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MATTHEW CHAPTERS 17 & 18

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1-3 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 

Mat 17,1-21

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus’ light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power -- Although Jesus shone brighter when almost no one was watching, He came down from the mountain and demonstrated His power before the masses. The power of God emanated from Christ because He was the light of the world. He was the Son of God who came to show us the way to the Father, and what is His will. 

Mat 17,1-5

(67a) Authority >> Lordship of Christ >> Jesus’ authority >> The glory of His authority – Born-again believers are witnesses of God’s Truth and of His light, just as Peter, James and John were witnesses of Jesus at His transfiguration. We are bearers of His light, though we are not the origin of it. We possess the light of Christ, and Christ is the origin of all things through the Father. Although Jesus is not the origin of all things does not make Him any less an aspect of God, for all things exist through Christ and are disseminated through His children, and they disseminate all things to His creation. This is the hierarchy of authority in heaven. We will be light bearers of His Truth; we will teach the creation about God. Jesus speaks the word of God and the Father does His works through Him. An authority figure only needs to speak and sign papers. Like the president of a nation, he doesn’t need to do anything, because the power of his actions is in his words. The president is the authority of his nation as God is the authority of His creation, and everything He does is performs through His word. God created the universe through His word; He spoke and the stars came into existence; for this reason God’s Truth is God Himself.

(140d) Temple >> Temple made without hands >> Hiding place >> Living in the spiritual revelation of the word -- Peter wanted to build a house for Christ and His guests, but Jesus already had a dwelling place that Peter did not know about. Jesus was living in the spiritual revelation of God's word. Jesus is that spiritual revelation in which God wants us all to live. He is the tabernacle that was made without hands, both in the sense that He needed no earthly father in order to be conceived in His mother's womb, and in the sense that was the embodiment of all truth and wisdom from God. 

Mat 17-2

(245c) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literal manifestation of Jesus Christ >> Jesus is the light of the world – The Transfiguration was a literal manifestation of Jesus Christ being the light of the world. He is divine, being the source of all Truth from God. In eternity the Lord will shine like the sun because of the Truth that is in Him. We could attribute the light to His righteousness or to His holiness or to His deity, but He shines as the embodiment of God’s Truth, and the Truth accounts for all things. A person can say something that corresponds with the facts, such as 2+2=4; that is a fact, but it is not the Truth, suggesting that there is a difference between facts and truth. Truth is greater than facts as light trumps darkness. Technically, darkness doesn’t have an existence of its own, for it can only exist in the absence of light. Light is an entity as Jesus is the epitome of all that exists, and He is the antithesis of all that “was and is not” (Rev 17-8). This phrase describes the dragon as it describes darkness. Darkness simultaneously is and is not. We look at darkness; we can see it, but at the same time we can’t see it. All we can really see is that it is dark, but we can’t see darkness itself. In contrast, light we can see, and we can see all things because of the light. When a person finally understands a math problem the light appears over his head in a caption box, and the light switches-on in his mind. He has been transferred from ignorance to knowledge, as “from the domain of darkness… to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col 1-13), but we can only know God’s Truth as He gives ability. Truth is more than mere facts about God; Truth is the life of God, as Jesus said in Jn 6-63, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” An unbeliever can read the Bible and learn the facts about God, but he cannot know the Truth until God enlightens him, imbuing him with His Spirit. When he believes those facts to the point of obeying them, the light switches-on and he can see God (Mat 5-8).

 

4-13 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. 7 And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid." 8 And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead." 10 And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" 11 And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; 12 but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.

 

Mat 17,4-8

(237i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The ascension >> Believers’ spiritual ascension – It could be that Peter heard some of the teachings of Moses and Elijah that they would return in the last days, but those teachings were false. Elijah never died; He was received into heaven in a chariot of fire, and though it says Moses died, no one has ever discovered his bones. He walked up a mountainside without an escort and died alone in an undisclosed location, and the Scriptures speak nothing about the details of his death. Some suggest that He too was taken alive into heaven, and because they presume he never formally died they say He will return as one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven, quoting Heb 9-27 to support their theory, “Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” There is a passage in Revelation that says the Two Witnesses will die and then be raised from the dead, just what Moses and Elijah need to be complete, but this is pure conjecture. If it were true, the Two Witnesses would be Elijah and Enoch, for they are the only two men who never died, and if people are going to be so dogmatic about the idea that every man must die, then what about the Rapture that promises to take millions of people to heaven apart from death? No, what the story of the Transfiguration reveals is that the believer's spiritual ascension will occur in the last days prior to Christ's return. Just as Moses and Elijah were spiritually taken back to heaven, so the Church will experience a spiritual ascension prior to the rapture, according the Revelation chapter twelve.

Mat 17,4-6

(17g) Sin >> Judging in the flesh >> Evaluating circumstances with a carnal mind – The disciples were used to seeing Jesus as the person who had special abilities, and perhaps even as the Son of God, but they were unwilling to accept some of the ramifications of His deity, primarily His purpose for coming here, which was to die. In order to see Him the way they wanted Him they had to dismiss a lot of things He said about Himself, but when His face shone so bright they could not look directly at Him, it made them take a harder look at the person of Jesus Christ with their mind's eye. They misunderstood Jesus throughout His ministry as much as they misunderstood their part in this event. They wanted to participate in some way, but their place was to merely witness His glory, and later they would become participants of His glory after He sent the Holy Spirit. 

(175k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorant of what God means >> Ignorant of the meaning of God’s works -- It's a hard statement but a true one, that what we do for God in ignorance is more like witchcraft than righteousness. Apparently, Jesus can transfigure His body to the glory that is to come and we still wouldn't get it, according to Peter's example, above whom no one can brag. Obviously, Peter didn't know what to do after the person He had been following turned into something so powerful that He could not gaze upon Him. His understanding of the Old Testament was minimal; he only knew what the Scribes and Pharisees taught him. The only thing he could think to do was build a temple, since they did that in the old days and he was good with his hands. No less, it was the wrong answer, because it was contrived from human initiative and not from divine inspiration. He was not in synch with the Holy Spirit, and therefore it was witchcraft. Regardless of Peter's intent, It was more like an incantation than works initiated by God. 

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Mat 17-4

(224ha) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The joyful kingdom >> We will recognize our family members in heaven – If Peter recognized Moses and Elijah, two men he had never previously met, how much more will we recognize our family members in heaven with whom we have lived for years? Peter instinctively knew them, and we will instinctively know our family members in heaven, though they may not appear the same as they did on earth. We know that Moses and Elijah did not bodily meet with Jesus on the mount, because the First Resurrection has not yet occurred, and so their spirits were made visible to the disciples, which is something that is beyond our comprehension, the paradox that we can visibly detect a spirit. God can do anything, and He made these two spirits of Moses and Elijah visible to Peter, James and John, and if they could recognize them as spirits, how much more will we recognize our family members in heaven with bodies after the First Resurrection?

Mat 17-5

(79h) Listening to the Word (Key verse)

(79j) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word >> Listen to the word >> Listen to Jesus – When the Father told the disciples to listen to Jesus, the word of God, He was telling us to do the same. We listen to Jesus in the Bible and do what He says in order for the Spirit of God to speak to us as He spoke to His disciples on Mount Transfiguration. Jesus spoke to them about many things, but they weren’t listening as they should, but interpreted His words according to what they had previously learned, according to the religious beliefs of the day. God told them on the holy mountain that they should abandon what they had previously known and accept what Jesus was telling them and let His perspective on the truth become theirs. This was a daunting command of the Lord in that unlearning something is very difficult, and it was a command that they failed to keep until Jesus rose from the dead. Then they were willing to let go of any and all personal beliefs and were ready to accept and receive the undefiled truth that Jesus delivered to them. When He ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit and anointed their understanding of God’s truth, they went back in their minds and recalled all the things that Jesus said and did over a course of three years, and they began to understand everything according to the Spirit they were given. The Holy Spirit interpreted God’s word for them, and so they understood it for the first time, only after Jesus had left them.

