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  • May14

    Matthew 3:8………Ready

    8 Produce (exhibit, manifest) fruit (i.e. godly living, character, conduct, behavior, good works, holy living, etc.) keeping with (corresponding, agreeing with, consistent with) repentance. (i.e. Straighten out and turn from your life sin.)

    Continued From Book

    “Teaches those who have repented will prove it by turning from their former way of life and sinful way of living.” ⇒ Prove it by the way you live that you’ve repented of your sins and turned to God.-NLT.

    “Teaches how true repentance will display itself through a change of life and behavior.” ⇒ Can people see a real change in you, that your not the same person as before? That you’ve stopped using foul language and dirty jokes. You’ve stopped sleeping around. You’ve stopped partying and drinking. You’ve stopped engaging in lude and immoral behavior.

    “Warns against saying your sorry for sin one minute, and the next minute go right back to sinning again.”  ⇒ Confession of sin means nothing without halting the continuation of that sin.

    “Teaches true repentance ought to be seen and felt everyday of our lives. It should show up in our hands & feet, not just in our lips.”

    “Teaches those who truly repented will live a changed life out of gratitude for all that God has done.” ⇒ Repentance and holy living is a visible response to the grace of God. Those who have received God’s forgiveness will shape how we live and treat those around us. (A forgiven person becomes a forgiving person. A delivered person becomes a delivering person.)

    “Even today, the fruits of repentance will often ask; “Lord show us where we need to turn from sin or where we have gotten lax with sin” Or “Lord how can I better serve you and live for you. ⇒ Or “Lord what will you have me do now”? Or “Lord where are we turning to our ways instead of your ways”? Or “Where are we settling for less than what you’ve called us to be.”

    “A question arises, how is this lived out in our lives? We can go through a whole laundry list of ideas, but the most common are. Have you left your selfish & sinful ways behind? Are you being honest in your actions and dealings with others? 

    Additional Notes & Applications

    Teaches how repentance is more than just words; it is lived out in a daily life of surrender, obedience, and holiness.

    Teaches how as Christians it should be obvious that we belong to Jesus by the way we live and how we love and treat others. Because we are thankful for Jesus, we live that out and influence people around us.

    Teaches how repentance involves both a stopping and starting. When we here the word repentance we often think of it as things you stop doing, when it’s also things we start doing as well. It’s not just the sinful habits and bad stuff you get rid of, but also the good works you take up. Can you list some things you have STOPPED doing since you became a Christian; and some other things that you STARTED doing since you became a Christian?) (cf. James 2:18) [Note: The reasons most people fail to repent successfully or have victory over a certain sin, is because they only take off without putting on. That is they must fill the vacuum or void with something else or they’ll simply fall back into the same old pattern of sin. A genuine and lasting repentance will take measure to avoid the sin the next time. Where as a insincere repentance takes no measures at all and as a result find themselves engaging in the same sin. ] (cf. Matt. 13: 1-13, 18-23, Eph. 4:25, 31, 5:8)      

    Teaches how the fruits of repentance will witness and share the Gospel with others. Those who are Saved and received God’s grace and forgiveness will bear testimony of what the Lord has done in their life. They will want everybody to know about the dramatic changes Jesus has brought about. (Note: Our repentance ought to be seen, heard, and felt everyday of our lives as a witness to the world around us.) (cf. Matt. 12:34-35)

    Teaches how the fruits of repentance will come acts of reconciliation & restitution. A “thief” will not just stop stealing, but he will eagerly pay back what he has stolen!-(cf. Luke 19:8) A “guilty” person will not just admit they were wrong, but will be quick to apologize and make amends. Is there someone you hurt in the past that you need to say sorry to or make amends with? Or someone you need to repay a debt too? (cf. Ex. 22:1)

    -fruits keeping with repentance-This is more than just about showing up at church. It’s more than just doing the right churchy things of baptism or Professions of Faith. Nor is this saying were to live a holy life from here on out. But rather God does expect us to live a life of honesty, integrity, and generosity towards others. Doing good to those around us, and being just to all men. God expects love and compassion at home, honesty and integrity at work, kindness and generosity to our neighbor. If we truly love the Lord, we should want to do what He values. We want others to be able to see evidence of our faith. If we love God we should love and care for people. We should want them to know the power of Jesus and His love too. 

