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Matthew 20 Are you willing to work for Jesus?

In the previous articles we could see how people are invited to become labourers for the Lord.

We are told in the parable given in Matthew 20 that the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house, who went out early in the morning to get workers into his vine-garden, and proposed rewards to them. We also looked at how this human landlord went out about the third hour, and saw others in the market-place doing nothing; and also called them to come to work for him, which they did. The same happened later in the day (about the sixth and the ninth hour and about the eleventh hour) .

When those who had come first to work, they had the idea that they would get more but looked surprised they, like the rest, were also given a denarius or penny. (Mt 20:10) For us, who live in the capitalist world it might sound very unjust that the ones who laboured longer got only the same reward as the ones who started later and laboured lesser hours. But we have not to look at it with our capitalist eyes. We should look at it from the point of view that as soon as people answer the call of God and come to follow His sent one, willing to work for Jesus, that it becomes important for them working together with those who were there already longer. Together they should go for the right goal and as a team should try to run the race together, making sure that everybody reaches the finish.

 

If one chooses for Jesus, one must dare to draw clear lines. It is not true to follow him but halfway or to adhere to a different Jesus than the one from the Bible. We must clearly choose the Jesus from the Holy Scriptures, whom God called His son. When choosing for Jesus one also does not have to be afraid to tell others that one is following that Biblical figure instead of the person certain churches made of him.

If you are willing to answer God’s call when things matter most it is important to keep to the Biblical teachings and not to fall for the many false human teachings or so called dogmas. Having been bought by a price we should honour that price. We should show full commitment to the one who offered himself for our sins. Jesus paid the ransom and asks us to follow him. As followers of Jesus we should keep to his teachings and keep to the task he has given, which means that we should go out into the world teaching and preaching like Jesus did.

As workers for Jesus and his heavenly Father we should not be afraid of the world and should show the world who we want to follow and for Whom we want to work. Many opportunities are there for workers for the Lord. Are you willing to step in or to stand up?

What if you were prompted to go out and share the gospel on the streets? Would you do it?
How about if you knew that God was preparing a person in need for you to meet and talk with, would you go and meet that person?
What if you felt that God was calling you to help a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbour in need. Would you do it?
What if you were told to stop your car and help a homeless man in need. Would you do it?

Do you want to belong to those who are recognised as the “doer“, willing to help others as if you are helping Christ?

“34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Mt 25:34-40 NIV)

“7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your poor brother. 8 Rather be open-handed and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbour this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for cancelling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will towards your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.” (De 15:7-11 NIV)

“13  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:13-16 NIV)

As a worker for God you can not stand in the shadow, you have to come out in the light.A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid and therefore you should show the world the city of Christ Jesus and be light of the world.

What if God needed you even when your life and your families lives could be at stake?
Would you still be God’s witness?

You could very well attempt to get out of the situation by denying Jesus or lie about your belief system. We hear that a lot, people not wanting to be clear by their name, just saying

“I am a Christian”

avoiding to tell that they are real followers of Jesus Christ and as such saying for example

“I am a follower of Jesus”

or saying

“I am a Jeshuaist”

making it very clear that you are a follower of the Nazarene Jewish master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ, who worshipped not himself but the Only One true God, the God of Abraham Who is One and not three.

Or would you dare to say?

“I am a witness for Jehovah”.

Saying so you would bring up a point of discussion or of clarification.

Avoiding to be clear of your standpoint willing to follow the real Jesus, the son of God, and not a three-godhead, makes you not wanting to be open and bringing yourself on a destructive path also. However, to go through the situation at hand in all faithfulness to God, is what He asks. What we do in persecution shows a lot about our true character and our belief in Christ, even when lives are at stake. So the question is, are you willing to die for Christ?

Now read what Jesus said about persecution and how these people are blessed for His sake below…

“10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Mt 5:10-12 NIV)

Shall you be willing to work for it, that you shall be one of the heirs or partakers of that Kingdom?

May every person that says that they are a believer, also obey Jesus and his heavenly Father and do like Jesus did, doing the Will of God and not holding fast on doing only their own will.

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Preceding

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

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

Matthew 20 It is never too late

 

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Additional reading

Atonement and the race been bought

Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ

In this world where most people want to keep to traditions and want to prefer to follow human doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines, the one wanting to believe what God says about Jesus often feels how difficult it is to follow in line with God’s Words.

