Messages from Matthew

66 messages
Mark

Who's Responsible?

Picking up from where Christmas and the Advent season left off, I'll be teaching through the rest of the Gospel of Matthew. After the Magi depart, Herod seeks to destroy Jesus by killing the infant boys in and around Bethlehem. Who's responsible for the decisions…

Continue reading...
Mark

Preparing a People for Jesus

John the Baptist came on the scene with several very specific purposes. He was to prepare a people for the coming Messiah. How did he do that? From Matthew 3:1-17. Preached January 22, 2023 at Lafayette Salem Evangelical Church

Continue reading...
Mark

Enduring Trial

Having been baptized, Jesus is sent into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Why? And what does that mean for us? From Matthew 4:1-11. Given January 29, 2023 at Lafayette Salem Evangelical Church

Continue reading...
Mark

The Draw of Jesus

People were drawn to Jesus for a variety of reasons. Is He drawing you and me? Does it scare you to be drawn closer to Him? From Matthew 4:12-25. Given February 5, 2023 at Lafayette Salem Evangelical Church

Continue reading...
Mark

Choose Life

Looking through these Beatitudes, they look more like Be-miserable-tudes! What's going on here? What was Jesus teaching His disciples? From Matthew 5:1-12. Preached February 12, 2023 at Lafayette Salem Evangelical Church

Continue reading...
Mark

Shine

Jesus calls His disciples "salt" and "light." What does He mean and how do we carry out our "salt" duties and "light" duties? Do they have anything to do with the fact that Jesus didn't come to abolish the Law and Prophets, but to fulfill…

Continue reading...
Mark

Handling Anger

How do we handle anger? How do we handle it when others are angry with us? Being "salt" and "light" can get us into trouble, but are we too quick to let ourselves off the hook? Do the Beatitudes have anything to teach us about…

Continue reading...
Mark

Adultery

Adultery. Sexual immorality. Divorce. It's so common, is there really any point talking about God's perspective on it? Sure, it's great when we can use it to put others in their place, but what's in our own hearts? Can we find—and offer—mercy while still holding…

Continue reading...
Mark

Be Perfect

Finishing up Matthew chapter 5, we discover God has a pretty high standard for us. But He's in us to help us. It does, however, require a significant paradigm change. What do we value most? What does God? Are we willing for Him to change…

Continue reading...
Mark

Whom Do You Seek?

How tempting it is to seek the praise of men instead of God. Giving to the needy, praying, fasting and many other "acts of righteousness" are good and right, and we should be known for our good deeds. But Jesus knows how easily we are…

Continue reading...
Mark

How To Pray

The Apostle John promises that if we pray according to God's will, we will receive what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15). How well do we know God's will? Do we know what is important to God, and so how to pray in accord with…

Continue reading...
Mark

Arrival of the King

After years of resisting calls to become king of Israel, Jesus suddenly makes all the right moves to claim the throne of David. But do people really understand what God has in mind? And will they accept the king that Jesus intends to be? How…

Continue reading...
Mark

Seek First His Kingdom

Our God is a jealous God. He wants all our heart, soul, mind and attention. How are we doing? How serious and diligent are we in storing up treasure in Heaven? We may be satisfied with our effort, but is Jesus? What does He expect…

Continue reading...
Mark

The Golden Rule

So many great instructions in these few verses. Hijacked...distorted...twisted by the world and given back to us...to silence us. We are supposed to be salt and light, to protect, preserve and save this corrupt generation; we need to recover Jesus' original intention for these verses.

Continue reading...
Mark

What Does It Mean to Believe?

Is salvation simply a matter of praying a prayer? Passing a confirmation class? Or is there more to it? Where do we find assurance of salvation? How do we know we are saved? What does it mean to really believe in Jesus? Jesus tells us.

