Sermon: The Christian Counter Culture (Part 1) Matthew 5:1-12

The Christian Counter Culture (Part 1)

Matthew 5:1-12

Truth Taught- Jesus’ teaching is not in line with our culture’s values and worldview. He is God and His ways are not our ways.

 

  1. Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

One of the church’s greatest failures today is that the church fits in far too well with our secular world. This world is a fallen sinful place. This is a biblical truth that affects everything all the time. The only way this will ever change is when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom. Until then we are stuck with the consequences of our sin.

People think that a utopia can be achieved by man’s efforts without God. People who are anti- Jesus, God, and Christianity want to tell everyone about their moral standards. They think everyone should line up and follow their rules.

Beloved we cannot and must not ever follow the world’s standards. We must never allow our culture to dictate our views and our behavior.

God tells us that His ways and mankind’s ways are not in sink with each other. If you think for a second that our secular culture and its values are anything like true righteousness God requires you are gravely mistaken. A culture that seeks to live without God is a culture to be separated from.

Our society calls murder a mother’s choice. Calls perversion an alternate life style. It has a name for everyone who disagrees with them. You are homophobic if you disagree with them.

My fear is that all too often we fit in with our secular world far too well. Beloved we must stand up for God’s truth and seek to go against culture.

Isaiah 55:8–9 (ESV)

   For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

   For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God’s purpose in saving us is to call us out of the world to form a new people. His people must be different than the world. We must have a different value system. We must have different worldview. Things that are important to our secular society must not capture our gaze. We must be different.

The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus teaching His disciples of another way to live. He teaches them and us about a counter-culture, a society with different values and ways of thinking. Jesus’ words are different. He leads us into righteousness by way of paradox. He takes the value system of the world and turns it upside down so that we will no longer be fooled by things the world might tell us is good and right.

God Has Always Desired a People Who Will Live By His Statutes and Not by the World’s Standards

God has always desired His people to live differently than the world around them…

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Sermon: The Messiah and His First Followers Matthew 4:18–25

The Messiah and His First Followers

Matthew 4:18–25

Truth Taught- Jesus chose His first followers

and immediately they respond to His call.

 

Introduction

As we begin today let’s look together at our Lord’s first disciples and His first teaching. We will also see that as He calls His disciples there is an immediate response they begin to follow and then we will also see the great crowds also follow. Let’s look together as God’s Word.

Prayer

Matthew 4:18–25 (ESV)

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

  1. The Disciples Follow Jesus

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Matthew only gives us the calling of four of Jesus’ disciples and himself, later in Chapter 9. This is, no doubt, the typical way in which Jesus called all the disciples. His basic words were come follow Me. These words were not temporary like come follow me today as we walk along the beach. Instead, this calling was a lifetime commitment to follow Him and to become a disciple.

Jesus calls both sets of brothers while they were doing their everyday tasks. They were fishermen and were doing things fishermen do. Some were casting their nets and some were mending nets. This is important because Jesus then tells them that He is going to cause them to be fishers of men. Their profession is now doing what He is doing.

To respond to the call of Christ is to respond to a life change. They were no longer going to be fishermen. They were not going to be in business anymore, owning boats and nets. You see, with the call comes the requirement that they were leaving their old life behind and were starting out a new life with Jesus.

I’m afraid too many today think that you can keep your old life and just add Jesus to the mix. Discipleship calls for a lifetime commitment and a life change for everyone who takes the Lord’s offer. Jesus is not an add-on or someone or something to make your current life a little better. To be a true disciple and a true follower of Jesus we must in every case change and give up some and maybe even all of our former life.

Luke 14:25–33 (ESV)

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Jesus will be your Lord and Savior or He will be your Judge.

I want you to see something else. Look at the response time of each call… 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him… 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

What was it about Jesus that made them respond so quickly? I don’t think this was the first time they had met Him. In fact, Luke fills us in and tells us probably the day before they had met Jesus and were greatly astonished.

