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MATTHEW CHAPTERS 17 & 18

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Mat 17,1-21

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus’ light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power -- The power of God emanated from Jesus because He is the light of the world. He came to show us the way to the Father. 

Mat 17,1-5

(67a) Authority >> Lordship of Christ >> Jesus’ authority >> The glory of His authority – Disciples of Jesus are witnesses of His Truth and light, as Peter, James and John were witnesses of His transfiguration. We are the light of Christ in the world, and Christ is the origin of all things, who speaks the word of God and the Father does His works through Him. This is the hierarchy of authority in heaven. We are light bearers of His Truth, and we teach the creation about God. One in authority need only speak, and the word of His power is delegated to his servants. An emperor wields the authority of a nation, as God wields the authority of His creation, and He does all things through His word, and Christ has made us a link in the chain of His authority that we disseminate to His creation.

(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 He already had a dwelling place that Peter was unaware. Jesus was living in the revelation of God's word. He was the tabernacle made without hands, in the sense that He had no earthly father, and He 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 as the light of the world, as the divine source of Truth from God. In eternity the Lord will shine like the sun because of the Truth that is in Him. We could attribute light to His righteousness or to His holiness or to His deity, but He shines as the embodiment of God’s Truth. A person can say something that corresponds with the facts, such as 2+2=4, 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 does not have an existence of its own, for it can only exist in the absence of light, and light is the epitome of all that exists, and Satan is the antithesis of Christ. It says about Satan in Rev 17-8 that He “was and is not.” This phrase describes the dragon as darkness. Darkness simultaneously is and is not. When we look at darkness, we can see it, but we can’t see anything else (what we are really seeing is the absence of light), but when we flip on the switch, light reveals all things. When a person finally understands a math problem the light bulb appears over his head. 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 facts; 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 about God, but he cannot know the truth until God enlightens him, imbuing him with His Spirit. When he believes the facts to the point of obeying them, the light turns on and he can see God (Mat 5-8). See also: Satan is the accuser of the brethren; Col 2-14,15; 9a

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 – There is a popular teaching that Moses and Elijah will return in the last days as the Two Witnesses; it won't actually be them but two other men who have similar anointings and ministries. 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 Scripture speaks nothing more about the details of his death, except in Jd-9, "Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Some say that Moses too was taken alive into heaven, for they presume that he didn't die as we understand death, they say which opens the door to the possibility that He will return as one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven, quoting Heb 9-27, “Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” There is a passage in Revelation chapter 11 that says the Two Witnesses will die and be raised from the dead, supplying what Moses and Elijah need to be complete, but none of these teachings hold water. If the Two Witnesses had to be two men who never died, they would be Elijah and Enoch, and if people are going to be dogmatic that every man must die, then what about the Rapture that promises to take millions of people to heaven who never died? See also: Two Witnesses (John the Baptist had the ministry of Elijah); Mat 17,10-13; 193d

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, but they hesitated to accept some of the ramifications of His deity. In order to see Him the way they wanted they had to dismiss many things He said about Himself, but when His face shone so brightly they could not look upon Him, it made them take a closer look at His true identity. They misunderstood Jesus, much as they misunderstood their own part in the advent. They wanted to participate in some way, but their place was merely to witness His glory. 

(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 much of what we do for God in ignorance resembles witchcraft. Apparently, Jesus can transfigure His body to the glory that is to come and we still wouldn't get it, according to the example of the disciples. Peter didn't know what to do after Jesus turned into something so powerful that He could not look upon Him. His understanding of the Old Testament was mostly what the Scribes and Pharisees taught him before he met the Lord. The only thing he could think to do was build Him a temple, but that was the wrong answer, because it was conceived from human initiative and not from divine inspiration.

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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 whom we intimately knew? Somehow, 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 had not yet occurred. They remain in heaven as disembodied spirits until then, and they were somehow made visible to the disciples.

