Who Is This Man?

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Matthew 21:10-11 (KJV) And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Preached at Riverview Baptist 798 Santa Fe Pike Columbia Tn on June 18, 2017

Who Is This?

The City of Jerusalem turned out to see Jesus. The Bible tells us that “all the city was moved”.

Some were moved to worship Him.
Others were moved to despise Him.
But everyone asked “Who is this?”.

Who is this Man that can move a city, move a country, move a whole world?

Who is this Man Who commanded His disciples?

Matthew 21:2-5 (KJV) … Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an {donkey} tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an {donkey}, and a colt the foal of an {donkey}.

As Jesus and His disciples entered Bethphage (the House of Figs) He ordered two of His disciples to go retrieve a donkey and her young colt. If there was any objection from the owner they were to say

THE LORD hath need of them; and straightway he will send them

Jesus would enter Jerusalem riding not on a white horse, but on a donkey. In fact, the Scripture says that Jesus said …

Mark 11:2 (KJV)… ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a young donkey, but the colt would not be separated from its mother. Jesus did not go to Jerusalem to hurt nor to harm anyone, not even the lowly donkey. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem the crowds went wild, cheering and applauding Him. Most of the commentaries call this the “Triumphal Entry of Christ”, though it is no where called this in the Bible. “Triumphal” in the dictionary is an adjective that means “to carry out or celebrate a great victory or achievement”. People were excited because Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. This man had done many great works.

Matthew 11:5 (ESV) … the BLIND receive their sight

and the LAME walk,
LEPERS are cleansed
and the DEAF hear,
and the DEAD are raised up,
and the POOR have good news preached to them.

The thought in the minds of many in the city was that Jesus had come to overthrow Rome and restore Israel to its former glory. They saw Jesus coming to restore God’s people.

They thought that His Millennial Reign had come.

Psalms 24:8 (KJV) Who is this King of glory?

The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

The Romans – world conquerors – they would finally get their comeuppance. Caesar was supposed to be a god, Rome a nation led by Gentile gods and goddesses. But here comes the Solution – it is Jesus.

They believe that Jesus will cast down the evil.
They believe that the valleys would run red with blood.

Oh Beloved, Jesus is coming again. The first time He rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey. That is not what a conquering King would ride. John the Revelator saw the return of Christ – and He is coming again – and wrote:

Revelation 19:11-15 (KJV)… behold A WHITE HORSE; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and IN RIGHTEOUSNESS HE DOTH JUDGE AND MAKE WAR. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and HIS NAME IS CALLED THE WORD OF GOD. 14 And the ARMIES WHICH WERE IN HEAVEN FOLLOWED HIM UPON WHITE HORSES, CLOTHED IN FINE LINEN, WHITE AND CLEAN. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

John saw the Conquering Jesus, the Jesus Who will establish His Kingdom. He is coming again. When He comes again He will be on a White Horse, and the armies of Heaven will follow Him. But now He heads into Jerusalem on a young donkey. He does not come to conquer the world, but to save the world. The world doesn’t know it, but here is our Savior!

Isaiah 63:1 (KJV) Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Riding into Jerusalem He comes, not to kill and conquer, but to be killed so that He can conquer sin and death. He is on a donkey because He comes in fulfillment of prophecy.

Who Is This Man Who Fulfilled Prophecy?

The Word of the Father says …

Zechariah 9:9 (KJV) 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 {DONKEY}, AND UPON A COLT THE FOAL OF AN {DONKEY}.

Jesus was riding into Jerusalem in fulfillment of prophecy.

He was born of prophecy.

He lived to fulfill prophecy.

He was born of a virgin to fulfill prophecy. Christ Who “was in the beginning with God” entered this world at the request of His Father. Matthew quoted Isaiah 7:14 when he wrote:

Matthew 1:22-23 (ESV) 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).

God would come to walk amongst us. The Word would become flesh and dwell with us. He was not coming to Jerusalem to overthrow Rome. He was not there to war or make war, but He was coming for another reason. He was coming to bring salvation to the world.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the city celebrated. It is said that a broke clock is right twice a day, and periodically even the lost will get something right. They worshiped Jesus as He entered Jerusalem.

Matthew 21:8-9 (KJV) …. a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way. 9 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.

The crowd recognized this Jesus as “the son of David”. Only the descendant of King David can sit on the throne of Israel. Herod, an Idumean, now sits on that throne. The crowd cries out “Hosanna to the son of David” which literally means “save us, oh Son of David”. Again they wanted Jesus to conquer, to overthrow. They cried out “Hosanna in the Highest”, meaning “God save us!”. God was going to save us, but not how we thought.

Could Jesus have conquered Rome? Yes, He could. He said in another place:

Matthew 26:53 (ESV) Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?

If Jesus had but whispered “Father, save Me” twelve legions of angels – 12,000 invincible warriors – could have come and destroyed this earth. But Jesus did not come the first time to destroy, but to save. He did not come to make war, nor to tell us to make war. Jesus came to bring PEACE. If human government has taught us anything it has taught us that man is utterly corrupt. If Jesus had cast down Rome, and let unregenerate man rule, it would not have been long before there was another ROME, another HEROD, another CAESAR.

Ephesians 2:13-16 (ESV) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem to conquer sin and death on the Cross. The crowd that now cheered Him and worshiped Him would in just a few days despise Him and misuse Him. The cries of “Hosanna to God, glory in the highest” would change to “Crucify Him. Release Barabbas, but Crucify Jesus!”

Who Is This Brazen Man?

The people cheered Jesus, but He did not ride to the Palace to cast out Herod but instead rode to the Temple. Who is this BRAZEN Man, who fearlessly goes into the Temple?

Matthew 21:12-13 (KJV)12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 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.

Jesus went into the Temple where God should be worshiped, but the Jews had made that place into a commercial establishment. Which was God angrier with?

Was He angrier at Rome and her lost citizens for worshiping false gods?
Or was God angrier at His people who forsook worship top worship money?

God was angrier at His people. He was angry at the leaders of the Temple that forsook His Word and turned His worship into a money making scheme. Israel was suppose to come to the Temple to offer sacrifices and offerings to God. The people were to bring lambs without blemish and doves without blemish to be sacrificed, their blood temporarily atoning for their sins.

Apart from the shedding of Blood there is no remission of sin.
Apart from the shedding of Blood your sin is not covered.
The animals sacrificed were but a temporary teaching tool.
Until Someone Better came.

Jesus entered the Temple and in righteous anger, and as His disciples and the crowd incredulously watched, He toss money changers and tables to the floor. He chased out sacrifices that were being sold for profit. And as He did so Jesus quoted:

Isaiah 56:7 (ESV) these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLES.”

Religion had made a business out of God.
But God’s Business was to save souls.
The Temple was to be “a house of prayer for ALL PEOPLES”.
It was to be a place where all people have access to the Father Who loves them.
It was not a place where you had to pay admission.
It is not a movie theater, a Disney World, or base entertainment.
The Temple as well as the Church is a place where God is accessable.
Where God can be approached.
Where everyone, regardless of race or background, can come to love and be loved.
God was angry. God the Father was angry. God the Son was angry.

My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

God is angry at the Jew who defile the Temple. He is angry at the Christian who defiles the Church. This, dearly Beloved, is a place where we gather to worship our Father, to seek answers, to gain a life of purpose and eternal life. Christ will cast out the impurities and return the Father’s House to a place where we can all gather and commune with Him.

Who is this Man Who enters the Temple and casts out the evil? He is the Son of God. Begotten of the Spirit, He was born in a manger. Worshiped by angels, Shepherds, and wise men, Jesus came to do His Father’s Business. He came to bring us to God, to restore mankind to communion with God, to cover our sins with His own Blood shed on Calvary.

Who Is This Man Who Lowers Himself?

Matthew 21:14 (KJV) And the BLIND and the LAME came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Who is this Man Who fiercely ran off the blasphemers, but to whom it is said “the blind and the lame came to Him”? Jesus has both strength as well as compassion. A slave trader – responsible for killing thousands in the slave trade, stacking them like cord wood in his ship, met Jesus blinded by sin. This same man later wrote:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Sin blinds us and robs us of our joy. I saw a Church sign the other day that read:

Sin Wouldn’t Be So Attractive If The Wages Were Paid Immediately!

The blind and the lame came to Jesus and He healed them all. Jesus will heal you, too, if you will come to Him. Who is this Man? He is Jesus. He is the Son of God made flesh. He is the One Who came to be our Savior. Jesus rode into Jerusalem to die for you and I. Peter declares:

1 Peter 2:22-25 (ESV2011) {Jesus} committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

This Man Jesus rode into Jerusalem to stand in your place and mine. He is the Good Son Who gave His life a ransom for many. Jesus was not drug to the Cross, but willingly went, layiong His life down for you and I. Why?

