Saturday, October 23, 2021

Matthew 5:17-48 Homiletics

 Jesus didn’t come to change the playbook.  Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.  Jesus came to turn the world upside down!  Not one command can be set aside.  God’s Word is eternal!  He gave us the Scriptures so we would know we can’t fulfill them.  He wanted us to know we needed a Savior Who could fulfill them.  Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Seems hopeless, doesn’t it?  Praise God for making a way!  Jesus is that Savior!!!  He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets and died for the sins of the world.  The Lamb of God!  Have you accepted that He paid the penalty for your sin?  Have you prayed to accept Him as your Savior?  If not, check out the left side of this page for a prayer to guide you.  Then get in touch with a Christian friend, a local Bible preaching church, or shoot me a message if you don’t have access to those resources and I’ll try to help you find one.  Only through Christ’s righteousness can we enter the kingdom of heaven.  Without Him, there is no hope!

As Jesus continues, He says some mind boggling things.  Murder isn’t just the taking of a human life with malice aforethought!  Anger will be judged the same as murder.  Relationships are important.  Reconciliation is one of the defining marks of God’s people!  Might someone mistake you for a Christian because of your passion to reconcile?  Don’t let bad feelings fester.  Settle matters quickly (and, we’ll see in a moment, generously).  And about adultery…just one lustful look is all it takes to be guilty!  You don’t have to act on it.  God knows your heart, so confess and bring that sin into the light where the enemy can’t use it on you!  Don’t engage in any activity that will take you near the neighborhood of your sin!  You might have to stop going certain places…or hanging out with specific people…better to lose that one part than to have your whole self thrown into hell!  If we are truly Christians, our priority must increasingly become pleasing God.  God is holy and His people are called to holiness.  Divorce goes hand-in-hand with adultery.  If a man divorces because his wife has committed sexual immorality, adultery has already happened.  If for another reason, he causes her to become an adulteress.  Anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.  First Corinthians 7:10-11 states that divorced people shouldn’t remarry as long as there’s a possibility for reconciliation.  Back to the importance of reconciliation that started this section of Scripture.  Don’t make rash decisions.  Seek unity.  We’ll talk about love in a minute.

Don’t break your oaths.  Fulfill your vows.  Don’t swear.  Just let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no.  No need to embellish to add a punch of false credibility to what you say.  That’s from the evil one.  Just speak truth.  Your words are important.  The loudest voice is often the lie.  Where words are many, sin is not absent (Proverbs 10:19).

This next part has plagued me since the summer when I wrote out the Gospel of Matthew in my Journible!  Don’t resist an evil person!!!  This brought up thoughts of the book and movie “Unbroken”.  How hard is it to not resist those who persecute you?  My flesh wants to find fault with the one who has to be right all the time!  And I get very frustrated – even angry (murder!) – when that person turns out to be right!!!  It should break my heart that the person I’m thinking of does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ!  And sometimes it does.  I have shared my faith with this person, but it is clear to me that they believe they have to earn their way to heaven despite my informing them such thinking is a lie.  This person talks all the time, interrupts, doesn’t listen, is judgmental, has to be the expert on everything.  I butt heads with them constantly and I’ve only ever changed their mind about one thing!  They take credit for the achievements of others.  They don’t compliment others.  They say they don’t need recognition, but act as if they can’t live without recognition.  And when they get going, the vortex they create drags my sinful human self down into the same cesspool where they live!!!  Typing this list and confessing to my own bent to fall in the same hole has been a cathartic exercise for me.  I thought about deleting the list so as not to publish a rant, but thought the list might help someone else come to terms with their own struggles.  Anyway…  LOVE.  Be different.  Be generous.  To your enemies and your persecutors.  Remember that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers in heavenly realms!  Your struggle is not against a person.  It’s a spiritual battle.  Put on the armor of God.  Know that He loves you and has plans to prosper you, not harm you.  Know He is trustworthy.  When things feel like they’re squeezing you, trust Him.  And ask Him what He’s up to.  He is perfect and He is asking us to be perfect.  Impossible for us.  Totally possible for Jesus!  He will be the perfection we need when we belong to Him!