Mat 17-5

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

(79j) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word >> Listen to the word >> Listen to Jesus – Jesus in the flesh was the Friend and Master of His disciples, but God in His power and glory was someone to fear. The Father bore witness of His Son, who spoke independently of Him and revealed that there are multiple aspects of God. Jesus came as the exact representation of the Father, and the Father spoke in the cloud to show the disciples that there was a person of God that was separate from Christ. This was to prove that the Father sent His Son, that He did not come on His own initiative. They heard the voice of God, a person they had never known, except that those who beheld Jesus had seen the Father (Jn 14-9). This suggests that the one who hears Jesus hears the Father, for He spoke the words of God. We have in the Transfiguration a clear example of the Holy Spirit and the word of God operating together to establish the power of God in those who heard. The Father spoke, and it was the word of His Spirit they heard, testifying about the person of Christ. All three members of the trinity were working in tandem, which made it a powerful experience for the disciples, and the message He brought was to simply listen to Jesus, for listening to Him is to hear God. When the Father told the disciples to listen to Jesus, who is the word of God, He was telling us to do the same. We listen to Jesus in the Bible, and we do what He says so His Spirit will speak to us as He spoke to them. Jesus taught many things and His disciples interpreted most of what He said according to the religious beliefs of their 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, for unlearning much more difficult than learning. When Jesus rose from the dead, they let go of all their personal beliefs and accepted the one Truth that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah and Savior of the world. When He ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit and anointed their understanding of Jesus, they recalled the things Jesus said and did over their three-year journey with Him, and they began to understand everything according to the Spirit they were given, the same Spirit they heard on the holy mountain and the Spirit that He has given to us who believe. See also: Trinity; Jn 6-46; 104f

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 after the transfiguration occurred, because it shattered their perception of Him, and proved that He was truly not of this world. They perceived that He was a being from another dimension far greater than their own to whom they could not entirely relate. All they knew for sure at this point was that He did not fit the image they painted of Him in their minds. 

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, 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, sternly warning the people not to say a word, suggesting that there was a risk of too much popularity. Jesus knew He would be crucified making the great confession that He was the Son of God, so He didn’t want this getting around. He wanted people to believe it about Him, but He didn't want them to talk about it, because He didn't want to be killed before the time. He was on a schedule set by the Father with everything in its time. Our eternal God who has all the time in eternity is extremely time oriented when it comes to scheduled events.

Mat 17,10-13

(50dc) Judgment >> Last Days >> Jewish Led endtime revival >> Israel prophesied to restore the gentiles to salvation

(193d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin to God – John the Baptist’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 were 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; they got that way from many centuries of disobedience. It wasn’t through their unbelief in the Law of Moses that led them astray but by their disobedience, with the result that they interpreted the law according to the way they lived. This happened over a course of many centuries, until their understanding of the law was skewed beyond remedy. Then John the Baptist entered the scene with his message of repentance, and Israel’s understanding of the law suddenly became clear again. 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. See also: Two Witnesses; Mat 17,10-12; 59a / Great Endtime Revival (John the Baptist had the ministry of Elijah); Lk 7,24-28; 193d

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 doubtful.) A quick study on John the Baptist reveals the ministry of Elijah, and add a figure like Moses and we develop a snapshot of the Two Witnesses. One of them will have the ministry of Elijah, wielding the power of God, fighting the devil incarnate and his false prophets, and the second of the two will lead the Church into the wilderness. Jesus said about them that the goal of their ministries is to restore all things. This suggest that things must not be going too well for the Church in the last days if the Two Witnesses have a ministry of restoration. See also: Two witnesses (Moses and Elijah); Mat 17,4-8; 237i

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 certain demons. Prayer literally communes with Christ, which is something demons cannot endure for long. The Bible teaches that demons actually rule of the world, and Satan is ruler of demons, which are disembodied spirits that possess people for the purpose of interfacing with the world while tormenting their victims, and all they accomplish is to steal, kill and destroy. They don't love the world; in fact, they are incapable of loving anything. Jesus’ disciples asked Him, why they couldn’t cast out the demon, and He said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” There are stubborn demons that don’t come out so quickly but bring resistance, and their resistance is just another lie that says we don’t have authority to exorcise them, when in fact we do. Jesus didn’t say we could cast out some demons and not others but said there are certain ones that won't obey us except by prayer and fasting. Apparently, it depends on the power of the demon, yet how is stubbornness related to its power, for every demon is stubborn? Jesus didn’t have to pray or fast to cast out this demon, 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 could bind them, breaking their fetters and running among the tombs, but we must pray and fast to exorcise these powerful demons because of the littleness of our faith.

