Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 16   Following Jesus

 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.   For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.   For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  (verses 24-26)

The world sends messages like, “he who dies with the most toys wins,” but Jesus tells us that winning for eternity requires a different approach:

1.       Deny self – we need to decide if, “Thy will or mine will be done.”    Remember Jesus knows best.
2.       Take up our cross – the follower of Jesus is told to expect suffering, persecution and trials, but at the same time we’re also told, that the sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared to the glories of eternity.
3.       Follow Jesus – only He knows the way and will not disappoint you.

So decide if a little short term pain is worth an eternity of gain?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 15   Signs

“Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up on the mountain, He was sitting there.  And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.  So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”  (verses 29-31)

Jesus came and performed the miracles that the Old Testament had foretold the Messiah would do, the greatest authenticating miracle being the blind being given their sight.  Why?   Because this miracle had never been performed before.   So do you respond like the religious leaders did because Jesus did not fit their man-made rules and regulations (see verses 1-7) and remain spiritually blind?   Or do you accept the authentication provided and ask Jesus to help you see?  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment –Chapter 14   Perfect Provision or Impossible?

This chapter records how a large group of people (between 5,000-15,000) were gathered to be fed and all the food that was available was 5 loaves of bread and two fish.   Jesus told His disciples to feed the people, knowing that they could not.   He wanted them and us to understand what is impossible for us to accomplish is very easy (possible) for Him.  We’re told Jesus blessed the food and had it distributed and when what remained was gathered, there was just enough left to feed the disciples too.   As Jesus can satisfy hunger in the physical sense, He can also satisfy the hunger and thirsting of your soul.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 13  Why Parables?

You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’    (verses 14-15 quoting from Isaiah chapter 6)

Where do you stand with Jesus?  He told parables to draw the listener in to understand greater truths and also to hide them from those who would not believe.   So are you spiritually deaf, blind and indifferent, or have you been cured?    He is the great Healer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 12  Unforgivable Blasphemy

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”   verses 31-32

It’s curious that people often use God’s and Jesus’ name in an inappropriate matter.  Just think of what a mess this world would be in if God heeded every use of His name.    But curiously, I’ve never heard anyone swear or inappropriately use the name of the Holy Spirit, perhaps due to a misunderstanding of these verses.   But this is not the unforgivable sin.

For some people there are several unforgivable sins.  For example, committing suicide or converting to another religion.  But Jesus indicates there is only one such sin – rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit, which is showing a person that the only forgiveness of their sins is through Jesus, the One who offered the perfect sacrifice.   Only the sin of unbelief cannot be forgiven.