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MATTHEW CHAPTERS 19 & 20

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1-5 When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; 2 and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" 4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH '? 

 

Mat 19-1,2

(143g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Popularity >> Sought commendably >> Seeking Jesus to be healed – Much of Jesus’ ministry occurred between cities in rural areas, in places we would not expect. It says in Mat 3-5 that people would come to Him; however, at the onset of His ministry He would go through towns preaching the gospel of the kingdom and heal people where they lived, and the people would run to their homes and neighborhoods telling their friends and relatives about Him, and they would come to see Him, but once the word spread about Him it created problems. Throngs of people crowded together and became disorderly, and it wasn’t how Jesus wanted to minister, and it also drew His enemies, so He retreated to the countryside (Mk 1,40-45). People walked long distances to hear His word and brought many of their friends and relatives to be healed. Jesus was attracting so many people to Himself that He was leaving behind the institution of Israel’s ancient religion, represented by the Scribes and Pharisees, who were not even priests of the temple but self-proclaimed experts of the law. Their power and prestige and their fame and glory were diminishing, and it was starting to affect their pocket book, being the root of their antagonism. Even after He healed innumerous people the Pharisees came to Him from a distance and asked Him a question in attempt to trip Him in His words so they would have a reason to accuse Him, asking Him questions about marriage, and His answer became the statement that is made at virtually every wedding today.

Mat 19-2

(145c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Jesus healed them all

Mat 19,3-9

(3d) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Marriage >> Advocating marriage – There are ways to stay together. If the marriage isn’t doing so well the man should get a hobby that gets him out of the house and away from the wife for a while, giving them both a reprieve from each other, and the woman should do the same. Find friends and spend time with them, so when you return, you may have had an opportunity to miss each other and maybe even learn to appreciate each other, and you might remember why you married in the first place. The saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is a true adage. If a couple didn’t marry for love, the marriage was doomed from the start, but if they did marry for love, the same person is looking at you every day; it is the same pair of eyes that you fell in love with. Try to find her again; she’s still there. The mud you walked through in your marriage, you walked through it together; hard times have the same power to attract as they have to separate; it is just a matter of interpretation.

(3f) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Divorce because of your hardness of heart We should also go back to the Old Testament law at the time of Moses when these laws were written and realize that if the man or woman left the marriage without a certificate of divorce, they would be breaking the Law, which was punishable by death or by excommunication from the tribes of Israel (they would lose their Jewish-ness), and this was too severe a recourse, since relationships are known to deteriorate. Divorce is essentially a clause within the Old Testament Law regarding marriage so that a person can legally get divorced, but a clause always refers to an exception to the rule. Consequently, when divorce rates climb to two-thirds of all marriages, it is no longer acting as a clause but as a rule. Society is abusing the divorce clause, and abusing the Law is worse than breaking it. Any society that has a divorce rate approaching seventy percent is worse than lawless; it is godless. Jesus allowed divorce only for the cause of immorality (unfaithfulness), saying that any other reason will produce a generation of adulterers. When people get divorced just because they don’t like each other anymore, God says it is not a legitimate cause, since it doesn't rise above the mere pursuit of happiness. Divorce does not guarantee happiness, but when it becomes rampant in society it does guarantee unhappiness and social unrest. They want to be free to marry someone else whom they think would make them happier, but happiness cannot be stored in another person. Instead; joy is a better personal goal, since it comes from God and doesn’t depend someone else. A person can have joy in the most adverse of circumstances, but seeking happiness from divorce is satanic deception. God does not honor divorce outside of immorality, simply because it has a deteriorating affect on society. Have a nation full of divorcees who hop from partner to partner between marriages, who start collecting fatherless children, whose lives have been torn apart, how could there be a good outcome in that? 

Mat 19,4-6

(1g) Responsibility >> Become all things to all men >> Blending together – It doesn’t say they become one person, nor does it say they become one body; it says they become one flesh; that is, they share their flesh with each other, and this sharing creates a blending of their DNA, and when their genetic material mixes and becomes one, they have children, and these children bond the husband and wife all the more as one flesh. This is why many couples who are thinking about divorce after they have children remain together, because the children have a bonding affect that goes beyond the psychological realm. They say they don’t get divorced because it would hurt the children, but the fact is they actually don’t want to separate as much.

