Friday, November 25, 2011

Faith As Small As A Mustard Seed


Matthew 17:14-21

When the Lord Jesus Christ came down from the mountain with Peter, James and John, He found the other disciples surrounded by a crowd.

They were disputing with the scribes after failing to exorcise a demon from a boy.

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This failure brought much scorn from the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The distraught father of the boy pleaded with the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver his son from the demon which had rendered him deaf and dumb and caused him to throw fits.

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The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked those around Him, “You unbelieving and perverse generation”.

The disciples and the boy’s father were lacking in faith.

The perverse scribes were gloating at the failure of the disciples to help the man and his son.

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The Lord Jesus Christ graciously answered the man’s prayer.

The boy was delivered from the demon that had so tormented him.

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The disciples had known success on other occasions.

They were very concerned at their failure to help the boy.

The Lord Jesus Christ told them that they were lacking in prayer, in fasting, and in faith.

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We cannot live on past successes.

If we neglect our communion with God, we will become weak and impotent in our work for God.

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The Lord Jesus Christ promised, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed …. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

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A mustard seed was very small and yet grew into a tree which was large enough to shelter birds.

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“Faith as small as a mustard seed” is a trust in God which does not give way to despair when prayer is not immediately answered.

It continues to maintain fellowship with God and to pray fervently.

It is not motivated by sinful desires when it prays.

It expects great things from God and attempts great things for God.

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Is our faith very small, just like a mustard seed?

Do not be discouraged.

Exercise that faith and discover what God is able to do!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Transfiguration of Jesus


(Matthew 17:1-13)

The transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ was to have a lasting impression upon the 3 disciples who were with Him.

Apostle John wrote, “We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Apostle Peter recorded, “We... were eye-witnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16-17)

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Luke told us in his gospel that at His transfiguration, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke with Moses and Elijah about His death (Luke 9:31).

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Moses represents the Law, and Elijah the Prophets.

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The Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Law and the Prophets through His life and death.

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Moses had seen the majesty of God on Mount Sinai, and later, his face shone, reflecting the glory of God.

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The Lord Jesus did not merely reflect the glory of God – He is God!

The brilliance and the majesty seen by the 3 disciples was that of God Himself!

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A bright cloud overshadowed the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples.

The voice of God was heard coming from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

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On hearing this, the disciples were filled with fear and fell on their faces.

The Lord Jesus Christ then came and touched them, telling them to get up and not be afraid.

The Lord Jesus Christ then told them not to tell anyone about the vision until He had risen from the dead.

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The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that just as John the Baptist suffered, so He too would suffer.

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The words of the Lord Jesus Christ did not seem to register with the disciples.

They could not take in that their beloved Master had to die and that He would rise from the dead.

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When the Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed and arrested, they were scattered in helpless confusion.

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We will be spared of much confusion and trouble if we do all that we can to know and understand God’s word.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Take Up The Cross And Follow Me


Matthew 16:20-28

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples not to reveal His identity as the Messiah.

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From then on, He began to teach them that He must go to Jerusalem, where He would suffer at the hands of the Jewish leadership, be killed, and raised the 3rd day.

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If we are to know God, we must be sure of who the Lord Jesus is, and why He came to this earth.

We must know the Person and the Work of Christ.

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Peter confessed that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God'.

But he could not accept that the Lord Jesus had to suffer and to die.

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He rebuked the Lord Jesus for saying these things.

But the Saviour rebuked him with the words, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offence to me.”

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Peter wanted to turn the Lord Jesus away from His mission of suffering and death.

Such thoughts could only come from the devil!

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The Lord Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”.

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Discipleship is a costly business.

But the alternative to following Christ is too dreadful to contemplate.

“For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

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To prefer the world and its passing pleasures to the Lord Jesus Christ is the height of folly!

To lose one’s soul is to suffer eternal loss.

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Have we taken up our cross to follow Christ?

Are we denying ourselves to please Him?

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The Lord Jesus went on to speak of His coming again.

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He promised that some of those present would not die until they had seen Him coming in His kingdom.

This probably refers to His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.

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The gospel had a tremendous impact upon the Roman world which the apostles were accused of turning upside down.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Will Build My Church


Matthew 16:13-20

The Lord Jesus Christ told Peter that he was blessed to receive the revelation from God the Father that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

He then went on to say to him, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.”

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Does this support the claim of the Roman Catholic Church that Peter was the first pope?

Not at all! The golden rule we must always apply when seeking to find the meaning of obscure or difficult verses is to bring the rest of the Bible to bear on our interpretation of such verses.

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There is a play on the Greek words ‘Petros’ (Peter) and ‘petra’ (stone or rock) on this verse.

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It is important to see that Christ has built His church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone (Ephesians 2:20).

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The ‘keys of the kingdom of heaven’ speak of authority and Peter’s authority in the early church is not disputed.

He preached the sermon on the Day of Pentecost and was prominent in the leadership of the Jerusalem church.

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The ‘binding and loosing’ spoken of in verse 19 is also shown to be the prerogative of the local church.

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Those who trust in ‘apostolic succession’ for church authority deny many essential Christian doctrines and contradict the plain teaching of the Bible.

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Their spiritual successors are those who submit to the whole counsel of God as it is taught in the Bible, embracing the doctrine of the apostles.

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The word of the Lord Jesus Christ, “I will build my church, and the gates of the hades shall not prevail against it” are very encouraging.

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The church is constantly under satanic attack but she will never be destroyed.

We are assured of the triumph of the gospel!

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Let us be encouraged and persevere in our work for the Lord.

He will build His church!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

But Who Do You Say That I Am?


Matthew 16:13-20

The Lord Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

The disciples replied that some thought Him to be John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

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People until today continue to have different opinions about the Lord Jesus:
• He is the founder of Christianity.
• He is a great religious teacher.
• He is a good person.
• He is a prophet.

But all these answers are inadequate.

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The Lord Jesus then asked the disciples their opinions concerning Himself.

Peter’s confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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Peter acknowledged the Lord Jesus Christ as
  1. The Christ, the Messiah promised through the prophets of the Old Testament.
  2. The Son of God. This is a title of deity! The Lord Jesus is God. Any religion that denies that the Lord Christ is God is a false religion.

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Peter was blessed because God had revealed these things to him.

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It is important to know God’s revelation that the Lord Jesus is the almighty, holy, sinless, perfect Son of God.

It is also important to know that He came into the world to die on the cross to save sinners.

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The Lord Jesus Christ had told the Pharisees after they rejected His claim to be the Son of God that they would die in their sins (John 8:24).

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If we remain mistaken about the identity of the Lord Jesus, we cannot have eternal life.

We will die in our sins.

We will be lost forever.