Mat 17-6,7

(23l) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> Fear of the unknown >> Fear of miracles -- People in general are not good at accepting paradigm shifts. Peter, James and John were frightened of Jesus because they had previously made up their minds about who He was. When the transfiguration occurred, it shattered their perception of Him, and proved that He was truly not of this world, but now perceived that He was a being from another dimension far greater than their own to whom they could not entirely relate. They knew He was not who they thought He was, but whether they realized that Jesus was the God of the entire universe at that point is unsure. 

Mat 17-9

(214k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> God Has Good Timing >> God synchronizes events in His time -- There were so many miraculous things that happened in Jesus day that they didn’t report half of them. Jesus told His disciples to keep it a secret what they had just witnessed, having said this many times also to other people, sternly warning them not to say a word, suggesting that there was a risk of too much popularity. Jesus knew He would be crucified by making the great confession that He was the Son of God, so it seemed this is what He didn’t want getting around, not because He didn’t want to die or was afraid to die, but because He didn’t want to die before the time, for everything has its time. Our eternal God who has all the time in the world, is extremely time oriented when it comes to scheduled events. If everyone went around spouting everything that happened, His popularity would grow to the point of stifling his ministry.

Mat 17,10-13

(193d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin to God – John’s purpose was to prepare the way for Messiah and to “restore all things” (Mat 17-11). His ministry was to break the ice, so when Jesus came they would already be expecting Him. John testified about the light so that all might believe in Jesus through him. We know that Israel at the time was spiritually in tatters, and they got that way from many centuries of disobedience. It wasn’t through their unbelief in the laws of Moses that led them astray but through their disobedience, which changed their beliefs that in turn changed how they lived. Then they began to believe His laws according to the way they lived. What they believed about the law changed, not the words themselves but their intent. This happened over a course of many centuries, until their understanding of the law was skewed beyond remedy. Then John the Baptist suddenly entered the scene with his message of repentance and his account of the light that was coming, and Israel’s understanding of the law suddenly turned clear. Hundreds of years of misuse of the law was restored, so when Jesus came, He didn’t have to start from scratch. The same thing will happen in the last days through the Two Witnesses and the 144,000 Jews, who will come to restore the Church to the obedience of faith in a Great Endtime Revival.

Mat 17,10-12

(59a) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> Spirit of Elijah is coming / John the Baptist was like Elijah -- These verses are key to understanding end-time prophesy. The ministry of Elijah is referring to the Two Witnesses in the book of Revelation. (Whether Elijah is actually one of the two witnesses is unclear.) All we have to do is study the ministries of John the Baptist and Elijah, put them together (because the Two Witnesses are a composite of the two), and we have an instant snapshot of those key figures. The Two Witnesses will be like John the Baptist wielding the power of Elijah. Jesus here said about them that the goal of their ministry is to restore all things. That means things must not be going too well for the Church if the two witnesses have to restore it. 

 

14-17 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill ; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 "I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him." 17 And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me."

 

Mat 17,14-21

(45m) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Satan VS the saints >> Demons are subject to the Church through Christ

(146f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Casting out violent demons – Jesus told us to pray when casting out stubborn demons, since the name of Jesus merely refers to Him, whereas prayer literally communes with Christ, which is something demons cannot endure for long. The Bible teaches that demons actually control this world; they are rulers of the world, and Satan is ruler of the demons. Demons are disembodied spirits that possess people for the purpose of directly interfacing with the world, but all they ever accomplish is to steal, kill and destroy. It is not that they love this world; in fact, they are not able to love anything. They might love to torment people, but that love is a love/hate relationship with the person they are tormenting. Jesus’ disciples asked Him, why couldn’t we cast them out, and He said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” There are stubborn demons that don’t come out quite so easily; they bring resistance, but their resistance is just another lie. Their resistance says that we don’t have authority to cast them out when we do, or else it says, ‘You might have authority to cast our demons, but you are not going to cast me out,’ and that too is a lie. Jesus didn’t say we could cast out some demons and not others, but He did say that there are certain kinds of demon possession that doesn’t get resolved except through prayer and fasting. Perhaps it depends on the power of the demon, but how is stubbornness related to power? Every demon is stubborn for that matter; that’s why they’re demons. Jesus didn’t have to pray and fast to cast out any demons, not even the ones He exorcised in the country of the Gerasenes (Mk 5,1-13). They upset the entire town, being so strong that no one was able to bind them, breaking their fetters and running among the tombs.

Mat 17,14-18

(138b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Jesus reproves His disciples for their unbelief -- These were strong words used against the disciples for their inability to perform miracles, but this was Jesus' standard for His disciples. They needed to get used to performing miracles on a daily basis, until it became a normal part of their lives, even as it was for their master. Jesus knew that if they were not able to perform miracles through the hand of God, their own hands in a couple generations will pick up swords and spears in the name of God as tools of spreading the gospel. "O unbelieving and perverted generation," He said of His disciples; what did He say of the generations that soon followed them, and what is He saying about us today?

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Mat 17,15-21

(241e) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Ask but don’t receive because of unbelief – The Bible teaches that believing the wrong thing is the same as unbelief in the truth. Although Jesus had been talking to them for months and years, still Jesus could not shake the preconceived notions from them. They were waiting for Jesus to conquer the Roman government that enslaved Israel and the world, and to set up His own kingdom in its place according to the teachings of the Old Testament prophets. He was not able to shake them from this hope, because it had been so deeply engrained in their Jewish tradition. For this reason, they weren’t that interested in preaching the gospel to every creature casting out devils and healing the sick by the authority of Christ. They considered these things peripheral to the kingdom they were expecting Him to one day establish right under the nose of Pontius Pilate, Herod and Caesar. In other words, they were trying to taste apples in the orange juice Jesus was serving. Once He began to roll out His kingdom, the things He had been teaching them would have a secondary function at best, and for this reason the disciples were chronically conflicted between the kingdom they were expecting and the kingdom Jesus was trying to teach them.

Mat 17,15-18

(198j) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Frustrating the grace of God >> Frustrating Jesus through unbelief – The disciples had a problem believing in Jesus, and He considered their unbelief to be perverse because they had everything they needed to believe in Him: the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, signs, wonders and miracles, and Jesus Himself, the very embodiment of God’s word. Even with all these the disciples had a difficult time believing in Him, but after the resurrection and Pentecost that all changed. The resurrection tuned their whole world upside-down and actually righted it, so that then they were open to the teachings of Christ, once their own ideas had been dispelled. After the resurrection, for the first time they realized, ‘Okay, Jesus has a plan different from ours and we can’t expect Him to do what we want.’ In lieu of the Kingdom of God suddenly appearing (Lk 19-11), it never entered their minds that He would be nailed to a cross, their secret hopes intensifying the horror of it all. The problem is, we have the same flawed hope of the kingdom suddenly appearing that misled the disciples in the erroneous doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture.