    Note: To better understand how this “Fruit in keeping with repentance” is worked out in our lives. We find in the Gospel of Luke John the Baptist providing some practical ways to three groups of people which can serve as a model for us. To the first group of people [the crowd] John emphasized how the fruits of repentance will be kind and generous to others. To the second group of people [Tax collectors] John emphasized how the fruits of repentance will be fair and honest with others. And the last group of people [Roman Soldiers] John emphasized how the fruits of repentance will stop taking advantage of others and be content with what they have. John’s advice is not just limited to these situations. But extends to living a life that is marked by honesty, compassion, generosity, and integrity in all areas, whether its at home, work, or play. Also note John’s reply may surprise us in what it does not contain. At first we might think that the changes brought about by repentance and Saving faith might include more worship, Bible study, prayer, and service at church. John doesn’t mention any of these at all. Which goes to show how repentance and true religion is less about focusing on self and our own spirituality, and more about focusing on helping other people.

    Note: To put this in more specific terms “Fruits of Repentance” will be kind and generous to those in need. As an example if you see someone who needs food, clothing, and shelter you’ll stop to help them. [If you have a closet full of things you don’t need, give them away. Or donate them to organizations like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or the Rescue Mission.] If you hurt or wronged someone you will be quick to apologize. If you have been making an idol out of money, you will stop, and begin to delight in the Lord alone. If you have been putting impure things in front of your eyes, you will stop, and pursue better things. If you have been getting furious with your family, you will stop, and seek God’s grace for self-control. If you’ve been cheating and stealing you will stop and start making an honest living. [If your self employed don’t cheat on your income tax return. If your unemployed don’t file a false insurance claim or a false disability claim.] If your in a position of Authority don’t abuse it. [If your a Police officer don’t violate a persons rights or falsely charge them. If your a Judge be fair and impartial in your rulings. If your an Employer don’t pay low wages or demand long hours, pay your workers what is fair. If your an Employee give your boss an honest days work, don’t slack-off or punch out early.] Don’t exploit or take advantage of others. [If your in a management position don’t use your power to bully or abuse others with threats of demotion, termination, or pay cuts.] Be honest and fair in your business dealings. [If your a Sales Person don’t shade the truth about a product, or sale something you know is defective. If your a Contractor don’t over bill your customers or use inferior materials or cheap parts.] Don’t be selfish or greedy, be content with what you have. [If you make low minimum wage or passed over for a promotion, don’t become disgruntle, thinking your worth more than what your being paid. Instead trust God to help you make the most at what you have.]

    Note: Another good example of a person producing fruits worthy of repentance is found in the Gospel of Luke. Where a tax-collector named Zaccheus, who become rich by cheating and overcharging people on their taxes said; “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” To which Jesus responded, “Today, Salvation has come to this house.” Why? Not because Zaccheus had bought his Salvation! But because Zaccheus was showing the FRUIT of genuine repentance. He wasn’t just SAYING that he was going to follow Jesus, he SHOWED it by changing his ways, stopping his cheating and defrauding of people, and giving to the poor.-(cf. Like 19:1-10)

    Note: In talking about producing fruits in keeping with repentance. There was a story about the conversion of a man named Jack Eckerd. Jack Eckerd is the founder of the Eckerd Drug chain, the second largest drug chain in America. After months of prayer and testimonies by his good friend Charles Colson, he finally believed the Gospel and accepted Jesus into his life and was born-again. The first thing he did after being born-again was to walk into one of his drugstores. Going down the aisles he saw copies of Playboy and Penthouse. He’d seen them in his stores many times before, but they never bothered him before. Now he saw them with new eyes, with born-again eyes. He knew what had to be done. He went back to his office. He called in his president. He said, “Take Playboy and Penthouse out of my stores.” The president said, “You can’t mean that, Mr. Eckerd. We make three million dollars a year on those magazines.” He said, “Take ’em out of my stores.” And in 1,700 stores across America, by one man’s decision, those magazines were removed from the shelves because that man had given his life to Christ and was now living the converted life.