Luke 5:1–11 (ESV)

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

They had not caught anything all night and Jesus tells them to put out a little deeper and cast their nets. When they do they haul in such a large catch that they need help from their partners…They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them…10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Now it’s probably the next day and Jesus walks up to them, they were probably still talking about it, and calls them to become His disciple and He says, now let’s go catch people.

They were not so much astonished at the great catch of fish as much as they were over this Man who can even command creation and it obeys. They were astonished and fell down to worship Him.

We will never follow Jesus like we should until he astonishes us. Until we are amazed and surprised by Jesus we will not be the followers He wants us to be. The great catch of fish brings the disciples to their knees in worship and wonder at Jesus. They are not thinking wow, we need to bring Jesus along more often if He can do this. No they were astonished at Him and responded in worship and praise.

Beloved we must not use Jesus to get other things but be astonished over Him for who He is and what He has done. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

The great miracle was not so much the catch of fish but Peter’s response. How did this catch of fish show Peter that he was a great sinner? Because it showed him that he was standing in the presence of deity. Only God can do these things. Only God could cause a multitude of fish to swim into Peter’s net. Only God could say this is the spot Peter, through out your net right here.

Jesus controls nature and is sovereign over all the fish in the sea…

Matthew 17:26–27 (ESV)

26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Only the Creator is sovereign over all His creation including all the animals. When Jesus commands fish to swim into nets and fish to deliver coins He proves His deity over all creation.

The big difference between His true followers like the disciples and the other would- be followers is when Jesus performs a miracle they worship Him. The would-be followers are more concerned with getting rich and healthy at Jesus’ expense.

  1. Great Crowds Followed Jesus

23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Jesus had a threefold ministry…teaching, preaching and healing.

Jesus taught in their synagogues. He taught the people in the places where they were gathered to worship God. He taught them things concerning the Kingdom of God and God’s sovereign rule especially in being sent to save sinners.

Jesus preached usually as He travelled from place to place He would address the people with proclamation. Jesus’ preaching had an aspect of response to it. That is the main difference between teaching and preaching. Preaching demands the hearers to respond in faith and repentance.

The third component to Jesus’ ministry was healing. Matthew is very interested in healing. Healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus brought wholeness to people, as it were, He saved them body and soul.

Jews of Jesus’ day understood as we should that sickness and disease are part of a fallen world and directly related to fallen man’s sin. To defeat sickness and disease is to reverse the curse of sin. Jesus did both because both are related to each other.

It’s important to understand that if someone is sick it may not be because of some sin they committed but it is because we live is a sinful and fallen world. So in a very real sense, sickness and sin go hand in hand.

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Sermon: Jesus Begins His Mission Matthew 4:12-17

Jesus Begins His Mission

Matthew 4:12-17

Truth Taught- Jesus came from Galilee preaching the Kingdom of God and repentance

Introduction

From the very beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, God has been moving Jesus from place to place to fulfill biblical prophecy.. He was taken to Bethlehem (the City of David) to be born which fulfilled Micah 5:2

Micah 5:2 (ESV)

   But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

       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.

Because Herod went on his killing spree God moves Jesus out of Bethlehem to Egypt, a place of safety. Matthew then tells us that this fulfills…

Hosea 11:1 (ESV)

11 When Israel was a child, I loved him,

and out of Egypt I called my son.

Jesus and His parents are then called out of Egypt to go back to the land of Israel and they discover that Herod’s son who was ruling in Herod’s place was just as evil so Joseph takes Jesus and Mary to Nazareth then Matthew tells us that this is alluded to by the prophets that Jesus would be called a Nazarene.

Now Jesus has made His way to Galilee to begin His public ministry. This strategic move after He hears that John the Baptist has been apprehended by Herod Antipas (Herod the Great’s son) takes Him to Galilee.

We will see the amazing significance of this OT fulfillment…

Prayer

Matthew 4:12–17 (ESV)

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15    “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,

the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

16    the people dwelling in darkness

have seen a great light,

       and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,

on them a light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

  1. The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry

Matthew records the start of our Lord’s public ministry by telling us He started when He heard the news that John the Baptist had been arrested. He also tells us the place where Jesus began and the significance of this place.

