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MATTHEW CHAPTERS 7 & 8

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1-10 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. 6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. 7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 

Mat 7,1-5

(17m) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Judging the sins of others that you practice -- False judgment is ghoulish behavior. That itself would not be such a problem except for its prevalence in society. Unfortunately it is a very common thing that is highly suggestive of demonic activity, and it should not be an aspect of the Christian's life. False judgment is a form of witchcraft to those who would like to wield God's judgment. The only right that God has given is the gift of discernment, but those who pass judgment with evil intent invariably practice the same sins that they are judging. This is extremely destructive behavior, especially when the people guilty of this think they are serving God. 

(178i) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Hypocrisy of the Church is rebuked >> The Church is rebuked for making false judgments – If we judge people with unrighteous judgment, how can the things we accuse them be true? Even when people do us wrong, we are not to judge them. It is inevitable that some of our judgments accurately reflect the circumstances and people involved, but what does not change is the fact that our judgment is false in the eyes of God. We consider injustice to be one of the worst possible fates. No one enjoys being falsely accused or shamefully treated. No matter how we accuse our oppressors we are wrong in the eyes of God, in that He has previously commanded us to love our enemies; but if we are busy accusing them of sins they committed against us, then we have deferred our love for justice instead. What is Jesus’ remedy for this? We are to view our enemies as sinning against God and not against us. Regardless of how they have treated us, we are not to judge them but to love them. If we condemn our enemies, we are condemning gospel that teaches we are no better than they if we retaliate. God wants His people to be free from sin. He doesn’t want us picking fights and making ourselves equal with His enemies. If we lower ourselves to their behavior, we will bear their image, though we have been called to bear the image of Christ. If we want to appeal to God’s grace and mercy we must be victims of our enemies and not their judges.

Mat 7-1,2

(11g) Servant >> God’s standard is in proportion to our output

(37a) Judgment Of God (Key verse for the entire chapter) – The Bible does not view God's judgment as a negative thing, but as a positive attribute of His divine nature. The Bible depicts God judging the sin of the world through the purification of Christ's sufferings to qualify Him as a prince and judge of mankind. This chapter will help the reader understand the symbiotic relationship between God's judgment and His mercy through the cross, as the instrument God will use to forgive those who seek His favor and as an instrument to judge those who reject His grace.

(48d) Levels Of Judgment (Key verse)

(48g) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged according to your standard of measure – If we insist on being judgmental, God will in turn judge us according to our own standard of measure by which we judge others. This means we have some control of how much God judges us. It is an act of mercy that God should judge us now, rather than getting it after we die, after it is too late to show we can do better.

Mat 7,3-5

(169d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is blind to God >> Blinded by Satan’s thoughts >> Blinded by false judgments -- Those who see a speck in our eye and want to help us extract it cannot see past the log in their own eye. Likewise, if we pass false judgment, God sees us as the one with the log in our eye. Paying more attention to other people's sins than to our own has a blinding effect, so we cannot see ourselves in a right frame of mind. If we are the children of God, and if we view those who oppress us as ignorant sinners, then we should expect them to oppress us, since darkness is naturally in conflict with light, as it is written, “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Phi 2-15). Darkness hates the light; so worldly people have further reason to hate us. God is in the background watching everything that happens and weighing the motives, and if we do His will to become an anchor in the world as we live our faith in the presence of our enemies, God will be able to use us to change the circumstances in His favor, so others may see the light that is in us and become attracted to God and be saved, that the Kingdom of God may grow and overtake darkness.

Mat 7-6

(222a) Do Not Give What Is Holy To Dogs (Key verse)

(222b) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God does not entrust his treasures to dogs >> God retrieves his treasures when sheep revert to dogs – Jesus said to the Scribes and Pharisees in Mk 2-17, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” This statement Jesus made had a backward meaning, like doubletalk, like pointing in one direction and walking in another, like nodding “yes” and saying no. Jesus was never forthright with the Pharisees; He never spoke plainly to them, simply because they didn’t deserve the truth or His respect. Psalm 18-25,26 says, “With the kind You show Yourself kind; with the blameless You show Yourself blameless; with the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the crooked You show Yourself astute.” Astute means: of keen penetration or discernment (Dictionary.com). What He meant was virtually the opposite of what he said. When He said “righteous”, He meant sinners, and when He said “sinners”, He meant those who would become righteous through faith in Him.

Mat 7,7-11

(35e) Gift of God >> God is willing to Give >> Ask to receive -- The process of receiving from God is simple, just ask. Putting ourselves in a right state of mind and body so we can receive from Him is the hard part.

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

(227a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> God rewards what we do for Him in secret -- A large part of obeying Christ is seeking Him as the sole source of our daily needs (being that He is the true source of everything). There is a firm foundation already laid in the hearts of those who trust God in this way. There are many people who ask God for things but don't expect to receive from Him, because a lack of faith. Remember, Jesus' analogy was about a father and his son. The implication was that the son had a relationship with his father. That is why the son felt confident he would receive what he asked. His relationship with his father also helped him pick things that he thought his father would like him to have, increasing his confidence that he would receive his request. 

Mat 7,9-12

(208g) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Being the friend of God >> Father & son relationship

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11-14 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 12 "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 

Mat 7-11

(16b) Sin >> Man’s nature is instinctively evil >> Man is an enemy of God – Jesus made an assumption that everyone present at His hearing was evil. He knew every man and would know whether they were evil or not, but what would be the odds that every man, woman and child present was evil, unless there was a spiritual law stating that all mankind is evil? To say that there are some evil people and some good people, and that only evil people were there listening to Jesus would be very unlikely, especially when we wonder where all the good people were who would have wanted to be with Christ? The only way to make sense of verse 11 is to declare all mankind evil. That is, everyone present was evil because there are no "good people," only faithful.

(16d) Sin >> Man’s evil nature >> Disobedient to the will of God

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

Mat 7-12

(124e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Do to others as you would have them do to you

Mat 7-13,14

(47d) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell is a place of destruction – Jesus used the word “destruction” here, and then in Mk 9-44 He said, “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Although it is a place of destruction, it is not a place of extermination or extinction. Rather, it is a place of perpetual destruction, a place where people continually die forever, meaning that body and soul will continuously ebb closer to death without ever dying. Here on earth we have bad situations and we eventually grow accustom to them, but in hell there will be no accommodating the conditions. Someone on his deathbed might take six months to die, and they keep getting worse and worse until they finally expire, but in hell the same thing happens, only they just keep dying, which is really a hellish thought. This continuous process of death may be a bodily condition, or it may reflect their conscience continually tormented with memories of their past life regarding things they have said and done to other people, or it might just be the permanence of hell that will become a continuous revelation and a deepening reality that this will never end, so in a billion years it will be a more terrifying experience than when they first arrived.