    FRUITS KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE…..

    • Have you turned from your poor behavior and sinful way of living?

    • Have you started being honest in your actions & dealings with others?

    • Have you changed the way you treat & interact with others?

    • Have you stopped gossiping about others?

    • Have you stopped cheating & deceiving others?

    • Have you stopped being critical and resentful of others?

    • Have you made amends & restitution to those you’ve wronged? (Where possible)

    • Have you asked forgiveness from those you have offended & hurt in the pass? (Where possible)

    • Have you stopped using poor humor & bad language?

    • Have you been praying, witnessing, and reading the bible more?

    • Have you made a honest effort to break from sinful habits and worldly living?

    • Have you donated your time to worthy causes, public-service, tutoring, faith sharing, foster care?

    • Have you become more loving & caring towards family, friends, and strangers around you?

    • Have you held yourself accountable by setting up barriers, filters, and accountability partners?

    • Have you witnessed the Gospel and shared with others all that the Lord has done? (In both word & deed)

    • Have you made a point to stay away from any conduct or behavior that brings dishonor to God?

      (For more Applications get the whole Book)
      (All material is copyrighted and may be used for preaching, teaching, and instructing. And not for publication in any form without the written permission of the author.)

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    Feb21

    Matthew 2:13…….Ready

    When they had gone, (Magi’s departure back to their own country. That Joseph’s escape and the Magi’s departure occurred on the same night.) an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” (make haste, run, flee) he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. (Egypt would take them safely outside of Herod’s jurisdiction.) Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

    Continued From Book

    “Displays God’s divine intervention, assuring our safety and survival. God assures survival, not freedom from troubles.” ⇒ God did not miraculously deliver the holy family from difficulties – Joseph and Mary faced a lot of difficulties on their path even as they sought to obey God.  Think about it, Mary and Joseph were the mother and adopted father of God’s own Son. If God ever desired to protect a family from difficulties and hardships, one would think that He would want His own Son’s family to have an easy life. But He didn’t choose an easy life for Jesus. Nor will He chose one for us?

    “Displays God’s personal involvement in our lives, right down to the smallest details. (Where life is threating, God is protecting.)”

    “Teaches how God is active in our lives whether we realize it or not.”

    “Teaches when God commands us to flee from something know it’s for our own good.” ⇒ When God tells us to flee sin, that’s for our good. When God tells us to flee drugs and alcohol, that’s for our own good. When He tells us to flee the desires of the flesh, that’s for our own good. When He tells us to flee ungodly relationships, that’s for our own good. When Joseph was tempted to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife-(Gen. 39:12) he ran outside and fled! It might sound extreme, but if you want to keep from sinning, you must be willing to do whatever it takes.

    “Teaches how following divine directives means relying what God provides and then doing the hard work of faithfulness and obedience.” ⇒ Though God’s commands are given supernaturally, the means and methods are often marked by no special intervention or provision. God leaves it to us to fill in the blanks, the details, of how to get from where we are to where He wants us to be. Also note whatever can be accomplished by ordinary means should be done. Or do you presume upon God expecting Him to do everything at no cost or involvement from you? Or do you prescribe the time, manner, and place for God’s help?

    “Teaches just as Joseph & Marry were in the will of God and found themselves objects of Herod’s wrath . So to for us, we can be doing God’s work and still find ourselves objects of hostility and hate.”

    “Calls for staying faithful to God no matter the costs. In Joseph’s case that meant becoming a fugitive from justice. It meant a long and grueling journey with many dangers; robbers, wild animals, snakes, scorpions, exhaustion, fatigue, just to name a few. “⇒ Not to mention a upset wife, angry about having to make such a journey with a young child, and the fact that they were returning to the land where they were once enslaved. Where a similar slaughter of Hebrew boys had taken place 1400 years earlier. Or what Joseph must have endured in taking a two year old over 300 miles through the desert. Would we be able to leave our jobs, our homes, our family, our friends, our security structure and flee to a foreign land at a moment’s notice? Or would we put other priorities first, would we set conditions on God’s call first before we would follow and obey?