Mat 17,14-18

(138b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Jesus reproves His disciples for their unbelief -- These were strong words against the disciples for their inability to perform miracles, but this was Jesus' standard. 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 unable to perform miracles through the hand of God, their own hands in a couple generations would pick up swords and spears in the name of God as tools for spreading the gospel. "O unbelieving and perverted generation," He said to them; what would He say of the generations that followed, 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 His disciples for years about His Truth, still He could not shake them from their preconceived notions. They were waiting for Jesus to conquer the Roman government that enslaved Israel and the world and set up His own kingdom, according to the teachings of the Old Testament that the Scribes and Pharisees taught them from childhood, the kingdom that is yet to come. They didn't realize that there must first be a 2000-year age of grace that must come first, and He could not make them see it, because their hope of a coming kingdom had been so deeply engrained into their Jewish tradition. For this reason, they weren’t particularly interested in preaching the gospel to every creature, casting out devils and healing the sick by the authority of Christ. They considered these things to be peripheral issues compared to the kingdom they were expecting Him to establish under the nose of Pontius Pilate, Herod and Caesar. They were trying to taste apples in the orange juice Jesus was serving, and for this reason the disciples were chronically conflicted between the kingdom they were expecting and the age that was coming. See also: Expecting the Kingdom of God to appear immediately; Mat 17,15-18; 198j

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. 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. With all these advantages the disciples still had difficulty believing in Him, but after the resurrection and Pentecost all that changed. The resurrection tuned their world upside-down and actually righted it, so that they were finally on the same page with Jesus, once their own ideas had been dispelled. After the resurrection, for the first time they opened their mind to Jesus' plan that was different from theirs. 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. Bringing the problem home, we have the same flawed hope of the kingdom of God suddenly appearing in the erroneous doctrine of the pre-tribulation Rapture. See also: Expecting the Kingdom of God to appear immediately; Mat 17,15-21; 241e / Lk 18,31-34; 177i

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, yet how are we any different from them? When are we going to abandon our presumptions that get in the way of understanding God’s plan and purpose for the Church in these last days? After the horrible whipping He received, blood streaming from deep wounds, the image of Him hanging on the cross exhaling His last breath still vividly imprinted on their minds, the moment they saw Jesus standing in front of them raised from the dead all their preconceptions vanished like a lifting fog at first light. When He ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit and they received the anointing of Pentecost, then they carried out God’s purposes after He empowered them to 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 it was not His own idea to be clothed in human flesh wrangling with His disciples, His choice of words making that evident. His disciples were constituents of an unbelieving and perverted generation, being more inclined to obey their genetic predispositions and social background than to believe in Jesus, and He was wearying of the disobedience and unbelief that was all around Him. It must have been overwhelming at times, though His disciples believed in Him more than anyone. In our day no one is expecting miracles. Jesus couldn’t wait to finish with this life 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. See also: Father sent the Son; 1Cor 13-3; 252j

(70e) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Spirit grieves over sin -- Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one and the same in that Jesus responded as the Holy Spirit would in every situation. We have heard the saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt". This was the problem with the disciples on the mountain during the transfiguration a few verses back and it was 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 prayerfully searching the Scriptures.

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Mat 17,18-21

(107b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word creates faith >> Jesus’ words create faith

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. Without being a miracle-worker Jesus could have talked until He was blue in the face, and people would not have listened Him, but considered Him another would-be cult leader, attempting to start a new sect, and He wouldn’t have gone beyond that point. Conversely, had Jesus performed miracles all day, yet without ever speaking the word of God, He would have become a carnival grandmaster of wild and unusual entertainment, but nothing more. His miracles would have been mentioned a few times in passing for a couple years and then faded into obscurity. Go to a magic show and see unexplainable things happening before our eyes; it is amazing but forgettable. However, when Jesus combined these two: 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, requiring them to seriously consider what He said. They could ignore what He was doing, and they could ignore what He was saying, but they could not ignore what He was doing and saying. See also: Spirit and the Word (Both must be present); Jn 7-45,46; 30f

