Expect a miracle

We have looked on as Jesus has compared His generation to a generation that seems eerily familiar for us today. This part of the generation does not want to bother with anything that they are not truly interested in and possess no need for things off of their radar. As Jesus turns to speak about them He references another city in Galilee that is even worse than those previously mentioned. Yikes! 

Matthew 11:23~And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. (ESV) I want us to understand that Jesus’ 3-year ministry operated out of Capernaum. He lived there, and returned there, and ministered there, in Capernaum. Matthew 4:12-13~When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali. (ESV) 

Think of Galilee as a state. It is mountainous and rugged. The counties that fill-up the area of Galilee, encompass a good bit of Jesus’ earthly ministry. You may remember the tribes of Israel, named after two of his sons, Zebulun and Naphtali. The Old Testament shares how they received stakes in the promise of God, and this was their family land. In this area is a city where Jesus spent many nights in a town called Capernaum. You may remember Capernaum as the place where Jesus was approached by a Roman Centurion soldier who showed a great amount of faith, asking Jesus to heal his soldier with just His Voice. All you have to do is say the word. Capernaum is also the place where Jesus shows up at Pete’s mother-in-law and He has to touch her because she was so sick she could not entertain any company. (Matthew 8:5-17) Yet, Jesus refers this place to Hades, a place often used in the New Testament to denote the home of the unsaved dead. Jesus was saying judgment is coming. 

What wonders has the Lord worked in your life? I bet God has given to each of us many signs of what His desire is for us to do and how we are to participate with Him, in faith. Jesus says in Matthew 11:23~…For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (ESV) Almost everyone is familiar with the name Sodom. It is a synonym for sexual immorality. Genesis 13:13~Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. (ESV) They pursued unnatural desire. Jude 7~In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (NIV). 

As a result of this persisting in sin, the Lord responds in Genesis 19:24 ~Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the LORD out of the heavens. (NIV)? Jesus tells the people in Capernaum, it will be more tolerable for Sodom, than you. But they do not care, because they are indifferent. The people of Capernaum knew about the Messiah because He lived among them. They witnessed His miracles with their own eyes, but they still would not follow Him. Today, all that remains of Capernaum is just ruins, while other cities in the same region remain active towns.

Take time to reflect on all that God has done in your life. Spend some time just thanking Him, loving Him. I think we often get so busy that we forget to give the Lord our praise. So today, just push the caving-in world out and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. It will keep you from becoming indifferent about your faith.

8…Prologue, And God…Pleasing God—Genesis 5:1-32…Handout

Genesis 5 shares the account of Adam’s ____________ or genealogy, through the line of Seth, his third son. The list contains ten names, beginning with Adam and ending with ____________. So, how many Enoch’s are in the Bible? _________. The Enoch we are looking at is the Son of Jared (6th from Adam). Let’s look at three requirements of pleasing God. And God…Pleasing The Father: __________, Cultivate, Focus.

1) Demonstrate Faith in God Genesis 5:24~Enoch walked ____________ with God; then he was no more because God took him away. (ESV) As believers, our lives are to be a living ______________ of faith in God. Hebrews 11:5~By faith Enoch was taken from this life so that he did not experience death: He could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. (NIV) When God looks at my life, is He pleased? YES or NO. (circle one) Enoch lived a holy life during one of the most difficult times in world history the period, just before the Flood. That took an active faith in God. For without faith it is ___________…Hebrews 11:6~And without faith it is impossible to _________ God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV) So the first step we must take, in pleasing God, is to ______________ faith in Him. 

2) Cultivate A __________ _with God. Enoch_________ God because he believes in the God who knows and cares for him. Moreover, he believes in a personal God who desires a relationship with him. Genesis 5:22 & 24 ~After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters…Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more because God took him away. (ESV) 

Enoch has _________ with God. To be in congress with the Lord requires compatibility with His Holy Word. If there is any _____________ sin in our lives, we cannot walk with God because He will not fellowship with anyone who ___________ to confess and forsake sin. Why is it we can have a dog, but not a goldfish for a friend? Because we require different ____________. 1 John 1:6~If we claim to have __________ with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (NIV)

3) Focus on ___________ Saints we must learn how to better focus on God’s will. Jude 14 & 15 shares that Enoch’s preaching contained two basic truths. Truth #1—The Lord IS _________ (Jude 14) Truth #2— He is coming to _________ Judgement. Enoch’s life reminds us that Discipline says, I ______ to. Duty says, I ______ to. But Devotion says, I _____ to. Do you want to please God? Then walk faithfully with God. Who is the oldest person recorded in the Bible? _________ 969 years. Ephesians 6:2~ Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a __________(NIV) Now let’s Take-A -Step: _______________________________________________________

Heaven & Hell

A second type or group of people Jesus introduces us to here in Matthew 11 are those who are Indifferent. The Indifferent has no particular interest, sympathy or concern for the Lord, His church, or the world in need. (Matthew 11:20-24) Jesus turns to the crowd and asks do you remember the unrepentant cities? Matthew 11:20~Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed because they did not repent. (ESV) Woe to you, Chorazin! Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented. (Matthew 11:21) Jesus is referencing for us a town so close it’s like saying Newport, and then He references a town that’s really important to some of the disciples because they have family who lives in Bethsaida. Bethsaida is the hometown of Philip, Andrew, and Peter (John 1:44; 12:21). 

This is the region where Jesus performs many miracles, including the only miracle recorded in all four gospels—the feeding of the 5,000. God’s judgment on Bethsaida, the location of this miracle (Luke 9:10), is so severe no one knows where it was located, except it was close to the Sea of Galilee. Chorazin has also ceased to exist. Jesus says if the miracles He performed in Chorazin and Bethsaida had been done in wicked cities, people would have turned to repentance. (Matthew 11:21) Tyre and Sidon were ancient cities between the mountains of Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea. Isaiah 23 records a prophecy against them for they were infamous in wickedness and immorality. God destroyed those cities because they just refused to turn. And now, Jesus says if His miracles had been performed there, they would have responded as Nineveh. Jonah 3:5~The people of Nineveh believed in God, and they declared a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. (NET)

Jesus’ use of the phrase more bearable makes it clear there are degrees of eternal punishment in hell. Matthew 11:22~ But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. (ESV) He also makes it clear those who know the most about Him and yet reject Him, will receive the most severe punishment. Listen to the list given in Revelation 21:8~But the cowardly (δειλοῖς δειλός), the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (NIV) And first on that list is (δειλοῖς δειλός) the cowardly, fearful. Fear and faith are mutually exclusive. We are either one or the other. 

Each time we see a list in the Bible, we should always take notice of what comes first on the list. In a list of sins, the worst, or most offensive is typically listed first. First in this list are people who know about Jesus, know He is the Messiah, the only begotten of the Holy Father, but are too spineless to take a stand for Him, vacillating. That is the worst kind of sinner. Don’t be a coward! Stand for Jesus Christ. 

Today, I want you to pray about taking a stand for Jesus Christ. For you, this may be calling a family member or loved one and telling them about Jesus. Even if you have done it before. Perhaps you need to pray with a co-worker who keeps coming to you and you listen, but do not share your faith. Maybe you will meet someone on the isle of the grocery store, standing in the checkout line, or it could be your server. I want you to be proactive, be bold, not pushy, and allow the Lord to lead, He will give you the words to say. Try Him, today.