  1. The Timing

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.

When John the Baptist was arrested by Herod it was a very big deal. John had become a nationally known figure. He was a famous Israelite with a very large following.

John was not a modern day preacher who focused on social issues and sought to be inclusive. He was a powerful thunderous preacher who spoke God’s Word and God’s truth to everyone. This proved to be the reason he was arrested.
Herod had John imprisoned on account of John having rebuked him over his sin, particularly over Herod’s taking his brother’s wife. Luke’s account is the briefest, simply stating:

Luke 3:19–20 (ESV)

19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20 added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

John’s mission of Jesus’ forerunner is over. This marks a transition from John the Baptist to Jesus.

John’s preaching and his boldness was the cause of his arrest. This marks the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry.

  1. The Location

13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,

Notice verse 13 says the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. This territory or region is west of the Sea of Galilee. This territory is not where you would expect Jesus to launch His ministry. You might thing a good place would have been Jerusalem or another large metropolis with thousands of people. However, that’s not where Jesus begins. This area was made up of countryside and small towns. Not where you would think.

The Apostle Paul had the practice of going to large cities and preaching and planting churches but that’s not at all what Jesus does.

We can speculate that this region was a safe place in light of John’s arrest and turmoil likely in Jerusalem. It could also have something to do with the fact that this region was equally populated with Jews and Gentiles. The significance however is more straightforward. Jesus began His ministry in the area west of the Sea of Galilee because God said He would.

  1. The Significance
    14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15    “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,

the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

16    the people dwelling in darkness

have seen a great light,

       and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,

on them a light has dawned.”

 

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali being made up of many Gentiles was, in fact, a land in darkness. The people there did not have the religious advantages of the Temple and the City of Jerusalem. This was a land shadowed in pagan darkness. This was a place of deep darkness and the shadow of death. It is here that Jesus’ preaching is seen as the sunrise from a deep and long night.

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Sermon: The Testing of God’s Son Matthew 4:1-11

The Testing of God’s Son

Matthew 4:1-11

Truth Taught- When tested, Jesus remained true to His Father

and His mission.

Introduction

By way of introduction, what we have in this passage typically titled the temptation of Christ is really something quite different. We’ve usually been taught that this is Satan’s temptation of our Lord and that is true on a surface level and from Satan’s perspective, however, what is really going on here is much different. What is really going on here is God’s testing. Satan will do everything in his power to tempt Jesus and Jesus will prove undefeatable by the devil or any other opponent. In many ways Jesus is thrown into the deep end of the pool and proves He is a great swimmer. No opponent will ever defeat King Jesus, not even Satan, himself.

Satan goal is to persuade Jesus to act against God’s will.

We will see in this passage that God, not Satan, orchestrates the entire event. God sets this up. This was not the devil’s idea. In this way it resembles the dialogue between God and Satan in Job chapter 1. Have you considered My servant Job…

We will also see that this is not so much a tempting but strictly speaking it’s a testing. Jesus is being tested. We will also see the undercurrent of Israel’s wilderness wandering which was designed by God to test them. During this time of testing, Jesus responds to Satan with Scripture from Deuteronomy 6-8 which is the section where Moses reminds the Israelites that their time in the wilderness was for their growth and a time of testing. They failed the test.

We will see, also this testing shows Jesus as the Second Adam who when tested by Satan does not sin as the first Adam did in his testing, the first Adam failed the test.

Finally, it’s also important to see the testing is focused on Jesus as God’s Son. The first two attempts by Satan focus on this title as the Son of God. Remember we just came from Jesus’ baptism where God spoke from heaven declaring Jesus to be His Son. Would Jesus exploit this relationship with the Father to His own advantage? Would Jesus act in a way that might strain His relationship with the Father? Would He succumb to Satan’s testing and fail His Father?

Now, the real Israel, the true Son of God, the Second Adam in in the wilderness not for forty years but for forty days and not being fed by God but fasting.