Mat 17,16-20

(203b) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God by your unbelief  – The disciples were so distant from God’s plan; all their preconceived notions were wrong; they had to abandon them. So, when are we going to abandon our presumptions that get in the way of understanding God’s plan and purpose for the Church in the last days? The moment they saw Jesus standing in front of them after the horrible whipping He received, blood streaming from His body from deep wounds, the image of Him hanging on the cross exhaling His last breath still vividly imprinted on their minds, all their preconceptions vanished like a lifting fog at first light. Then when He ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit and they received the power of God at Pentecost through an anointing, that is when they were able to carry out God’s plan by the strength of God. It empowered His disciples to both believe and obey the truth. Before the resurrection and Pentecost they could hardly believe what Jesus told them, but afterward they understood the truth by revelation, and by that revelation they performed miracles to establish a spiritual form of God’s kingdom on the earth through the preaching of the cross.

Mat 17,17-20

(20h) Sin >> Doubt replaces faith

Mat 17-17

(69d) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Righteous anger >> God is angry at sin – This statement depicts the fact that it was the Father’s love that brought Jesus here, that this was not His own idea to be clothed in human flesh wrangling with His disciples, His choice of words making that evident, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” He was getting tired of the disobedience and unbelief that was all around Him; sometimes it was a little overwhelming. Jesus complained about His disciples, who probably believed in Him more than anyone. This is what He thought of them before His resurrection and before they received the anointing at Pentecost. The disciples were trying to perform miracles, and Jesus was getting angry with them because they couldn’t do it. In our day, if we couldn’t perform a miracle, no one would get angry with us because no one is expecting miracles anymore. Jesus couldn’t wait to get this life over-with so he could go back to heaven with his Father in a resurrected body. This life is a pain in the neck compared to heaven.

(70e) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Spirit grieves over sin -- Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Jesus responds to a situation in the same manner that the Holy Spirit responds under similar conditions. Also, you have heard the saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt." That statement is true. This was the problem with the disciples on the mountain during the transfiguration a few verses back and it is their problem with curing the demoniac. The battle rages between spending time with Jesus and that time breeding contempt. The Spirit grieves over our contempt for Him after we have spent time searching the Scriptures and in prayer. It leaves our ministries cold and fruitless.

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18-23 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" 20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 ["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."] 22 And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day." And they were deeply grieved.

 

Mat 17,18-21

(107b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word creates faith >> Jesus’ words create faith -- The solution to curing the demoniac (the way to impart new life into your ministry) is through the word of God and prayer. But the verse above indicates that it is also the way that makes us familiar with Jesus, and that familiarity can breed contempt if we are not careful. There is a cycle of familiarizing yourself with Jesus through the word of God and prayer, that familiarity revitalizing your ministry, then that familiarity breeding contempt, so that we need to go back to the Bible and prayer to become more familiar with Him to combat the contempt, and thus revitalizing your ministry up another notch, until it is taken down again by contempt. How to rise above this vicious cycle is to set checks and balances and to lay in wait for the enemy of familiarity and overpower it before it overpowers you.

Mat 17-18

(216a) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Being healed without delay – God was starting the age of grace through His Son, and He had to get people’s attention before He could communicate His will to mankind. Jesus could have talked until He was blue in the face, and people simply would not have listened Him; in fact, they wouldn’t have even crucified Him for that; they would have just considered Him another would-be cult leader, attempting to start a new sect, and He wouldn’t have gone any further than that. Likewise, had Jesus performed miracles all day, yet without ever speaking the word of God, He would have become a carnival grandmaster of a wild and unusual entertainment show, but nothing more. His miracles would have been mentioned a few times in passing for a couple years and then faded into obscurity, forever forgotten. Go to a magic show and see unexplainable things happening right before our eyes, amazingly entertaining, yet it quickly becomes old news. However, when Jesus combined these two things: the word of God and divine power, He created something that would never be forgotten. He got their attention to hear the word of God through of His miracles, and they had to seriously consider what He said. They could blow off what He was saying, and they could blow off what He was doing, but they could not blow off what He was both saying and doing.

Mat 17-19,20

(162e) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> A slave to unbelief >> Bondage to an inability to believe – The small amount of faith that it takes to do the will of God Jesus said is that of a mustard seed. All seeds grow, and He meant that the mustard seed should grow too, but even in its small size as a seed God can use us to do exploits through us, but when Jesus mentioned the littleness of His disciples’ faith, He referred to it as diluted with disobedience and unbelief. If we have faith and show disobedience at the same time, how do we know if we believe or if we don’t? Who’s to say which is real? This is why it is necessary to strain out the leaven in our faith so that we become a single lump of unleavened dough (1Cor 5-6,7). The fact that Jesus accused His disciples of having little faith, why they were unable to cast out the demons, was that they were operating in their unbelief. We need to remember that the disciples back then didn’t even know Jesus’ overall purpose throughout His ministry, which was to establish a covenant with man by which He could establish His Kingdom on a spiritual level before He came a second time and literally set up His physical kingdom. His disciples were unaware of this until Jesus rose from the dead, and then Jesus explained to them what He was really intending to do. He tried to explain it to them earlier many times but they couldn’t hear it over the internal chatter of their previous learning. The disciples didn’t want a spiritual kingdom; they wanted a physical one, and don’t we all? We groan in our flesh by the fact that God’s kingdom is not yet physical, and the physical is allowed to reign in this life with unredeemable qualities.

Mat 17-20

(54c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Weak faith

(213b) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> God is all powerful >> All things are possible with God -- Jesus set the carrot before the horse and told us to go after it, that if we pursue it with all our hearts we will attain this level of faith. So where is it? Why don't we see it anywhere among God's believers? Perhaps it is because we don't seek it as a people. In other words it is unattainable to one person, but as the Church we can set that level of faith as our goal and attain it together. What do you think one person would do with that kind of faith, or what do you think society would do to a person who had that kind of faith? As a church we could confide in each other, for there is safety in numbers. God is not interested in raising up one person; He wants to raise up the entire church to a level of faith that can relate to God whom nothing is impossible to Him. This is His standard and expects us to pursue it and attain it. 

(229b) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> Growing In Numbers Corresponds With Spiritual Growth >> Kingdom grows in strength

Mat 17-21

(82d) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Our approach >> How to pray

(189j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Fasting >> Fasting simulates dying to self – We know that fasting represents dying to self, conveying the message that we care so little about our sinful flesh that we are unwilling to feed it, and it conveys the message to ourselves that our faith in Jesus is all that matters, and that we eat food only because it is necessary. So the fasting aspect of this was for the disciples to separate themselves from their earthly existence, making some distance between themselves and the demons they were trying to exorcize and to identify with the Kingdom of Heaven. While they were fasting they were also praying and remaining in communication with God, so when they returned to cast out the demon, they had a recent session with Lord, while literally expressing their indifference to this life through fasting. They became more spiritual than earthly, hence they were able to cast out the demons. They had to make a contrast between themselves and the demons they were exorcizing, in contrast to the seven sons of Sceva. The demon said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” The demon possessed man pounced on the men who were attempting to exorcize the demons and they left that place naked and wounded (Act 19,13-16). They made no contrast between themselves and the demons, and for that reason they could not control them.

(206i) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Conditions to promises >> Conditions to doing the works of Jesus

Mat 17-22,23

(168i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf to the word of God from a lack of understanding – The disciples were deeply grieved, meaning they actually heard what he said, yet the next time He told them, they acted as though it were the first time they heard it, and when the time came for Him to die, it came to them by complete surprise as though He never forewarned them about it. They were deeply grieved at the moment, but shortly thereafter they forgot what He said. It goes back to the parable of the seed sower when it says that some seed fell beside the road and the birds of the air ate it; the seeds never had a chance to grow. This is exactly what happened to the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples about his ensuing death. They didn’t want to hear it and refused to believe it. Although Jesus force-fed them the word of His suffering, it never had a chance to sink-in. The very next moment, they jettisoned Jesus’ statement, and the birds of the air ate up His words, that is the demons.