Continue reading...
Mark

Saving Faith

After warning everyone that only those who hear and put into practice His teachings are truly saved, Jesus comes down the mountain with the crowd following. Are they eager to learn more about how they should live or just hoping for a show? Jesus does…

Continue reading...
Mark

Sacrifice

The crowds gathered as early as the end of chapter 4. They stuck with Jesus through the Sermon on the Mount. Doubtless they delighted in the healings that followed, as Jesus returned to Capernaum. Surely some in the crowd were eager to learn how to…

Continue reading...
Mark

New Wine

What happens when something you've always believed to be true is challenged by the Word of God? Do you hold fast to your belief or do you submit to God's Word? Jesus came into conflict with four different groups of people in this passage. Those…

Continue reading...
Mark

Dead or Alive

What do you look to for your assurance of salvation? Depending on your faith? Depending on God's promises? What does saving faith in God's promises look like? Three miracles challenge us to test and see whether we're "dead" or "alive" in the eyes of God.

Continue reading...
Mark

Workers Needed

Jesus basically hangs out a "Help Wanted" sign, pray to the Lord for more workers. But why? He's going throughout their towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues--so obviously they have plenty of religious leaders and teachers, right? How could there be a problem? How…

Continue reading...
Mark

Workers Found

Jesus asks His disciples to pray for laborers for the harvest field. In almost the next breath, He sends them out on their first preaching mission. Now they're apostles. His instructions for His disciples leave some significant challenges for us. From Matthew 10:1-15.

Continue reading...
Mark

What Did We Say?

Ever feel like you said something in all innocence, and someone else blew it up, all out of proportion? You throw your hands up and ask, "What did I say?" Feels like Jesus' disciples would be having that kind of moment, as Jesus describes some…

Continue reading...
Mark

In or Out?

Jesus sends His twelve disciples out on their first preaching and healing mission, but He gives instructions that surely go far beyond this one little exercise. Those instructions make it sound like preaching the Gospel and healing people is going to generate serious opposition, even…

Continue reading...
Mark

What Do You Expect?

Everyone has expectations. Some are fine, some cause a great deal of relational trouble. We even have expectations of God. What do we do when our expectations aren't met? How do we handle it when God doesn't give us what we pray for? When God…

Continue reading...
Mark

We Must Repent

It turns out, Jesus has some significant expectations for anyone who hears and sees who He is: He expects repentance! He denounces the cities where most of His miracles were done because they didn't repent. Those that heard about and saw His works but didn't…

Continue reading...
Mark

"I Desire Mercy"

Jesus calls us to repent and believe and obey His Word. But in our zeal to honor and obey God, we often come up with our own set of rules to guide us. Then these rules take on a life of their own, becoming burdensome…

Continue reading...
Mark

What's in Your Heart?

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven. But where does it come from? How does it happen? It may surprise you who is in danger of committing such a sin: Not the spiritually simple or humble, but the spiritually "wise and learned." It's a…

Continue reading...
Mark

True Seekers and False

There are many "seekers" out there, but not all are genuine. There are the scoffers, who tend to be pretty obvious. But there are also the "clean houses" who benefit from the power and coming of Christ, but have no real interest in knowing or…

Continue reading...
Mark

Who Can Understand?

Does Jesus want us to know and understand Him? His disciples were confused about that, because even they couldn't figure out His parables. Why didn't He just come straight out and say what He meant? Jesus expects any and everyone to understand His meaning, but…

Continue reading...
Mark

Kingdom Promises

In this section of Matthew 13, Jesus gives us three parables that prophesy about the future of the Kingdom of Heaven. Two are fairly obvious and it would be fair to consider them fulfilled. The third is intriguing for the details it contains, and the…

Continue reading...
Mark

Kingdom Value

How precious is the Kingdom of Heaven to you? What do our lives show? What do our priorities reveal about our valuation of the Kingdom? Jesus shares a couple of parables about how much we should value His Kingdom, and really, about how greatly we…

Continue reading...
Mark

Price of Love

False prophets tell us what we want to hear: that everything's just fine, no need to worry, everything will work out for the best. True prophets tell us what we need to hear in order to get right and stay right with God. God has…

