Sermon: Jesus’ Strategy for You to Win Back Your Brother Matthew 18:15-17

Truth Taught- If another Christian sins against you, go to them seeking restoration.


Jesus continues His teaching on the care of the Little ones.  Last time we learned that disciples are to care for one another.  When someone is struggling, we must go to them and care for them and show that we really do love them.  Jesus warned us about despising one of His Little ones.

Again we are talking about disciples caring for disciples.  We all need to give and in time, probably we all will receive it.

We saw last time that Jesus told a parable about the Shepherd who had 100 sheep and 1 went astray and how the Shepherd left the 99 and went searching for the 1.  Jesus compared that to how we are to go and seek to bring back the fellow disciple who may have gone astray.  In love we seek after them, care for them and welcome them.  

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Sermon: God’s Care for His Little Ones Matthew 18:10-1

Truth Taught- We are called to align ourselves with God’s purpose  in caring for His people.


Last time we learned what God desires from us concerning our living godly lives to encourage others to live godly as well.  We saw together that our sin does not only affect our relationship with God but it can also affect others as well.  When we sin we encourage others to sin and the flip side is that when we obey God we encourage others to be obedient. 
We saw this play out in the OT as King Jeroboam by his sin caused Israel to sin.  Then we looked at the immediate context in which Jesus was speaking to His disciples who were arguing about greatness and thus bringing others into their sinful argument. 
We also saw how Jesus referred to all of His followers as little ones.  His point was that we too should be concerned about whether our actions will have a negative effect on someone who is seeking to be obedient to Christ.  How does our speech, our actions, and even our attitudes affect those around us? 

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Sermon: How to Treat God’s People Matthew 18:5-9


Last time we looked at greatness in the Kingdom of God as the disciples argued among themselves as to who the greatest was.  We learned from Jesus that greatness in the Kingdom of God goes the other direction from the world’s version of greatness.  Jesus taught us that God’s view of greatness is much different.
We learned that humility is greater than authority, serving others is greater than being served, and dependance on God is greater than self-reliance.

They’re arguing among themselves had another side to it.  Not only were they confused as to what real greatness is but their arguing was causing other disciples to be tempted to sin with them.  

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Sermon: God’s Definition of Greatness Matthew 18:1-6

Truth Taught- Greatness is serving, not being served; humility not authority; and dependence on God not self-reliance.


Most people, in their natural state, want to be the greatest.  That’s our natural default setting.  Greatness, wealth, status, and fame are what most people desire.  If we were to analyze the definition of greatness that the lost world puts forward, we would discover something…greatness in the world’s eyes involve the things that would cause other people to admire you or even, in some cases, worship you.  To strive to be great is to seek to be like God.  Only God is great.  People want what only God should have.  This is why all too often those who achieve superstar status are not happy.  We think money and stuff will make us great and once we achieve that we still find ourselves unfulfilled…

Greatness is not found on TV or in a person’s fifteen minutes of fame.  Those people are soon forgotten and their legacies may or may not remain.  You may look and see people the world recognizes as great such as athletes, movie stars, business executives, politicians, etc. and see that they are being served by many people.  Greatness for the world means you are worshipped and served.  True greatness is not found in finding people who think you are great and having them serve you.  Jesus tells us that true greatness is found in serving others.  In life, you will find that those people who really find ways of serving the most people are the ones who become great.  And the great ones who remain great, are the ones who keep finding ways to serve other people.
Then, there is the fallen man’s twist even on serving.  So often people look to serve others for what they can get in return.  This is not done out of greatness, but out of selfishness.  And eventually those you “serve” will come to know that you are only doing it because of what you can get out of it.  But when you really dedicate yourself to serving others, to finding ways to help them achieve their goals, an amazing thing happens.  As you serve others, everything that you give of yourself to help someone achieve their goals comes back to you.  This is the law of greatness.  If you serve others and help them achieve their goals, you will invariably achieve your own goals in the process.

Jesus said it like this:

Matthew 20:25–28 (ESV) 
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

Let’s turn to our text for this morning
This is God’s Word for us today.  The Word has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.