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 – To say they needed faith the size of a mustard seed to perform miracles suggests that the disciple didn't even have that much. Imagine what we can do with a mustard seed of faith when it begins to grow. Their faith was diluted with disobedience. If we have faith and show disobedience at the same time, how is it we have faith? Who’s to say which is real, our faith or our doubts? This is why it is necessary to strain out the leaven so that we become a single lump of unleavened dough (1Cor 5-6,7). The fact that Jesus accused His disciples of having so little faith, indicates they were operating in a state of unbelief in the wilderness of doubt. We need to remember that the disciples then didn’t know Jesus’ purpose, which was to establish a covenant upon which He could establish His spiritual Kingdom before He came a second time to set up His physical kingdom. His disciples were unaware of this until Jesus rose from the dead, and then they opened their mind to what God was doing. He tried to explain it to them 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. Don’t we all? We groan in our flesh by the fact that God’s kingdom is not yet physical, but one day we will get our wish.

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 the Church to go after it, that if we pursue it with all our heart we will find this level of faith. It is unattainable to one person, but the Church as a whole can pursue it and we can all attain it together. What could one person do with the faith that Jesus had, or what would society do to one person with that kind of faith? They would do to him what they did to Jesus. As a Church, though, we can confide in each other, and 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 where nothing is impossible to them. This is His standard, and He expects us to seek it. See also: Unity; Act 4,29-31; 122b

(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 – Fasting represents dying to self. It conveys that we care less about food and our physical existence and more about the will of God. So fasting was for the disciples to separate themselves from their earthly existence, creating distance between them and the demons they were trying to exorcize. While they were fasting they were also praying and remaining in communion with God, so when they cast out the demon, they had a recent session with Lord, expressing their indifference to this life through fasting. They became spiritual instead of earthly, thus had less in common with the demons. They needed to make contrast between them and the demons they were exorcizing, as opposed to the story of 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, and they ran for their lives naked and wounded (Act 19,13-16). They made no contrast between them and the demons, and for that reason they could not tell them what to do.

(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 Jesus said, yet the next day they acted like they never heard Him, and when the time came for Him to die, it came to them as complete surprise, as though He never forewarned them about it. Although Jesus force-fed them the word of His suffering, it never resonated with them, and they shortly afterward 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 (Mat 13-18,19), birds referring to demons. They didn’t want to believe it, and so the devil came and stole it from their hearts. 

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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. He kept the door open for those He may have otherwise offended by defending His legal status as a son of Israel; perhaps Jesus was fishing for more 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 other disciples? They weren't concerned about it, and apparently the tax gatherers weren't either, because they didn't raise the issue with them. This suggests that the tax gatherers were interested more in trapping Jesus and His disciples in a debate than collecting taxes. Jesus did this to ease Peter's mind, not to pay taxes. Jesus along with His disciples were citizens of heaven first, and for this reason the people did not recognize them as citizens of Israel. Had Peter not paid the tax, 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 God's money. See also: Christians are strangers on the earth; Mat 17,25-27; 217j

(35j) Gift >> God gives Himself to us >> Gifts from the Holy Spirit >> Spiritual gifts >> Knowing the mind of God – Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in the Church are not open to the gifts of the Spirit; in fact, there are some whole denominations that completely shun the gifts as a matter of their religion. They don’t even want to talk about them; in fact, they avoid reading First Corinthians chapters twelve and fourteen, but readily focus on chapter thirteen, the Love chapter. There are hoards of ministers who would love to have a dynamic ministry, and would do almost anything to achieve it, except believe in 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. God expects us to obey Him but leaves it to us whether or not we will walk in the gifts of the Spirit. However, walking in the fruits of the Spirit is not a prerogative. 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. See also: Miracles; Mat 17-24,25; 70b

Mat 17-24,25

(70b) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> 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 and dwelt among us in finite limitations. Jesus only knew what the Holy Spirit told Him, who informed Him about the conversation Peter had with a tax collector. Most of us are not this sensitive to the Holy Spirit. If we are open to Spiritual discernment, He will enable us to effectively operate in this realm when needed. The gift of discernment is just one of many gifts that God would like us to add to our arsenal of ministry tools. See also: Miracles; Mat 17,25-27; 78e