(91l) The Narrow Way (Key verse)

(92g) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> What kind of trail is this? >> Gate is small and few are those who find it -- It is easy to weave into the ways of the world, but it is much harder to find our way in the will of God. All of His commandments require us to put our flesh under subjection, except the very first commandment in Genesis, where God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. That commandment has been hardwired into our bodies, so it just comes naturally. The rest of His commandments unfortunately oppose our sinful nature. For example, the greatest commandment is love, which is intrinsically selfless; but this requirement flies in the face of our natural predisposition for selfishness. Most people simply follow the tendencies of their flesh, which inherently leads them away from the will of God. Therefore, if we want a relationship with Christ, we will have to swim upstream against the current of our own fleshly inclinations. Since the vast majority of the world makes the decision to swim downstream (according to what Jesus said in these verses), we will also have to swim upstream against the current of the world.

(93m) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Exception >> Following evil along the broad way – This is probably the one verse in all the Bible that really puts perspective on just who goes to heaven and who doesn’t. Many people confess Jesus as their savior. They pile into church every week, and they seem destined for heaven, but Jesus said the way is broad that leads to destruction and many are those who enter by it, and the way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it. Was Jesus talking about the few people who go to church, or was He talking about fewer people than that? Many people who go to church every week still don’t have a relationship with Christ or have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. They figure they are meeting their social needs and at the same time going to heaven when they die because they regularly attended church. Although going to church is a good thing, it is not how we get to heaven. 2Pet 1-10 says, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.” Paul said it too, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?” (2Cor 13-5).

(208d) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The expectations of God >> God expects us to follow Him – It is easy to find our way to the world, but it is much harder to find our way to God. The narrow way has faith on one side and works on the other, and we need to balance ourselves, not going too far to the left where we trust in our faith with no works, or going too far to the right where we go through the motions of Christianity without believing in Jesus. Walking on that narrow way is both about believing and behaving as a Christian. If we do that Peter said, “In this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2Pet 1-11). Salvation is like traversing a vast ocean; if we have been paying attention and diligently watching the sun by day and reading the stars by night, even if we run into a squall, we will find the milestones on the other side that we would expect to see, in this case a gate that is open wide to us. However, there are many people who start from a distant harbor, and they don’t pay attention to where they are going; they are crossing the ocean any which way, and if they get to the other side, there is no gate that is open wide to them. 

 

15-20 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits. 

Mat 7,15-23

(180d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Wolves in sheep’s clothing -- Beware of the works of the devil, which manifests through practicing the religion of witchcraft, performed by wolves and reprobates, who live as tares among the wheat, being zealous without knowledge through the wisdom of the world, which they use to excuse their sinful nature. Therefore, be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear, who try to operate the Spirit without the word, because they are unwilling to obey the revelation from heaven or walk in God's ability. They are wolves in sheep's clothing, talkers among the walkers, who have resolution without relationship. They have a religion not to serve God, but in a vain do they try to avoid hell.

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Mat 7,15-20

(128m) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing fruit >> Evidence of your fruit >> Good fruit is proof that God is working in you -- People can argue our theology, but it is hard to argue with fruit. They might argue about the source, but good fruit is proof that something good is in us. A disciple of Jesus who has a sincere heart cannot produce bad fruit. That doesn’t mean he never sins, but in a way, that is what John was saying in his epistle, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1Jn 3-9). Even a righteous man who loves God sins occasionally, but he doesn’t practice sin. Plants practice a certain fruit from year to year and never deviate from it. The apple tree produces apples and not cherries or grapefruit. A healthy cherry tree produces healthy cherries, but will occasionally produce an inedible one, representing the occasional sin, but all the rest of his works are righteous before God, which represents the vast majority of his fruit. However, none of the fruit of a false prophet is good, “for the bad tree produces bad fruit.” A good tree can produces an occasional bad apple, but a bad tree cannot produce an occasional good apple.

(157g) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Deceiving and being deceived >> Deceiving

(179f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> False prophets >> False prophets preach works and deny Christ – What makes someone a false prophet? Jesus said that it is not what they say but what they do; for what they do guarantees that they have nothing to say that we need to know. Most people maintain the criterion that if a person prophesies falsely, he is a false prophet, but Jesus didn’t mention the words of a false prophet; He spoke about his works. Jesus did not give us the daunting task of trying to discriminate between true prophets and false prophets, but gave us the very simple task of inspecting their fruit. Visually inspecting the apple, squeezing the orange, tapping on the melon and the false prophet is exposed. He could easily prophesy things that come to pass, but his unbecoming behavior nullifies his title as a prophet and reduces his fortune-telling to a good guesser. People are very clever with their words. It is not that hard to study Scripture and become proficient in the language of “church people,” but they cannot hide their works from us; they have no choice but to parade them for all to see. They try to fake good fruit; they put on their best clothes, shine their smile and shake people’s hand and try to make sure everything they say is kosher by religious standards, but when they go home, they set their religiosity on a shelf and become themselves again, and they can be very abusive and mean spirited.

Mat 7,15-17

(76h) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Living by a double standard – Even if false prophets tell us the truth, we should not listen to them. They act like our friends, but we should not trust them, because inwardly they are scheming ways of taking advantage of us. Notice that Jesus used thorn bushes and thistles in his analogy of false prophets, plants that have prickers on them. If we get too close, they will draw blood, being often painful to keep their company. With the raspberry, for example, their fruit invites us to approach, while their needles send the opposite message not to come near. Therefore, the so-called fruit of the false prophet representing their words act like bait, while their thorns are what they do to us. We often leave with less blood in our veins. These are professionals, who know better than us how to manipulate people so we always lose in the exchange, the bigger the promises the greater the losses.

Mat 7-15

(179c) Wolves (Key verse) – Wolves infiltrate the flock appearing to be sheep, but beneath their woolen façade they are “full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Mat 23-27). Even in the safety of the flock there is danger just by virtue of being a defenseless, tasty sheep. Therefore, we must beware of imposters and those who call themselves Christians (Rev 3-9). In the fold of the sheep with the shepherd overseeing us, we still cannot let down our guard but must always remain vigilant. What is the motive of a false brother who would enter the doors of the Church posing as a sheep of God’s pasture? Their only motive is control. They hope to obtain leadership positions so they can edit the doctrines and teach the people not to be wary of them, and make them believe they are true Christians who love the Lord, based on their doctrines. Eventually and ultimately a wolf’s goal is financial gain. They want to make a living at being a wolf.