Because we are sinners.
Because we are guilty.
He bore my penalty for me.
Who Is This Man TO YOU?

Returning to our focal text we read:

Matthew 21:10-11 (KJV) And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Who is Jesus TO YOU. To the world, to the multitudes He is “Jesus the Prophet of Nazareth of Galilee”. I had a friend once who told me that “Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King”. I told him that I disagreed with him. Jesus never claimed to be a prophet. Let me say that again:

Jesus never claimed to be a Prophet!

Jesus said of John the Baptist Luke 7:28 (KJV) …. Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist

The multitudes – the world – sees Jesus as a Great Teacher, a Great Prophet, a Great Preacher. Jesus is Great. But He is not a prophet from a small town named Nazareth. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Savior of the world. He is the Messiah, or as Peter once declared:

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God

Believing Him to be a great Teacher or Preacher is fine, but that is not what will save the soul. What saves us is that we receive Him as Lord and Savior. What saves us is that we believe that He paid our sins on Calvary. What saves us is that we believe what He said:

Luke 19:10 (KJV)10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem for you. Jesus was beaten for you. Jesus was nailed to the Cross for you. Jesus suffered and died for you. Jesus bore your sins – and mine – and paid them all. Is this what you believe? How do you answer “Who is this Man?” I know how I answer.

He is My King and my Redeemer!

Once I was walking with my face toward the sun. I looked behind me, and my shadow followed without me doing the least thing to cause it to do so. When you are walking through this life with your face toward the Son of God, peace, joy, and blessing like a shadow follow you. But if you turn from Him you walk in darkness, not in light.

May God lead many to salvation through this His Word.

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Live Life On Purpose

a sermon by Michael Buffaloe of Crosspointe Church, Valdosta, GA
preached at Riverview Baptist (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN) on June 11 2017

to the glory of God our Savior! The 8:30 am message follows:

the 11am message follows:

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Why We Love Jesus

Preached at Riverview Baptist June 4, 2017 (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN)

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Matthew 20:17-19 (KJV) And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Mark 10:32-34 (KJV)32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Luke 18:31-34 (KJV)31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

Someone asked Gospel Singer Andre Crouch one time “Why do you love Jesus so much?”. Andre – who is today with the Lord – answered the question by writing a song called “If Heaven Was Never Promised To Me”. Some of the lyrics are as follows:

You ask me why, Why do you serve the Lord?

Is it just for Heaven’s gain?

Or to walk those mighty streets of gold?

Or to hear the angels sing?

Is it just to drink from the fountain?

That never shall run dry?

Or is it just to live ever, ever, and ever,

In that sweet, sweet old bye and bye?

But if Heaven never were promised to me,

Neither God’s promise to live eternally,

It’s been worth just having the Lord in my life!

Living in a world of darkness,

He brought me the light.

He’s been my closest Friend down through the years,

And everytime I cry He has dried all my tears,

It’s been worth just having the Lord in my life!

Living in a world of darkness,

He brought me the light.

What an amazing love Jesus has for His people. I do believe that there is a Heaven waiting for those who love Jesus. I do believe that Heaven will be a fantastic place, a place where

Revelation 21:3-4 (KJV) …. the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Heaven will be glorious, but Heaven is not why I love Jesus. I love Jesus because He loves me unconditionally. I love Jesus because He not only will dry my tears in Heaven, but He is with me now and has dried my tears now.

Look At The Love Of Jesus

As He leads His small band of followers to Jerusalem – there are only twelve now – where are the multitudes? The multitudes have been fed by Jesus. He fed 5000, then 4000. He has healed thousands upon thousands of people. The blind now see. Where are the blind people He healed? The deaf now hear? Where are these blessed people He has healed? Where are the lepers? Where are those who were demon possessed, but now are restored to health and family. Where are the parents of children Jesus has raised from the dead? Why aren’t the crippled that He has healed leaping and dancing around Him as He heads toward Jerusalem?

The story we read today is told not just by Matthew, but by Mark and Luke as well. Each shares a different perspective. Mark tells us:

Mark 10:32 (KJV) And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.

As Jesus heads toward Jerusalem the twelve following Him were first amazed. They were amazed because Jesus was not frightened. They were amazed because they knew that Jesus was heading toward the stronghold of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Chief Priests, and they knew that Jesus had upset these religious people. It amazed them that Jesus was going to Jerusalem. Only a brave person runs INTO a burning building, or runs TOWARD enemy fire. Jesus was not avoiding trouble, but heading toward it. The disciples knew this, and were afraid. They were afraid for themselves, and afraid for Jesus as well. But Jesus was not afraid. He was resolute. Jesus knew what He had to do. We are told:

Luke 9:51 (KJV)51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he STEADFASTLY SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM,

Jesus knew what was coming. His actions were not those of a reckless person. Jesus knew that there was only one way that man could ever be right with God, and that way was through His bloody sacrifice. Jesus is going to Jerusalem as the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Bible declares:

Romans 3:21-23 (KJV) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Every person is far from God. Sin stands as a black mark on all of God’s creation. We are not creatures of EVOLUTION, but of DEVOLUTION. Created to walk with God man walked away, and we all have followed.

We live in a day where no one wants to claim responsibility. A man can murder a man and be released in just a few years because it was his environment that caused the problem, his upbringing, his parents, an unequal society, or poverty. A politician loses an election but it is everybody’s fault but that politician. A child fails in school, let’s blame the school, not the child or the parent who would not make the child turn off the game system and study. It is always someone else who is at fault. Or is it? The Scripture declares:

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

We all have sinned. There is no crowd around Jesus as He heads toward Jerusalem because we are all sinners. Jesus loved us so much that He headed toward Jerusalem knowing what was coming. He was to be:

Isaiah 53:3-6 (NKJV) …. despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus is going to Jerusalem to die for our sins. Jesus is going because the Father bid Him go. We are told in:

Luke 18:31-34 (KJV)31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.

Throughout the Old Testament the Lord prophesied that the Messiah would come. Jesus would come according to prophecy. He is the one and only Messiah. Everything that Jesus did, He did according to the written Word of God. After Jesus was crucified and rose again He told those He walked with on the Emmaus Road:

Luke 24:25-27 (KJV) Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

People today say they believe in Jesus, but do not believe in the Bible. How foolish this is! You cannot believe in Jesus if you do not believe His Word. Over and over again Jesus declared “it is written”, and over and over again throughout His ministry Jesus. Jesus loved the Word of God, and as He headed toward Jerusalem it was to fulfill the Scripture.

Jesus Will Be Betrayed According To The Scripture

Matthew 20:17-18 (KJV) … Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be BETRAYED…

Jesus is speaking to the “Twelve Disciples”, telling them what will happen to Him. The first thing Jesus says is that “the Son of Man shall be BETRAYED”. Think of this word “BETRAYED”. When an enemy attacks you it is expected, but when a friend hurts you it hurts the worst. Jesus would be betrayed. This was prophesied in the Scripture.

Psalm 41:9 (NKJV) Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

One of the twelve – His closest disciples – would betray Jesus, turning Him over for death. What would Jesus’ betrayal cost?

Zechariah 11:12 (NKJV) … So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver, a pitiful price to betray someone by. We don’t know exactly how much this was, but 30 pieces of silver was what was commonly paid for a slave in Biblical times.

Jesus was sold like a slave by Iscariot!

But Judas was not the only betrayer. Though Judas would sell Jesus as a slave to the Jewish leaders, the other disciples would run away when Christ was captured. Jesus told His disciples:

Matthew 26:31-32 (KJV)… All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for IT IS WRITTEN, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (a quote from Zechariah 13:7) 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

But Peter spoke up, saying:

Matthew 26:33 (KJV) …. Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.

Yet before the rooster crowed Peter would deny Jesus three times, even taking God’s name in vain (see Luke 22:54-62). We have all at times betrayed Jesus.

  • We betray Him when we do not do as He commands.
  • We betray Him when we follow the crowd or the world instead of Him.
  • We betray Him when we reject the Word of God that He so loved.
  • We betray Him when we turn away from Him.
  • We betray Him when we do not love as He loves.

Jesus knew that He would be betrayed. He knew of Iscariot, and Peter, and James, and John. He knew, but went anyway. Jesus said “Behold, WE go to Jerusalem” but knew that this WE would soon turn into just I. Jesus would suffer alone on Calvary.