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24-27 When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?" 25 He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?" 26 When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt. 27 "However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."

 

Mat 17,24-27

(1f) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> become all things to all men >> Conform without compromise -- Jesus was a native of the land and was therefore exempt from the tax, but to keep from arguing with the people He just paid them. He conformed to their view of Him without compromising the truth of His identity to avoid an unnecessary confrontation with the authorities of that region. He kept the door open for those who He may have otherwise offended by defending His legal status as a son of Israel; perhaps Jesus was fishing for tax gatherers.

(9b) Responsible >> Prevent being blamed for something you did not do >> Prevent the appearance of evil – Jesus paid the tax for Peter and Himself, but what about the rest of the disciples? They weren't concerned about it. Jesus did it to ease Peter's mind, not to pay taxes. Jesus along with His disciples were citizens of heaven first. They were citizens of Israel, but were not recognized as citizens by their own country. Had Jesus not paid the tax gatherers, He may have been thrown in jail. Had He argued with them, He would have offended God, so He paid the tax, not with His own money, but with His Father’s money.  

Mat 17-24,25

(70b) Sensitivity To The Spirit – Jesus was highly sensitive to the Holy Spirit, which made Him appear as all-knowing. Although He was God in human flesh, He laid aside His infinite power and knowledge to dwell among us. He only knew what the Holy Spirit wanted Him to know, who spoke to Jesus about the conversation Peter had with a tax collector. Most of us are not this sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When we are able to hear Him speak with this much specificity, He does it for the sake of ministry. If we normally don’t minister to people this way, we probably won’t hear the Spirit whispering in our ear, but if we are ministers of the gospel and are open to the Spirit of discernment, He will enable us to effectively win souls to Christ. We can learn to trust the Spirit and make full use of the things He reveals to us in order to help others believe in Jesus. If we were this sensitive to the Holy Spirit, our ministry would be dynamic, but not as a show-off. Our ministry would be propelled into greatness, and the gift of discernment is just one of many gifts that God would like us to add to our repertoire of ministry tools.

(152f) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Jesus is a prophet >> Jesus prophesies to the Church – Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in the Church are not open to the gifts; in fact, there are some whole denominations that completely shun the gifts as a matter of their religion. They don’t want anything to do with them; they don’t even want to talk about them; in fact, they hardly if ever read First Corinthians chapter twelve. There are hoards of ministers who would love to have a dynamic ministry, and would do almost anything to achieve it, except believe God for the gifts of the Spirit, which involves a highly intimate relationship with Him. This is the kind of relationship that God would love to have with us all, but most of us are unwilling. Therefore, to the degree that the Church lacks discernment is the degree to which we resist the will of God. We read in the Bible that people have resisted the Holy Spirit to their own spiritual damnation, but we are not talking about that, for there are multiple levels of resisting the Holy Spirit; denying the gifts of the Spirit is a benign case. It is really up to us; it is our choice whether we will walk in the gifts or not; however, walking in the fruits of the Spirit is not our choice. Many a Christian has lost his soul resisting the Holy Spirit on the level of bearing fruit, but no one has lost his soul refusing to walk in the gifts, because they are not a requirement of salvation.

Mat 17,25-27

(78e) Thy kingdom come >> Sincerity >> Taking God to heart >> Having pure motives and desires – There are magicians nowadays who can do some pretty amazing things. Most admit they have no special powers, calling themselves illusionists. Would it be possible for a magician to recreate this particular situation, use a bare hook, a line and a pole to catch a fish with money in its mouth? David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear, but Jesus can raise a known dead person back to life again. With one of Jesus’ miracles a hundred percent validated, proves that all his miracles were valid, for why would a miracle worker use trickery? Either they were all tricks or they were all miracles, for a person who had the power to perform bona fide miracles wouldn’t need to be a magician. Jesus said to His disciples, “nothing will be impossible to you” (Mat 17-20), and “with God all things are possible” (Mat 19-26).

(217j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> I never knew you >> Because you are not of His sheep -- Since Israel did not recognize Jesus and His disciples as citizens, how could God recognize those tax gatherers as citizens of heaven? Obviously Jesus walked in all the gifts of the Spirit, and then He turned to his disciples and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also” (Jn 14-12). However, we almost never see the gifts in practice because of gross disobedience, not just individuals but the Church as a whole, like Israel. When it comes to manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven, there needs to be a high level of obedience and faithfulness; an entire infrastructure must be prepared before the Kingdom of God will manifest. It doesn’t happen just because someone wants to walk in the gifts. If someone were inclined to walk in the gifts and were faithful to God, the fact that he was by himself with no one else behind him interested in manifesting the Kingdom of God, that person would not be able to walk in the gifts either, simply because the groundwork of God’s kingdom was not pre-established. The Kingdom of God must exist in the hearts of men before it can be observed in the flesh.

Mat 17-27

(1a) Avoid offending Man (Key verse)

(30b) Gift of God >> God is our source >> His creative ability supplies our needs – Peter was a fisherman, so Jesus had Peter solve his problem according to his profession. Also, Jesus was addressing Peter’s concerns, not the concerns of the tax collector. Jesus probably would not have paid this tax had Peter not brought it to His attention; but after Peter mentioned it, He had Peter pay it. He was asking Jesus His opinion on the matter; ‘Should Christians pay taxes, or should we fight for exemption?’ The Lord’s answer was that we should pay our taxes (Rom 13-6). Note that Jesus had twelve disciples, not just Peter, yet the other eleven didn’t pay this foreigner tax (If a gentile visited Israel to worship there, he was charged a foreigner tax). Note also that this tax didn’t cost Peter anything; basically God paid the tax, and it was a tax on strangers. Jesus and His disciples were Jews, legal citizens of Israel; they weren’t strangers; for a tax collector to make this request was ridiculous. What was this tax collector thinking when he demanded a foreigner tax from Peter, an obvious citizen of Israel, knowing he was a Jew just by looking at him? He wasn’t required to pay the tax, so why did Jesus have Peter pay it? Jesus wasn’t going to argue with the tax collector; instead, He gave him what he wanted, and the man probably pocketed the money. The fact that this tax collector considered Jesus and His disciples to be foreigners says something about Christians in this world. Heb 11-13 says that we are “strangers and exiles on the earth,” so this tax collector actually made an interesting observation. Although they were Jews, they appeared to be foreigners; they looked like Jews but they didn’t act like citizens of any country in this world.

(62c) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Responding cleverly to your enemies >> Cheat them -- Essentially, the Spirit of God broke the laws of men when He had Jesus say to Peter, ‘In order not to offend them pay the tax, but don’t give them our money. Instead, give them money that came from a fish.’ Jesus had Peter go fishing to ease his mind, not to pay taxes. God paid the tax; therefore, God was the stranger. Normally, Jesus never performed miracles to flaunt His power or to feed freeloaders, but healed the sick and fed the hungry, etc. who had real needs. In this case, however, Jesus made an exception; He performed a miracle without really needing to (He could have paid the tax gatherers out of their treasury, or just not paid them at all). The purpose of this miracle, among other things, was to secretly scoff at the people who did not recognize them as citizens of Israel, and thus did not recognize Jesus as their Messiah.  

(119a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Freedom from the law -- Jesus no doubt was the most law abiding person to ever live, yet He didn't live by the law of the land, but by the law of the Spirit of freedom. Living by the law puts you in bondage to it, but living by the Spirit sets you free from the bondage of the law while inadvertently fulfilling all of its requirements. Jesus in a way was demonstrating His freedom from the law by paying taxes without any cost to Himself. He drew the money from the storehouse of His Fathers infinite reserves. 

