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Posts tagged ‘Kingdom of heaven’

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

Matthew 20 It is never too late

In the twentieth chapter of Matthew we can once more come to hear about the position of Jesus and our position concerning the Kingdom of God.

Jesus compares that Kingdom or the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. he wants us to to understand the secrets about that kingdom of heaven and how it shall be for those able to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Each person has a different path in life. For some it may take a long time before they come to God or before they come to realise who Christ is and what he really has done. We must understand that it may happen that a person comes later in the Biblical Truth than us, but shall receive the same promised salvation as us.

In our lifetime we also came to a point where we had to decide which way we wanted to follow. We too like every individual had to make the right choice. By choosing to follow Jeshua or Christ Jesus we had to know we had to become workers for him. When coming under Christ we have to follow up his teachings but also have to fulfil the tasks he has given his disciples to do. They and all those who say to be followers of Christ have to become labourers in ‘God’s garden’. Having become a Jesus follower (or a Jeshuaist if you want) we can all share in the fruit of our labours together, with all the saints who participate, we should not wait before taking action. As soon as you have chosen to follow Christ you should get at work for him.

Many people think that just because they have been a Christian longer than another, they are entitled to have a higher ranking place or to receive more rewards in heaven than a ‘newly born Christian’. People also should be aware that just because somebody may have believed in Jesus longer, it does not mean that they were actively seeking him or doing his will or where really giving their life to him. God is the Only One Who can see in the heart of a person. But He is also a righteous Father Who wants all to come to Him and all having the same rights in His Kingdom. He is not going to favour one above an other because that one has become first to Him or has been longer a follower of Christ.

To each person, God simply asks that we work in His vineyard. These are those that are part of the kingdom of heaven and are saved. All others that stand idly by, doing nothing, have nothing to show for themselves and therefore, have no rewards in heaven.This is one of the parables Jesus tells us to make sure we shall come to recognise we have to do works and should not sit on our ass to do nothing or should not worry any more about good and wrong, with the idea that we are saved and as such can do wrong without loosing the grace of salvation.

We should know that Jesus is the householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. He might find in this world many who own things, while God continually calls unto them, but are so taken by the materialistic goods of this world they have not much interest in the heavenly goods. At the other hand Jesus also may find people who own less in this world, but who are with their heart by his heavenly Father . At a certain time in their life they may respond and by doing so shall be blessed by God.

We should know that everyone that loves and serves God is equal in the amount of blessings they receive. Therefore, it is better to work together in this world, going in union for God’s kingdom. For pride may bring you to a point where you no longer serve the Lord and shall come to see that his reward shall not be for you.

To those that are new to the faith, we should be pleased that they at last found the way and should welcome them in with our whole heart. They may not be treated differently. We also may never forget that many are called but few are chosen, this means that not everyone excepts the invitation to work in God’s garden or kingdom. The harvest is ripe but there are only few labours that listen to God’s calling and enter it, in order to do God’s will.

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Preceding

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

The Scriptures makes it clear what choice man has to make to receive a non-ending life after this life on earth which can be full of temptations, problems, difficulties and suffering.

In the 19th chapter of Matthew we can see that after some time going with the master teacher the disciples still did not know him. Jesus looked at the small children who wanted to come to him and saw how their soul (their inner being) was still pure and without personal interest. Jesus not only blessed the babes, but rebuked the disciples, who had misrepresented him; and says

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

For us that should be a message to become or to be like “such as these”. In our life we should get a state of purity and innocence. It is very possible that those children could have done some faults, but often having been not aware of it. It is only when one knows what is good and what is bad and when knows the rule s and regulations that one can go against such rules or laws.

The Kingdom of heaven will not be literally composed of little children, but those who want to enter the Kingdom should be like little children, innocent and pure of mind, simple-hearted, true, teachable, obedient, honest and trustful of their heavenly Father.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Lu 18:17 NIV)

says Jesus. At other places in the New Testament we also do find

“And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3 NIV)

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”” (Mt 19:14 NIV)

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” (Mr 10:15 NIV)

Instead of the children being regarded as intruders, they were most welcome to the master teacher; and, instead of being interlopers, they had full right of access, for of children and of childlike persons God His kingdom was composed and Jesus is the way to that Kingdom. Jesus spoke with certainty, using his own expressive “verily,” and he spoke with the weight of his own personal authority,

“I say unto you.”