    “Teaches how God never promised us an easy road without hardships and difficulties. For Mary it meant taking a difficult journey across a hot and dangerous desert!” ⇒ Although the hardships and trials of life do not immediately vanish, our stress and hopeless anticipation’s do. Often the difficult tasks that we undertake in life have the greatest reward. We often achieve little because we only undertake the easy route. Will you obey God even in the face of difficult circumstances and bitter hardship?

    “Teaches how God can make the worst of places the best of havens. What may seem at first places of hardship; prisons, drug programs, homeless shelters, etc. can be places of refuge and recovery!”

    “Calls for a faith that is willing to pick up and move on a moments notice. Sometimes following God requires a huge move!” ⇒ Will you be willing to put off a career, or give up job security and income to do what God wants. Or move away from your family, friends, and support structures?

    “Note: Egypt was probably chosen because it was outside of Herod’s jurisdiction. It also had a large Jewish population in Alexandria. Because most assume the family used the Magi’s gifts to pay for their traveling expenses. God not only warned Joseph, He also provided the finances to accomplish their deliverance; “Where God guides, He provides”.

    Additional Notes & Applications

    Teaches how God often warns us beforehand of the dangers that are lurking even when we don’t see it. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense because there doesn’t seem to be any danger, but afterward the behavior of such a person becomes clear. Remember that Herod had done nothing to tip anyone off as to his intentions, only after he discovered that the magi didn’t return, he killed every boy that had been born in Bethlehem who was under two years of age.

    Teaches those who are open to the plan of God for their lives will find His daily protection.

    Calls for remaining faithful to God in whatever situation He sends us into. We do not always live on the “mountain top”. There are times we go through valleys. There are valleys of depression, of indecision, of lost focus, of deep questioning. But God’s plan is never to leave us in the valley. He uses them to lead us into greater glory, into greater service, into stronger anointing, into larger influence, into deeper relationship with Him.  Will you persevere through the Egypt experience. Just wait ‘till you see what is on the other side!

    Teaches how in this life there are times when the wise thing to do is to flee the evil in the world then try to fight it! (Know that its best to flee in times of danger, that you may fight another day!)

    Teaches how God protects those who are doing His will by warning them of the evil motives and plans of others. There are times that God will reveal to us a persons real intentions or give us a sense of their true character and nature.

    Teaches how God works His will despite the opposition of sinful people. Earthly kings like Herod may try to circumvent the divine purpose, but in the end they are always defeated.

    Displays how often times we don’t realize we’re being used by others, thinking that because were living a godly & honest life, others will be honest as well and do the right thing. (The simplicity of heart and pleasing manners of believers can sometimes be a liability if not careful!) (cf. Matt. 10:16)

    Warns how being innocent does not protect us from pain and peril, but rather the exact opposite, evil will often use our good nature to exploit us and destroy us!

    Calls for trusting that God knows better than we do, that God sees the bigger picture and will help us to make wise and healthy decisions that will keep us out of harms way!

    Teaches the importance of heeding God’s warnings. Just as Joseph believed the report of Herod’s plot, so to with us, that when God says something we’re involved in is going to harm and hurt us, we had better believe it and take action to turn from it. Or when God says there’s a coming judgment we had better believe it and be prepared!

    Calls for a faith that is willing to pick up and move on a moments notice. Sometimes following God requires a huge move! Will you be willing to put off a career, or give up job security and income to do what God wants. Or move away from your family, friends, and support structures?

    Calls for a faith that is willing to submit and follow God in all things. Will you obey God even in the face of difficult circumstances and bitter hardship? Or when God asks us to do things we don’t like, or work in places we don’t want to work, or live in places we don’t want to live?

    Calls for having empathy and compassion for refuges who are seeking a new and better life. (Will you provide refuge and shelter for those who are lost and hurting that nobody else wants, giving them a place to heal and recover from a life of guilt, regret, failure, bondage, and addiction?)

