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To follow Christ

Matthew 16:24 (TS2009)
24 Then יהושע said to His taught ones, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow Me.

AND FOLLOW ME:

“Of the three things enjoined, the last is a vital thing: to follow. The other two are utterly essential because through the essential you achieve that which is vital. The reason is this. You can approve, and not follow. You can applaud and not follow. You can understand and preach, without following. You can defend the Truth pugnaciously, without following. You can tire yourself out on busy works – without following.. The central thing is the denial of self. It is utterly radical. Denial of self is the inward thing. Taking up the cross daily is the external manifestation of the inward condition. To talk of it is not to realize it. To write about it is not to achieve it. The use of the word ‘daily’ emphasizes that it is not just a theory but something that is real and practical; facing squarely every new circumstance; confronting bravely every impediment; grasping joyfully every new opportunity. In practice it means giving unhindered access to the Master into every chamber and esp into every dark corner. To think of that possibility might make us feel ashamed but at the same time it may do us good” (GD).

“The sentiment that Christ’s righteousness alone is to be the basis of our acceptance, is one of the countless and pernicious corruptions of clerical theology. It doubtless originated in the misapplication of a certain element of apostolic truth, namely that which informs us that all are under sin, and that our salvation is not of works; but through the righteousness of faith that is in Christ. Men have long ceased to perceive that this principle applies only to unjustified sinners, and not to those who have been placed in a justified or forgiven position, through the obedience of faith. Christ is righteousness for sinners in this sense, that God offers to forgive them for Christ’s sake, and to grant them a coheirship with Christ, of what Christ, as a manifestation of God, has achieved for himself. But when sinners become saints, they come into relation to a new principle. They are responsible to him as servants to a master, and he will judge them according to their works” (SC 164).

“The cross is the symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of the human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life redirected. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing. It slew all of the man completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. it struck swift and hard and when it had finished its work the man was no more. That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of man is false to the Bible and cruel to the soul of the hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world. It intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our life up on to a higher plane. We leave it at a cross. The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die. That is the beginning of the gospel” (AWT).

“To give my life for Christ appears glorious. To pour myself out for others.. to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom – ‘I’ll do it. I’m ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.’

“We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table – ‘Here’s my life, Lord. I’m giving it all.’ But the reality for most of us is that he sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. We go through life putting out 25 cents here and 50 cents there. Listen to the neighbor kid’s troubles instead of saying, ‘Get lost.’ Go to a committee meeting. Give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home.

“Usually giving our life to Christ isn’t glorious. It’s done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time. It would be easy to go out in a flash of glory; it’s harder to live the Christian life little by little over the long haul” (F Craddock).

I think it wouldn’t be going too far to say that there IS a discernible reason for every commandment which we are given.. and that that reason leads, without too much delay or detour, right back to the Atonement.

Christ’s sacrifice is not just about blood, and sweat, and tears.. and it is not just about the cross on that dreadful, but wonderful, day.

It is – and we all know this! – about the life he lived every day, every hour, before he arrived, finally, at that cross. Because it was his own unique life, built up day by day, with the building blocks of a thousand moments of ten thousand days, that made his cross meaningful.

Thousands of Jewish men died on thousands of Roman crosses across the length and breadth of Israel. But only one man died a sacrificial, atoning death on a cross. Because he was the perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish.

So Christ’s sacrifice is really about a life of many choices, each one in one way or another a choice to deny himself, and his own will, and to serve his Father, and his Father’s will.

A lifetime of choices made the final choice – of the cross itself – a choice of cosmic significance.. a choice which resonates to this day, and echoes in our lives.

The essence of sacrifice is denial of self. And if we choose Christ and his cross, then we are also choosing denial of self.. as a way of life. It is the hardest choice we can make, but it is the most rewarding. Allowed to work in our lives, that commitment and that choice will change us.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his life? Or what can a man give in exchange for his life?’ ” (Mat 16:24-26).

We could run down a list of Christ’s commandments, and the commandments passed along by the apostles as well, and ask:

‘How does this relate to the Atonement?’

And in every case, I venture to suggest, we shall find the answer – and the meaningful example for us, of HOW to keep the commandment, and WHY we should keep it – in the “living sacrifice” of Christ.

Do we wonder why we are commanded this, for example?:

“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Mat 5:39-42).

Well, of course, reason enough to do this – or (let’s be honest) to try very, very hard – is that Christ has commanded it. But was it just an otherwise pointless requirement plucked out of the air:

‘Let’s test them with this one, while we are at it’?

Of course not. We are told not to resist evil because Christ did not resist evil. And Christ did not resist evil because he had committed himself, wholeheartedly, to his Father who would ultimately judge rightly (1Pe 2:23). If we believe that that final judgment of our Father is sure and certain and righteous, then what does it matter if evil ones misuse us today, or tomorrow, or all the rest of our lives? God will set it right. What does it matter if we lose our coat, or our time, or our creature comforts – the loss of those things which we might hold dear will only reinforce to our minds the one thing that we MUST hold MOST dear – which no thief or bully or evil circumstance can take away from us:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?.. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom 8:31-32; Rom 8:35).

And suppose the “cross” we are called to bear at this very moment is not the loss of property, or health, or loved ones.. the terrible losses that Job, for example, bore? Suppose the “cross” we are called to bear at this very moment is.. simply.. the harsh word spoken to us, or the little slight we experience, or the brief delay because some driver cut us off in traffic, or the tiny barb that pricks our pride?

Maybe the “cross” that we are called to bear, right now, is not the great mountain of difficulty that looms in front of us.. but the little grain of sand in our shoe!

How do we respond? Do we give harsh word for harsh word, little grumble for silly slight, little whispered curse for minor inconvenience? Do we recoil at the least threat to our pride, or the least questioning of our intelligence, or our strength, or our goodness, or our wisdom?

Or.. do we recall that “even Christ did not please himself” (Rom 15:3)? And do we therefore “turn the other cheek” to the little slap, the little needle, the little attack – even if, and especially if, it comes from a brother or sister?

If we do, and when we do, then we are “living the atonement” in our lives.

Through fits and starts, and stops and blind alleys, sometimes failing but sometimes succeeding, we are learning to be, even in the small things of our lives, “living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1-2).

But the trouble with “living sacrifices” is that – as one writer put it

– “they keep crawling down off the altar”.

°°°

Lord, help me to hold on to your altar, and “die a little bit” every day, so that I might show forth your death until you return.

°°°

Agora on New Testament readings

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Preceding

Meaning of Sacrifice

We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

Demanding signs or denying yourself

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Additional reading

  1. John 4 exhortation: The one that broke the mould
  2. Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake
  3. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ??
  4. The Atonement in Type and Antitype 1 Sacrifices and High Priests
  5. Many were made sinners through one man and justified by one man
  6. Faith coming by hearing and sent preacher gift from God
  7. Redemption #3 The imperfect animal sacrifice
  8. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  9. Redemption #5 The perfect sacrifice
  10. Redemption #6 Partaking his sacrifice
  11. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  12. A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection
  13. To sacrifice our being for Christ
  14. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  15. Vision blurred by cumulative burden of divisions
  16. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Wanting to live in Christ’s city

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Related

  1. The Journey Begins
  2. Cut the Ballast!
  3. January 23, 2018: “Denial”
  4. Sent Into A Hostile World
  5. Take up our crosses and follow him
  6. 7 Traits Godly Women Must Have Before Meeting Mr. Right
  7. The Christian’ willingness to follow Christ
  8. Follower of Christ
  9. Don’t Follow Me
  10. Follow the Son
  11. You are Called.
  12. When Life Gets Dark and Dreary – 1 Nephi 8:3-11
  13. Christ Is The Light Of The World.
  14. Our lord’s way – our way is the way of the cross
  15. Take Up Your Cross And Follow Christ
  16. Behold the Lamb of God
  17. Why The Phrase “God Can Only Judge Me” is Toxic to the Soul

Demanding signs or denying yourself

Matthew 16:1-4

We have read in the account of the evangelist Matthew (chapter 16) how once again Jesus was tested and how the Sadducees and Pharisees expressed what many people today also want to see, namely signs of Jesus and/or signs of God.

