lesson 4: The Violent First Few Years Of The Promised King (Matthew 2:13-23)

Related Media

I. Intro and Recap:

a.       The first two chapters are the birth and early childhood narrative of Jesus.

b.      Mathew is doing a couple things here…(it’s difficult to narrow it down to one single thing)

i.  He is showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT

1.      He relentlessly quotes the OT.

ii.                        He is also showing that people will respond to Jesus in different ways.

1.      The wise men respond one way, and Herod responds another way…

iii.                      He is showing that God is sovereign over this whole story.  Jesus was born into a war zone of sin and evil, and He emerges as the Rescuer and Redeemer and God is shaping history before our very eyes.

iv.                      That’s what Matthew is doing here.

c.       Now the few points of this outline are just recap, but I want us to get a feel for what Matthew is doing in these first two chapters as a whole.

i.  Because these first two chapters are a unit.  He skips about 27 years at the end of chapter two to chapter three.  He totally shifts gears.

ii.                        This is Matthew’s account of the birth and first few years of Jesus, the Long Awaited King and Savior.

II.                      Jesus Christ is Human and Divine in Origin (1:1-25).

a.       Matthew starts off this whole letter by saying he is telling the origin of Jesus Christ.

b.      In verses 1:1-17 he tells of the human origin.

i.  He has a real family tree.

ii.                        He is human.

iii.                      He is the Son of Man

c.       In verses 1:18-25 he tells of the divine origin.

i.  The Virgin Conception of Mary

ii.                        He is God.

iii.                      He is the Son of God.

d.      He is Divine and Human.  He is the God-Man.  Uniquely qualified to be the Savior of the world.  It works.   It’s brilliant.  We could never come up with this.

i.  If you want to start a cult, this is NOT how you do it.

ii.                        You scrap the virgin conception.  That won’t cut it.

III.                   Jesus Christ is Worshiped as the Promised King (2:1-12)

a.       The Wise Men, Gentiles come and worship Jesus.

b.      The Wise Men illustrate the proper response to King Jesus.

c.       The Person of Jesus and the offer of His Kingdom will require a response.

i.  You need to respond!

ii.                        This whole gospel of Matthew is a presentation of Jesus and His Kingdom.

iii.                      Herod responded one way, the Wise men responded another way.

d.      There are two groups of people in the world:  Those who by God’s grace respond to Jesus with faith and repentance; and those who don’t.

i.  Jesus says you are either on the narrow path which leads to life, or the wide path which leads to death.  That’s the path most people take.

ii.                        Paul says there are two groups of people:  Those who are “in Christ” and those are remain “in Adam.”

iii.                      The apostle John says that are those who have “eternal life” and those who don’t.

e.       We will see later in Matthew’s gospel that people will respond to Him in different ways…(The four soils)

i.  Some will respond to this Gospel at first with excitement and anticipation, but then fizzle out.

ii.                        Some people will respond with excitement, but then be lulled away by money and pleasure.

iii.                      Some people will outright reject it.

iv.                      But a few…will here this gospel of the kingdom, will respond with faith and repentance, and bear fruit, and their lives will be totally different.

f.        Here is the proper response (as we will see in Matthew)

i.  “Son of David have mercy on me!”

ii.                        “I am undeserving, but please give me crumbs!” (Syro-Phonician women)

iii.                      Take my life.

iv.                      Take my time.

v.                         Take my resources.

vi.                      Who am I?  Lord have mercy on me!

vii.                    “Whatever you want me to do, I will do…”

viii.                  Whoa is me!  I deserve nothing!

ix.                      You are the Lord, I am not!

g.      Everything hinges on your response to Jesus Christ…

i.  That’s what Matthew is doing here.  He is presenting Jesus Christ.  He is telling the story of Jesus.  And his end goal is to compel you to respond appropriately to Him.

IV.                    Jesus Christ is Sovereignly Protected by God (2:13-23).

a.       The family escape’s to Egypt (2:13-15).

i.  Jesus is born in Bethlehem, six miles outside of Jerusalem.

ii.                        An angel tells Joseph, “arise, go to Egypt because Herod want to destroy Him.”

iii.                      This was a fulfillment of the OT, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

iv.                      This would be about 100 miles.

b.      The massacre (2:16-18).

i.  Now Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are all living in Egypt.

ii.                        Meanwhile Herod tries to kill Jesus and in the process massacres toddlers and babies in a entire county.

iii.                      This story is almost too horrible to even read.  It’s actually amazing that Matthew even records it.  The other gospels leave it out.  (we will get to this more in a bit).

iv.                      But there is tremendous sorrow and weeping because of this.

v.                         One minute you are singing happy birthday to your two-year old boy, and the next thing you know, a Roman guard barges in.

vi.                      This weeping of mothers is also fulfillment of prophecy.

c.       Herod dies (2:19).

i.  And an angel tells Joseph and Co. to head back to Israel.

ii.                        It’s noteworthy that the angel doesn’t tell him to stay in Egypt, but to go to Israel.

1.      Israel is to be the hub.  The Jews are to meet their king.

2.      Egypt comes later.  The Gentiles come later.  But first the gospel needs to be proclaimed to Israel.

d.      The family returns to Nazareth (2:19-23)

i.  An angel tells them to head back.  It’s safe now.

ii.                        They assume they will head back to Judea and settle down, but they hear of Herod’s son, Archelaus, they are afraid, and an angel tells them to go up north to Galilee and settle in Nazareth.

iii.                      This is about 150 miles (according to Google maps)

iv.                      This is also a fulfillment.

e.       Lesson: God is sovereign.

i.  God is clearly in the details of all of this…

1.      He is providentially moving and directly world leaders.

2.      He is providentially orchestrating events.

3.      His angels are administrating His sovereign will of leading and guiding and informing.

ii.                        He is over world events.

iii.                      He is in the details.

iv.                      He is moving history forward according to His plan.

v.                         He is not aloof.  He is not asleep.

vi.                      I don’t know of there is anything more comforting for the Christian, then to remember and recall and be reminded that God is in control.

vii.                    The details and circumstances of your life are not accidental or arbitrary.

 

 

V.                       Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Prophecies (2:13-23).

a.       This is clearly one of the main points Matthew is making:  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.  Jesus is the Promised King.

i.  I counted like 66 times that Scripture is either quoted or “fulfilled” in Matthew.

ii.                        This is a major motif that runs through all of Matthew.  Jesus is the fulfillment.

iii.                      This isn’t the beginning of new religion or sect.

1.      This is the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews and it was happening before their very eyes.

2.      It would be like if there were a prophecy that the Messiah would come to Times Square, and then eat at Subway, then 10 days later travel to St. Louis, and do such and such.

3.      If that actually happened, it would be amazing.

4.      2 Cor. 1:20, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

b.      Five times Matthew quotes the Old Testament).

i.  1:23; “Behold a virgin shall conceive…”

1.      The virgin conception was a prophecy…

2.      Fulfilled*

ii.                        2:6, “Bethlehem will produce a ruler, a Shepherd…”

1.      It’s hard to imagine a more clear answer to prophecy—the messiah will be born in Bethlehem.

2.      Fulfilled*

iii.                      2:15, “Out of Egypt I called my son…”

1.      Jesus went and came back from Egypt.

2.      Fulfilled*

iv.                      2:18, “loud lamentation…Rachel weeping for her children..”

1.      Fulfilled*

v.                         2: 23, “He shall be called a Nazarene…”

1.      Fulfilled*

2.      This somewhat of a problem, because there is no specific OT passage that says this…so what does Matthew mean?

a.       Some say that possibly Matthew is referring to Is. 11:1 which says, “A shoot will come up from Jesse; from his roots a Branch [neser] will bear fruit.”

b.      It’s possible that people connected “Nezer” with Nazarene.

3.      But I think it’s more likely that Matthew is saying that the prophets predicted the Messiah would be scorned.  He would be mocked.  He is not quoting a specific verse, he is being general.  The prophets repeatedly said that the Messiah would be called names.

a.       For instance, “He would be called a Nazarene…”  Which was derogatory.

b.      Like saying, “Jesus, from the land of pudunk”  or “Jesus, the backwoods boy.”

c.       It’s basically a mockery.

d.      It was a name used to mock the idea that He could be the Promised Messiah.

4.      And all through His entire life He would be mocked and belittled for this.

a.       “Jesus the Nazarene”

b.      “No, He’s just the carpenters son.”  “He’s a hick.”

c.       “The Messiah can’t be Jesus, we know his ‘so-called father’…He’s a bastard child” (and if that offends you, that you are on the right track to knowing the derision and contempt that Jesus felt).

d.      He was scorned, as the prophet Isaiah says.

5.      There is no reason to believe that things will be different for us.

a.       It will not be cool to identify with Jesus.

b.      You will be called Exclusive.  Narrow. Backwoods. Backwards.

c.       The powers of this world will hold you in low regard, just like they powers of this world held Jesus in low regard.

