Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Matthew’

Loving The World


Today we continue our formerly postponed series “Lose your faith in 5 easy steps”. Today is step 4, loving the world.

Loving the world isn’t the same as drifting away from Him like a boat floating from a dock. Loving the world is hopping in the driver’s seat, firing up the motor, and flying out to deep water.

1 John 2:15 tells us “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is no in him”. That makes it pretty cut and dry. You see, the world makes it so easy to love it. Many things seem to feel better when done the world’s way. Many equate this with material things, and being yourself. Not true, nothing is wrong with self-expression of having a few things here and there, the problem comes when we use those two things as justification for idolatry.

I know tons of “rich” and “blessed” people but from my experience with them, they don’t put those things above God. On the same token, I know those who do. I have been one of them. On both ends.

I have allowed my human “wants” to outweigh my spiritual “needs”. And if you are being honest with yourself, you have to.

How do we fix this and avoid step four? We keep God closer to our hearts than we do things of this Earth. Sounds easier than it is, but it is far greater to have the love of the Lord in our lives, than a love for cars, boats or houses.


God Bless,



Serving > Ourselves

Bulletin/Handout notes
Original Message/Sermon: R. Frisone
From One50Five service on 9/19/11.
(listen to sermon at
From the series: ”  > ”  (Greater Than)
“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
Three truths about serving:
1. Serving is NEVER about us.
2. People see God through serving.
3. Serving HUMBLES us.
Walk away point:
We need to become >.

Being Rooted In God’s Family


Bulletin/Handout notes

 Original Message/Sermon:  Pastor Jeff Daws
From morning service at Stockbridge Community Church on 9/11/11.
(listen to sermon or make a donation at SCCview.Net)
Today’s point: Loving God + Loving people = LIFE.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39
***How to make the most of my life.
1. Learn to become loving.
When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. Galatians 6:10
Let love be your greatest aim. 1 Corinthians 14:1a
2. Give the greatest expression of love: time.
My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. 1 John 3:18
Truly I tell you, Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40 
3. Take advantage of opportunities to express love now.
Be full of love for others, following the example of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacfifice to take away your sins. Ephesians 5:2
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6
Your next steps today:
1) I will express love to my church family by attending faithfully.
2) I will express love to God by spending time with His people in a Connect Group.
3) I will step up as ONE with my church family to express God’s love.
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Doing > Talking

Bulletin/Handout notes
Original Message/Sermon: Kevin Cox
From One50Five service on 9/4/11.
(listen to sermon at
From the series: ”  > ”  (Greater Than)
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13  
Problem: There are Christians today who are “spiritually asleep“.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:50-53
Q: Why is this important?
A: Because Christians can’t lead other to life when they are dead inside.
 Anyone who claims to live to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived. 1 John 2:6
 Solution: Christians need to become greater than they are now.
 How to become greater than:
 1. Make our actions > our words.
 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.  James 2:14, 26
 2. Understand that God > you.
David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies–the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 1 Samuel 17:45
God wants you to stop watching and start living!
You have 3 choices of what kind of Christian you want to be:
1.) Spectator
3.)Servant (hint: Jesus is our example to learn from, Jesus was a servant.)

Rewriting “We Three Kings”

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

Image via Wikipedia

We all know the Christmas song listed above. It’s one of most of our favorites. But, it is not based on facts for the most part. The story of the wise men or magi visiting Jesus on the night of his birth are warm in all of our hearts, but factually, and gospelly incorrect. Our Christmas cards show magi standing under a bright star. Most of the story though, is based on fictional church tradition and nothing more.

These guys were not kings at all. Magi, in 1st century Israel were astronomers and magicians, not royalty. These guys are named Melkon, Bathasar, and Gaspar in the apocryphal books about Jesus’ childhood, but no gospel record verifies anything written in those books. Christian writer Tertullian called them kings in his writings in the 400’s, and the apocryphal books I mentioned were written in the 600’s.