Prayer

Matthew 4:1–11 (ESV)

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

       “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

       “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

       “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

       “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.’ ”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

  1. Waiting for God’s Provision (4:1-4)

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

       “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

The Holy Spirit leads Jesus into this test. Satan was there because God wanted him there. This was the divine test to prove Jesus would not fail like Adam did.

Notice that Jesus, the Second Adam had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. He was extremely weak and very hungry. The scenario goes like this…Adam lived in the Garden of Eden where there was plenty of food. When Satan tested Adam he was not hungry but well fed. Our Lord was on the edge of starvation. Adam failed the test for no good reason except to sin. Jesus has a very good excuse…He is hungry and weak and needs to eat.

If You are actually the Son of God then turn these stones into bread.

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Sermon: The Baptism of Jesus the Messiah Matthew 3:13-17

The Baptism of Jesus the Messiah

Matthew 3:13-17

Truth Taught-At Jesus’ baptism, He is marked, anointed and declared to be God’s Messiah and God’s Son

 

Introduction

So far in Matthew’s Gospel we’ve been looking at the birth and infancy of Jesus and we’ve looked at the ministry of John the Baptist. Now, Jesus is an adult and His path and John’s path intersect.

John’s ministry is about to come to its pinnacle as he baptizes Jesus, the Messiah. After today’s text, we will see John’s ministry decrease and fade away as Jesus now bursts onto the scene. John’s task of getting the people ready for the Messiah ends as the Messiah appears.

John 3:30 (ESV)

30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Beloved isn’t that the goal of our lives and ministry as well? We are so used to clamoring for attention and having everyone focus on us, now as Christians we should be focusing the attention of others not on us any longer but on the perfections and beauty of Christ our Lord. In our lives, may it be said that Jesus is increasing and I am decreasing.

Prayer

Matthew 3:13–17 (ESV)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

  1. Jesus is Baptized by John (3:13-15)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.

We have here a rather strange interchange between Jesus and John the Baptist. Now, John has been preaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; therefore, people everywhere must repent of their sin because in their current condition they are not ready for the Kingdom to appear.

The first thing we should note is our Lord’s humility. He was the superior. In fact, John had just told us that Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit would be far superior to his water baptism. We also see that John quickly realizes who he is speaking to that this is God’s Messiah. With all this in mind we still see Jesus approaching John for baptism.

Why does Jesus come to John for a baptism of repentance when He had no sin for which He should repent and what about this event pleased God? And how did this baptism fulfill all righteousness?

The answer to these three questions is really the same. Jesus was baptized by John in order to identify with what John was preaching, namely, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and Jesus was baptized to identify with all those who were currently following John. In humility and faithfulness Jesus submits to John’s baptism as a way to identify with John’s message and John’s people.

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Sermon: The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand Matthew 3:1-12

The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand

Matthew 3:1-12

Truth Taught- We are called to repent and believe because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

 

Introduction

It is very fitting that as we leave the Christmas season we also leave baby Jesus. We love to hear about and sing about the birth of our Savior but now is the time for transition. In our text today, Jesus is all grown up. No more a baby in the manger, no more an infant who needs care and protection. Jesus is just about to burst onto the stage of human history.

We have one introductory figure before we get to meet Jesus and hear Him preach. We need to meet John the Baptist. John the Baptist is Jesus’ cousin and very close to His age. In fact, if you remember from Luke…

Luke 1:39–44 (ESV)

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Now Jesus and John are about 30 years old and beginning their ministry as preachers.

For many, John the Baptist is about as hard to understand, as he is peculiar among first century figures. We know John the Baptist is a messenger/forerunner. He the one who would prepare the people by stirring up the consciences of those around Palestine, preaching a message of repentance of sin. His preaching consisted of two basic elements. He preached repentance from sin and he preached that repentance was essential because God’s Kingdom was at hand.

So, if we were to summarize John’s purpose we might say his job was to go before the people ahead of Jesus telling them that the Messiah was about to come and the Messiah would usher in God’s Kingdom so you had better repent while there is time.