(the Homiletics below led me to the thoughts above)

 

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.think I cm abolish Law/Proph,fulfill;until hvn/earth disappear,least stroke dis from Law(5:17-18)

2.any1 sets aside least cmd called least koh;unless rtness surpass Phar enter koh(5:19-20)

 

3.you heard murder subj judgmt;any1 angry subj judgmt,any1 says “you fool” danger fire hell(5:21-22)

4.if offering gift remem brosis has something v you;leave gift,be reconciled, come offer gift(5:23-24)

5.settle matters quickly or adversary hand you judgeofficerprison;out till pd last penny(5:25-26)

6.you heard adultery;any1 looks lustfully already committed adultery heart(5:27-28)

7.if rt eye causes stumble, gouge, better lose one part than whole body thrown hell(5:29)

8.if rt hand causes stumble,cut off, better lose one part than whole body thrown hell(5:30)

9.any1 div wife gv cert divorce;I tell any1 divorces except sex immoral mk her victim adultery(5:31-32a)

10.any1 marries div wm commits adultery(5:32b)

 

11.you heard break oath, fulfill vows;swear at all, by hvn, G’s throne(5:33-34)

12.by earth,His footstool,by Jerus city Great King;by head, cannot mk hair white/black(5:35-36)

13.’yes’ or ‘no’ anything beyond from evil one(5:37)

 

14.you heard “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”;resist evil person,any1 slaps rt cheek,turn other(5:38-39)

15.any1 wants sue take shirt,hand over coat;any1 forced you go 1 mi,go 2(5:40-41)

16.give to who asks,turn from one wants borrow(5:42)

17.you heard love neighbor,hate enemy;I tell love enemies,pray those persecute you(5:43-44)

18.you be children Fr hvn,causes sun rise on evil/good,sends rain rteous/unrteous(5:45)

19.if love those love you,what reward,tax coll doing;if greet own ppl,even pagans do(5:46-47)

20.be perfect as heavenly Fr perfect(5:48)

 

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt 5:17-20)

Principle:  Jesus fulfills all Scripture.

2.Jesus teaches about murder, adultery and divorce (Matt 5:21-32)

Principle:  Jesus is concerned about our relationships.

3.Jesus teaches about oaths (Matt 5:33-37)

Principle:  Jesus keeps His promises and so should His people.

4.Jesus teaches about how to treat enemies (Matt 5:38-48)

Principle:  Jesus challenges His people to live counter-culturally.

 

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Jesus fulfills Law, says “be reconciled,” “fulfill vows,” “love enemies.”

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK God’s way of life does not resemble cultural norms.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.How would you encourage someone who is struggling to live out the truths of Scripture as they wait for Jesus’ return?

2.Where has Scripture turned your thinking upside down and how has this transformation helped you in challenging times?

3.How are you fulfilling your promises to others “as unto the Lord”?

4.How is treating your enemies well beneficial to you?  Where are you experiencing challenges to love your enemy and how are you praying to overcome them?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

Live like Jesus: counter-culturally

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Matthew 5:1-16 Homiletics

In the last chapter, Jesus endured temptation in the wilderness and then He began preaching that the kingdom of heaven is near.  He started calling His disciples and embarked on His ministry of teaching, proclaiming the gospel, and healing to large crowds who begin to follow Him.

When He saw the crowds, He went up a mountainside and sat.  The disciples came and He taught them.  This collection of verses defining blessing (vv. 3-11) is called the Beatitudes.  They declare that the poor in spirit are blessed because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  So what does it mean to be poor in spirit?  If you’re inheriting the kingdom of heaven, it must mean you’re spiritually rich.  Right?  So being poor in spirit is a condition of humility and contrition, not trying to achieve on your own, but submitting to God and accepting His gifts.

Those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted.  Hmmm.  I can see this from a human perspective.  Sort of.  But I think this verse really puts me in the mindset that I need to look at things from God’s perspective, not mine.  I mourn the loss of loved ones.  I mourn the sudden loss of a job, or other impact to my financial security.  I mourn not getting my way, if I’m honest with myself.  What I don’t mourn often enough is my own sin!  This got me thinking of the cross.  I’ve wept over the pain and humiliation Jesus suffered on my behalf.  But now I wonder if the whip’s sting, the invasion of thorns and nails through flesh, the spitting, the nakedness, the punching and ridicule were merely uncomfortable to the Savior in comparison to the torture and absolute darkness of taking the sin of humanity upon Himself!  Bearing our sin tore our Savior apart!  His 100% God part couldn’t be in the presence of sin!  His 100% human part was sinless until my sin (and yours) covered Him and separated Him from the Father for the first time!  The stress was so unbearable, His heart gave out.  There are fascinating articles about the medical views on Christ’s death.  Check them out.  But God promises comfort for mourning.  Is there a sin from your past, you simply cannot accept God’s forgiveness?  Stop right now and ask God to forgive you and let that forgiveness wash over you.  Ask Him to help you forgive yourself so the enemy can never use that sin as a taunt again.  Receive His comfort.