6.      Think about this: Nazareth is where Jesus grew up…

a.       He grew up in the country.

b.      He wasn’t from wealthy means.  He didn’t grow up in a palace.  He didn’t have maids and butlers and nice camels.

c.       He grew up as a poor country boy.

d.      The son of a carpenter.

e.       The next verse and chapter skips about 30 years…

f.        So for the first 27 years of his life, he studied the Old Testament like all the other kids, even the poorest kids.

g.      He studied as an apprentice under Joseph his father.

h.      He leaned the basic skills of young Palestinian boys, like milking a goat, making cheese, tending a flock, feeding sheep, hammering nails.  Learning Aramaic, a little Greek, and probably a little Latin (Romans)

7.      He grew up as a common poor boy—a Nazarene.

a.       Think of Jesus as a toddler. Was he a ham?

b.      Think of Jesus as a teenager.  Maybe he had acne?

c.       Think of Jesus in his mid-20’s--hammering nails?  Did he ever hit his thumb?

d.      Think of Jesus learning and asking questions and praying.

e.       Think of Jesus playing Palestinian pick-up football with his brothers…

VI.                    Jesus Christ is born into a world of Violence, Brutality, and Evil (2:13-23).

a.       This is a violent section of Scripture…

i.  This…story…is…brutal…

ii.                        Think about this…the beginning and the end of Jesus life is marked with violence, hatred, sin, and evil.

iii.                      The bookends of Jesus earthly life are acts of horror.

b.      I think Matthew is making a point…

i.  Here is Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and yet He is surrounded by weeping and war.

ii.                        Tears and sorrow make up the world we live in.

iii.                      Pain and hurt and tears and death are our world.

iv.                      Brokenness, heartache, pain, disappointment, and sin is the air we breath.

v.                         If the GOSPEL can flourish in a town of innocent toddlers being murdered, the gospel can flourish ANYWHERE.

vi.                      This is why Jesus came!!!  To put an end to the hostility—both inside and out!

c.       If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, where is the peace?

i.  The peace that Jesus brings comes in stages:

1.      The apostle Paul says that His first coming resulting in a legal justification and a positional peace with God.

2.      Then comes the peace on earth during the full inauguration of His Kingdom during the Millennium.

3.      Then comes a final, everlasting peace on heaven and earth, for eternity.

ii.                        So His peace is a much-needed peace, because the world is evil.

d.      Sin is in the world.  It is the world we live in.

i.  The Christian worldview is that only worldview that makes sense of sin and evil.

ii.                        How do you make sense of evil from a naturalistic perspective?

iii.                      Macro-evolution doesn’t have any concept for evil and violence.

1.      Why is life important?

2.      Try to explain that from a atheistic naturalistic perspective…

3.      Try to make sense of massacres without a concept of right and wrong…

4.      From a naturalistic perspective, why shouldn’t the strong kill the weak?

a.       Isn’t that what happens when someone murders?

5.      It’s very difficult, and takes a great deal of self-deception to lament the strong overcoming the weak and at the same time parade a macro-evolution that makes no room for God…

iv.                      This is a great conversation with unbelievers by the way…

1.      Ask skeptics why human beings have intrinsic value?

2.      The Biblical worldview says that people are made in God’s image, stamped with importance and value.

v. Story of Fredrick Copelston and Bertrand Russell:

1.      Ravi Zacharius tells the story of the famous debate between Fredrick Copleston and Bertrand Russell.  “At one point in the debate, Copleston said, “Mr. Russell, you believe in good and bad, don’t you?” Russell answered, “Yes, I do.”  “How do you differentiate between them?” challenged Copelston. Russell shrugged his shoulders as he was wont to do in philosophical dead ends for him and said, “The same way I differentiate between yellow and blue.”  Copleston graciously responded and said, “But Mr. Russell, you differentiate between yellow and blue by seeing, don’t you? How do you differentiate between good and bad?”  Russell, with all of his genius still within reach, gave the most vapid answer he could have given: “On the basis of feeling—what else?”  I must confess, Mr. Copleston was a kindler gentleman than many others.  The appropriate “logical kill” for the moment would have been, “Mr. Russell, in some cultures they love their neighbors; in other cultures they eat them, both on the basis of feeling.  Do you have any preference?”

2.      Ravi goes on to add, “When you say there is evil, aren’t you admitting there is good?  When you accept the existence of God, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil.  But when you admit to a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver.  If there is no moral lawgiver, there is no moral law.  If there is no moral law, there is no good.  If there is no good, then there is no evil.”

vi.                      But as this narrative tell us, and as we know intuitively and by our own experience, there IS EVIL in the world!

1.      Nazi death camps, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Soviet gulags

2.      Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, Pol Pot and Charles Manson, Idi Amin and Ted Bundy. Osama bin Laden and Anders Behring Brevik.

vii.                    TIME magazine gave a mini report a few weeks ago on the global crisis of conflict.  The National Intelligence Council gave a forecast of what the state of the world will be like in 2030.

1.      “Among the predictions: The Chinese economy will have eclipsed the U.S.’s; Japan and Europe will continue their demographic declines; the threat of conflicts will increase as the global order fractures.

viii.                  I read a number of reports from the National Intelligence Council and many of them reported concerns over seismic population growth, potential conflict over water and food resources.

1.      “The world of 2030 will be one in which the greatest strain within and between countries could be the struggle for resources — food, water and energy.” Reports the Washington Post.

ix.                      There will be massive demand for food, water, and resources as China, Brazil, and India experience growth.

x.                         Conflict will come, and it could come in the form of mass causalities, or mass disturbance of the economy through cyber attacks.

xi.                      In the past 5,560 years there have been nearly 15,000 wars.

e.       Sin in our own hearts.

i.  In a few chapters Jesus will explain that the reason for murder, and massacres, and rape, and selfishness and pride is because we have sin deeply rooted inside us.

ii.                        Our hearts are a factory for drumming up and producing sin.  We have an assembly line of sin within us.

iii.                      In their Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Half the Sky,

1.      Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn report on [the] worldwide slavery [in sex trafficking], telling stories of girls who had been kidnapped or taken from their families and then sold as sex slaves. These girls, many under ten years of age, are drugged, beaten, raped, and forced to sell their bodies night after night. It is a slavery even more horrifying than the slavery colonial America practiced, and the numbers are beyond imagination.

2.      Kristof reports that it is far more effective to crack down on the perpetrators than to try to rescue the victims. That is because rescuing the girls from external slavery is the "easy part," but rescuing them from the beast within, such as the drug addictions that cause them to return or the shame they feel, is enormously challenging. They keep returning to their abusers.

3.      Kristof tells of rescuing Momm, a Cambodian teen who had been enslaved for five years. Momm was on the edge of a breakdown—sobbing one moment, laughing hysterically the next. She seized the chance to escape, promising she'd never return. When Kristof drove Momm back to her village, Momm saw her aunt, screamed, and leapt out of the moving car.

4.      A moment later, it seemed as if everybody in the village was shrieking and running up to Momm. Momm's mother was at her stall in the market a mile away when a child ran up to tell her that Momm had returned. Her mother started sprinting back to the village, tears streaming down her cheeks …. It was ninety minutes before the shouting died away and the eyes dried, and then there was an impromptu feast.

5.      Truly it was a great rescue—and there was singing and dancing and celebrating, reminiscent of the singing and dancing of Miriam and the Israelite women when they were rescued out of their slavery in Egypt.

6.      But as with the Israelites, the celebration didn't last long. Early one morning Momm left her father and her mother without a word and returned to her pimp in Poipet. Like many girls in sex slavery, she had been given methamphetamine to keep her compliant. The craving had overwhelmed her. No doubt she thought, I just have to have this or I can't go on. Perhaps she imagined she'd be able to escape after she got it, but even if she didn't, she thought, I have to have this.

i.  Charles Hodge,

7.      “Our guilt is great because our sins are exceedingly numerous. It is not merely outward acts of unkindness and dishonesty with which we are chargeable; our habitual and characteristic state of mind is evil in the sight of God. Our pride, vanity, and indifference to His will and to the welfare of others, our selfishness, our loving the creature more than the Creator, are continuous violations of His holy law. We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had that delight in the divine perfection, that sense of dependence and obligation, that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God, which constitute the love which is our first and highest duty. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God, because we are never what His law requires us to be. If we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence.” Charles Hodge-one of the early Princeton theologians.

ii.                        We are in a perpetual state of sin outside of Christ.

f.        Jesus has come to deal with sin…

i.  He deals with the fundamental problem of the world—sin.

ii.                        Answer: Jesus was born into this world to deal with sin and death.

iii.                      Luke 1:79, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

iv.                      We need a context.  Good news of great joy only makes sense where there has been bad news and great sorrow.

v.                         And there has been a lot of bad news and great sorrow for the past few millennia.

vi.                      Peace on earth makes the most sense, and is only good news when there is violence on earth.

vii.                    Cain killed Abel, and people have been killing each other ever since.

viii.                  As we saw in our last passage in Matthew, The Christmas story starts off with Jesus being born into a war zone, with a paranoid psychopath killing a village and a whole region of baby boys.

ix.                      The end of this story is a story of an exalted Savior who did a check-mate on death and sin and evil.

1.      But the drama of human history isn’t finished.

2.      He is coming again!

g.      What is our response to evil?  How should we think of this world we live in?

i.  Expect sin and evil.

1.      Don’t excuse it.  Don’t justify it.  But expect it.

2.      Affirm the sinfulness of sin and evil.

3.      Christianity doesn’t deny evil, or rename evil as some religions do.

4.      Christianity doesn’t see this as a mental illness as the root issue.

5.      Our hearts are dark.

6.      Don’t expect regenerate behavior from unregenerate people.

7.      This is exactly as Jesus said it would be.

ii.                        Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.