(188k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Sorrow >> Grieving over your own loss >> Grieving over the loss of others – It is interesting that the man leaves His father and mother and is joined to his wife and not the other way-around. This would indicate that the wife’s relationship with her side of the family is largely unaffected by the marriage, but that the man’s relationship with his parents is severed, effectively cutting the apron strings. There is a greater departure of the man from His parents than the woman from hers, and this partially has to do with the relationship that a son has to his mother. If the man doesn’t successfully “leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,” she can invade the marriage and ruin it; couple this with the woman’s greater need for security, having a greater need to keep in touch with her parents, and we have a complete picture of why Jesus’ teachings are relevant today.

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6-15 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." 7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" 8 He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." 10 The disciples said to Him, "If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry." 11 But He said to them, "Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." 13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.

 

Mat 19-6

(135f) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Consequences of abortion >> You dishonor your own body by aborting its fruit – When it says, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate,” he is talking about the man and the woman, but He is also talking about the DNA in their offspring. When the man and woman come together in sexual intercourse and they bond their DNA together, the man fertilizes the woman’s egg and she becomes pregnant. By this God has joined their DNA, and He said, ‘Therefore, let no man separate the two strands,’ and of course this is what happens in decomposition once the fetus has been aborted. The process of molecules in the cells that were dividing and multiplying and combining to form a new human being is terminated, and the cells and molecules disassemble and return to inert material. Jesus was speaking in both terms that the man and woman should remain together, and that the woman should not abort her fetus.

Mat 19-8

(3e) Divorce (Key verse)

Mat 19,10-12

(3g) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Remaining single is better than divorce – The ability to remain single is a gift from God, but how many people in the Church recognize that? The "more noble" married population shun singles, instead of seeking the richness of their gifts and input that singles offer the Church. When it speaks of being a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of God, the Bible is referring to people living their lives for the sake of obtaining a better resurrection. This is one of the few cases that God sanctions severe treatment of the body (living without sex) and promises a greater reward in eternity. God sanctions and rewards this way of life because it has tremendous potential to serve the Lord in a fuller way than any married person. Eunuchs have more time and greater need for God than the married person, (married people usually just need money which is more attainable than abstinence) since their needs cannot be met in any other way except by God Himself, and therefore can drive them deeper into the anointing for help with the sensual urges of their physiology.

(120l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Content with your way of life >> Content with remaining single -- Contentment is a powerful anointing that requires lots of Bible study and prayer to remain content; and through that contentment comes every good thing that contentment promises. It is a hard and high calling from God to remain single and be content with it, because it promises a few but great rewards, mostly "to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord," 1Cor 7-35. It may not sound like much, but to devote your time to the Lord in whatever capacity He directs you can be very productive, simply because the single person generally has more time to devote to the Lord than the married person. For example, he has more time to spend reading the word of God and more time to spend in prayer. These two things if done in large quantities will make anyone a spiritual giant, who can then lead people into more accurate truth, and thus cast out false teaching and pinpoint the will of God for the Church. 

Mat 19-11

(71h) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Ordained by His sovereign will >> God chooses to work in you -- If anyone thinks they have decided to remain single for the Lord, it doesn't work that way; God elects people to assume this noble role. And if this is a position that God Himself must ordain, then married people should respect their position in the Church and do more to make a way for their ministries as an expression of their devotion to Christ. If they don't, then they are suppressing the gifts of their own church and are stunting its growth both spiritually and numerically. 

(136d) Temple >> Your spirit is the temple of God >> The body of Christ >> Variation in the body -- God is the God of variation; there are many species of the same kind of plant or animal or insect, but people act just the opposite; we tend to be bigots when it comes to accepting people who are not just like us. However, if we are going to have a spirited church, we must do it God's way, and His way is having a large variation within the congregation: black and white, married and singles, gifted and ungifted, those with this gift and those with that gift, etc. The point is, the Church has an obligation to accept and respect single people in the Church and not to look down on them as though they are inferior just because they are different from married people. 

Mat 19,13-15

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

Mat 19-14

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

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16-20 And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" 17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18 Then he said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" 

 

Mat 19,16-22

(5h) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> God tests your loyalty >> Your commitment to follow Jesus

(22e) Sin >> Greed takes without consideration for others >> Covetousness – The rich man was close to the Kingdom of God, but not close enough to receive it. He knew he was spiritually lacking and wanted to resolve the problem, which is normally the grounds for receiving from God, but he wanted the solution to leave his money intact. Jesus quoted him all the commandments that the man kept, but omitted the one commandment that he did not keep. He never killed anyone, nor did he commit adultery; he had so much money he didn’t need to steal, and he thought it was immoral to lie, demonstrating this with his honesty with Christ regarding his shortcomings. He honored his father and mother and he loved his neighbor as himself. So, he was a good man by human standards. His problematic commandment was, “You shall not covet.”