Continue reading...
Mark

Know Who's Lord

Feeding of the Five Thousand. Walking on Water. Two of Jesus' most famous miracles. But was there more to the story? How do you respond when God makes promises to you but doesn't fulfill them in the time frame you expected? Would you, like Sarah,…

Continue reading...
Mark

A Question of Authority

The Jews aren't the only people with religious traditions and doctrines that undermine clear, simple commands of Scripture. We're all looking for ways to get around the "unpleasant" commands and expectations of God. In this passage, Jesus deals with a challenge to His ministry, which…

Continue reading...
Mark

The Power of Humility

A woman desperate for the healing of her daughter. Jesus calls her a dog in refusal! How would you respond if you were the mother? Would you be offended? Wouldn't we all? We labor so hard and so long to build up our self-esteem, but…

Continue reading...
Mark

Right Interpretations

It's easy to think the Bible is hard to understand, especially when you hear all the debates about things that look pretty clear and pretty simple in the text. So what's the problem? Is it the Bible, or something else? Two groups of people show…

Continue reading...
Mark

Recognizing Jesus

At the beginning of this chapter, the Pharisees and Sadducees couldn't (wouldn't) recognize Jesus. A short time later, Jesus asks His disciples who they think He is. Peter nails it! And with that, he's honored with position, authority and responsibility like no other. No one…

Continue reading...
Mark

Give Up Your Life

We live like this life is all there is. We have so many wants and wishes, dreams and desires. But God sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, to come to earth and die for us. To live His entire life to carry out the…

Continue reading...
Mark

Listen to Him

The Mount of Transfiguration. Moses and Elijah have a chat with Jesus. But it is so much more than a few (very) old friends dropping by for a visit. They have a serious topic to discuss, for sure. But these few moments on a mountain…

Continue reading...
Mark

How Small Our Faith

A desperate father reveals that both faith and unbelief can live in our hearts. How we listen to Jesus, how well we listen, not just hearing but doing, reveals our faith and our unbelief. How diligently we seek to know what God says and how…

Continue reading...
Mark

The Greatest

Jesus' disciples want to know who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Two things they don't get: a rebuke and a name. Instead, Jesus warns them that unless they become like little children, they will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven! What? These…

Continue reading...
Mark

Our Jealous God

Jesus introduced us to a small child last week, in the first few verses of this chapter. It turns out that such small children, because of their absolute trust and teachableness, are incredibly precious to God. And to us parents as well, right? Right? I…

Continue reading...
Mark

Not One Lost

Earlier in Matthew 18, Jesus shares the parable of the lost sheep. In it He says, "If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away...." What would make a sheep wander away? What would make a believer leave the church? Jesus…

Continue reading...
Mark

Forgiveness

God hates sin. But He also hates unforgiveness with an equal passion—and consequence! There are brothers and sisters who are caught in sin that we need to correct, and we may have to escalate it to the point of cutting off fellowship with them. But…

Continue reading...
Mark

Marriage

Marriage. It can be the hardest of relationships. Surely there's a way out when things go bad. Even God wouldn't make me endure with this impossible person. God's Word is restrictive; in some cases, to obey would be tragic. So we seek to follow the…

Continue reading...
Mark

Assurance of Salvation

What do you look to for assurance that you will enter Christ's kingdom? Is there a one-off event or deed that you did to confirm your salvation? Do you depend on your continued good deeds to assure your place in Heaven? In this passage, a…

Continue reading...
Mark

First and Last

"The first will be last and the last will be first." There are so many ways this can apply to us. Who is the first? Who is the last? Will they just be made equal? Will their positions be reversed? What does that mean for…

Continue reading...
Mark

Path to Greatness

All who trust in Christ and serve Him are promised eternity with Him. But does that satisfy you? We've seen that Jesus has more to offer those who give up the things of this world and this life in order to build His kingdom. Does…

Continue reading...
Mark

Purpose of Power

God has placed almost every one of us in some position of authority. Why? What does He intend? What should we do? Jesus sets an important example for us in this passage. From Matthew 21:1-17.