Matthew 18:1–6 (ESV) 
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 

1.  Who is the Greatest?
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Much of Matthew’s Gospel contain accounts sometimes disconnected.  However, here in this section we currently find ourselves they follow one after another.  When they do, we have clues to tell us that they are consecutive and in order.  Here we have such an indicator…At that time.
So, this time of teaching follows closely to our text from last week.

Matthew 17:24–27 (ESV) 
24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 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.”

Here, Jesus was speaking with Peter.  Peter, James, and John were up on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Peter gets to do everything!  Is he the greatest of all the disciples?  Who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God?  Peter again probably.    
I mean, in effect, they’re saying, “You can just settle this whole thing, Lord, if you’d just tell us. Would you just tell us who it is?” They’re arguing indicates where their hearts were. They really sought superiority, and they say, “Who is the greatest?” Meizōn in the Greek, “Who is the greater.” Of all the great in the kingdom, who is the greater than the great? Who stands out? Who is greater than all the rest?
Who will be the disciple with the most authority and the most screaming fans?  Who will be the disciple that will get to sign the most autographs?  Who will be loved by the people the most?  Who will benefit the most?  Who will be the wealthiest?

Matthew 19:23–24 (ESV) 
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 

Worldly greatness does not equal Kingdom greatness.  Because our natural tendency is to think like the world thinks, we must discover from somewhere else what Kingdom greatness really is.  So, we must discover what kingdom greatness is.
Our Lord is very patient with us.  Praise Him for His longsuffering love toward His people.
Look with me at how this debate continued to rage within their discussions it was still an issue even into Chapter 20…

Matthew 20:20–21 (ESV) 
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 

Let’s see together what God thinks about greatness and who is the greatest who has ever lived.
Jesus needs to deal with their delusions of grandeur, and He does so in a rather profound way. He launches into this entire chapter and talks about the childlikeness of the believer.  We will see this subject through our current chapter.

2.  Greatness Begins With Humility and Dependence
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
Look what Jesus does here.  They are not getting it.  He’s already taught them about self-denial…
Matthew 16:24–25 (ESV) 
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
So our Lord takes a child and sets him in their midst and teaches them that greatness begins with humility and dependance.  He’s not sitting the child in their midst and teaching that they have to be like a child in every characteristic.  He is teaching them that a child is not prideful nor self-reliant.  A child is not able to reach the greatest status through achievements and talent.  No, a child depends on his parents and is humble because the child knows he cannot do everything and needs help.
Mark says, chapter 9, “That He lifted him up and held Him in His arms.” The Lord is in the sitting position; that’s the teaching position. All the disciples are gathered around. I’m quite sure Peter had come back by this time from his fishing and paying the Temple Tax; I just believe the Lord wouldn’t give a profound lesson like this without him there. I mean he needed it.
And so, the Lord gathers into His arms this little toddler, this little infant. The word there “little child” means just that, infant. And you can imagine this little infant looking with wondering eyes into the face of the very one who had created him, being totally at rest, totally at peace in the arms of God – the very God in human flesh – lost in the wonder of the majesty and beauty of this blessed person. In such innocency, such weakness, such confidence, such trust, being a perfect illustration.
Jesus loves children.  We see throughout the Gospels He’s always kneeling down to speak to them, holding them in His arms or in this case lifting a toddler up and using this little one as a wonderful picture of how it is we should be in terms of humility and dependance.

The world says to be great we are to seek power, authority, wealth, and fame.  God says greatness goes the other direction.  As believers saved out of this world, our thinking must be changed.  We must be retaught and submit to the truth we find in God’s Word.  Much like the Beatitudes we see that God’s priorities are not in line with man’s priorities.  Here’s how our thinking must change.  Humility is greater than authority.  Serving is greater than being served.  Dependence on God is greater than self-reliance.  These are the main things Jesus is teaching us today.
The reality is a small toddler has more of the characteristics God desires than lost adults.  Once we are born again we must seek to grow in humility and dependence on God than in self-reliance. 
Jesus is saying, “If you want to really genuinely enter into God’s kingdom, if you want to become one of His subjects, one of His followers, a child of God, a son of God redeemed and saved and born again” – it is a parallel, if you will, to the third chapter of John’s Gospel; it’s another way to talk about regeneration and the new birth. 

Just to believe requires that God give us a level of humility.  Once we are born again we must always seek to be more humble and rely more on God’s power and less on our own.