(34m) Gift of God >> Be generous like your Father >> Give to the poor

(87i) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Those who obey believe in God >> Those who obey the word

(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 rich man’s wealth is where he drew his identity. His possessions were an idol to him, meaning that he failed to keep the first commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” Jesus was saying that he cannot know God if he does not love Him. He was also saying that it would be almost impossible to transition his identity from his wealth to God so long as he remained in possession of his wealth, because it would remain a stumbling block to him.

(195a) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Serving two masters >> You can only love one at a time – There are people in the world who are very wealthy and are also saved, but their numbers are few, i.e. Joseph of Arimathea (Mk 15-43). It is rare for rich people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they must pursue their wealth with all their heart, soul, mind and strength in order to obtain it, which is exactly how God wants us to pursue Him. It was very important to the rich man that he was wealthy; his many possessions made the distinction between himself and others. God also draws a distinction between each of his children through our special and unique relationship with Him, and He wants that relationship to be the most important thing in our lives, overshadowing everything else so that the next important thing is so distant, it is virtually irrelevant. The rich man had a relationship with his money, an inanimate thing, that he should have had with God, which is really an insult, like a husband who discovers that his wife has been cheating on him with a man who is fat, ugly and stupid.

(202a) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from God >> Man’s will over God >> Man is unwilling to walk in God’s grace – The story of the rich young ruler appears opposite the Roman’s Road. The rich man seemed required to do something in order to be saved, but that is not what was happening here. Jesus intentionally left out the one commandment of which the rich man was in violation, “You shall not covet.” The rich man knew he was lacking something; that is, he knew His love of money was standing between he and God, and it acted like a giant wall or a great crevasse. There is a great wall of sin that stands in the way of every man from reaching God, and Jesus made a door in that wall through His own blood, so we can enter through the door into fellowship with Him, but the door is small and the the rich man was carrying a large backpack and couldn't squeeze through the small opening of the door. If he was going to make it through this door, he would have to unburden himself of the backpack, consisting of his many possessions.

(250h) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> The first is a precondition for what comes after it (Cause and effect) – Obtaining God’s favor has always been an ongoing issue with mankind; even the Israelites had a problem with it; they thought they had to obey the Law in order to win God’s favor, but the fact is they already had His favor by evidence that they were God’s chosen people, His representative nation where He chose to place His name. The same goes for us; we come to God with a dedicated faith, but before we make the first move He has already accepted us based on the blood of Jesus that has already been shed for us (Rom 5-8). The rich young ruler wanted to know what he could do to achieve God’s favor, and Jesus’ answer was to sell all His possessions and give to the poor. Liquidating his possessions was not to achieve God’s acceptance but to remove the obstacle that stood between himself and God, for until he did this, his faith was incomplete. 

Mat 19,16-21

(90e) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> It leads us to God -- The rich man knew that he was lacking something. He wanted a list of commandments that he was neglecting to work on in order to be complete, but Jesus gave him the list that he was already doing. Jesus neglected to give him a list that he was not doing, such as: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart," and "Do not Covet," because the rich man was powerless to keep these commandments, since he was in bondage to the love of money. Instead of giving the rich man a list of commandments, Jesus gave him an assignment, to liquidate all his assets and give the proceeds to the poor, which would have fulfilled the commandments to love God with all his heart and to not covet. His assignment was equivalent to the requirements of the law, but Jesus de-emphasized the law to show that the rich man had issues pertaining to his heart more than he needed a moderator for his works. There was an instance when Jesus said to another man that he was not far from the Kingdom of God (Mk 12,32-34), but he did not say this to the rich man, even though he was supposedly keeping the second commandment to love his neighbor as himself. Jesus spoke this to a man who exonerated love above sacrifice.