We also don’t know that there were three. We assume this because they gave three gifts. Our image of wise men going into a stable to meet Mary and Jesus is wrong because Matthew tells us in 2:11 that they came to the house where the saw the CHILD and his mother. Notice child, not baby, and house, not stable or cave.

These men were most likely Persian magicians and astrologers, trained in interpreting star patterns. The Bible says they came “searching for the king of the Jews because they saw the star in the East”. As magicians, they probably studied the Torah, and knew of the books of Numbers and Daniel where these things were spoken of in prophecy because when they found the child they noticed not only his royal pedigree but his divinity as well.

Finishing for today, lets look at what The Interactive Bible tells us.

“There is no evidence that the Magi were led to Jesus by a bright low hovering star. Such a star would have been quite noticeable by many people. The fact that Herod had to ask the Magi when the star appeared, proves that the star was not out of the ordinary to the untrained eye. Only the Magi, who studied the stars would notice it.”

(immediately continuing tomorrow)


Explaining the need of 4 Gospels

The Last Supper of Jesus Christ

Image via Wikipedia

I recently was working with a younger guy about studying the Bible, and how would be the best way for him to do it. After my study today, I now realize why we have four different, yet similar and significant books that tell the story of Jesus Christ birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and predict his return. From my study today I can tell you that I believe there are three primary reasons we have four different books.

1.) Having four gospels gives us a more complete view of Jesus.

Even though God inspired all of the authors of the Bible, he chose different types of people from different backgrounds with different styles and personalities to write it. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each had a very distinct agenda when they sat down to write, very different purposes.

-Matthew: In this gospel it is fairly easy to see that the target audience was Jewish people, or Hebrews. He intentionally added Jesus full family tree to prove that Jesus was the Messiah that they were waiting to appear and fulfill prophecies. “After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”  (Matt. 9:27) By including this verse, the point was to remind the readers that Jesus descended from David, like the prophecy said he would.

-Mark: Mark is written first-hand, an eye-witness of Jesus life kind of view for the readers. Mark’s target audience was the gentiles (you and me). Mark leaves out the majority of the things that would matter for a Jewish reader on purpose. He leaves out Jesus’ family tree, his issues with the Jewish leaders, and references to the Old Testament times as well. These are things that Gentiles would not have understood anyway back then. Another of Mark’s primary objectives was to display Jesus in the role of “servant” as opposed to the one being served, this was an intentional example Mark set for us to live by.

-Luke: Luke the man, was a doctor, an evangelist, and the apostle Paul’s best friend. As a doctor, you will notice the great detail Luke gives about the events of Jesus life. Luke also wrote Acts. Luke the ONLY  writer in the whole Bible who isn’t Jewish. He was a Gentile like us. He was also a great historian, and even though not a Jew, still included a family tree of Jesus, which came from a slightly different bloodline that the one mentioned in Matthew. Though he wrote his gospel for a Gentile audience, he still included the details that Jews would understand. His main intention was to show that a Christian’s faith is based on real history and events.

-John: While not considered a Synoptic Gospel, like the first three, John’s gospel is a gospel none the less. His style is much different from the others, John’s main goal, is to show the divine side of Jesus. John does not tell us the story of Jesus birth or early ministry, but begins immediately with giving us a look at Jesus the man’s character, and godly nature. John even gives us his very own reason and purpose of writing this gospel: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31)

You see, these four were necessary for us to get the full picture of who Jesus was, is, and is to come.

2.) Having four gospels enables us to verify the accounts of Jesus life as facts.

The Old Testament law forbids anything to be taken as fact unless there are more than one eye-witnesses. In a court of law in today’s world, four different witnesses called to the stand would each give the same story, but from different perspectives, and each would leave details out and put details in that others would or would not. If they were identical, it would indicate to a judge that there was collusion. While these four gospels are part of one Bible, and one group called the “Gospels”, they are also free-standing independent accounts written by different people with different outlooks on the same thing that ultimately reach the same goal. In a court of law, from a legal standpoint, they indicate factual reliability.