(147d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> God exercises authority over every living thing – Being this was a miracle, how did it happen? First, the shekel was dropped in the ocean at some point; then the fish scooped it up with its mouth; then Peter went fishing, hoping to catch that particular tax-paying fish. There was no mention of any bait; Peter was fishing for a fish with the pica eating disorder, presumably a northern pica. It decreases the odds all the more that he used no bait. Through this miracle we can see God in charge of many miniscule details. Is this the God we serve, someone deeply involved in tiny facets of life? According to this miracle, apparently so! This was nothing to Him. The next question, did Jesus order this miracle or did the Father speak to Him that this was prearranged? The Bible teaches that Jesus was not in control but the Father, and Jesus was merely followed orders. Jesus didn’t cause these things to happen; He only told Peter to dip a hook in the ocean and pull a shekel from a fish’s mouth. It was His Father behind the scenes who caused this miracle. God works the same way with us.

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org 

 

MATTHEW CHAPTER 18

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1-8 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! 8 "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.

 

Mat 18,1-4

(56f) Paradox >> Opposites >> Humble yourself for the right motives – In this day and age some children are not very humble, so we can’t very well look to them for examples of heaven; Jesus chose an obedient child who mined his parents and respected adults. In the last days as society continues to disintegrate and lose its semblance of order, it will assume the image of Isaiah 3-12 that says, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” Generations ago, children were taught to be seen and not heard; that is, they were to attend adult visits to the family and listen to the conversations without shifting the attention to themselves, nor run upstairs to avoid the company, and speak only when appropriate. In that way they learned humility as integral members of the family, and they knew their place. They didn’t have the same freedoms that adults had; they were instructed to mind their manners and be polite. This is the kind of child Jesus chose to represent the Kingdom of Heaven, humble in heart, whose place in life was to obey their parents and learn and grow to become upstanding adults. They were recently babies; their parents worked around the clock feeding them and changing their diapers, and they are still serving their children, providing a roof over their heads and food on their plates and teaching them good attitudes and values, caring for their needs just as God cares for us. We too know our place with God. He is our heavenly Father and we are His children. He is greater than us, and our place is to humble ourselves and become a blessing both to him and to those around us. The more we humble ourselves and serve others, the greater we are in the eyes of God, and the more we will be rewarded in heaven and the more privileges and authority He will bestow on us, but if we want to be the boss now, we may never see the Kingdom of Heaven, and if we do, God will show us the last chair, and we will be least of all because we sought to be greatest.

Mat 18,3-5

(33d) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Kingdom belongs to the children of God

(192c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Life for life >> Losing your identity to gain God’s identity -- The Kingdom of God belongs to children, not to adults. Children are born with faith in God. The definition of an adult is someone who has forgotten where they came from. Adults come from childhood and children come from God. Forget everything you learned in the world as an adult and remember how you once believed. We were closer to the truth at the beginning of our lives without even seeking it than we are now after so long pursuing what we have deemed to be reality. 

(224i) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The people of heaven >> Traits of the people who make it to heaven

Mat 18,6-10

(5f) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> God tests your faith through hardship – God has no intention of removing stumbling blocks in this life, but He will permanently remove them in the next life. Stumbling blocks are inevitable because of the sheer number of them, like going into the woods in summer and getting bit by mosquitoes. Most of us would prefer that God removed the stumbling blocks in this life, but God wants us to face them to see how we will react. He wants to use them to prove how much we love Him. He wants to give us an opportunity to struggle in our faith, because in the life to come there will be no sin to test us. Why should God remove stumbling blocks if they accomplished the very objectives He has in mind for us? He wants us to obey Him in the face of adversity! We are fulfilling His vision and serving His desires, but there are many so-called Christians these days who have this backwards. They run to the verses that say, "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it" (Jn 14-14). Jesus freely made promises like this without anyone twisting His arm, and He made them to those who obey Him, who are willing to pass through the fire for Him and endure the stumbling blocks for His purpose and glory as an opportunity to demonstrate their faith in Him.

(28i) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God crushes those who make us stumble – Jesus was talking about stumbling blocks, referring to unbelievers in the Church who would cause His children to stumble, and in verse 9 we could interpret that as addressing men who eye sisters in the Lord and tempt them to conduct immoral relationships with them. We know that there are stumbling blocks in the world, and we know that a true Christian would do everything in his power to avoid being a stumbling block to his brother or sister in the faith, nevertheless, Jesus is talking to Christians, warning us not to become a stumbling block, saying that if we do this to His children, He will cast us into hell with the unbelievers. Jesus is getting in the face of those who believe in eternal security and who think they are going to heaven just because they believe in a certain set of doctrines, that if they cause His children to stumble, they are not His children. Crude as it sounds to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye, if a person committed himself to this extreme to avoid becoming a stumbling block, he would repent long before he would need to cut off his appendages.

Mat 18-6

(241f) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Obstacles that keep you from Jesus

Mat 18,8-10

(47c) Judgment >> Hell is a place of sorrow >> Hell is to be avoided at any cost – God has the power to stop those who would hurt His people, but He often allows travesty to continue, knowing that eternal judgment is just up the road for them. Therefore, if God is this intimate with His people and so intently watching the activities of men, then it is also being recorded. When this life is over and mankind enters into judgment with God, He will pull out their records and address every time they caused one of His little ones to stumble, and He says that it would be better if a heavy millstone were tied around their necks and drowned in the depths of the sea; that goes for each case! When we add up all the cases, imagine the judgment that will befall them. If they cause His children to stumble a hundred times, it would be better to be drowned, brought back to life and drowned again a hundred times with a millstone hung around their necks. Hell and eternal damnation is worse than this, and when he says worse, He means far worse.

Mat 18-8,9

(21d) Sin >> Disobedience will condemn you to hell Salvation is a free gift, but what if someone for the sake of the gospel plucked out his eye, for instance, if he couldn’t stop watching pornography or cut off his hand if he couldn’t stop sinning; wouldn’t that constitute sacrificing a body part for his faith in Jesus. Salvation wouldn’t seem so free after that, yet how many people have actually done this? If a person were to make such a commitment to his faith in Jesus, by the time he drew the sword to remove the appendage, he would have repented of the sin. It goes back to the story of Abraham and Isaac. God told him to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and there sacrifice him to God. Abraham didn’t know what else to do, so he took Isaac and a bundle of sticks and whatever else he needed, got situated and took out his knife and was about the plunge it into his only son when the angel of the Lord stopped him just as he learned that Abraham would have gone through with it. God wanted to know if Abraham loved God more than His gifts; people in the Church today seem to love His gifts more than they love God. Jesus was saying that this was the level of commitment God wants from us, only not to do ourselves any harm, for to pluck out our eyes and cut off our hands would sabotage God’s plan for our lives, since He wants to use us in His service.

(63e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Sarcasm >> Exaggerate the truth to make a point -- Anyone who was committed enough to cut off their arm or leg or to gouge out their eye for the sake of abstaining from sin would also be committed enough to simply quit sinning short of mutilating themselves. Jesus was not seriously asking anyone to dismember themselves but was serious about abstaining from sin, suggesting that if it took this extreme of a measure to quit, you would not be sorry you did it in the life to come. 

(248l) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Values >> The Highest Values >> The life to come is more important than this one -- There are countless instances in the New Testament alone that encourage us to sacrifice this life for the sake of the life to come. In these verses, Jesus was referring to a more literal manifestation of that sacrifice. When the Bible speaks more realistically about sacrificing your life, it is in line with denying your evil, fleshly desires, in short "Dying to Self." There is an entire chapter in this Bible program devoted to this very subject. 