Matthew 20:18 (KJV) Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death

The best defenders of Jesus should have been the Chief Priests and the Scribes. These people studied Scripture. They served in the Temple. They were supposed to stand between God and the people, representing the Messiah. Yet man made religion never brings a blessing to anyone. Man made religion caused the Great Crusades where untold thousands of people died in the name of a false Christ. Jesus never told His people to kill, but to love. He told us to buy a sword, but it was to be used defensively only. When Peter attacked Malchus, the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his ear, Jesus restored that man’s ear and told His disciples:

Matthew 26:52-56 (KJV) …. Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. (see also Luke 22:50-53)

Muhammad may have told his disciples to slay the infidels, and the Hindu gods may smile as unbelievers are beheaded. Religion does strange things to people. But Christ has never bid His disciples to kill or maim others, believers or not. We are to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves” (Mark 12:31) and, if saved by Grace, we are to “love one another as Christ has loved us” (John 13:34-35). The Child of God is not known by a steel sword but by the Sword of the Lord, the Word of God. The Child of the Kingdom does not murder with steel or a sharp tongue, but loves as Christ loved.

Matthew 20:18 (KJV) Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death

Religion could not kill Jesus, but religion turned Him over to the world to kill Him. That’s what kills Jesus today, those who claim to be Christian but have no mercy. Recently I read with interest the story of a young woman who sinned, and became pregnant because of that sin. The Christian school that she attended required she stand before the assembly and confess her sin. She did so, but afterward was bound from walking to receive her diploma. Sin is sin, and should not be taken lightly. But Beloved we are always reminded of the Words of the Apostle Who said:

Galatians 6:1-5 (KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.

There is Grace. Religion turns Jesus over to death. Religion sets Christ up to be mocked and minimized. God save us from religion. Jesus came to pay for our sins, and Jesus came to be the Lamb of God for us. It was prophesied of Christ that …

Psalms 40:6-8 (KJV) Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Hebrews 10:9-10 (KJV) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

No work of man can cover even the smallest of sins. Jesus Christ died for our sins. If that sinning child confesses that sin to God in Christ, the sin is covered, atonement is made. Jesus paid it all!

Jesus Was Delivered Up For Us

Matthew 20:19 (KJV) …And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him:

Though religion delivered Jesus to the Gentiles, it was us who crucified Him. He was mocked. We are told in:

Mark 10:34 (KJV) And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him:

They blindfolded Jesus, and struck Him, and said “Prophesy, tell us who struck You”. They put a reed in His hand and a purple robe on Him, knelt and said “Hail, King of the Jews”. They took thorns and made a crown of it, then jammed this down over his head and into his brow. They jerk at His beard, pulling it out in tufts with bloody flesh as Isaiah foresaw:

Isaiah 50:6 (NKJV) I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

But Jesus did not flinch. He did not turn away. The Bible says:

1 Peter 2:23-24 (KJV) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Jesus kept His eyes on the final prize. He went to that Cross to pay for our sins. Because of what Jesus did one day we shall see a Heaven where:

Revelation 7:9-10 (KJV)9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Jesus Christ went to that Cross for us. When they cried out:

We have no King but Caesar (John 19:15)

Jesus did not flinch. When they shouted:

Crucify Him, Crucify Him (Luke 23:21)

Jesus did not complain. The nails and the beating were horrible, unimaginable. But it was when our sins were placed on Jesus that He cried out, as Prophecy declared:

My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1)

To paraphrase Jeremiah (9:1), “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for my Jesus!” What a fantastic love He has for you and I. What a Savior. What a Redeemer!

But this is not all of it. Jesus said:

Matthew 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Jesus rose again. He loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20) on that Cross, and the third day He rose again. His Blood was shed to make an everlasting Covenant before God (see Hebrews 13:20). He rose again according to the Scripture. Jesus said:

Matthew 12:40 (KJV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Because He lives, I will live. As God promised in Malachi 4:2 But for you who fear My Name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings …” Praise Him! Praise Him! Do you know Him? Do you know my Jesus?

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Jesus Defines Marriage

Preached at Riverview Baptist June 4, 2017 (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN)

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Matthew 19:1-9 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;  [2]  And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.  [3]  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?  [4]  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,   [5]   And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?   [6]   Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.   [7]  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?  [8]  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.   [9]   And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.   

The morality level in our country has gone south since the “Sexual Revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s. We attempted to move back to normalcy with the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act” passed into law by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. The act recognized marriage as between “One Man, One Woman”. In United States v. Windsor (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Today marriage is a hot button topic. The LGBT movement in America has pushed to define marriage as any union between any two people regardless of gender. Many Churches have decided to reconsider their doctrinal statements and perform same sex marriages, giving it the look of legitimacy. Some have gone so far as to say:

Jesus never said anything about same sex marriage or homosexuality”

The implication is that Jesus would have been loving and accepting of those engaged in that type of lifestyle. Now, it is not my object tonight to address same sex marriage, but to challenge us all to look at what Jesus did say about marriage.

The devil loves to attack marriage.

If the devil can get us to minimize marriage or define marriage based on our feelings and not on what God has said, he can destroy the fabric of our society. The Bible tells us that marriage and the family are the basic unit of humanity. If we get marriage wrong, we get civilization wrong. I think that’s what’s happening in America today.

Matthew 19:1-2 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;  [2]  And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

Jesus came to this earth not to enable us to do the wrong thing, but to encourage us and to heal us. The Bible declares in John 3:16 that:

God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son
That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,

But have everlasting life.

God the Father sent God the Son to give us life, not death. He came to bless us, not to curse us. He came to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus came as a “friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Jesus came to “give His life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15). Jesus came to …

1 Peter 3:18 (KJV)  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

The Pharisees Came Tempting Jesus

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him,

They came “tempting” or trying Jesus. That is the Greek πειράζω peirazō. The same word is used in Matthew 4:3 and Mark 1:13 when the Devil himself tempted Jesus in the wilderness. It is used in Hebrews 3:9 when Israel tempted God in the wildernerness. As the Pharisees “tempt” Christ I want you to notice what they say:

Matthew 19:3 … Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife FOR EVERY CAUSE?

What they are saying in their question is “can’t there be divorce for every (or any) cause”? The question itself diminishes marriage. Marriage is important to God. Marriage is the first union that God created. Marriage is a beautiful institution that was designed by God to bring about the continuation of life on this planet earth. The Jewish men had developed a practice of marrying wives but once that wife aged or became infirm or in any way unpleasing the Jewish men put away that wife. They divorced their wives for EVERY and ANY cause. This was popular. This was socially acceptable. Marriage was disposable.

The Pharisees have been looking for a way to get rid of Jesus, to turn the crowds against Him. What better way than to have Him make a politically incorrect and public statement. Others would hear what Jesus said. And they would try their best to twist His words, to make Him out to be a bad man.

So how would Jesus respond?

John 8:12 (KJV)  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 9:5 (KJV)   As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Jesus cannot be other than THE LIGHT of the world. He will always “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). So Jesus replies the only way He can – truthfully and lovingly:

Matthew 19:4 … And he answered and said unto them, HAVE YE NOT READ, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Jesus’ first reply was:

Have You Not READ”

What does that mean? “Have you not READ”? Read what? Read a newspaper? Haven’t you read what the Washington Post© said, or the New York Times©, or USA Today©, or the Wall Street Journal©? Haven’t you read the National Enquirer©, or the latest issue of People© or Cosmopolitan© or Woman’s Day©? You know the Huffington Post© did an article on “What is Marriage” that I’m sure Jesus was referencing. Is that what Jesus is talking about?

Jesus is not talking about some Jewish newspaper nor some off the shelf book written by some famous writer or renown doctor. Jesus is referencing the Word of God, the Bible. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the Devil and responded over and over again with:

It is written”

(see Matthew 4:4,7,10)

He is now tempted in the wilderness by Satan’s Children, the Pharisees. How does He respond? He says “Have you not READ”? Have you not read your Bible? The Bible is God’s Word. The Bible is authoritative. The Bible does not just contain God’s Word, but is God’s Word. The Apostle said in:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  [17]  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The Psalmist said in Psalms 119:105 (KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

The Prophet said in Isaiah 40:8 (KJV)  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Sixty three times throughout the New Testament the phrase “it is written” is repeated. God has a Word, and His Word is written not by man but by God. The Apostle said of Scripture:

2 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV)  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  [21]  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy {Spirit}.

When a Church comes together it is not to hear the preacher’s opinion, but to search the Word of God so as to hear His Truth. What hath God said? The Pharisees asked Christ what HE thought of marriage, and Jesus responded:

Have you not read?”