These prefatory expressions are intended to secure our reverent attention to the fact that so far from the admission of children into the kingdom being unusual or strange none can find entrance there except they receive the gospel as a little child receives it. It is this statement of the Master which affords us a subject for this morning, which may the divine Spirit open up to us and impress upon our hearts.

As adults we have gone through a parcour of life and have made several choices to continue on our path of life. Not always did we take the right path. When we look back at the past we shall be able to notice we made many mistakes and more than once we took the wrong decision.

Making the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, we should remember that we too should try to get a childes attitude of innocence. Childlessness is an ‘Essential Element’ in the Christian Life.

“The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.” (Ps 116:6 NIV)

“But I have stilled and quietened my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Ps 131:2 NIV)

“Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.” (1Co 14:20 NIV)

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (1Pe 2:2 NIV)

The phrase, kingdom of heaven (lit. of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the earth. It is also for that kingdom Jesus prayed and taught us also to pray for.

“your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:10 NIV)

The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system.

“34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing-floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.” (Da 2:34-36 NIV)

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

“23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. {Or for a year, two years and half a year }26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed for ever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” (Da 7:23-27 NIV)

Already in the Garden of Eden God spoke about some one who would come to save the world but also who would reign. God also spoke about a kingdom covenanted to David’s seed which was described in the prophets.

“7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people shall not oppress them any more, as they did at the beginning” (2Sa 7:7-10 NIV)

Under an heir of king David would an other kingdom being established which would be greater and stronger. That heir would be born of a virgin, therefore truly man, but also “Immanuel,” the one coming from (or sent by) God. That person was
confirmed to be Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel.

“32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end.”” (Lu 1:32-33 NIV)

It is that never ending kingdom where at first that man shall be the king, we have to look for. A kingdom heavenly in origin, principle, and authority.

“”In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure for ever.” (Da 2:44 NIV)

When hoping to be a partaker of that kingdom one has to obey the commandments so that life can come to this one who is willing to love God and to be His child. Many think they do not have to do any works any more, because they are saved. But Jesus warns them and us, that they may not be mistaken and that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for man to enter the small gate to the Kingdom.

He clearly indicates we have to keep to the commandments of god, even when that would not always so easy.

“17 …. Jesus replied.

“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” the man enquired. Jesus replied,

“23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Mt 19:23-24 NIV)

Jesus gives also those commandments we have to fulfil or keep to.

18 … “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19 honour your father and mother,’ {Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20 }
and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’” {Lev. 19:18 } (Mt 19:17-19 NIV)

Jesus also gives a hope for those who are willing to follow him.

“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother {Some manuscripts mother or wife } or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19:29 NIV)

But first we have to seek God His kingdom, and His righteousness before all these good things the bible talks about, shall be added unto us. (Matthew 6:33) First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, this should be our greatest care and not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom).

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” (Ro 14:17 NIV)

When we want to enter the kingdom of God we should prepare ourselves and work at our character, making sure that we do our best to keep to God’s commandements.

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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

 

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Find also to read

  1. January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works
  2. The Mountain: Radical Obedience
  3. Justification – salvation is by grace through faith – JI Packer
  4. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  5. Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?
  6. Ability (part 5) Thought about the abilities to be under God’s Spirit

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 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN:
HUMILITY, SETTLING PROBLEMS, AND FORGIVENESS

[“Kingdom Children and Heart Forgiveness”]
(Key word: Forgive)