Prayer

Matthew 3:1–12 (ESV)

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

       “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

       ‘Prepare the way of the Lord;

make his paths straight.’ ”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

  1. John’s Preaching

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

       “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

       ‘Prepare the way of the Lord;

make his paths straight.’ ”

Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

John preached in the wilderness of Judea, literally the desert regions. He was a fiery preacher and somewhat of an oddity. His message was plain for all to hear and understand. God’s Kingdom is about to dawn and you are not ready when it comes. Repent of your sin and begin living for God because He is coming.

Matthew then quotes from Isaiah 40:3

Isaiah 40:3 (ESV)

   A voice cries:

       “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;

make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Notice first that this Isaiah text is a text about the Messiah. One thing different is it tells us the Messiah, God’s King will be God Himself…

Prepare the way for the Lord

Make a straight path for our God

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Sermon: The Nobody-Messiah From Nowhere Matthew 2:19-23

The Nobody-Messiah From Nowhere

Matthew 2:19-23

Truth Taught-The Old Testament teaches that Jesus the Messiah-King would have no worldly status and be despised and rejected by people

Introduction

Jesus is not going to be the Messiah-King that people think He’s going to be. He is not interested in the status quo… the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues.

Status is a big deal in our society.  And status is often measured in very superficial terms: like according to what kind of clothes you wear, what kind of car you drive, the house you own and where you live.  The people that our popular culture idolizes and regards as successful are those who possess the right outward symbols of status, power and wealth.

But this is not only a modern phenomenon.  As the author of Ecclesiastes once wrote: There is nothing new under the sun.  In the first century Greek and Roman world, the church was to a large extent mirroring the value system of pagan culture by looking for a Messiah-king with social, political and celebrity status.

In Chapters 1-2 of Matthew we read about a new king born in the powerful and prestigious city of Bethlehem.  His name is Jesus.  How does he stack up against the popular Jewish expectations of their Messianic king?

Now, as a royal son of David and one born in the city of David there were understandably certain expectations of Jesus – expectations that were shaped by the OT history of great kings that ruled in the Promised Land, like David and his Son, Solomon.  If you remember, these kings had massive amounts of wealth and they ruled with great displays of outward power and might.  To a degree, then, you cannot blame your average Jew for expecting a Messiah-king who would famously re-establish his throne in Jerusalem and drive all of Israel’s foes into the backcountry of Assyria and Babylon.

However, there are already clues in the birth story of Jesus so far that suggest Jesus will execute his kingship in a way that doesn’t quite line up with the popular Jewish newspaper headlines of the day.

Shaking up the status quo

One clue that starts to raise eyebrows is the fact that the parents of Jesus, Joseph and Mary, are not people of status and influence.  They are nobodies.  They are both from an obtuse place called Nazareth: a village with a population of about 480 hidden away in the hills of Galilee.  And Joseph is a lowly carpenter.

So far, from human standards Jesus isn’t staking up to be much of King. He doesn’t look like a King, He isn’t from a wealthy family. He doesn’t come from a prestigious city. However, from God’s standards Jesus is perfect in every way. He is God’s Son and we have seen so many acts of divine providence keeping Jesus alive and directing His early life.

The real issue in today’s passage is what sort of Messiah-King are you looking for to be your Savior? This question could have been asked throughout the centuries. The Jews missed Him because their expectations were wrong. Those in Jerusalem missed Him because they thought the Messiah-King would come with amazing celebrity fame and status. Jesus would set the status quo on its head.

Prayer

Matthew 2:19–23 (ESV)

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

  1. King Herod Died

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

King Herod suddenly died. It seems fitting that an evil king such as Herod would die and I’m not sure about you but I’m all for it. It seems a fitting end to such evil. Josephus who was a Jewish historian of the day said this about Herod’s death…

He died of this: “Ulcerated entrails, putrefied and maggot-filled organs, constant convulsions, foul breath, and neither physicians nor warm baths led to recovery.”

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Sermon: Jesus, The Messiah-King Born in the City of David Matthew 2:1-12

Jesus, The Messiah-King Born in the City of David

Matthew 2:1-12

Truth Taught- According to Old Testament prophecy the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David

Introduction

Last time as we looked at the birth narrative from Joseph’s perspective we saw the first of five Old Testament quotes by Matthew to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.

