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Posts tagged ‘Salvation’

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Jesus Christ had only a very short time of public life. In those three years of walking and preaching around, he admonished the people to follow the good doctrine, not the evil examples, of the Scribes and Pharisees. They really got annoyed by that rabbi which seemed to know more than them. In Matthew 23 we could see how he denounced eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness. The Scribes and Pharisees bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Jesus demands people to live or behave according to the scriptures which means each human being should live according to and with blessings, outlined in the Eight Beatitudes. Now his last declaration was a series of Eight Judgments (‘Woes‘).

Matthew affirms that the message Jesus brings is initially spoken to “the multitudes and to his disciples”. When we want to be a disciple of Christ Jesus, we do have to listen to him and to follow his words. We should not be Pharisaic and tell others what to do, whilst we ourselves would ignore those words of Christ.

Wanting to be a follower of Christ we should be aware that he is the sent one of God who prepared the way to God. But when we as servants are not prepared for his return, we shall get in trouble, because then we shall miss the opportunity to enter his house or shall not be able to enter the Kingdom of Christ nor the Kingdom of God.

The return of the Messiah is going to produce a thorough disentanglement. We have already seen this in the parables of the wheat and the tares, and that of the net cast into the sea, in Matthew 13, and again in the verses we have just considered at the close of Matthew 24. The same great fact meets us again in this fresh similitude of the kingdom of heaven spoken of in chapter 25.

The point all through chapter 25 is the way in which the coming of the Lord will make a complete separation between those who really are his and those who are not. In these parables, we see the separation made between real and spurious in the sphere of profession, and the seal of the Spirit is only possessed by those truly Christ’s. In the world, we can find lots of people who say they are “Christian“, but who adhere to another Christ than the apostles. The apostles did know very well their master. They also worshipped the same God as Jesus Christ. Jesus never prayed to himself or never asked others to praise him for what happened to them. Always, Jesus asked to go to the temple to thank God and to pray to God, with the words

Our Father, Who are in heaven”.

Lots of so-called Christians are not really living as if it would be their last day on earth, nor as if Jesus would be coming back to earth now or tomorrow. They think they still have lots of time to chose or change their character. It can well be that they would be very surprised when that return would be there sooner than they think. More people then shall see,  the shutting of the door sealed the rejection of the false. The foolish do not represent backsliders who once knew the Lord and were known of him. The word is not

“I once knew you, but now disown you,”

but rather,

“I know you not.”

Now the Lord knows those who are his, but these are strangers to him.

In this 25th chapter of Matthew Jesus concludes his parabolic utterances with developing parables of the virgins (vv 1-13), the tradesmen (vv 14-30), and the flock (vv 31-46). It was to be his last exposition before he shared with them the Passover memorial (Mat 26:1-75).

The parable of the virgins taught the need for personal preparation; that of the tradesmen the need for personal effort, and that of the flock the need to prepare for the judgment.

Those parables are still of great importance for us, because they serve as a warning. A warning to be prepared.

In hearing

“You also prove yourselves ready because in an hour you are not expecting the Son of Humankind is coming.” (Mt 24:44 mhm)

we encounter many who will say,

“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that for years.”

However, Jesus is instructing various believers around the world to announce to his church, his Bride, that he is coming very soon.

Furthermore, Jesus gives an indication it is not just alright to say you believe in him or follow him. One must prove that there is such faith in him and in his heavenly Father. Lots of Christians do not want to work for their faith, but we need to labour for the Truth, and to be faithful in all our commitments, so that the talent of time, energy, and opportunity might be expended for the future. Faith without works is dead.

Lots of people who call themselves Christian, worship another God than Christ (namely the Trinity) and live as if nothing is at hand, following their own lusts. They are living their lives chasing their own desires, their own wants and needs, instead of spending their time, serving Jesus and his God and the needs of their kingdom. Those people should know that there will be a severe penalty to pay. There are churches who teach

“once saved, always saved,”

and that one can never lose one’s salvation, regardless of how one lives his or her life. However, this doctrine totally ignores this warning.

“50 the Master will arrive in that day he is not expecting and in an hour he is not knowing 51 and the Master will cut him asunder and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!” (Mt 24:50-51 mhm)

“All of you continue to work, not for the food that perishes, but rather for the Food that remains unto endless Life–which the Son of Humankind will give you–for the Father, The God, has sealed this person.”” (Joh 6:27 mhm)

“It is a necessity to continue to work the works of the One who sent me while it is day. The night is coming when no one will be able to work.” (Joh 9:4 mhm)

“However, the payment is not credited to the one working as if it were charity, but as a debt.” (Ro 4:4 mhm)

“Give them an abundance of loving consideration because of their work. All of you remain peaceable with one another.” (1Th 5:13 mhm)

“Therefore, just as the body without breath is dead, so also, conviction without works is dead.” (Jas 2:26 mhm)

We also should know that whatever we do should be worthy of Christ.

We need to recognise the basis of judgment:

that of displaying the principles of God manifestation to our brethren: of upholding the divine elements, and of manifesting the characteristics of Jehovah God to those we might be privileged to assist. Then we will hear the glad tidings at the judgment seat of the King:

‘Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least, ye did it to me.’

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Preceding

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

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

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

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:27-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 6: Whitewashed Graves

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

Next: Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

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Additional reading

  1. Dealing with worries in our lives
  2. Hearing words to accept
  3. Believing what Jesus says
  4. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  5. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  6. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  7. You know neither the day nor the hour
  8. To be prepared and very well oiled

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

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

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

Matthew 19:25-26 – Who Can be Saved?

|| Mark 10:26, 27; Luke 18:26, 27

MT19:25 But having heard this the disciples were considerably shocked[1] and so asked: “Then who in reality can be saved?”[2] MT19:26 Jesus studied them carefully,[3] and then answered, “From a human standpoint this is impossible;[4] but, any thing is possible for God!”[5]

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[1] Considerably shocked: Or, KJV: exceedingly amazed; RHM: greatest astonishment; KNX: great bewilderment; GDSP: completely astounded. One would think from a human standpoint that if a rich man could not succeed (someone with the wherewithal) then who could?

[2] Saved: We must remember here this is the view of the disciples. We must not create a doctrinal idea based on the limited understanding of immature Christians. Jesus has used “Life” and “Realm of Heaven.” The young rabbi has used the phrase “everlasting life.” None of this may be on the mark.

[3] Jesus studied them carefully: Or, KJV: Jesus beheld them; KNX: Jesus fastened his eyes on them; NEB: looked them in e face; RHM: looking intently. We long to behold this penetrating gaze as the Nazarene proceeds to state an important truth.

[4] From a human standpoint this is impossible: Or, KJV: with man this is impossible; KNX: such a thing is impossible to man’s powers; PME: humanly speaking it is impossible.

[5] Any thing is possible for God: The inference is this: it is not impossible for a rich man to be saved but it would require a miracle from God.

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Preceding

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 16 Calvin’s view

And the Pharisees came.

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

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

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

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3. Hypocrites, you can judge.

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

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

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

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Matthew 16:4: A wicked and adulterous nation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———— –

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Preceding

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

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

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

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

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

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Additional reading

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

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Related

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

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