1.      We have the answer!

2.      It’s the most relevant message in the whole world!!

3.      It’s a message that recognizes evil and sin and reality, and weeps with those who weep; but also proclaims Great News in the midst of pain, sorrow, and weeping.

4.      There IS HOPE!  Real HOPE!

VII.                Application—Exalt and Enjoy Jesus from Nazareth.

a.       Matthew has a purpose when he is writing all of this.

i.  Keep in mind that Matthew is one of the 12 apostles.

ii.                        His life was forever changed by this teenager from Nazareth.

iii.                      Matthew’s ultimate goal in this gospel is to hold high Jesus of Nazareth!

iv.                      Matthew wants people to know and worship and enjoy His son.

v.                         Matthew wants us to be aware of the unusual events of Christ’s life.

vi.                      God is ALL OVER this story.

vii.                    World History is being shaped before our eyes in this story!

viii.                  This Jesus is worthy of our worship.

ix.                      The Davidic King of the promised kingdom that has been proclaimed is now here!

x.                         This is HUGE.

b.      This Jesus is fully human.

i.  He identifies with sinners.

ii.                        His genealogy includes prostitutes and murderers.

iii.                      He takes pity on sinners.

c.       This Jesus is fully divine.

i.  His birth is not normal.

ii.                        He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

iii.                      As the God-man He is uniquely qualified to be the Savior!

iv.                      God’s can’t die, and human’s can’t atone for sin.

v.                         But the God-man is the perfect solution.

d.      This Jesus is lowly.

i.  He is born in a feeding trough.

ii.                        He confines Himself to a human body.  Much like a dog-owner becoming a dog.

iii.                      He is from Nazareth.

iv.                      He comes as a Servant-Savior.

v.                         He says He comes not be served, but to serve.

vi.                      He washes dirty feet.

vii.                    He willingly, and even joyfully endures a Roman cross.  A crown of thorns.  A lacerated back.  Spitting.  Mocking.  All because God so loved the world!

viii.                  He absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf.

ix.                      In our place condemned He stood.

e.       This Jesus is the opposite of Herod.

i.  Herod is proud.

ii.                        Jesus is humble.

iii.                      Herod is a liar.

iv.                      Jesus is the Truth.

v.                         Herod holds on to his power to be saved.

vi.                      Jesus gives up His power to save.

vii.                    Herod lives in a temple.

viii.                  Jesus lives in Nazareth.

ix.                      Herod wears robes.

x.                         Jesus wears rags.

xi.                      Herod commits the mass murder of many.

xii.                    Jesus gets murdered FOR many.

xiii.                  Jesus is totally different from this world and from the world’s leaders.

f.        Let’s join Matthew in worship and adoring and exalting this Jesus from Nazareth.

i.  He is excellent at everything He does.

ii.                        He is excellent as a King.

iii.                      He is excellent as a Savior.

iv.                      He is excellent as a High Priest.

v.                         He is excellent as a Servant.

vi.                      He is excellent when He loves.

vii.                    He is excellent when He forgives.

viii.                  He is excellent when He restores.

ix.                      He is excellent when He rebukes sin and evil and wickedness.

x.                         He is excellent as a Judge.

xi.                      He is perfect in holiness.

xii.                    He is perfectly in humility.

xiii.                  "Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again, you will never come to the bottom of these depths. How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hid in the deep recesses of he ocean caves."  - Robert M'Cheyne

g.      How do we exalt Christ?

i.  By confessing sin and repenting.

ii.                        By enjoying Him.

iii.                      Give yourself to Him.

iv.                      Rededicate yourself to Him!

Related Topics: Character of God, Christology, Prophecy/Revelation, Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 5: Preparation For The King (Matthew 3)

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This lesson on Matthew 3 was preached by Alex Strauch in continuation of David Anderson's expository series in the gospel of Matthew at Littleton Bible Chapel on 1/13/2013.

Related Topics: Christology

Lesson 6: The Temptation Of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11)

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This lesson on Matthew 3 was preached by Adam Hebener in continuation of David Anderson's expository series in the gospel of Matthew at Littleton Bible Chapel on 1/20/2013.

Related Topics: Christology, Temptation

Lesson 7: Jesus Begins His Ministry (Matthew 4:12-25)

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I. Jesus Begins His Ministry “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:12-17).

a.       “Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.”

i.  John the Baptist was arrested:

1.      John had been arrested—this is picked back up in chapter 11.

2.      John had publicly challenged Herod the tetrarch’s adultery and was jailed for it. The atmosphere became increasingly hostile to the message of repentance, and so Jesus moved north to the countryside of Galilee.

ii.                        Application:

1.      John the Baptist is arrested.

2.      His ministry is now basically over.

3.      I’m sure he would have LOVED to be part of the rest of Jesus’ ministry, but God sovereignly brings an end to John’s ministry.

4.      Great little lesson here:  Sometimes we need to acknowledge that our purpose and desire is not the same as God’s purpose and desire.

5.      There are all too many examples of people who hang on to their ministry LONG after there time has come to an end.

6.      Sometimes, like John, we need to recognize God’s sovereign plan and relinquish our desires for what God desires.

b.      (MAP of Jesus Ministry)

i.  Beginning with 4:12, and extending through chapter 18, Jesus’ ministry takes place primarily in the region around the Sea of Galilee.

ii.                        The Great Galilean Ministry (27 AD)

1.      Massive crowds.

a.       Galilee was heavily populated.

b.      It wasn’t like Judea, which was more remote, and backwoods.

c.       Jesus leaves Nazareth and moves to Capernaum by the sea, so that prophecy might be fulfilled.

i.  15-16

1.      Matthew quotes from the OT (Is. 9).

a.       Every Jew who knew their Bibles would have been familiar with this quotation, or at least the context.

b.      This is the same portion of Scripture where the Messiah is said to bring a renewed covenant blessing on Israel; the removal of the oppressor’s yoke; the birth of the promised child, whose name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”

ii.                        Notice:

1.      Here is Jesus in Galilee and He reaches out to the gentiles.

a.       V. 15 says, “Galilee of the Gentiles.

2.      His purpose is to bring light to those dwelling in darkness.

a.       These people are in total darkness.

b.      This area is filled with poor Jews and Gentiles.

c.       The people are in darkness, and they don’t even know it.

d.      The light has dawned.***

e.       This is foreshadowing the Great Commission going to every tribe and tongue.

iii.                      Jesus is bringing light to the Gentiles…

1.      Jesus is the light of the world.

a.       He exposes sin.

b.      He reveals the truth.

c.       He reveals hidden motives and the human heart.

d.      He is like a giant spotlight moving through Israel exposing spiritual darkness and giving life and truth.

e.       John 8:12, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

2.      The world is in a state of darkness.

a.       John 3:19, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

b.      Eph. 5:8-9, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

3.      Satan is the prince of darkness.

a.       Eph. 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…but against…this present darkness…”

4.      The greatest need in the world is spiritual light.

a.       John 12:46, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

5.      Christ’s light exposes sin:

a.       The world is in darkness.

b.      We all have a tendency to live in the dark.

c.       But God’s light reveals reality.  It reveals what’s really there.

6.      Billy Graham interview…

a.       TV reporters brought in all kinds of lights as they set up the interview, and Ruth Graham noted how many cobwebs were in the corner.  She was horrified.  She had never noticed them before.

b.      That’s what light does.

iv.                      “from that time {on}” 4:17, 16:21.

1.      In v. 17 we now come to the end of the first major section of this Gospel (1:1–4:16).

a.       Matthew has now painted us an introduction to the life of Jesus.

2.      The next time he says it is in chapter 16, where He heads to Jerusalem.

d.      “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

i.  This statement marks the beginning of Jesus ministry.

ii.                        It was His slogan.  A summary of His message.

iii.                      It was the exact same message that John the Baptist.

iv.                      There were two major points to Jesus’ preaching:

1.      Repentance

2.      The Kingdom of heaven.

e.       Repentance:

i.  What was meant by repent?

1.      To turn around, change orientation.

2.      Change perception.

3.      It’s a change of heart, will, and behavior.

ii.                        There is no such thing as a Christianity with no repentance.  If you have not, and do not repent, you cannot be in this kingdom.

iii.                      Illustration:

1.      On my plane ride back from Hungary last week, on one leg of my flight, I sat next to a lady named Willow, from Santa Cruz CA, who was retired, and a volunteer with the Red Cross and was serving people in NJ who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.

2.      She was very enjoyable to talk to.

3.      We soon began to talk about religion and she told me she was a Yogi, and had travelled to India to study under her guru.  She confessed this wasn’t really working for her and she was left exhausted and searching for something else.

4.      She asked about Christianity and what was the essential message of Christianity is different from Hinduism in that God is separate from creation, not part of creation.  She was very interested.

5.      It was a delightful conversation and she confessed she had never really talked to a Christian before about these things.

6.      I told her the essential message that Jesus preached was that people need to repent, and trust in Christ to be saved.

7.      She said, very kindly, “Oh I don’t really like that.  I don’t think people need to be saved from anything.”

iv.                      The sentiment was no more popular in Jesus day.