(152f) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Jesus is a prophet >> Jesus prophesies to the Church

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 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 could raise a known dead person back to life. If one of Jesus’ miracles were a hundred percent valid, it would validate all his miracles, for why would a miracle worker use trickery? Jesus said to His disciples, “nothing will be impossible to you” (v20). See also: Miracles; Mat 17-27; 147d

(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 the tax gatherers did not recognize Jesus and His disciples as citizens of Israel, 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 and unbelief, not just with individuals but with the Church as a whole, like Israel in Jesus' day. When it comes to manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven, an entire infrastructure of faith and obedience must be present. See also: Christians are strangers on the earth; Mat 17-27; 30b

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, and He addressed Peter’s concern. 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 this was a tax on strangers. Jesus and His disciples were Jews, legal citizens of Israel; they weren’t strangers; the poll tax didn't apply to them. What was this tax collector thinking when he demanded a foreigner tax on Peter, a citizen of Israel obvious by his hook nose? He wasn’t required to pay the tax, so why did Jesus have Peter pay it? He wasn’t going to argue with the tax collector; instead, He gave him what he wanted, and he undoubtedly 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 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 of this world. See also: Christians are strangers on the earth; 62c

(62c) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Responding with wisdom 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. In this case, though, 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. See also: Christians are strangers on the earth; Mat 17,24-27; 9b

(119a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Freedom from the law -- Jesus no doubt was a law abiding citizen of Israel, yet He didn't live by the law of the land, but by the law of the Spirit of life (freedom); read Rom 8,1-4. Living by the law puts you in bondage to the law, but living by the Spirit put you in bondage to the Spirit, while inadvertently fulfilling the law. 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 – How did this 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 went 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, so it seems, though we see an awfully lot of randomness in the world. 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 the miracle. See also: Miracles; Mat 17,24-27; 35j

 

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MATTHEW CHAPTER 18

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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 minded his parents and respected adults. In the last days as society continues to disintegrate, it will fulfill Isaiah 3-12, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.” Generations ago, children were taught to be seen and not heard, and they were expected to attend family visits and listen to conversations of adults without shifting attention to themselves. In that way they learned discipline and 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, someone who was humble in heart and whose place in life was to 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 right from wrong and valuable attitudes and priorities, caring for their needs just as God cares for us. We are to model our lives around a child like that, so we can relate to our heavenly Father. He is greater than us, and our place is to humble ourselves and learn discipline and become a blessing to Him and to those around us. The more we humble ourselves and serve others, the more privileges and authority God will bestow on us, and the more He will reward us in heaven. If children want to be the boss, they will probably grow into adulthood with no discipline and may never see the Kingdom of Heaven, and if they do manage to get there, God will probably show them the last seat, and they will be least of all because they 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 his origin. 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 seeking it than must adults after long pursuing what they assume 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 of 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 and no way to prove our love for Him. 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 it backwards; they want God to serve them. See also: God allows suffering and evil to test us; Jn 6,16-21; 212a

(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 world and in the Church who would cause us to stumble. We know there are stumbling blocks in the world, and we know that a true Christian would do anything to avoid causing others to stumble, but there are plenty of people who don't seem to mind at all offending the saints. They ought to have care, for there is hell to pay, and it has a lake made of fire, and God casts those into it who make His children stumble. Crude as it sounds to cut off his own hand or pluck out his eye, if a person committed himself to this extreme to avoid hell, he would repent long before this. See also: Hell; Mat 18,8-10; 47c

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. God is intimate with His people and intently watching the activities of men and is recording everything that happens. When this life is over and mankind enters into judgment with God, He will pull out their book of deeds and address every time they caused one of His little ones to stumble, and He says in verse 6 that it would be better if a heavy millstone were tied around their necks and drowned in the depths of the sea! When we add up all the cases that they caused His little ones to stumble, imagine the judgment that will befall them. If a hundred times, it would be better to be drowned, brought back to life and drowned again a hundred times with a millstone pulling them into the depths of the sea. Hell and eternal damnation is even worse than this, far worse. See also: Hell; Mat 18-8,9; 21d

