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Dependent Confidence

Where does the disciple find the courage to avoid the fear of man in the midst of persecution and hostility? He finds it in Christ. The true disciple loves Christ. He loves Christ more than anything else. He takes his cross and follows after Christ. Christ has called him personally and given him His authority. The disciples in Matthew 10 had the authority to preach the Gospel (10:7), “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (10:8). The disciple, then, gets courage from his love of Christ. Second, a disciple gets courage from Christ’s teaching and…

Sheep Among Volves

In chapter 10, apostle Matthew gives us one of several written discourses of our Lord Jesus Christ. This one is often called: “The mission discourse” or “The Little Commission” in contrast to “The Great Commission”. Jesus directed this discourse to His twelve disciples. However it is clear that instructions and prophecy he presents here encompass events that would take place from the time of His early ministry up until His second coming. After giving His authority to his disciples over unclean spirits and over every type of disease, Jesus introduces the hardship that they would to encounter in the future.…

The Genuine Disciple

Matthew Chapter 10, Jesus’ discourse on genuine discipleship, is the second great discourse in the First Gospel. Scholars often organize Matthew’s Gospel around 5, or sometimes, 6 major discourses of Christ. These discourses are The Sermon on the Mount (5:3-7:27); Genuine Discipleship (10:5-42); the Parables (13:3-52); the Childlikeness of the Believer (18:3-35); the Condemnation of the Scribes & Pharisees (23:2-39) and the Olivet discourse (24:2-25:46). The discourse on Genuine Discipleship continues the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount portrayed the believer’s salient characteristics. The believer is humble: “blessed are the poor in spirit, for…

The Fit & Functional Body

In Romans 12:6-8, Paul is describing a Body: a fit and functional Body. There is a tendency to read Romans 12:6-8 as a mere list. Some define and describe each of the 7 spiritual gifts and move on. However, that is not the picture: Paul is not making a list but describing an organism. When one observes a magnificent animal, like a tiger, one may note the intelligence, the power, the speed, the organization and the defenses of the creature. In Romans 12:6-8, Paul is describing the Body of Christ. The Body is intelligent (prophecy), service-oriented (service), able to build…

Vain, Vain, Vain.

Sinful man is always tempted to ‘go secular.’ This means to blow off God, seek the things of the world, and live a ‘comfortable’ life. One’s faith brings difficulty, ostracism, having to confront people, lots of time . . . Wouldn’t it be easier just to work hard, work out, get a good job and enjoy? There’s nothing wrong with that. “I don’t hurt anyone.” Yes, but you ignore God. You live for yourself in God’s world and insult the One Who created you, Who sustains you, and deserves your praise. God created you to glorify Him. To ignore Him…

Powered by Grace

Proper function begins with proper attitude. After explaining the salvation of the Body of Christ in Romans 1-11, Paul explains the functioning of the Body of Christ in the rest of the Book (Chs. 12-16). As Paul begins to explain proper function, he starts with proper attitude. Paul mentions 4 aspects of proper attitude at the outset of Chapter 12: humility in light of God’s mercy (12:1); spirituality in light of the world’s bad influences (12:2); wisdom in light of one’s need of grace (12:3), and cooperation in light of the fact that Christians are all One Body (12:4-5). Proper…

God's Power Through Preaching

The Book of Haggai, the second shortest in the Old Testament, is about God’s blessing. It seems like much of the Old Testament is about cursing. However, God is determined to bless His people. He says at the conclusion of Haggai: “From this day on I will bless you” (Haggai 2:19).  Before God blesses, He brings repentance. God never blesses sin or unrighteousness. He blesses holiness and obedience. Therefore, before God blesses, He bring repentance. The middle and end of Haggai is about blessing and promise. However, God brings these blessings and promises through the repentance at the beginning of…

Unity Through Deversity

Unlike many of his writings, Paul rarely uses the word ‘church’ in Romans. In fact, he does not use it until the last chapter (16: 1, 5, 23). Paul does discuss the church. He just does not use the word ‘church’ until the final chapter. Paul typically uses several metaphors for the church. In Acts 20:29, Paul uses the word ‘Flock.’ In Galatians, he uses the metaphor of a family, calling the Church the ‘Household’ of the faith (Galatians 6:10). In Ephesians, he calls the Church a Temple and a Bride (Ephesians 2:21; 5:23). In 1 Corinthians, Paul likens the…

The Mind of Grace & Faith

 Chapter 12, the ‘practical’ section of Romans, begins with an exhortation for Christians to dedicate their entire being to Christ. Paul wrote: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God . . .” (12:1). By ‘bodies,’ Paul meant the whole you, everything you have, inside and out. By ‘sacrifice,’ Paul meant that one does nothing for self: one does everything for Christ. By ‘living,’ Paul meant that one’s service to Christ is vibrant, energetic and full of enthusiasm. By ‘holy,’ Paul meant strictly dedicated: everything, entire…

Home, Sweet Home

Psalm 128 is one of the Songs of Ascents. The Songs of Ascents are a group of 15 Psalms (Psalm 120-134) which Jewish pilgrims sang as they journeyed to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festivals of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles. These 15 psalms exist in triplets – there are 5 groups of 3 psalms that together make up 15 psalms. Each triplet contains a cycle, which is the same for each triplet. The first in each triplet relates a problem or crisis. The 2nd psalm in each group expresses trust and confidence. The 3rd or final psalm in each triplet…

Christ Will Always Conquer

The New Testament writers loved Psalm 2. The New Testament writers quote Psalm 2 from Matthew to Revelation. The only writers that don't quote this psalm are James, Peter and Jude! Some reckon this psalm to be the one that the New Testament writers quote the most. The reason that the New Testament writers loved this psalm was that it so clearly prophesied Christ's conquest over a God hating world. If the God-hating world had ever devised a futile plan, it was the crucifying of the Christ. If the God-hating world had ever concocted a more impossible plan for freedom,…

Not Conformed, But Transformed

Chapter 12 begins a new section in the Book of Romans. Paul typically divides his letters in two. In the first part, Paul explains truths about God. In the second, Paul explains how believers should live in light of these truths. So it is with Romans. In many books (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) the division is even: half and half. In Romans, the doctrinal section is much longer, a full 11 out of 16 chapters. Some characterize this transition as one from doctrine to duty, belief to behavior, creed to conduct, explanation to exhortation and from the grace of God to…