The meek are blessed because they will inherit the earth.  When I read this in the NASB version, the work used was “gentle.”  I LOVE that – the idea of being gentle.  I think of teaching my new puppy not to jump up on me.  I gently take her paws off of me and place them on the ground and say “down” – over and over and over and over again.  I think of wiping my Grandson’s tears.  I think of encouraging a friend or family member who is struggling.  That is all Jesus, by the way!!!  I can’t do any of that on my own with any regularity.  I might be able to muscle through things once in a while, but this is Jesus’ character.  And He will help me live out that character because His Spirit lives in me!!!  He will help you too, if you have accepted Him as your Savior!  His children will reign with Him for eternity!  That is quite an inheritance.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.  God will fill you with His Word and Himself and His Spirit and His character.  I pray this for my loved ones (and myself) consistently.  My part is to pray and spend time with God and He will make the most of that.  May time with Him be the food you have that no one else knows about.

The merciful will receive mercy.  Don’t just read that quickly and move on.  Be merciful.  How can you be merciful?  What situations are you involved in right now that are affording you the opportunity to be merciful?  When have you received mercy?  When HAVEN’T you received mercy, but would’ve liked it?

The pure in heart will see God.  Oh, Lord, make me pure in heart.  I don’t care if people laugh at me because I don’t get the joke.  I don’t want to have an ulterior motive.  I want to constantly consider the impact to Your kingdom for everything I do, say and think!  I don’t always do that.  I’m sorry.  Would You help me give You one more minute of my contemplation time today?  And then one more tomorrow?  And 20 more seconds the day after that?

Peacemakers will be called children of God.  Are you a peacemaker?  Do you diffuse trouble?  Do you dread conflict but understand that caring means you confront in a loving way?  Are you practicing the art of turning a negative conversation into something more positive?  Are you bringing Jesus’ name and Biblical principles into your interactions with others?  If you are a light, people will be drawn to you.  Those who want to hear about Jesus and the Bible will keep coming back.  Those who don’t will find someone else to commiserate with.  They may come by now and then to taunt you, but they won’t make a practice of spending a lot of time in your company.

This is a natural segue into the kingdom of heaven belonging to those who are persecuted for righteousness.  If we are persecuted for wearing a cross, talking about Jesus, living a righteous life based on the Bible, we are instructed to rejoice.  We are in good company!  The prophets were persecuted, too.

Jesus goes on to teach that His people are the salt of the earth.  Salt enhances flavor, like making fruit sweeter.  Salt preserves food.  Salt melts ice.  But salt can lose saltiness when it contains impurities.  Then salt is useless and can be thrown out.

God’s people are also light.  I mentioned this earlier.  People are drawn to light.  Actually, the eye is naturally drawn to light in darkness.  So don’t hide your light.  Live out the character of the Holy Spirit.  Pursue righteousness.  Display integrity.  Be compassionate and loving.  In other words, be different than the world!  People will see and God will ultimately be glorified.

(the homiletics below led to the thoughts above)

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.J saw crowds, went mountainside, sat, disciples came(5:1)

2.He began teach them(6:2)

3.Blessed poor spirit, theirs koh(6:3)

4.Blessed mourn, comforted(6:4)

5.Blessed meek, inherit earth(6:5)

6.Blessed hunger thirst righteousness, filled(6:6)

7.Blessed merciful, shown mercy(6:7)

8.Blessed pure heart, see God(6:8)

9.Blessed peacemakers, called children God(6:9)

10.Blessed persecuted because righteousness, theirs koh(6:10)

11.Blessed when ppl insult, persecute, falsely say evil against you bec me(6:11)

12.Rejoice, great your reward heaven, for they persecuted proph before you(6:12)

 

13.You salt earth, if loses saltiness, how made salty again, no longer good, thrown out,trampled(5:13)

14.You light world, town on hill cannot be hidden(6:14)

15.Neither ppl light lamp put under bowl, put on stand gives light everyone house(6:15)

16.let light shine, they see good deeds, glorify Father heaven(6:16)

 

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.Jesus taught the disciples about being blessed(5:1-12)

Principle:  God’s blessings have eternal significance.