2 Corinthians 12:7–10 (ESV) 
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
So, the aspect of the kingdom of heaven in view here is personal appropriation, entering into God’s kingdom by believing, receiving salvation.
If this is going to happen, God has to do it.  He must initiate and appropriate this new heart and this new belief.  Once He does then we believe by faith in humble dependence.  Then, we begin to consistently live in humility.
3.  Greatness Also Includes How We Treat The “Little Ones”
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 
Here our Lord while holding the infant begins to tell His followers that when someone is seeking to be like one who is humble and dependent on God His followers must never take advantage of one with child-like faith.
Jesus is now moving past this exact child to those who are in the process of becoming child-like.  These little ones as Jesus puts it are all who practice what He is teaching. 
Our Lord tells us that if we welcome one such child in His name we are, in fact, welcoming Him.  This person is seeking to be like Jesus. 
His point is all of God’s people should seek this same thing and encourage those who practice humility and dependence on God. 
Here’s where the danger is to pay attention to those who look important and powerful (world’s standards of greatness) and to disregard those who may not look too impressive.  A humble person will not be the flashy, Look at me kind of person.
James 2:1–7 (ESV) 
2 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? 
We must seek to treat others with compassion and seek to encourage others.  Ask yourself the question…is what I’m about to say either about someone or to someone going to be something to help them in their faith or will it discourage them?

Our Lord is very clear and to the point.  No one messes with His people.  A quick drowning is better than the judgement they will face.
it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Greatness is not what the lost world depicts it as.  It’s not fame and riches.  It’s not measured by applause of others. 
True greatness is much different than the world’s version.   Remember, Humility is greater than authority.  Serving is greater than being served.  Dependence on God is greater than self-reliance.   

Sermon: Sons are Free, Indeed Matthew 17:24–27

Truth Taught- In Christ we are set free from the bondage of sin 

to be the bondservants of Christ


Today, Jesus takes another everyday event and turns it into a very powerful teaching moment for Peter and for us.  He teaches about Sonship and the responsibilities of sonship.  He teaches about freedom that comes to us as sons.  With our freedom in Christ comes responsibilities. 
In this short section we’ll see together the event, the freedom as sons and the responsibility of being a son. 

Matthew 17:24–27 (ESV) 

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 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.” 

1.  The Temple Tax

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”

The Lord and His disciples have made their way down from Galilee to Capernaum.  This is Peter’s town and they were probably staying at Peter’s house.  Jesus did a lot of His ministry here in Capernaum.  This town is situated on the north west side of the sea of Galilee. 
While they are here in Capernaum Peter is approached by the collectors of the Temple Tax.  Once a year every adult male was asked to pay a tax to support the Temple.  It was two-drachma or half a shekel per man.
This tax was not like the Roman taxes which were collected by the hated tax collectors.  This tax was looked on with favor by the people.  It was almost patriotic in a sense showing loyalty and favor for the Temple. 

Exodus 30:13 (ESV) 

13 Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. 

This tax is really a yearly offering that God had prescribed to His people to meet all the expenses surrounding the Temple.  Building upkeep, supplies, and expenses. 
Contained within the Jewish writings were instructions concerning the collection of the Temple Tax, Jewish men only.  The Priests who served in the Temple were exempt and Gentiles and Samaritans were not allowed to pay.  This was the responsibility of the Jewish population to maintain the Temple.
The Tax Collectors approached Peter and asked, does your teacher not pay the tax?   

Jesus was a visiting Rabbi and it could have been exempt from paying the tax.  This could have been the thinking behind their question.  It could also stem from our Lord’s approach to the Temple as He has made some claims that may have brought into question His position concerning the Temple.

John 2:13–17 (ESV) 

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 

John 2:18–19 (ESV) 

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 

The attitude toward Jesus and His followers is the tax collectors have some doubts as to whether Jesus is patriotic toward the Temple…we could see it as, How pro-temple are you?

2.  Children of the King are Free

25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.

Here’s the meaning of Jesus’ question first given to Peter.  Our Lord’s question is asked as a parable.  The story goes like this…
There is a King needing to charge a tax or a toll to pay for the expenses of his kingdom.  To whom does the King charge the tax to?  Does the King’s own children pay the tax?  No.  That would be counterproductive to have his own house pay the taxes.  The one’s who are charged taxes are those outside the king’s family not his own children.
From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”

Peter answers the question correctly.  He answers others.  So, the children of the earthly king are exempt from paying taxes.  The children of the King are in a different relationship with the king and his taxes than the others are.  So those of the royal household are exempt from paying taxes.