(205ka) Salvation >> Salvation is based on God’s promises >> Faith versus works >> The faith of God versus the faith of men >> Faith versus the law >> The work of faith versus the works of the law – Isn’t this what Israel believed, that if they kept the Law they would find favor with God? That diametrically opposes the teaching of Scripture! Jesus was showing the rich young ruler that there was an obstruction in the way of His faith that he had to remove before he could believe in God. What we find then in rich people is that they have an extra step that the rest of us don’t have. However, we could think of just about any sin to replace the rich man’s covetousness and it would be the same, so how is that different from cleaning up our life before we come to Christ? At all Billy Graham’s revival meetings didn’t he play the song “Just as I am”? Why did Jesus make the rich man deal with his sin before He offered him the gift of salvation? The Law is a list of obstacles that get in the way of faith so that we cannot realistically believe in Jesus until we remove them, meaning that we still use the Law to determine whether or not our faith is real. That is, the Law is still in effect for those who consistently violate its ordinances. If we are in gross violation of any one of the commandments, we need to repent, for breaking the Law has the effect of invalidating our faith. If we are not yet born-again, we need to pledge our repentance to God that we will remove these obstacles from our faith, confessing our sin, and if our pledge of repentance was real, God will forgive us and impart His Spirit in us right there on the spot, so we can deal with our sin afterward according to our pledge.

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Mat 19-16

(89e) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wise questions – This is a common question both in the Bible and in life: “What must I do to be saved?” (Mat 19-16). On the one hand the question is relevant, but on the other, it indicates that the person doesn’t understand salvation, because Paul said it was a free gift, like receiving a free ticket to the theater, transportation not included, where the trip to the theater represents the Christian journey, and along the way God has things for us to do. We need to make a commit to faith as disciples of Jesus. To some this is debatable; the word “disciple” sounds like fingernails scraping down a chalkboard. The Church is full of people who understand through the teachings of Paul and Luther’s reformation that salvation is a free gift, but they don't understand what they must do to receive it, which is to dedicate our entire lives to the purpose and calling of Christ, whose goal is to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. Anything less is not real faith. The reason it is a gift is that salvation comes before discipleship. If discipleship came first, salvation would then be payment for our services, but salvation is first, demonstrating God’s trust in us, but if we don't become disciples of Jesus, we have broken His trust. God trusts that we will become His disciples after He deposits His Holy Spirit in us on the day we believed. From that point, the life-long process of maturity has begun. We have good days and bad days; we commit sin; we confess and repent, and God freely forgives our trespasses without question or hesitation. We are heaven-bound as a result of His grace and mercy that He has placed in us. The fact that God saved us before we became His disciples proves that His grace is a gift, but this rich young ruler had it backwards like so many other people; they think they must do something to be saved. However, there is nothing we can do to gain God’s favor, nothing we can do to make ourselves worthy of His grace and forgiveness, for there is nothing we own that God wants or needs, except our hearts.

(166c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Man’s wisdom excuses his sinful nature >> Man’s wisdom wants to earn his ticket to heaven -- This verse goes with verse 20

(174d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Self righteousness >> Trying to please God by your own good works -- This verse goes with verse 20

Mat 19-20

(174d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Self righteousness >> Trying to please God by your own good works -- This verse goes with verse 22

 

21-30 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. 23 And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 27 Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" 28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. 30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.

 

Mat 19,21-26

(20l) Sin >> Disobedience >> Paying no attention to the word

Mat 19-21,22

(234i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Sold out >> Relinquishing your assets to Christ >> Dispose of every asset except Christ -- Juggling materialism with the Kingdom of God is tricky business, since the two are essentially opposites of each other. This is difficult to understand for people who believe in the power of wealth, because it has blinded their eyes to the wealth of following Christ. They are unable to understand that the power of God is more real and more applicable in this world than even money. Perhaps you don't believe that, only because you have never seen the body of Christ in action in unity, living and walking in the power of God. Some day it will become this, and when it does, it will make believers out of people who once believed in money. 

Mat 19-21

(192a) Gain By Losing -- A Paradox (Key verse)

Mat 19-22

(166c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Man’s wisdom excuses his sinful nature >> Man’s wisdom wants to earn his ticket to heaven -- This verse goes with verse 16

(174d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Self righteousness >> Trying to please God by your own good works -- This verse goes with verse 16

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Mat 19,23-26

(92g) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> What kind of trail is this? >> Gate is small and few are those who find it

(249i) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> World’s perception of wealth >> The world's wealth erodes good values >> Being a slave to wealth