The religious leaders asked Jesus for a sign from heaven. They wanted proof that Jesus was sent from God (Matthew 16:1). Today there are still many who doubt Jesus was sent by God. There are lots of people who have made Jesus into their god but still are not quite sure what to believe and for sure do not really follow him.

At the beginning of our era the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua was in the midst of the chosen people of God. They had enough scrolls with ancient writings from sent ones from God or prophets who told about the man who would come to save the world. The son of man Jeshua or Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cleansed lepers, cast out demons, and preached with astounding authority. It seemed not enough to come to see he was a special man with special gifts which could only come from the Most High God above all gods.  What more did they want?

For those who could see that preacher and miracle maker, many did not come to realise the Son of God was standing right in front of them. Today a lot of people still can not see who Jesus really is.

A member of a small country Missionary Baptist Church who calls himself

a regular guy, who loves God and God’s Word. {About Me}

got to see how Jesus was

not a shy retiring type of man who always spoke words designed to make everyone feel “included.” {Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him}

and writes

He sometimes told it just as it was, without mincing words. He rebuked evil and demanded obedience. No one was excluded from following, but those who chose to do so found the company to be exclusive. {Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him}

Jesus knew for what reason he was here on earth. He knew very well his chosen position and wanted to do God His Will instead of following his own will. Naturally in case Jesus would have been God than Jesus would always have done His own will. But Jesus knew he had to deny himself and asked the same of his followers. They too had to become one with him and one with his God, the God of Israel, Who is Only One God Who is One and God of gods.

Jesus was willing to give his life for others and required this too from those around him. Jesus said to his disciples and to the people around him

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” {Matthew 16:24}

Anyone who wants to call himself “Christian” should followChristJeshua the Messiah. We must know it is not so easy as many think because discipleship is costly. As followers of Christ Jesus we must deny ourself [set aside selfish interests], and “take up his cross (or his stake)” [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow him, which mean we have to believe in him and be conforming to his example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in him. That last bit may be not something we have to face in these times, but in several countries many believers still have to do, plus it can well be we shall have to face a time where it shall happen or that we shall be tested in very fearful circumstances.

After Jesus had died and had shown himself after his resurrection, the apostle Paul was ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the master Jesus. {Acts 21:13} His knowledge of Christ led Paul to reassess the ways of truly pleasing and serving God. His re-evaluation indicates the profound and lasting effect of his experience of the meaning of Christ on the way to Damascus some twenty years before (Gal 1:15–16; Acts 9:1–22). He therefore wrote

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. {Philippians 3:7}

What are the things you would not mind counting a loss or to consider as worthless for Christ, with the knowledge that Christ has shown you that what you once thought was valuable is worthless. We are surrounded with a lot of materials which seem to be very valuable, costing a lot. Lots of people give a lot of attention to what they have and like to show off their earthly goods. Today there is not so much interest in Jesus or in God.

For those who are interested in Jesus, the majority consider him to be God and do not see that he is the sent one and the anointed one from God (Moshiach; Mashiach; Messiah; Kristos or Christ). Jesus is anointed to be ‘King‘ in the Kingdom of God. This is a huge deal and a turning point for the disciples of which Peter recognised him as the Kristos or Christ and said

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” {Matthew 16:16}

Those who want to call themselves Christian should, like the apostles, grasp that Jeshua or Jesus of Nazareth is Messiah, or recognise Jesus as the Kristos – Christ or Messiah and as the son of the Living God. At the same time they should try to come to live and to be like Christ and should take him as their foundation of the church (not Peter). Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 3:11 ,tells us:

“For other foundation can no man lay, then that is laid, which is”,

not Simon Peter, but Jesus Christ.

“No other foundation can man lay, but that which is”.

From the early Messianic writings we learn the disciples of Christ talked about the gatherings they had and of small groups or congregations that formed. Jesus wanted that people became united under him and would come together to congregate, to gather, to meet as brothers and sisters. At their meetings they had to learn about the Word of God, studying the Scriptures. That would be the best way to come to learn the truth and to have a thoroughly grounded faith. And the roots have to go deep and become strong. Therefore each member in the group has to help the others. One of the difficulties being not to focus any-more on the worldly goods and aspects but on the heavenly matters.

The biggest thing Jesus wants from us is….us. As we grow in faith we put what we think we want aside, and come to see what He wants. Ultimately we will come to desire the same for ourselves as He desires for us. {Jesus’ Challenge To Follow Him}

To get to know what Jesus wants we have to read the gospels and learn from them. In a certain way it is also a matter of wanting to become a slave Of Jesus instead of being a slave of this world. When you want to call yourself a Christian you too should want to become a disciple, which means to be a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of Jeshua (Jesus Christ), making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28) but they had entered a lot of human teachings and rules in their teachings, like the contemporary churches also have done. The majority of so called Christian churches give more importance on human teachings and church doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines. As members of such churches people, like in the time of Jesus, are also confronted with the choice they should make.

The church in our Western capitalist society a is undergoing historical realignment. Until recently Christians have been divided mostly along denominational lines. But now Christian denominations are dividing within themselves between those who believe the Bible and those who do not.

Today we are confronted by the same choice the disciples of Jesus  and the people around Jesus had. We can either keep following those who keep to human doctrines and heathen rites or go for those who want to follow Jesus in all aspects. We can see that those who trust Scripture are now a remnant in many denominations. In some cases they are leaving their institutions behind because they can no longer participate in the disobedient course being taken by spiritually darkened leaders.

Our times are characterized by increasing scepticism towards God’s word and expanding secularism in every facet of life. As a result, biblical illiteracy is growing by leaps and bounds, and church participation is faltering.

We should know that Jesus should be our most important teacher, but that all the words of the other prophets are also of importance and that we, like Jesus, should always follow God’s Word and do the Will of God.

Though we can not be a direct disciple of Jesus, by his teachings, given to us by the Bible, we have enough instructions and guidance to become a real follower.