Mat 18-8,9

(21d) Sin >> Disobedience will condemn you to hell Salvation is a free gift, but what if someone couldn’t stop watching pornography and plucked out his eyes; 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 this degree, by the time he poised the ice pick in front of his eye or drew the sword to remove the appendage, he would have long 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 got situated, and he 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 Him more than His gifts. 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, for He could use us whole in His service. See also: Hell; Mat 18-9,10; 135g

(63e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Sarcasm >> Exaggerate the truth to make a point -- Anyone who was committed enough to cut off his arm or gouge out their eyes for the sake of abstaining from sin would be committed enough to simply quit sinning. Jesus was serious about abstaining from sin, but whether He was actually advocating dismemberment is doubtful. He was more trying to slam home the seriousness of sin and its consequences.

(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 that encourage us to sacrifice this life for the life to come. In these verses, Jesus was referring to a more literal manifestation of that sacrifice. However, when the Bible speaks more literally about sacrificing our life, He would prefer that we simply denied our sinful passions and desires.

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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 they cut from a woman her fetus and throw it from her. Instead of denying her sinful passions and desires before pregnancy to avoid hell, the act of abortion plunges her further into its bowls. Instead of maintaining the hope of eternal life, man hopelessly distorts every commandment of God and destroys everything that is beautiful for the hope of personal gain. The angels of those fetuses, "continually behold the face of God in heaven." Too bad their parents are unaware of it. See also: Hell; Mat 18-14; 206j

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; we just can’t perceive it. This eliminates the notion that heaven is on the other end of the universe; rather, heaven is simply in another dimension, similar to being unable to perceive some colors of the light spectrum. There is a great chasm between us and the spirit realm, 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 graphically states that whatever the wicked do to His elect will be done right under His nose. See also: In heaven and on earth at the same time; Jn 5-19; 117ga

(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 is a candidate for heaven, but those who don’t feel lost cannot be saved. Many condemn the Bible, arguing that it is not the word of God, but we remind them that the world is disintegrating before our very eyes because in the Church there are too many people just like them who don’t believe in God. He commands us to love one another, to humble ourselves and become like children. If everybody did this, the world would be a better place. We need to be the salt of the earth and influence those around us, so the wicked won't feel free to misbehave, but when so-called believers become disobedient, unbelievers become lawless to the point of self-destruction. Man’s biggest problem is his unwillingness to see his need to be saved, and his biggest obstacle keeping him from God is a sense of belonging in the world. That is, he doesn’t feel lost, and this is his downfall. Psalm 69-22 says, “Let their table become a snare before them, and their well-being a trap.” They feel comfortable in their skin, like the family who sits to a well-prepared meal; they have everything they need and feel happy.

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 made us civilized, and now we belong to the kingdom of heaven 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

Mat 18-14

(206j) Eternal Security? (Key verse) – Eternal security is a hot topic in Christendom. Mostly embraced by the Evangelical and Baptist communities, this easy-to-believe doctrine has a chance in hell of being biblical. For starters, what about the person who decides he no longer wants to be saved (yes, some cases do exist). Maybe they changed their mind and now don't want to spend eternity in heaven with a lot of born again Christians who can’t think of anything better to do than worship God, and decides he would be happier in hell? Would God trap him in salvation against his will? God never does anything against our will, yet many believe we cannot lose our salvation even if we wanted to. 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 more like something the devil would say to us. There are many Scriptures to support eternal security, but there are far more verses to support the opposite. The fact that there is no such thing as eternal security should not alarm the person who intends to live for Jesus to the very end. God is not a heavy handed tyrant, wielding His mallet at the first sign of weakness, but He did make man with a will, and man can do what he wants with it. If we no longer want to be saved, God will accommodate us, but we cannot be born again, again. See also: Hell; Mat 18,21-35; 120e