    Note: Though we are not told what Joseph & Mary did with Magi’s gifts, most assume they used it to finance their trip to Egypt. That God has a way of supplying for our financial needs even before there’s an apparent need for it! That what may not seem very useful or practical at the time, God will make use of it down the road in incredible ways we never imaged! (How often have you been in a situation and confronted with a need, only to realize God got there first and provided for you, even before you asked Him or realized your need?)

    The safest place to be is where God leads you..

    • A dream led Joseph to accept Mary

    • A dream led the wise men to Jesus

    • A dream led Wise Men to escape Herod’s wrath

    • A dream led Joseph and His family to safety

    (For more Applications get the whole Book) 
    (All material is copyrighted and may be used for preaching, teaching, and instructing. And not for publication in any form without the written permission of the author.)  

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    Feb20

    Matthew 2:1……….Ready

    After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time (Reign) of King Herod, (“Herod the Great” 4 B.C.) Magi (3097-“Magos”, magician, sorcerer, astrologers, priest. Wise men-K.J.V., Kings.-[Church tradition) from the east (Persia/Babylon. A 3-month journey, spanning 900 miles. They probably traveled in a large caravan.) came to Jerusalem. (Suggests being the capital city of Israel, it would be the logical place a royal baby would be born.)

    Continued From Book

    “Teaches how no Journey is too difficult or distance too great to keep us from Jesus. The Magi were willing to leave their homes, family, and comfort zones. The Magi were willing to spare no expense, effort, or price. The Magi were willing to risk hardships, difficulties, and dangers. will you do the same?” ⇔ These men left all that was familiar, they left the security of their families, they left the pleasure of their wealth to pursue what they deemed most important in life. Are you willing to place your faith in God like the Magi? Are you willing to sacrifice the comforts around you to follow God? Are you willing to face dangers to serve God? Are you willing to set off towards unknown destinations to worship God?

    “Calls for not allowing barriers to keep us from Jesus. Think about how many barriers the Magi had to cross to get to Jesus. There was a culture barrier, a distance barrier, a language barrier, a racial barrier, a religious barrier, not to speak of a hostile king and indifferent religious leaders.” ⇔ It wasn’t easy for them to find Jesus, but they did.

    “Teaches God doesn’t care about where you’ve been or where you started out. But how far your willing to go.” ⇔ Will you obey God when He asks you to do something you don’t want to do? Will you let go of that one thing that is holding you back? How desperate are you to find healing?

    “Teaches how God’s Saving grace is for all people.” ⇔  Whoever these “Wise men” were, they show us that you never know whose heart God is preparing. It may be your neighbor, it may be someone you are serving at the food bank, it may be one of your co-workers. The people we overlook as unlikely to embrace God are the very ones seeking God.

    “Displays how nothing in the Magi’s religion, wisdom, magic, astrology was ever satisfying, that it left them empty!” ⇔ These men had everything the world would consider needed for happiness! Education, prestige, money, position. Yet they came seeking because something was missing in their hearts and lives. God has placed within each one of us a place that only Christ can fill. Without Him we are empty inside. It is an emptiness that is caused by God in order to bring us to Christ. Just as the wise men needed to fill the emptiness in their lives by seeking Christ so wise men and women today also need to fill the emptiness in their lives by seeking Him. Do you find your life empty and incomplete, that everything you’ve achieved isn’t enough. Then you need to look to Jesus?  (cf. Matt. 11:28-30, 19:16-22)

    “Displays the type of simple faith God is looking for. Without any miracles to convince them, or hearing any sermons to persuade them, the Magi still came believing on Jesus with what little light they had!” ⇔ The Magi  didn’t have churches on every corner, the bible on the Internet, TV, or radio. They knew only the things God revealed to them and faithfully obeyed! All of this points to powerful truth – You don’t have to know it all to worship Christ. These men were not Biblical scholars, yet God revealed Himself to them and He would use them greatly. You don’t have to be great and mighty, the most beautiful, wealthy, or even the most educated – God can reveal Himself to you and He can use anyone who is willing to believe in Him and seek Him.