Matthew 19:4 … And he answered and said unto them, have ye not read, that HE WHICH MADE THEM AT THE BEGINNING made them male and female,

Next Jesus says “He which MADE them AT THE BEGINNING”. Gallup recently released the findings of a new poll (May 3-7, 2017), stating:

The percentage of U.S. adults who believe that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years or so — the strict creationist view — has reached a new low. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults now accept creationism, while 57% believe in some form of evolution — either God-guided or not — saying man developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life.”

Very few people believe in the Genesis account of creation, that God made Adam, then made Eve from Adam’s rib. Very few people even believe that God created the earth, preferring instead to believe the storyline of Darwinism and evolutionary science. If you believe that God created or “made them male and female in the beginning” as the Genesis account so states:

Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:… .  [27]  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  [28]  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: …

Genesis 2:7 (KJV)  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:21-22 (KJV)  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  [22]  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

then you are in the minority. However, you are standing with Jesus. Jesus said “have you not READ (reference to Genesis) how God made them in the beginning (a refutation of evolutionary science) made them male and female”. Jesus believed the Biblical account, and used the Biblical account to support His teaching on marriage.

Matthew 19:4 … And he answered and said unto them, have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,

God made man in His image. Male and female are in the image of God. Man was made for woman, and woman for man. How did Jesus define marriage? He defined marriage according to the Bible, according to the Genesis account. God made them MALE and FEMALE. So what is “marriage” according to Jesus? It is a union between MALE and FEMALE. This is VERY gender specific.

Matthew 19:5-6 And said, For this cause shall A MAN LEAVE father and mother, and shall CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE: and THEY TWAIN SHALL BE ONE FLESH?   [6]   Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER.

This union was GENDER SPECIFIC. It was a union between a male and a female, a father and a mother. The man was to leave his father and mother (the biological family that produced him) in order to cleave to his wife and become one flesh. Jesus quotes the words of Adam when he first saw his Eve:

Genesis 2:22-24 (KJV)  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  [23]  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  [24]  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Jesus believed the Genesis account to be true. He based what He believed on the written scripture. Marriage is not just two people joined together emotionally regardless of gender, but marriage is a man and a woman joined together in the sight of God, cleaving to one another, being one flesh. It is both a physical and a spiritual union.

In marriage there is a LEAVING (עָזַב `azab), and there is a CLEAVING (דָּבַק dabaq). You do not GROW into a family until you GO from your family. Woman is made from man, and returns to man. This is Biblical marriage, and this is what Jesus believed and presented.

Jesus quoted Adam when He said:

What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

When God first created marriage it was not with divorce in mind. Marriage is two people joined together by God. Today many people get joined together in marriage not by God, but by emotions, by reasons, by infatuation. But God is often not in the marriage. When Jesus quoted Genesis (a book written by God through Moses) the Pharisees were quick to come back and say:

Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

If the Book of Genesis does not mention divorce, why did Moses later in the Law allow for divorce? If you read the second giving of the Law in Deuteronomy 24 you will find that it is not unlawful to divorce. We read:

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (KJV)  When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.  [2]  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.   [3]  And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;  [4]  Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

It is not unlawful to divorce. God gave allowance for divorce. Why? Because marriage is a joining of man and woman initiated by God. Adam and Eve were joined in marriage because God meant them to be together. BUT we often make mistakes. We often, as humans, do not involve God in our choices. And God provided in the Law a way to protect a woman and to relieve a man who had made a bad decision to be marriage. The Pharisees ask Jesus:

Matthew 19:7 …Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

Jesus’ reply is very clear.

Matthew 19:9 He saith unto them, Moses because of the HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

That phrase “hardness of your hearts” is a reference to hardening the heart against God.

Pharaoh hardened his heart against God (Exodus 8:19).

King Nebuchadnezzar hardened his heart against God (2 Chronicles 36:13; Daniel 5:20).

The disciples of Christ hardened their hearts against God’s teachings (Mark 6:52).

Israel hardened it’s heart against God, and wandered for 40 years (Psalm 95:8).

It may be lawful to divorce, but God meant marriage to be forever. Marriage is a picture of how Christ views His Church. The Bible says:

Ephesians 5:22-33 (KJV)  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  [23]  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  [24]  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  [25]  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  [26]  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  [27]  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  [28]  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  [29]  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:  [30]  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  [31]  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  [32]  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  [33]  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Marriage is a gift from God, a precious union between man and wife, male and female. May God bless you all in your marriages.

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The First Shall Be Last

Sermon preached Wednesday, May 31 evening at Riverview Baptist (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN). Our Church still has a Wednesday night Prayer Meeting. Had a wonderful group there last night – and Jesus was in the house. Below is the audio of the message. Please listen with open hearts!

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Cherish God’s Word

Preached at Riverview Baptist (798 Santa Fe Pike Columbia Tn)
the evening of May 28, 2017

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Love Is His Answer

Preached at Riverview Baptist (798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, Tn) May 28, 2017

1Matthew 19:16-22 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  [17]  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.   [18]  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,   [19]   Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   [20]  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?  [21]  Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.   [22]  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

A man came to Jesus looking for eternal life. He called Jesus “Good Master” or ἀγαθός agathos διδάσκαλος didaskalos, literally “Good Teacher”. Jesus rejected the adjective “Good”. Jesus said “Why do you call Me “good”? There is no one “good” but God”.

Now Jesus Christ is “good”. He is the “Good Shepherd Who gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Jesus applied that term to Himself, so why does He reject this most common adjective now? Because this man did not come to Jesus as He is, but as he THOUGHT Jesus was. You cannot learn or receive eternal life from a mere man. God is the Author of life. God is the Giver of life. If there is eternal life to be had, you must have it from God. It would be like this, if I can use this illustration.

My car starts running badly, skipping and popping and sputtering. I need to get it fixed. So I drive up to the local McDonald’s, and pull my car into the drive through window. “Welcome to McDonald’s – may I take your order”. I respond, “Why yes. My car is sputtering and smoking. I need you to send someone out to look at it.” The person on the speaker says “Do you want fries with that?” No they don’t. They probably call the police, or the people with nets and padded rooms. I’m going to McDonald’s to get my car fixed, I must be out of my mind.

This young man comes to Jesus. “Good Teacher, how can I have eternal life?” Jesus responds “Why do you call Me – just a Teacher – “Good”. Only God is Good”.

Jesus Christ is God incarnate, God become flesh. Among mankind the Bible says – as Jesus responded:

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV)  as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;  [11]  no one understands; no one seeks for God.  [12]  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Good” is an adjective that belongs only to God. Jesus Christ is Good because Jesus Christ is more than a mere Teacher. Jesus is the Author of life. The Bible declares:

John 1:1-4 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.  [3]  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  [4]  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Jesus is not just a Teacher, though no greater Teacher ever existed. Jesus is the Messiah sent of God. Jesus declared:

John 5:24-26 (ESV)   Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.   [25]   “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.   [26]   For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

Jesus is Good. He is the “Author of Life”. Peter preached to the Jews at the Gate Beautiful:

Acts 3:15 (NLT) You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!

Jesus is no mere Teacher. He is good, and holy, and righteous. He is the Author of life and the Granter of eternal life. This young man physically is at the right Source, but spiritually he’s standing at a McDonald’s. Jesus is the Author of life!

In Grace Jesus responds to the young man. Let’s look at what Jesus said.

Matthew 19:17 …. but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Those Who Have Eternal Life Lovingly Obey The Father

As Jesus speaks to this young man He has peered into his heart and seen what is most important to him. Jesus’ response is based on where this young man’s heart is pointing. Where is his heart pointing? Jesus tells the young man:

Keep The Commandments

Now I want you to understand that I believe salvation is all of grace. I believe the Scripture when it says:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  [9]  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:3-6 (KJV)  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  [4]  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  [5]  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  [6]  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Eternal life is a gift bestowed on those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior. We cannot work our way into Heaven, no more than those who built the Tower of Babel could build a stairway to God. Christ is our Savior. He paid for us, making atonement for us by His Blood shed on Calvary’s Cross.

But once saved, the Child of God wants to do the Father’s will.

The Child of God – born again by faith in Christ – obeys His Commandments.

We who are saved delight to do His Will. We who are saved are relieved of condemnation, headed toward glory, and under His peculiar care. God loves His Children, and His Children love Him.