3.) Having four gospels rewards Christian’s who are true seekers.

While we can learn a ton from reading each individual gospel, reading them as a collection and comparing them against one another is far more spiritually fulfilling. The differences in the books force us to study harder, read closer, in order to find the meaning and the truth about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For example: in Matthew 14 Jesus makes his disciples go on ahead of him in the boat, and essentially tells them he will catch up to them later. This verse gives us no reason for Jesus’ actions. However, if you read and combine that with Mark 6, you will learn that Jesus had sent them earlier two-by-two to cast out demons and when they returned they were riding high on the horse, they even behaved as if they were going to teach Jesus! The nerve! So we can learn, that Jesus had two reasons for sending them off ahead of him in the boat. As they are struggling against the storm, without Jesus, fighting on their own against the wind and waves they first learn that they can do nothing on their own, that can do nothing without Jesus. The second thing they learned was that nothing is impossible to those who call upon Jesus for help.

I hope reading this today has given you a better understanding of why we need and have four gospels,

God bless you,


*Today’s message was inspired mostly by the great folks at*

Can you walk on water?

Walking on Water Hajdudorog

Image via Wikipedia

When you read Matthew chapter 14 you will notice that it’s a three-part piece.  It starts with the death of John the Baptist, goes into the time Jesus fed 5,000 people, and finally it tells of Jesus walking on water. Today I want to talk to you about the last of the three sections. When people think about the walking on water part of Jesus’ life they think of Peter walking on the water with Jesus, or the miracle of anyone walking on water to begin with. I’m not blasting any Pastors who preach on Peter having a lack of faith being the reason he began to sink, but in my study I have come to believe that Peter simply slipped in his faith just like each and every one of us do. We all have a time or many times in our lives where we have a problem trusting God don’t we? Ever been late on the mortgage, a car payment, been called into the boss’ office at work unjustly, or been left by a boyfriend or girlfriend for that matter? I know that most of our faith questioning moments come when a loved one dies.

When we put the entire story together, reading Mark and Matthew’s respective writings together, we learn that Jesus sends out his disciples, to heal the sick on their own. When they returned they behaved as if they had done all the good deeds on their own, and even had the nerve to act as if they were teaching Jesus instead of the other way around. So after feeding the multitude, Jesus tells them to take the boat back and he would catch up later. Tons have asked the question “Why would Jesus tell them to do this in the first place?”. The answer is simple, to humble them and remind them that they could do nothing without him. While some preachers call what happened to Peter when he began sinking a lack of faith, I want to remind you how BIG of a leap of faith it was to even step out of the boat. So often Christians are called to prove their faith but are simply too afraid to “step out of the boat”. Jesus creates a storm to go to them during this travel, then begins heading their way on the waves. At first the disciples believe Jesus is a ghost and are afraid. Once he gets closer Peter recognizes him. Peter asks Jesus “Lord if it is really you, tell me and I will come out to you on the water”.

Put yourself in the shoes of the other disciples, would you not have thought Peter was crazy? I mean really, we are talking about a first century boat to begin with, just a few planks of wood separating them all from the turbulent sea during a terrible storm! These men are exhausted from travelling, and terrified of this ghost on the waters. I can imagine Thomas saying “Peter you’re nuts! Sit back down” or Matthew saying “I’m seriously not jumping in this crap to save you”. Or would you not have taken a step further, and maybe even tried grabbing his robe to pull him back into his seat?  This reminds me of the woman who risked it all just to touch Jesus’ robe and be healed, knowing that women had no place in those days doing what she did, as a friend would you have not tried to stop her? Back to Peter, when he recognized Jesus, and Jesus spoke just one word to him: COME. That one word was all Jesus needed to say to inspire a simple first century fisherman to step out of the boat and use the waves as carpet! We then see the part about Peter noticing a heavy wind coming, being afraid, and beginning to sink because although he had faith, he was questioning the limits of the power of his faith in Jesus.

