Boldly

Where will you take the Gospel today? (Matthew 12:15-21) We are told, yea, even commanded to take the Gospel out into our to our lost and hurting world. As we take the Gospel and share its power, what we discover is that we are affirming our commitment to God. Christ Jesus came to share the Gospel with people, knowing that He would pay the ultimate sacrifice for humanity. He was fully aware of the Pharisee’s plans to lay hold of Him and kill Him. Not even halfway through the Gospel of Matthew and they are already plotting to do just that here in Matthew 12. So, Jesus leaves the area and many people follow Him. Moved with compassion He heals the sick as He warns them to keep it to themselves. Jesus is not seeking fame and doesn’t want to be known only as a worker of wonders. What He wants is to stay on God’s timetable. We often forget that God is seldom early, never late, but always on time. One of the things the life of Christ reveals is how Jesus walks in step with the Father’s timing. 

Matthew records His fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah in Isaiah 42:1-4. Matthew 12:18~Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. (ESV) Matthew 12:19~He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; (ESV).

Matthew shares how God has appointed Jesus to walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who empowers Jesus to perform miracles. (John 3:2) Taking time, Christ Jesus proclaims justice to the Gentiles also. Saying what God desires is for all people to come and have a personal relationship. John 4, shares how Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well, He is the Messiah, and she receives Him in faith. (John 4:7-30) Listen to what she then does in John 4:39~Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, He told me everything I ever did.” (NIV) Still drawing from Isaiah’s portrayal of the Messiah, Jesus wastes no time fussing or carrying on, He is about His Father’s business. Our role is not to stir-up controversy, to fuss and carry on with others. We are to simply tell people about Jesus and allow the Holy Father to draw them. John 6:44~No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. (NIV) The Father draws, the Holy Spirit convicts and Jesus saves. 

This is why Christ Jesus came to earth. 1 Timothy 1:15~Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. (NIV) Matthew is foreshadowing what lies ahead for Jesus. Matthew 12:20~a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; (ESV) This means Jesus will help the weak and the helpless, as well as those of little faith. I have found myself in each of those three conditions. Weak, helpless, and at times crying out like the father in Mark 9:24~…I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! (NV) Jesus stands in clear contrast to the legalism, cruelty, and abandonment of the spiritual leaders of His day. Jesus stood for victory.

When he came out of the grave, when He again revealed, when He ascended to the Father, while He makes intercession for us, Jesus is sharing His victory. And one day real soon Messiah’s justice will prevail, despite heathen, unrepentant sinners, Jesus is the victorious King. When Jesus takes His place as King of kings and Lords of lords at the end of the age, it will be the final fulfillment of Amos 5:24~”But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (NIV)

Who will you tell, about Jesus, today? When Jesus finishes His quote from Isaiah here in Matthew 12:21, He tells us go tell the Gentiles. The world Gentiles can literally be rendered, nations. Our Lord’s final words on earth before amending to heaven in Mark 16:15~Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. (NIV) Again I ask, to whom will you tell, about Jesus?



Fruit Bearing Season

In the church, we are told that we are to abound in love (Matthew 12:9-14). What does that mean? Well, it means that we are to do good. Love is the fruit to which all other spiritual fruit hangs, and love always reveals itself in mercy and compassion, not legalism. Love and compassion are behind every one of God’s commands. God wants three things to be true in our lives. He wants us to be holy, joyful, and healthy. Anything that makes one of those things true in our lives, without violating one of the other two, is ok. Watch as Jesus enters the synagogue. Matthew 12:9-10~He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. (ESV) 

Now the New Testament does not require us to observe the Sabbath, which is Friday night to Saturday night. Instead, after His resurrection, Jesus’ followers worshipped on Sunday, the first day of the week. Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 16:2~On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (NIV) Sunday is the first day of the week, the day most Christians gather to worship because that is when Jesus was resurrected (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2). Jesus understands. I bet most of us have had ulterior motives in asking questions to God. But listen, we will never trap or trip up the Lord. So Jesus says in Matthew 12:12-13~…it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath…And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. (ESV) Jesus Christ brings wholeness.

If only the Pharisees had been unbiased in their study of God’s Word, they would have known what God requires of them. Micah writes about this in 6:8~He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV) The Lord doesn’t want to consume our stuff, what He wants is a personal relationship. He wants to walk with you just like He did with Adam. Think about how the God of Creation wants to spend time with you. He wants you to live in an atmosphere of holiness, abounding in love. That means our fruit stands are stocked in abundance. Our lives are teeming with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Where we are walking daily before the Lord. 

Today, take time to look at, consider and even work on your fruit stand of life. As a discerning connoisseur who inspects the fruit of others, how does your fruit look? Spend some time asking God to help you and prepare you for those who will be coming across your path of life. I bet the Lord is waiting for you just to ask.



Prologue, And God…Finding Favor Genesis 6:1-22

In Genesis_____ we traced the ungodly line of Cain, then in Genesis 5 the godly line of______. This shares that there are only two paths for humanity, one_______ Way in Jesus Christ, the other path is______ leading to destruction. We either serve the Lord or live in rebellion. Now, most have had some___________ to seek a mate outside of the faith. To this Paul writes, 2 Corinthians 6:14~What_____________ can a believer have with an unbeliever? What_________ ground can idols hold with the temple of God? For we, remember, are ourselves living temples of the living God, as God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people’. (JBP) Genesis 6:3~Then the Lord said, My______ shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years. (ESV) God is watching_____________ spread across the earth like a cancer. So, what do we do when something is growing out of control? We get negative, we get rid of it. Genesis 6:7~So the Lord said, I will blot out man whom I have created…for I am sorry that I have made them. (ESV) One man, Noah, is God’s choice for starting over. His life reveals three requirements for Finding Favor: Different, ________________, Devoted.

1) Be Different (6:8-12) Genesis 6:8~But Noah found _______ in the eyes of the Lord. (ESV) Notice the word but. This word reveals a contrast between Noah and his contemporaries. Noah is________, he is a righteous man meaning he is a man of integrity. Genesis 6:9~…Noah walked with God. (ESV) God chooses Noah simply because he is different. Walking with God makes all the__________ in our lives. 

2) Be Dependable (6:13-21) Genesis 6:13~And God said to Noah, I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (ESV) Understand the gravity, this is not just a boat. As Noah builds the Ark, with every________ of the hammer he is putting a nail in the coffin of humanity. Genesis 6:16~ Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. (ESV) This__________ would be used is for ventilation, removing, light, it is not just a design element. Genesis 6:17~For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth…(ESV) Imagine that you were Noah, taking all the Lord said in. Where would you have gotten hung up?____________________ Genesis 6:18~But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. (ESV) It stands as a binding covenant of salvation. Noah, I AM is going to save you!

3) Be________ (6:22) Noah’s life is a demonstration on faithfulness. Genesis 6:22~Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. (ESV) Noah is on a ______ year clock, counting down to the flood. His task is to build an ark and preach righteousness. For twelve decades, Noah proclaimed the Lord without_____ single convert. 
 
Take-A-Step: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________