Archive for November, 2011

November 30.11 ethot

Matthew 13:58 (44–58) “And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

I wonder if its wise sometimes for a man to pastor the church he grew up in. You would think that the easiest people to share the Gospel with would be with those you know, but it seems that it is what they know that gets in the way.

Maybe as Jesus grew up His family and friends had constructed a future for Jesus (13:55) and now that He has failed to meet it they wouldn’t listen to Him. Or, maybe having seen how human He was growing up (13:55–56), they just couldn’t imagine Him as anything but that.

In any case remember that Jesus taught us to have patience, confidence and to persevere (13:24–33). It’s not our responsibility to decide who will or will not be saved. Our job is simply to be ready (2 Timothy 4:2) whenever the opportunity arises.

Patience involves letting God do what he does while you focus on what you should be doing.

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November 29.11 ethot

Matthew 13:52 (44–52) “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple…

What Jesus was teaching them about the kingdom of heaven were things they knew and things they didn’t and all this information, in the mix, was quite exciting. Their YES, to His question, was that answer from excitement.

A scribe was a man who knew the Law of Moses inside and out. If this man became a disciple of the kingdom all that he knew would be clarified by all that he was learning and all that he was learning would be deepened by what he already knew. This man could then speak to those who knew the law and those who didn’t, the truth about the kingdom of God and make it clear.

Was Jesus, in a way, previewing for us Paul?

So, in this chapter Jesus lets us know that the doors of the kingdom of heaven are open for all and any to come in. But there will come a day when those who don’t belong will be thrown out and those doors shut. It would be wise, regardless of what you think you know, to find yourself as one who was not thrown out.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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November 25.11 ethot

Matthew 13:45 (44–46) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like…

As we have been looking at Jesus explanations of the “kingdom of heaven” it occurred to me that this kingdom is more of an opportunity than anything else.

In these three verses Jesus describes the kingdom as a thing of such great value that the purchaser had to give up a lot to get it. In both of the illustrations we could say the one making the find or purchase is Jesus and that we, from His perspective, are that highly valued item. But, at the same time Jesus can be showing us how we should be looking at each other, whether we are believers or not.

In either case the point Jesus is making is that we have a tremendous opportunity to do what it takes to bring someone to a saving knowledge of Christ, and so we shouldn’t waste it. Instead of looking at our duty to share the Gospel as an inconvenience we should see a chance to save a life (like your own) from an eternal hell.

Wisdom involves recognizing how God is using my story to influence the lives of others.

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Matthew 13:35 (34–43) “I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.

This morning’s key verse is a quote from Psalm 78:2. The psalm is a maskil or piece of advice.

Jesus leaves the crowd and His disciples come looking for an explanation of the three parables. Interestingly He gives them an explanation but not to the crowds. The main reason for this is found in His quote from Psalm 78.

There Asaph tries to encourage the people of Israel to remember who they are and who their God is. This is to be done in spite of the fact that there will be those who have already decided not to listen. Jesus knew that the people of Israel hadn’t changed much through the years, but had to give them the opportunity.

Like most of mankind they have decided that they don’t want to hear about what is coming, but rather they want to just live now. They only see the judgment side of mans future and not the reward side. Just as some will be gathered, at the end of time, as we know it now and thrown into an everlasting hell, some of us will be carried into the treasure of an everlasting personal relationship with God in heaven.

From the beginning of time the decision has always been ours.

Wisdom involves recognizing and rejecting my natural inclination to explain away what I know to be true.

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November 23.11 ethot

Matthew 13:33 (24–33) “He spoke another parable to them,

Yesterday we saw in the parable of the mustard seed that we shouldn’t worry if our lives will have an impact on the lives of others, it will. Our concern should be on how and if we are living out our new faith right where we are to the best of our abilities.

Those of you who know anything about baking know that leaven needs to be worked into the dough. Many of us have tried this at least once and found that unless you have a machine to do it, it is hard work. Once you’ve kneaded the leaven into the dough you let it rise one time, knead it back down, cut it into loaves and let rise again before baking.

It involves as much time as effort to get the bread in the oven. So, understanding that idea spreading the kingdom of heaven will take time and effort, there is no reason for us to worry if the message is being heard, because it takes time as well as the careful sharing of the Gospel message. We shouldn’t give up because we’ve shared the gospel with someone seven times and still they haven’t accepted it.

Patience involves letting God do what he does while you focus on what you should be doing.

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November 22.11 ethot

Matthew 13:32 (24–32) “and this is smaller than all other seeds,

In these three parables (Matthew 13:24–33) Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to three different situations, if we can understand the situations it can helps us better understand the kingdom of heaven.

Yesterday we saw that a man had gone out and planted good seed. But his enemy had planted bad seed in his fields. The man shows a lot of patience by waiting until the good seed had matured and would be easier to separate from the tares (which look similar to wheat). The kingdom of heaven is, therefore, patient.

The mustard seed is very small especially when you realize that it will produce a tree large enough to give good fruit, shade when it’s just too hot and a place for the birds to nest and have family. Too often we don’t realize the impact our testimony has on those around us. It’s not always what or how we say things but how we live out what we are learning daily from our Savior and Master.

If our Lord didn’t think our life was significant enough to affect the lives of other for Him we would be in heaven right now. Since we’re not in heaven right now we should get about our business of sharing the Gospel the best way we can.

Diligence involves focusing on the job the Holy Spirit has given us and getting it done.

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Matthew 13:30 (24–30) “Allow both to grow until harvest;

Many years ago when I was heavily involved in youth ministries I learned this lesson. I met and worked with a lot of young people and some stayed firm in their faith and some didn’t. But understanding that some would stay and some wouldn’t didn’t motivate me to get rid of those who were obviously not going to stay.

I felt better encouraging the strong ones to help their weaker friends, because how could I be sure of who was really strong or weak? Besides, this would give the stronger ones time to see for themselves how weak their friends were. I had to give the kids time to grow in their faith and in their own way. Some who I thought were clearly mature enough I encouraged into ministry and that worked out well.

The ones who later fell away got all the same good training our church provided for those who remained strong in their faith. On that day of final judgment there will be no excuse for them. We treated the wheat and the tares the same until they matured.

Faith involves investing my resources and myself in things that will matter for eternity.

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