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Gospel of Matthew

(20 posts)

Your Best Life Now?

Thursday··2007·01·11 · 3 Comments
My Scripture reading this morning was in the Gospel of Matthew. These are a few of my thoughts from that reading. The Gospel is often sold as the answer to our life’s problems. People are told that if they “accept Christ” their life will improve. Their marital problems will be solved. They will experience success and satisfaction in all their personal relationships. But is that what Scripture teaches? Consider Jesus’ words: Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. —Matthew 10:34–38 Not exactly “your best life now,” is it? “When Jesus calls a man,” wrote Bonhoeffer, “he bids him come and die.” If you follow Jesus, your life might not improve. You might be shunned by your family. Your marriage might fall apart. Your children might reject you. You could lose your friends and your job. It might cost you everything. But with that life lost is the promise of a life found: He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. —Matthew 10:39 Our best life is in eternity with Christ; but we can only find that life by turning our backs on our best life now. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” —Matthew 16:24

WLC Q18: Matthew 10:29–31

Originally posted at The Calvinist Gadfly. Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence? A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. —Matthew 10:29–31 What a comfort this passage is. This surely is not the deist’s god, who watches from a distance while the world runs itself. This is the one true God: the God of the Bible; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ—our God! Our God is no passive observer. He is personally involved in the smallest, most insignificant events. Take heart! You are not alone. “His eye is on the sparrow,” and you are certainly more precious to him than any number of sparrows. But the sparrow does fall—this cannot be overlooked. The Lord gives us no promise of earthly comfort or safety. Hard times will come. We will suffer. We will die. Like the sparrow, we will fall. But, as the sparrow flies or falls only by the will and providence of its creator, so we also live, suffer, and die in his hand. He has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20), to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19), to limit our temptations and provide our escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), and to work trials for our good (James 1:2–4). He has promised, in the end, “the crown of righteousness . . . to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). These are God’s works of providence: to carry us through, from beginning to end, in his hand. “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” Get your own copy of The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms here.

Christians in Hell

Matthew 2:23 and the saints perseverance: [Nettleton] once fell in company with two men who were disputing on the doctrine of the Saints perseverance. As he came into their presence, one of them said: I believe this doctrine has been the means of filling hell with Christians. Sir, said Dr. Nettleton, do you believe that God knows all things ?Certainly I do, said he. How, then, do you interpret this text: I never knew you? said Dr. Nettleton. After reflecting a moment, he replied : The meaning must be, I never knew you as Christians. Is that the meaning? said Dr. Nettleton Yes, it must be, he replied; for certainly God knows all things. Well, said Dr. Nettleton, I presume you are right. Now, this is what our Saviour will say to those who, at the last day, shall say to Him, Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunken in thy presence? &c. Now, when Saul, and Judas, and Hymeneus, and Philetus, and Demas, and all who, you suppose, have fallen from grace, shall say to Christ, Lord, Lord! He will say to them, I never knew youI never knew you as Christians. Where, then, are the Christians that are going to hell? Bennet Tyler, The Life and Labours of Asahel Nettleton (Banner of Truth, 1975), 399400.

Hymns of My Youth II: As with Gladness

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. Matthew 2:2 As with Gladness, Men of Old As with gladness, men of old Did the guiding star behold As with joy they hailed its light, Leading onward, beaming bright So, most glorious Lord, may we Evermore be led to Thee. As with joyful steps they sped To that lowly manger bed, There to bend the knee before Him Whom Heavn and earth adore; So may we with willing feet Ever seek Thy mercy seat. As they offered gifts most rare At that manger rude and bare, So may we with holy joy, Pure and free from sins alloy, All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to Thee, our heavnly King. Holy Jesus, every day Keep us in the narrow way; And, when earthly things are past, Bring our ransomed souls at last Where they need no star to guide, Where no clouds Thy glory hide. Great Hymns of the Faith (Zondervan, 1968).
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” —Matthew 1:23 The name Immanuel is the heart of the Christmas story. It is a Hebrew name that means, literally, “God with us.” It is a promise of incarnate deity, a promise that God Himself would appear as a human infant, Immanuel, “God with us.” This baby who was to be born would be God Himself in human form. If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ, but the greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth! Immanuel, infinitely rich, became poor. He assumed our nature, entered our sin-polluted world, took our guilt on Himself although He was sinless, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). All of that is wrapped up in “God with us.” —John MacArthur, God’s Gift of Christmas, (Thomas Nelson, 2006), 20–21.