2.Jesus taught the disciples about who they are(5:13-16)

Principle:  God’s people have eternal identity in Him.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Jesus taught the disciples about being blessed, salt and light.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK God’s people are blessed and should rejoice, living as salt and light.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.How are your earthly circumstances transforming your thinking about eternal blessings?  How does learning about the suffering of (contemporary) saints encourage you?

2.What thinking or beliefs need to change for you to be salt and light?  Where has your salt lost its saltiness?  In what way are you hiding your light and how will you display it?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

The blessed are salt and light.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Matthew 4 Homiletics

In Matthew 4, the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted.  Curious.  What the devil meant for evil, God the Father intended to use to refine.  After fasting 40 days, Jesus was hungry.  Of course He was.  So the tempter decided to capitalize on that and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  On the surface, this seems to be about food.  But I believe the food is masking a deeper issue.  At second glance, this taunt begins with an enticement to pride.  The devil is almost challenging Jesus to prove He is the Son of God.  Something as simple as turning stones to bread would be easy for the Son of God.  Maybe so, but a misuse of power wouldn’t indicate a reliance on God the Father, which is Jesus’ strength in this temptation and a great example for those of us called to follow Him.  More on that in a sec.  And though Jesus acknowledges that food is a legitimate need, He states that every word of Scripture is necessary for life!  True life does not exist outside of the Scriptures.  Those not living by the Word of God are “dead men (and women) walking.”  Are you living according the Scriptures?  I recently bumped into Psalm 8, which speaks about wisdom.  We get wisdom from Scripture.  We see Jesus quote the wisdom of Scripture through all three temptations.

OK.  I said I’d get back to this.  Another nuance behind this first test is that it’s a temptation to take matters into your own hands rather than rely on God.  Jesus was fasting.  Fasting focuses us on God, hopefully.  The devil hoped that hunger or the challenge to Jesus’ authority might make Him act on His own behalf.  But Jesus’ dependence on the Father is solid!

In the second test, the devil took Jesus to the highest point of the temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down for it is written ‘He will command His angels concerning you, they will lift you up so you will not strike your foot on a stone.”  Jesus responds by saying, “Don’t put the Lord your God to the test.”  Hallelujah!  Don’t let people bait you into doing anything foolish or reckless.  Know God’s character.  Respect His ways. Don’t try to manipulate Him.

Finally, the devil takes Jesus to a very high mountain to show Him all the kingdoms of the world.  He promised to give them all to Jesus if He would bow down and worship the devil.  Jesus told the devil to get away from Him and quoted another Scripture, which said to worship the Lord and serve Him only.  How often are you tempted to take the easy way out?  Do you take shortcuts to avoid suffering?  Jesus, in effect, said He would rather have all the kingdoms WITH the cross than without it!  Without the cross, having all the kingdoms wouldn’t matter because fellowship with the Father wouldn’t be restored to any of the people in any of those kingdoms!  Jesus decided to do things God’s way, not the easy way!  Thank you, Jesus!!!

When all the testing was done, the angels did come and attend to Jesus.  Not exactly the way the devil said…  Isn’t that the way he works, though?  He makes promises that aren’t exactly what they seem to be.  The cost is higher.  The pleasure is less.  Don’t fall for his lies.

Continuing on, Jesus heard John the Baptist was imprisoned, and He withdrew to Galilee.  He lived in Capernaum by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali.  This fulfilled a prophecy from Isaiah.  Jesus, the Light of the world, brought light to that place and those people.  He entrusted the gospel message to those He would call, beginning with Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John, who immediately dropped their nets and followed the Lord.  I want my response to God to be immediate.  But sometimes, I’m a little slow on the uptake.

Little by little, word about Jesus, His teaching and miracles spread and people flocked to Him.  His words, His actions, His very presence is a soothing balm.  Like parched earth receiving rain.  Only Jesus was pouring living water on these thirsty souls!  Do you know Him as your Savior?  If not, please comment so I can pray for you and answer any questions you may have.