Mat 7,16-20

(156a) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> You will know them by their fruits >> You will know them by their productivity -- See verses 15-20 for commentary. 

Mat 7,19-23

(209c) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Counterfeit relationship through religion >> I never knew you

Mat 7-19

(47b) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell is a place of sorrow >> It is a great fire prepared for the devil and his angels >> burning site where people are thrown away

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21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

 

Mat 7,21-23

(40a) Judgment >> Jesus is the judge >> Jesus judges the world’s unbelief – This is a passage about Jesus judging the world, though it seems unlikely anyone from the world would use this defense: “Did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” It sounds like something a Christian would say; either way, Jesus’ verdict was, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” We know that the Church will always be with the Lord (1The 4-17), and by this we know that these people were not Christians. Jesus is depicting worldly leaders in the Church claiming to be prophets, exorcists and miracle workers, but in reality they were confidence men, charlatans and frauds. They were convinced they were miracle worers, yet knowing they were hucksters.

(172f) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Tares among the wheat >> Hypocrites among the just >> Talkers among the walkers

(173c) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Scripture that contradicts the catholic faith >> Catholic doctrine versus the Bible

(176h) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Resolution without relationship

(181i) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Self deception >> Imaginary perception of self >> Pretending to be someone you’re not – Many will believe they are Christians based on the things Jesus mentioned, meaning they will base their faith on their own deceptions. They claimed to have performed many miracles, such as putting a perfectly healthy person in a wheelchair and having her stand among a throng of witnesses, and then used such examples in their defense at the White Throne Judgment, proving they were self-deceived. Deceiving one's self is actually easy to do. It seems difficult if not impossible to convince ourselves of something when we know it’s fake, yet people do it all the time; in fact the world itself represents a mere interpretation of reality. People are very adept at convincing themselves that their lies are true; all it takes is motive, and presto, what was once a figment of their imagination is now truth, and they live by these lies. It is spooky, and what is spookier, this is not a rare occurrence. If it were rare, Jesus would not have mentioned it, but it found a place in Scripture because it is common, and if common, then possible it is happening to us. If we are not diligently monitoring our hearts, our imaginations can take on flesh and look just like us. The fact that these are most likely leaders in the Church means that they had ulterior motives. There is a popular saying, ‘The best way to lie to someone is to believe it yourself.’ These are swindlers and scam artists deceiving those in the Church for fame and fortune. Paul said in 2Tim 3-13, “Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” The fact that they were trying to deceive Jesus at their judgment says what they didn’t know about God, acting as a measure of their self-deception, that they were deceived to the very core of their being. They thought, ‘This is just another guy, we schmoozed hundreds of people throughout our lives; we can schmooze Him too,’ but it didn’t work.

(186a) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Unwilling to obey the revelation from heaven >> Unwilling to walk in God’s ability

(195j) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Lord, Lord >> Lip service

(201c) Denying Christ >> Whoever is not with Jesus is against him >> You are against Christ when your unbelief materializes >> If your heart is not with Him your deeds are against Him

(208j) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Personal relationship >> Being married to God >> Knowing God >> Sharing intimacy with Him – Jesus answered them, “I never knew you;” they didn’t expect that answer; they didn’t know what it meant. Meanwhile they were being ushered from the presence of Christ by strong angels, being dragged from court and thrown into the abyss. The words they heard from the last sane individual they will ever meet will forever ring in their ears, “I never knew you,” so now they get to spend the rest of eternity thinking about what that means. What does it mean for Jesus to have never known them? He did not know them in the sense that they were not His children; that is, He didn't intimately know them. The Church is called the bride of Christ; this level of intimacy goes to the point of spiritual intercourse. Jesus was saying, ‘I never had spiritual intercourse with you. You are not a member of My wife’s body.’ This is the relationship that God has with His people. God created man and woman so that people could understand the relationship He wants with His people in eternity.

(217h) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> I never knew you >> Because you never did His will -- People can hide in the Church and go unnoticed for years. They might go to every church meeting and be on the board of directors and "talk the talk." They might believe certain things about God, but they don't actually believe in God. Some unbelievers are genuinely nice people and no one doubts their faith, while others have faith, along with bondage and hang-ups, which make them appear that they don't believe, but God knows those who are His (2Tim 2-19). We know that God is omniscient, yet Jesus is saying “I never knew you,” which suggests a type of knowledge that is different from knowing all things. He is saying, ‘I never had a relationship with you,’ another way of putting it is on a sexual level, “I never knew you,” like a man knows a woman. The Bible says that God places His Spirit in us, even as a man deposits his seed in a woman during sexual intercourse, which her body uses to conceive and bear children, so God places His seed in us that we might bear fruit for Him (1Pet 1-23).

(223i) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Miss God >> Missing the mark >> Miss heaven

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22&23 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

 

Mat 7-22,23

(67f) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Name of Jesus >> Performing miracles in Jesus’ name – There is a world of difference between what the Bible says about the name of Jesus and what many people believe about His name. Before we lay hands on somebody and start screaming the name of Jesus and making fools of ourselves in the eyes of the world, which has already grown intolerant of the Church’s lack of knowledge, we need to understand that the power of God is in the person of Christ, not in His name. So long as everyone knows that we are casting out demons or healing diseases through the power of Christ and not through some other entity, it is not necessary to reiterate His name with loud vocal gestures. Many use the name of Jesus as it were a hammer or a weapon, trying to exorcize the demons “in the name of Jesus” and expecting them to flee in fear, as though the name of Jesus held the power of God in itself, but what does Heb 1-3 say? “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” The Bible speaks about the word of His power, not the ‘power of His word.’ To put the cart before the horse linguistically in this manner is to demonstrate our lack of knowledge of God’s truth. If the name of Jesus had intrinsic power, people would have destroyed themselves with it long ago. His name does not have power as though the letters and phonemes that compose His name produce the power of God when put together; rather, it is the person of Jesus Christ Himself who is the repository of God’s infinite power.