    “Even today we’re to have the same concern over the welfare of our souls. Where is our self-denial, what diligence do we show in worshiping Christ. What pains do we take to attend Church, even if it means getting up early, driving a great distance, missing a ball game? How much do we make it a point to attend worship services. Even if the sermon’s are long and boring. Even if the worship music is loud and out of date. Even if the pews are hard & uncomfortable, and the people unfriendly. What does our religion cost us, how much are we willing to endure, how committed are we to our faith?”

     

    Additional Notes & Applications

    Displays the deep longing of the soul of those who are looking for answers, for meaning, for hope. There is a spiritual hunger, a yearning for purpose and meaning in our time. How far are you willing to go to find the greatest questions of life–who am I?, why am I here? where I am going?, what purpose do I serve?

    Teaches how its often the most unlikely people God embraces. You never know who’s heart God is touching. It would be a huge mistake in writing others off, that their beyond being Saved. God is often doing things in peoples life’s that were unaware of.  Who knows, the person your sitting next to in Church, singing praise songs with, was once a criminal, drug dealer, addict, homosexual, adult entertainer, atheist, lawyer, Wall Street executive, etc.!

    Displays how those who may seem unlearned and unchurched may be greater models of faith and devotion then we are. Do you discount a certain person just because they didn’t go to church, seminary, or belong to your specific denomination?

    Teaches how by bringing Jesus and king Herod together at the same time in history, reveals how God can use what seems to be weak to accomplish His purposes. That God uses people that appear to be weak to triumph over those who appear to be strong. (Although the Herod’s of the world may seem overwhelming and undefeatable as compared to our self’s, but know that God’s power is stronger still!) (cf. 1-Corn. 1:26-30, 2-Corn. 12:9-10)

    Note: The scholarly consensus of the Magi is that they were a priestly caste in ancient Persia or Babylon who belonged to a monotheistic religion known as “Zoroastrianism” who worshiped one God. That they were skilled in astrology, divination, magic, and dreams. They were also familiar with the Jewish religion, having access to such scriptures like Danial and Numbers, dating back centuries earlier during Israel’s captivity and release from Babylon-(Dan. 2:2, 2:48, Numb. 24:15) The Magi may have been familiar with Balaam’s prophecy as found in Numbers chapter 24 verses 15-19. Or possibly Isaiah’s prophecy as found in chapter 60 verses 1-6. Some scholars believe that the Magi/Wise-men may have been descendants of the high ranking officials belonging to the royal court of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, as found in the book of Daniel. (cf. Dan. 2:1-23, 2:48)

    Note: Someone once observed that the Magi/Wise men must have been male, because if they had been Wise Women they would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, brought dippers and formula, and given the baby much more practical gifts!

    Note: Many point out a lot of misconceptions concerning the birth of Christ, how most of our favorite Christmas carols and Nativity sets that celebrate Jesus’ birth got it wrong. Like the Christmas carol “Silent night, Holy night”. That there couldn’t have been much peace during Jesus’ birth and childhood, with Mary finding no room at the inn, and with Joseph on the run from Herod’s murderous plot to kill the baby Jesus. Or how the Magi could not have been present at Jesus’ manger, that they had only found the baby Jesus in a house two years later. They also say that it was only presumed that there were “Three Kings” based on the fact that there was three gifts given; gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

    Note: The number of those who came to King Herod is uncertain. Church tradition places the number at 3, a calculation based  upon the 3 gifts. According to Church legend gives their names as “Gaspar”, “Balthasear”, and “Melchior

    (For more Applications get the whole Book) 
    (All material is copyrighted and may be used for preaching, teaching, and instructing. And not for publication in any form without the written permission of the author.)  

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    Nov10

    Matthew 11:20-22……Working

    11:20 Then(After having sent out the 72-disciples-(Luke 10:1) Jesus began to denounce (rebuke, reprove, indict, unbraid-K.J.V.) the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent.(3340-Turning from sin & turning to God, a change of heart & mind”.)21″Woe to you,(Expresses not judgment or doom. But deep sorrow, greif, and pity.) Korazin! (Not much is known about Korazin) Woe to you Bethsaida (Jewish fishing village a few miles from Capernaum. Bethsaida was Andrew, Peter, and Philip’s hometown.) If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, (Phoenician cities on the coast of the Mediterranean sea. Expresses a euphemism for all that is godless, corrupt, and wicked.) they would have repented long ago (In Ezekiel’s day. (Ezk. chps. 26-29) in sackcloth-(4526-Goat or Camels hair. Burlap) and ashes. (To sit on or to pour ashes over the head. Taken together was a public display of sincere remorse, sorrow, and grief over sin.) 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment  than for you. (Jesus holds these Jewish cities more accountable on the day of judgment because far worser cities would have repented on lesser evidence.)