1.      Telling people to “repent, of you will perish” wasn’t a crowd-pleaser.

2.      This was the negative aspect of Jesus’ preaching.

3.      You are going the wrong way!

4.      Turn around and go towards God!

5.      Confess sins!

6.      If only this woman could have recognized her spiritual darkness, and turned to Christ who is light!

7.      So many people are sitting in spiritual darkness, but refuse to see the light.

f.        The kingdom of heaven:

i.  Jesus then said, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

1.      Kingdom of heaven is synonymous with the Kingdom of God, I don’t want to go in to detail about that, but we will use these terms interchangeably.

ii.                        What did Jesus mean by this phrase?

1.      First off, there is no indication that Jesus is talking about anything OTHER than what the Old Testament prophets proclaimed.

2.      An earthy, geo-political, kingdom of Heaven on earth, with a Messiah ruling and reigning from Jerusalem who would be a Prince of Peace and yet rule the nations with a rob of iron.

3.      In other words, Jesus is saying that “the book of Daniel will be fulfilled, and I'll do it.  So if you want in, then the very first thing you need to do is repent.”

4.      Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is coming to pass, and I am the fulfillment!

iii.                      What is this kingdom??

1.      Interestingly, Jesus never gave a definition of the kingdom.  So it should be assumed that Jesus understood his audience to have the basic understanding from the OT, even if their ideas are a little off.

2.      Simply put, the kingdom is “God’s reign.”

3.      In his model prayer, Jesus indicated that God’s reign is complete in heaven, but that it is not yet complete on earth.

4.      The prophets foretold a time when everything and everyone on earth would submit to the will of God. To date, this has not happened. This world’s present mess is Satan’s doing.

iv.                      Jesus is not so much the new Moses, but the new Joshua.

1.      Moses never entered the Promised Land, but Joshua does.

2.      John the Baptist proclaims the kingdom and is followed by Jesus who leads people in to it.

g.      The kingdom is “at hand.”

i.  This didn’t mean that the Kingdom had come in all its fullness, as Daniel and the prophets envisioned, but it was being offered in the Person of Jesus, Himself.

ii.                        The Kingdom was near, because Jesus was near.

iii.                      The King and His Kingdom are inextricably linked.

iv.                      Remembering this, helps explain a lot of confusion.

II.                      Jesus Calls and Trains His First Disciples “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men (4:18-22).

a.       Jesus calls Peter and Andrew to be his disciples.

i.  I always am reminded by Norman MacLean’s book, and the popular movie “A River Runs Through It.”

ii.                        Where he says of his father, who was a Presbyterian minister and a fly-fisherman says, “"He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume...that all great fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishing and that John, the favorite, was a dry fly fisherman."

iii.                      Unfortunately, it seems revisionist history eludes us, and that Peter and Andrew were not fly-fisherman, alas, they used nets…

iv.                      They were common men.  Laborers.  They worked hard with their hands.

v.                         They weren’t poor people, and they most likely weren’t rich, although they probably had a little means because they apparently owned some boats.

b.      And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

i.  “Follow me”

1.      What a statement!

2.      No one else can say this and mean it.

3.      “Live with me and learn by watching me. Own my values and priorities. Learn to follow me in what I love, what I preach, what I think.”

4.      Become passionate for the things I love.

5.      Follow my example.

6.      Following Jesus requires total allegiance and obedience.

a.       This does not mean we must quite our jobs, it actually goes far beyond that.  It means that we follow Jesus in every single area of our lives.

b.      The call to “Follow Him” still stands today, and Jesus is waiting your response.

c.       Discipleship is not an option, it is a calling, a privilege, a duty.

ii.                        Application:

1.      John 21:21, “When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

a.       The call to follow Jesus is personal.

b.      The call to follow Jesus means we don’t compare.

c.        

d.      We look at other churches, compare, and think something is wrong.

e.       We look at other moms, we compare, and think something is wrong.

f.        We look at other servants, compare, and think something is wrong.

2.      Jesus calls his disciples to follow him, and not worry about what others are doing.

c.       “From now on you will catch men…”

i.  Jesus makes a play on words based on Simon and Andrew’s occupation.

ii.                        Like all analogies, all possible points of comparison must not be pressed. Jesus is not implying that being a “fisher of men” involves anything seductive, deceitful, or harmful. Rather, he is pointing out that just as fishermen try to gather fish from the sea, his disciples too will be trying to gather together other individuals who are willing to follow Jesus in radical obedience.

d.      “Immediately they left their nets and followed him…Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

i.  This almost sounds like a hasty decision, but it actually wasn’t.

1.      These men were already acquainted with Jesus as John points out in his gospel.

2.      They had spent some time with Jesus.  It’s possible that that had even spent a year or more with Jesus.

3.      Jesus’ public ministry was about three years:

a.       A year of obscurity.

b.      A year of popularity.

c.       A year of rejection.

ii.                        These men made informed decisions.

1.      But Matthew skips the details and wants to highlight they literally dropped their nets to follow Jesus.

2.      It was wholehearted and prompt.

3.      It was obedience that proved stronger, even than family ties.  James and John left their father, and their business, to follow Jesus.

4.      Sometimes God calls people to leave their jobs, their parents, their comforts, to serve Christ in the ministry.

5.      NOTE: This is not a call for everyone here to quite their job.  However, it might mean that for some.  And for those, this story is a great lesson.

iii.                      “They immediately follow Jesus.”

1.      Matthew is showing us showing Jesus is the King.  He is sovereign.

2.      When the King calls we drop everything and go.

3.      This doesn’t even make sense, but they leave their nets and they go.

4.      What about Dad?  It’s a family owned business.  He wants to pass it on to his boys. But he releases them to the King’s service.

5.      Maybe God is calling you to serve the Lord?

a.       Abe and Lizzy George.  Retired.  Beietiful home in Lakewood.  Their boys are here.

b.      But they move to India to serve the Lord and fish for men.

c.       They risk their lives, they get death threats, but they serve the Lord.

6.      When Jesus calls a person to discipleship, there is no excuse for delay or disobedience.

III.                   Application: Discipleship means evangelism and training.

a.      Catching people implies evangelism.

i.  When we follow Jesus we catch men…

ii.                        This is called evangelism.

1.      This is part of the Great Commission that Jesus gives us!

2.      We are to be soul-winners!

3.      Part of being a disciple, for ANY Christian is that we share the good news of Jesus.

4.      We bear witness.

a.       This doesn’t mean we give a five-point outline everytime we get the chance.  It might just mean we simply bear witness.  We speak up for the Truth.  We take a stand.

5.      We give a book for someone to read, or a tract.

6.      We think in terms of catching people, and snatching them from hell.

iii.                      International Ministry in our back yard…

1.      ACC

2.      Refugees

3.      We need to catch International student at ACC.

4.      This is a call for some leaders to reach international students in our back door.

b.      Catching people implies training and discipleship.

i.  Jesus is interested in catching and training people.

1.      Jesus is interested in propagating the future.

2.      He isn’t just interested in evangelism, He’s interested in training.

ii.                        Our Lord Jesus Christ was the master trainer of men.

1.      He spent an enormous amount of time training men.

a.       Luke 6:12, (He spent all night praying about these men).

2.      He even calls certain gifted men to call and challenge others!  That’s HIS plan.

a.       Eph. 4:11-12, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

i.  Pastor-elders are to lead and feed call and challenge.

b.      Some of you elders should be equipping others.

i.  1 Tim. 5.

3.      A.B. Bruce in his classic work, The Training of the Twelve writes this (pg. 13), “The great Founder of the faith desires not only to have disciples, but to have about Him men whom He might train to make disciples of others.  Both from His words and His actions we can see that He attached supreme importance to that part of His work, which consisted in training the twelve.  The careful, painstaking education of the disciples secured that the Teachers influence on the world should be permanent.”

iii.                      Jesus was IN to discipleship and training people.

1.      “Follow me.”

2.      The best training is imitating.

3.      My boy does this.

a.       I put my cowboy boots on, Ryle puts his cowboy boots on.

b.      I want to watch football, Ryle wants to watch football.

c.       I change a flat tire.  Ryle wants to change the tire.

d.      I spit. He spits.

e.       I cuss. He cusses.  JK!!

f.        We are natural imitators.

iv.                      Paul was a trainer of men.

1.      Paul says “Imitate me” too.

2.      Paul had his Timothy’s and Titus’s!  He gave them large parts of his life.  He was with them and trusted them with difficult jobs.

3.      Acts 20, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you.”  He taught.  He declared.  He trained.

4.      We still know the names of the people Paul trained.

5.      Timothy did the same thing…

v.                         Spiritual dominos

1.      Richard Stearns, President of World Vision wrote an article a few years ago in World Vision magazine entitled “Spiritual Dominos”

2.      Stearns tells this story of catching and training people…

3.      “In the 1880s, Robert Wilder, a missionary kid from India, was preparing to return to the mission field. During college, he even signed a pledge along with friends to become a missionary. But because he was so physically frail, he never fulfilled that pledge. Instead, he encouraged others to take up the task. One domino fell.

4.      During a preaching tour that took Robert through Chicago, he spoke to an audience that included Samuel Moffett. Samuel also signed Robert's pledge, and within two years he landed in Korea. Another domino fell.

5.      A few years later, Samuel shared the gospel with a man who had become disillusioned with his Taoist practice. Kiel Sun-chu trusted Christ, and quickly another domino fell.