When a person comes to me and says “I’m saved, but I do not want to obey God’s Word. I want to pick and choose what part of God’s clearly revealed will that I will obey” – it is my duty, and your duty as well, to tell that person they are our of line. Jesus Christ does not save us IN our sins, but He saves us to make us like Him. We who are saved will on occasion fall, but we will NEVER exalt ourselves in sin. Saved by Christ we hear His Word:

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (ESV)  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  [17]  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,  [18]  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

There is no Christian who, upon discovering sin in their lives winks at it and hides it. Sin is against our Father’s will.

When Jesus told this young man “Keep the commandments” I want you to notice his response:

Matthew 19:17-18 {Jesus said} … but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.   [18]{the young man” saith unto him, Which?

Which commandments?”
Which commandments are the most important?
God the Father’s commandments are all important.
The will of God is all important.

A man who was a Pharisee and a Lawyer came to Jesus one day and asked:

Matthew 22:36 (ESV)  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

He calls Jesus not the Son of God but διδάσκαλος didaskalos – a Teacher, just like many others who are teachers. That is an honorable profession – thank God for teachers – but Jesus is so much more. But Jesus didn’t challenge the lawyer. He answered:

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.   [38]   This is the great and first commandment.   [39]   And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   [40]   On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If you love God the way that you’re supposed to love God, you won’t ask God “which commandments should I obey?” That’s a foolish statement. If you are going to enter into eternal life you’re not going to Heaven to argue with God. You cannot cherry pick commandments.

The Two Greatest Commandments on which all of the Scripture is based is to:

  1. Love God MORE than ourselves, MORE than our things, MORE than our families, MORE than anything.
  2. Love our neighbor as ourselves.

Think about that word “neighbor” for a moment. This is an Old English compound word which is composed of “NAE” meaning NEAR & “BUER” which means “to dwell”. We are to love God Who is above us with a lofty love much greater than we love anything else. But those in proximity to us – our NAE BUERS – these we are to love as we love our own selves.

Even the Ten Commandments are in two parts. The first FOUR of the Ten Commandments tell us to love God. The last SIX of the Ten Commandments tell us to love our neighbor.

When this young man said “Which?” – as in “Which commandments must I obey” Jesus didn’t mention ANY commandments related to loving God. By this man’s response he ALREADY doesn’t love God. If you love God, you will do what He says. If you love God you will obey Him.

This Young Man Loved Himself, Not God

He wanted to enter into eternal life, but God was not his Father. He loved only himself. He loved only his possessions. He is like many in our world today. They have gained the whole world, but lost their own souls (Mark 8:36). This young man is his own god. He worships at the altar of ME, and tithes to a god called “Self”. Jesus responds to the young man’s question with:

Matthew 19:18-19 … Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,   [19]   Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus does not mention:

Command 1 – Love God above all else

Command 2 – Do not worship any other gods but God

Command 3 – Do not take God’s name in vain

Command 4 – Remember to worship God at least one day a week

Jesus instead focuses on the commandments that relate to others, to the NAE BUER.

Command 5 – You shall treat your parents with honor

Command 6 – You shall not murder another

Command 7 – You shall not murder a marriage

Command 8 – You shall not steal from another

Command 9 – You shall not besmirch another person’s character with lies

Then Jesus sums it up this way:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself

You cannot have eternal life unless you have love toward your neighbor. Why?

Because God is love. If you are born again into the Kingdom of God, if you have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you cannot help but love your neighbor. The Scripture declares:

1 John 4:7-8 (ESV)  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  [8]  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

That’s very plain. If you are born again, God is in you. God is love. If God is in you, you love your neighbor as you love yourself. We read:

1 John 4:11-12 (ESV)  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  [12]  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

God resides in His people. Jesus Christ died to bring us to God. When we receive Him, believing that He has paid our sin in full, and that He is worthy to be loved, then God manifests Himself in us. Listen to this:

1 John 4:14-16 (ESV)  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  [15]  Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  [16]  So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

The love we have to our neighbor is the visible marker that we belong to God, that we have eternal life. If you have a good relationship with God, you will have a good relationship with those around you.

The Scripture goes on to say:

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  [21]  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

We cannot see God now, but we see His handiwork. Those who are saved love their neighbors.

We love the neighbor who doesn’t love us back.

We love the neighbor who seeks to harm us.

We love the neighbor who offends us with his sin.

We do not love his sin, but love him as we want to be loved.

We love our neighbor regardless of color.

Jesus did not say “Love your WHITE neighbor or your BLACK neighbor”

All men and women are created in God’s image.

And God will save whosoever will believe in His Son.

We love our neighbor not just by lipservice, but by showing love.

We love our neighbor by reaching out to help, as Good Samaritans.

We do not COMPLAIN but COMMIT to helping others.

We love our neighbors for Christ’s sake, for He has said:

John 13:34-35 (ESV)   A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.   [35]   By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This young man replied to Jesus:

Matthew 19:20 All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

If he didn’t love God, he certainly wasn’t loving his neighbor as he loved himself. But his sin and selfishness had blinded him. Sin blinds us to the reality of our lives. So Jesus simply said:

Matthew 19:21-22 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.   [22]  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 

He had gained the whole world, but lost his soul.

Oh, that every person would come to God to be saved. Oh that every tongue would look to Him Who gave all for you. Oh that we would see that it was the Love of God that sent the Savior, the love of Christ that endured the Cross, and that everlasting life is only received by those who love Christ, love the Father, and love one another. The Lord’s Table reminds us of love.

May God touch your hearts by His Word.

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The Church Together

Preached to Riverview Baptist on May 21, 2017 at 798 Santa Fe Pike Columbia TN

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Matthew 18:15-20 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. [16] But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. [17] And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. [18] Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [19] Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. [20] For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

I was putting on a t-shirt the other day, something light I could mow the grass in. This is a nice print t-shirt my precious wife bought me made by a company called Kerusso. On one side it has a small cross, and on the other a larger cross. I slid it on the way that I thought it should go, but it was very uncomfortable around the neck and shoulders. I tried to wear it that way for a few minutes before I realized I had it on backwards. Sliding my arms out of the shirt I spun it around, and put it back on. Voila! It felt great that way. I just had my shirt on backwards.

You can wear a shirt backwards, but not comfortably. It is made to go on one way and one way only. My son came to the house one day with his shirt on inside out. I could see the seams. I explained to my boy that if othes saw the seams lie I did they would think him mentally challenged, something that is untrue. I think the same thing when I see men wearing their britches down so low that you can clearly see their underwear. That is not the way that you are to clothe yourself, and the only statement this makes is that you need help dressing yourself!

What does this have to do with our text today? The Bible tells us to:

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

The Christian, saved by faith in Christ, is daily to “put on Jesus Christ”. We are to clothe ourselves in Him. We are to clothe ourselves in His love doing as He did:

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Jesus died to make us into new creatures, reconciled to God and to one another. The Scripture declares:

Ephesians 2:13-20 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. [19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; [20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

God took a bunch of broken, godless, unworthy people and saved us. Saving us He brought us into His family, a family of reconciled people, a Church. If you are saved you are daily to:

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; [23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

take off the old man, the old sinful, filthy clothing that you used to wear and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, the new Man, the Way of the Master. We are to …

Colossians 3:8-11 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. [9] Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; [10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: [11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

We are to be imitators of Christ. Romans 13:14 Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

We are to walk in Love. Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

We are to follow God. Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

These are not commands given to people so that we can try and save ourselves. These are commands given to the Children of God, a people saved of God.

If you have been saved by faith in Christ you are to walk in harmony with the saved.
If you have been saved by faith in Christ you are to walk in harmony with the saved.
If you have been saved by faith in Christ you are to walk in harmony with the saved.

God gives no commands to the lost, but that they be saved. But to the saved God demands His family be united in love. That is what our text today is about. The family of God is to work TOGETHER in Christian love.

At the beginning of this text Jesus called a little child to Himself, and set him in the midst (verse 2). Jesus said:

Matthew 18:3-4 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. [4] Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The little child that Jesus called not only HEARD Jesus but also OBEYED Jesus by DRAWING NEAR to Jesus. The child RESTED where Jesus commanded he rest. A little child doing this is a picture of the Christian. Many little children doing this is a picture of the CHURCH. The CHURCH is a group of CHRISTIANS walking together under the leadership of Christ.

Which brings us to our text.

The Church In Harmony Is Empowered

Matthew 18:14-15 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. [15] Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

God does not want anyone to perish. The function of the Church is to reach out with Christ’s Gospel, to call others into this Household of Love, this Family of God. But the devil and the flesh is constantly at war with the Church of Christ. The devil will do his best to stir up trouble in the Church. So how is the trouble to be rectified? Jesus said that each member is to handle trouble at the point where it rears its ugly head.

