When the ExaminEE becomes the ExaminER

June 17, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Matthew | 5 Comments
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Even though He was truly a King, there were times in His earthly ministry when Jesus submitted Himself to examination by inferior and unsuitable examiners. They questioned Him about taxes:

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Matthew 22:15-17

They questioned Him about relationships:

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.

Matthew 22:23-28

This is similar to today. People have access to the revealed will of God, and access to the friendship of His Son, but they would rather know about health, wealth, and relationships. People cultivate relationships with people that they can use – use to get things – because things are what they really love. God made things for using and people for loving, and when we get those reversed we are guilty of idolatry.

Now the King had a question for them:

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Matthew 22:41-46

Psalm 110:1 would have answered this question for them about how Jesus could be the Son of David and the Lord of David:

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalm 110:1

However, they were blinded by their past, their position, and their pride.

In Matthew 23 we see the King’s last public proclamation before the Cross. It is considered unloving these days to criticize unbiblical ministries, but Jesus was not hesitant about exposing false teachers, nor about denouncing them.

Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matthew 23:2-3

The Pharisees based their their religion on self-righteousness, but they were not righteous themselves.

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Matthew 23:4

They had a strange idea of “ministry:” adding burdens instead of helping bear burdens.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

Matthew 23:5

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

Matthew 23:11

The Pharisees thought that they were “great men of God,” but they did not want to serve.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Matthew 23:13

They kept others who were trying to “press in” from entering the Kingdom.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Matthew 23:15

They had a deceitful and dangerous idea of “religion.” They had just enough religion to be dangerous – to use the right words and look the right way without any real conversion. They were like a preschooler who doesn’t really know the answer, but ecstatically waves his hand to be called on anyway: a big commotion with nothing of any value to say.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Matthew 23:27-28

The Pharisees lived for outward appearances, while the inside was vile and dead.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matthew 23:33

Jesus referred to their “generation” not as an earthly, genealogical generation, but as the generation of Satan’s “children.”

Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Matthew 23:32

They were filling up the cup of God’s wrath. Jesus drank the cup of wrath for believers, but unbelievers will be made to drink their own cup.

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Matthew 23:38

He called it “your house” instead of God’s house because it had been abandoned and left empty.

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Matthew 21:13

The Unwanted Peace, the Unfruitful Tree, and the Underdressed Guest

June 2, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Posted in Matthew, parables | 6 Comments
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Lord, please help me to be humble. Help me to recognize my lack of knowledge concerning Your Word. Please grant me wisdom and a clear mind ready to be renewed in Your Word. Help us to see Your glory in the Bible’s portrait of Your Son. In His name I pray. Amen.

Jesus is not an accessory or an adornment. If you have Him, you have everything that matters. If you do not have Him, you have nothing.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

I John 5:12

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:25-28

The Kingdom of King Jesus is not like the kingdoms of this world. There are no worldly leaders in His Kingdom – just servants – servant movers – because the servant’s job in Christ’s Kingdom is to get people moving. Serving in this Kingdom is a commitment which produces character which produces conduct.

In Matthew Chapter 21 another phase of the King’s plan goes into motion. He starts a triumphal parade that would ultimately lead to His Crucifixion. This parade, this “triumph,” would have seemed like a joke to the Romans. An observing Roman centurion would have seen garments on the ground, a donkey, palm branches, and thought, “What victory could they possibly be celebrating? Give me a break! The Roman standard still stands! Pathetic!”

This was the first time Jesus had allowed a public demonstration like this in His honor.

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Matthew 21:9

Hosanna meant “save now.” The people were rejoicing because they believed the promised Son of David had finally come to bring a military victory, and to throw off the yoke of Roman bondage. This parade would have been a big disappointment to even Jesus’s Jewish followers if they had understood what Jesus’s entry into the city really meant. But it pleased the Father, and it fulfilled prophecy, so it was done according to Christ’s will.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 9:9

The King declared peace, but Jerusalem declared war.

When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

Deuteronomy 21:10-12

But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

Luke 19:14

Not only did the Jewish rulers reject their King, but the citizens did, too.

Jesus came into the city and judged the Temple. The Temple was thought to be glorious, but there was no real glory in the Temple until the King entered it.

First He judged the Temple, then He judged the nation.

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Matthew 21:19

This tree had leaves – a superficial show of health – but it had no fruit. It was a picture of the nation of Israel.

Matthew 22 starts off with the parable of the king’s son’s wedding banquet.

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Matthew 22:1-10

This was a prophetic parable. It refers to a time after the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The same leaders that allowed John the Baptist to be killed asked for Jesus to be killed, and killed Stephen themselves. The King whose invitation had been rejected sent armies to destroy those who rejected His Kingship, and to destroy their city. Then he invited others (gentiles) to come to His feast.

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Acts 7:51

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Matthew 22:11-14

The father/king gave the guests wedding garments – one for each individual – because eternal salvation is personal for each believer. In the Kingdom of Christ there are no “poor” and “rich,” because our standing is not in what we bring, but in Him Whom we have trusted.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the Cross I cling

Augustus Toplady, “Rock of Ages”

One of the ones invited to the feast didn’t want to wear the garment given by the king. We see this illustrated today in those who are welcome at church, but don’t want to be saved. We sometimes have trouble distinguishing between true converts and false professors, and only the King can recognize the ones who aren’t wearing a garment of Christ’s imputed righteousness. The king in the parable used His servants to “bind” the one without a garment – to discipline and remove him. The servants aren’t the ones who made the decision to throw him into torment. It was the king’s decree. The servants merely “bound” what had already been bound by the King’s sovereign will.