(the Homiletics below led me to the thoughts above)

 

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.J led by Spirit wilderness tempted by devil; after fasting 40d/n, hungry(4:1-2)

2.tempter:if you SoG, tell stones become bread(4:3)

3.J:it written ’Man live bread alone but every word from mouth G’(4:4)

4.devil took Him holy city stand highest pt temple;if you SoG throw self down(4:5-6a)

5.it written ‘He cmd angels concerning you,lift you up, strike foot against stone’(4:6b)

6.J:also written ‘put L to test’(4:7)

7.devil took Him very high mt showed all kingdoms/splendor(4:8)

8.all this I give you if you bow/worship me;J:away Satan! It written ‘worship L serve Him only(4:9-10)

9.devil left, angels came attended Him(4:11)

 

10.J heard Jn prison withdrew Galilee; lived Capernaum by lake area Zebulun/Naphtali(4:12-13)

11.fulfill Isaiah:land Zeb/Naph,beyond Jordan,Galilee-ppl living dkness seen great light(4:14-16)

12.J began preach: Repent,koH near(4:17)

13.J walking beside Sea Galilee,saw Simon (Peter) Andrew,fishermen;come follow fish ppl(4:18-19)

14.at once followed;saw James John,boat fr Zebedee,J called them;immed left,followed(4:20-22)

15.J went Galilee teaching,proclaiming gd news,healing(4:23)

16.news spread,ppl brought ill/suffering/demon-possessed/seizures/paralyzed,He healed(4:24)

17.Lg crowds Galilee,Decapolis,Jerus,Judea,region across Jordan followed(4:25)

 

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)

Principle:  God’s Word helps people withstand temptation.

2.Jesus withdrew to Galilee and men began to follow Him (Matthew 4:12-25)

Principle:  God’s Word draws people to follow Jesus.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Jesus was tempted and men began to follow Him.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATL Jesus understands temptation because He was tempted and He is worthy of us following Him.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.What Scriptures are you clinging to right now to combat temptation?  What is your plan to withstand temptation before setting out to do God’s work?

2.What Scriptures are bringing light and comfort to your life and drawing you to Jesus?  What Scriptures are encouraging or challenging you to follow Jesus?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

Scripture is key to Christian life.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Matthew 3 - Homiletics

So, enter John the Baptist.  Camel hair and leather belt wearing, locust and wild honey eating cousin of Jesus, preaching in the power and spirit of Elijah: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!”  Matthew identifies that John is the one referred to by Isaiah as “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’”  I found it fascinating that, when you look up Isaiah 40:3, the punctuation is different: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”  So, yes John is the voice of one calling in the wilderness, a physical desert.  But Isaiah said John was a voice calling out to make a way for the Lord in the wilderness.  Still, a physical desert.  Perhaps alluding to the wilderness of our hearts, waiting so long for Messiah as to be on the brink of giving up hope that He would ever come.  Where is your heart right now?  Are you on the brink of giving up that Jesus will ever return for His people?

I LOVE the second part of the Isaiah verse: “…make a straight highway for our God.”  Israel hated Rome!  Rome was oppressive.  Rome occupied their land.  But Rome also brought a great blessing that, I believe, was orchestrated by God to break 400 years of silence and usher in the timing for the birth of the long-awaited Messiah!  As Romans conquered lands, they built roads.  The roads were used to bring siegeworks and supplies to the areas being conquered.  These same roads allowed the gospel to be spread “to the ends of the earth.”  Are you having trouble seeing the blessing in your trials?  Ask God to give you glimpses into the blessings.  Ask Him to change your heart and mind and turn your complaining to thankfulness, your doubt to faith, your covetousness to contentment, your rebellion to submission.

We are told that John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt.  He ate locusts and wild honey.  Huh, wild honey…  I suppose that means he collected it himself and probably received some bee stings for his efforts.  People came from everywhere to confess their sins and be baptized in the Jordan!  You know, people still travel to the Jordan to be baptized!  They come from all over the world!  It’s a popular stop on tours to the holy land.  But where do we stand on confessing our sins?  When was the last time you confessed your sins?  Is something coming to mind that you need to discuss with God?  Don’t delay.  Stop and do it right now.  I’ll wait…