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9-11 "If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. 10 "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 ["For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]

Mat 18-9,10

(135g) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Abortion >> Consequences of abortion >> Do not despise one of these little ones -- People do just the opposite of what Jesus said. He told us to cut our body parts and throw them from us, so we cut from a woman her fetus and throw it from us, but instead of the act keeping us from hell, it plunges us further into its bowls. Man hopelessly distorts every commandment of God and destroys everything that is beautiful for a sense of personal gain. The angels of those fetuses, "continually behold the face of God in heaven." Too bad their parents are unaware of it. 

Mat 18-9

(22i) Sin >> Lust (craving pleasure) >> Lust of the eyes

Mat 18-10

(15c) Servant >> Ministering spirits >> Angels give help in time of need Every child of God has at least one angel assigned to him or her. Jesus described angels as having the capability of ministering to people and seeing the face of God at the same time. This implies that heaven is here, all around us, and we just can’t perceive it. It eliminates the notion that heaven is myriads of miles away, replacing it with the very viable plausibility that heaven is simply shifted to another dimension, similar to being unable to perceive some colors of the light spectrum that our eyes were not designed to see. There is a great chasm between the spirit realm and us, but that chasm does not exist for those in heaven; they can see us but we can’t see them. This also paints a far more vivid picture of man sinning directly in the face of God, just as the Bible says. The context of this verse is the persecution of God’s children. Jesus states very graphically that whatever the wicked do to His elect will be done right under His nose; therefore, how much more likely will it be recorded, and not forgotten, unless they repent?

(73d) Authority >> Respect Positions Of Authority >> In the Church

Mat 18-11

(207l) Salvation >> Salvation verses >> The kindness of God >> God is kind to sinners >> He seeks and saves that which was lost – Anybody who feels lost in this world are candidates of heaven, but those who don’t feel lost cannot be saved. There are many people we could have a conversation about Jesus until we were blue in the face and they would not see their need to be saved. They might condemn the Bible, arguing that it is not the word of God but the ideas and thoughts of men, having no authority behind it, and so they attack the foundation of our faith. We remind them that the world is disintegrating before our very eyes because there are too many people that are just like them who don’t believe in God, and it is leading the world to destruction. God knew that man would do this to himself, and so He came and explained the gospel to us, commanding us to love one another, to humble ourselves and become like children, to become least of all and servant of all, if we want to be great in the eyes of God. If everybody did this, the world would be a better place. People would become beautiful; we could learn to trust our fellow man. If someone didn’t personally believe, he could point to five or six people who did believe and held their faith above all else, who act as the salt of the earth and influence those around them. Those who have not made a commitment to Christ do not feel the freedom to misbehave in any way seriously because of faith all around them. However, when believers become disobedient, unbelievers become evil, until lawlessness dominates the land and mankind becomes self-destructive. Therefore, man’s biggest problem is his unwillingness to see his need to be saved, and his biggest obstacle keeping him from a genuine faith in God is a sense of belonging in the world. That is, they don’t feel lost but feel very much at home in the world, and this is their downfall. This correlates with a verse in the Old Testament, “Let their table become a snare before them, and their well-being a trap” (Psalm 69-22). They feel comfortable in the world, just like the family who sits to another warm and well-prepared meal; they have everything they need, and it makes them feel happy. It doesn’t show them the need to be saved; they don’t feel lost at all. People who can’t find enough food to fill their bellies and regularly go hungry, sometimes even they resist the gospel, and it is confounding to the believer. Frankly, they should feel lost in the world, and maybe they do, yet they still resist the gospel, and nobody knows why, except for the mystery of lawlessness, why man resists God even in the face of need, hunger, poorly clothed, without shelter. Some might say they don’t want to be saved because God has placed them in their circumstance and they resent Him for it, so where is the happy medium? This indicates that circumstances are not an aspect of feeling lost in the world; rather, it reduces to a spiritual need to be saved. God may not do much to save us in the natural realm in that our circumstances may remain relatively the same, though over time God will change us and help us make decisions that will alter the course of our lives and put us in better circumstances. However, long before that we had a spiritual need to be saved. We felt lost, not just in the world, also within ourselves. There was something missing in us; there was something personally wrong with us, and we were never able to put our finger on it what we were lacking until finally we met Jesus Christ, and He put His Spirit in us and we became complete. We can hear his voice speaking in our hearts, and we now feel full, even if our belly isn’t full.

 

12-17 "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 "If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. 15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

 

Mat 18,12-14

(161a) Wander (Key verse) 

(161g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Wandering from the fold of the sheep Sheep are not wild animals; they have been domesticated and cannot survive in the wild without a shepherd to care for them. Likewise, Christians cannot live in the wild; God has domesticated us; we belong to Him and are no longer of this world.

(207d) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Eternal security? >> You can get lost again -- These verses go with verses 23-35. According to these verses, it sounds like you can lose your salvation. What do you think? See below verses 23-35 for additional commentary. 

Mat 18-14

(206j) Eternal Security? (Key verse) – Eternal security is a hot topic in Christendom. Mostly embraced by the Evangelical community, this doctrine has a chance in hell of being biblical. For starters, what about the person who decides he no longer wants to spend the rest of eternity in heaven with a lot of born again Christians who can’t think of anything better to do but stand around and worship Jesus, and decides he would be happier in hell with his friends? Would God keep him against his will? God never does anything against our will, yet many believe we cannot lose our salvation even if we wanted to. That sounds like God holds us in bondage to our salvation. Can you imagine God saying, 'Too late you already made your decision; you are mine now and there is nothing you can do about it!' That sounds like something Satan would say, absurd. There are many Scriptures to support eternal security, but there are far more verses to support the opposite. This whole subject should not alarm the person who intends to live for Jesus to the very end, but the person who wants a doctrine that furnishes him freedom to live however he feels without consequence may be in for a shock. It is not possible to lose our salvation with a good heart. God is not a heavy handed tyrant, waiting to wield His mallet at the first sign of weakness, but He did make man with a will, and man can do whatever he wants with it. If we no longer want to be saved, God will accommodate us, but once the man has made his decision, there is no turning back. We cannot be born again, again.

Mat 18,15-20

        (116d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through worship >> Through His authority

 

Mat 18,15-18

(138d) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Reprove your brother in the right spirit

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Mat 18,15-17

(10a) Responsibility >> Bring order to the Church >> Dealing with problems in the Church – There are some people who think they believe in God without showing any evidence of their faith. For this reason Jesus has given us a sequence of increasing levels of severity by which we should approach our brother in regard to his sin. Each level of severity pertains to more open levels of publicity, the first level being the most private. If he listens and repents, we have won our brother, but if he doesn’t, then on the second approach we should bring another witness or two, so that every fact may be confirmed (Deut 19-15). The more his sins leach into the public domain, the more gossip it will produce, which is a negative effect of this procedure. If he will not listen to two or three witnesses, then tell the Church and shout his sin from the housetops to warn others about him that he is an unrepentant sinner, capable of exploiting others for personal gain. Taking the man’s sin to the Church is a test to see if he has any reverence for God; if he shows no respect for the Church, then neither does he fear God. This is evidence suggesting that Jesus does not dwell in his heart. To treat him as a brother would give him power to harm the saints; Jesus said instead to treat him as a gentile or a tax collector, a man of the world, someone who is “of no account in the Church” (1Cor 6-4). This does not mean to ostracize him, for even gentiles and tax collectors are welcome in church, though he will probably leave on his own accord. The biblical concept of shunning is physically allowing the person in the church door, but not giving him the right hand of fellowship, that is, refuse to treat him as an equal, but as someone who needs to be saved. Unfortunately however, a person who deserves to be shunned is probably well on his way to a reprobate mind.