Christian discipleship is summed up in the Great Commission. After the resurrection and before Jesus ascended into heaven, the master teacher appeared one last time to his disciples (they were eleven in number at that time, since Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus and hanged himself). Christ had given such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as made their faith to triumph over doubts. He now solemnly commissioned the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations. This is the moment that he delivered the famous calling for disciples known as The Great Commission:

18 Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all 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 I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Amen. {Matthew 28:18-20}

Christian discipleship continued to grow when the followers of Jesus gathered in Jerusalem and Peter outlined criteria for selecting a twelfth disciple to replace Judas Iscariot. The Scripture says they drew lots and the lot fell to Matthias. These men, who had previously been disciples, or followers of Jesus, were now to become apostles, or messengers. Their intention was to spread the Word, and beginning with Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and indwelt them for the first time, they did! (See Acts 1 and 2.) The purpose of the church of Christ is to teach the words of Jesus and bring unbelievers to belief in Christ as their Lord and Saviour; baptizing them, and teaching them to lead other unbelievers to saving faith in Jesus. A Godly environment of each community or church is key to the good health and continued success of the congregation.

even when you are only with a few nothing should resist to come together in somebodies house, like the first Christians did. They gathered in private as well in public houses. We too still can hold a gathering in our own house or find a place to meet with others. No matter our nationality, gender or bloodline we can call others to join us in peace to study the Word of God and to praise the Most High. We should spread the message of Christ and get others to believe they should have faith in the sent one from God.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. {John 3:16-17 New International Version}.

We should show to others the one who can be a light for everybody. We can proof to them that when they together with us want to follow Jesus they don’t have to walk in darkness any more, because they will have the light that leads to life. {John 8:12}

Thanks to the faithfulness of those apostles, who clearly understood their role as messengers of Christ, we have their gospels and letters to go by. Later, when Paul was added to their number (by virtue of his Road to Damascus encounter with the risen Christ), he wrote letters to all the churches he helped create. These books and letters became part of the New Testament of God’s Word, and unlike those first disciples, we have all of Christ’s instructions at our fingertips!

Sharing the message of Jesus we can give everybody around us the opportunity to come to see that Jesus is the way to God and God’s ultimate means of revealing Himself to us.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. {Hebrews 1:3 New International Version}

We have Jesus now as our mediator between God and us. We need no other mediator between God and us. He is also our best high priest. For making “church” we all have to work together in the spirit of Christ. Our faith in Jesus and in his heavenly Father should be the fuel that keeps our aircraft of our life flying.

With faith, you are on the go, there is no stumbling block on the way. All mountains are made plains. {Understanding the power of faith}

United as brethren and sisters, as sons and daughters of God, you shall find you shall be able to accomplish more than on your own. Surrounded by big institutions or well-known denominational churches it demands courage to step out of them and to go for a smaller church or just for meeting with other people who prefer just to keep to the inspired and infallible Word of God. But be sure it pays to choose the right path and to believe in the sent of God who gave his life for sinful humanity.

Are you a person who wants more signs than the one God has given the world? Do you need other proofs that Jesus is the sent one from God, His only begotten son, who by giving his life brought salvation by paying the full ransom price?

Are you preferring to belong to the main churches which keep to human doctrines, feasts and rites, or do you prefer to follow Jesus and keep to the God given feasts and rituals?

Are you willing to keep following the world or willing to follow Jesus?

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Preceding

Ezekiel 18:4 – What the Bible teaches about Soul and Spirit

More than just a man with authority of speaking

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

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Additional reading

  1. Jehovah God Almighty greater than all gods
  2. What sort people of faith do we want to be
  3. Truth, doubt or blindness
  4. Knowing The Truth and Loving The Truth
  5. The true light in recorded words
  6. A Book to trust #2 Book of Truth
  7. A Book to trust #6 True God and true words
  8. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  9. Messianic prophesies 1 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
  10. Messianic prophesies 2 Adversary – Root of the first prophecy
  11. Fog, brass and light for the eyes
  12. The Right One to follow and to worship
  13. Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special
  14. Concerning Christ #1 A god or the God, a son of man and son of God
  15. Concerning Christ #2 Divine source, connection and divine human being
  16. The sent one from God
  17. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  18. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  19. What Jesus did: First things first
  20. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  21. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  22. A call easy to understand
  23. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  24. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  25. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  26. Fellowship
  27. Seeds and weeds for being the greatest nation
  28. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  29. Jesus, A way given to find the right way to God
  30. Authority given to him To give eternal life
  31. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  32. That everyone may honour the Son and sent one from God
  33. Thought for Wednesday Believe in the one God has sent
  34. The saviour Jesus his human side
  35. Not being saved by faith in Christ alone
  36. Memorizing wonderfully 70: Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God
  37. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  38. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  39. Memorizing wonderfully 42 Equality with God & doing nothing of himself
  40. Memorizing wonderfully 44 Showing the works from his Father
  41. Memorizing wonderfully 46 Believe in the sent one from God, who is the Way to God
  42. Memorizing wonderfully 49 John 17:1-11 The sent one from God and eternal life
  43. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  44. Our life depending on faith
  45. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  46. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news
  47. An atoneless religious system or a hope giving religious system
  48. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  49. Christianity primarily a matter of imitation
  50. United people under Christ
  51. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  52. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  53. A House for God in our 21st century

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Related

  1. You are Invited
  2. The Set Up
  3. Sent by Christ; March 27, 2018
  4. 15th Sunday of the Year: Sent by God for work in the world.
  5. 15th Sunday of the Year: Called by God. Catholic Inspiration
  6. Are You Willing to Submit Your Will to God?
  7. Submitting Your Will to God Simplifies Your Life
  8. God First, Then Extras
  9. Discipleship
  10. Why Discipleship Weirds Me Out
  11. The Tree of Life: thoughts on discipleship and roots
  12. “Evangelism” or “telling God’s story”?
  13. A Worthy Life
  14. Out of the Abundance of the Heart
  15. Saved, healed and delivered
  16. Grasping the Gospel
  17. Get Down With the Program, Preacher!
  18. When Process Stops So Progress Can Happen
  19. The Theology of Jesus: Part 9 Ecclesiology
  20. Christ Is The Light Of The World.
  21. Following Jesus
  22. Take Up Your Cross And Follow Christ
  23. Lenten readings – Christ is the way to the light – the truth and the life
  24. Follow, Carry the Cross

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:13-20 – Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

|| Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21

MT16:13 Upon arriving in the area of Caesarea Philippi[1] Jesus asked his disciples, “Whom do people say[2] the Son of Humankind is?” MT16:14 The disciples answered, “Some: John the Baptist;[3] others: Elijah;[4] still others: Jeremiah[5] or one of the prophets.” MT16:15 Jesus asked them, “But, you [disciples], who do you think me to be?”[6] MT16:16 Simon Peter responded, “You are the Messiah,[7] the Son of The Living God!”[8] MT16:17 Jesus replied to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah,[9] because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you,[10] rather it was my heavenly Father. MT16:18 And so I tell you: You are Peter[11] and upon this rock[12] I will build my Church[13] and the gates of Hades[14] will never triumph[15] over it! MT16:19 I will give you[16] [Peter] the keys of the Realm[17] of Heaven. What ever you [Peter] bind on earth[18] will be bound[19] in heaven, and whatever you release[20] upon earth will be released in heaven.” MT16:20 Then Jesus gave the disciples a rebuke[21] so that they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.[22]

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[1] Caesarea Philippi: After 70 AD, General Titus held gladiatorial shows here. He used captured Jews as victims [The Jewish War, VII, 23, 24 (ii, 1)]. The name was changed (after 70 AD) to its older name Paneas. In Arabic this became Banyas. The use of Caesar Philippi would argue the Gospel of Matthew would have had to be written before 70 AD. See the book The Jesus Papyrus. Josephus describes a deep cave filled with still water that is the spring source of the Jordan river. It was turned into royal gardens.