Order in the Church

April 13, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in I Corinthians, Zechariah | 13 Comments
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One day Jesus Christ will rule and reign over this earth in a very visible way. He will be physically present in Jerusalem as King. This reign will last for 1000 years, and is sometimes called the “millennial kingdom.” People from all the nations of the earth will travel to Jerusalem to worship the King.

Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

Zechariah 8:22

This will be a fulfillment of the one of the Lord’s great purposes for the Jewish people: to be a witness of God’s glory to the gentiles. This does not mean that today the Jewish people hold a privileged position over everyone else. Under the New Covenant everyone becomes a child of God the same way: by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. There is “no difference” between Jews and gentiles when it comes to salvation (Romans 10:12).

When Jesus Christ went to the temple in ancient Israel, He was angry about what the Jews had done to the “Court of the Gentiles.” This was supposed to be a place where gentiles learned to worship the One True God, but instead it had become a way for the temple priests and leaders to make a profit (Matthew 21:12-13).

It is clear from the Bible that those who know God are to share that knowledge with those who do not know God. Under the Old Covenant, the Jews were supposed to be good examples to gentiles, and to share their faith with unbelievers. Under the New Covenant, Christians are supposed to do likewise toward those who are without Christ. This is a sharp rebuke to those who would gear their church services toward either profit or entertainment. Certainly people who trust in Christ have every reason to be joyful – especially when we congregate together. But we must be very careful of the external appearance of our worship.

If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

I Corinthians 14:23

The proclamation of the Word of God and prayer – not exuberant confusion – should be given the most time, the most attention, and the most emphasis whenever there is the possibility of an unbeliever coming in among an assembly of believers.

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

I Corinthians 14:24-25

Quarterback Commandment No. 2

March 19, 2009 at 11:37 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 17 Comments
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This is the second in a series of 11 “Quarterback Commandments” which Bill Parcells gave to Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. The connection between the Quarterback Commandments and this series of Bible lessons can be found in the preface to Quarterback Commandment No. 1.

Quarterback Commandment No. 2: Clowns can’t run a huddle. Don’t forget to have fun, but don’t be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don’t mix. Clowns can’t run a huddle.

Spiritual Application: Christians are supposed to be Christ-like. We are supposed to act the way Jesus acted. There is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Jesus was generally morose, pedantic, boring, overly austere, or just plain old “no fun to be around.” I know many preachers and teachers like to claim that some of the church fathers, reformers, and Puritans gave Jesus a bad image by portraying Him as somber, serious, and grumpy. Modern evangelicals love to point out that Jesus was not a “cosmic killjoy.”

Let’s be analytical for a second. We know Jesus had a sense of humor. Matthew 7:4 and a few other verses show that He could turn a phrase to humorous effect, and even be a little sardonic at times (Matthew 23:24). After all, He was the Book of Proverbs personified, so He must have been witty, as well as wise. We also know that He went to a wedding (John 2:2), He enjoyed good food (John 21:13), and little children liked to be around Him (Matthew 18:2, Luke 18:16).

However, the instances of Jesus joking around are extremely rare in the Gospel record. We see Him angry (Matthew 21:12). We see Him grieved (Luke 13:34). We see Him challenging the status quo (Matthew 23:33). We see Him teaching the greatest and most valuable truths ever taught. We even see Him crying (John 11:35).

So was Jesus Christ a bitter, discontented grouch? Definitely not! Was He a clown? Definitely not! In Christ Jesus, the supreme example for every Christian, we observe the perfect balance. He could weep with those who wept. He laughed with those whose laughter was not sinful. He sternly admonished those who needed correction. He showed compassion and real solutions to those who were truly hurting. And He never, ever ONCE brought shame or disgrace to His Holy Name, to His character, or to His testimony. He never once stepped even a millimeter outside the will of His Father.

As Christian “quarterbacks,” it is possible to have fun in Christian leadership. But, for a quarterback, there must be a difference between having fun and being a clown. The Gospel is a not a “business,” but we might say that we should consider our duty to preserve, protect, and promote the Gospel message to be “serious business.”

Lester Roloff, before he would begin a sermon, would sometimes sing along with some of the young ladies whom God had used him to rescue from lives of addiction and immorality. In one song, he liked to remind people of the seriousness of our spiritual warfare.

“It’s a battlefield, brother, not a recreation room,” he would sing.
“It’s a fight and not a game.
“When I fall down I’m gonna get right up,
“‘Cause I didn’t start out to play
“Run if you want to, run if you will,
“But I came here to stay.”

Consider what the Bible has to say about the demeanor of Christian leaders:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Titus 2:2

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

Titus 2:6-7

Whether we are running a prayer huddle, a Sunday School class huddle, a family worship huddle, or a Biblical counseling huddle, let us remember that “Clowns for Christ” is an oxymoronic idea.


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