Lords Day 27, 2012

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:1921 Where Neither Rust Nor Moth Doth Corrupt Christina Rossetti (18301894) Nerve us with patience, Lord, to toil or rest, Toiling at rest on our allotted level; Unsnared, unscared by world or flesh or devil, " />Fulfilling the good Will of Thy behest: Not careful here to hoard, not here to revel; But waiting for our treasure and our zest Beyond the fading splendour of the west, Beyond this deathstruck life and deathlier evil. Not with the sparrow building here a house: But with the swallow tabernacling so As still to poise alert to rise and go On eager wings with wing-outspeeding wills Beyond earth’s gourds and past her almond boughs, Past utmost bound of the everlasting hills. Christina Rossetti, Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

The Message of Jesus: Not of This World

Thursday··2012·07·26 · 1 Comments
Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 Another note to Red-Letter Christians: the red letters dont say what you claim they say. [W]hen [the words of Matthew 10:28] are put together with many other words like them in the gospels, they demonstrate the utter falsity of the picture of Jesus which is being constructed in recent years. According to that picture, Jesus preached what was essentially a religion of this world; he advocated a filial attitude toward God and promoted a more abundant life of man, without being interested in vulgar details as to what happens beyond the grave . . . He concerned himself but little with the question of existence after death. In order to destroy this picture, it is necessary only to go through a gospel harmony ad not the passages where Jesus speaks of blessedness and woe in a future life. If you so that you may be surprised at the result; certainly you will be surprised at the result of the misrepresentation of Jesus which dominates the religious literature of our time. You will discover that the thought not only of heaven but also the thought of hell runs all through the teaching of Jesus. It runs through the most characteristic parables of Jesus the solemn parables of the rich man and Lazarus, the unrighteous steward, the pounds, the talents, the wheat and the tares, the evil servant, the marriage of the kings son, the ten virgins. It is equally prominent in the rest of Jesus teaching. The judgment scene of the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew is only the culmination of what is found everywhere in the Gospels: These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. There is absolutely nothing peculiar about this passage amid the sayings of Jesus. If there ever was a religious teacher who could not be appealed to in support of a religion of this world, if there ever was a teacher who viewed the world under the aspect of eternity, it is Jesus of Nazareth. J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (MacMillan, 1925), 222224.

Radical Depravity in Matthew

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that sin is born in the mind before it is enacted by the hands. [I]n the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that the pollution of sin has reached the deepest level of each personthe heart. The entire inner person is defiled by the moral filth of sin: You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, You fool! will be liable to the hell of fire. . .  You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:2128 With these provocative words, Jesus taught that sin is deeply embedded in the soul long before any wicked deed is committed. In other words, sin is in the heart. Fallen mans innermost thoughts and desires are deeply stained by sin. For example, Jesus taught that adultery is present in the heart before it is committed in deed. William Hendriksen writes that Jesus is condemning the evil disposition of the heart that lies at the root of the transgression. It is the sinful affection that produces the sinful act. Mans problem is within his heart. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 245246.

Preserving Grace in Matthew

Scripture clearly teaches that the salvation of Gods people is guaranteed. As we see in the passage considered below, God does not guarantee our eternal salvation by making us unable to fall. He guarantees it (in part) by protecting us from circumstances in which we certainly would fall. In the Mount Olivet Discourse, Jesus unveiled the end of the age. Through this sermon, He taught His disciples that those who persevere to the end are, in reality, the elect of God. They are kept eternally secure by God: And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Matthew 24:22 (cf. Mark 13:20) Unquestionably, the elect have been chosen by God to be His people, and He will move heaven and earth to preserve them forever. They will be kept secure in their faith. Affirming this truth, MacArthur writes, This is the first use of the term elect in the New Testament, and through it Jesus introduced a new concept concerning those who belong to Him. They have been divinely chosen and called out as His own people and indeed His very own children. And when God chooses people for Himself, He will restructure the entire universe if that becomes necessary to protect them and to fulfill His promises concerning them. Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 257.

