Truth Taught- Jesus marvels over the genuine faith of a Gentile Centurion
If you were to summarize the cleansing of the leper from last week, you might do so by saying the faith of the leper was amazing and the authority and power of Jesus were amazing. The leper approaches Jesus in complete humility with great faith in Jesus’ authority and power. Jesus then shows He is willing to cleanse the leper and we see through the words of Scripture our Lord’s authority over this disease and power when Matthew reports that immediately he was cleansed.
Today, the same points are highlighted. We will see the humility and faith of the Centurion and the authority and power of Jesus.
Matthew 7:28–29 (ESV)
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
As we set the context we should know a little about the Roman Centurion Soldier in the Roman Army. First, as the title suggests, he was in charge of 100 men. They were the fighters and the ones engaged in military combat. It would be right to think of the Centurion as a Sargent. From the writings of Josephus we learn that this man would have had two others above him in rank…the Colonel and the General. They were called other names but those would be our equivalent.Read More
Truth Taught- We are called to confess Jesus as Lord and obey His teaching. Both must be present in the life of the Christian
We are in the midst of Jesus’ section of comparisons and contrasts. In each case, there is a choice to be made. The warning He gives is to make sure your thinking is correct. Make sure you choose wisely based on God’s Word and not on normal appearances. Appearances can be deceiving and you cannot judge a book by its cover. Because God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts and beloved, His values are not our values we must never choose based on what things look like but choose based on what God tells us is true.
So far Jesus has told us about the Wide Road and the Narrow Road. The Wide Road is easy traveling; it is accommodating, and full of friends but it leads to death. It’s the narrow hard path Jesus endorses and explains leads to life.
Jesus also told us about another choice. This time it’s between false prophets and true prophets. It’s between those who preach a false sermon full of lies but sound good. The false prophet will tell us what we want to hear, he will make us feel good about ourselves and our sin. He preaches Wide Road sermons not Narrow Road sermons. His listeners will also feel good about themselves all the way to hell. Jesus endorses the preachers of unpopular truth.Read More
Truth Taught- Beware of the pseudo prophets who sound good but their message and lives do not line up with God’s Word.
Last time Jesus taught us concerning two contrasting paths people travel. One path looks good because it is wide and accommodating but it leads to destruction. The other path is narrow and not as easily traveled but it’s the path that leads to life. The point was to be careful which path you travel because things aren’t always as they appear.
Today, our Lord is going to look with us at another contrast. This contrast is similar because here too things are not as they appear; one leads to life and the other destruction. The false prophet may look the part and even say things that sound good, however, the false prophet leads to destruction as well.
The false prophet stands by the wide gate waving us to enter it.
You know it’s not an easy thing to get into the narrow gate? “Few there be who are able to find it.” And once you’ve found it, you must agonize to enter into it. I think there’s one reason, among several, why it’s difficult, and that is because standing in front of those two gates as you stand at that crossroads are false prophets, doing everything they can in their power to push you the wrong way. They’re there, obscuring the narrow gate, and waving people on, like some satanic traffic cop, to the broad road that leads to damnation. And so Jesus says, “Having given you the invitation, I’m going to have to warn you too,” and that’s where you come to verse 15. He must warn us of false prophets, and it says then, “Beware of false prophets.”Read More
Truth Taught- God is the good Father who gives His children the righteousness He requires.
Jesus has laid out in this most famous sermon many things the Christian is called to be and do. Most all His words are counter-cultural. They go against what we are used to hearing. He’s given us the Beatitudes and shown us things like the blessed person is the one who is poor in spirit, mourns over his sin, is meek, pure in heart etc. He tells us we are to be culture influencers, namely the salt and light in our world. Jesus taught that sin begins with our mind and even emotions. Anger, adultery etc begin in our thoughts and actually lead to the sin of the actual act. He taught us mercy rather than wrath even or maybe especially when our enemies are concerned.
Give to those in need but don’t do it like the hypocrites who want everyone to know they’re giving. Jesus taught us how to pray properly by giving us a model to go by. He taught us about fasting and praying and giving. He explained that the real treasure is the one we lay up in heaven. He went on to say to not be anxious while laying up treasure in heaven. Seek God’s righteousness because unless our righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees we will have no part of God’s Kingdom.