Last time we saw that he quoted from Isaiah 7:14 a virgin shall conceive and you will call him Immanuel. By quoting this passage and connecting it to Jesus’ birth narrative, Matthew is telling us that the Messiah will be born of a virgin.

Today we see the second Old Testament quotation by Matthew showing that Jesus is the Messiah. The point being, it is the Messiah and only the Messiah who is the King to save His people from their sin.

So, we learned that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Matthew tells us that Jesus is the King in line with David, finishing the David gematria, and born of the virgin. So far we have amazing inconclusive truth that Jesus is the Messiah. Being the Messiah, we can expect Jesus to do Messiah things. Before we get to that point in the Gospel of Matthew we still have more proofs the have laid out before us.

Today’s proof is the prophecy that the Messiah-king was to be born in Bethlehem.

Let’s see what Matthew has for us today.

Prayer

Matthew 2:1–12 (ESV)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

   “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

       for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 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. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

  1. The Messiah-King Must Be Born in Bethlehem

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

   “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

       for from you shall come a ruler

who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”

  1. Magi Come to Worship the Messiah

Since the Messiah-King has to be born in Bethlehem according to Micah 5:2 how does God get Jesus to Bethlehem? God works through a wicked Roman Emperor who cared nothing about Jesus but only money and power to fulfill Holy Scripture. God is sovereign over all even those who are pagans

Luke 2:1–7 (ESV)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Magi- wise men from the east came to Jerusalem

These were foreign dignitaries probably from Persia/Babylon who practiced astrology, interpretation of dreams, and magical arts. They were probably instructors to their king. These would be seen as the ones in the Book of Daniel for example who tried to interpret the dreams of the King of Babylon.

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Sermon: Jesus, The Messiah-King from the Line of David Matthew 1:18-25

Jesus, The Messiah-King from the Line of David

Matthew 1:18-25

Truth Taught- The Messiah-King is Conceived of the Holy Spirit and Born of the Virgin Mary

 

Introduction

If we do a study of the Kings of Israel and Judah we discover very quickly that the majority of the kings were evil and did not obey God. Every king that Israel had was evil all 19, in fact. Judah had a few considered good but Judah had mostly evil kings. Why does this matter? Well it matters because we also learn very quickly that we cannot put our trust and hopes in any person. We must never think that people will ever save us. We cannot put our trust in kings, presidents, politicians, church leaders, Popes or anyone else. People will always fail to save us. But there is this One King…If God was going to save His people through a King, there had to be something different take place. Something outside of the norm would have to happen in order for God’s King to actually save His people.

The reign of this special King is foretold throughout the Old Testament in places like…

Jeremiah 23:5–6 (ESV)

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Every time a new king ascended the Davidic Throne the people had high hopes that maybe this would be the one God promised, the righteous branch, and every time they were disappointed. Israel and Judah endured many many evil kings while they waited for the Promised Messiah, the King who was the Son of David and David’s righteous branch. The truth was David had many unrighteous branches. Israel had 20 evil kings and Judah had 19 kings and none proved faithful to the degree the OT spoke of.

So, something different will need to happen in order for a King to be the Deliverer and One who would be just and righteous.

Last time we saw that Jesus was from the Davidic line and that He was the descendant that finished the third group of 14 showing that He alone qualified by birth to be the Messiah. As great as Matthew’s lineage of the Jesus was it sort of ends not with the bang we might have hoped for but rather…
Matthew 1:15–16 (ESV)

15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

I’m not sure you caught it last time but Matthew goes to great lengths to actually show us Joseph’s lineage not technically Jesus’.

One key that Matthew highlights is that Jesus the Messiah is from the line of David but not from the flesh of David. This is how God did it. This is how God saved His people by a King. Jesus came from the Davidic line through Joseph. Jesus was the rightful heir to the Throne of David and at the same time was not of David’s flesh. This is the key role Joseph played in Jesus’ life. Jesus was the rightful heir to the Davidic throne through Joseph.