Welcome back.  J  So, now the Pharisees and Sadducees stop by, not to repent, but to see what John is doing.  People are coming from all over.  Maybe John’s crowds are bigger than those gathering to hear the teaching of the Pharisees.  These groups were looking to find fault.  And John wasn’t fooled.  He called them out right there!  “You brood of vipers!”  Not a warm welcome, but tough love: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”  Power certainly corrupted the members of the Pharisees and Sadducees!  They should’ve known the truth!  They should’ve been calling people to repent as John was doing.  So John warned them that the ax was ready to fall and those who weren’t fruitful would be thrown into the fire!  He told them that One was coming Who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire!  Should these religious leaders have recognized the forerunner to the Messiah?  Definitely.  Their hearts were hardened by the world and by the power they had.  John said the One who was coming was ready to separate the wheat from the chaff and that the chaff would be destroyed.  Which are you?

Now Jesus enters the picture.  Grown up Jesus coming to be baptized by cousin John.  John recognized that he was the one who should be baptized by Jesus!  But Jesus said it is proper for Him to be baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness and John consented.  When he lifted Jesus out of the water, heaven opened and John saw the Holy Spirit descend like a dove on Jesus.  And a voice came from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased.”  Can God say the same of you?  How are you pleasing Him?  Where does your thinking or activity need to change so you are more obedient or submissive to God?

 

(the homiletics below led to the thoughts above)

 

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.John Baptist preaching wilderness Judea:Repent, koh near(3:1-2)

2.Isaiah:voice calling:prepare way L(3:3)

3.clothes camel’s hair,leather belt,food locusts, wild honey(3:4)

4.people went from Jerus/Judea/Jordan;confessing sins, baptized Jordan River(3:5-6)

 

5.when he saw Phar/Sadd:brood vipers!  Produce fruit repentance(3:7-8)

6.think can say yourselves: Abraham our father. Out of stones G raise children Abraham(3:9)

7.ax at root trees, produce good fruit cut down thrown fire(3:10)

8.I baptize water repentance, after me comes one more powerful, baptize Holy Spirit, fire(3:11)

9.winnowing fork in hand, clear threshing floor, gathering wheat, burning chaff(3:12)

 

10.J came Jordan baptized by John;John tried deter:I need baptized by you(3:13-14)

11.J:proper do this fulfill righteousness. John consented(3:15)

12.J baptized, heaven opened, he saw Spirit descending like dove(3:16)

13.voice heaven: my Son, I love, I well pleased(3:17)

 

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the Lord (Matthew 3:1-6)

Principle:  God sends His people to prepare the way for Jesus.

2.John the Baptist spoke to Pharisees and Sadducees about repentance (Matthew 3:7-12)

Principle:  God sends His people to encourage repentance.

3.John the Baptist baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:12-17)

Principle:  God sends His people to fulfill all righteousness.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

John the Baptist preached repentance and baptized Jesus.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK God calls people to make Jesus and His righteousness known.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.How are you investing in people in your circle of influence in preparation for sharing the gospel with them?

2.What areas of your thinking could use some fresh repentance?

3.Where are you cooperating with the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s righteousness as reflected in Jesus?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

God’s people point to Jesus.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Matthew 2 - Homiletics

Matthew 2 is the tale of two kings and some wise men.  It begins with the birth of the King of kings.  After which the magi from the West came to Israel and inquired of king Herod about the birth of the King of the Jews.  This disturbed Herod since, technically, he was crowned “the king of the Jews” by the Roman Senate in 40 BCE.  It apparently disturbed all of Jerusalem as well.  But this got Herod thinking, and he went to the chief priests and teachers of the law and inquired about where the Messiah would be born.  They informed Herod that the Scriptures indicated the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem according to the prophet Micah (Mic 5:2).

So, Herod gave that information to the magi and asked them to return to him after they found the Child and tell him where the Child was so Herod could worship Him, too.  We’ll learn Herod’s true intentions in just a moment.

Meanwhile, the magi travel on, following a star that guided them straight to Jesus and His mother at their house.  The overjoyed magi bowed and worshiped and presented the King with gifts of gold (a symbol of kingship) and frankincense (a symbol of deity) and myrrh (an embalming oil, symbolic of death).  After their visit, they are warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they went back home by another route.

Meanwhile, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him to take his family to Egypt because Herod wants to kill Jesus!  So Joseph packs up and goes and moves to Egypt.  During this time, Herod became furious that he was tricked by the magi and issued an order to kill all the boys age 2 and under.  This event is called the slaughter of the innocents or the massacre of the innocents.  And there is no historical record of it from the first century outside of Scripture.  So I asked myself, “why not?”  What I discovered was interesting.