    Continued From Book

    “Warns the danger of remain unresponsive & indifferent to God’s Saving grace.” ⇒ If we’ve been this exposed to Jesus’ love, grace, and forgiveness, and yet we’re unresponsive we’re in deep trouble. This life is not all there is. There is a judgement to come. We really don’t want to turn up at the judgement unforgiven. With the privilege we’ve had, with the exposure to the person of Jesus –None of us can plead ignorance as an excuse.

    “Teaches those who appreciate God’s Saving grace will show it by living changed lives”. ⇒  Those who experience God’s forgiveness will turn to Him in thankfulness by living changed lives. Will you pray; Jesus help us to stay alert, to notice, to listen. Help me to look at my life and grow in appreciation and gratitude for all you have done. God I ask you to open my eyes and help me to grow in gratitude. I pray that I may not miss what you have done, and doing, and want to do in my life. Lord, open my eyes and my heart to the signs of your grace all around me.

    “Displays God’s omniscience in knowing all possible outcomes from all possible situations.” ⇒ God knows everything. God knows what choices people in the past would have made if they had been in different circumstances. This is called “contingent knowledge.” God knows all the “what if’s.” So often we wonder, “What would have happened if this had occurred?” That is usually an impossible question for us to answer, but it is not a difficult one for God at all. God knows not just what we’ve been, but what we’ve could have been and what we should have been given the light we received.

    “Teaches how indifference is more grievous to God than gross immorality and open sin”. ⇒ Unbelief and indifference is more scandalous to the Lord than even the most grievous sins! Indifference to Jesus as greater than the sin of adultery, greater than the sin of homosexality. Greater than the sin of rape. Greater than the sin of murder, etc.

    “Warns against thinking if we just saw a miracle we would be believe. If we just had some piece of evidence, we would no longer doubt. If we just had more revelation we would be faithful.” ⇒  If we think that all we need is a sign to believe, then we are lying to ourselves. We have the tendency to think that a mighty work of God would be a game changer in our lives. Don’t think “Well if I would have just met and seen Jesus and all He did I wouldn’t have any doubt. Being near Jesus or close to His work is no substitute for trusting in Jesus……(To be Continued)

    “Even today, God has been more than fair with us. There is no one who is going to be able to say on the day of judgment, “God, You never gave me a chance. I would have trusted and followed You if only I had the opportunity.” The Lord will say, “You had plenty of chances. You just kept ignoring & rejecting Me.” ⇒ No person will have the excuse of ignorance in saying “I just didn’t know.” Just saying I didn’t have enough information or data to act on it will not be a valid rubbutle. There’s general and natural revelation that God has given us through His creation.-(Rom. 1:19-20, Ps. 19:1) Then there’s special and divine revelation God has given us through Christ and His Word.  In fact He has given those of us in this age many more chances, many more opportunities, to hear God’s Word than most people who have lived on this planet have had………(To be Continued)

    “In this day and age we have no excuse for not responding. We have unlimited access to the Gospel on computers, Smart- Phones, tablets, etc. We have Church’s on every corner. We have Christian programs, websites, podcasts, books, etc.” ⇒ Here in america we are inundated with every resource to know and grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We not only have a Bible, we have many and in all sorts of bible translations and versions. We are loaded down with books and commentaries, CD’s, Christian music, expository teachings, Bible studies etc. Any person living in the United States can tune in to radio or television and hear the Gospel almost every day. It is certainly not for lack of materials that one is not deep in their faith; it is for lack of desire. No people in history have had as many opportunities to hear the truth about God, to learn how salvation can be found by turning to Jesus Christ, than those who live in this country at the end of the 20th Century. Do you realize there are 450,000 churches in the United States. In fact, 24% of protestant congregations in the world are in this country. There are 600 religious radio stations, the vast majority run by evangelical Christians, who daily broadcast the message of Jesus Christ to people across the land. Christian TV, Christian publishing, Christian music recording, all communicate the Bible’s message. God has given us so many chances.

