Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew III

Jesus says something in the 7th chapter of Matthew that should cause some alarm, in verse 21 it is recorded: "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Continuing with verse 22 and 23, Christ says, "On that day, many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? and then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."  Christ is stressing the importance of knowing Him, or of being know by Him, truly knowing Him.  The repeation of Lord, Lord in that verse indicate intimacy, but Christ says it is a false intimacy, we cannot claim to know Him and believe that that will pass with Christ, remember He is God, He knows those who truly know Him, and those who do not, its not our words of intimacy or feelings of intimacy that count. It is doing the will of the Father that counts.  1 Corinthians 8:3 says But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.  - we need to make sure that we are following the will of God as revealed in His Word. The Bible tells us that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16) That is our sure way of knowing that God knows us. We know if our life is different, if we are manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, if our heart has been changed. It's not hidden to us. The Spirit usually testifies to our spirit in connection with the Word of God, The Holy Spirit always acts with the Word of God, He does not act apart from the Word, He does not do something that is not in the Word. So examine yourself and see if the Holy Spirit has testified to your spirit if you are a son of God. Thank Him, for I'm sure all who read this belong to Christ.

In chapter 10 verse 35 - 39 Christ  says He has  come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother...and that a person's enemies will be those of his own household...and if you love father or mother more than Him you are not worthy of Him... and whoever does not take up his cross and follow Him is not worthy of Him.

Those words seem harsh, telling someone to be against their parents, but of course, that is not what Christ is saying, for He commands in the Ten Commandments to honor our father and mother, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, no less our own family. Christ is saying that loyalty to Him may cause division in your family, on your job, in your life. It should be quite obvious that the culture is anti-Christ, so when you want to live for Him, the culture doesn't want to acknowledge Christ, so there will be pressure. Christ is saying here that you must remain loyal to Him. If you are at odds with your family because of Christ, you must maintain your loyalty to Christ. You must pray fervently for your family, but Christ must have your first priority and loyalty, the reason Christ can say what He says is because no one can help you like Christ, you will do more for your family in Christ, as opposed to being outside Christ, Christ hears your prayers. So plead for the mercy and grace of Christ to be shed in the heart of your unsaved family members.

Christ offers that rest for everyone who labors and is heavy-laden, He says take His yoke upon you, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart, for His yoke is easy, and His burden is light at Matthew 11:28-30. True rest is only in Christ. If you are carrying the burden of sin, take it to Christ, that's what Christ does, He takes our sin away, give it to Him.

In chapter 13 is the parable of the sower.  Christ describes different types of people in relation to hearing the Word of God.  He says only the ones who hear the word and understand it bears fruit. So how is it that the Bible says that we gain understanding of the Word. 1 John 5:20 says: And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Isaiah 43:10 says: You are my witnesses, "declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He...

So understanding comes from God. So that means we have to be born again in order to gain understanding of the things of God. It also means that God will give us a desire to read the Word of God. Understanding is not magically dropped into our hearts, no, we must labor in the Word, out of a love to know the things of God, out of a desire to know Christ, the One who has died for us, experiencing God's terrible wrath and exhausting it on our behalf. These are wondrous things, these are mighty things, these are holy things, and it is the Holy Spirit who brings the desire to long for Christ, it is the Holy Spirit that work in our heart the desire to read and it is the Holy Spirit that  gives us understanding that we might know that God is God. It happens no other way. The only way fallen, sinful, spiritual dead human beings can ever have a desire for the eternal things of God is for the Holy Spirit to put that desire within, until He does there is only darkness and death, and a absolutely total disregard for the things of God. When the Bible says we are spiritually dead - it means dead, not a little bit dead but completly dead, and the only way a dead person can do something is that something supernatural has to occur, not by the dead persons will or desire, because he has none, he is dead. But by something supernatural, totally alien from him. That supernatural occurence is the Holy Spirit and until He does something we remain dead.

Thank God, He has put that desire within us. Thank God we are the Temple of God and the Spirit of Christ dwells in us. Thank God that we are not among that number who draw back from Christ and fall away, but we are those who are on our faces in prayer pleading for more understanding, we are those who pray for others with fervency, because we know the Terror of the Lord, so we warn others and we pray for the souls of men.

Keep pressing into the things of God - always remember that God is a compassionate God, He will forgive, He will never turn anyone away who comes to Christ (because He is the One drawing them).
Pray, read, and thank God for His eternal, sufficient Grace!


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