[2] Whom do people say: What is the talk or gossip among the crowds? The time has approached for Jesus to begin to declare himself more clearly to his disciples.

[3] John the Baptist: Compare Matthew 14:2 and Luke 9:7. Herod thought John so great he may well return from the dead.

[4] Elijah: Jesus is to explain this later. Compare Malachi 4:5.

[5] Jeremiah: Some Jews thought Jeremiah had taken the Ark of the Covenant and hid it on Mount Nebo. Tradition had it before Messiah appeared Jeremiah would return with the Ark (See 2 Maccabees 2:1-12; 2 Esdras 2:18).

[6] Who do you think me to be: After more than a year or two of association with Jesus he asks for their opinion as to his identity. Peter speaks for the apostles.

[7] You are the Messiah: Or, the Christ, that is, The Christened (Anointed) One. Likely the original in Hebrew would have been Ma·shi’ach. This designation is drawn from Psalm 2:1, Isaiah 61:1, and Daniel 9:26.

[8] The Son of The Living God: Nowhere does Peter suspect that Jesus was God Himself. Everywhere he is the “Son of The God” – the same conclusion reached by John 20:31. Peter writes later about a further confirmation of the Sonship of Christ (2 Peter 1:17). The idea of God’s Son is drawn largely from Psalm 2:6, 7 and Psalm 89:26 (Compare 2 Samuel 7:14).

[9] Simon Bar-jonah: Or, Son of Jonah. The “Bar” in place of “Ben” hints to an Aramaic original. Peter’s full name in Aramaic. “Simon” is related to the Hebrew root “hear” or “listen.”

[10] Reveal this to you: The Greek for “reveal” is APECALYPSEN. This could have been revealed to Peter by understanding, for example, Psalm 2:1, 7 (a text he later quotes in Acts 4:24f) where the Christ is also the Son of God. Additionally, he had been eyewitness to the miracles of Jesus.

[11] You are Peter: The Greek is the masculine “Rock.” Or, NEB: Peter, the Rock; TCNT: Peter, a rock.

[12] This rock: Or, TCNT: Your name is Peter, a rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church; WMS: your name from now on is to be Peter, Rock, and on a massive rock like this I will build my Church; MON: you are Petros (a rock), and on this petra (rock) I will build my church. The Greek has PETRA here, the feminine of Petros. Some view this as Peter (Barclay), other’s Christ (Augustine). The Catholic view is that the Church would be built upon the rock Peter. Some Protestants make much of the masculine and feminine differences of the two words (PETROS, PETRA). However, the context seems directed at Peter in these verses; and, the facts in Acts indicate Peter’s prominence in presenting the Evangel to first the Jews, then the Samaritans, and, finally, the Non-Jews (Galatians 2:7).

[13] I will build my Church: The Greek ECCLESIA is recognizable throughout Europe as the word for a “church.” Some render it “congregation” or “assembly.” The word means EK(=out)KALEO(=call). The old Scottish word “church” is from KIRK an Anglicization of the Greek KYRIOS (Lord).

[14] The gates of Hades: Research the word HADES for details. Or, KJV: hell; GDSP: powers of death; LAM: doors of Sheol. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:50-55.

[15] Never triumph: Or, KJV: no prevail; GDSP: not subdue; WMS: never overthrow; WEY: no triumph over.

[16] I will give you: The Greek “you” is singular and refers to Peter. Note the immediate context is the rock upon which Jesus will build his Church.

[17] The keys of the Realm: Not the keys of heaven as in the mistaken traditional picture. Rather, it refers to the door into the Church, or the realm of profession. Some take these keys as three in number and reference their use in Acts chapters 2, 8, and 10 – the Jews, Samaritans, and Non-Jews as the first members of the church or kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).

[18] What ever you [Peter] bind on earth: An example of this is seen in the cases of the lying materialists Ananias and Sapphira (Acts chapter 5).

[19] Bound: Or, KJV: bind; RIEU: forbid; MOF: prohibit.

[20] Release: Or, KJV: loose; RIEU: allow; MOF: permit; TCNT: allow. Compare John 20:23 and Matthew 18:18.

[21] A rebuke: Or, KJV: strictly charged; KNX: strictly forbade; BECK: warned; NEB: strict orders. It is not a mere suggestion. Another rebuke, even more stern, is about to happen.

[22] Tell no one that he was the Messiah: Though the disciples understand the fundamental truth that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God they still do not comprehend other prophetic truths which will now be explained. The Nazarene wanted people to arrive at their own conclusions without a public proclamation. The disciples were not yet ready to explain all that being the Messiah meant as the account goes on to demonstrate in Peter’s case. Jesus gives this warning several times (Matthew 8:4; Mark 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 5:14; 8:56; 9:21)..

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Preceding

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

Matthew 13:44 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Treasure

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Additional reading

  1. A rich history of ancient and Biblical Jordan to explore
  2. Self inflicted misery #4 To whom to listen
  3. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #16 Prophet to be heard
  6. The saviour Jesus his human side
  7. Marriage of Jesus 8 Wife of Yahweh
  8. Memorizing wonderfully 31 Son of David and God’s Kingdom
  9. Servant of his Father
  10. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  11. United people under Christ
  12. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  13. Congregation – Congregatie
  14. Meeting – Vergadering
  15. Democratic principles for the church of today
  16. Intentions of an Ecclesia

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Related

  1. A sheep or not a sheep?
  2. Do You love Me?
  3. Ministry of Congregating
  4. All you, people
  5. In the Congregation
  6. Church?
  7. Bearing Witness
  8. DNA in a Congregation
  9. The Beauty of “The Church”
  10. Counting the cost: Mark 14
  11. Study | Church Beginnings
  12. 1A. Called To Be a Disciple
  13. 3. Confessed Jesus To Be the Christ
  14. Fact vs Fiction: Who was the Apostle Peter?
  15. Simon Called Peter
  16. Jesus Commissions Peter
  17. Peter the First Pope?
  18. Simon Peter and Pope Peter the same?
  19. The ‘Simon Peter’ Paradox
  20. Simon Peter is Cool
  21. 1B. Appointed To Be an Apostle
  22. Michael Kok: Hinderance to Petrine Authorship of 1 Peter
  23. The Calling and Ministry of Peter – A Night of Worship/Illustrated Sermon
  24. Study | Experiencing Glory

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:5-12 – Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

|| Mark 8:14-21; Luke 12:1

MT16:5 Now the disciples arrived on the other side of the lake and they forgot to bring loaves of bread with them. MT16:6 So, Jesus told them, “Watch and pay attention regarding the leaven[1] of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” MT16:7 The disciples now carried on a dialogue among themselves, “We brought no loaves of bread.” MT16:8 Realizing what they were talking about, Jesus said to them, “Men of very small faith,[2] why are you having this dialogue just because you did not bring loaves of bread? MT16:9 Do you not perceive[3] or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many surplus baskets you gathered? MT16:10 Or the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many surplus baskets you gathered? MT16:11 Why do you not realize that I was not speaking about loaves of bread? Rather, be alert regarding[4] the ‘leaven’ of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” MT16:12 Then the disciples finally got the point that Jesus was not talking about the leaven of loaves but rather the teaching of[5] the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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[1] Leaven: Compare Mark 8:15 where Jesus includes the party followers of Herod; and, Luke 12:1 where “hypocrisy” is included. See notes on Matthew 13:33.