Lords Day 49, 2012

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. Luke 2:1314 Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us. Matthew 1:23 The Shepherds Plain Horatius Bonar (18081889) Dum servant oves invenerunt Agnum Dei. Jerome. Blessed night, when first that plain Echoed with the joyful strain, Peace has come to earth again. Blessed hills, that heard the song Of the glorious angel-throng, Swelling all your slopes along. Happy shepherds, on whose ear Fell the tidings glad and dear, God to man is drawing near. Happy shepherds, on whose eye, Shone the glory from on high, Of the heavenly Majesty. Happy, happy Bethlehem, Judahs least but brightest gem, Where the rod from Jesses stem, Scion of a princely race, Sprung in heavens own perfect grace, Yet in feeble lowliness. This, the womans promised seed, Abrams mighty son indeed; Succourer of earths great need. This the victor in our war, This the glory seen afar, This the light of Jacobs star! Happy Judah, rise and own Him, the heir of Davids throne, Davids Lord, and Davids Son. Babe of promise, born at last, After weary ages past, When our hopes were overcast. Babe of weakness, can it be, That earths last great victory Is to be achieved by thee? Child of meekness, can it be, That the proud rebellious knee Of this world shall bend to thee! Child of poverty, art thou He to whom all heaven shall bow, And all earth shall pay the vow? Can that feeble head alone Bear the weight of such a crown, A s belongs to Davids Son? Can these helpless hands of thine, Wield a sceptre so divine, As belongs to Jesses line? Heir of pain and toil, whom none In this evil day will own, Art thou the Eternal One? Thou, oer whom the sword and rod Wave, in haste to drink thy blood, Art thou very Son of God? Thus revealed to shepherds eyes, Hidden from the great and wise, Entering earth in lowly guise, Entering by this narrow door, Laid upon this rocky floor, Placed in yonder manger poor. We adore thee as our King, And to thee our song we sing; Our best offering to thee bring. Guarded by the shepherds rod, Mid their flock, thy poor abode, Thus we own thee, Lamb of God. Lamb of God, thy lowly name, King of kings, we thee proclaim; Heaven and earth shall hear its fame. Bearer of our sins sad load, Wielder of the iron rod, Judahs Lion, Lamb of God! Mighty King of righteousness, King of glory, king of peace, Never shall thy kingdom cease! Thee, earths heir and Lord, we own; Raise again its fallen throne, Take its everlasting crown. Blessed Babe of Bethlehem, Owner of earths diadem, Claim, and wear the radiant gem. Scatter darkness with thy light, End the sorrows of our night, Speak the word, and all is bright. Spoil the spoiler of the earth, Bring creations second birth, Promised day of song and mirth. Tis thine Israels voice that calls, Build again thy Salems walls, Dwell within her holy halls. Tis thy Churchs voice that cries, Rend these long unrended skies, Bridegroom of the Church, arise. Take to thee thy power and reign, Purify this earth again; Cleanse it from each curse and stain. Sun of peace, no longer stay, Let the shadows flee away, And the long night end in day. Let the day spring from on high, That arose in Judahs sky, Cover earth eternally. Babe of Bethlehem, to thee, Infant of eternity, Everlasting glory be! Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

The Fountainhead Command

Why a social gospel will not do: Jesus . . . is the one who first used the phrase You must be born again. He told Nicodemas (John 3:7). We must not forget this command from Jesus. Yes, Jesus wants us to love, to forgive, to pray, to be humble, to do justice, and to love mercy [Micah 6:8]. But we must not forget the fountainhead command from which the river of obedience flows. Trying to live a Jesus life wont help us get into heaven and it will only discourage us over the long haul if we are not born again. This is where well-meaning socially minded Christians sometimes get off track. They want the world to live like Jesus, but they forget that we cant live like Jesus unless the spirit of Jesus first changes us. We must be given new hearts. We must be regenerated. We must be converted. We must be changed. The Christian lifethe life of faith in God, hope in Christ, and love for othersnecessitates, first of all, a life that has been given a supernatural new start by the Holy Spirit. We must be born again. Kevin DeYoung, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism (Moody Publishers, 2010), 31.