(154a) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> No excuse >> There is no excuse for rejecting Christ

(217g) I Never Knew You (Key verse)

Mat 7-22

(166d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Man’s wisdom excuses his sinful nature >> Have a religion to avoid hell

Mat 7-23

(20e) Sin >> Nature of sin >> Having a hardened heart – Some people have hearts of stone resembling a children’s game called “Living Statues.” The game is played with a leader in the middle with eyes shut and all the players dancing around her, until she cries “Stop!” Then all the players must stop in whatever position that instant. According to the game, Christ is our leader and we are all dancing around Him, and on the day of our death we stop dancing and become like living statues, unable to change. After this comes judgment. The wicked can say they are willing to mend their ways, but their life-choices have become an eternal decision they cannot change, and they will have to live forever in that state of rebellion against God that was their reality on the day of their death.

(47i) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell is the absence of God – Those in attendance at the White Throne Judgment will understand that if they don’t make it to heaven, there will be no place for them. Hell has many descriptions and one of them is being outside the Kingdom of God (Rev 22-15) or outside His presence. How much outside is there? It continues indefinitely outside our house; therefore, outside the presence of God is nowhere. The Kingdom of Heaven continues forever and ever. Hell is a place where all sinners are gathered, and “these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2The 1-9). Hell is God’s statement to the wicked, ‘If you don’t want me to rule over you, then I will give you a kingdom of your own without a single attribute of Me in it.’ That might sound exactly what they wanted, until they get there and discover their kingdom with every aspect of God extracted from it defining the parameters of hell. Then they will come to the realization that every good thing they ever enjoyed in this life came from the hand of God (Jm 1-17), and then they will come to the realization that heaven must be a wonderful place, except that God is there. Then the residence of hell will discover the true meaning of angst, a short word for anxiety but is more than that. Angst is a state of depression that will never be resolved. They wouldn’t be happy in heaven and they won’t be happy in hell. Sin has no place in God’s creation anywhere. Hell is a place of great mourning and misery, but at least they got their way and maybe that will make it all worth it for them. If so then hell will prove rebellion far more potent and without a cure than anyone could have imagined.

(64a) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Limits of God >> God cannot tolerate sin >> He cannot allow unbelief in His presence – Many think that eternal suffering in hell is just too severe a sentence for God to impose on anybody, but what else is God supposed to do with those who hate Him? Some say that the damned should be exterminated from existence, but God originally created man in His image, eternal. Although hell is indeed a judgment from God, it is not something He institutionalized as much as it was a mere consequence of God removing Himself from an environment that He designated for the wicked. Therefore, to make a place for them apart from His presence by definition implies sorrow, anguish and horror. People who go to hell have chosen not to be a part of God’s kingdom, not to live under His authority. They have chosen instead to live by their own authority. The wicked who stand before Christ at the White Throne Judgment may voice that they are sorry for their rebellion and are willing to mend their ways and be part of God’s kingdom, but they will discover that rebellion is an eternal disease. They cannot repent of it and God cannot remove it for them without also removing their free will, which He is unwilling to do. That simply would not fit God’s vision of a people He created to freely love Him.

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24&25 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 

 

Mat 7,24-27

(106h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through His Son – All who hear the words of Jesus and act upon them, as Jesus said and as James said, are blessed in what they do (Jm 1,22-25). We can’t fault people for reading their Bibles and trying to lead a good life if bad things happen to them, since God never promised a life devoid of adversity to those who serve Him. He said of trials and tribulations that He would walk with us through them, so when they come against us, we have God’s promise that we will emerge on the other side spiritually unscathed. However, when a person falls away from the faith, this is a different story. Tribulation is one thing and the house that falls as a result of it is another. What must we do to avoid falling away from our faith? It is good that we spend time in the Bible, but we need to understand that the Bible is like raw material. The real product is Truth that God imparts in us from heaven. That is, there is a difference between reading the Bible and understanding God’s heavenly Truth, like Paul intimated about the word of God lifting off the page and into our hearts. “You are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2Cor 3-3).

(114a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Obeying the Holy Spirit >> Believing the Father by obeying the Son >> Obeying Jesus’ word – This is the reason people are afraid to interact with God, because they doubt they would obey Him, and they instinctively know they would be safer at a distance. They are afraid to mature in the things of God, because in their hearts they know if they ever heard His voice, they would not obey Him. To hear His voice and not obey Him is spiritual suicide. There are many people who know themselves that they would never obey the Holy Spirit. God may have spoken to them many times, yet they have never acknowledged Him to evade accountability, but this does not protect them from God, for He will judge them for avoiding Him as much as for disobeying Him. It is like someone who turns off the light and then stumbles over the furniture and blames the darkness. We cannot omit disobedience or willful ignorance, and we cannot deny the voice of God without lying to the Holy Spirit, because God knows we heard Him. These are the things that destroy our faith. A person who is truly committed to God would never make these mistakes; they live for hearing the Holy Spirit in their hearts. They will do whatever He says, and it makes them feel secure. Paul and all the other examples in the New Testament lived and walked by the Spirit, but we know many examples in our time, whose faith collapsed, and we wonder what happened to them. Jesus explained it to us. They rejected the voice of the Holy Spirit and they suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

(137b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Jesus is the foundation >> Jesus is the rock of the Church’s foundation – Jesus promised that if we established our lives upon the rock of obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit, our faith would not be moved. In contrast, those who read their Bibles and even hear the voice of God but discount Him, say that they could not be sure it was Him, that they could not commit their lives to something so nebulous as an inaudible voice, though it thundered in their hearts when He spoke. They had the experience, but they doubted and ultimately denied that these things actually happened, because they don’t believe in the ways of God. His standpoint is this: they knew in their hearts it was He who spoke to them, because nobody else can speak to them the way He speaks. No other voice sounds like His. The devil is a counterfeiter, but He cannot counterfeit the voice of God, because he is not allowed to speak such things, and Jesus said that His sheep know His voice. The devil would never tell us what God would tell us. When Satan goes through the trouble of counterfeiting God, he says things that God would never tell us.

(190da) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Spiritual suicide

(207g) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The Kingdom of God >> Investing in the Kingdom of God -- When Jesus referred to building your house on the rock, He was referring to making a life decision to follow Him, committing ourselves wholeheartedly, sparing nothing but investing all. We can weather any storm if we do this, but if we don't, He promised the next storm will wipe out whatever we build on a half-hearted faith. 

