Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment Chapter 24     Misleading

This chapter has to do with what can be expected to happen between the death of Jesus and His second coming to establish His kingdom.   We’re all interested in what the future holds and many are fascinated with “the end times.”   It’s so easy in a passage like this to get caught up in the minutia and miss the most important message – verse 4 – “See to it that no one misleads you.”   In 28 verses, the warning not to be misled is repeated 4 times and other expressions such as “falling away” and “love growing cold” are mentioned as well.

Satan and this world in which we live are all about misleading us, and presenting opportunities for us to make bad choices.    Jesus’ indicates the right way – “the one who endures to the end will be saved.”   Meaning, by faith believe that Jesus’ death on the cross was for the forgiveness of your sins and hold onto that faith tenaciously until death takes you from this life.  

Although there is no indication of this in the Bible, imagine if people in hell could sue Satan for misrepresentation, libel and false statements?  Unfortunately, it will be too late for any just settlement.

Make your choice of direction now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment Chapter 23    Woes for Hypocrites

This is one of the most unfortunate descriptions that Jesus gave about those who should have recognized who He is and why He had come.  But just the opposite is true.   Consider His description of the “religious” – those who had decided to come to God how they believed was right, rather than by what God had said:

1.       You do not enter the kingdom of heaven and prevent others as well.
2.       You ignore the Great Commandment and strive for outward pious appearance.
3.       You keep the people from coming to God.
4.       You are blind guides more concerned about material things.
5.       You meticulously observe your own man-made laws and ignore justice, mercy and faithfulness.
6.       You are meticulous about eating utensils, but ignore the deceit and selfishness within them.
7.       You are like white washed tombs, but full of death, hypocrisy and lawlessness.
8.       You are like your fore-fathers, you also will kill God’s messenger.

And yet as Jesus made these observations He did not do so to condemn them (or us), but to get them to see the error of their ways.  He was extending them the opportunity to repent (change the direction of their lives) and come into a relationship with God through Him.  The offer doesn’t expire until you do.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment Chapter 22    The Great Commandment

The attempts to trap Jesus continue in this chapter without success but one of the leaders asked a very good question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  Now for the Pharisees, there were 613 commandments that they regarded as the Law, which they “thought” they were meticulously keeping.    So to ask which was the greatest was virtually an impossible question to answer and to ask without creating a scene unlike that of the current Presidential debates.

But even this did not faze Jesus.  He quoted from the OT book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6, a passage that should have impacted their lives on a moment by moment basis (because this was to be on their hearts, taught diligently to their children, talked about).   He simply said, “Love the Lord Your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.   This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘You will love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and Prophets.”    Are you living a Great life?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Matthew – the Gospel of Fulfillment  Chapter 21    Receive or Reject? 

Jesus fulfills the OT passage from Zechariah 9 indicating how the Messiah / King would come into Jerusalem, His throne city.  Jesus rode on a small donkey that had never been ridden before and the people shouted, Hosanna, meaning “God Saves.”    The King enters triumphantly, but unlike their expectation of Him beginning to reign, getting rid of the Roman occupation and restoring the glory of the nation of Israel, back to the days of King David and Solomon, He causes a scene at the temple, and then leaves Jerusalem for the night.

The next day He tells two parables to the Jewish religious leaders who had rejected His ways.   In the second He indicates another fulfillment of the OT passage from Psalm 118:22-24, “The Stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone.”  Jesus didn’t stay in Jerusalem because it wasn’t His time to reign; it was His time to be rejected.   And their rejection of Him would result in the one perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.   Will you let Jesus reign as the Lord of your life or are you still rejecting Him?