Tag Archive | Sermon on the Mount

Mark 4, Matthew 12 – The Disciples ask “Why?”

READ Mark 4:10-12 (with Matthew 12:10-17)

Yesterday was a look at the first parable of Jesus about the soils (the sower). I imagined how those listeners would have responded to this as they walked home. (See yesterday’s “long” post.)

When the crowd had gone, the disciples came to Him with a question. Mark 4:10.

By looking at Matthew’s fuller account of the disciples coming to Jesus afterwards, we see what they asked Him.

“Why do you speak in parables?” Good Question.

Jesus’s answer, “To YOU has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for THOSE OUTSIDE…everything is in parables.”

Huh? Doesn’t Jesus want everybody to know about the Kingdom of God, and how to get into it????

(Your assignment: Check out the following passages in Matthew and I’ll answer that question – if you still need it – afterwards.

1. Matthew 4:23 – What does this say about what Jesus was doing after He chose his disciples?

2. Matthew 5:1 – 7:29 – (with particular attention to 5:2 and 7:28/29) Okay, What do all these verses show in detail that Jesus was DOING all this time?

3. In the next chapters of Matthew, we see Jesus continuing to heal the sick and deliver the demon possessed (such compassion!) and to teach His OWN DISCIPLES some strong things about persecution and the end times, etc. WHY is He now mostly just teaching THEM??

The end of Matthew 11 shows the Jewish officials accusing him of having an unclean spirit, and his family wanting Him to come away and get some food and rest. (Wednesday’s post)

And THEN…………… he gets into a boat and teaches the crowd on the shore….. in a PARABLE. (Yesterday’s post)

Do you see why?

The crowds have been divided into 1) those who believe and follow Jesus, and 2) those only seeking healing or to hassle Him.

Jesus answers their WHY question here,

“To the one who HAS (belief in Him and understanding of who He is) more will be given and he will have an abundance. BUT from the one who HAS NOT (those who reject Him and his teaching), even what they have (clear teaching to this point) will be taken away.”

“THIS is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do NOT see (me as Savior) and hearing, they do NOT hear (my teaching) nor do they understand.”

Got it?

Then Jesus give a blessing to those who DO believe and follow Him,

“Blessed are your eyes, for they see and your ears for they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see and did not see it, and to hear what you hear and did not hear it.

Then (Mark 4:14-20) Jesus goes on to tell them the meaning of the Parable of the (Sower and the) Soils, which – if they understand – will help to understand the rest of Jesus’ “kingdom” parables.

Don’t Blame Me

Lubeck cathedral

Don’t Blame Me.

These are the ancient words of a poem carved in a gothic, medieval alphabet on a cathedral door in Lubeck, Germany.

Translated into modern English, the words take the form of a frightening poem, calling believers as well as unbelievers to look to ‘the thoughts and  intents’ of their hearts.

 

You call me eternal, then do not seek me
You call me fair, then do not love me
You call me gracious, then do not trust me
You call me just, then do not fear me

You call me life, then do not choose me
You call me light, then do not see me
You call me Lord, then do not respect me
You call me master, then do not obey me

You call me merciful, then do not thank me
You call me mighty, then do not honor me
You call me noble, then do not serve me
You call me rich, then do not ask me

You call me Savior, then do not praise me
You call me shepherd, then do not follow me
You call me the Way, then do not walk with me
You call me wise, then do not heed me

You call me Son of God, then do not worship me
When I condemn you….. then do not blame me.

I heard these words this morning in a recorded sermon by John McArthur.* They were written anonymously centuries ago, perhaps chiseled by a workman at the behest of a clergyman whose love for God and life of service were growing cold. Or, possibly by a zealous minister seeing his congregation becoming prideful, insincere, and self-satisfied. The year was 1173, but the wisdom of the poem is for us to consider today.

McArthur’s sermon was titled “Beware of Hypocrisy” from his Living Real series (1969). He referred to verses in Matthew 6 and 7 from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 6:1 – “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before man, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.”

Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’.”

These are sobering, convicting words by Christ, meant to shake hypocrites from their self righteous pride and turn them (repent) to the only Righteous One, for true salvation.

Although I am a believer and I trust fully in the Lord Jesus for my salvation and righteousness before God, I still at times walk in pride, ego, selfishness, and hypocrisy toward God and others.  This prayer is my heart, crying out today for genuine love toward my God and for a life that honors him in all I do.

prayer, woman by bed

 

“O, God and Father of my Lord Jesus, help me not to live in hypocrisy!

Help me to heed your words of wisdom and walk in your Way, living gratefully the redeemed life you have given me through your Son, Jesus.  May my heart seek you, obey you, and honor you in all I do.

Help me to see you as the ultimate Light and Truth and to seek you with all my heart and soul.  Help me to trust in your grace absolutely and thank you always for your mercy and forgiveness. You are eternal, almighty, sovereign; my Lord and King. 

Help me as your child to freely ask ‘anything’ of you because you are rich beyond all my imagination, and You delight in supplying my needs and giving good gifts to me.

O Shepherd, Savior, Son of God, I worship you. Fill my heart and my mouth with praise and gratitude. Make me true!” 

  

 

*John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College & Seminary, and featured teacher with the “Grace to You” media ministry. All of John’s 3,500 sermons, spanning more than four decades of ministry, are available for free on this website.

In 1969, after graduating from Talbot Theological Seminary, John came to Grace Community Church.   The emphasis of his pulpit ministry is the careful study and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, with special attention devoted to the historical and grammatical background behind each passage