Thursday, September 29, 2011

The King Was Sorry


Matthew 14:1-12

Herod the Great, the tyrant who had sought to kill the infant Jesus, had 10 wives.

He bequeathed his kingdom to three of his sons.

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Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee and Perea.

Philip ruled over the north eastern territories of the kingdom.

Archelaus ruled over Judea and Samaria.

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Archelaus was deposed by the Romans who then imposed direct rule over Judea and Samaria in AD 6.

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Pontius Pilate became governor of their territories in AD 26.

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The fame of the Lord Jesus Christ reached Herod Antipas who was living in adultery with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.

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John the Baptist had fearlessly denounced Herod Antipas for his sin.

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The enraged king had him thrown into the dungeon at his palace.

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The evil scheming Herodias wanted to kill John the Baptist.

She was unable to do so because Herod Antipas respected John the Baptist.

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Herod Antipas feared the reaction of the people who counted John the Baptist as a prophet.

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He also feared John the Baptist.

He heard him gladly.

But he did not repent of his sin.

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Herodias had her revenge when Herod Antipas made a rash promise to her daughter.

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She had pleased the king while dancing before him and his guests at his birthday party.

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Herod Antipas solemnly promised to give her whatever she desired.

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Herodias prompted her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

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The macabre request was granted.

John the Baptist was executed.

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Herod Antipas was sorry.

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But he did not have a godly sorrow which produces repentance.

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Herod Antipas had silenced John the Baptist.

But he was unable to silence his own conscience.

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When Herod Antipas heard about the Lord Jesus Christ, he thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead.

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It is just not enough to feel sorry for our sin.

We must forsake it and obey God.

Friday, September 23, 2011

They Were Offended At Him


Matthew 13:53-58

The people of Nazareth were astonished at the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ when He taught in their synagogue.

They had heard of His mighty works but they despised Him.

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They asked, “Is not this carpenter’s son?”

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They did not understand how someone from a humble family could have such wisdom and power.

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He had lived a sinless and perfect life among them for 30 years, but they still rejected Him.

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Jesus reminded them that a prophet is not accepted in his own country or by his own relatives.

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The same mistake is made by many today who see the Lord Jesus Christ as just a man.

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They refuse to accept the teaching of the Word of God that He was not Joseph’s son in a literal sense but was conceived through the Holy Spirit.

They do not believe that He is the Almighty Son of God, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit and that in Him dwells al the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

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They were offended at Him.

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The Lord Jesus Christ did some mighty works at Nazareth, but not many, because of their unbelief.

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Satan blinds sinful men to the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

People are still offended by our message that the Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself and died on the cross to save sinners.

The preaching of ‘Christ crucified’ is a ‘stumbling-block’.

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We too were blind in our minds, but the Lord Jesus Christ has enlightened us.

We should be eternally grateful for all that He has done for us!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is The Lord Jesus Precious To You?


Matthew 13: 44-52 (NIV)

In the next two parables, the Lord Jesus Christ likens the kingdom of heaven to treasure hidden in a field and to a very precious pearl (44-45).

Both parables are similar in that both men find something of immense value that they must have, whatever the cost.

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In the first case, the man was not seeking treasure, but stumbled upon it.

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In the second case, the man was a seeker after beautiful pearls.

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The first man went and sold all that he had to purchase the field and so gain the treasure.

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The second man did likewise to obtain his precious pearl.

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The point of both parables is that the Lord Jesus Christ is wonderful and precious in His person.

He gives such priceless blessings, that no price is too great to pay to gain Him.

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We cannot purchase salvation.

But there is a price to pay for discipleship.

We have to deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Christ.

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Is the Lord Jesus precious to you?

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The parable of the dragnet is similar to that of the tares sown among the wheat in its meaning.

At the end of the age, the wicked will be separated from the righteous and cast into hell.

There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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Jesus asked his disciples, “Have you understood all these things?”

They needed to be sure that the warning of their Master had sunk in.

It would affect the way they lived and preached.

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If we do not understand that not everyone will go to heaven and that many will go to hell, we are in great peril, for we will be complacent about our own spiritual state!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Three More Parables


Matthew 13:24-43 (NKJV)

The parable of the tares among the wheat (24-30), like that of the sower, concerns a field, seed and a crop.

In the parable of the sower, the seed was all good.

Here there is an evil sower who sows tares among the wheat.

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Jesus explained the parable, saying that He is the One who sows the good seed, which represents those belonging to His kingdom (36-43).

The field is the world and the enemy who sows the tares is the devil.

The tares must be allowed to grow because God has those among them who are really wheat and have yet to come to faith in Christ (29-30).

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We must be patient and wait for harvest time, the end of the age, when Jesus comes again (39).

He will then purge His kingdom of all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness and cast them into hell (40-42).

That will be a terrible day for those who are lost, but a glorious day for every true Christian.

“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (43).

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The parable of the mustard seed (31-32) illustrates ‘the progress of the gospel in the world’.

The mustard seed is very small, but it grows into a tree which is 10-15 feet high and which could shelter birds in the shade of its branches (30-32).

From small beginnings and in spite of intense opposition, the kingdom of God is now established in the lives of people throughout the world.

Let us be encouraged!

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The parable of the leaven (33) shows ‘the progress of the gospel in the heart of a believer’.

When a work of grace begins in the human heart, it is never static.

Little by little, it influences all aspects of the believer’s life as he grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is this apparent in our live?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Parable Of The Sower


Matthew 13:1-23 (NKJV)

This chapter contains 7 parables about the kingdom of God.

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After the Lord Jesus Christ had told the parable of the sower, He told the 12 and a wider group of disciples the reason that He spoke in parables.

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He told these stories not with the intention to make His message clearer to the hearers.

It was to conceal the meaning of His message from them as a judgment from God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ explained the meaning of the parables to His disciples, but not to the crowds.

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In the parable of the sower, the crucial factor is not the seed.

It is the ground in which the seed is sown.

The state of the ground determines the fate of the seed.

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In this parable, the seed is the word of God.

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The preaching and teaching of God's word must take first place in the work of the kingdom.

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If we neglect our private reading and meditation of God's word, or if we attend a church where the Bible is not faithfully taught, we will be weak and unstable in our Christian life.

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The word of God falls on different types of heart.

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The 'wayside' hearers does not understand God's word and Satan snatches it away from his heart.

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The 'stony places' hearer has a shallow heart.

Though there is an appearance of new life in Christ, there is no depth and his profession of faith soon evaporates when trouble comes.

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The 'thorns' hearer has a worldly heart that chokes the word of God so that it becomes unfruitful.

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The 'good ground' hearer is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces.

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What kind of ground do your heart provide for the word of God as you hear it taught week by week?

Do you seek to understand it?

Are you shallow or worldly?

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If we want to bear precious spiritual fruit in our lives, we must make every effort to prepare ourselves to hear God's word each Lord' Day.

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To obtain the best from preaching, we must come to services fresh in body and in mind.

We must come with a prayerful and submissive heart.