Tempted in All Things

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. —Hebrews 4:15 Matthew, chapter 4, tells us of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. In Hebrews, quoted above, we are assured that his temptation was as complete as ours, so that there is no temptation we will face with which he cannot sympathize. R. C. Sproul, comparing the temptation of the first Adam to that of Christ, the second Adam, demonstrates that Jesus was tempted under the most severe circumstances possible, circumstances far more severe than most of us will ever experience. The two tests were of the same kind in some degrees, but in other ways, the terms of the temptation of Jesus differed radically from those that were imposed on Adam. Think first about the places where the two temptations took place. In the case of the first Adam, the temptation came while he and Eve were enjoying the pleasures of the garden of Eden, which we often refer to as Paradise. However, the place where the Spirit drove Jesus to be tempted could hardly be called Paradise. It was the desolate Judean wilderness, one of the most ominous and foreboding deserts anywhere in this world. It is said that the only inhabitants of the Judean wilderness are snakes and scorpions—even wildlife refuses to live in this place of desolation. When Adam was exposed to the temptation of the Serpent, he was in the company of his wife, whom God had given to him by special creation to be his helpmate [sic]. Jesus, however, went into the wilderness in absolute solitude. It was the state of loneliness that received God’s first malediction at creation. After He created everything, He pronounced it good with a benediction (Gen. 1:31). The first thing He said was not good was Adam’s solitude. He said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (2:18). When we want to punish criminals or prisoners of war harshly, we send them into the state of solitary confinement, where they are cut off from ordinary human interaction and friendship. So it was with Jesus; He was driven into the wilderness to face temptation completely alone. Furthermore, Adam was tempted in what could be described as a gourmet restaurant. In the lush environs of Eden, there were trees bearing all kinds of fruit that were wonderful to eat, and Adam and Eve were given the freedom to choose from any of those fruit-bearing trees to satisfy their hunger, with the single exception of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Jesus’ test came in the context of a forty-day fast in a harsh wilderness. So, while the first Adam was tested when his belly was full, the new Adam was tested when He was literally starving. There is one more difference that I think needs to be mentioned. When Adam was tempted, there was no customary practice of sin. Sin was unknown before Adam and Eve committed it. But when Jesus was tested, there was nothing more commonplace in His world than the presence of sin. Why is that significant? One of the major factors that undermine our resolve to be righteous is that everyone around us sins. Therefore, we think it is no problem if we sin as well. Jesus had to act against the commonplace practice of human beings while He was undergoing these tests. —R. C. Sproul, The Work of Christ (David C. Cook, 2012), 82–84.

The Savior Will Not Discard

A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory. Matthew 12:20 (cf. Isaiah 42:3) Reading The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax by Ricard Sibbes, which is an exposition of Matthew 12:20 (above), it seems pretty obvious that Sibbes has a lot more to say than is actually contained in that single verse. It seems that he is expounding not only on the immediate text, but on every possible tangential theme (readers of Lloyd-Jones’s commentaries will understand what I mean). For the sake of not losing the tree in the forest, I thought it would be good to post a brief, on-point explanation of the text. Not surprisingly, John MacArthur’s Commentary fits the bill nicely. In ancient times reeds were used for many purposes, but once a reed was bent or battered it was useless. A shepherd would often make a flute-like instrument from a reed and play soft music on it to while away the hours and to calm the sheep. When the reed became soft or cracked, it would no longer make music and the shepherd would break it and throw it away. When a lamp burned down to the end of the wick, it would only smolder and smoke without making any light. Since such a smoldering wick was useless, it was put out and thrown away, just like a broken reed. The battered reed and the smoldering wick represent people whose lives are broken and worn out, ready to be discarded and replaced by the world. Because they can no longer “make music” or “give light,” society casts off the weak and the helpless, the suffering and the burdened. Those were the kind of people the Romans ignored as useless and the Pharisees despised as worthless. One of the most obvious legacies of the Fall is man’s natural tendency to destroy. Small children will often step on a bug just for the sake of killing it, or snap off a beautiful bud just before it flowers. A tree branch is broken for the sake of breaking it, and a stone is thrown at a bird just to see it fly away or fall to the ground. On a more destructive scale, adults devour and undercut each other in business, society, politics, and even in the family. The nature of sinful man is to destroy, but the nature of the holy God is to restore. The Lord will not break off or put out even the least of those who come to Him, and He gives dire warning to those who would do so. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble,” Jesus said, “it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6). In the hands of the Savior, the battered reed is not discarded but restored, and the smoldering wick is not put out but rekindled. —John MacArthur, Matthew 8–15 (Moody Press, 1987), 300.