[2] Men of very small faith: See notes on Matthew 8:26.

[3] Do you not perceive: One gets the feeling that the miracle of feeding the crowds was more of an object lesson for the apostles.

[4] Be alert regarding: Jesus believed in Biblical Truth and made no effort to compromise his teachings with others. He wanted his disciples to pay close attention to what others taught and view as ‘leaven’ (or corrupt doctrines) those teachings or manners which did not line up with his own teachings.

[5] The teaching of: Jesus has mentioned three groups in this context. Regarding the Pharisees (self-righteous conservatives) Josephus records: “And so great is (the Pharisees’) influence with the masses that even when they speak against a king or high priest, they immediately gain credence.” [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 288 (x, 5)] “They believe that souls have power to survive death and that there are rewards and punishments under the earth for those who have led lives of virtue or vice: eternal imprisonment is the lot of evil souls, while the good souls receive an easy passage to a new life.” (Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 14 [i, 3]) “Every soul, they maintain, is imperishable, but the soul of the good alone passes into another body, while the souls of the wicked suffer eternal punishment.… [The Pharisees] attribute everything to Fate and to God; they hold that to act rightly or otherwise rests, indeed, for the most part with men, but that in each action Fate co-operates.” [The Jewish War, II, 162, 163 (viii, 14)]

            Sadducees (liberal free-thinkers) ‘denied the workings of fate, maintaining that an individual, by his own actions, was solely responsible for what befell him.’ [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 172, 173 (v, 9)] They ‘rejected the many oral traditions observed by the Pharisees and also Pharisaic belief in the immortality of the soul and in punishments or rewards after death. In their dealings with one another, the Sadducees were somewhat rough. They were said to be disputatious. According to Josephus, their teachings appealed to the wealthy.’ [Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 298 (x, 6); XVIII, 16, 17 (i, 4); The Jewish War, II, 162-166 (viii, 14)]

            Herodians (political) are unknown in secular history but much involved in the politics of Jesus’ homeland. Compare Matthew 12:9-14; Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 20:21-26.

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Preceding

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

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Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

And the Pharisees came.

Mark says that they began to dispute, from which we may conjecture that, when they had been vanquished in argument, this was their last resource; as obstinate men, whenever they are reduced to extremities, to avoid being compelled to yield to the truth, are accustomed to introduce something which is foreign to the subject. Though the nature of the dispute is not expressed, yet I think it probable that they debated about the calling of Christ, why he ventured to make any innovation, and why he made such lofty pretensions, as if by his coming he had fully restored the kingdom of God. Having nothing farther to object against his doctrine, they demand that he shall give them a sign from heaven. But it is certain that a hundred signs would have no greater effect than the testimonies of Scripture. Besides, many miracles already performed had placed before their eyes the power of Christ, and had almost enabled them to touch it with their hands. Signs, by which Christ made himself familiarly known, are despised by them; and how much less will they derive advantage from a distant and obscure sign? Thus the Papists of our own day, as if the doctrine of the Gospel had not yet been proved, demand that it be ascertained by means of new miracles.

The Pharisees, together with the Sadducees. It deserves our attention that, though the Sadducees and the Pharisees looked upon each other as enemies, and not only cherished bitter hatred, but were continually engaged in hostilities, yet they enter into a mutual league against Christ. In like manner, though ungodly men quarrel among themselves, their internal broils never prevent them from conspiring against God, and entering into a compact for joining their hands in persecuting the truth.

Tempting. By this word the Evangelists mean that it was not with honest intentions, nor from a desire of instruction, but by cunning and deceit, that they demanded what they thought that Christ would refuse, or at least what they imagined was not in his power. Regarding him as utterly mean and despicable, they had no other design than to expose his weakness, and to destroy all the applause which he had hitherto obtained among the people. In this manner unbelievers are said to tempt God, when they murmur at being denied what their fancy prompted them to ask, and charge God with want of power.

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3. Hypocrites, you can judge.

He calls them hypocrites, because they pretend to ask that which, if it were exhibited to them, they are resolved not to observe. The same reproof applies nearly to the whole world; for men direct their ingenuity, and apply their senses, to immediate advantage; and therefore there is scarcely any man who is not sufficiently well qualified in this respect, or at least who is not tolerably acquainted with the means of gaining his object. How comes it then that we feel no concern about the signs by which God invites us to himself? Is it not because every man gives himself up to willing indifference, and extinguishes the light which is offered to him? The calling of Christ, and the immediate exhibition of eternal salvation, were exhibited to the scribes both by the Law and the Prophets, and by his own doctrine, to which miracles were added.

There are many persons of the same description in the present day, who plead that on intricate subjects they have a good right to suspend their judgment, because they must wait till the matter is fully ascertained. They go farther, and believe that it is a mark of prudence purposely to avoid all inquiry into the truth; as if it were not an instance of shameful sloth that, while they are so eagerly solicitous about the objects of the flesh and of the earth, they neglect the eternal salvation of their souls, and at the same time contrive vain excuses for gross and stupid ignorance.

A very absurd inference is drawn by some ignorant persons from this passage, that we are not at liberty to predict from the aspect of the sky whether we shall have fair or stormy weather. It is rather an argument which Christ founds on the regular course of nature, that those men deserve to perish for their ingratitude, who, while they are sufficiently acute in matters of the present life, yet knowingly and willfully quench the heavenly light by their stupidity.

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Matthew 16:4: A wicked and adulterous nation.

This passage was explained {1 } under #Mt 12:38 The general meaning is, that the Jews are never satisfied with any signs, but are continually tickled by a wicked desire to tempt God. He does not call them an adulterous nation merely because they demand some kind of sign, (for the Lord sometimes permitted his people to do this,). but because they deliberately provoke God; and therefore he threatens that, after he has risen from the dead, he will be a prophet like Jonah. So Matthew at least says  —  for Mark does not mention Jonah  —  but the meaning is the same; for, strictly speaking, this was intended to serve as a sign to them, that Christ, when he had risen from the dead, would in every place cause the voice of his Gospel to be distinctly heard.

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Matthew 16:5. And when his disciples came. Here Christ takes occasion from the circumstance that had just occurred {1 } to exhort his disciples to beware of every abuse that makes an inroad on sincere piety. The Pharisees had come a little before; the Sadducees joined them; and apart from them stood Herod, a very wicked man, and an opponent and corrupter of sound doctrine. In the midst of these dangers it was very necessary to warn his disciples to be on their guard; for, since the human mind has a natural inclination towards vanity and errors, when we are surrounded by wicked inventions, spurious doctrines, and other plagues of the same sort, nothing is more easy than to depart from the true and simple purity of the word of God; and if we once become entangled in these things, it will never be possible for the true religion to hold an entire sway over us. But to make the matter more clear, let us examine closely the words of Christ.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Along with the Pharisees Matthew mentions the Sadducees. Instead of the latter, Mark speaks of Herod. Luke takes no notice of any but the Pharisees, (though it is not absolutely certain that it is the same discourse of Christ which Luke relates,) and explains the leaven to be hypocrisy. In short, he glances briefly at this sentence, as if there were no ambiguity in the words. Now the metaphor of leaven, which is here applied to false doctrine, might have been employed, at another time, to denote the hypocrisy of life and conduct, or the same words might even have been repeated a second time. But there is no absurdity in saying, that those circumstances which are more copiously detailed by the other two Evangelists, in the order in which they took place, are slightly noticed by Luke in a manner somewhat different, and out of their proper place or order, but without any real contradiction. If we choose to adopt this conjecture, hypocrisy will denote here something different from a pretended and false appearance of wisdom. It will denote the very source and occasion of empty display, which, though it holds out an imposing aspect to the eyes of men, is of no estimation in the sight of God. For, as Jeremiah (#Jer 5:3) tells us that the eyes of the Lord behold the truth, so they that believe in his word are instructed to maintain true godliness in such a manner as to cleave to righteousness with an honest and perfect heart; as in these words,

An now, O Israel, what doth the Lord require from thee, but that thou shouldst cleave to him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul? (#De 10:12).