Mat 7-24,25

(79h) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word >> Practice listening to God’s word so you can hear it – We must understand the Scriptures through the Spirit of God; if we don’t, the Bible is just another textbook. It may be a special textbook that the Holy Spirit inspired men to write, but it is a textbook just the same without the Holy Spirit giving life to it. Men who wrote the words of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit, yet when they penned the words, the anointing could not be transferred to the page. If the Holy Spirit was involved on the writers’ end of the Bible, then He must also be involved on the readers’ end. When God gives grace to His word and we understand it by the Spirit, He is able to speak to us and reveal not only His word but also His will. Jesus then commanded us to obey Him. This is a frequently reiterated phrase within the Bible, “'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2-7,11,17,29; 3-6,13,22). This word was primarily given to those who would be alive during the fulfillment of endtime prophecy. If we obey Him, we will hear Him all the more.

Mat 7-25

(165i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Hardship >> Circumstances caused by the devil – Some people think that because they believe in God, He should give them preferential treatment that He should throw out the red-carpet for them and lead them around all the obstacles and difficulties and troubles, so they can lead a simple and easy life, full of joy and happiness, but in fact Jesus promised just the opposite. The rains will come and the winds will blow and the floods will slam against our lives; there is no avoiding it. The question is not whether these things will happen or should happen; the question is whether we will stand victoriously against the forces of this life.

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26-29 "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell -and great was its fall." 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

 

Mat 7-26,27

(167k) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Do not conform to the world’s unbelief – We need to build our faith on a solid rock foundation, but if the structure itself is no good, it could still be destroyed in a violent storm. When Jesus spoke this parable, He assumed that the builders knew what they were doing. Anybody who would attempt to build a house would give it their best effort, because nobody wants to live in a shabby house, and why would anybody invest the time, trouble and expense of constructing on shifting sand an exquisite house full of rooms? If they knew so much about building a house, why didn’t they know the foundation needed to be sound? This is first thing all construction workers know, yet Jesus said that this is a very common mistake that people make, maybe not in the construction business, but in relation to God and His truth. People often dedicate their lives to a false religion, or else they dedicate themselves to a set of true doctrines, but never attain a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

(186c) The fool (Key verse)

(186d) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Man’s role in becoming a reprobate >> The fool throws Jesus away for something better >> The world betrayed the Lord -- There are a number of ways to develop a reprobate mind (someone who cannot be saved). In this case the people to whom this analogy applies is more convinced by their own thoughts than they are by the words of Christ. These are often industrious people, but who never stopped and do any serious thinking about the things that really matter. They see life as one dimensional, physical, what you see is what there is. To them there is no spirit realm. They have tunnel vision and are locked into their own mindset. Everyone else who thinks unlike them is wrong; what matters is living and dying according to their pattern. Talk to someone like this about Jesus and you will be stonewalled.

(201b) Denying Christ >> Whoever is not with Jesus is against him >> You are against Christ when your unbelief materializes >> Our disobedience is against Christ 

(207e) Salvation >> God makes promises on His terms >> Eternal security? >> God Himself will tear you down – The voice of the Holy Spirit is something that reverberates in our hearts like an earthquake that causes structurally inferior buildings to collapse, and only those buildings that were properly constructed on the rock of Christ will remain. The voice of the Holy Spirit can have the same effect as the trials and tribulations of this world if we don’t obey Him. Disobeying the Holy Spirit can cause ill-constructed buildings to collapse, but those which are properly built on a solid foundation of obedience will stand against any force thrown at it. When the trials and tribulations come to test us, our faith has already been tested by the voice of God. If His voice does not destroy us, then all of Satan’s power could never touch us. Many people have heard the voice of God and it destroyed their lives, because “it was not united by faith in those who heard” (Heb 4-2). ‘What does not kill us makes us stronger.’

Mat 7-28,29

(255d) Trinity >> Holy Spirit’s relationship between Father and Son >> God’s word is Spirit >> Jesus is the word of the Spirit >> Jesus is the authority of God’s word – The Bible teaches that Jesus is the word of God, and that the Holy Spirit reveals His word to us. When we put these together, we see that Jesus is the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is the spiritual equivalent of Jesus Christ. They are essentially one and the same; whatever the Holy Spirit says is what Jesus would say if He were with us. When He lived in the flesh, the Holy Spirit was greater than Jesus, but now that He ascended to the Father and is seated at His right-hand, Jesus now discloses the Holy Spirit to whomever He wishes. He controls the Holy Spirit in whatever He says to His people and to those who are being saved. In one respect, when Jesus spoke about His Father, He was actually speaking about the Holy Spirit, but the fact that He called Him Father indicates that He was speaking about someone beyond the Holy Spirit. There is a third entity of the trinity whom Jesus called His Father, and we don’t know anything about Him other than what Jesus told us. The Father is not the Holy Spirit in that He has an office of His own, and so the Father occupies an office that is incomprehensible.

 

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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 8

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1-10 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 "For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.

 

Mat 8,1-3

(121f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope >> Expectation >> Expecting good things based on God’s character >> Expectation based on God’s generosity -- The hope of expectation is a prerequisite to receiving from God. Hope believes in God based on two things: why we believe He is willing to give, and why we believe He is willing to give personally to us. We will never be worthy in ourselves to receive anything from God, except that He has made us worthy. We need to realize this, so we can accept His truth and receive His gifts. 

Mat 8-1

(93l) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> The multitude follow Jesus

(143l) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> It is popular to follow Jesus

Mat 8-2,3

(144i) Healing (Key verse)

(144j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Methods of healing >> Healed by Jesus’ touch -- These verses go with verses 14&15. The leprous man approached Jesus in a way that challenged His willingness to heal him. God sent His Son to preach the gospel, cleanse the lepers, heal the sick, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and raise the dead. The Old Testament Scriptures state it was the will of His Father that He should heal those who came to Him and the leper had faith to be healed. "I am willing; be cleansed," He said. It was His Father’s commandment to heal the sick, yet some of those whom He healed probably attended His crucifixion and cried with the crowd, “Crucify Him.”

Mat 8-3

(123e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion >> Being willing because you are able – Before He healed the man the leper said, "If you are willing, you can make me clean" (his declaration of faith). Which one is most crucial, His willingness or His ability? If He wasn't willing, it wouldn't matter if He was able; and if He wasn't able, it wouldn't matter if He was willing, and so it would seem they are equally important. Jesus fed over the five thousand people with what few resources were around Him at the time (Mat 14,13-21). The ability to keep pulling bread from a small basket enough to feed a multitude was the work of God, but His willingness to do so was the work of compassion and character. Therefore, doing the works of compassion is greater than doing the works of God. That is, His willingness is greater than His ability. God can enable us to do great things for God, but unless we are willing to walk in His ability nothing gets done. Just like Jesus, our willingness to obey God is more important than the works themselves.

