Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beware Of The Leaven Of The Pharisees And The Sadducees


Matthew 16:1-12

The Pharisees and the Sadducees had seen enough evidence of the mighty power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But they came again to ask for more miraculous sign from heaven.

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The Lord Jesus Christ condemned them for their willful unbelief.

He repeated His assertion that the only sign that would be given them was the sign of the prophet Jonah.

They were again promised the greatest sign of all – the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

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The disciples had forgotten to take bread with them.

They were puzzled when the Lord Jesus Christ warned them, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

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They might have thought that the Lord Jesus Christ was forbidding them to accept bread from these people.

But the Lord Jesus Christ was actually warning them against their doctrine.

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The Pharisees were proud and lacking in compassion.

They were more concerned for their man-made tradition than for loving God and obeying His word.

Their religion was loveless and lifeless.

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The high priests and most of the priests were Sadducees.

They did not believe in the resurrection of the body, in angles or demons, in judgment, or in heaven or hell.

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We must beware of teaching which adds to the Scripture with unbiblical traditions.

We must also beware of teaching which takes away from the Scripture, like denying the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for sinners, or of judgment and hell.

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Maybe we feel that we are sound in doctrine and that we do not need to be warned about these things.

There are many Christians who are sound in doctrine but who are puffed up.

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Let us be careful of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hunger


Matthew 15:32-39

Some people claim that there are contradictions in the Bible.

They say that in one place of the Bible records the feeding of the 5000, but here it is 4000 who were fed.

There is no contradiction.

They are 2 distinct miracles (Matthew 16:9-10).

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The Lord Jesus Christ was still in Decapolis on the eastern side of the sea of Galilee.

He told the disciples that He had compassion for the people who had been with Him for 3 days and were hungry.

Some of them were far from their homes.

He said, “I do not want to send them away hungry”.

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The disciples had not learned the lesson of the feeding of the 5000.

They thought it impossible that the crowd could be fed with just 7 loaves and some small fish.

They asked, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a multitude?”

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The Lord Jesus Christ then miraculously fed 4000 men, besides women and children, and 7 large baskets were filled with the remains of the meal.

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There is always a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

Religion without true godliness and power cannot satisfy spiritual hunger.

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Like the Lord Jesus Christ, we must have compassion for those who are lost.

We must be concerned with those who will spend eternity in hell unless they are saved through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we sharing our spiritual food with those around us?

Let this be our concern.

We must not send anyone away who still have unsatisfied spiritual hunger.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Great Is Your Faith


Matthew 15:21-31

The Lord Jesus Christ left the Gennesaret area of Galilee to go to the region of Tyre and Sidon.

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A Gentile woman of Canaan came to Him.

She pleaded that he cast a demon out of her daughter.

But the Lord Jesus Christ answered her not a word.

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The woman was not put off by the Lord’s silence or the unfriendly attitude of the disciples.

She persisted in her request even though the Lord Jesus Christ said that the children’s bread was not for the little dogs.

In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ had come to minister to the Jews.

But the woman pointed out that the little dogs ate the crumbs which fell from their masters’ table.

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The woman asked for some crumbs and her faith pleased the Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ said to her, “O woman, great is your faith!”

Then He delivered her daughter from the demon.

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Faith is important.

Without faith, we cannot please God.

Without faith, we cannot be a Christian.

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Those who have great faith, focus their trust in God.

Great faith also perseveres in the face of discouragement.

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The Canaanite woman persisted in seeking the Lord’s help until her prayer was answered.

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God sometimes delays answering our prayers.

But we must not stop praying.

Like the Canaanite woman, we must persevere in our prayers.

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The Lord tests our faith in order to strengthen us.

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The Lord Jesus Christ then traveled to Decapolis (SE of the Sea of Galilee).

Many were healed of serious, incurable ailments.

God was glorified.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Their Heart Is Far From Me


Matthew 15:1-20 (NKJV)

In NT times, Jewish religious life was marked by many traditions and ceremonies which have no biblical basis.

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The scribes and Pharisees meticulously observed the tradition of the elders.

They were quick to condemn those who did not share their scruples.

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They censured the disciples who had not performed the ritual washing of hands before eating a meal.

In this ritual, hands were washed in a special manner to cleanse them of any religious defilement caused by contact with Gentiles in the market-place.

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The Pharisees had plenty of religion.

But the Lord Jesus Christ applied to them the words of the prophet Isaiah, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me”.