6.      In 1907, Kiel was one of the leaders of the Pyongyang revival. In January of that year, spontaneous prayer and confession broke out during regular church meetings. Thousands of dominoes fell. Those days of fervent prayer are now considered the birth of an independent, self-sustaining Korean church.

7.      When Kiel died in 1935, 5,000 people attended his funeral. The church in Korea now numbers about 15 million, and it sends more foreign missionaries than any other country outside the United States. Millions of dominoes continue to fall.

c.       We need to maintain this focus that Jesus had, of catching people.  Training people.  Making disciples of people.  Teaching them to observe all that Jesus and His apostles taught.

i.  This is our commission and it’s a GREAT!

d.      All of us are called to catch and train people.

i.  This can be formal and informal…

ii.                        2 Tim. 2:2 “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

e.       Here is where many Christians and churches fail.  We have no plan, no philosophy, no forethought given to discipleship.

i.  U.S. News and World Report- family owned businesses and why they fail.

1.      There are tremendous statistics of the economic influence of family owned businesses.  There are thousands of them.

2.      With all of the advantages of the family owned business there are two problems.

a.       #1--The leaders don’t have the time to train their children.  So very few businesses last more than one generation.

b.      #2--They didn’t trust them.

3.      They didn’t train the next generation.

4.      The didn’t trust the next generation.

5.      This applies to the church: we are a family doing gospel business.  We have important things to do—eternal matters.

ii.                        One thing the church family must do is prepare the next generation to perpetuate our beliefs and community.

iii.                      We need to do this with our kids.

IV.                    Jesus ministers to massive crowds with teaching, preaching, and healing (4:23-25).

a.       Here Matthew gives a three-fold summary of Jesus’ ministry.

i.  He went around Teaching, preaching, and healing.

ii.                        This is the best, most concise summary of Christ’s work in the Bible.

b.      Jesus was a teacher.  He taught.

i.  Jesus taught in the synagogues.

1.      The synagogue was a gathering place for the Jews.

2.      Jews came together to study the Law.

ii.                        What did Jesus teach when He was in these synagogues?

1.      We don’t have to guess.  He preached that he was the fulfillment of the coming Son of David.  He would be Isaiah’s Suffering Servant Who is here to reign and rule.

iii.                      In the beginning…God spoke.

1.      The very first thing we learn about God is that He speaks.  He communicates.  And He has a message.  He has a Word.  And all throughout the Old and New Testaments we are called to know and proclaim His Word.

2.      From Moses to the prophets to the Apostles to the church today, we are people with a message.  We have a teaching ministry.

iv.                      Christianity is a religion of revelation.

1.      We are a people who communicate God’s message.

v.                         Quotes:

1.      Dr. James Orr made this profound comment many years ago: “If there is a religion in the world which exalts the office of teaching, it is safe to say that it is the religion of Jesus Christ.”

c.       Jesus was a preacher.  He preached.

i.  Jesus proclaimed (preached) the gospel of the kingdom.

1.      “Preaching is the banner flying atop the castle (seen far and wide), and teaching is the body of bricks and mortar that supports it (sought out by the followers). Teaching fills out the proclamation, explaining both its support and its implications.”

ii.                        What is the gospel?

1.      The good news, or the gospel, is that God sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins, and when we respond to God with faith and repentance we can have peace with God.

iii.                      What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?

1.      The gospel is the kingdom is the bigger picture.  It is the same as the gospel that Paul preaches, but it includes the whole story of Jesus coming, ruling, and reigning.

iv.                      Application:

1.      The primary way Jesus advanced the kingdom was through preaching.

a.       Nothing has changed.

2.      People would rather hear about how to get wealthy, or healthy?  Or how to become successful or become a better You or have your best life NOW.

3.      He preached “Repent!”

4.      The greatest need in the world today is Bible teaching and Bible preaching.

5.      Lloyd Jones reminds us that the great highlights in church history have always revolved around the preaching and teaching of the Word of God:

a.       “Is it not clear, as you take a bird’s-eye view of Church history, that the decadent periods and eras in the history of the Church have always been those periods when preaching had declined?  What is it that always heralds the dawn of a Reformation or of a Revival?  It is renewed preaching....A revival of true preaching has always heralded these great movements in the history of the Church.”

6.      “I constantly maintain that if today’s quest for renewal is not, along with its other concerns, a quest for true preaching, it will prove shallow and barren.” (Packer)

d.      Jesus was a healer.  He healed.

i.  Jesus healed.

1.      These miracles are secondary to the preaching, secondary to the message. 

2.      They authenticated the message.

ii.                        These miracles proved that Jesus was the Promised Messiah.

1.      These are Messianic Miracles!!!****

a.       “Go, show yourself to the priest…”

i.  Ever wonder why He said that?

ii.                        Mat. 11:2-6, “Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

b.      Dead are raised.

c.       Down Syndrome are healed.

d.      Clearly identifiable.

i.  Not like, “My leg was elongated” or  “My headache is gone.”

e.       No one is like Jesus!!!

2.      The four types of miracles.

a.       Nature miracles- his power over nature.

i.  Calming the storm (Mat. 8:23-27)

ii.                        Feeding 5000 (Mat. 14:13-21)

iii.                      Walking on water (Mat. 14:22-33)

iv.                      Water into wine (John 2:1-11)

v.                         Miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-11)

vi.                      Fig tree withered (Mat. 21:18-22)

b.      Healing miracles- his power over sickness and disease.

i.  Healing a leper (Mat. 8:2-4)

ii.                        Healing Blind Bartimaeus (Mat. 20:29-34)

iii.                      Healing deaf and mute man (Mark 7:32-37)

iv.                      Healing ten lepers (Mark 17:11-19)

c.       Exorcism miracles- His power over evil.(These were the most popular miracles.)

i.  The Gerasene man (Mat. 8:28-34)

ii.                        Many demon possessed (Mat. 8:16-17)

d.      Resurrection miracles- His power over death.

i.  The widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17)

ii.                        Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:22-24)

iii.                      Lazarus (John 11:1-44)

iii.                      These miracles showed what the kingdom of heaven would be like.

1.      “…and he healed them…”

a.       what words…

2.      Wholeness.

3.      Wellness.

4.      Restoration.

5.      The curse that caused these things is now being reversed.

6.      These miracles showed that the Kingdom of heaven had truly come to earth.

a.       The kingdom is “at hand”

iv.                      These miracles showed that God is compassionate to the suffering.

e.       What about modern healers?

i.  Does God still heal?

1.      Yes.  God still heals.  We pray for it everyday.  We have seen it happen.

2.      But this is different than people who claim they have the gift of healing or supernatural miracles.

ii.                        All of the indicators of false teachers that Peter gives in 2 Peter 2 apply to these teachers:

        1. Money is another distinguishing mark of their pseudo-ministries.
          1. You can spot them with their large 1800 numbers that you can call and donate to.
          2. They will spend a large part of each service or sermon on tithing and giving until it hurts.
        2. Meanwhile, they will live in luxury, take extravagant vacations, buy $400 shoes, and get air conditioning for their dog-houses.
          1. They will use lines like “God doesn’t want us to be broke.”
        3. You will know them by the love of money.

iii.                      These false-ministries are marked by exploiting people, especially the poorest of the poor.

1.      These people are Charlatans.

a.       They are fakes.  Paul calls them “Peddler’s of the Gospel”

2.      Rather than being like Paul who said He was poor making many rich, these guys are rich making many people poor.  The exploit the weak.

3.      And the helpless, weak, vulnerable people turn on their TV’s and see these guys ask them for money to get God’s blessing.

4.      It’s a ponzi scheme.

iv.                      Let me just tell you that there is nothing of Christ in that!

1.      That has nothing to do with Jesus or His good news to the world.

2.      And yet His Name is used and the Bible is used.

3.      But it’s false and it’s destructive and the weak.

4.      The weak give their life savings to the man who owns two jets.  And I think God hates that!

5.      Health, wealth, prosperity, your best life now is what Satan offers.  It’s what he tempted Jesus with.  The lust of the eyes, the pride of life.  It’s satanic.

6.      Further more, any normal natural person would want these things.  This is what the unregenerate person wants!  That’s why it’s so popular.

v.                         Can people be saved in their ministries?

1.      Sure.  Most of these false ministries use Scripture.  But God’s grace some people get saved.

2.      But this isn’t a validation of their ministry.

3.      One theologian I know was saved in a One-ness Pentecostal church.  They deny the Trinity.  It’s a heretical church.  But he was saved there.

vi.                      We, as elders, have an obligation to warn people about false teachers.

1.      We want to have compassion on the people who are duped and give their life savings away to a fraud.

2.      That should make us weep.

vii.                    I was at a church revival where a speaker came in promised miracles and healing and signs and wonders would be done.  The people were excited.

viii.                  But the only so-called healing that were done were people with headaches.

ix.                      The rows of people in wheelchairs and crutches were in the back.

f.        Jesus ministry was totally different.  That’s the point of this section.***

i.  He actually healed people.  He didn’t just heal headaches and elongate legs.

ii.                        He healed every disease and every sickness.

iii.                      When His kingdom comes in fullness, this is what life will be like…

V.                       The Gospel:

a.        