On the other hand, the traditions of men, while they set aside spiritual worship, wear a temporary disguise, as if God could be imposed upon by such deceptions; for to whatever extent outward ceremonies may be carried, they are, in the sight of God, nothing more than childish trifles, unless so far as they assist us in the exercise of true piety.

We now perceive the reason why hypocrisy was viewed by Luke as equivalent to doctrines invented by men, and why he included under this name the leavens of men, which only puff up, and in the sight of God contain nothing solid, and which even draw aside the minds of men from the right study of piety to empty and insignificant ceremonies. But it will be better to abide by the narrative of Matthew, which is more copious. The disciples, after having been reproved by our Lord, came at length to understand that he had charged them to be on their guard against certain doctrine. It was plainly, therefore, the intention of Christ to fortify them against prevailing abuses, by which they were attacked on all sides. The Pharisees and Sadducees were expressly named, because those two sects maintained at that time a tyrannical sway in the Church, and held opinions so utterly subversive of the doctrine of the Law and the Prophets, that almost nothing remained pure and entire.

But Herod did not in any way profess to teach; and a question arises, why does Mark class him with false teachers? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and Of The Leaven Of Herod. I reply: he was half a Jew, was mean and treacherous, and availed himself of every contrivance that was within his reach to draw the people to his side; for it is customary with all apostates to contrive some mixture, for the purpose of establishing a new religion by which the former may be abolished. It was because he was laboring craftily to subvert the principles of true and ancient piety, and thus to give currency to a religion that would be exceedingly adapted to his tyranny, or rather because he was endeavoring to introduce some new form of Judaism, that our Lord most properly charged them to beware of his leaven. From the temple of God the scribes disseminated their errors, and the court of Herod was another workshop of Satan, in which errors of a different kind were manufactured.

Thus in our own day we find that not only from Popish temples, and from the dens of sophists and monks, does Antichrist vomit out her impostures, but that there is a Theology of the Court, which lends its aid to prop up the throne of Antichrist, so that no stratagem is left untried. But as Christ opposed the evils which then prevailed, and as he aroused the minds of his followers to guard against those which were the most dangerous, let us learn from his example to make a prudent inquiry what are the abuses that may now do us injury. Sooner shall water mix with fire than any man shall succeed in reconciling the inventions of the Pope with the Gospel. Whoever desires to become honestly a disciple of Christ, must be careful to keep his mind pure from those leavens; and if he has already imbibed them, he must labor to purify himself till none of their polluting effects remain. There are restless men, on the other hand, who have endeavored in various ways to corrupt sound doctrine, and, in guarding also against such impostures, believers must maintain a strict watch, that they may keep a perpetual Passover

with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, (#1Co 5:8).

And as on every hand there now rages an impiety like that of Lucian, {2 } a most pernicious leaven, or rather a worse than deadly poison, let them exercise this very needful caution, and apply to it all their senses.

———— –

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

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Additional reading

  1. What Jesus did: First things first
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  3. Pretense — Is it practiced by people in their approach to God?
  4. Not Really Acknowledging God
  5. Serving yourself, not the Lord
  6. We Must Be Real With God

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Related

  1. A Sign From Heaven In The Toy Aisle
  2. God’s True Feelings About False Religion.
  3. Speak Sound Doctrine
  4. Dogma v Doctrine
  5. Papal Vanity

Matthew 14 – Faith Small and Great – Key words: Dynamic Works

In Matthews 14th chapter we look at the Tetrarch Herod, the son of Herod the Great by Malthace, and see how he falls for his sister-in-law and the violent rejection of the son of man Jeshua (Jesus) the Christ. we get Herod’s opinion of Jesus, and a parenthetical account of his murder of John the Baptist. Parallel passages: Mark 6:14-29; Luke:7-9; Luke 3:19, Luke 3:20.

The fact of the Nazarene his rejection by man is now a governing thought; and this involves rejection for his people, and a path in separation from a world in estrangement from him. This is especially what characterises the next portion of the Gospel which developer for us the features of a day of rejection; but in which grace still works, and finds among men not its objects only but its instruments. But the world is at the same time on the one hand a desert, on the other a stormy sea. Soon Jesus himself also is absent, and his disciples are left in the darkness, toiling over the waters in the face of the adverse wind. But again there is a change: He is coming back to them over the waters; and faith, discerning him and seeking to be with him, is fain to leave the boat and at his invitation walk upon the waters too to go to him. Here the Church’s path is clearly presented to us, the boat imaging the position of that remnant of Israel which as to their hopes the disciples were, when he went away, and to which (accompanied by his heavenly people) he will again return. Then the wind ceases, and the boat having reached the shore, mercy flows out to men far and wide as it will in millennial days. Let us now seek to apprehend this in detail.

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Preceding

Matthew 13:53-58 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Where Did He Get Such Wisdom?

Dave Norris and his writings on the Belgian Bible Students

With articles like “The Watchtower Belgian Biblestudents“, “, “, “” the blogger Dave Norris who likes us to call “kindergartner” “toddler” or sometimes “spiritual kindergarteners”, he presents a lot of nonsense about our community, clearly showing he does not know much about us nor similar groups, but even worse, does not seem to have a clue about the Bible Student movement and the history of such religious groups as the Bible Students, Christadelphians, Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) and many other non-Trinitarian groups.

On the blog “The Bible & Exposing Cult Error Darkness Into Light” he wants his readers to believe he exposes errors of others but in fact does nothing more than presenting his own errors, ignorance or lack of knowledge.

We do notice we are not the only target or are not spitting the only purpose of his gal. He seems so frustrated in his faith and religion he loves to write a lot about other religious groups instead spending more time to proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God or to give more information about his own faith group or church.

He calls us a “Spirit of deception” but clearly he throws so much untruth on the net we can not resist in the end to react to it and to let others know some of the incredible untruths that he proclaims as our doctrine. It is therefore very important that we expose these gross lies and clarify our positions. It is because of several of his writings and attacks on us and other their attacks we started in the end to present a new website for unmasking people like him: Please find and look at the new site Unmasking anti Jehovah sites and people.

The man, who presents himself as a bully in his mails to us, writes on the internet:

The Watchtower Belgian Bible student movement did precede the actual formation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Charles T Russell was their leader. {The Watchtower Belgian Biblestudents}

Charles Taze Russell may have been a pupil of John Thomas, the founder of the Brothers in Christ or Christadelphians, but for sure has never been our founder nor our leader.