(248a) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> The will of God >> We play our part in the will of God >> Knowing the will of God -- See verses 1-3 for commentary. 

Mat 8-4 -- No Entries

 

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Mat 8,5-13

(114a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Obeying the Holy Spirit >> Believing the Father by obeying the Son >> Obeying Jesus’ word -- This is one of the greatest verses about faith in the Bible, though Heb 11-1 supplies the actual definition of faith. This passage illustrates the essence of faith in that the centurion demonstrated his knowledge of Jesus' relationship with His father, accentuating the fact that Jesus' submission to Him was the source of His power. What does that mean for us? If Jesus was submitted to His Father, how much more should we be submitted to Christ before we will see His hand move in our lives? Submission is the secret to faith and to the power of God, and there is no other act of submission greater than prayer, and there is no other way to pray than according to the word of God, and there is no other way to know the word of God than to study it for yourself. Therefore, if you want to see God's hand move in your life, then submit to God, study His word and develop a life of prayer.

(145a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Methods of healing >> Healed by speaking the word

Mat 8,5-10

(13b) Servant >> Jesus serves His Father >> Jesus is under His authority – This is perhaps the single most revealing passage in the Bible, illustrating the power behind servanthood. There is perhaps no greater truth than when you are subjected to someone in authority you become a vehicle of that authority. Jesus was in perfect submission to His Father and for that reason Christ was the vehicle of His authority. Also, He was the Son of God—both His submission and His authority were one and the same. These verses are referring to the power of delegation. People can do more when they organize a pyramid of authority through delegation, who in turn delegate their authority to others who eventually get the job done, as opposed to doing everything themselves. Everything that gets done though a hierarchy of authority is ultimately attributed to the person at the top of the pyramid. We know that God could wave His hand and accomplish more than the whole world could in a thousand years, but God does not work that way; he wants to get us involved in what He is doing, that we may share in the reward. The way He gets us involved is though submission and servanthood.

 

11-16 "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very moment. 14 When Jesus came into Peter's home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 

 

Mat 8-11,12

(47g) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell is a place of darkness

(211b) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> God gives the Gentiles Israel’s place

(221c) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Kingdom hidden behind the veil from the world >> God hides from man’s ignorance >> God denies His kingdom to those who cannot find Him – Jesus made this statement in response to the centurion whose servant was sick, who told Jesus, you don’t need to come to my house, “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed,” telling Jesus that he was familiar with authority and was aware that Jesus operated under the authority of His Father (Mat 8-8). He answered in verse 10, “I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.” Jesus equated faith with understanding His position as under His Father’ authority. He was also prophesying that Israel would deny the purpose of God for themselves and would lose their position as leader of the nations in things pertaining to God, many would ultimately lose their souls, and that the gentiles would take their place throughout the age of grace.

(224e) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The joyful kingdom >> The marriage supper of the lamb – People will converge on the Kingdom of Heaven from all directions and recline at the table that was set for them with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The fact that the gentiles came from east and west refers to the First Resurrection/Rapture, and the fact that they reclined at the table refers to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. What we have in this passage is of the sequence of events that will occur in the last days, so if anybody asks when the Marriage Supper of the Lamb occurs, we can confidently say immediately after the First Resurrection/Rapture.

Mat 8-13

(226k) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> Rewarded for believing in God

Mat 8-14,15

(144j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Methods of healing >> Healed by Jesus’ touch -- These verses go with verses 2&3

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Mat 8-16,17

(145c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Jesus healed them all – People want to be healed for the sake of being healed, but the healing itself must take a backseat to God’s purpose as a sign, and if a sign, then it must signify something specific and important. After a healing, people get excited to tell everybody what happened, but that doesn’t necessarily bring glory to God; what brings glory to God is the truth and souls being saved and the Kingdom of God advancing in the world. If healing will not accomplish these things, then the healing simply will not occur. This is why so few people have been healed over the millennia, because man has diverted from the truth; the gospel has been maligned; everyone believes in his own opinions, and we don’t know what to believe. There are so many denominations in the world; the last thing God wants is to glorify confusion. Even if someone did come with the truth, if they didn’t come with the authority of God, it would be useless. How do we know who to believe? Knowing the truth and performing signs and wonders seems all that is necessary, yet there is something lacking, a work of God in the world. For someone to know the truth and heal somebody is not necessarily the work of God; the man may be working with the grace of God well enough, but if God is not working in the world, it is an isolated event and will not spark a movement of restoration and healing. There is no one behind him or in front of him or beside him, and for this reason his work will go unnoticed, and eventually the miracle will be discounted and become to the world one more reason to malign the name of Christ.

(209i) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our sacrifice >> Jesus paid the price for us >> Jesus paid our ransom with His own blood – Jesus cast out demons and healed all who were sick as a precursor to His crucifixion, knowing that He would go to the cross and pay the penalty for man’s sin, which is the ultimate cause of his infirmities. Jesus was God in human flesh; He could do anything; nevertheless, forgiveness and healing were purchased on the cross. It says that He carried away our infirmities; He took them upon Himself on the cross, but once He died, the Bible teaches He temporarily went to hell, and while He was there He dropped His payload of all man’s sin, not just of those who would repent and believe in Him, but even those who would not repent, so their sins are waiting for them in hell, and when they arrive, their sins will permanently attach to the sinner, where sickness and disease belong.

Mat 8-16

(66j) Authority >> Jesus’ authority >> His words are the authority of God -- This verse goes with verse 27

(146e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Casting out spirits with a word

 

17-22 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES." 18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 21 Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead."

 

Mat 8-17

(141e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ ministry >> Jesus as the healer – One of the complaints that some people have of others not being healed after much prayer is that they must be committing sin, but this is a bogus complaint. Before Jesus came, sickness, disease, infirmities and demon possession were rampant, and after He went back to heaven, sickness and disease were still rampant, so we could say Jesus hardly put a dent in it. He may have helped Israel to a degree, but the rest of the world was still sick and infirm. The only reason Jesus healed anybody was because it was the Father’s will to fulfill prophecy and to prove Jesus’ identity. Without God’s willingness, nobody can be healed. It was the Father’s will that Jesus healed everybody who came to him. Signs, wonders and miracles come at a time when God is doing a work in the world. They don’t happen whimsically by the will of man, but sovereignly by the will of God. Throughout the ages God has sporadically healed people on a case-by-case basis, but when God performs a work, He will demonstrate His power and glory and authenticate His message and punctuate messengers and prove the work that God is doing in the world. When that time comes, His servants need only speak the word, and it will be done. They will lay their hands on people and they will be healed. The Father wanted Jesus to heal everyone who came to Him to authenticate Him as His Son and as Israel’s Messiah, and to authenticate the word of God that came from His lips, so people could believe in Him.