Mat 19-23,24

(224k) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The people of heaven >> Traits of people who don’t make it to heaven – Being rich in this life is one of the traits of those who don’t make it to heaven. That doesn’t mean all rich people go to hell; in fact, there are many examples in the New Testament of wealthy people who believed in Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, is one example, who donated his own tomb to Christ at His death. He helped with the body of Jesus, buying a shroud they used to wrap Him for burial. There were many other examples in the Bible of wealthy people who believed in Jesus, but these are all cases of camels going through the eye of a needle, which literally is impossible. However, there is a place in Israel called “The Eye of a Needle”, a narrow passageway that a camel can barely traverse with all its luggage dropped. This is a good example of Christianity; we need to remove all our baggage before we can walk any farther with God. We open our suitcases and what do we find? Things we think we need, God says we don’t need all that. Instead of taking all the baggage off the camel and squeezing it through The Eye of a Needle, and then putting the baggage back on the camel, we are to leave it. All the things we think we need weigh us down and hinder our ministry in the things that God would have us do on the path that God would have us walk.

Mat 19-26

(213a) God Is All Powerful (Key verse)

(213b) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> God is all powerful >> All things are possible with God – Was Jesus being literal, or did He mean what He said in terms of a location near Israel called the Eye of a Needle? It is a narrow place on a trail where a camel can barely squeeze through the opening. Jesus was probably being literal and figurative at the same time. Although it is difficult for a camel to go through this small opening, it was even harder for this rich man, whose greed acted like a burdensome backpack that prohibited him from squeezing through the narrow door that Christ made in the wall of sin. It would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a literal needle than for a rich man to sell all his property and give the proceeds to poor people whom he says don’t deserve it. If God can make a real camel go through the eye of a literal needle, then He can also make a rich man enter the Kingdom of God, for there will be some people in heaven that were rich in this life, but they will be few. Jesus was saying that salvation is impossible for anyone without God's help.

Mat 19,27-30

(192i) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Gain God’s kingdom to lose the domain of darkness >> Gain heaven to lose the world -- We have a choice to place our assets and investments in the attainment of either more things in this world or more glory in heaven, but we can't have both because the world and God's kingdom are opposites of each other. You can gain the Kingdom of God by losing the world, but you gain nothing by losing Jesus. He said that if we leave our family, our home or our business for the gospel's sake, God will reimburse us (here on earth; we don't have to wait for it) many times over, while also securing our place in heaven. However, if we think we are going to gain something by pursuing the things of this world, we will receive our reward in full in whatever trifle vestige we obtain. 

Mat 19-28

(224l) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The holy of holies >> The throne room of heaven -- The Holy of Holies is a place of judgment, and anyone allowed to enter in becomes a judge of those who are outside its parameters as to why they are not with them who occupy its firmament when they have been invited to enter through the door that continually stands open before them (Rev 3-8,9). 

Mat 19-30

(56b) Paradox >> Lose by gaining >> Lose your place by seeking the first place – This is a principle of Scripture, a kingdom principle of heaven; those who are first in this life will be last in the life to come, and those who put themselves last in this life will be made first in heaven, first in line for all the blessings. The problem with so many people in the Church today, they don’t even care about heaven. Instead, they have made Christianity to be about this life, figuring out ways to see the Church and the gospel as an institution that was intended for this life, and let the life to come care for itself. The Bible teaches how we should live in this life, that we should seek God for his purpose and calling and to fulfill it, but this is not how people are approaching the gospel. Instead, they want God to bless them now and give them the first place, but if we enjoy the first place, if we get to heaven at all, our place will be last, all the way in the back, and we will have to wait our turn, and by the time heaven gets to us all the rewards will be given, and there will be nothing left, and God will tell us that we had our reward in full. This is the best-case scenario for worldly people who make it to heaven, because most worldly people won’t be going to heaven at all. Jesus in so many words, along with all the apostles and writers of the New Testament, has taught us to sacrifice this life as a means of blessing one another from the heart. We cannot seek the first place and also serve our brother, for in order to receive the first place it requires a lot of people serving us, and the gospel is not about other people serving us but about us serving other people. The greater the servant, the closer to the last place we will have in this life. The greatest servant is willing to accept the last place in order to better serve their family, brothers, friends and neighbors in the Lord.

(56i) Paradox >> Opposites >> Last is first and the first is last – The person who was the greater servant will be last in the Kingdom of Heaven; how fair is that? Someone might say, ‘I don’t want a heaven like that; I want a heaven where the harder I work the more I get paid.’ Who wants to work his fingers to the bone in this life and then go to heaven and find himself in the last place? However, we need to understand that the last place in the Kingdom of Heaven is the place of greatest honor. It is a place of servitude, a place where people are given responsibilities, and the Kingdom of God is all about being a servant. The more a person serves, the more honor he receives, and so the person who is not put in a place of service doesn’t have the opportunity to serve and therefore does not receive the honor. On the one hand, in this life the most menial jobs pay the least with the person being a virtual unknown, and the greatest jobs pay the most with the person being thrust into the limelight and showered with greatness. On the other hand, for the sake of heaven we work hard for Jesus in this life that we might receive a position in His kingdom where we are allowed to serve others all the more, for the more we serve the more honor we receive, and the closer position we will enjoy with Christ, because Jesus is the greatest servant of all.