Many of us have had to endure hardships because we chose to follow Jesus. For many who came to the Truth it took several years before they dared to take the steps in the right direction. Some do know the Biblical Truth and do follow the real Jesus, Jeshua the Nazarene teacher who is also called the son of man and son of God, but do not want to tell it to others. As such, for example, we had a friend who did not believe in the Trinity but kept working as a pastor in a trinitarian preaching company. He told us he could not say openly he did not believe any more in the Trinity because than he would loose his job as minister and would have no income any-more. That is often a very difficult factor, certainly for priests and ministers.

But also lay people have it difficult to make the right choice. Some of them have had to lose friends and family relationships, and on many occasions even had to endure verbal attacks. There are people all over the world who are being put in prison and literally risking their life to follow Jesus.

So the big question for most people is,

“Why?”

Yes

Why do we choose to risk it all to follow this person who we believe rose from the dead? What do we get out of it?

When they were fishermen Jesus had asked those simple men to follow him, what they did.  At that time they gave up their profession and their income. The thought of sacrifice very naturally suggests as its correlative that of compensation; so it is not at all to be wondered at that, before this conversation ended, Peter, the impulsive disciple, so much given to think aloud, should blurt out the honest question:

“Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?”

Peter asked Jesus what they would get, and that is perhaps the question which would be on most lips when wondering to follow Jesus or any other person. Certainly (for today) when it is all about a person who lived so many centuries ago and who seemed to have caused so many problems. Peter could not but remember that while the Master had insisted on his disciples denying self to follow him, he had spoken no less clearly of their finding life through losing it, and of their being rewarded according to their deeds. {see Matthew 16:24-27 } A more cautious man would have hesitated before he spoke; but it was no worse to speak it than to think it: and then, it was an honest and fair question; accordingly our Lord gives it a frank and generous answer, taking care, however, before leaving the subject, to add a supplementary caution, fitted to correct what was doubtful or wrong in the spirit it showed.

People should know that everybody is free to choose what or whom to follow. God has given man the free choice. His sent ones, the many prophets often asked people to follow their sayings. Every time they left the choice to the people themselves, never forcing them into doing something what they would not want to do of free choice. The same for the Nazarene master teacher. He never pushed people to come to listen to what he had to say. He never pushed people to come to see what he did. When he walked around in the area people came from their own to see and hear this special man. Not everybody could make up his mind about that special figure and many doubted his position or wondered who he really was and what he came to do.

The word recalls what is said in the book of Genesis as to

“the generation of the heaven and of the earth.”

Nobody can escape to this system and shall have to make the choice to be part of this world or to be part of God’s World. That is what it makes so difficult, man can not live in both worlds. Man can not keep to the human traditions with the many heathen festivals and at the same time claim he worships God. The Divine Creator demands complete submission to the Divine values and norms. One cannot eat from the two walls. God requires an honest surrender to Him. He also has given His son to bring salvation to the world and expects that the world shall come to recognise His only begotten son.

Coming closer to the end-times more adversaries of Gdo shall try to get people away from the Only One True God. They shall do their utmost best to confuse people and to make them to worship an other god than the God of Israel, Who is an Unseen Spirit.

People who come to see Who God is and who His son is and want to follow that son, with the knowledge that this son of God the way to god is, may find it difficult to persevere because the majority is against such an idea that a man would be able to do God’s Will and to offer himself for the sins of others. When you believe that you should be not ashamed and should not go hiding, but should dare to tell about your faith, that you believe that son of man is the son of God who gave his life as a ransom for the sins of many. The belief in the son of God should make you stronger than those who do not believe in that man of flesh and blood who gave his life, was killed, put in a grave but was also taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father. That resurrection of a man is for us the ultimate proof that a human being can stand up from the death. In case Jesus would be God, we naturally would not have any proof at all for the resurrection of man.

That resurrection may give us something to fight for. People may bully us, hurt us and even could kill us, but we do know there is much more behind the ‘curtain of this life’.