First of all, children were not valued in that culture at that time in history, so it possibly wasn’t really newsworthy.  Second, the population of that area wasn’t as large as it is today, so very few children were probably executed, possibly escaping notice of historians.  Also, Josephus Flavius, a first century AD historian, may not have chronicled the killing of the 2 year old boys in and around Bethlehem around 3 BCE, but he does record Herod’s wickedness including a number of murders in response to a perceived threat to his throne.  So such a response to a rumor about the birth of the “King of the Jews” was absolutely possible considering the character – or lack of character – attributed to Herod.

There is actually a testimony of the slaughter of the innocents from around 400 AD from Macrobius’ Saturnalia (2.f.11), which says, “when Augustus had heard, that among the children within two years of age, which Herod king of the Jews commanded to be slain in Syria, his own son had been killed, he said: ‘It is better to be Herod’s hog than his son.’”

There is a lesson in this for us today:  insecurity can cause really bad decisions.  We not only see this in Herod’s life.  Take a look at the Old Testament life of king Saul.  There was another dangerously insecure king!  And now, back to the Scriptures…

So Joseph’s family remained in Egypt until he received word again in a dream to return to Israel after Herod’s death.  But Joseph was afraid because Archelaus was reigning in Herod’s place.  He received another warning in a dream and settled in Galilee, in Nazareth.  I love Joseph’s sensitivity to God and his obedience to God’s instruction.  I love God’s care for Jesus and Mary and Joseph to warn the magi to avoid Herod and go home a different way.  I love that God warned Joseph in a dream to go to Egypt and told him when it was safe to come back and where to settle.  God is in the details!  How have you seen Him in the details of your life?  What keeps you motivated to seek God when He seems difficult to find?  Where are you fighting God rather than submitting to Him and what will lead you to repent and ultimately submit to His plan for your life?

 

(Below is the homiletics that led me to the thoughts above.)

 

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1.after J born, magi came: where king of Jews?(2:1-2)

2.King Herod heard, was disturbed, and all Jerus(2:3)

3.called chief priests & teachers law, asked where Messiah born(2:4)

4.Bethlehem, prophet: Bethlehem, out you come ruler shepherd Israel(2:5-6)

5.Herod found out exact time star appeared; sent them Beth,find him, report me, I go worship(2:7-8)

6.they went, star went ahead, stopped where child was; they saw star, overjoyed(2:9-10)

7.they saw child w/mother, bowed & worshiped, presented gold, frankincense, myrrh(2:11)

8.warned dream go Herod,ret’d country by another route(2:12)

 

9.aoL appeared Joseph dream,escape Egypt, Herod search child to kill(2:13)

10.he took child, mother, left;stayed until death Herod, fulfilled proph:out of Egypt called son(2:14-15)

11.Herod realized outwitted, furious, gave orders kill boys 2y & under(2:16)

12.proph Jeremiah fulfilled: Rachel weeping for children(2:17-18)

13.after Herod died,aoL appeared dream Jos:go Israel;he got up, took child/mother, went Israel(2:19-21)

14.heard Archelaus reigning,afraid,warned dream, withdrew Galilee(2:22)

15.lived Naz, fulfilled prophets, he called Nazarene(2:23)

 

Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture/Principles are Aims for each Division – a truth about God, a truth about man, a truth about God’s relationship to man; a sin to avoid, promise to trust, example to follow, command to obey, truth to believe):

1.The magi seek and find the Messiah (Matt 2:1-12)

Principle:  Those who seek God with a pure heart, find Him.

2.Joseph obeys God and flees to Egypt, and later obediently settles in Nazareth (Matt 2:13-23)

Principle:  Obedience to God fulfills His plan.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Magi find and worship Messiah; Joseph flees and returns obediently.

 

Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, Learn, Understand, etc.):

TCMATK God’s people seek and obey His will.

 

Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about heart change):

1.What keeps you motivated to seek after God when He seems hard to find?

2.Where are you fighting God rather than obeying Him?  What will lead you to repent and submit?

 

The Big Idea (author’s main purpose in writing; the one thing all the other things in the passage is about; if you couldn’t talk about it, you would still understand the passage is trying to convey this):

Seek and obey God.