If thy brother trespass against thee. If you have a brother or sister in Christ who has done you wrong, you as believers in Christ are to FIRST OF ALL not tell others about it. You are not to gossip nor suppose. At the point of offense we are to go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. This is a one on one conversation, not a confrontation.

Years ago at another Church I pastored I had a deacon at war with another deacon’s wife. Every time each of these two people – both children of God – got alone with me or anyone else they started lambasting the other person. I asked the two to do as Jesus said, to come together one on one, and have a conversation. They came together physically, but nearly came to blows because spiritually neither person was willing to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh”. A simple misunderstanding grew and grew until it caused the deacon to gather other deacons around him so as to unlawfully expell this family from the Church. In time the Church itself disintegrated. Why? Because the flesh and the devil took over.

The Bible tells us:

Ephesians 4:23-27 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; [24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. [25] Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. [26] Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: [27] NEITHER GIVE PLACE TO THE DEVIL.

When we give place to the FLESH and let violent emotions take us then it isn’t long before we “give place to the devil”. God’s people in discord are to recognize that the unbilical cord that ties us together is the Blood of Calvary. We are all sinners saved by grace. None is perfect, and all subject to fail. Problems in the fabric of love are to be addressed by CONVERSATION not by CONDEMNATION.

Where the flesh is the Throne, the Devil sits upon it.

Tell your brother his fault. If he wil hear, you have gained your brother.

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

If the offended brother refuses to have a conversation in love then you are to approach him and attempt to have the same conversation with one or two witnesses. This is not a new precept in the Scripture, for Jesus is just reiterating what God said in the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 19:15-19 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. [16] If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; [17] Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; [18] And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the WITNESS BE A FALSE WITNESS, AND HATH TESTIFIED FALSELY AGAINST HIS BROTHER; [19] THEN SHALL YE DO UNTO HIM, AS HE HAD THOUGHT TO HAVE DONE UNTO HIS BROTHER: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

Did you know that the NINTH COMMANDMENT does not forbid lying, but it forbids FALSE WITNESS? Too many people think that the Ninth Commandment says “Thou shalt not LIE”. It doesn’t. We read:

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not BEAR FALSE WITNESS against thy neighbour.

A “FALSE WITNESS” is what someone is when they say “So and So did this” but they never saw it happen. False witness is wrong for it besmirches someone’s character. Jesus said to us “if your brother will not make amends, take one or two others with you”. These others are WITNESSES to what transpires, and can be called on later in front of the Church as need be. The Apostle Paul used this method even with Churches. He told the hard headed Corinthian Church:

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

He sent this letter to Corinth with two witnesses (Titus and another Christian brother. See 2 Corinthians 12:18). The false witness destroys the fabric of the Church. Jesus continues:

Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

If the one who you are trying to address will not restore the peace then tell it to the Church. Have a public meeting. Bring witnesses. In most cases this will not be necessary, but sometimes it is. If that disruptive person refuses to make peace even after it is brought before the Church “let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Such a person is apparently not saved.

The saved Love.
The saved Love Christ.
The saved Love one Another.
The saved are indwelt by God, Who loves.
Hatred and fighting does not belong in the Family of God.

I have only seen a matter brought before a Church one time in the way described it in the last 47 years that I’ve been a Christian. In that case a man licensed to minister by that Church was maligning his Church. The Pastor, then the Deacons approached the man, who refused to repent. Finally it was brought before the Church. There the man repented, and we celebrated that day, for we were restored to our brother in Christ. That is what God would have us do. Love one another, and lift up one another.

This is the way of Christ.

Matthew 18:18-20 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [19] Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. [20] For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

What Is Essential And Non-Essential?

Jesus tells us that the Church has the power to bind on earth and bind in heaven, to loose on earth and to loose in heaven. What gives the Church power with God and power with man?

It Is Not Big Numbers That Matter Jesus said “if two of you shall agree as touching any thing they shall ask”. This is as small a meeting as you can have. You cannot have a “meeting” with less than two, that is, unless you are insane. When two come together loving God with all their heart, and loving one another as Christ loved them. This tiny meeting is attended by Heaven. When two come together in love to pray together:

Our Father Who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name!
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
One earth as it is in Heaven.

God manifests Himself in that prayer meeting. Big numbers do not matter. On the Day of Pentecost 120 believers were gathered together in an upper room loving God and loving one another – and God added 3000 to the Church that day. Billy Graham never had such a day!

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered

The Type Of Christians Do Not Matter The Lord did not say “Where two or three PREACHERS are gathered together”. The importance of the people is not that they are Seminary educated or well versed in Scripture. It can be two or three of any type of Christian. If these two or three are people who love Christ and who seek to glorify the Father, the Lord is there.

The Location Of The Meeting Does Not Matter Jesus said “WHERE two or three are gathered”. They can meet anywhere, and God will bless them. They can meet in a Church building, or in a home, or even in a barn. I have prayed with Christians before standing in a Walmart, or in the middle of a busy sidewalk. I love the words of William Cowper’s hymn:

Jesus, where’er thy people meet,
there they behold thy mercy-seat;
where’er they seek thee thou art found,
and every place is hallowed ground.
For thou, within no walls confined,
inhabitest the humble mind;
such ever bring thee when they come,
and, going, take thee to their home.

Jesus is with His people when they gather together to worship Him and pray. Jesus told the woman at the well of Samaria:

John 4:21-24 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. [22] Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. [23] But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. [24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

I have been in large Church buildings where Christ could not be found. Why? Because the people did not come together in spirit and in truth to seek Christ. God will be found when you seek Him TOGETHER. God has said …

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

1 Chronicles 28:9 … the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

The Time Of The Meeting Does Not Matter Jesus said “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name”. He did not specify a time that was most importrant, but that His people gather TOGETHER and that His people gather IN HIS NAME. This speaks of AUTHORITY and POWER. When we come together in the obedience of love to seek our Savior then Jesus manifests Himself to us. He promises that…

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.

Jesus only manifests Himself to His Church when we come together in love to the Father and in love to one another. It doesn’t matter WHEN we meet, but HOW we meet. Jesus is in the MIDST of the loving Church. As C.H. Spurgeon said:

Not up in the corner, but here in the midst of them is the Lord. He is the center to which all saints gather. He is the sun in the heavens lighting all. He is the heart in the midst of the body giving life to all its members. “In the midst of them”. Is that not delightful? The Lord Jesus Christ does not come into theasembly of His people to bless the minister only… Like the center of a wheel from which all the spokes radiate, Jesus Christ is the middle of the company.”

This is why harmony is so important in the Church. Not harmony with error, but harmony with love, with God, with one another. The Church building without love is hell on earth. The Christ gathering with love is heaven on earth. Let us affirm one another and walk with Christ in His Kingdom, for His glory forever.

Amen!

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Take It To Jesus

Preached at Riverview Baptist 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia TN May 21 2017

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Matthew 17:14-18 (KJV) And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

The story that we’re going to see today is not just in Matthew 17:14-21, but also in Mark 9:14-29 and Luke 9:37-43. In these accounts a father is reduced to tears. His child has been afflicted with a terrible disease since he was very young.

For the young man to get better one thing had to happen.
One truth stands out.
One action must be done.

To find hope in a hopeless situation the only hope was to heed Jesus and do as He commanded in verse 17:

Bring Him Here To Me
What Is The Background Of The Story?

Jesus had been up on the Mount of Transfiguration. If you were here last Sunday night you know that Jesus was up on the Mountain and, while Peter, James, and John watched, Jesus was transfigured. His clothing shine bright light. His face shined, and the very power of God poured from Him. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mountain. This was not the first time Moses and Elijah stood with Christ on the mountain.

  • Moses Has Been On The Mountain With God. We are told in the Old Testament that Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the Law from God. While on that Mountain Christ gave Israel a Law to live by. This is where the Ten Commandments came from (see Exodus 20). God wrote the Law, and gave it to Moses (Exodus 31:18). When Moses came off the mountain he found the Children of Israel worshiping a golden calf, an idol that they made with the gold and jewelry that God gave them (Exodus 32:19). In a rage Moses threw down the Law, breaking the stone tablets. Moses:

Exodus 32:20 (NKJV) …. took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.

When Moses came off the mountain he confronted idolatry, the worship of false gods. Moses pointed the people back to the God of the Scripture.

  • Elijah Has Been On The Mountain With God. In 1 Kings 18 Elijah confronted idolatry. Queen Jezebel had introduced worship of the devilish god Baal to Israel, a terrible idol that required the sacrifice of children. Elijah stood on the mountain with Christ, and God proved Himself before the people of Israel. Elijah stood before the people and said:

1 Kings 18:21 (NKJV) “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”

Elijah Stood With Christ And Against Idolatry.
Moses Stood With Christ And Against Idolatry.
Peter tried to make idols of Moses and Elijah!
Sometimes we idolize people.
We should not. We should bring everything to Jesus.