Now, I’m not sure about you but for me, to accomplish these wondrous godly character traits and godly actions I need help. I don’t need human help but God’s. So, our Lord wants us to see where our help can be found and He wants us to see that God as our Father is ready and willing to help us in acquiring the righteousness that He requires.Read More
Truth Taught-We are called to use discernment while in the Church and in the World
As Jesus’ sermon builds we are cautioned to first not be judgmental but we are called to be discerning. This passage has been misinterpreted and misused. If you speak to someone about their sin etc they will sometimes fire back with this verse or a fragment of it. Judge not lest you be judged. I’m sure you’ve heard that before by someone who is either trying to justify their sin or just basically wants you off their back. What does this verse really mean?
If our righteousness is to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees we must guard against acting like them. Multiple times Jesus had called them hypocrites and so we must not be hypocritical with others either. They had engaged in a system of morality and greatly disparaged others who were not up to their level of righteousness according to them.
Any time a person, a man or a woman, invents a system of morality, they then become the judge that sits on the throne of that system and determines whether anybody else qualifies or not; and that’s exactly what happened in the Pharisees’ case. And so they became oppressively judgmental of other people. They condemned and criticized. They were censorious. They were unmerciful, unforgiving, unkind, lacking grace in their constant, dissatisfied criticism of everybody who didn’t come up to their own standard. Theirs was a manmade system of righteousness but even when we have received God’s way of righteousness the same thing can happen.
Then there are times when people can become overly critical and severe in their treatment of other believers.
So, here’s how things could go with us if we’re not careful. Whether we like to admit it or not we can very quickly pass judgment on others as we look down our noses at people we think are in some way less than us. Here’s how it might unfold…Read More
Truth Taught- Our treasure always reveals the location of our hearts.
In this passage, Jesus, in helping His disciples work through this issue of religious hypocrisy, from this part of the chapter, from verse 19 on, will tell His disciples that what they desire and what they fear tells them much about their hearts. Now we’re not going to get to the issue of what they fear–what they’re scared of. He deals with that later in the chapter. But we are going to focus in on His words to them about their desires, because our approach to our material possessions, our approach to the prosperity that we enjoy, is an indication of where our hearts truly are.
I want us to understand one main point here. This is the point most who teach this passage miss. Here’s what we have no doubt heard before. Make sure your heart is fixed on heavenly treasure and not earthly treasure, or something to that effect. Jesus is NOT saying make sure you fix your heart to the right treasure. He’s saying make sure you treasure the right things because whatever you treasure there is where your heart is. In other words you cannot move your heart’s allegiance to heavenly things when you treasure earthly things. He is saying whatever you treasure is where your heart is found. So, if we treasure earthly things like money and possessions then our heart is fixed upon them. We cannot change that. Only God can do that sort of work within us.Read More
Truth Taught- Jesus teaches us to go to our heavenly Father daily for the needs of the day.
As we have been working our way through the Sermon on the Mount and, in these days, the Lord’s Model Prayer, we find ourselves at the second division. The first half of the Model Prayer teaches us that we should be more concerned with God’s name than our name. He is to be honored and reverenced not us. So, we pray specifically for God’s name to be holy in this world.
We are next told that our concern should be first and foremost for God’s Kingdom rather than preoccupied with our kingdom. We are to desire God’s Kingdom to be set up on this earth and function as it does in heaven.
So, the beginning of our prayers should focus on God’s glory and God’s Kingdom.
Today, we will look at the next part of the Model Prayer where we ask God to meet our needs in this life.
Matthew 6:11–15 (ESV)Read More
Truth Taught- The glory of God is the revelation of the His goodness in the radiance
of His power and splendor.
Truth Taught- God desires that His Kingdom come and His reign seen on all the earth as it is currently in heaven.
Matthew 6:5–15 (ESV)
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:Read More
Are We Ready to Really Pray?
Our heavenly Father, Hallowed Be Your Name
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Truth Taught-Jesus teaches us the greatest prayer begins with petitioning that God’s name be hallowed.
I need to begin today with a confession to you. I’m not entirely sure what God is going to do here today? There are times when God’s Word impacts me to such a degree that I stand in awe and ask God to do the work that He did in me in all of you. This is one of those times. I had planned to go through the Model Prayer systematically in a cohesive and planned way and then God in His power blew that out of the water. I don’t know what God is going to do today but I believe He’s up to something amazing. Are we ready to really pray?
Last time we looked in depth at the right attitude one should have while praying. If you remember, the Scribes and Pharisees prayed only to be seen by people and to be praised for their impressively worded prayers. Jesus called them hypocrites, just actors on a stage.Read More