At the last second Peter cries out in prayer to Jesus, “SAVE ME”, and Jesus did. The next part here is from one of my study books and I want to you read closely:

A saintly old friend of mind told me on one occasion about praying for his child. And he said he got the assurance from God that his baby was going to recover. She was suffering from membranous croup. That very night he was awakened by the mother and the nurse. And he heard the mother say to the nurse “Is she dead?” And he turned and went back to sleep with never a question and never a doubt. He refused to look at the wind and waves of his storm.

Today, I am asking you if you could do that? Could you take that first step out of the boat, could you, like the man with the sick daughter trust in God to simply roll back over and go to bed? Or, are you like many Christians today that get too caught up in the details of what the storm is doing? Casting Crowns sings about praising God in the middle of a storm, great song. When everyone said my wife was dying, I took late night walks once the hospital had closed humming along and crying along to this song. But I knew in my heart, it was not the end. Today, no matter where you are in your storm, I pray that when you receive direction from God to take that first step toward him, that you will do just what Peter did. Even though you might question your faith in the process at some point, and have to ask to be saved from yourself. Even when it all comes crashing down around you. Can you, and will you show your faith like a medal of honor in the middle of the storm. I pray so.

God bless,


Jesus Christ 6

Mary Magdalene

Image via Wikipedia

We have discussed Jesus Christ from birth to death, but wait, there’s more! Now we finally get into the resurrection and as I am writing this, it is Good Friday, the anniversary of the crucifixion itself.

Romans 4:25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

 -For our sins, he had to die. For the wrongs of all generations, he was slaughtered. No greater love has ever been shown.

Matthew 28 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

-This verse is kind of like the appetizer before the main course, after getting to the tomb, the story really begins to get interesting!

John 20:1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

-Mary knew something was up, when the massive stone was simply rolled off to the side.

Mark 16:6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.

-Once arriving the ladies are met by an angel, who informed them of Christ’s resurrection, and even pointed out the emptiness of the tomb.

Acts 2:24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.

-Jesus essentially released himself from the grip of death, to fulfill his own prophecies of granting the world salvation!

 Acts 13:33 …and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus: ‘You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.

-Again referring to the prophecies of the eventual resurrection of the Son of God.

John 12:23  Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory.

-Jesus informed his followers that he must ascend to Heaven, before being seen by the masses and his public ascension took place, he had to return to his GLORY first.

1 Peter 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,

-This confirms the hope of eternal life we now have, our sins were washed clean in Jesus’ blood, and the promise of eternal life is now available for all who will accept him. If you have not done that and would like to, or to know how click HERE.

The apostle Paul had many great insights into the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. You can read them in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, by clicking HERE.

Also, to find out “Where Jesus is, in your life”, click HERE.

Stay blessed,


Jesus Christ (4)

the Gospel of Matthew

The basis of this portion of the Jesus Christ series will be about his human life and living.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

-To accept the Lord’s yoke is to accept his guidance and will for you. By Jesus taking the Father’s yoke upon himself, and living in the faith and will of God (himself), he was giving us the example for our own lives.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

-As I mentioned in my last post Jesus chose to take on the roll of the servant, the lowest roll in those times, as seen by the upper class. Jesus lived to serve. He was born to serve, and eventually died in order to serve even in death. He loves us that much. His entire life was one of servitude and example setting.

1 Peter 2:21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ died for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

-An often mentioned part of Jesus life was his suffering. He suffered for the cause of God. Just as in our service we may lose friends, and in some cases, be physically or mentally harmed in Jesus name. He showed us in his death as well as the rest of his life how to live, we are not expected to live perfect lives, because as the scriptures indicate, we are sinful by our very nature. But Peter is telling us here, that we are to walk in the way of Jesus at all costs, even if it were to mean the ultimate price being paid as Jesus did.