Continue reading...
Mark

Spiritual Authority

Jesus seems to have it in for fruitless fig trees and mountains! What's so bad about them that the one would deserve a curse and the other to be tossed into the ocean? Given the wider context, this doesn't seem to be simply a landscaper's…

Continue reading...
Mark

Spiritual Blindness

The Bible can be hard to understand, for a variety of reasons. But it isn't so much because the Bible is written in complex language or complicated logic, or even that its teachings are cloaked in impenetrable cultural concepts. Jesus reveals two of the key…

Continue reading...
Mark

A Kingdom Lost

A vineyard. Tenants. Slaves beaten, a son killed. Jesus both sums up Israel's history and foretells His own death. More than that, He foretells the end of all those faithless leaders of God's people, and the birth of His Church! A bad day for the…

Continue reading...
Mark

Called or Chosen

Are you merely called or are you chosen? There is a difference. In the conclusion to this parable, Jesus tells us that "many are called, but few are chosen." The gospel goes out into all the world; daily people receive a call from God's servants.

Continue reading...
Mark

Give What's Owed

The patience of Jesus' enemies is wearing thin. They are ready to kill Him. The only thing that holds them back is the great crowd in Jerusalem for the Passover. Too many of them think He is the Messiah; too many of them hang on…

Continue reading...
Mark

The Resurrection

How wise we think we are! How intelligent! So we have the boldness to deny the truth of things we don't like, even in God's Word! The Sadducees are not so different from us. They preferred to believe in what they could see and touch…

Continue reading...
Mark

Greatest Commandments

It is amazing how much time and energy we can spend on debating meaningless things. Carpets. Music. Greatest commandments. Does God actually rank His commands so that there are some we really need to pay attention to and others we can pretty much ignore? Not…

Continue reading...
Mark

Question Jesus

The chief priests, the elders, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, an expert in the Law. Jesus has been questioned over and over again. All to discredit Him, to turn the crowd against Him. Every attempt failed. Some examiners were further enraged against Him, some were amazed;…

Continue reading...
Mark

Bad Leaders

How many insensitive, hypocritical leaders have you met in your life? There's certainly no lack of them, at all levels of leadership. So what should we as Christians do, when we're stuck under a foolish leader like that? Jesus has some instruction. Not advice, but…

Continue reading...
Mark

Hypocrisy Detailed

At the beginning of Matthew 23, Jesus tells the crowds and His disciples that they need to do everything the teachers of the law and the Pharisees tell them to do. Even though He knows and says they're hypocrites! As if that wasn't insulting enough,…

Continue reading...
Mark

Hypocrites Condemned

Jesus is fully aware of the hypocrisy of the teachers of the Law and Pharisees, yet He expects His disciples to obey them! How unfair is that? What is He thinking? Won't His disciples have to suffer under the rule of uncaring leaders? What about…

Continue reading...
Mark

The Birth Pains

There's nothing better than being a Christian! You sure about that? What makes it so? Jesus schools His disciples on what's coming for them, and it's not pretty. Are you sure you're ready to follow Christ? If you think it's not so bad, are you…

Continue reading...
Mark

The End

The disciples asked, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Beginning in verse 15, Jesus finally answers their question. "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the…

Continue reading...
Mark

Keep Watch

How do we motivate Christians to Christian living? One way is to convince people that Jesus is returning at any moment. But what Jesus has revealed here and what the rest of the Scriptures support and teach is that Jesus' return is not yet imminent.

Continue reading...
Mark

Make Ready

Jesus is still answering His disciples' question: "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Mt 24:3b) After giving all kinds of signs, both in regard to the time of the birth pains and of the time of…

Continue reading...
Mark

Prepare a Return

What can we expect when the Lord returns? Jesus wants us to be prepared, but how? What should we be doing? In the rest of this chapter, Jesus will be expanding on and illustrating His expectations. Today He uses the example of a master going…

Continue reading...
Mark

The Final Judgment

Since explaining the timing of His return and the end of the age, Jesus has spoken several parables to urge His disciples to be ready. But what preparations should we be making? If we've been entrusted with other servants, we're supposed to lead them well…

Continue reading...