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 method of discipline in a sequence of increasing severity by which we should approach our brother in regard to his sin. Each level of severity pertains to heightened public attempts to correct his behavior, if not to shame him into compliance. If he listens and repents, we have won our brother, but if he doesn’t listen, then we are to advance with a second more public approach to bring our brother to repentance, so that every fact may be confirmed (Deut 19-15). Finally, if he will not listen, we should tell the whole Church and warn them of his unrepentant state. This is to see if he has any reverence for God; if he shows no respect for the Church, then neither does he fear God. Therefore, we are to treat him as a gentile or a tax collector, someone who is “of no account in the Church” (1Cor 6-4). This does not mean to ostracize him but to shun him, and he will probably leave on his own accord. The biblical concept of shunning is to physically allow the person in the church doors, but not give him the right hand of fellowship. Unfortunately, a person who deserves this treatment is probably not open to the gospel, and is 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 unity. The Church is meant to be a place that offers protection and safety from the world and its evil influences; therefore, it is important to arrest sin within the body of Christ before it causes any damage to the people who are trying to serve God. See also: Unity; Mat 18-19,20; 67k

(172b) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Devils among the saints >> Unrighteous among the righteous – Jesus told us to treat the sinning brother like a gentile or a tax collector, a common sinner. Paul taught that every believing gentile is a spiritual Jew. In their flesh they may be Germanic or Norwegian, etc., but their faith is Jewish. Therefore, anyone who believes in Jesus is a Jew at heart, and anyone who would persecute the Jews cannot be a Christian. That is, any so-called Christian who would persecute the Jews is attacking the basis of his own faith, proving that he doesn’t know God, that he is a liar of the worst kind, and we are not to respect his beliefs. See also: Israel (Gentiles are spiritual Jews); 1Cor 9,16-27; 6c

Mat 18,18-20

(83b) Thy kingdom come >> Receiving from God through prayer >> Ask and it shall be given

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Mat 18-19,20

(67k) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Praying in Jesus’ name – The group that is in agreement with God will receive their answer to prayer according to their unity. Moreover, Jesus said that those who gather in His name, “I am there,” meaning that He will not be present in name only, but also in person via the Holy Spirit. See also: Unity; 129n

(129n) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one mind – There are no promises that Jesus made that don’t involve unity at its root. We need to be unified in the truth as God sees it, not as we see the truth. Without unity God is unwilling to do anything for anybody, but where there are two or three in agreement, Jesus is among them. Most people interpret this as coming into agreement about our request, regardless of what each member of the group believes, but Jesus is saying that He wants us to come into agreement with the Truth in our behavior and theology, as Paul said in 1Cor 1-10, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." The problem today though is that everybody believes something different about the Bible, so when we get together in prayer, we are divided in heart. Who can we find that will agree with us about anything nowadays? This promise seems almost tailor made for married people, because the husband and wife are more likely to be in agreement with each other than anyone else. Perhaps, then, what Jesus was saying was not so much about agreeing about the request as much as the premise of unity. We must be in agreement with the truth before we can expect God to answer our prayers (Jm 1,6-8). See also: Unity; 206g

(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 in his ideas, he can exploit 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, the lack of unity accounts for all the false doctrines and denominations that are in the world today. The devil 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. See also: Unity; Mat 18-20; 254k

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 answer our prayers with the presence of Christ among us in the Holy Spirit. This accounts for all three members of the trinity working together to reveal Himself in His people to answer their prayers. It is a wonderful thing that our prayers are answered from heaven as we pattern our lives around Him. A touch from heaven can be seen and felt right here on earth as God personally receives 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 cannot be in both places at once? He spiritually shows-up when we pray together, for He and the Holy Spirit are one and the same person, though they occupy different offices and have different ministries. See also: Unity; Mat 18,15-17; 21f

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, 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 owed him nearly a third of a year’s wages, which is a significant amount, but only a tiny fraction of the larger debt that God had forgiven him. His friend entreated him for mercy, but his hands found his fellow slave’s neck and threw him in prison. It is ironic to throw someone in prison for owing a debt; how can we expect him to pay? The slave owner was enraged and said to him, ‘Why are you treating your fellow slave this way after I graciously forgave you?’ and the slave owner recanted His forgiveness and re-imposed the debt, so he had to repay that monstrous sum to his master, not only in this life, for there is not enough time in the day, but also in the life to come. See also: Hell; Mat 18,23-35; 207d