No matter what you have had to endure or give up to follow Jesus, the reward in the end is so much greater than what you ever would be able to gather here on earth. We should not be afraid to face those who are against us because we do not want to go for that false teaching of a three-headed god. We should believe in what the Bible tells us and should not be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies and by those who want to push us in the world of human doctrines. You should know such people may harm you in this life but there shall be nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Therefore are not afraid for such human beings who ignore the Words of God and Who, as a God Who tells no lies, declared Jesus to be His only begotten son. Save your fear for that God of Israel Who is a Spirit and not a man of flesh and blood who could be killed. That God of Abraham is an eternal Spirit Being, Who holds your entire life — body and soul — in His hands.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28 NIV)

Our reward for following Jesus is that we shall be able to find the way to God. Jesus is the right way to go. By listening to his words and by doing what he requires from us we shall be able to grow in his teachings and shall find enough strength to continue on the right path.

We may be sure there shall come a moment that the Son of man shall come to sit on the throne of his glory and at the end of times no one shall be able to escape his judgement. therefore let us not worry but look for Jehovah and do what God wants and not so much what the people want from us.

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zep 2:3 NIV)

When doing what God wants and step in the footsteps of His only begotten son, then we shall be able to go on the right path to the small gate leading to immortal, perfect life where there shall be no more sickness or sorrow any more. Following Jesus worshipping his God we shall come to see the heavenly gates and shall come to see that those who do not believe the Biblical Truth like us may also find death, but shall not be able like us to see their loved ones again who have died.

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, {Or his only begotten Son } that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Re 21:3-4 NIV)

“13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.” (1Th 4:13-17 NIV)

What more could we possibly ask for?

Jesus has promised us everything we can dream of if we choose to suffer now, just like he did. So be encouraged today that you have a tremendous, indescribable reward waiting for you when our king returns!

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

A heart full of love is a fundamental requirement

We stay for the moment looking at some writing by

We can not deny that forgiving is a very difficult thing for many. But we should know that unforgiveness hinders prayers and give access to tormentors. Uforgiveness also gives room to hatred and vengeance, retaliation, revenge and vendetta.

Christians should be followers of the role model Jesus Christ who had so much love for mankind he was even willing to give his life for us all. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Highest, never complained to serve. He did it with humility and without placing himself above others. That humility is something we need also to grow in us. It is something which shall make us humble enough to face others who have done wrong to us and to forgive them.

Throughout the New Testament we can see how the Nazarene master teacher mingled with sinners which must have certainly caused a stir back then, but Jesus never judged appearances. (Matthew 7:1-6) In this present world how many times do we not stare at others with some “idea” in our heart? Many of us can see the mote or the speck that is in some ones eye, but do not consider the plank or the beam of timber that is in their own eye.(Matthew 7:3) Often we come to demand others not being cross with us or to forgive us for what we did wrong, but to forgive others our selves does not always seem to be so easy.

Forgiving requires an attitude of understanding and of love.

A heart full of love, both towards God and your fellow man, is a fundamental requirement, if your prayer must get through to the throne room of heaven.

Forgiveness is an expression of love. {Forgive}

Not only the Messianic writings show us how the Most High must have been hurt by man and how He showed His love and came to forgive them or was always there to help them. God has forgiven man many times. We as lovers of God should also try to become like God, a forgiving person.

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, one of the things He told them to say was, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”

That is to say, “Lord, forgive us, just the way we forgive others. Don’t forgive us what we don’t forgive others. {Forgive}

When looking at others we often use other measurements than we would for our own. Often we also want others not to be cross for something we did to them, but we ourself are not always so fast not to be angry any more at some one who did wrong to us.

If we document other people’s sins against us, then the Lord will document ours also; if we desire their hurt, He will desire our hurt also.

So, when you don’t forgive those who have offended you, your sins also remain unforgiven. Until your sins are forgiven, you don’t have a prayer access to God. {Forgive}

How many of us do not keep track of iniquities of others? Many people also love to show the record they keep of the wrongdoings of others.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 130:3:

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?

Many have been crying in all manner of prayers, fastings and vigils, yet God hasn’t heard them, because they are holding back the sins of others in their hearts. {Forgive}

In this world we also see many who are not honest, and do as if nothing is at hand or nothing happened. They just do nice to get something else.

You probably have told your neighbour,

“It is over, I have forgiven you.”

But it is not over yet in your heart.

And because the Bible says in Psalm 66:18,

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”, your prayers go unheard.

It is spiritual foolishness to live with unforgiveness; the cost is too high. It is one of the traps of the devil to make you lose favour with God. {Forgive}

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ.

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness but also humble enough to put the own “self” away. Calling yourself a Christian, means not only that you want to be a follower of Christ, but goes much further, showing others that you even want to imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you

“He is with Jesus.”

