Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 7  Two Choices

The way to heaven – picture rush hour traffic on a multiple lane highway in Los Angeles.   The crowd is rushing as fast as they can in the direction of traffic, but you are trying to go against the traffic and travel in the opposite direction.   “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter it.   For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life and fare are those who find it.”    This pretty much dispels the popular notion that all religions lead to the same God.

So how do you find the way?  Verse 24  “Therefore everyone who HEARS these words of Mine and ACTS upon them , may be compared to the wise man who built his house on the rock.”     How’s your foundation?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 6  When, not If

Notice how many times the word “when” is used in this chapter:  verses 2-3 when you give;  verses 5-7 when you pray;  verses 16-17 when you fast.   These are expectations of our Heavenly Father  so we will draw nearer to Him and place less confidence in our possessions and more trust in Him instead of being anxious.

As Jesus stated in verse 33:  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

Get on with “whenning!”

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 5  Think You’re Good Enough?

This is a great chapter in Matthew’s Gospel – lots to discuss and react to.   But the 48 verses in this chapter can be summed up by 2 of the verses:

Verse 20   “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes of and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom.”

Verse 48   “Therefore you are to be perfect and you heavenly Father is perfect.”

here’s no way I can please God or become holy and perfect by my own efforts.   But God loves us so much He provided a way to Him – Jesus.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 4  Temptation

It’s difficult to deny the existence of the devil from an account involving Jesus Himself.    And the forty day period -   Israel had failed during a 40 day period and the result was they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before being permitted to enter the Promised Land.   Jesus underwent a similar period of testing, but He remained obedient and faithful.   He became the perfect Mediator able to represent a holy, perfect God and able to fully understand the temptations and difficulties we as mankind face.

The writer of Hebrews expressed the confidence and hope we can have this way:

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in our time of need.”   Hebrews 4:14-16

The Bad News is we can’t.  The Good News is Jesus can.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment – Chapter 3  Make Ready the Way of the Lord

This chapter takes us from Jesus as a child to a man to be presented to Israel.   It begins with the call of one known as John the Baptist, whose message was to repent.  Repent means to change direction / turn around.  In other words to change the direction of your life to quit living in a way that only results in sin and separation from God and to turn to Jesus and the new life He offers.   Has the direction of your life so far left you longing for something more; more satisfying; more certain as to your eternity?

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we’re told, “God has planted eternity in our hearts.”  Romans 1:18-20 indicates, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident with them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”  Instead of turning our backs on God, He wants us to turn around and come to Him.   He extends that invitation to us through Jesus.