Ch. T. Russell may be called the founder of the American Bible Students and of the International Bible Students, but is neither the founder of the Free Bible Students (who discarded many of the teachings of the American Bible Student founder Charles Taze Russell) nor from Belgian Bible Students nor the founder of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Russell never was a Jehovah’s Witness, like Mr. or the adolescent Norris wants his readers to believe. In case Mr. Russell would present himself to become a Jehovah’s Witness he would even not be accepted by that organisation.

An other fault which Mr. Norris does is to say we are associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society which is at all not so. We do have no association with that publication institute nor with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Organisation be it of Brooklyn, New York, Pennsylvania or of Canada or even of any other states like Australia, nor with the JW Organisation. For clarity the Belgian Bible Students have nothing to do with the Jehovah’s Witness nor with any of their other organisations or missions.

It is not because we do believe in the same One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, that we would belong to one and the same Church.

We too may come from hundreds of ethnic and language backgrounds, and may, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have the same goal to praise and honour Jehovah God being united by common goals. The same as those lovers of God, we too want to do our best to imitate Jesus Christ and are proud to be called Christians. As followers of Christ Jesus we take his command to go out in the world as a serious matter and like the JW we too witness for Jehovah, each of us regularly spending time helping people learn about the Bible and God’s Kingdom. Because we witness, or talk, about Jehovah God and his Kingdom, some may confuse us with those other people who have the same goal as us and are known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Opposite claims by Mr. Norris, we have very clearly presented our history to him, which can be found more extensively on the net. As such we find again a gross misrepresentation of the facts, him writing on the net:

I wish the Belgian Biblestudents would be honest with me about their history as they have not been.

I do admit that they were right about Charles Russell not beginning Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was a false prophet nevertheless and they can’t get around that. Woe to the foolish Prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing.{The Watchtower Belgian Biblestudents}

Though after this writing he continues

Biblestudents are a deceptive group under their leader Charles T Russell who is the founder of the Watchtower and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The group Christadelphians have a lot to do with this movement. Imposters will grow worse and worse deceiving and being deceived. They are presently deceivers because they were being deceived by Charles Russell whom they hold up as their leader. {Belgian Biblestudent Deception- 1}

and repeats

They claim to follow the Bible but they deny the Triune Godhead. As I said in another report before Russell founded Bible students he began the Watchtower with the basic Jehovah’s Witnesses Doctrine in force. {Belgian Biblestudent Deception- 1}

Who is the deceiving person or spirit in this case?

He then presents a whole of prophesies we supposedly would have believed or followed, which is totally untrue and we even do not get any idea where he gets it form we would have hold fast on such prophesies when we ourselves always clearly say it is no man given, even not Christ Jesus, to know when the end times are coming, though we agree we can see the signs, we can never say an exact date. We, like nobody, according to us, can ever give a correct date on it.

We want our readers to know we do have nothing to do with prophesies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses nor ever would have believed in such a date setting.

Prophecies which may have been made by the JW but never by the Belgian Biblestudents (like Dave Norris and some other bloggers on the net want their readers to believe).

Mr. Norris also wants his readers to believe in high and low that we

are almost like the New Apostolic Reformation with a prophecy accuracy rate of 20%. {Belgian Biblestudent Deception- 2}

and asks his readers to examine for themselves, but giving a photograph of a Watchtower which is even not the Zion’s Watchtower of the American Bible Students nor our old magazine Zion’s Wachttoren (19th and 20th century publications) and not at all a magazine of our community, but a publication by the WTBTS.

Though Mr. Norris in his previous writing said he understood Russell was not the founder of the JW he again presents him as a prophet for the JW and worse of all also for us, which is against our teachings, we only are recognising such prophets as those declared by the Word of God, namely Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadia, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaiah, Haggai, Zecharia, Malachi and Jesus, considering many others as false prophets.

Mr. Norris also wirtes

Biblestudents don’t believe in the hell that Jesus talked about and yet they say they follow Jesus. {Belgian Biblestudent Deception- 2}

which is again a lie, we believing in sheol or hell, like Jesus was for three days in hell and also talked about hell.

Continuously that blog writer from the so called exposing Christian error site wants to associate us with the JW and again giving wrong dates concerning our history.

In 1879 he began the perversion of Jehovah’s Witnesses but under a different name. The Biblestudents didn’t start until 1876 and they themselves told me that when they said Russell was their founder. His organization wasn’t yet called Jehovah’s Witnesses but the obvious poisonous theology was in place. {Belgian Biblestudies Deception- 3}

Wappers - Episodes from September Days 1830 on the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville in Brussels.JPG

A painting depicting the conflict which led to the secession of the southern provinces (mainly the former Southern Netherlands) from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium. – Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Gustaf Wappers (1834), (Museum of Fine Art, Brussels)

After the Battle of Waterloo (1815) several Students of the Bible living in the region of France its Low Countries got a more nationalistic feeling and when the Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons had meetings in Rheims or Paris they wanted to make it clear they came from the Gallic (Gaul) or Belgica or Côtes Lorraines region or the plain of Flanders, and the Kempenland (French: Campine) and did not consider themselves any more to be part of the Nord–Pas-de-Calais or le Nord (North of France) region with Cambrai where also several Bible Students had found their home in a very hostile area for non-Trinitarians and/or Protestants. After the States-General in Brussels voted in favour of secession and declared independence the small state Belgium was formed and with it also the “Belgian Bible Students”, which at that time, may have had most of it members in the Famenne, Sambre, La LouvièreBorinage and Hainaut region, long before Charles Taze Russell (February 16, 1852 – October 31, 1916), or Pastor Russell, the American Christian restorationist minister from Pittsburgh, was born. It were such sincere students of the Bible who made it possible to get one of the first major Bibles in the French language circulating in the region and had one which was printed in Mons. There in Mons can still be found a copy of the first Gutenberg Bible (1455) which was used as a base (unfortunately incomplete). It was Canon Edmon Puissant (1860-1934) who came into possession of this copy in 1926.

 

D Norris telling a lot of nonsense in several articles on what he calls on Belgian Biblestudies, though our community is called Belgian Bible-students and has nothing to do with Ch.T. Russell as so called founder and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Though we do agree Ch.T. Russell’s writings circulated and still circulate amongst us and got several of his and other brethren their English writings translated in French, Swiss German and Dutch by our community. In the early 20th century Russell even came to visit our community.

Next he presents an article on Armstrong false prophecy as a ‘Next’ article containing false prophecies of Herbert W Armstrong marking him as a false prophet, as if we would also follow this man.  This article is followed by “Belgian Biblestudies Deception- 4” were he keeps dragging on with prophecies of some one we do not have as our leader, what he keeps others to believe. And than he asks

Here are two more of Charles Russell’s false prophecies. What amazes me is how Belgian Bible students can justify this? {Belgian Biblestudies Deception- 4} {find our reaction if he publishes it}

And he keeps disbelieving that Russell was not our founder, as if we, as community would not know our own history and he knowing it much better than serious history writers or serious encyclopaedia.