(21f) Sin >> Disobedience opposes unity in the Church -- Sin has a corrosive effect on the Church that erodes its unity gained through faithfulness. It is important to arrest sin within the body of Christ before it causes any damage to the minds and hearts of the people who are striving to serve God, since the Church is meant to be a place that offers protection and safety from the world and its evil influences. 

(172b) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Devils among the saints >> Unrighteous among the righteous – It is interesting that Jesus told us to treat him like a gentile or a tax collector. What does it mean to treat someone like a gentile? It means to treat him like a common sinner. At the very onset of the Church, every saint was a Jew, thereby defining the gentile as an unbeliever. This was at the very beginning, before the revelation that the gentiles were included in God’s plan of salvation. Jesus didn’t give that revelation to His disciples, but it came later through the apostle Paul. The gentiles were not only included in salvation, but they virtually took over the gospel of Christ because of the Jews’ unbelief. Jesus had a purpose for using the term gentile. Paul taught that every believing gentile was a Jew in spirit, and that every unbelieving Jew was no different from a gentile. Their flesh may be of Germanic descent or Norwegian or any of the nations, but their spirit is Jewish. Anyone who believes in Jesus is a Jew at heart; therefore, anyone who would persecute the Jew or seek their harm cannot be Christian. Any so-called Christians who would persecute the Jews might as well persecute their own spirit, and are proving that they don’t know God, that they are liars of the worst kind. When it comes to spiritual things, we are not to trust a single aspect of their opinion about the Bible. This is a fundamental truth that if they don’t understand it, they virtually cannot understand anything else, making them utterly devoid of truth.


 

18-20 "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. 19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."

Mat 18,18-20

(83b) Thy kingdom come >> Receiving from God through prayer >> Ask and it shall be given – When Jesus makes His presence known by the Holy Spirit, this is how we receive our answer to prayer. In fact, we could say His very presence is our answer to prayer, since every Christian longs for the presence of Jesus. We may pray for a lot of things, but it seems whenever we come together as a group, we are inclined to agree upon the presence of Jesus, and this is what we so often receive. His presence is the basis of receiving whatever we would ask from Him. He promises that He will reveal Himself to the group who are in agreement with the truth; therefore, His promise is to the group through synergy, as many candles brought together are brighter as one than the sum of them.

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Mat 18-19,20

(67k) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Praying in Jesus’ name – The group who is in agreement with God will receive their answer to prayer according to the size of the group. Jesus said, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” The Lord is demonstrating the difference between His name and His person, saying that those who gather in My name, “I am there,” distinguishing Himself from His name. In other words He was saying, ‘I will not just be there in name only, but in person via the Holy Spirit.’

(129n) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one mind – There are few promises if any that Jesus made that don’t involve unity at the root. We need to be unified in the truth as God sees it, not as we see it. Without unity God is unwilling to do much for anybody, but where there are two or three in agreement about anything, Jesus is in right there among them. If they ask Him for something that is against His will, that cancels the promise, but if we ask according to His will, He will do it, but they must first agree. That sounds like the easy part, yet whom can we find that will agree with us about anything nowadays? This promise seems almost tailor made for the married couple, because a husband and wife are more likely to be in agreement with each other, and so perhaps what Jesus was saying was not so much about the request they would make, but the premise upon which they would make it, which is God’s word. We must be in agreement with the truth before we can expect to receive anything from the Lord; otherwise we are double-minded, unstable in all our ways (Jm 1,6-8). James also added “without any doubting,” suggesting when compared to Jesus’ statement when we are trying to believe something other than the truth, we fight an uphill battle that expectedly runs into doubt.

(206g) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Conditions to promises >> Conditions to the gifts of God >> Conditions to the promises of God – Unity also happens to be the method of cult leaders forcing their members to agree with them about their version of the truth, and it is very effective. If he can get the group to believe and agree on his ideas, he can get many things done, that is, he can be very abusive to them. He can demand their money; he can demand that they re-mortgage their houses and give him the proceeds, and on and on the list goes of what cult leaders can do once they get their congregation in a state of unity upon his version of truth. Jesus is trying to accomplish the same thing, only to glorify His Father and benefit the people. He wants us to agree on His truth. He says that if we are willing to do this, then He will give us whatever we want as a group. Consequently, this accounts for all the false doctrines and denominations that are in the world today that have been contrived by the devil. He knows that if God’s people agree around God’s truth in a state of unity, they will be unstoppable, but if he introduces confusion, they will flounder.

Mat 18-20

(254k) Trinity >> Holy Spirit’s relationship between Father and Son >> Jesus is equal with the Holy Spirit >> Power of Jesus’ Spirit -- The Father will give them answer to prayer, and it will be the presence of Christ among them by the Holy Spirit. This accounts for all three members of the trinity working together to reveal Himself to His people to answer their prayers. It is wonderful that our prayers get answered from the perspective of heaven, suggesting that we must correlate our lives with the ways of heaven before we will get our prayers answered. That touch from heaven can be seen and felt right here on earth as God personally gives our request. However, Jesus bodily can be in only one place at a time, so what if two pairs of people are praying in different regions of the world? Jesus can not be in both places at once? Jesus shows-up spiritually when we pray together. He and the Holy Spirit are one and the same person (Jesus, the Great High Priest in heaven, promised He would be among us through the Holy Spirit). The two of them, though occupying different offices work together in perfect harmony.

 

21-27 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' 27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 

 

Mat 18,21-35

(120e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiving your brother >> Don’t forgive your brother and God won’t forgive you In verse 24 it says that the slave owed his master 10,000 talents (a value well over ten million dollars), which was more money than a person could repay in a lifetime. So, the slave fell down and begged forgiveness, and the slave owner was gracious and forgave him the debt and basically set him free; but then a fellow slave, his equal, owed him nearly a third of a year’s wages, which is a significant amount, but only a tiny fraction of what he owed his master. His friend entreated him for mercy, but his hands found his fellow slave’s neck and led him to prison. It is ironic to throw someone in prison and then expect him to pay back a debt; you just put him in a position of inability. Jail has always been society’s fix-all solution. The slave owner didn’t like this and approached him and said, ‘Who do you think you are treating your fellow slave this way when I was gracious to you?’ and the slave owner recanted His forgiveness and re-imposed his debt, so he had to repay that monstrous debt to his master, not in this life, for there is not enough time in the day, but in the life to come.

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Mat 18,23-35

(24k) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Anger >> Unforgiveness This is by far the strongest warning the Bible gives about unforgiveness. We don’t have a choice but to forgive those who offend us, but in practical terms the option does exist not to forgive. If we choose not to forgive, we will live to regret it, so what choice is there really? Sometimes forgiveness can feel nebulous; how do we know when we have forgiven somebody? If our version of forgiveness can be reduced to mental calisthenics, believing we have forgiven someone when maybe we haven’t, we have rearranged a few thoughts in our minds but still haven’t forgiven anyone, how do we know when we have forgiven somebody? It is when we are kind to them. If Jesus put in practical terms the unforgiving slave who choked his fellow slave for owing him a hundred days’ wages and threw him in prison, then our forgiveness should have the same tangible value. Therefore if we have a hard time forgiving somebody or if we are not sure if we really have forgiven the person, the way to know we have forgiven him is through love. There is always the room and opportunity for kindness. Sometimes the person we haven’t forgiven is not even alive anymore; now what do we do. If the person was our mother or father or a sibling, we can be kind to our other family members in the offender’s name. “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1Pet 4-8).