(224j) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The people of heaven >> Those in heaven are blessed indeed

 

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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 20

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1-7 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 "When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 "And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to those he said, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And so they went. 5 "Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. 6 "And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?' 7 "They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.'

 

Mat 20,1-16

(13l) Servant >> Serve God though small in stature >> Least is the greatest Beyond the denarius, God will richly reward us with many blessings and with great authority and power, and these will cause us to shine like the stars of heaven, each one a different radiance, yet all these things will pale to the denarius’s value that we received upon entry into His kingdom. God will give each of us the same amount as our token of eternal life, but will gives us all differing rewards based on our faithful service to Him. Here on earth in the flesh we would all rate each other with our portion, but in heaven we will be among righteous souls made perfect, and there will be no competition, no superiority and no striving to be better than others. Greatness will be measured by the least of us. We will walk on streets of gold, yet no one will excavate a brick and take it home as their personal stash, because gold will have no value from its abundance. Heaven shines with a brilliance of crystal-clear jasper (Rev 21-11), yet the only value in it is Jesus Christ.

(35d) Gift of God >> God is willing to Give >> No partiality with God’s generosity

(225b) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> Equality in heaven This parable that Jesus spoke was really one of the best descriptions of heaven in the Bible. Those who worked the shortest period received the greatest pay for their efforts if you calculated their wage on an hourly basis. However, according to this parable, God doesn’t pay an hourly wage, but a salary—one flat rate. Regardless of how long we have worked we will all receive the same amount. What does this salary represent? Everyone has something in common in heaven, and that is, they are in heaven! Just the fact that we are present-and-accounted-for is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive; it overshadows any possible fringe benefits or rewards. No matter how long you have labored in the hot sun as a Christian, you go to heaven just like the guy who got saved on his death bed. Our presence in heaven is our reward for being a Christian, and the crowns we will wear for our achievements will be overshadowed by the denarius in our pocket. According to Rev 4-10, the elders cast their crowns before the throne (indicating their contempt for any peripheral rewards compared to their salvation) and worshiped the king in His presence. Being present with Him will forever remain God's greatest gift to us.  

(225d) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables >> Parables about wealth >> Parables about a land owner and his farm

(226d) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of the Kingdom of Heaven >> Our inheritance is reserved in heaven – There will be those who will enter heaven by the skin of their teeth, and there will be others who will have lived most of their lives for the Lord, and they will all receive the same amount. This denarius (a coin given as a day’s wages) represents our ticket to heaven, the pledge of our inheritance furnished by the indwelling Holy Spirit, signifying that anybody who believes in Jesus for eternal life is welcome to His heaven. Jd-22,23 says, “Have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” “Snatching them out of the fire” suggests being saved on their deathbeds. Their whole lives they never served the Lord or made a commitment to follow Jesus. In unbelief they lived for themselves, but at the very last moment someone came to their bedside with the gospel of Christ and they believed and were saved. When their spirit passed from their body they were escorted to the presence of God, where they found mercy and received a denarius, the same amount as the person who was born-again at the age of twelve and spent seventy years in service to God. This denarius is worth more than anything we will ever own. There is no money in heaven, so this denarius is the only coin we will possess (whether literally or figuratively is immaterial). If we were to think of this denarius as an hourly wage, the man who got saved on his deathbed did very well, while the one who served God his whole life made a fraction of a penny per hour. When we compare this parable to the parable of the mina (Lk 19,11-27), where ten servants each got one, and on their master’s return, they divulged their investments, He said to the one who had made five minas, “You are to be over five cities.” This parable suggests that a period of time had elapsed, and during that time the servants were expected to be productive. This is not necessarily the case with the denarius. The master sent his servants into his field, but if they didn’t work very hard, there were no consequences. However, nothing says that the man on his deathbed will ever be mayor of a town, but at the same time the lesson of the denarius is that being mayor means nothing compared to the privilege of living in heaven forever.