While on the Mount of Transfiguration Peter said “Let us build three altars here”. But the Father said:

Matthew 17:5 (KJV) … This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Jesus is the Beloved Son of God – HEAR HIM.
This is what the Father has said.
This is what all Scripture declares.
Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ – HEAR HIM.

Now we come to today’s story. Jesus comes down off the mountain what does He see?

Matthew 17:14 (KJV) And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,

Matthew mentions a multitude is gathered, a large crowd, and they are all standing around a man. Mark tells us more:

Mark 9:14-16 (NKJV) And when He came to the disciples, HE SAW A GREAT MULTITUDE AROUND THEM, AND SCRIBES DISPUTING WITH THEM. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”

There is a CROWD and CONFUSION and EVERY PERSON giving their democratic input on how to fix the problem. The Scribes – often noted in the Gospels as the enemies of Christ – are giving their input. A man has come forward with a problem. What is the problem? We read:

Matthew 17:15 (KJV) Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is LUNATICK, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

Why that’s not a very politically correct thing to say, is it? “My son is a lunatick”. That word “lunatick” (sic) is the Greek σεληνιάζομαι selēniazomai which means “to be moonstruck or affected by the moon”. Some versions translate this as epileptic, but that is NOT a good translation. Dr. John Hughlings Jackson, a British neurologist, discovered Epilepsy and how it affected the human brain. Epilepsy was not known as such in Biblical times. This man said “My son is moon struck” or “out of his mind”. What else did he say?

He is sore vexed. κακῶς kakōs + πάσχω paschō, miserable with evil suffering badly. How bad was this young man?

Matthew 17:15 (KJV) … for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

The young man was self destructive.

Young people today often perform “cutting” on themselves, harming themselves. Many young people take their lives. This is not of God. Why was this young person this way? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. We just know that this person has been hopelessly afflicted for many years. Mark tells us that … he hath a SPIRIT …

Mark 9:18 (NKJV) … wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid.

Where Do We Find Hope In Hopeless Cases?

The man, I am sure, has gone from doctor to doctor. He is at the end of his rope. He tells Jesus:

Matthew 17:16 (KJV) And I brought him to thy disciples, and THEY COULD NOT CURE HIM.

The poor young man is in anguish. He is surely frightened. Can you imagine being taken over, wallowing on the ground, self destructive. The father said “he throws himself often in the fire” and at other times “he throws himself in the water”. He is confused, delirious, hurting. The Bible tells us that:

1 Corinthians 14:33 God is not the Author of confusion, but of peace ..

and

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

This thing that afflicts the young man is clearly not of God. It is indeed a hopeless situation. Where do we often go to resolve hopeless situations? Often we do as this father did. He goes to HUMANS, and seeks out HUMAN REMEDIES. Now praise God, there are many remedies that we have discovered over the years. God made man in His image and after His likeness, and that has made us creative.

I was talking to the volunteers at the information desk of the hospital the other day about the changes we have gone through since I was a child. I remember telephones being attached to a wall by a cord. I remember pay phones, records, and compact disks. I remember a lot of things that no longer are because we humans have grown in technology.

But man is not God.
We can fix much, but there are many things we cannot fix.
But God can.

This father brought his son to Jesus’ disciples, and they could not heal him. Well of course they could not heal him. Jesus sent the disciples out earlier in this Book:

Matthew 10:1 (KJV) And when {Jesus} had called unto him his twelve disciples, HE GAVE THEM POWER AGAINST UNCLEAN SPIRITS, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

But now the Disciples cannot cast out what is afflicting this young man. Why? Because the Disciples themselves do not have the power to do anything. It is Jesus Who gives the power. It is Jesus that has the authority.

Oh dear friends, so often we forget this. If we will be blessed, then it must be because we are attached to Jesus. Jesus said:

Matthew 18:20 (NKJV) For where two or three are GATHERED TOGETHER IN MY NAME, I am there in the midst of them.

Oh, how we need Jesus!
Our Blessed Hope is the Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ!
We have nothing if Jesus is not with us.

When Jesus went up on the mountain with Peter, James, and John the nine Disciples left in the valley needed to understand that their power was not their power. The only power is that of Christ. Jesus told His Church before He ascended unto Heaven:

Matthew 28:18-20 ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME in heaven and on earth. 19 GO therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU; and lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, even to the end of the age. Amen.

The power is of Christ. You can know doctrine, and you should know doctrine. You can know scripture, and you should know scripture. I have known a lot of people who know a lot of stuff like the Scribes did. But the power is of Christ.

There are many times in our lives when we may be brought to our knees like this father. Things confront us that take away our breath. We perhaps have cried out like Job, saying

Job 7:16 (NKJV) I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, For my days are but a breath.

What a horrible thing to be in a place where life is no longer a blessing. To cry …

Lamentations 3:7-8 (NKJV) He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy. 8 Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer.

When we are overwhelmed by life, where do we go? We must go to Jesus. We must go to Him Who loved us enough to take our sins on Himself. We must go to Him Who dying on Calvary, died with us in mind. We must go to Him and Him alone.

We Must Bring It To Jesus

When Jesus heard the father’s predicament He said:

Matthew 17:17 (KJV) Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

Who is Jesus addressing? Not just the father of the child. He is addressing all who are standing there. He is speaking to the unbelievers in the crowd. He is speaking to the apparent Scribes and Pharisees who are standing there. He is speaking to the disciples that have been with Him for at least two years now. He says to all standing there:

O FAITHLESS and PERVERSE Generation!

“Faithless”? Why are they “faithless”? Did they not try and do something. I tell you America, faith in the wrong person is not faith at all. In order for faith to be valuable it must be placed in the Person of God.

Faith is only as good as WHAT backs it.
Faith is only as good as WHO backs it.
Jesus said “Have faith IN GOD” (Mark 11:22)

Our faith must be in God. The Bible teaches us that

1 Corinthians 2:5 … faith must not rest on HUMAN WISDOM but on the POWER OF GOD

Jesus called the crowd that stood around this poor father “faithless” because their faith was everywhere but up. Jesus also called them “perverse”. This is the Greek διαστρέφω diastrephō which means “that which is distorted or perverse”. That which places faith in man is distorted. It is like worshiping a golden calf or a false god named Baal. Only God is God. Only Jesus is Christ. The problem this young man has will not be resolved by man, but God can fix it if you take it to Him. Jesus said:

Bring him to Me

The great preacher C.H. Spurgeon said: “Jesus Christ expects us to treat Him as a living, powerful, interposing One, and to confide in Him as such. … We leave some cases, and give them up instead of presenting them constantly to Him; we limit the Holy One of Israel; we grieve His Spirit, and vex His holy mind; but if, as children trust their father, we would trust in Jesus unstaggeringly with an Abrahamic faith, believing that what He has promised He is able to also to perform, then we would see even cases as that before us brought into the light of day …”

In the parallel Gospel the father says to Jesus …

Mark 9:22 (KJV) … IF thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

Jesus, can You help him? Have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus throws that IF back at the father, saying

Mark 9:23 (KJV) … IF thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

IF you can believe – have faith in Christ – then all things are possible to him that believes. For years the father has deposited the coin of faith in different banks, just as we do today. We have faith in false gods, humanity, humanism, medicine, technology, idol after idol. But now this father turns to Jesus and puts his faith in Him Who is able to do anything. The father cries out:

Mark 9:24 (KJV) …. and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Lord, I believe, but my faith is pitiful. Nevertheless have faith in Christ. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Nevertheless have faith in God. Have faith in Christ.

Mark 11:22-26 (KJV) Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Faith in God is to not only believe He can, but to live His Word. The father brought his son to Christ. What will Jesus do? Jesus will bless him.

Matthew 17:18 (KJV) … And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Some say “that wasn’t a devil, but epilepsy”.
Believe that if you will, but the Bible says “the devil departed out of him”.
Others say “but doesn’t the text seem to describe epilepsy?”
Does it? But what does the text say? Where is your faith?
Is it in what the Scripture says, or what someone else says?
Faith in the wrong cup is not faith at all.

Let us believe the Word of God.
Let us put our faith in Jesus.
Have faith in God.

The disciples came to Jesus later and asked:

Matthew 17:19 (KJV) …. Why could not we cast him out?