(184f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Trying to take advantage of God’s kindness

(198c) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Ungrateful

(207d) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Eternal security? >> You can get lost again -- These verses go with verses 12-14. In this parable we have a picture of a person getting saved (his sins forgiven) and then losing his salvation. The Bible teaches that forgiveness is a wonderful thing and that bitterness is equally terrifying, and that we really don't have a choice but to forgive, indicating that the stakes are high. We know how the story went; he got off his face and ran down one of his debtors who owed him a penny by comparison and threw him in prison. The master of the slave leaned about it and said, “I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?” The Lord moved with anger handed him (not his family) to the torturers until the debt was paid in full, which would take forever in hell. Since God forgave our debt, He expects us to forgive our debtors (Mat 6-12). Jesus said that if we cannot forgive, God would change His mind about forgiving us, and God does not easily change His mind, though He did it for Moses (Exodus 32,7-14). To the degree that there is not enough time to repay our debt to God, so neither is there time in eternity to repay the debt in hell. If we continue in sin, it will erode our faith, the very thing we are using to get into heaven. Disobedience and unbelief erodes our faith until we no longer believe in God for eternal life. The man was on his way to hell prostrated himself, God felt compassion and forgave his debt, but the man continued from there unchanged, living as usual, “Disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending [his] life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Tit 3-3), and God said you are going to treat people the way I treated you or I will renege on the kindness that I showed you.

(225e) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables >> Parables about wealth >> Parables about a king and his kingdom

Mat 18,25-27

(120a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Curse of God is broken >> Curse of God’s Judgment is broken – The slave owed his master ten thousand talents (a talent was a measure of weight used for precious metals representing about 75 pounds, so assuming the metal was gold, ten thousand talents times 75 pounds times 16 ounces times about 1500 dollars an ounce, approximates to $18 billion dollars!). He and his family and his possessions weren’t worth that; his master would never extract enough from what he had to ever pay off the debt. Jesus always spoke in terms of eternity, so when he ordered his servant and his family to be sold, He was referring to hell, but then the man begged God for mercy and received it. This parable is an illustration of a person getting saved, but look what the man said to his Master, “Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.” Even while he prostrated himself and begged for mercy, he was lying to his Master, or he certainly wasn’t realistic. Even at his lowest moment of humility he wasn’t being honest with God; he asked for a deal that he could never keep. He didn’t beg God for forgiveness, which was the only real option he had, other than being sold into slavery. There wasn’t enough time in the man’s life to earn that much money to pay off the debt with a family he had to support, and if interest was compounded on the debt, by the time he paid 18 billion dollars, he would have owed $18 trillion! This is how God feels about sin; there is nothing we can do as sinners to gain his favor, and literally everyone is a sinner, hence the reason Jesus had to die for our sins. Without Jesus’ blood sacrifice, we would all be going to hell! Forgiveness was the Lord’s deal because of His compassion. 

Mat 18-25

(3f) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Divorce because of your hardness of heart – This verse goes with verses 32-35. We see a 50% divorce rate in the world today; in the Church it is very close to the same! Jesus said it is because people won't forgive each other. Who is the one who loses when we refuse to forgive? He lost his wife and children and everything he owned, perhaps including his soul. His bitterness reduced him to the bare essentials of life, and introduced to him a new level of suffering he would not have known had he simply forgiven his debtors.

 

28-35 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' 29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' 30 "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' 34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."

 

Mat 18,28-35

(175h) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Dodging the issue to get what you want

Mat 18,29-35

(47h) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell >> Prison of the bottomless pit It says that he was moved with anger and handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed. Everybody who is bitter understands torture, because bitterness is a torturous thing. The question is: who are the torturers, and what actually happened to this guy? Did he go to hell? The slave handed his fellow slave to prison guards. We know that the Bible describes hell as a prison, where many of the demons are held, and if we can equate them with torturers, then we have our answer. We know that demons are much bigger and stronger than humans. We also know that 10,000 talents is a considerably larger sum than a measly 100 denarii. Jesus chose that vast amount because it was more than the man could ever repay, and this is the case of everyone who goes to hell. People are throne in hell until they can repay everything that is owed. The problem is that he is not able to pay so long as he is in hell; even so, he could never repay that amount.

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Mat 18,32-35

(3f) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Divorce because of your hardness of heart -- These verses go with verse 25

(21e) Sin >> Disobedience does not understand God -- The man (fool) in the parable didn't gain any insight about God after being forgiven or showed any gratitude toward Him, but acted like he was entitled to a pardon as though he deserved it. Somehow in his self-centered reasoning the person who owed him a couple dollars didn't deserve to be pardoned though his debt was far less than what he owed the king who had compassion on him. He couldn't see himself in the man who now needed his mercy because he never mused on the king's kindness, but immediately went on with his life like there was never a time when he owed him anything. His mind was cluttered and clouded by all the events and concerns of the world to stop and consider how gracious the king was to him. It didn't change his life!

(73e) Authority >> Respect Positions Of Authority >> Respect Jesus’ Authority

Mat 18-34,35

(51g) Judgment >> Judging the Church with the world >> No partiality between saved and unsaved

(65i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan Glorifies God The torturers are demons. Jesus said in Mat 25-41, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” They were placed among demons in the same hell, because they committed the same sin of rebellion. There is a large debate whether demons can torture humans in hell. The answer is dependent on whether demons and humans have committed equal infractions. The question is therefore not whether their sin is the same (rebellion in both cases), but whether their level of sin is the same. We know that God gave the devil and his angels His entire creation, the universe, by evidence that it is now cursed. It is not under man’s curse in that God never offered the universe to Adam and Eve; He only commanded man to subdue the earth. It seems likely that demons would be allowed to torture human souls in hell who have rejected the free gift of salvation and eternal life, who have been offered to sit on God’s throne with Christ, whom the demons were never offered; in fact, that was their sin that landed them in hell in the first place: they tried to take God’s throne. God will create a new heavens and a new earth and will give it to His Church and His heavenly angels. God has also given the Church to share in His throne, which is something He never offered Lucifer. What did Jesus say to His evangelists, “He who listens to you listens to Me” (Lk 10-16). When we go as evangelist and tell the world about the love of God, it is as though it were Jesus Himself telling them; this is the authority we have on earth even now, and in heaven we will have authority, so that when we make a decree under the authority of Christ, it will stand. The ramifications of our authority will increase throughout eternity eventually reaching infinity. To sit on God’s throne at the right-hand of Christ is to have the authority of God. The throne was the devil’s temptation, his Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, so ultimately God has given more to mankind than He gave to Lucifer, which makes man’s sin worse than the devil’s. For this reason, man’s punishment in hell will be worse than the devil’s, and what makes man’s punishment worse in hell is the fact that demons can torture mankind.

(104a) Thy kingdom come >> Purifying process >> Purified by circumstances >> Purified through judgment As a very plain message of this parable, bitterness can keep us out of heaven. If we do not forgive those who offend us, we cannot go to heaven, simply because it is not possible to hold bitterness in our hearts and faith at the same time. They are virtual opposites of each other. The product of faith is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, etc. In contrast, observe bitter people, that they do not exhibit any of these fruits, and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11-6). Without faith we can’t go to heaven; faith is the medium of exchange in the Spirit realm; it is the stipulation of salvation; we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2-8,9). The fact that Jesus died for our sins will make their judgment in hell far worse, simply because He offered us a way to avoid hell through His blood.

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