But the Belgian Biblestudents still speak very highly of their founder Charles Russell despite all his false prophecies. Examine also the references for the false prophecies. They’re in the very same Bible studies that the Belgian group supports. Are they as blind as their founder was? I will have more in part 5. {Belgian Biblestudies Deception- 4}

Nowhere shall you find prophecies made by Russell or any other person which we would say you have to believe. We also do not know where he gets it from that we would hold Charles Russel‘s “Studies in the Scriptures” in such high regard. (Perhaps he assues that because we also took care for a translation and distribution of this work in our regions.) {Belgian Biblestudies Deception- 5} {we asked him also} Again he wants to do that Russell is the founder of our community and writes

the founder of this group as this book is full of lies and false prophecies. Worse still the Belgian Biblestudies group backs thiss book to the hilt. They know what’s in here and they believe it. {Belgian Biblestudies Deception- 5}

Dave Norris his continual misleading of the internet-public with attacking plus false sayings and making false connections in several of his articles, a.o. in his series Belgian Biblestudies Deception – {picture fragment from Belgian Biblestudies Deception – 6}

After a reaction we made on 2018 August 10 19.35 pm about having our name right we noticed he suddenly changed the title of his series.

In Belgian Biblestudents Deception- 7 Mr. Norris keeps telling untruths, now saying JF Rutherford otherwise known as Judge Rutherford

took over when Russell died as head of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. {Belgian Biblestudents Deception- 7}

Judge Rutherford being jailed for sedition against the Armed Forces is considered by Mr. Dave Norris a sign of him and Non-Trinitarian pacifists to be losers

Mr. Dave Norris in his series Belgian Biblestudents Deception- 8 all the time bringing in matters of prophesies in which we do not believe but which he wants to have his readers come to believe they are part of our teachings (which they are not at all)

Also when looking at the lies he writes about other denominations one an wonder what Mr. Norris his agenda really is?!? Problem would be in case many of his readers would consider his writings as bringing the truth about us and those other denominations.

Clearly he twists the truth and does as if we changed our teachings, but again uses material from an other  denomination to have it look as if it is ours.

Mr Norris looking at the New World Edition of the Bible which Jehovah’s Witnesses cherish, presenting it in his article Belgian Biblestudents Deception- 8 as if it is ours + asking to look at the changes

Mr. Norris also wants to give the impression when people read certain books, they are taken by those books and agree with everything what is in those books. He might perhaps follow everybody whose books he reads and may be limited in his amount of reading books and papers, only concentrating on what he agrees with. His knowledge about us and other groups he tries to pull down, shows clearly enough he did not do enough research and did not read enough about those groups, their leaders and teachers, often having no clue at all about their teachings, the same as with us. Or, in case he knows what our and their teachings are and what the background is of those groups he writes about, then it is clear he wants to spread fake news (therewith wanting to be popular in these times of someone speaking all the time of fake news) or does not mind to bring all sorts of inaccuracies to bring damage to those societies or communities.

Belgian Biblestudents Deception- 8 by D Norris on Exposing Christian error -about JW + Cd + false prophecies ~~~ Russell never made his own Bible or Scripture or never made our Holy Scriptures, like Norris wants his readers to believe.

Mr. Norris has also clearly a different view of what a cult is than what the state or a court would consider a cult or a sect. We can assure all his and our readers they do not have to worry that we would try to lure them in a sect and like certain churches do, then demand money and oblige them to stay with us. Every body is free to come and free to go in our churches (ecclesiae).

Only if one wants to join our community (as a member) we ask the candidate to believe in God as the Only True God and to believe that through God His only begotten beloved son salvation has come upon mankind and that this man of flesh and blood is the way to God and now the mediator between God and the people and is our high priest for God.

Psalms 83:18 (AKJV)
18 That men may know that you, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, are the most high over all the earth.

Romans 10:13 (AKJV)
13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Matthew 3:16-17 (AKJV)
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him: 17 And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John 14:6 (AKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

1 Timothy 2:5 (AKJV)
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 12:24 (AKJV)
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.

Hebrews 3:1 (AKJV) Hebrews 3
1 Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 6:20 (AKJV)
20 Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Clearly the intentions of Mr. Dave Norris can be seen in his many articles against Catholics and all sorts of Protestants, Emergent Church, Extreme Prophetic MovementHebrew Roots Movement, but also Judaism. Main churches also do not escape his acid pen. But Non-Trinitarians seem to work on him as a red cloth on a bull. He not only writes about them a lot of lies but also has no decency when they write to him in a polite manner. Some of his replies may be lot worse than the once shown here (and therefore we would not make public.).

An example of the way Mr. Dave Norris answers people who wrote to him

An example of the way how Mr. Dave Norris react to people when they ask him to show the link for the article he talks about in a previous reply, him writing: “I linked to an article from Wikipedia it clearly states your history. Russell did many false prophecies as in his successor Rutherford Hayes. You need to Bone up on your history.” And we having stated that there is no such page in Wikipedia telling about the history of the Belgian Biblestudents.

Though we can only find

Proof of “Belgian Bible Students” Wikipedia page not existing on 2018 August 11

 

+

Preceding

Charles Taze Russell and what he started

Was Russell and Rutherford “Illuminati”?

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WBTS) main groups that broke away

Different approach in organisation of services #1

Different approach in organisation of services #2

Different approach in organisation of services #3

Belonging to or being judged by

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

++

Please find also to read

  1. International Biblestudents Association
  2. International Bible Students Association
  3. International Bible Students Association
  4. Jehovah’s Witness
  5. Charles Taze Russell
  6.  Dawn Bible Students Association
  7. Italian Bible Students Association in Hartford, CT Christian Millennial Fellowship
  8. What are Brothers in Christ
  9. Who are Christadelphians
  10. Against the anti Jehovah people
  11. Unmasking anti Jehovah sites and people
  12. Aim of Unmasking anti Jehovah people
  13. Joseph Rutherford with the iron glove
  14. To remove the whitewash of the Jehovah Witnesses as being the only true Bible Students and Bible Researchers
  15. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  16. Faith coming by hearing and sent preacher gift from God
  17. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  18. Confrontation by people telling lies to force others to avoid the targetted groups
  19. For those who do everything to stop the work of Christadelphians
  20. Who cries out against a hearty and uncompromising castigation of error
  21. re-frame obligation into conscious choices
  22. Christianity primarily a matter of imitation

+++

When Jesus speaks of obedience, he is speaking of a lifestyle of devotion to that which garners his devotion. Jesus’ disciples obey him by keeping what he keeps, and holding on to that which he holds… with a steadfast dedication. Once again we see our definition of a disciple emerge:

Necessity to imitate the Jewish master teacher Jeshua or Jesus Christ, following his commandments trying to become like him, is what the Belgian Bible Students do.

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Related

  1. 4 attacks on Jehovah’s Witnesses churches linked -25k reward offered
  2. Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?
  3. Romans 8:12-17 – Heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ
  4. Brothers in Christ – bond in Christ
  5. To the Compulsive Liar
  6. The Value of Truth
  7. Myths About Net Neutrality
  8. Lovers of God are Better Lovers
  9. Part 1 – Your Relationship with God
  10. 6 Priorities You Need
  11. Four – Understanding Our Purpose, p. 126 Jesus came to be what the original Adam was supposed to be: the very “image” of God.
  12. Four – Understanding Our Purpose, p. 128
  13. Six – Understanding the Holy Spirit, p. 176
  14. Six – Understanding the Holy Spirit, p. 178
  15. Imitating Jesus — From the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
  16. Following Jesus requires you to grow up
  17. Proclamation
  18. Ep. 4 – Jehovah’s Witnesses
  19. Notes on the Proclaimers Book
  20. Some Prophetic Speculations
  21. Jehovah’s Witness Myopic View Of Jesus (I)
  22. Jehovah’s Witnesses and False Prophecies
  23. Dance me to the end

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