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Mat 8-18 -- No Entries

 

Mat 8,19-23

(5h) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> God tests your loyalty >> Your commitment to follow Jesus – Jesus said, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” When the Lord calls, we are to follow Him immediately or not bother following him at all. When Jesus calls, we must be ready to go, like people who join the National Guard or the militia. They are on-call, and when they are called, they immediately drop everything and go. Jesus expects the same from His disciples.

Mat 8-19,20

(232e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> Assess the property before you buy it – When we think about this statement, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head,” birds don’t always live in nests, except when they are breeding. The mother and father bird mate and then build a nest; the mother deposits her eggs in the nest and then sits on them, incubating them until they hatch, and then they feed the birds until they mature enough to fly from the nest, and once that is complete, the parent birds abandon the nest. From then they sleep wherever they can find a convenient twig, and this is similar to Jesus occasionally sleeping in houses, whereas other nights he slept on the hard ground. He and His disciples must have carried a bag full of necessary items, traveling between houses and cities. They would get off the trail a ways, set up camp, roll out their beds, build a fire, eat dinner and tell stories all night. When they came to a city that received Him, they would stay in houses, perhaps have their own room and many accommodations, and they stayed in that house the whole time they were in town, and when they moved on, they were back sleeping on the ground again.

Mat 8-21,22

(53c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Of life and death >> Die trying to live

Mat 8-22

(25l) Consequences of sin >> You’re walking in death if you’re not walking in Jesus

(93f) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Leaving everything behind to follow Him – God will sow a word in our heart and it will stay with us for life, and we will muse on it for years. It might be about making a commitment to follow Jesus and become His disciple. That spiritual revelation is in us, but we just don’t know how to go about making it happen. We are essentially paralyzed; we have no direction or idea what we are doing, and even if we went to church and had the pastor explain to us what we needed to do, it might not help. Then the Holy Spirit returns one day and calls us into service, and we immediately respond, because if we don’t, we may never hear the call of God again.

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23-27 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. 25 And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" 26 He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. 27 The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

 

Mat 8,23-27

(5f) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> God tests your faith through hardship – Difficult times often accompany the person who follows Jesus, like steel to a magnet. It comes with associating with the epitome of righteousness in a world of evil. There are certain things that God wants us to do, the very things the world desperately wants us not to do, and will go to any extreme to attend our failure. The world has an evil tyrant of a devil over it, who hates God and anyone who loves Him. Our only safety is a closer reliance on Jesus who made us enemies of the devil. Those who love God wouldn't have it any other way.

(117d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Rest in Jesus (Sabbath) >> Let Jesus do the work >> Let Him work on your circumstances -- Sometimes we run into real problems that require us to ask God for help, though we prefer to solve our own problems, though we are simply not big enough to solve every problem. These are the times when we sit back and let God do the work; after all, depending on the problem, what choice do we have? There lies a question: is sitting around waiting for a miracle a real answer? It will seem like a pretty good idea after we have exhausted every avenue and resource at our disposal, and we are exhausted and at your wits end. Next question: Must we wait until we get to that point before we can realistically expect a miracle? No! God wants us to live a miraculous life; we ask God for help when there is nothing else we can do because we think it cultivates faith. We say, 'Now I can believe because I don't have a choice.' That does not actually help our faith; we need to realize before we get to that point that faith is all we have. Waiting till the last minute does not bring honor to God like going to Him first, or perhaps second, anything but last.

(126g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace in the midst of the storm -- Jesus had peace that the world will never know, a peace that He died to share with His beloved disciples who believe in Him. Who else could be asleep on a boat in the midst of a storm? Jesus not only knew He was safe because His Father would never let anything happen to Him (except what He came to do), the fact was so deeply embedded in His heart that He could lie down without any concern for His physical limits. This is the level of peace that He wants to convey to His beloved children. 

(147c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> God exercises authority over His creation – Ironically, Jesus never tried telling His enemies to be quiet because He had no control over them, but He could control the sea. People get mad at God because He allows tragedies, often at the hands of their fellow man. People curse God for man's wickedness, though He had nothing to do with it, except to give man a will to do whatever He wished. If God came and stopped people from their actions every time they behaved badly, they would get in God’s face and scream at the top of their lungs for their freedom. God would have no choice but to end the age of man's reign on the earth if interfering were required, which describes the last days, and He will end it when the time comes and no sooner. This is what people don’t understand; when they ask God to intervene, they are asking Him to infringe on their sovereign will, which is one of his attributes that characterizes man being made in the image of God, and God will not tamper with that. Doing so would undermine His purpose of creating man in the first place. For God to physically stop people from their actions would turn them into robots, because now they wouldn’t have a will anymore. God can stop the storm from raging, but He cannot stop man from rebelling without destroying him. In His heavenly kingdom we will have a perfected soul in a perfect creation that has never seen the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, where sin cannot exist, and we will have a perfect body that does not crave sin. We will also retain the sovereignty of our will. After many life-lessons God can give us our will to do whatever we want, and we will never use it against Him. We will know sin like God, which is more than what Adam could say before the fall, but will choose not to walk in it.

(164f) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world system >> Satan’s system of authority >> He is the prince of the power of the air -- The sea represents the world, the wind is the devil (prince of the power of the air ), the waves represent people, the boat represents the Church, Jesus lying down asleep represents the Holy Spirit in our hearts prior to His second coming, and finally tapping Him on the shoulder and rousing Him from His slumber represents prayer. Therefore, when the world becomes volatile and threatens to remove our place from the earth, don't just fret about it, awaken the living one within you who can do something about it.

(171l) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Outward appearance of circumstances

Mat 8,24-27

(245l) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations of the devil >> Manifestation of the prince of the power of the air – It would seem strange for God to finish with His creation, then come down here and be battered by it, but that is exactly what He did, not by the wind and the waves but by man. He wasn't going to let just anything beat up on Him, but limited His suffering only to the creation He came to save, and anything else that tried to take advantage of Him He used to reveal His identity by overcoming it through the power of God.