Jesus said:

Matthew 17:20-21 (KJV) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Misplaced belief is no belief at all. Misplaced faith is perverted. Our focus is to be on Jesus. Our eyes are to be on Him. Do you believe Him for salvation? Have you received Him as Lord and Savior? Do you reckon yourselves to live forever because He died for you? Do you believe He has risen from the dead, ever to live and make intercession for us. Do you believe in Him?

You may say with this father, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” If you will just bring what you have and invest it in Christ you will be saved. If you will just trust Him and believe what He has said you shall have eternal life. Jesus ends with:

This kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.

Prayer to Him is answered. Fasting or self denial for His sake is honored. Believe Him. Receive Him. Give all to Him. May Christ bless you richly.

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On The Mountain With Jesus

Preached At Riverview Baptist The Evening Of May 14, 2017
798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

1

Matthew 17:1-9  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  [2]  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  [3]  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.  [4]  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.  [5]  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  [6]  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  [7]  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.   [8]  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  [9]  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 

Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain with Him.

Why didn’t Jesus take all the disciples with Him?

Because He was grooming LEADERS.

Peter Is The Chief APOSTLE

James will be the PASTOR of the Church at Jerusalem

John would write the majority of the New Testament for Christ

God’s Leaders Must Be With Jesus

God’s Leaders must focus on Jesus. God wants you to be a leader, a world changer, but your focus must always be Jesus. The Apostle wrote:

Hebrews 2:9-10 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

We see Jesus. We follow Jesus. We follow Him through the storm. We keep our eyes on Him. We are His followers – not followers of the world or of popular opinion, but of Jesus.

Jesus Is The Leader, We The Followers

Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus TAKETH Peter

Six days prior to this event Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He was going to the Cross. Jesus told Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan, for you do not savor the things that be of God”. Peter failed Jesus, but still when Jesus starts to take a road trip up the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus still takes Peter with Him.

God knows there are going to be times when we fail, but God wants us to keep on trying. After Jesus called Peter “Satan” Peter could have walked away mad. Peter didn’t. He received the rebuke and, though he may not have understood it, he continued to lovingly follow Jesus.

Those who want to be blessed must be willing to lovingly follow Jesus.

Jesus knew that there would be times we would fail. The Bible says that:

1 John 3:20 (KJV) … if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

God knows all things. Jesus knew that King David – a man after His own heart – would fail Him with Bathsheba. God knew that Moses would strike the Rock, that Elijah would run in terror from Jezebel, that Samson would get a bad haircut from Delilah, and that Peter would betray Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.

Isaiah 46:9-11 (KJV) … I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV) O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

God never gave up on Peter, and He will never give up on you. Peter is mentioned FIRST not LAST. We also read:

Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  

Jesus TAKETH Peter, James, and John. Christ takes us to the mountain. We have no power to go into the mountain of God by ourselves. We have no ability to get there but by Christ, but by God.

God must take us by the hand and lead us.

Psalm 3:3 NASB But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

Psalms 40:1-2 …. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. [2] He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

Habakkuk 3:18-19 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION. [19] The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Those people who are God’s people are to learn to wait upon the Lord. To listen for His Voice. To heed His direction. Jesus did not MAKE Peter, James, and John come with Him. He bid them come, and they heard His Voice. Peter, James and John did not lead Jesus up the Mount of Transfiguration. He called, and they answered. He led, and they followed.

Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalms 37:34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

Waiting on the Lord does NOT mean to lay down and do nothing. It means to seek His face. It means to follow Him and listen to His Voice. It means to let Him lead your hearts as you submit to His Word and His love.

Jesus Is Manifest To Us When We Follow Him

The casual or nominal believer may be saved, but there is no deep blessing for them. To be deeply blessed of Christ you must follow Christ. Peter, James, and John were taken by Jesus up a mountain. We read:

Matthew 17:2 {Jesus} was TRANSFIGURED before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 

Did Jesus change, or were their eyes opened?

The word “transfigured” is the Greek μεταμορφόω metamorphoō, which means “to undergo metamorphosis, to change into that which you will be”. When Christ walked among men He seemed as a man, just like us. But it was on the mountaintop of obedience that Christ was revealed as Who He is. This same word is used in:

Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  [2]  And be not conformed to this world: but BE YE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, …

Be ye TRANSFORMED” is also the Greek μεταμορφόω metamorphoō. Did Jesus change, or did the disciples change? I believe that Jesus was always Jesus, but as they followed Him in obedience they began to see Jesus as He is.

His face did shine as the sun. Jesus Christ is the manifest Shekinah glory of God, the Dawn from on High Who visits us” as we are told in Luke 1:78.

His rainment (clothing) was as white as the light. Jesus Christ is holy, righteous, and pure. This is no mere Man, but God become Man. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) For our sake {God the Father} made {Christ} to be sin who knew no sin, so that in {Christ} we might become the righteousness of God.

(Hebrews 7:26 ESV) … high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Jesus Christ is revealed on the Mountain as Who He is. He is God manifest. He shines. And as He stands on the Mountain, two of His Generals appear by His side:

Matthew 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them MOSES AND ELIJAH TALKING WITH HIM.

The Law And The Prophets Are Fulfilled In Christ

Jesus is shining. His clothing – a common one piece robe made probably by His mother – is transformed into a brilliant light such as no one has ever seen. This is highly symbolic. When the common touches the uncommon Christ, it too becomes uncommon. His clothing shines. Then Elijah and Moses show up. Are they shining too? No, the text doesn’t tell us this.

Only Jesus is shining – like He is spotlighted …

and Elijah and Moses are talking with Jesus!!!

They are not commanding Jesus.

They are CONSULTING Jesus.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

The Jews called their Old Testament “The Law and the Prophets”. Elijah represents the Prophets because he was the greatest Old Testament Prophet. When the Jews celebrated the Passover Meal they always set a place for Elijah, for Elijah never died. The Elders taught that the end of time would not be until Elijah came.

Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus is a picture of the Law and the Prophets talking to Jesus. The Law and the Prophets were submitted to Jesus. Jesus is spotlighted, but the Law and the Prophets are not.

The Law and the Prophets pointed to Jesus. All of Scripture points to Jesus. But it is Jesus Who takes us to the mountaintop, to the place where we can hear God. Jesus said:

Luke 16:16 The LAW AND THE PROPHETS were until John {the Baptist}: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

The Law and the Prophets spoke of Christ. When Jesus went on that mountaintop the Apostle Paul wrote:

Romans 3:20-25 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. [21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the LAW AND THE PROPHETS; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

When Jesus stood on that mountaintop the mountain did not glow, but Jesus did.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

He is the One that these Two Witnesses testified of.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Jesus is the Subject. Jesus is the Son. Jesus is the Christ that the Law and the Prophets witnessed. God drives this point home through the impetuousness of Peter.

Matthew 17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

Peter is like many of us who do not know when to stop talking. There are times when we just need to listen to God. The Law and the Prophets are two witnesses, testifying to the uniqueness of Christ. Peter, James, and John are on the mountain:

not for a business meeting,

not for a church social,

not to fellowship with one another,

nor to be entertained.

They are to SEE JESUS.

Do you know why people come to Church?

On March 9-29 of 2017 the Gallup Organization asked people why they attend Church. People come for a variety of reasons, but the number one overwhelming reason was to hear the Word of God and apply it to their lives.

Matthew_17_1t13_On_The_Mountain

not to get involved in drama,

nor to listen to disruption from unruly members,

nor even to see the cute baby!

People come to see Jesus. They come to hear from God. This is what we all need in this desperate, sin ravaged world. People need the guidance that only Jesus can give through His Word. The top reasons are, and this is directly from Gallup:

Peter said “Jesus, let’s make THREE TABERNACLES”. He didn’t know what he was saying. The Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) was important, but Christ is the most important. The Law and the Prophets testify of Christ. The Scripture points to Christ.

And the seeking world wants to hear of Jesus.

Almost before Peter stops speaking Another Witness speaks up.

We read:

Matthew 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

The Law and the Prophets cannot be understood apart from Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Father’s Beloved Son. He is the One we come here to hear about. Jesus is the Messiah, THE Messiah. He is the One that the Law and Prophets foretold. He is the One Savior that God promised He would send.

It’s all about Jesus!

Not the Jesus of your imagination, but the Jesus of Scripture, the Jesus Who defines Scripture.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The Gift of God is Jesus Christ. To be saved is to receive Jesus as He is. To be redeemed is to love the Redeemer. To worship the Father you must come through the Son. To be well pleasing to God, you must love and obey the Well Pleasing Jesus.

Do you know Him?

Oh that everyone who reads or hears this would receive Him, for only through Him can you be on the Mountain with God!

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