Lord’s Day 47, 2013

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. —Hebrews 4:14–16 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. —Hebrews 5:7 So then, you will know them by their fruits. —Matthew 7:20 Hymn 125. (C. M.) Christ’s compassion to the weak and tempted. Heb. iv. 15, 16; v. 7; Matt. vii. 20. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) With joy we meditate the grace Of our High Priest above; His heart is made of tenderness, His bowels melt with love. Touch’d with a sympathy within, He knows our feeble frame; He knows what sore temptations mean, For he has felt the same. But spotless, innocent, and pure, The great Redeemer stood, While Satan’s fiery darts he bore, And did resist to blood. He in the days of feeble flesh Pour’d out his cries and tears, And in his measure feels afresh What ev’ry member bears. [He’ll never quench the smoking flax, But raise it to a flame; The bruised reed he never breaks, Nor scorns the meanest name.] Then let our humble faith address His mercy and his power; We shall obtain deliv’ring grace In the distressing hour. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Hymns of My Youth III: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?” But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” —Matthew 13:24–30 509 Come, Ye Thankful People, Come Come, ye thankful people, come— raise the song of harvest home: All is safely gathered in ere the winter storms begin. God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied: Come to God’s own temple, come— raise the song of harvest home. All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield; Wheat and tares together sown, unto joy or sorrow grown. First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear: Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be. For the Lord our God shall come and shall take His harvest home; From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away; Give His angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast, But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore. Even so, Lord, quickly come, to Thy final harvest home; Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin; There, forever purified, in Thy presence to abide: Come, with all Thine angels come— raise the glorious harvest home. —Favorite Hymns of Praise (Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1967).

Lord’s Day 3, 2014

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. —Matthew 11:28 30 Hymn 127. (L. M.) Christ’s invitation to sinners: or, Humility and pride. Matt. xi. 28 30. Isaac Watts (1674–1748) “Come hither, all ye weary souls, Ye heavy-laden sinners, come; I’ll give you rest from all your toils, And raise you to my heav’nly home. “They shall find rest that learn of me; I’m of a meek and lowly mind; But passion rages like the sea, And pride is restless as the wind. “Bless’d is the man whose shoulders take My yoke, and bear it with delight; My yoke is easy to his neck My grace shall make the burden light.” Jesus, we come at thy command; With faith, and hope, and humble zeal, Resign our spirits to thy hand To mold and guide us at thy will. —The Psalms & Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book I: Collected from the Holy Scriptures (Soli Deo Gloria, 1997). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

The Least of These

He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. —Matthew 10:40–42 Matthew 25:31–46 is a favorite “social justice” text. As usual, it is taken out of context and misinterpreted to suit that purpose. DeYoung and Gilbert correctly state that, contrary to popular opinion—that “the least of these” are all the world’s poor—“‘The least of these’ refers to other Christians in need, in particular itinerant Christian teachers dependent on hospitality from their family of faith.” 1. In Matthew 25:45 Jesus uses the phrase “the least of these,” but in verse 40 he uses the more exact phrase “the least of these my brothers.” The two phrases refer to the same group. So the more complete phrase in verse 40 should be used to explain the shorter phrase in verse 45. The reference to “my brothers” cannot be a reference to all of suffering humanity. “Brother” is not used that way in the New Testament. The word always refers to a physical-blood brother (or sister) or to the spiritual family of God. Clearly Jesus is not asking us to care only for his physical family. So he must be insisting that whatever we do for our fellow Christians in need, we do for him. This interpretation is confirmed when we look at the last time before chapter 25 where Jesus talks about “brothers.” In Matthew 23, Jesus tells the crowds and disciples (v. 1) that they are all brothers (v. 8). The group of “brothers” is narrowed in the following verses to those who have one Father, who is in heaven (v. 9), and have one instructor, Christ (v. 10). Jesus does not call all people everywhere brothers. Those who belong to him and do his will are his brothers (Mark 3:35). 2. Likewise, it makes more sense to think Jesus is comparing service to fellow believers with service to him rather than imagining him to be saying, “You should see my image in the faces of the poor.” . . . in the rest of the New Testament it’s the body of Christ that represents Christ on earth, not the poor. Christ “in us” is the promise of the gospel for those who believe, not for those living in a certain economic condition. Matthew 25 equates caring for Jesus’s spiritual family with caring for Jesus. The passage does not offer the generic message, “Care for the poor and you’re caring for me.” . . . 4. The similarity between Matthew 10 and Matthew 25 is not accidental. The pertinent sections in each chapter are talking about the same thing. [see Matthew 10:40–42, above] Clearly, Jesus is speaking here of disciples. The context is Jesus’s sending out his disciples to do itinerant ministry (10:5–15). In the face of persecution and a hostile world (10:16–39), Jesus wants to encourage his followers to care for the traveling minister no matter the cost. The disciples would be solely dependent upon the good will of others to welcome them, feed them, and support them in their traveling work. So Jesus assures his followers that to show love in this way is actually to love him. —Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church? (Crossway, 2011), 154–155. In summary, Matthew 25 is certainly about caring for the needy. But the needy in view are fellow Christians, especially those dependent on our hospitality and generosity for their ministry. “The least of these” is not a blanket statement about the church’s responsibility to meet the needs of all the poor (though we do not want to be indifferent to hurting people). Nor should the phrase be used as a general cover for anything and everything we want to promote under the banner of fighting poverty. What Jesus says is this: if we are too embarrassed, too lazy, or too cowardly to support fellow Christians at our doorstep who depend on our assistance and are suffering for the sake of the gospel, we will go to hell. We should not make this passage say anything more or anything less. —Ibid., 164–165.