VI.                    Application: What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? (Boice)

a.      Obedience

i.  Jesus says, “Follow me” 13 different times in the gospels.

ii.                        To follow Jesus means you obey Jesus.

iii.                      The apostle John, close personal friend of Jesus, follower of Jesus, made this crystal clear in his letters.

1.      Anyone who says they know Jesus, but don’t obey Him, is a LIAR.

iv.                      Maybe God is calling you to “Follow Him?” and leave your job

b.      Repentance

i.  Mat. 9:13

ii.                        Repentance isn’t something we did once.

iii.                      Paul says that the knowledge of God’s grace teaches us to renounce ungodliness.

iv.                      We move from hungering and thirsting for sin, to hungering and thirsting for righteousness as we see in a few verses.

c.       Submission

i.  He is the Lord.

ii.                        He put on His yoke.  We learn from Him; not the other way around.

iii.                      He is the Lord, we are the bondservants.  The slaves.  Our lives are no longer our own.

d.      Trust

i.  The reason we don’t submit and obey boils down to trust.

ii.                        If we trusted Him, we would obey to Him and submit to Him.

e.       Perseverance

i.  It’s a lifetime commitment.  A marathon, not a sprint.

ii.                        Many people start out great, but they never finish.

Related Topics: Discipleship, Kingdom, Soteriology (Salvation)

Lesson 8: Beatitudes Part 1 (Matthew 5:1-6)

Related Media

I. Intro to the Sermon on the Mountain. (5:1-2)

a.      Intro:

i.  As the masses came to hear Jesus he went to Mountain somewhere in Galilee and sat down and began to teach them.

ii.                        What follows is the greatest message on morality the world has ever heard.

iii.                      Even today, ethicists agree that this sermon has shaped world history.

iv.                      That’s what the world would say…

v.                         This sermon is far more than mere morality or ethics.  We can’t and we won’t minimize this to mere morality.

b.      Context:

i.  This sermon speaks of kingdom life, and what the kingdom is like.

1.      See this in its context:  Matthew just described Jesus as a teacher, preacher, and healer, and now he will display Jesus’ teaching.

2.      Jesus is teaching this to self-righteous Pharisees obsessed with externals.

3.      Natural questions on the heart of every Jew would have been, “Am I eligible to enter Messiah’s kingdom? Am I righteous enough to qualify for entrance?”

4.      The only standard of righteousness the people knew was that laid down by the current religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees.

5.      If a person followed all their 1000’s of rules, could such a person enter the kingdom?

6.      Jesus’ sermon therefore must be understood in the context of His offer of the kingdom to Israel and the need for repentance to enter that kingdom.

7.      The sermon showed how a person who is actually in a right relationship with God should conduct his life. 

a.       Not to GET eternal life, but to DISPLAY eternal life.

ii.                        The sermon lays down the foundational truths of the gospel of the kingdom.  He describes what the Kingdom will be like and how the sons and daughters of the kingdoms should live and act.  There is some debate on how to view this sermon of Jesus…

1.      Is this sermon describing the Millenium?  Yes.

2.      Is this sermon a sort of manifesto and constitution of the Millenium?  Yes.

3.      Is this sermon describing how Christians should live today?  Yes.  All of these things are repeated in the rest of the New Testament.

4.      Does this sermon amplify the Law and show us our sin?  Yes.

5.      Does this sermon show the evidence of God’s grace in a person’s life?  Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

II.                      Beatititude #1- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (5:3)

a.       This first beatitude is the foundational beatitude and the most important.

i.  If you don’t get this, you can’t have the rest, and the rest don’t even make sense.

b.      “Blessed”

i.  It means happy.  Happy is the person who does this.  Homer used this word to describe the wealthy.  Plato used it to describe someone who is successful in business.

1.      The last verse of the Old Testament ends with a curse. 

a.       400 years pass, Jesus starts His ministry, and He begins with Good News of the Kingdom.  He starts His sermon with blessing, “Blessed are the…”

ii.                        Everyone wants to be happy.  I have never met a person who doesn’t want to be happy.  It’s what the world longs after.

iii.                      Jesus is saying that this is the pathway to happiness.

iv.                      Jesus’ message is a message of how to be happy, how to be blessed.

v.                         It’s a very relevant question:  How do we get happy?

vi.                      Note: He does not tell them to pursue happiness; He is describing how a person is happy.

vii.                    The Lord does not tell them to pursue happiness.

c.       “poor in spirit” defined.

i.  Being poor in spirit is a tremendous awareness of our unworthiness and our lack and poverty.

ii.                        Lit. “shrink, cower, cringe.”

iii.                      Essentially, this is an inward attitude that we have nothing to commend ourselves.  We are spiritually poor, needy, bankrupt.

iv.                      We are powerless.

v.                         We are like little children, or babies (*Georgia*)

1.      Jesus said you have to become like them to enter the kingdom.

2.      What did he mean?

3.      He meant we need to realize our utter and complete dependency on God.

d.      What this doesn’t mean:

i.  He is not describing a disposition or a natural tendency or a personality.

ii.                        Not poor quality of faith or financially poor.  But the spiritual needy.

1.      It’s possible to be the richest person in the world, but be poor in spirit.

2.      And it’s possible to be living in poverty, but have no need for God.  Wealthy in spirit.  Self-sufficient.

e.       There is a link between being “Poor in spirit” and repentance.

i.  This is the main point of the beatitudes and the main point of Jesus’ teaching!

1.      If you don’t repent. 

2.      If you don’t see yourself as spiritually impoverished.

3.      If you don’t see yourself as spiritually poor and needy.

4.      Then you can’t be a part of the kingdom.

ii.                        When you look towards God, are you confident, or do you feel bankrupt and naked?

iii.                      Do we feel you have something in yourself to commend you to God, or do we feel inadequate?

iv.                      Do you feel justified to approach God based on your life?

v.                         Do we march in to God’s presence, or do we crawl on our face?

f.        Being “Poor in spirit” internal and spiritual.

i.  It doesn’t look to externals…rather it looks to internals.

ii.                        We don’t look to any great family history or preachers or missionaries.

iii.                      We don’t look to our grandfather of father or mother who were Christians.

iv.                      We don’t look to where were born or what church we attend or any good deeds we have done.

v.                         All of that is like dung, Paul would say.

vi.                      Being poor in spirit means you approach God and say, “Woe is me!  I am a man of unclean lips”

vii.                    Jesus is concerned with the inner person, not the externals.

1.      The Jews were expecting a political kingdom and an external kingdom, which will come in due time.

2.      But Jesus teaches here that the kingdom first and foremost is an internal, spiritual kingdom.

viii.                  John the Baptist illustrates this:

1.      Jesus says of John the Baptist that he is the greatest man who had ever lived up to that time.

2.      Yet John lived a simple life, wore simple clothes, didn’t have possessions or a home, and had simple diet, and he preached a message that the world thought was a joke.

3.      Compare John with Solomon, who had a huge home, lots of wealth, lots of power, military power, political power.

4.      The Jews would have said that Solomon or David was the greatest, yet Jesus says that John the Baptist is the greatest.

5.      John the Baptist, in a sense will personify what Jesus message is all about.

ix.                      The happiest person will be the person who has been spiritually changed, not externally changed.

g.      How do we become poor in spirit?

i.  This is something God has to do, by grace.  But there are things we can do.

1.      We behold the holiness of God.

2.      We read and examine His Holy Word.

3.      Read what He expects of us.

4.      Read the sermon on the Mount.

ii.                        If you are not impoverished after hearing this, then it means you are still out of touch with reality.

iii.                      When a person truly comes in contact with Jesus and they will say with Peter, “Lord, please go away from me, for I am a sinner.”

iv.                      Lord, if you know about me, you will see that I have nothing to commend myself.”

v.                         Woe is me!

vi.                      That’s being poor in spirit…

h.      “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

i.  Do you feel entitled?  Then you are not poor in spirit and it’s impossible for you to enter the Kingdom

ii.                        Do you feel like God owes you?  Then you are not poor in spirit and it’s impossible for you to enter the Kingdom

iii.                      Have you repented, and do you continually repent?  Then you are not poor in spirit and it’s impossible for you to enter the Kingdom.

III.                   Beatititude #2- “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (5:4)

a.       “Blessed are those who mourn”

i.  lit. “sad, grieve, lament”

ii.                        The world hears this and mocks.

1.      This the very thing the world tries to avoid!

2.      The world spends a lot of time and energy on AVOIDING mourning!

3.      But here Jesus says that the only truly happy people are those who mourn.

4.      If you laugh now, you will weep later.

5.      Mourning precedes joy.

b.      Conviction of sin and the bad news is a prerequisite of joy and the good news.

i.  These beatitudes build on each other.

1.      When you are poor in spirit, the next thing you do is mourn.

ii.                        Everyone wants joy and happiness, and Jesus is saying that you cannot have it unless you mourn.

iii.                      The masses want happiness, but they refuse to mourn.

iv.                      Jesus is saying it’s impossible to happy without mourning.

v.                         One of the greatest problems of the church today, and of individual Christians, is that many have never really been convicted of sin.

1.      The bad news of sin, condemnation, hell, and judgment, has been massaged away.

2.      The world has taken spiritual morphine, and numbed itself.

3.      Churches refuse to preach on sin and condemnation  and hell.

4.      Mourning and lament are been seen as a curse and something to avoid.

c.       Why do we mourn and lament?

i.  We mourn and lament because of our own sin.