Ephesians 4:21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him….

-Paul tells the church of Ephesus, and all readers, that Jesus life was a life of truth. To say he lived in Truth, is indicative of the way he behaved. To walk in the way of the world is to live in pride and vanity. To walk in the way of the Lord however, is to live a life, and leave behind a legacy, of selfless service, of love, of mercy, and of gratitude for the life you have been allowed to have, under the banner of the Lord’s service.

John 7:1 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.

-Although Jesus is one and the same as God the Father, The Creator; he still took persecution, willingly from and for his very own creations.

John 7:41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?

-*The Lord was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2) but was raised in Nazareth of Galilee, a city that was despised by people at that time. He was the seed of David, but He came as a Nazarene (Matt 2:23). He grew up “as a root out of a dry ground,” having “no form”, “no beauty that we should desire Him,” and was “despised and rejected of men” (Isa 53). Hence, we should know Him not according to the flesh (2 Cor 5:16) but according to the Spirit.

In this glimpse into the human living of Jesus Christ, I hope you are able to find and receive the quality of life he has laid our for you. A life or service, sacrifice, love, grace, peace, and mercy.

Stay Blessed,


*© 97-11 Living Stream Ministry

Jesus Christ (part two)

the Gospel of Matthew

In this installment I want to go over the basics and explain our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s natures. These natures, being “the man”, and “the divine”. As you read, I have listed verses in the order they appear in the Bible, along with thoughts or facts based on them.

-Matthew 22:45 (NLT) Since David called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?”  

What the Pharisees could not understand was why David would call the coming Messiah “Lord” if in fact, the Messiah was to come from his own lineage. They only understood half of what David was predicting. Either they knew the meaning and simply would not admit Jesus’ divinity, or were ignorant of what David spoke of to begin with. To call Jesus the Son of David, referred to his family tree (the man), on the other hand, to call Jesus the Son of God referred to Jesus being God (the divine).

-John 1:51 (NLT) Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”

Prior to Jesus coming to Earth as a man, he was simply the Son of God, once he came here, he then, and forever was the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Proving both his humanity and divinity once again. This verse, on a side note is also one more reminder to us, and proof to the world that Jesus is in fact the ONLY way to God in Heaven. I love the NLT’s use of comparing Jesus to a stairway.

-Romans 1:3-4 (NLT) The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here Paul reminds of once again of Jesus duality. By Jesus death, his human nature was sanctified and transformed. As John 3:16 reads that Jesus was (at that time) the only son of God, after that death/sacrifice, we have the ability to believe in him and accept his gift of everlasting life as the sons/daughters of God. His people.

-Hebrews 3:3 (NLT) But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself.

See, Moses had the human (the man) nature but lacked “the divine” nature. Moses had the gifts that God gave him to reside in the building (the faith) yet not to himself, actually build it. Jesus, on the other hand, had/has the ability to not only reside in faith, but to BE faith itself. The very foundation, capstone, and cornerstone of our faith! Recall the verse “greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world” that also indicates that those who are simply of the world cannot be, or even imagine being as GREAT as the Creator of all.

1 John 1:7 (NLT) But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

I truly love reading the writings of John. He always shows purposeful use of words reflecting Jesus as God, and not simply a mere man. (Notice that his gospel doesn’t include a family tree like Matt. & Luke…that was on purpose. However in this verse John decided to show BOTH of Jesus natures.) By using the name “Jesus” John gives us a hint of humanity, but immediately reminds us that Jesus is not merely a man, but a man fathered by the very God who created the universe and everything in it. Ultimately Jesus himself, in Heavenly form. Only the mixture of humanity and divinity running through Jesus veins that was spilled for the forgiveness and pardoning of the sins of all humanity past, present, and future!

If you missed part one of this series on Jesus, you can view it at

Stay blessed, and please, soak these writings which explain further, our Lord Jesus Christ. For your own sake and the sake of those you pass it on to.