A Christian should imitate Jesus in his holiness. Like Jesus submitted himself to his heavenly Father a Christian also should submit himself to God and become like Him a forgiving person. As the highest portraiture of Jesus, try to forgive your enemies, as he did; and let those sublime words of your Master,

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,”

always ring in your ears.

Forgive, as you hope to be forgiven. Think of the Highest King, Jehovah God and think of the highest King on earth Jesus Christ, who shall come to judge the living and the dead. When you want to be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God, remember all those things which would be a hindrance to be pure enough to enter that Kingdom. Remind the King from Jesus  parable.

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 18:23-35:

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

When God forgives you your sins but later sees the way you are tormenting somebody who has offended you, He will bring your records out again and deal with you.

Forgiveness brings you into eternal friendship with Jesus which gives you access to heaven’s hotline.

Until you free that man or woman, God will not hear your cry of affliction.

That man might have really cheated you, and that woman insulted you terribly, but let him go! Let her go!

Until the love foundation is in place, effectual prayer is impossible.

Watch any man who walks in hatred, malice and unforgiveness, his life keeps drying up.

And because he has no access to God’s favour, he is a cheap prey of the devil.

Your expression of love for your fellowmen is the authentic proof of your salvation.

The Bible says,

“Whosoever claims to love God, and hates his brother, is a liar” (1 John 4:20 paraphrased).

You may pray as long as you like, remain on your knees all the days of your life and fast for as many days as possible,

if you have imprisoned somebody in your heart through unforgiveness, you will never have a breakthrough, because the Scriptures cannot be broken.

Love is your vital link with God, and the foundation stones of the altar of your heart.

There is a future in forgiveness. Let love flow from your heart to everyone and you will see God step into the affairs of your life.

Examine yourself, to see if there is anywhere your altar has been broken down, and plead the mercy of God for restoration.

Rededicate your life to God and be determined never to be found doing what displeases Him.

That long-awaited answer to your prayers will be delivered to you now, in Jesus’ name!

Amen! {Forgive}

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

It is not easy to be humble. We all like to be some one and to accomplish something worthwhile in life.

When leaving our childhood behind the innocence goes with it as well. Most little children are guided from the family and their surroundings and learn the facts of life when passing from one year into an other. Every year people also come up with new good intentions. Every year anew we want to do it better and have it better than the previous year.

From the teachings of Jesus we learn that the Realm of heaven is among those people that are humble. We must know that those people who follow the teachings of the Nazarene master teacher are willing to change their paths. They are feeling to proud not to show their weaknesses and not telling what they did wrong. They are aware of their weaknesses and of their wrong doings or sinful ways. But they are prepared to learn and to follow God’s will.

We should know that humility is the gateway to the heaven realm. When wanting to become a member of that Body of Christ, we should not mind becoming like a child again. Our baptism is not an end point, but just a starting point in our becoming a Christian. It shall take time and we do have to give it time. Patience shall be very important to our growth, to make it a successful growth.

Having been baptised the “newborn” Christian shall have to be willing to learn everything like a child has to learn everything. He or she shall need to read God’s Words, the Bible, and have their faith being strengthened. Luckily they do not have to be alone. Because there is the congregation of brethren and sisters, who should be there to help. We are also not alone, for God has sent the Comforter to lead us to know the truth. That Holy Spirit should be our guide. We may never forget that incredible Power of God, Which is there for every person who wants to have that Power entering his or her spirit.

Being ‘Born again’ means having received an other or new “I”. It is about a “Turning Point” a new and other direction to be taken. When you commit yourself to your baptism and becoming a member of a ‘church’ or ‘ecclesia’ you are indicating your willingness to change your own direction and starting fresh as though you are being born all over again. At that point you want to start a new voyage, being fresh, receptive, and pliable. The metaphor Jesus is using is indicating we have to become like a malleable, receptive child for aligning with the kingdom of God.

When we keep our pride we shall not be enough pliable to adapt to our new community where we shall have to take a place like anybody else, offering to do whatever is needed in the community. We shall have to accept our ageing and sometimes not being able to do certain things, but also the other way round having respect for elder people or for those (young and old) who have more experience in the religious and ecclesial matters.