How will God save His people through a King? Let’s pray and discover together the amazing plan God had through the centuries to save His people through His anointed King.

Prayer

Matthew 1:18–25 (ESV)

18 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. 20 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.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23    “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.

In God’s sovereignty His plan was as good as accomplished. From Joseph’s perspective there were still a couple of issues God needed to resolve. He needs Joseph to go through with the betrothal and final marriage with Mary even though she is clearly pregnant and in order for Jesus to be in the line of David, Joseph needs to accept Jesus as his own Son by adoption. Let’s look together at how God works through this just and merciful man named, Joseph…

  1. The King Conceived of the Holy Spirit (1:18-20)

18 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. 20 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.

I want to work our way through this section (18-20) to discover some facts concerning the conception of Jesus the Messiah.

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Sermon: The Lineage of the Messiah Matthew 1:1-17

The Lineage of the Messiah

Matthew 1:1-17

 

Truth Taught-God has fulfilled all His promises to Abraham and David in Christ.

 

Introduction

Today we officially begin the Gospel of Matthew. I wanted to begin by looking together at what is a Gospel? I’m not referring to the Gospel in the sense of the plan of salvation per se but a Gospel in the sense of the four books we have in our Bibles referred to as Gospels, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

A Gospel is a type of literature it’s in a category by itself. A Gospel has a purpose, each of the four was written with a purpose. They are the chronicles of Jesus. They record who Jesus is, His acts or the things He does and His words, what He says and teaches.

The Gospels are not the same but each writer captures different aspect of Jesus’ life. Sometimes they record the same event and sometimes they record different events.

The Gospels are so important because they give us a window into Jesus’ life. We learn about our Savior first hand in the Gospels.

As we begin we should ask who is Matthew? The writer of the Gospel of Matthew was the Tax Collector that met Jesus and was converted and called to be one of His disciples.

Mark 2:14 (ESV)

14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

In this one verse we see that Levi (Hebrew) Matthew (Greek) was going about his normal day of cheating his own people. There is a whole history behind how one got to be a tax collector and how they sold out their own people to the Romans and how they cheated as many as they could so they could keep the profit. This was Matthew until the divine call entered his ears. In that instant God changed everything in Matthew to make him able to obey Jesus’ command to follow Him. This is a Lazarus type event. In the twinkling of an eye Matthew’s heart was changed from the love of money to the love of Christ and the tax booth no longer was a means of wealth but a burden to be left and he walked out of that booth free and clear and followed Jesus the rest of his life because he found true riches in Jesus. God’s irresistible grace was at work in Matthew’s call. Jesus called Him to be His disciple and Matthew stands up and walks away. It sounds like he left everything behind…the day’s take of money, records, probably even his lunchbox all Matthew could see was Jesus.

Today, Matthew wants to teach us who this Jesus is that changed him so drastically from a thief to a follower. He does this by stating who Jesus is and then gives us the list of His ancestors to prove that what he tells us is true. Here is this long list of descendants he not only tells us who Jesus is but proves to us by His lineage exactly and without a doubt who He is. So, this record is proof and the way Matthew arranges this genealogical record is brilliant and shows God’s sovereignty every step of the way. It is very fitting to begin with The Lineage of the Messiah

Prayer

Matthew 1:1–17 (ESV)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

  1. Jesus is the Messiah

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew gives us the record of the Messiah’s lineage. This is literally the Greek reading of the first verse.

Let’s not shoot across this verse and miss the magnificent claim Matthew makes. Matthew is claiming Messiahship for Jesus. He does this first by calling Him Christ, which is the Greek title for Messiah. Matthew calls Jesus the Messiah. Make no mistake Jesus is the long awaited Messiah Matthew says He is.

  1. The Messiah is the Son of David

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

He is also the Messiah by virtue of the fact that Jesus is the Son of David and the Son of Abraham.

Why is this important? I want to answer that question first. It is important because Messiah means King. Here’s where being the Son of David finds significance.

God made a covenant with King David and promised him that his kingdom would never end, that there would always be a King sitting on his throne and ruling his kingdom.

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