Matthew 18:1-6 – Children and Stumbling

|| Mark 9:33-36; Luke 9:46-48

MT18:1 In that hour the disciples approached Jesus, asking, “In reality, who is the greatest[1] in the Realm of Heaven?”[2] MT18:2 Having called a little boy[3] to stand among them, MT18:3 Jesus said: “I tell you this truth: If you never turn around[4] and become little boys[5] you will never gain entrance into the Realm of Heaven.[6] MT18:4 So, whoever will be humble as this little boy[7] – that person is the ‘greatest’ in the Realm of Heaven.[8] MT18:5 Also, anyone who accepts one of these[9] ‘little boys’ in my name[10] accepts me. MT18:6 But, whoever stumbles[11] one of these little ones who believes in me – it would be better[12] if he hanged a millstone[13] around his neck and sank into the ocean depths.[14]

*

[1] Who is the greatest: It amazes us that they would even ask this question. However, though some today may not ask the question, attitudes and conduct expose a similar bent of mind: political ambition. This is the first time the subject comes up, but it is not the last. Compare Matthew 23:11; Luke 9:46; Luke 22:24, 26. There was a petty struggle among the disciples about their position in relation to one another, even, unfortunately, as among church elders and deacons today. It is unlikely the problem will disappear. However, all those men who have been appointed to a position of authority need to heed the warning of the Nazarene that follows: the disastrous matter of stumbling the humblest of the flock.

[2] Realm of Heaven: We have to speculate what “kingdom of the heavens” the disciples had in mind. Jesus often uses the phrase “Realm of Heaven” for what could be called “church membership” or “the realm of profession.” This does not mean the phrase could not also include that ultimate goal of the celestial realms where God Himself resides. Research the word Realm or kingdom for notes elsewhere.

[3] A little boy: The Greek is PAIDION and means “little boy” though many render this “little child.” We are captivated at the expression on this young boy’s face as he looks up at these tall men pondering their question of who is the greatest.

[4] Turn around: Or, KJV: except ye be converted; RIEU: unless your hearts are changed. Someone among the disciples needed to change an attitude that involved political ambition. Some needed to cease lofty thoughts and humble themselves.

[5] Little boys: The Greek is PAIDIA and means “little boys” though most render this “little children.” We cannot help but suspect there is a subtle rebuke in the phrase “little boys” if Jesus directed that at his own disciples. Surely, from one perspective they were behaving as “little boys.”

[6] Gain entrance into the Realm of Heaven: Though this may refer to that celestial realm where God resides, judging from the Nazarene’s use of the phrase, it may be limited to membership within that “congregation” Jesus said he would build (see notes on Matthew 13:24, Matthew 13:41, and Matthew 16:18).

[7] Humble as this little boy: We cannot help but think Jesus embraces the lad as he calms his misgivings about being among the group of men. Or, WMS: whoever becomes as lowly as; GDSP: who is as unassuming as this child.

[8] The ‘greatest’ in the Realm of Heaven: The person ‘greatest’ within the Church of Christ is that one as humble as a child. What a goal to aim for in the daily transformation of the Christian character (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 7:1). Luke 9:48 adds, “For he that conducts himself as a lesser one among all of you (disciples) is the one that is great.”

[9] Accepts one of these: Or, KJV: receive on such little child; RHM: give welcome unto. Research the word receive or accept for notes.

[10] In my name: Or, MON: for my sake; GDSP: on my account; TCNT: for the sake of my Name. Christ almost predicts the name “Christian.”

[11] Stumbles: The Greek is SCANDALISE and is also rendered: KJV: offend; RSV: to sin; WMS: to do wrong; MOF: a hindrance to one; NOR: leads astray. Political ambition and infighting among elders and deacons can create an environment that can cause some in the congregation to “stumble.” Research the word scandal for notes elsewhere.

[12] It would be better: “Better” than what? We may suppose this is not a suicide but a murder. Such a person drowned may be resurrected in the Judgment with a beneficial outcome. The alternative punishment of Gehenna – or everlasting destruction – for stumbling a humble disciple of the Lord carries enormous danger.

[13] Millstone: These could be huge and weigh tones. The image is almost absurd. Mark 9:42 adds, “… a millstone such as is turned by an ass.” Compare Revelation 18:21.

[14] Sank into the ocean depths: Or, KJV: drowned in the depth of the sea.