As newborn one it is important to become feeling like a brother or sister of the others. There also has to be a willingness to be submissive to the religious group as a whole and to be a bringer of peace, unity, and sweet accord. Naturally there must be a willingness to follow the Scriptural process of settling offences and an impartiality in the exercise of discipline.

There is no place in the group for inequality. Everybody should be regarded as equal and having the same rights, but also the same duties. as such one day a person can be the speaker, the next time the listener. By the baptism a person is brought into membership which confers the right to join in taking the emblems, but also to serve in the community. Taking part of the emblems is reserved only for those who are baptised and member of the world-wide community. Our community may be small, because we require that a person who want to be part of the brotherhood has real knowledge of the biblical truth and is willing to be a faithful partaker of the body of Christ. As followers of the early church we too ask the same effort and responsibility as the first Christians. Being part of a church demands willingness for “making church”, spreading the love of Christ, with giving, serving, witnessing and seeking to be a blessing to other.

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Preceding

Man enticed to long for more

Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 8: Matthew 7:6-11 Giving and neighbor love

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

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Additional reading

  1. Looking at things, distinctions resolutions and expressions
  2. Counting sands and stars
  3. A New Year and a New Person
  4. Not missing your appointment in 2017
  5. Helping each other with prayer to start the new academic year
  6. Today’s thought “A New Year” (January 01)
  7. Today’s thought “A Perfect World” (January 02)
  8. More on Grace and Spiritual Fruit – Abide in Me, and I in you
  9. Unless I wash you, you have no part with me
  10. the Bible – God’s guide for life #8 Looking to Jesus #1 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus
  11. Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ
  12. Consecration of the priests
  13. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  14. Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’
  15. Don’t Harden Your Heart
  16. It’s not that I’m so smart
  17. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  18. Humility
  19. Willing to be little
  20. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  21. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  24. There is no true and constant gentleness without humility
  25. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  26. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  27. Be kinder than necessary
  28. Heed of the Saviour
  29. A Ransom for all 3 Seeing Him as He is
  30. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  31. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  32. Praise the New Born
  33. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  34. Victory in rebirth
  35. Get Your Wonderful Disease-proof Human Body
  36. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Let us become nothing, and Christ everything
  39. The works we have to do according to James

 

+++

Related

  1. Be Humble Like A Little Child
  2. How Do We Become Part of the Kingdom of God?
  3. Make your membership count for something
  4. Duties of the Church Member
  5. A Vision for our Future
  6. Who am I?
  7. Jesus Born Anywhere
  8. Bethlehem In Us
  9. What If Jesus Were Your Dad: You Must Be Raised Again
  10. Die First, Then be Church
  11. Born of Him: 1st John 2:29
  12. Receiving the True Light
  13. Life in the spirit realm 2

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.

*

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.

*

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.

*

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.

———— –

+

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

++

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

+++

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 15 Spurgeon’s view

Our King combatting formalists

1. THEN came to, Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hand, when they eat bread.

When our Lord was busiest his enemies assailed him. These ecclesiastics “of Jerusalem” were probably the cream of the set, and from their great reputation they reckoned upon an easy victory over the rustic preacher.

Perhaps they were a deputation from headquarters, sent to confound the new Teacher. They had a question to raise, which to them may have seemed important, or possibly they pretended to think it so to answer their own purposes. Traditions of the elders were great things with them: to transgress these must be a crime indeed. Washing of the hands is a thing proper enough, one could wish it were oftener practiced, but to exalt it into a religious rite is a folly and a sin.

These “scribes and Pharisee” washed their hands, whether they needed washing or not, out of a supposed zeal to be rid of any particle that might render them ceremonially unclean. Our Lord’s disciples had so far entered into Christian liberty that they did not observe the rabbinical tradition: “they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” Why should they wash if their hands were clean? Tradition had no power over their consciences. No man has any more right to institute a new duty than to neglect an old one.

The issuing of commands is for the King alone. Yet these religionists enquire why the Lord’s disciples break a law which was no law. It will be well if our opponents are unable to bring against us any worse charge than this.