No Worship Without Fear

You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. —Deuteronomy 6:13 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” —Matthew 4:10 Useful word of the day: synecdoche. It’s a truly lovely word, don’t you agree? Yet, it’s one of those words I’ve had to learn multiple times, because I can never remember it when I need it. A synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part represents the whole, or vice verse. For example, “our daily bread,” one part of our diet, is a reduction of the whole, while “the gospel,” one part of God’s word, is often expanded to represent the whole of Scripture. Today’s use is found in the following passage, the point of which I hope you will not miss due to the presence of this new and unfamiliar word. What Moses calls fearing God, Deut. vi. 13, our Saviour quoting, calls worshipping God, (Mat. iv. 9, 10,) by a synecdoche, because the former is both a part and a sign of the latter. As when the guard are watching at the court-gate, or on the stairs, and examining those that go in, it is a sign the king is within; so when the fear of God stands at the door of the heart, to examine all that go in, lest the traitor sin should steal in slily, it is a sign that God is within, that he sits upon the throne of the soul, and is worshipped there. —George Swinnock, The Christian Man’s Calling, Works of George Swinnock (Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:32. While the word “worship” is thrown around rather promiscuously these days, the fear of God has fallen quite out of fashion. The former is never independent of the latter.

Lord’s Day 4, 2016

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” —Matthew 24:37–39 (cf. Luke 13:34–35) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. —Philippians 3:7–11 He Wept over It Horatius Bonar (1808–1889) Shew me the tears, the tears of tender love, Wept over Salem in her evil day; When grace and righteousness together strove, And grace at length to righteousness gave way. Dread hour of conflict between law and love!— When not from tears could’st thou, O Christ, refrain; When grace went forth to save, but like the dove, Returned disconsolate, its errand vain. Theirs the great woe, yet thine, O Lord, the deep And awful anguish for their coming fears; Thou weepedst because they refused to weep, And grief divine found vent in human tears. They closed the ear against thy tender words; They chose another lord, and spurned thy sway; Thou would’st have drawn them, but they snapped thy cords; Thou would’st have blest them, but they turned away. Thou lovedst them, but they would not be loved, And human hatred fought with love divine; They saw thee shed the tears of love unmoved, And mocked the grace that would have made them thine. O Son of God, who camest from above To take my flesh, to bear my bitter cross; Shew me thy tears, thy tears of tender love, That I for thee may count all gain but loss. That I may know thee, and by thee be known; That I may love thee, and may taste thy love; That I may win thee, and in thee a crown; That I may rest and reign with thee above. —Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

Lord’s Day 10, 2017

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. —Matthew 6:9–13 Paraphrases on Select Parts of Holy Writ Para. XIII. Matthew vi. 9–13. Augustus Toplady (1740–1778) Our holy Father, all thy will We fain would perfectly fulfil; But each has left thy law undone, Unworthy to be call’d thy Son. Who art in heaven, enthron’d on high Diffusing glory through the sky; Reigning above, on earth rever’d, By saints belov’d, by sinners fear’d. or ever hallow’d be thy name, The Triune God, the bright I Am; At which seraphic choirs and all The hosts of heaven adoring fall. Thy kingdom come; e’en now we wait Thy glory to participate: Rule in our hearts, unrivall’d reign, Nor e’er withdraw thyself again. Thy will, thy law, thy precept giv’n, Be done on earth, as ’tis in heaven: Faithful as Angels, fain would we With cover’d faces wait on thee. Great God, on whom the ravens cry For sustenance, our wants supply: Give us this day, and evermore, Our daily bread from hour to hour. Forgive whate’er we do amiss, Our wilful sins and trespasses, As we forgive (reward us thus) All them that trespass against us. And lead us not by bounty’s tide, Into temptation, lust or pride: But what by mercy we obtain. Let pow’r omnipotent restrain. And O! deliver us thine own From evil and the evil one, Who fain his darts in us would sheath, And bind us with the chains of death. Thou, Lord, can’st vanquish his design. Thine is the kingdom, only thine; The pow’r, th’ eternal majesty, And glory, appertain to thee! —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");


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