+

Preceding

Matthew 17:24-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tax-free Sons No Stumbling-block

+++

Related

  1. Spiritual but not Religious?
  2. Matthew Chapter A Day – 18
  3. Be Humble Like A Little Child
  4. “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” ~Jesus
  5. Rethinking Matthew 18 and Church Discipline
  6. “Humbles” Word Study: Matthew 18:4

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Already in the previous chapters we could see how the Pharisees where interested in bringing Jesus into a bad light. We find that they again want to trick him. For the second time they wanted to test him by asking to show them a miracle [sign] from God [heaven; possibly a sign in the sky, but more likely a Jewish way of saying “from God”] (see also Mt 12:38-45 + Mt 22:23 + Mr 12:18 & Lu 20:27).

Human beings for ages made use of signs in heavens to know what weather would arise the next day. Therefore Jesus having come at Magadan, somewhere on the western side of the lake, answered them:

“·At sunset [In the evening] you say we will have good weather, because the sky is red. And in the morning you say that it will be ·a rainy day [stormy; bad weather], because the sky is red and ·dark [threatening; overcast]. You see ·these signs in [the appearance of] the sky and know ·what they mean [how to interpret them]. ·In the same way [or However; On the other hand], you ·see the things that I am doing now, but you don’t know their meaning [cannot interpret the signs of the times]. ·Evil and sinful people [An evil/wicked and adulterous generation] ·ask for [seek; demand] a miracle as a sign, but they will not be given any sign, except the sign of Jonah [see 12:40; Jon. 1:17].”

Then Jesus left them and went away and warned his apostles to be careful for the dangerous permeating power of the influence of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Only a few weeks before, and not more than a few miles away, Jesus had severely censured the Pharisees as hypocrites and violators of God’s word {#Mt 15:6,7} and had spoken of them as blind guides of the people, unworthy of notice. Yet the dissembled hostility here indicated was not first awakened by that censure, for they had already accused him of being in league with Beelzebub. {#Mt 12:24}

Pharisees and Sadducees were groups in Jewish religious and political life absolutely opposed to each other, but they are frequently mentioned together in the Gospel, {# Mt 3:7 16:1,6,11,12 22:34 } united in their opposition to Jesus. {cf. # Joh 7:32 }

The Scribes and Pharisees had asked a sign from him in #Mt 12:38, and were refused. Now the Pharisees and Sadducees make a similar demand specifically for a ‘sign from heaven’ (so also #Mr 8:11), and get {#Mt 16:4 } exactly the same refusal as before. {#Mt 12:39 } They might be thinking of such signs as when Moses gave bread from heaven, {#Ps 78:23 ff.; #Joh 6:30 f. } Joshua made the sun and moon stand still, Samuel brought thunder and rain in time of harvest, Elijah repeatedly called down fire from heaven, and at Isaiah’ s word the shadow went back on the dial; comp. #Joe 2:30 ff. Origen conjectures that they regarded signs on earth as wrought in Beelzebul. {#Mt 12:24 } Probably some Jews really expected celestial signs of Messiah’s approach; but the present request was made from bad motives. Jesus promised “great signs from heaven” in connection with his second coming, {#Mt 24:29 f.; #Lu 21:11,25; comp. #Re 15:1 } and predicted that the false Christs would show great signs. {#Mt 24:24 }

Jesus later also would warn for those who

shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.

and for those who

tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. {Matthew 23:13-36}

Also today there are people who have false images of the Kingdom of God or who present false images of the Kingdom or how people would or would not be able to reach heaven. Also to day there are ‘preachers‘ or ‘clergy‘ who claim to be speakers of God, but talk about a totally different god than Jesus had and also have their teachings full of heathen and philosophical thoughts.