They made a great show of religious tradition but they set aside obedience to the commandment of God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ reminded them how they used tradition to disobey the 5th commandment.

They would claim that money that could be used for the support of their elderly and needy parents had been dedicated as a gift for the work of God.

They thus avoided honoring them by providing for them.

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If we do not provide for our own family, we deny the faith and are worse than an unbeliever.

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The disciples were concerned that the Lord Jesus Christ had offended the Pharisees by His reply to their question.

The Lord Jesus Christ pointed out that they were not plants which his Father had planted and that they would be uprooted.

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The Pharisees were blind leaders of the blind.

We should not be surprised when the plain teaching of the word of God offends many religious people who are blinded by their own traditions.

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The Lord Jesus Christ stressed the importance of heart righteousness rather than ritual.

Food eaten with unwashed hands has no effect on the state of a man’s heart (his soul, character, mind and will).

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The human heart is a breeding ground for all kinds of sin.

We may be very religious and yet have a heart which is far from God.

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How real is our Christianity?


Sunday, October 2, 2011

It Is I; Do Not Be Afraid


Matthew 14:22-36 (NIV)

The Lord Jesus Christ sent the disciples ahead of Him to cross the Sea of Galilee to Gennesaret.

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He spent time alone in prayer before walking on a wind-tossed sea to the disciples’ boat.

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They were terrified when they saw Him, believing that they had seen a ghost.

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The Lord Jesus Christ calmed them with the words, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

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The Greek for “It is I” is literally ‘I am’, the covenant name of God (Exodus 3:14).

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The Jews recognized this when the Lord Jesus Christ used the expression on another occasion (John 8:58-59), and they attempted to stone Him for blasphemy.

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The Lord Jesus Christ is God!

His enemies understood this.

But they rejected His claims.

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Peter’s entry into the stormy sea was no foolhardy venture of faith.

He was beckoned by the Lord Jesus Christ to walk on the water.

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All was well until he saw the storm around him.

Perhaps the reason his faith failed him was that he took his eyes off the Lord.

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The Lord Jesus Christ heard his cry for help.

He took him by the hand.

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As they got into the boat, the storm abated.

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The amazing disciples knew that their Master was no ordinary man.

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He is the Son of God who is worthy of our worship.

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The disciples had no need to fear when their Lord was with them.

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They were greatly amazed at the demonstration of the Lord’s power over the sea.

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They had seen His divine power in multiplying the loaves and fish.

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Why should they fear when they had such a Savior, such a Friend?

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Why should they fear?

“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

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When the Lord Jesus Christ and the disciples landed on the shore of Gennesaret, they were soon surrounded by huge crowds seeking healing.

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Everyone who touched the hem of the Lord Jesus Christ’s garment was healed.

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They too recognized that the Lord Jesus Christ was no ordinary man.

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Have we come to faith in the Son of God?

Have we experienced His power in our lives, saving us from our sins and transforming us?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

He Was Moved With Compassion For Them


Matthew 14 : 12-21

The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle recorded in each of the gospels, except for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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We learn 2 wonderful things about the Lord Jesus Christ from this miracle.

It reveals His great love and compassion.

It reveals His great power.

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The 12 disciples had returned from their preaching mission.

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The Lord Jesus Christ had heard the dreadful news of the murder of John the Baptist.

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The Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples had been so busy that they had not had any time to eat.

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They also needed rest and refreshment.

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They went by boat along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee to a deserted place.

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But there was no escape from the huge crowds.

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They went by foot around the shore to await the arrival of the Lord.

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When the Lord Jesus Christ saw the huge multitude, He was moved with compassion for them.

He healed the sick and taught them.

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When evening came, the weary and hungry disciples wanted the Lord Jesus Christ to send away the multitude.

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But He miraculously fed them from just 5 loaves and 2 fish.

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5000 men, besides women and children had more than enough to eat.

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12 baskets were filled with the remains of the meal.

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We must never let weariness or other personal needs shut off our compassion for needy souls!

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God had given the Israelites manna when they were led by Moses.

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After seeing this miracle, the crowd recognized that the Lord Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah.

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The Lord Jesus Christ is wonderful in His power and compassion.

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He became man, knowing grief, hunger, and weariness.

But He would not send away the needy crowd until they had been fed.

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The Lord Jesus Christ knows about us and about all our needs and burdens.

He is full of compassion and love for us.

Let us come to Him and cast all our care upon Him.