    More Notes & Applications

    Teaches how God gives all men ample opportunities and inducement to change their lives and come back to Him.

    Teaches how Salvation is a precious gift that should never be treated contemptuously or in vain.

    Teaches how as Christians there’s no business as usual, that we can’t continue to do as we want and live as we want.

    Warns against a common mistaken notion that says if we can have enough of the miraculous then more and more people will believe in Jesus. There’s a belief in a lot of churches that think If God would just do miracles in our mists more people would get Saved. That if we could pray down miracles and just heal someone who is sick  or just do something amazing it would convince them to believe and come to Christ. But as we see from this passage miracles are no guarantee that people will respond to the Gospel in faith. In fact miracles can be faked. Satan can to miracles too. Not only that, but faith is not depended on the display of the miraculous. If you never see a miracle or a supernatural thing in your life are you going to allow it to shake your faith?

    Teaches how God doesn’t owe us anything. His grace and mercy are not payment for a job well done. God chooses to give a portion of grace to every-one. And He chooses to give more grace to some than others. God’s grace is a gift. It is never unfair when God does not give as much of His grace, as many chances, to one person as He does another. That is His choice.

    Displays the love of Jesus in rebuking us while in our sins that we may change course before its to late. Jesus cares about seeing us come back to Him. Don’t think that Jesus loves everyone no matter what we do or how we live. That Jesus understands our weaknesses and is O.K. with it. Don’t allow God’s kindness and patience as an excuse to sin, thinking God will look over this one little sin.

    Many use this verse to teach how there will be different degrees of punishment in hell based on how much light and revelation a person received.  Those who will receive the harder punishment will be those who have received the divine revelation of God and been the most religious and outwardly upright.

    We have no record in the Gospel’s of Jesus performing miracles in Chorazin or Bethsaida. There is no account of the work that Jesus did, and of the wonders he performed in these places, and yet they must have been amongst His greatest. Which goes to show how little we know of Jesus; it shows us–and we must always remember it–that in the Gospels we have only the barest selection of Jesus’ works. The things we do not know about Jesus far outnumber the things we do know. (cf. John 21:25)

    Interesting to note that these cities “Korazin” and “Bethsaida”  are nothing more than a pile of rocks and ruble today.

    Korazin & Bethsaida    

    Sack-clothe & Ashes 

     

    • Posted by David Costa/
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    Sep25

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    Sep10

    Matthew 10:40……..Working

    10:40 “He (believers) who receives you (12 Disciples. By way of welcoming, Or accepting the Gospel message.) receives me, (i.e. To accept Jesus and His Saving mission.) and he who receives me receives the one (God) who sent me.

     

    Continued From Book

    Warns how you can’t be in vital relationship with the Lord while not caring for His Church or fellow believers. ⇒ We find the same thing when people who say, “I believe in Jesus. I read the Bible. I love God. But I can’t stand the church. I don’t care much for the preacher’s sermon, I think it’s dull and boring.  I’m not into ‘organized religion’. I prefer to go it alone.”

    Additional Note & Applications

    We read in the New Testament, and we proclaim the apostolic authority. So anyone who says, “I never really cared much for Paul. I don’t really like Peter that much or John.” Realize what you’re saying, because Jesus is saying, “He who receives you, receives Me. Conversely, he who rejects you is really rejecting Me.” It’s apostolic authority and the chain of command.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Sep9

    Matthew 28:18-20

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    Sep9

    Matthew 28:16-17

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    Sep9

    Matthew 28:11-15

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    Sep9

    Matthew 28:8-10

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    Sep9

    Matthew 27:62-66

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    Sep9

    Matthew 28:1-7

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    Sep9

    Matthew 27:59-61

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    Sep9

    Matthew 27:57-58

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    Sep9

    Matthew 27:55-56

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