For those who believe the sayings of those priests and pastors Jesus in this chapter let an answer come to us, which we should take at heart. When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi [25 miles north of Lake of Galilee near Mount Hermon], he asked his followers [disciples],

“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

First of all in his question we hear Jesus already giving an indication he is a son of man. At the time of Jesus many had heard about him and some had seen him at work, but where not quite sure who he really was. Some said Jeshua (Jesus) was John the Baptist whilst others said he was the returned Elijah, who they expected in the end times [Mal. 4:5], and still others said he was Jeremiah or one of the prophets [Deut. 18:15]. {Matthew 16:13-14}

We find Simon Peter giving the reply which should also be on our lips, namely that Jesus is

the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God. {Matthew 16:16}

Jesus called Simon son of Jonah blessed, because no person had taught him that. Flesh and blood did not reveal this to him but we learn that it was the heavenly Father Who showed him or revealed who Jesus is. Once again in the Word of God it is made clear that Jesus is not God. But the time seemed not yet ready to have many to know that he is also the Christ or anointed from God [Messiah].

Soon it was all going to change, because from that time on Jesus began telling [showing; making it clear to] his followers [disciples] that he had to go to Jerusalem, where the Jewish elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law [scribes] would make him suffer many things [greatly]. He then also told them he must be killed and then be raised from the dead on the third day. But Jeshua (Jesus the Christ) also gives some hope, because he tells them

The Son of Man will come again with his Father’s glory and with his angels. At that time, he will ·reward [repay; give back; judge] them for what they have done [Ps. 62:12; Prov. 24:12]. {Matthew 16:27}

Jesus promises that he tells them the truth, and warns

some people standing here will not die [L taste death] before they see the Son of Man [Dan. 7:13–14] coming with his kingdom.” [This may refer to the Transfiguration which follows (17:1–8), Jesus’ resurrection, or the destruction of Jerusalem in ad 70.] {Matthew 16:28}

+

Preceding

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 13:24-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Field and the Harvest

Matthew 15:1-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tradition and the Heart

Matthew 15:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: 4000 Fed

++

Additional reading

  1. Was Jesus Religious
  2. Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

+++

Related

  1. Jesus warns some pharisees
  2. Live and let live – how could hat work?
  3. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the religious elites, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~Jesus
  4. God’s True Feelings About False Religion.

Matthew 11:7-15 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 3 John the Baptist and the Kingdom Goal

Matthew 11:7-15 – John the Baptist and the Kingdom Goal

|| Luke 7:24-28

MT11:7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus started to tell the crowds regarding John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see?[1] A breeze rattling some willows?[2] MT11:8 But, what did you go to see? A human dressed in soft clothes? Look! Those who wear soft clothes[3] are in royal houses. MT11:9 But, why did you come out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet.[4] MT11:10 This person is the one about whom it has been written,[5] ‘Look! I am sending forth My messenger[6] before your person. He will prepare your way ahead of you.’ [Isaiah 40:3] MT11:11 I tell you this truth: None generated by women have been raised up who are greater than[7] John the Baptist. But, a lesser person[8] in the Realm of the Heavens[9] is greater than John. MT11:12 From the days of John the Baptist right up until now the Realm of the Heavens is being zealously pursued[10] and those in energetic pursuit are grabbing for it. MT11:13 For the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.[11] MT11:14 And, if you wish to accept it – John is Elijah,[12] the one who was to come. MT11:15 Let the person with ears listen.”[13]

*

File:Accademia - St John the Baptist by Titian Cat314.jpg

St John the Baptist by Titian, Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.

[1] What did you go out into the wilderness to see: We have learned earlier that all Judea went out into the desert to see this strange prophet who dressed primitively and eat honey and locusts.

[2] A breeze rattling some willows: Possibly a bit of sarcasm? Others render this phrase: KJV: a reed shaken with the wind; RIEU: a reed swaying in the wind; NEB: a reed-bed swept by the wind. As a metaphor John the Baptist could not be characterized like a reed-willow easily blown about (Ephesians 4:14). Rather, he was stalwart and firm – even dogmatic.

[3] Soft clothes: John was dressed roughly in harsh clothing. His clothes and manner must have attracted inquisitive crowds wondering about this strange man. The phrase is rendered by others: WMS: silks and satins; NJB: fine clothes.

[4] More than a prophet: The Bible is fill with “prophets” of the two types: the one foretelling events and the one declaring God’s righteous will. The word “prophet” occurs over 500 times in the Bible. Jesus makes clear the Baptist is more than just a prophet and he now explains what he means. The idea of saying that someone is more or greater than another is something Jesus uses several times. Compare Matthew 12:41, 42; Luke 11:31, 32.