1.      Just examine yourself against the Word.

2.      Examine yourself in light of the Scriptures and what Jesus and the apostles expect.

3.      If you are not immediately led to mourning, there is something very wrong.

4.      Sins of omission and sins of commission:

a.       What are the things I did and said today that were sinful?

b.      What are the things I didn’t do and say?

c.       The list begins to pile up and it’s depressing.

d.      There is something in me that is prone to wander.

e.       I am conflicted in myself.  There is a war inside me.

f.        This causes the Christian to mourn.

ii.                        We mourn and lament because of the sins of other people.

1.      We see other Christians in sin, and it makes us mourn.

2.      We see people ruining their lives with sin, and it hurts.

3.      We see the affects of sin and how is destroys lives and ruins relationships and makes people miserable and relationships estranged, and we lament.

iii.                      We mourn and lament because of the world’s sin and its lostness.

1.      The world is in state of darkness.

2.      Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers and people are deceived.

3.      Billions of people live in misery.  Not physically impoverished, but spiritually impoverished and dead and miserable and wicked.

4.      And sin is compounded on sin and misery is multiplied.

iv.                      If you don’t lament your sin, if you don’t grieve over your sin, you are not born again and you are not part of the kingdom.**

d.      “for they shall be comforted”

i.  Here is the promise:

ii.                        After a person mourns and is made aware and miserable because of sin, He is then drawn to Christ, and is comforted.

iii.                      Like the song, “And then I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.”

iv.                      The world’s problems are unsolvable.  The world is spinning out of control.  The global economy hangs by a slender thread.  Nuclear threat is still a threat.  People are still crazy.

v.                         But the Christian is comforted that God is on the throne.

vi.                      The Christian is comforted by the promise of God, the promise of eternal life and forgiveness of sins.

e.       The Christian is a bit of a paradox:

i.  This is a bit of a paradox.

1.      We are Serious but not morose.

2.      “Sober-minded but not sullen”  MLJ

3.      Broken because of sin, but happy because of Christ.

4.      “Cheer up.  You’re a lot worse than you think you are.  Cheer up.  God is a lot greater than you think He is.” Jack Miller.

ii.                        It’s somewhat interesting that in the gospels we never see Jesus laughing.

1.      He is described as a man of sorrows.

2.      He weeps for Lazarus.  He weeps for Jerusalem.

3.      He goes around telling people to repent and mourn because of sin.

4.      And yet Matthew says the Son of Man came eating and drinking.  Jesus was the Bridegroom and there was joy.  The Pharisees criticized Him and His disciples because they didn’t fast.

iii.                      Paul is a similar paradox.

1.      He describes himself as a wretched man, as a man who groans and laments his body and his sin. 

2.      Who wants to be delivered from himself and this world.

iv.                      Yet, over and over he is rejoicing even in his suffering and pain.

f.        Application:  Do you mourn?

i.  Do you mourn over your own spiritual condition?

ii.                        Do you mourn for the world’s spiritual condition?

iii.                      Do you hate your sin?

iv.                      Does it make you sad?

v.                         Do you hate sin in the world?  The parties.  The vanity.  The entertainment and numbness.  The addictions.  The pain and suffering.

vi.                      Does is make you lament?

vii.                    And yet…the promise is that we will be comforted

viii.                  We will have comfort in the midst of lamentation.

IV.                    Beatititude #3- “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (5:5)

a.       Again we see the utter contrast with the world.

i.  The world thinks in terms of power and influence and ability and impact and aggressiveness and self-promotion and self-assertion, numbers.

ii.                        “Be assertive!  Take the bull by the horns!  Make it happen! Conquer!”

iii.                      When Atheist philosopher Neitche came to the sermon on the mount and read that the meek inherit the earth, he said it was a lie! “Assert yourself; it’s the arrogant who take over the earth.”

iv.                      “Nice guys finish last” says the world.

v.                         The utter difference between the Christian and the non-Christian.

1.      The natural person wants to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-made.

2.      The Marlborough Man.

3.      The world mocks someone who is poor in spirit, needy.

4.      The natural person likes boasting, and confidence. 

5.      He is interested in this world, because this is all there is.  So grab all the gusto out of life you can.

6.      The Christian is totally different.

b.      But Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek…”

i.  What is meant?

ii.                        Meek lit. means “humble, modest, unassuming, gentle”

iii.                      Jesus is teaching the very opposite of what the world teaches.

iv.                      Rather than trust your own abilities and powers, rather you trust in the Lord.

v.                         Psalm 37:7, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”

vi.                      Mat. 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

c.       Meekness doesn’t not mean weak, or spineless, or pathetic.

i.  It doesn’t mean niceness or someone who’s a pushover, or a wallflower.

ii.                        It really means power under control.  Like a tame horse.

iii.                      It means to be “Humble, gentle, not aggressive—but trusting and waiting on the Lord to act”

d.      Illustration:

i.  When you get pulled over for driving too fast, and the police officer tells you that you were driving 20 miles over the speed limit, and the ticket should be over $400, but he has decided to let you go, and your jaw drops and you feel like giving him a hug…here is the question:  How do you drive off?

1.      Do you squeal your tires?  Do you spray gravel and lay some rubber?

2.      Or do you drive away slowly?  Because you have just been shown the law, and you have violated the law, but you have been shown mercy and comforted.  How do you drive off?  You drive off in meekness…

e.       King David is a great illustration of this meekness and humility.

i.  God had made David king, but Saul was still in charge.  Saul was still in the position of leadership.

ii.                        But David was the rightful king.

iii.                      Over and over Saul tries to kill David, but David refuses to retaliate.  He leaves it to the Lord.  Over and over David could have killed Saul, but he refuses to touch the “Lord’s anointed.”

iv.                      A great example of meekness--He is an illustration of power under control.

f.        Moses was an example of this:

i.  He was called the meekest person who had ever lived up to that time.

ii.                        Humble before the Lord.

g.      Illustration:

i.  Doug Nichols is Founder and Director of Action International Ministries…

ii.                        It was a long time ago, in the summer of 1966, that Doug was working for Operation Mobilization and was stationed in London during their big annual conference. He was assigned to the clean-up crew. One night at around 12:30 AM he was sweeping the steps at the conference center when an older gentleman approached him and asked if this was where the conference was being held. Doug said that it was, but that just about everyone had already gone to bed. This man was dressed very simply and had just a small bag with him. He said that he was attending the conference. Doug replied he would try to find him a place to sleep and led him to a room where about 50 people were bunked down on the floor. The older gentleman had nothing to sleep on, so Doug laid down some padding and a blanket and offered a towel for a pillow. The man said that would be just fine and that he appreciated it very much.

iii.                      Doug asked the man if he had been able to eat dinner. It turns out that he hadn’t eaten since he had been travelling all day. Doug took him to the dining room but it was locked. He soon jimmied the lock and found some cornflakes and milk and bread and jam. As the man ate, the two began to talk. The man said that he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years, where he had a small ministry that served hippies and travelers. He spoke about his work and spoke about some of the people he had seen turn to Christ. When he finished eating, both men turned in for the night.

iv.                      Doug woke up the next morning only to find out that he was in big trouble. The conference leaders came to him and said, “Don’t you know who it was that you put on the floor last night? That’s Francis Schaeffer! He’s the speaker for this conference! We had a whole room set aside for him!”

v.                         Doug had no idea that he was sleeping on the floor next to a celebrity, that he had told a man to sleep on the floor who had a profoundly important ministry. He had no idea that this man had helped shape the Christian church of that day, and really, the church of our day. And Schaeffer never let on. In humility he had accepted his lot and been grateful for it.

vi.                      That’s meekness.  He’s just happy to be there.

h.      Again, there is a logical connection to these beatitudes.

i.  Poverty in spirit, mourning and lament over our sins, and now humility.

ii.                        In a sense Jesus us saying the same thing in three different way.

i.        Meekness has been said to be “power under control.”

i.  And I think that is true and helpful, but more than that it is a person who is comfortable with being a servant.

ii.                        When a person has a correct view of himself, as someone who has been shown mercy, who is impoverished.

iii.                      Such a person is happy to be a servant.

iv.                      When a person sees himself as a servant, he isn’t frustrated that people don’t recognize him, or promote him, or see his giftedness.

v.                         The meek person is a person who forgets himself.  He’s just happy to be along for the ride.

vi.                      He’s just happy to be a servant.

1.      I’m just happy to be here.

2.      I don’t need a place of position of prominence.  I’m content to be a servant.

vii.                    John Bunyan said it well, “He that is down need fear no fall.”

viii.                  Such a person isn’t easily offended, or sensitive.