(236e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your strength into the kingdom >> Invest your labors

Mat 20-2

(17l) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Making distinctions between each other -- This verse goes with verses 8-16. This parable is about the blessing that everyone in heaven will have in common by simply being there. This has nothing to do with our rewards. The rewards for our faith will pale in comparison to the gift of His grace. According to the parable, all the person had to do was agree to work for the land owner, and that got him the denarius; it had nothing to do with how long or how hard he worked. Conversely, the rewards will be based on the number or hours he worked; each person worked different hours, worked under different circumstances and had different jobs, and they will be paid respectively, but each denarius is the same as the next, like a token. To enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must have a token. In the parable they were comparing themselves with each other, complaining that some worked longer than others bearing the heat of the day but received the same pay and thought it wasn’t fair. Jesus was saying that the person who worked the hardest for the landowner, having spent his whole life serving Christ opposed to the other guy who got saved and shortly thereafter died and went to heaven, both got the same pay, thus the last are first and the first last.

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8-19 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.' 9 "When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. 10 "When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 "When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, 12 saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.' 13 "But he answered and said to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 'Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?' 16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last." 17 As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."

 

Mat 20,8-16

(17l) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Making distinctions between each other – These verses go with verse 2. There are two ways you could look at this land owner, either as generous to the last-hired or as stingy to the first-hired. Jesus called him generous. Have you met people who consider themselves discerning, but only discern the faults in others and not their strengths, as the first-hires were to the landowner, who accused Him of injustice? Those are the ones who are sensitive in the flesh to peoples’ negative idiosyncrasies, but have no inkling of the positive things God is working in them. Note also that they are most sensitive to the sins that they themselves practice. This is by no means true discernment, but borderlines on witchcraft. This kind of person has a problem comprehending a true form of justice; they are convinced by their own opinions that they don’t give God a chance to demonstrate the fairness of His own justice, which starts with wisdom, and then goes to forgiveness, generosity, and compassion, none of which His accusers possess. 

(56i) Paradox >> Opposites >> Last is first and the first is last

Mat 20-11

(158b) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Strife >> Grumbling

Mat 20-14,15

(216k) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> God Is Independent Of His Creation >> You cannot control God’s desire for you >> man is not in control of God’s gift

Mat 20,17-19

(100j) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to God >> Fulfill God’s calling in your life

(234g) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Sold out >> Placing no boundaries on your commitment to God >> Completely given over to the will of God

(241ia) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Kill Jesus by the predetermined plan of God >> Jesus forewarned His disciples

 

20-23 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21 And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left." 22 But Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" They said to Him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father."

 

Mat 20,20-28

(73a) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> Kingdom of God is opposite of the world -- Whatever authority people have in the Church, whether they be pastors or lay persons, should be accompanied by at an equal amount of humility toward the saints, otherwise their ministers will run the Church like a business. The two sons of Zebedee were denied their mother's request to sit at Jesus' right and left-hand, because those positions are reserved for two specific saints who lived as the greatest servants of all time. In the world you don't have to be a servant to have great authority; you just need the gift of gab, a stubborn pride that does not accept mediocrity and a good dose of ambition to pursue your dreams, but humility and servant-hood are not needed or even recommended to succeed in the world. However, the Church is not set up that way; in fact, if you stumble into a church that is not based on servant-hood from the top down, then run from that church and never look back, because their leaders are invariably abusing the flock. When you think of Jesus as the Son of God who never abused His authority, His level of humility as the son of man is unsearchable. Jesus asked her, "are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?"; He asked her a rhetorical question that she should have had the answer, no. The question carried the implication that because her two sons were not able to drink the cup of sorrows that Jesus would drink in service to the Church, neither were they fit to receive such positions of authority. 

Mat 20,20-23

(241c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Ask but don’t receive >> Asking with wrong motives

Mat 20-22,23

(42k) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to the glory of Christ’s death

(229i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Partaking of Jesus’ suffering >> The sin nature partakes of Jesus' suffering

Mat 20-23

(71g) Authority >> Ordained by God >> Ordained by His sovereign will >> God chooses you

(219j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> God’s calling is our destiny

(224j) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The people of heaven >> Those in heaven are blessed indeed

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24-34 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. 29 As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 31 The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" 33 They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

 

Mat 20,24-28

(84h) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Gossip >> Attacking a person’s character

(164d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world system >> Satan rules the world >> Satan is a tyrant over the world -- Within these verses, was Jesus condoning the system of tyranny in the world or was He exposing it? The way of the world is accepted by nearly everyone, no questions asked, but Jesus didn't because He knows a better way. We know that the Kingdom of God which will reign forever and ever will be run according to these verses, which is also how He wants His church to operate in the world today. In the grand scheme of eternity, this temporal age is but a bleep on a radar screen, which is how long this inverted system of the world will last where the lesser serve the greater. The rest of eternity will be based on a system where those who hold greater positions will serve those with less authority in order to achieve equality; it will run on a system that will last forever. No one will lust for power if it means becoming a greater servant!