[5] It has been written: Jesus quotes Isaiah 40:3.

[6] My messenger: Literally the Greek is “my angel.”

[7] Who are greater than: John the Baptist is at least equal to Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, or Elijah.

[8] A lesser person: The Greek is MICROTEROS and is rendered: KJV: least; ASV: little; PME: humble.

[9] In the Realm of the Heavens: It is possible this phrase is limited to that Realm of Profession, or the territory or domain over which Lord Messiah reigns – his congregation of disciples. In other words: the most humble member of the Christian Church is greater than John the Baptist and therefore greater than all the ancient worshippers of God. See notes in Matthew chapter 13 on identifying the “kingdom of the heavens.” Some also believe this to mean John the Baptist and the ancient patriarchs would not attain to heaven but would be raised in the resurrection of the righteous on earth (John 3:13; Hebrews 11:39, 40; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24).

[10] Zealously pursued: This is a classically difficult text. Most translators tend toward the idea that the kingdom is attacked violently and the violent seize it. However, from John the Baptist to the present of Jesus’ statement there is little evidence of persecution against the King or his realm. The Greek word here is BIAZETAI and its root meaning is “violent.” Jesus repeats the word group in the next phrase (See Acts 2:2). The word is rare in this form. However, there are two verses in Luke which might shed light on the Nazarene’s intent. Luke 13:24 literally means, ‘agonize to enter through the narrow door.’ And, the parallel in Luke to Matthew here is, ‘everyone is violently forcing [BIAZETAI] themselves into (the Kingdom of The God).’ This could mean violent men force themselves violently into the kingdom; or, it could mean the agonizing struggle to enter the realm of profession. This is the first interpretation the New Jerusalem Bible gives in its footnote “f” – “1. The praiseworthy violence, the bitter self-sacrifice, of those who would take possession of the kingdom.” Strong’s (#971, #973) offers “vital activity, energetic.” Thayer’s (page 101) says: “a share in the heavenly Kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and the intense exertion… utmost eagerness.” Thus, the context and the parallel in Luke suggests the possibility that Jesus is describing the agonizing zeal his disciples have demonstrated in their pursuit of the “kingdom” – willing to make any sacrifice, willing to surrender their soul in the process.

William Barclay suggests a possibility: “‘The Kingdom of the Heaven is not for the well-meaning but for the desperate,’ that no one drifts into the Kingdom, that the Kingdom only opens it doors to those who are prepared to make as great an effort to get into it as men do when they storm a city.… Only the man who is desperately in earnest, only the man in whom the violence of devotion matches and defeats the violence of persecution will in the end enter into it.” (Matthew, Volume 2. page 8)

[11] Prophets and the Law prophesied until John: The complete phrase linking the Law and the Prophets is used by Jesus elsewhere (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40). There is now to be a great transition. Hebrews 1:1 states that The God used to speak in a variety of ways to the prophets of old, but now speaks to us by means of a Son. With the coming of John the Baptist in the year 29 AD a new season, a new age begins to open up – a Messianic one. Grace and Truth will now come by means of Jesus the Nazarene (John 1:17).

[12] John is Elijah: Jesus explains this to his own disciples elsewhere (Matthew 17:10-13; Mark 9:11-13). Compare Luke 1:17. Elijah’s name (My God is Yah) occurs 100 times in the Bible and most importantly at Malachi 4:5 where the prophet is foretold to appear before the Day of Yehowah. The end of the Jewish Temple Age is upon that generation. The name Elijah only occurs twice outside the Gospels (Romans 11:2; James 5:17). Note Elijah is missing by name in the Book of Revelation. He is alluded to at Revelation 11:5, 6.

[13] Let the person with ears listen: This becomes in Revelation a phrase identified with Jesus (Revelation 2:7). PME: the man who has ears to hear must use them.

+

Preceding

Matthew 11– Intro to The Nazarene’s Commentary: Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities

Matthew 11:1 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 1 Twelve Sent out to Teach

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

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