Since Jesus is the unique Son of God and since we are talking about a tax that God the Father has initiated He is exempt from paying the tax.
We have already seen clearly that Jesus is God’s Son…

Matthew 17:5 (ESV) 

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 

 John 1:1–18 contains some of the clearest teaching on the reality that Jesus is the Son of God. In this text, we read of the Word of God who was God (v. 1) and of His incarnation (v. 14). This Word is also identified as the Son of God (v. 14), so we have in this passage John’s presentation of God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, taking on a human nature and walking among us. Jesus Christ is the divine person of the Son of God in whom are perfectly and inseparably united deity and humanity, without mixture or confusion, with each nature retaining its own attributes.

John 1:1–2 (ESV) 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. 

John 1:14 (ESV) 

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Because Jesus is the Son of the King who owns the Temple He is exempt from paying the Temple Tax. 
Here in this amazing teaching Jesus affirms something of great magnificence for us…like Peter who is now considered a son of the King by faith, we too who believe are adopted into the King’s house and are also sons of the King.

Galatians 3:26–4:7 (ESV) 

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. 

4 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. 

Jesus is teaching us that by faith we become children of God.  He’s teaching us the doctrine of adoption.  Adoption exposes our lavish spiritual identity: children of God, brothers of Christ, joint heirs with him, and co-regents in his kingdom.  In adoption as sons and daughters we have full rights as children within the royal household.  In Christ you are beloved of God and counted as children of God.

John mentions adoption at the beginning of his gospel, where he says, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). By contrast, those who do not believe in Christ are not children of God or adopted into his family, but are “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3) and “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2; 5:6). Although those Jews who rejected Christ tried to claim that God was their father (John 8:41), Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me … You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:42–44).

The sons of the King are free. 
What does our freedom in Christ mean?
Galatians 5:1 (ESV) 

5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 

We are set free from slavery to sin and set free from the guilt of sin.  Our freedom comes about because Christ took our punishment as law breakers so our debt has been paid.  Now we are free from the yoke of slavery from the Law.  However, our freedom also means that we are not free to do whatever we want.  We are now slaves to Christ.  As His bondservants we must follow Him.

3.  Our Freedom Comes With Responsibilities
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.” 

So, we see that with our freedom in Christ there comes holy responsibilities. 

After Jesus teaches Peter that he is free because he is now a son, Jesus still desires that the Tax be paid because with freedom comes the responsibility not to give an offense.  Here is the idea of our freedom as sons causing someone else to be ensnared and led into sin by our freedom.
We must be cautious like Jesus is here.
If they did not pay the tax then those collecting would be put in an awkward position.  If they didn’t pay the tax it would make it seem as if Jesus did not care about the Temple which He did. 
So, our Lord tells Peter that the tax should be paid not because they had to but because it would show love and care toward others.
Sometimes we too must reign in our freedoms so as to better care for and love those around us. 

Christian liberty must never be flaunted. “Whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God” (Rom. 14:22, NIV).

Here’s an example from the Bible…

We are free in Christ from the Mosaic dietary laws; Christ has pronounced all food clean (Mark 7:18-19). We may eat whatever we like.

However, if I’m going to visit a Jewish family, I will not exercise my freedom to eat something they may think is unclean.

But you do not need to exercise your liberty in order to enjoy it. Indeed, Paul elsewhere asks some very penetrating questions of those who insist on exercising their liberty whatever the circumstances: Does this really build up others? Is this really liberating you—or has it actually begun to enslave you?

Romans 14:19 (ESV) 

19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 

1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV) 

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 

The subtle truth is that the Christian who has to exercise his or her liberty is in bondage to the very thing he or she insists on doing. Says Paul, if the kingdom consists for you in food, drink, and the like, you have missed the point of the gospel and the freedom of the Spirit.

Romans 14:17 (ESV) 

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

Paul’s caution to us is that in exercising freedom we can be enslaved to that if we are not careful.  Because the Kingdom of God is not food whether to those who are enslaved by OT dietary laws or to those enslaved by the freedom of eating all foods and drinking all drinks.  God’s Kingdom in which we are sons and daughters in Christ is righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit.