1.      You can’t really offend a meek person.

2.      Anything you say against him, he agrees with.

3.      The opposite of a meek person is easily offended, very sensitive.

4.      But the meek person is just humbled that God has had mercy on them. 

5.      They don’t need recognition or accolades, they are content to be a servant of all.

ix.                      The meek person is a content person.  That might be the best way to describe it.  They are content.

j.        Illustration:

i.  President Theodore Roosevelt adopted as his foreign policy, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." By that he meant that if the U.S. had a strong military, it could work its will among the nations of the world.  In 1901, Roosevelt elaborated on his philosophy: "If a man continually blusters,…a big stick will not save him from trouble; and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power."

ii.                        Meekness is not weakness. 

iii.                      Jesus isn’t telling us that we are blessed when we are push-overs. 

iv.                      Rather, we don’t need to contest. 

v.                         We don’t need to defend our honor or our name. 

vi.                      We don’t need to respond to criticism.

vii.                    Behind the non-retaliation, is a confidence, strength, and trust, that God will vindicate.  God will act on our behalf.

k.      “Inheriting the earth”

i.  This is even true in the animal world:  Lambs and sparrows are no match for Lions, Tigers, and Eagles.  But look who’s on the endangered species list.  There are lots of lambs and sparrows…

ii.                        Powerful people who are arrogant won’t inherit the earth.

iii.                      Part of the reason that a person can remain meek, and even prefer to be meek, is because he or she knows that promise of the future.

iv.                      She will inherit the earth.

v.                         There is an inheritance that awaits.

vi.                      In another age, we will reign with Christ.

vii.                    We don’t have to stockpile wealth or reputation here. 

viii.                  We don’t need to amass possessions and we don’t need to safeguard our status.

ix.                      We can truly be happy to be humble, because we have a sweet inheritance coming.

x.                         This world is going up in smoke.

V.                       Beatititude #4- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (5:6)

a.       Happy is the person who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

i.  “If this verse is to you one of most blessed statements of the whole of Scripture you can be quite certain you are a Christian; if it is not, then you had better examine the foundations again.” MLJ

b.      What doesn’t it mean?

i.  We don’t hunger and thirst for happiness, we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

ii.                        There is a desire to be rid of sin. A desire to love what God loves and hate what God hates.

iii.                      This is the problem and the reason for our misery.  We don’t love what God loves and hate what God hates.

iv.                      Our problem is that we like sin. 

v.                         Even if we know it’s wrong and bad for us and makes us miserable. 

vi.                      Even if we know that, we also know we like sin.  We default to sin.

c.       It doesn’t mean that we are to seek our own righteousness as a bases for fellowship with God.

i.  He isn’t talking about a forensic righteousness:

ii.                        This is different than what Paul talks about in Romans 1.

iii.                      MLJ, “The Christian should always be a man who knows that his sins are forgiven.  He should not be seeking it, he should know he has it, that he is justified in Christ freely by the grace of God, that he stands righteous at this moment in the presence of his Father.”

iv.                      Nonetheless, some Christians may even proudly proclaim their own righteousness.

1.      “Having spent a considerable amount of time good people, I can understand why Jesus liked to be with Tax Collectors and sinners.”  Mark Twain

d.      But the person who is hungering and thirsting for righteousness is a person who has making efforts and rearranging his life to avoid sin.

i.  If he sins, he hates it to such a degree that he changes things in his life so that he doesn’t do it again.

ii.                        It is a longing to be holy!

iii.                      Darby defined it better than anyone, he said,

1.      “To hunger is not enough; I must be really starving.  When the prodigal son was hungry he went to feed upon the husks, but when he was starving, he turned to his father.”

iv.                      The happy person is a person who is starving to getting rid of his sin, and desperate for holiness.  The holy person is the happiest person.

e.       Application:

i.  Do we long to be holy?

ii.                        Do we long to be like the great saints and missionaries who have gone on before us?

iii.                      Do we long to be like Joseph, or Daniel, or Paul, or Hannah, or Mary?

f.        How do we practically starve after righteousness?

i.  We ask ourselves, “What saps our desire for righteousness?”

1.      We avoid the things that deflate my desire for holiness.

2.      There things that are obviously wrong, I am not talking about that?

3.      What are the things that make us dull?

ii.                        What the the things that take away my desire for the Word, for fellowship, for Sunday morning?

1.      What are the things that tale away too much time for the Lord?

2.      Are they games, or apps, of football, or magazines, or shopping?

iii.                      Think of it like appetite:

1.      When I eat snacks before a meal, it takes away my appetite.

2.      The same it true spiritually.

3.      What are the things that take away my appetite?

4.      This is tricky because we don’t want to lay down a lay.

5.      We don’t want to make a list for everyone.

6.      We don’t want to set up a fence of righteousness.

7.      The Christian has an enormous amount of freedom.

8.      But the principle still stands!

iv.                      “Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.” J. Wilbur Chapman

g.      The person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness is willing to make lifestyle changes.

i.  This is a person who has truly repented:

ii.                        What does repentance look like, you ask?  This.

iii.                      If we had time for ourselves and our own amusements, then we also have time for the Lord.

iv.                      They read biographies and they feel ashamed of themselves, and yet they long to be like them.

VI.                    Summary:

a.       Unhappy and cursed is the person who is spiritually rich with no need for they will have no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.

b.      Unhappy and cursed is the person who parties without Christ, because he has numbed himself of his actual need with no lasting, real party to look forward to and no comfort in the meantime.

c.       Unhappy and cursed are the proud, because they are not in touch with the reality of their sin and depravity, and will have no inheritance in the kingdom.

d.      Unhappy and cursed are those who have no appetite for holiness because they make provision for their sinful desire and their apathy is the proof they have never really repented.

e.       What is our reaction to these beatitudes?

i.  Do I find them hard?  Do I find them to be uncomfortable?  Do we long for these beatitudes?  Do we like what the King is saying?  Do we see these statements as overstatements?  Are we happy?  Do we want to be like this?  If not, in the words of MLJ, “I am afraid it just means I am not a Christian.”  “If I don’t want to be like this, then it means I am still dead in my trespasses and sins.”

ii.                        But if I feel like I am unworthy, and at the same time I want to be like that, I am unworthy, but that is my desire and my ambition, then there MUST be new life in me.  I must be regenerated..

VII.                Application:

a.      Repent and make yourself low…by God’s grace!

b.      Are these beatitudes requirements to enter the kingdom or blessings that are cultivated?

i.  If we see these statements as ethical requirements then we have turned this into Law and our effort is required to enter into the kingdom.

ii.                        If we see these statements as blessing that God has placed in us by His grace, then we can appreciate His sovereign work, and seek to cultivate these graces.

iii.                      What I mean is that only God can do this.

1.      The unsaved natural person cannot make himself poor in spirit, mourn for his sin, or be happy to be meek, and starve after righteousness.  This is a work of God.  It is an evidence of grace.  Evidence that God has worked.

2.      Repentance is a gift from God.

3.      Mourning is a gift from God.

4.      Humility and lowliness is a gift from God.

5.      Hungering after righteousness is a gift from God.

6.      These are signs of life in a person.

7.      Evidence of life.  Signs of being born again.

iv.                      We don’t work hard to get these traits to gain God’s approval, rather God’s approval and grace produces these traits.

1.      Our job is to cultivate and work our what God has worked in.

2.      In other words, when a person truly comes to God in repentance and poverty of spirit, broken over their sin.

v.                         Jesus goes after the heart.  He goes after the spirit of a person, not the externals.

c.       Ravi Zacharius was preaching at a university…

i.  “and there was a man had had a doctor friend was wan an agnostic.  She was somewhat of a famous Doctor and very skeptical of anything religious.  In fact she despised religious people.  So this man somehow convinced her to come to the University to hear Ravi give a lecture on the defense of the Christian faith.  She reluctantly attended.  Afterwards, the friend who brought her asked her what she thought and what she said was both telling and insightful. She said, “Very, very powerful, but I wonder what he is like in his private life?

ii.                        What most people are wondering these days, is not whether or not Christianity is true, but whether or not it makes any difference in your private lives?

d.      Living this message is the best means of evangelism!

i.  The world is in desperate need of seeing true Christians.

ii.                        The world does not need a new description of Christianity; the world needs a new demonstration of Christianity.

iii.                      Given the option between an evangelistic crusade, or a real Christian, give me a real Christian who lives the sermon on the Mount.

1.      “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians.  I am never tired of saying that what the true Church needs to do is not organize evangelistic campaigns to attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life.”  MLJ

iv.                      “What my people need, more than anything else, is my own personal holiness.”  Robert Murray McCheyne.

v.                         True Christians make the deepest impression.

vi.                      Reggie Sanchez, who is doing a church plant here in our own chapel on Sunday afternoons, is a brother from Southside Church.  He has shared the gospel and has a ministry to former prostitutes in Denver.  He has taken some of them in, and they live in his home.  That’s genuine Christianity.  And it makes an impression.

vii.                    Unbelievers look at that and say, “wow, what would make a person do such a thing?”

viii.                  We need to commit ourselves to actually practice this!

ix.                      And as we do it, we will become even more poor in spirit, because we realize how from we are from it!

e.       Jesus confronts the heart:

i.  If you listen to this sermon of Jesus, and pat yourself on the back and feel comfortable, then you are just like the Pharisees and are not born again.

ii.                        One of the major purposes of this sermon is to ratchet up sin.  To ratchet up the law.

iii.                      “You have heard it said, do not commit adultery, I say to you, that if you look at a woman with lust in your heart, you have committed adultery.”

f.        One of the results from listening to Jesus, is that it leads us to be poor in spirit.  The expectations of the Law are crushing.

g.      Blessed are those who are crushed!

VIII.             The Gospel.

Related Topics: Christology, Ethics, Grace, Hamartiology (Sin), Kingdom, Law, Spiritual Life

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