Mat 20,25-28

(12n) Servant >> Jesus serves mankind >> Jesus is the son of man – This term "Son of man" is not well understood, and is therefore widely ignored by the Church, though it is a simple concept. Jesus got into a lot of trouble as the Son of God, though He never made that proclamation, but no one became incensed that he was the Son of man. To say that He was the Son of God was to say He had all power in heaven and on earth and was equal with the Father, but to say that He was the Son of man was to say that He was the humblest of all men, the youngest and servant of all. That was not a threat to anyone, but what most people fail to realize is that you can’t have one without the other; power and humility go hand in hand (Jn 5-27).

(40d) Judgment >> Jesus judges the world through His own death – It says He gave His life a ransom for many; it doesn’t say He gave His life a ransom for all. He died for all, but not everybody will receive Him. He took everyone’s sins upon Himself and experienced the horror of God’s judgment on the cross, even though most would deny Him and reject His offer of eternal life. Jesus went to the cross for those who would receive Him, who would become His Church and His Father’s worshippers, but for those who would reject Him, the cross will become the basis of God’s judgment against them at the White Throne Judgment. Had He given His life in vain with nobody receiving Him throughout the ages, there would be no cause to judge the wicked either, but now that the Church has received Him, the cross has become the platform that God will use to judge the wicked, using the righteous who have received Him as His standard of judgment. Because of the Church, God’s judgment on the wicked will be exponentially intensified. The sins of the saints in heaven He will blot from his mind forever, but the sins of the wicked that He took upon Himself on the cross He will never forget. They will be a perpetual reminder of their rejection of Him and His ways. God’s judgment on the wicked is hinged on the fact that He is unwilling to destroy them from existence, but they will suffer in hell for all eternity. Some people say they will be consumed in the lake of fire, but they are just fooling themselves (Mat 25-46).

(56ka) Paradox >> Opposites >> Least are greatest >> Least are the greatest servants

(72g) Hierarchy of Authority (Key verse)

Mat 20,26-28

(77i) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The most humble are the greatest servants -- The greatest servants should also have the greatest positions of authority in the Church. Their ministries based on servant-hood should not be suppressed but exonerated by all those who eat the fruit of it. The Church should make room for the gifts of those who offer their services in humility; they should set them up as examples and imitate their behavior and zeal, and let them help direct the Church into higher levels of service and spiritual plateaus, regardless of their titles or diplomas. 

Mat 20-28

(209i) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our sacrifice >> Jesus paid the price for us >> Jesus paid our ransom with His own blood – It is very encouraging for us to know that we are serving a God who first served us, who is capable of being a servant. It is very encouraging to know that Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” that to the degree Jesus was a servant on earth, He will be a servant in heaven. We will do everything in our power to serve Christ, but He will always serve us more. It is very encouraging to know that we are serving a God who is not an ogre, who doesn’t have the philosophy, ‘Do as I say and not as I do,’ who chose to demonstrate His wisdom in a practical sense instead of just telling us about it. It is encouraging to know that when we get to heaven God will continue serving us, and he will give us opportunities to serve Him, and our relationship will grow into eternity. Just as God entrusted us with His gospel on earth, He will entrust us with many things in heaven. It is good to know that we serve a God who loves us enough to let sinners tie Him to a post and whip the flesh off his back with a cat-o-nine tails, until His ribs and tendons, muscles and ligaments were exposed. He lost the vast majority of His blood at His flogging, being just about dead by the time they nailed Him to the cross. The amount of pain He must have endured must have been unimaginable. The first few strokes would be the worst; then the body goes into a state of shock, becoming deeply clouded by the trauma, but this doesn’t take away the horror of it, and it certainly doesn’t take away His willingness to go through it for us. Jesus had personal reasons for going to the cross; He gained us, the Church.

Mat 20,29-34

(144j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Methods of healing >> Healed by Jesus’ touch

Mat 20-34

(93k) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus as He lights the way

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