Sermon: God’s Providence in The Death and Resurrection of His Son Matthew 17:22 & 23

Truth Taught- God is at work in history to decree, to plan, to announce, and to accomplish the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Jesus’ task now, as we mentioned last time, is to equip His disciples to become leaders in the Church once He has accomplished His mission to come and save His people from their sin.  He has lived a perfect life free from all sin.  He is perfectly obedient to His Father’s will.  Twice, the Father has commended Jesus to us by declaring, this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.  Jesus is now teaching His disciples what being the Messiah has in store for Him and for them.  He will go to Jerusalem and die and on the third day be raised from the dead.
On at least four occasions in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus will tell His followers about the upcoming events of His suffering, death and resurrection.  

1.  Jesus Makes Multiple Predictions About His Death and Resurrection
Our Lord makes multiple predictions concerning His death and resurrection in the Synoptic Gospels.

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Sermon: True Faith Believes Enough to Act Matthew 17:14-20

Truth Taught- True faith believes enough to act and will accomplish great things


Jesus, Peter, James, and John have made it off the mountain where the three disciples witnessed the transfiguration of Christ.  Now, they are back to the present and times of trial, back to the real world. 

What’s been going on down at the bottom of the mountain while Jesus has been gone?  Not much different than when Moses was coming down Mount Sinai.  The other disciples have been struggling.  They were engaged in an attempted exorcism which has gone terribly wrong.  What was the problem? 
There is something strangely similar here to the account of Moses descending Mount Sinai and finding unbelief at the bottom.  So, too Jesus finds a lack of faith when He descends the mountain.  The disciples should be carrying on His ministry with authority but cannot due to a lack of faith.

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Sermon: …Until The Son Of Man Is Raised From The Dead: Matthew 17:9-13

Truth Taught- Jesus promises His disciples that He will be raised from the dead


Jesus is placing His disciples on a theological fast track.  He is pressing them with one concept after another and they are just barely keeping up.
I remember in Biblical Greek Class the book spoke about a fog in which we would live for a year.  What the author meant was there will be times when you feel frustrated because you think you’re not getting it.  But if you keep at it you will discover that you are getting it.  The fog was where you currently were but if you look back to about two weeks ago, you understand the material then but not so much the material right now.  That was fog.  I remember going home after class a wondering why I took the class in the first place, after all, it was an elective.  None of my friends took it.  But God had given us a very good professor and I was there to learn not just take the easy road.  Then I’d sit down and discover that I actually was learning the material and by the end of the year I had a pretty good grasp of the Basics of Biblical Greek.
This is where the disciples are.  Jesus is teaching them so much so quickly that they are in the fog.  However, as time goes on they won’t stay there.

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Sermon: The Paradox of the Christian LifeMatthew 16:24-28

Truth Taught- Jesus commands us to live a life of complete and consistent self-denial


Peter has made the amazing declaration that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God and Jesus has declared that God the Father has revealed this truth to him.  Then, in our text from last week Jesus explained to Peter what His Messiahship means, namely, that He has been sent to die and then be raised on the third day.  When Peter hears this, he rebukes Jesus.  Jesus’ version of His messiahship and Peter’s version didn’t match.   Jesus knew that His Kingdom meant gathering a people for Himself and that meant He had to die for their sins.  This is the reality of what being the Messiah means.  Peter had a different idea.  His was here and now.  Jesus was so popular and He could do so many things.  He could remove Rome and restore the glory to Jerusalem and Israel.  This was the Messiah Peter envisioned, not a dead Messiah.
So, we saw what Jesus’ Messiahship meant for Him.  Now today, let’s look together at what it means for His disciples throughout the centuries.  Here’s what Jesus’ Messiahship means for us today as Christians.  As we read this, we will need to reckon with what Jesus tells all of His followers throughout the ages.  How will we react?  Will we be like Peter rebuking Jesus because what Jesus tells us about being a follower is not what we envisioned Christianity to be or will we accept and embrace Jesus’ commands?  Like every passage in the Scriptures, we must deal with what we read.  We either accept it and obey it or we reject it and disobey what it says. 

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