+

Preceding

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

+++

Related

  1. Think About It…
  2. The Dance of Isaiah!

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15:1. Then scribes and Pharisees. As the fault that is here corrected is not only common but highly dangerous, the passage is particularly worthy of our attention. We see the extraordinary insolence that is displayed by men as to the form and manner of worshipping God; for they are perpetually contriving new modes of worship, and when any one wishes to be thought wiser than others, he displays his ingenuity on this subject. I speak not of foreigners, but of the very domestics of the Church, on whom God has conferred the peculiar honor of declaring with their lips the rule of godliness. God has laid down the manner in which he wishes that we should worship him, and has included in his law the perfection of holiness. Yet a vast number of men, as if it were a light and trivial matter to obey God and to keep what he enjoins, collect for themselves, on every hand, many additions. Those who occupy places of authority bring forward their inventions for this purpose, as if they were in possession of something more perfect than the word of the Lord. This is followed by the slow growth of tyranny; for, when men have once assumed to themselves the right to issue commands, they demand a rigid adherence to their laws, and do not allow the smallest iota to be left out, either through contempt or through forgetfulness.

The world cannot endure lawful authority, and most violently rebels against enduring the Lord’s yoke, and yet easily and willingly becomes entangled in the snares of vain traditions; nay, such bondage appears to be, in the case of many, an object of desire. Meanwhile, the worship of God is corrupted, of which the first and leading principle is obedience. The authority of men is preferred to the command of God. Sternly, and therefore tyrannically, are the common people compelled to give their whole attention to trifles.

This passage teaches us, first, that all modes of worship invented by men are displeasing to God, because he chooses that he alone shall be heard, in order to train and instruct us in true godliness according to his own pleasure; secondly, that those who are not satisfied with the only law of God, and weary themselves by attending to the traditions of men, are uselessly employed; thirdly, that an outrage is committed against God, when the inventions of men are so highly extolled, that the majesty of his law is almost lowered, or at least the reverence for it is abated.

Scribes who had come from Jerusalem. With what design those scribes came to Jesus is not stated; but I think it probable that their attention was excited by his fame, and that they came with the desire of receiving instruction, provided that they should approve of him as a competent teacher; {1 } though it is possible that they were sent to spy. However that may be, as they had brought their haughty disdain along with them, they are easily provoked by the slightest offense to bite or snarl at Christ. Hence we see with what difficulty those who are influenced by ambition and the lust of power are brought to submit to sound doctrine. Those especially whose attachment to ceremonies has been strengthened by long practice cannot endure any novelty, but loudly condemn every thing to which they have not been accustomed. In short, any thing more haughty or more disdainful than this class of men cannot be imagined.

 

Both Evangelists mention that they were scribes and Pharisees; but Matthew puts the scribes first, and Mark puts them second. They convey the same meaning, that the scribes belonged to various sects, but that the Pharisees were the leaders, because they occupied an honorable station, and at that time held the government. That the Pharisees should be the first to take offense at disregard of the laws of which they were authors ought not to excite surprise; for, as we have said, though they boasted that they were expounders of the law, and though their name was derived from that circumstance, {2 } they had corrupted by their inventions the purity of the word of God. All the traditions that then existed among the Jews had come out of their workshop; {3 } and this was the reason why they displayed more than ordinary zeal and bitterness in defending them.

———— –

{1 } “En cas qu’ils l’eussent trouve bon maistre a leur gre”;  — ” provided that they should find him to be a good master to their liking.”

{2 } See Harmony, vol. 1, p. 281 (See CALVIN “Mt 5:20”).

{3 } “Elles avoyent este forgees en leur boutique”;  — ” they had been manufactured in their workshop.”

+

Preceding

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

++

Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. Careful not to have God’s wrath poured out upon us taking on the right attitude
  3. What is a Christian?
  4. Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters
  5. To find ways of Godly understanding

+++

Related

  1. Isaiah 29:13 Worship By Human Rules
  2. Their Vanities #5
  3. Doctrine Divides #2
  4. Your Right to Eat Meat
  5. Thought for the Day – Superior Theology
  6. Why are we not Integrous? Reason Number 2: Because we do not Submit to the Processes of Teaching through the Experience Lived by which God enables us
  7. Integrity According to the Bible
  8. Basic Training: Being Berean- 8 Steps for Comparing Teaching to Scripture
  9. 1 Timothy 4:6: “…The Sound Doctrine Which You Have Been Following.”
  10. Bringing The Words of God To The Word Of God
  11. Sound Doctrine is Scarce In Churches of Today
  12. Sound Doctrine or Self-Made Religion?
  13. Dost Thou Keep This Commandment?
  14. Christianity and Sound Doctrine
  15. Christian Behavior, Order in the Home

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