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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. 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 truly forgiven somebody? If our version of forgiveness can be reduced to mental calisthenics (believing we have forgiven someone when maybe we haven’t), the acid test of forgiveness is how easy it is to be kind to the offender. If Jesus put in practical terms, the slave choked his fellow and threw him in prison, then our forgiveness should also have a tangible value. Love is the proof. There is always room and opportunity for kindness. If the person who offended us is no longer alive, we can be kind to his family members. “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 proportionately terrifying, indicating that the stakes are high. We know how the story goes; he ran down one of his debtors and threw him in prison. The master of the slave leaned about it and said, 'I forgave you; why can't you forgive him?', and then the Lord handed him to the torturers until the debt was paid in full... 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 letting us into His heaven. To the degree that there is not enough time to repay our debt to God in this life, so neither is there time in eternity to fully repay our debt in hell. If we continue in sin, bitterness and disobedience will erode our faith until we no longer believe in God. Note that in both cases (Lk 17,3-5 & Mat 18-26) the offender asked to be forgiven, and for that reason we are obligated to forgive him for his sake, but in this case the offender continued to sin without remorse or repentance, and God rescinded His grace, but the story ended on the note that we should still forgive the offender for our own sake. God had forgiven Him on the cross, but that doesn't mean everyone is welcome in heaven, for those who hate God would disturb the peace and eventually, like Lucifer, their rebellion would try to supplant His throne. See also: Hell; Mat 18,25-27; 120a

(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 in today's money! The offender could never repay his debt, meaning that Jesus was speaking 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. Had God not been merciful, the story goes that the man's bitterness would have dragged his family down with him. Look what the man said to his Master, “Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.” This is a story about a person getting saved, yet even while he prostrated himself and begged for mercy, he wasn’t being honest with God; instead, he asked for a deal that he could never keep. He didn’t beg God for forgiveness, which was his only real option, for there wasn’t enough time in the man’s life to earn that much money to pay off the debt, and if interest were 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 to gain his favor, hence the reason Jesus died for our sins. Without His blood sacrifice, we would all be going to hell! Forgiveness was the Lord’s deal, but apparently the man thought he still owed Him. See also: Hell; Mat 18,29-35; 47h

Mat 18-25

(3f) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Divorce because of your hardness of heart -- This verse goes with verses 32-35. We see over 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. He lost his wife and children and everything he owned, including his soul, and still he owed his Master, all because he would not forgive his debtors.

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 torturous. 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. 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. See also: Hell; Mat 18-34,35; 65i

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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 (a fool) in the parable didn't gain any insight about God after being forgiven or showed any gratitude toward Him, but acted entitled to a pardon as though he deserved it. Somehow in his self-centered reasoning the person who owed him a couple dollars by comparison didn't deserve to be pardoned though his debt was far less. He couldn't see himself in the man who now needed his mercy. His mind was too cluttered with worldly concerns to stop and consider how gracious His Master was to him. God's forgiveness 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 people in hell. The question is not whether their sin is the same (rebellion in both cases), but whether their level of sin is the same. God gave Lucifer and his angels the creation, the entire universe, by evidence that it is now cursed. It is not under man’s curse, for God never offered the universe to Adam and Eve, only the earth with the commandment to subdue it, that is, the curse. However, after Jesus shed His blood and God has offered His throne to mankind through Christ, it seems likely that demons would be allowed to torture human souls in hell, because man has rejected the free gift of salvation and eternal life. He has been offered to sit on God’s throne with Christ, whom the demons were never offered; in fact, that was the devil's sin in the first place: they tried to supplant God’s throne. In other words, God's throne was the devil’s temptation, his Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. 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. See also: Hell; 104a / Presence of God is worse than hell to the wicked; Heb 1-1,2; 50c

(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 and faith in our heart 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 stipulation of salvation (Eph 2-8,9), and bitterness erodes faith. The fact that Jesus died for our sins will make their judgment in hell far worse, because He offered us a way to avoid hell through His blood. See also: Hell; Mat 18,6-10; 28i

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