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Mat 8-25,26 

(90b) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us >> Conviction leads us in the way of faith -- Conviction is one of the the ways God uses to awaken us to the Holy Spirit in our lives, and sometimes He uses adversity as a catalyst to speed up the process. Sometimes we won't pay attention to Him until we run into trouble; that is why Jesus was asleep. 

Mat 8-26

(20g) Sin >> Doubt is the consequence of the fear of death – The disciples were afraid for their lives though they had Jesus in their boat, asleep. Being fishermen, they wanted to show Jesus how to navigate in trepid water, but they had never seen a storm like this. When they were soon to lose their boat and their lives, they turned to Jesus at the last moment, swallowing their pride and asked a carpenter for help across the sea. Jesus may not have known how to steer a boat in stormy weather, but He did know how to rebuke the wind and the waves, and they obeyed Him. 

Mat 8-27

(66j) Authority >> Jesus’ authority >> His words are the authority of God -- This verse goes with verse 16

 

28-34 When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29 And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, "If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine." 32 And He said to them, "Go!" And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.

 

Mat 8,28-34

(46l) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Jesus casts out demons – Many people don’t believe in the existence of demons, but Jesus did, and He regularly wrestled with them, not only exorcising them from other people but wrestling with them in His own temptations. The professional arena is where probably the secular world most experiences demons, particularly in the fields of psychology and psychiatry, helping people find their way in this life after they have succumb to bondage. There are too many accounts of demon possession to deny them all. Most people who become demon possessed are weak-minded and weak-willed. Demons are opportunists by nature. What professional psychologists and psychiatrists say about those who appear to be demon possessed is that they are suffering from a brain malady, perhaps epilepsy or some other spastic episodes. There are all kinds of expressions of satanic possession, while their brain maladies produce the same effects that we read in the Bible regarding demon possession. The professional world treats the disease while the Church treats the underlying spiritual affliction. The fact that Jesus cast out many demons from these two men (by evidence of many swine) doesn’t rule out a brain disease, and a person with a brain disease doesn’t rule out the possibility of demon possession; that is, they both could be happening at the same time. Jesus’ answer to demon possession was to cast out the demons and then for the person to obey the word of the Lord and start living for Jesus, who instructed the man to remain there and be a witness to the surrounding region, so at His return, the man will have tilled the soil of people's hearts and made them ready to receive the word of God. If they also had some kind of brain malady, the Lord must have healed that too. Jesus gave them a sound mind, so the demons could not return.

(146f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Casting out violent demons -- If you ever wondered why these two stories were written back to back (Jesus calmed the sea and delivered the men from demon possession), casting out violent demons must be much like being on a lake during a bad storm; imagine what it must be like for the person who has the demons. The movie “The Exorcist” ended with the demon possessing the assistant priest. The Catholic clergy were having trouble making the demon leave the girl; the original priest was killed, and the assistant as a last ditch effort offered the demon to possess him instead of the girl, but it was a trick, for the man immediately jumped out the second-story window and committed suicide, being the only way he knew to help the girl, so the trick was on the man. This is similar to the story regarding the demons leaving the two men and entering the swine and rushing into the water to drown, which is no doubt where the show got their idea, but the point is that such things are real. When a demon is exorcised, the question in the demon’s mind is, ‘Where do I go from here?’ Demons don’t like being evicted from their homes without having somewhere else to go. Demons prefer living in a body. We need to remember that demons are disembodied spirits, and so are people who die. For this is reason the First Resurrection is so important: all spirits prefer a body, so they can manipulate the world around them. Our bodies are literally the house of our spirit. For a spirit not to have a body probably gives the feeling of being lost with nowhere to go in a big world or to be caught in the rain without a roof over their head.

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Mat 8-28,29

(47a) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell is a place of sorrow >> It is a great fire prepared for the devil and his angels >> The lake of fire

Mat 8-29

(146d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Demon possession >> Human state >> They know the Holy Spirit

Mat 8-31,32

(65a) Paradox >> Anomalies >> God helps Satan >> Jesus answers the devil’s prayer -- It is puzzling why Jesus listened to the devil's request, let alone granted it, similar to God listening to the devil in the book of Job. There is a great lesson here about prayer: If God is willing to answer the devil's prayer, how much more is He willing to answer our prayers? This proves how moved He gets through entreaty and prayer; it is very effective because we are praying to a God who listens!

Mat 8-32

(25f) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Satan and his children are murderers When Jesus allowed these demons to inhabit the swine, they immediately ran down the steep bank and were drown. We would think they would appreciate living in a body, though it was a pig’s body; it is still better than nothing. When a demon possesses a body, it does not have absolute control over the individual whose body they have possessed; that is, the demons cannot completely override the will of the person; for this reason the two men ran to Jesus, exercising their will against the demons who possessed them. The demons were not interested in meeting Jesus at all, but they had no choice when the men came to the Lord. When they arrived in His presence, the demons spoke for the men, which we see as two wills fighting against each other, the demons being the mouthpiece in disregard of the men, and the men physically coming to Jesus in disregard of the demons. The two men must have recognized that the demons were afraid of Jesus when He landed onshore and saw hope of being delivered from these evil forces. Question: did the pigs run down the steep slope and drown to be rid of the demons or did the demons drown the pigs? We know that demons only know how to steal, kill and destroy, and so the demons would have a motive for drowning the pigs just for the fun of killing them. They lost their house, but their house wasn’t so great anyway; they probably didn’t enjoy living in a pig’s body. It is unlikely the mind of a pig would be much of a challenge for demons to override, so it was unlikely that it was the pigs’ idea to drown themselves.

 

Mat 8-34

(185i) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Responding with contempt to the Holy Spirit >> Evicting the Holy Spirit – Based on the town people's reaction, it is no wonder they had problems with demon possession in their region, after asking Jesus to leave. Demon possession is the result of the overall atmosphere and environment of the region where possession persists. Demon possession is activated by the rejection of God and His truth by the general public, with those who are most susceptible to possession being afflicted by the demons. This is exactly what has happened in or schools today; people have demanded that God leave our public school system and collage campuses, and it created a spiritual vacuum, and so the demons have entered these public settings to fill the void, and now we have demon-controlled people shooting up schools. In another rendition of this story, Mark chapter five, the once demon possessed man asked the Lord if he could come with Him, but the Lord told him to remain in his hometown and testify to everyone about the great things God has done for him, so when Jesus returned to that area, the people would be more receptive of Him. No one was able to reach the people like this man who was delivered from demons, not even Jesus could reach them. Everybody in town knew these men who were once possessed, and everybody was afraid of them, and they saw the difference after Jesus healed them.

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