Church Blog (Page 5)

Church Blog (Page 5)

Matthew 25: They Never Had Any Oil to Start With

“They never had any oil to begin with.” This is the only logical conclusion concerning the five foolish virgins among those who believe in the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” Any time a professed believer falls away, such is always explained, “He never was saved to begin with.” The only verse where they believe they can drive a stake on this error is 1 John 2:19, which in fact, not only does not support their error, it refutes it!…

Matthew 24: Two Keys to Understanding

“Matthew 24 is knocking at the door.” This expression was made popular by Billy Graham during the 1950s and 60s. So well received was this saying that Johnny Cash released a song by that same title in 1973. Matthew 24 is one of the most wrongly interpreted chapters in the Bible. The signs of Matthew 24 point to the destruction of Jerusalem and not to the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. In fact, the entirety…

Matthew 23: Don’t Be That Guy

Matthew 23 is a divine excoriation of the religious and political power brokers of Jesus’ day. One of the things I find particularly interesting is Jesus’ opening statement in verse 3, “There whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do.” Jesus then goes on to detail many of the scribes and Pharisees grievous hypocrisies. These serve as a warning for us today. In…

Matthew 22: No shoes, no shirt, no service

“No shoes, no shirt, no service.” Signs with these words were commonplace in the days of my youth (I am a child of the 70s and 80s). The message was clear, certain clothes were required if customers expected to be served. Our reading today contains the parable of the wedding feast. In this story, a king has made great preparations for his son’s wedding, inviting many, only to be rebuffed by the original invitees. Undeterred, the king sends his servants…

Matthew 21: They Lacked Conviction

One thing that strikes me about the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day is their incredible lack of fortitude. Twice in our reading today (v 26, 46), and repeatedly throughout the biblical record, it is said of them that they desired to say or do a certain thing (usually arrest or kill Jesus), but did not because they “feared the multitude.” These remind me of the feckless and fickle politicians of our day with their opinion polls, straw polls, tracking polls,…

Matthew 20: I Had it Wrong All Along

Here I am 50+ years old, a preacher of the gospel for more than half of that time, and still discovering some of the simplest messages in the Scriptures. I have always considered the parable of the laborers as a lesson of the equity of reward for all who obey the gospel, i.e., those who obey late in life receive the same reward as those who served the Lord all their lives. But I think I missed the main point.…

Matthew 19: What God has Joined Together

Disregard for the sanctity of marriage is nothing new. It was a problem in the days of Jesus as evidenced in Matthew 19:1-12. Four centuries prior it was a problem for Israel (Mal 2:13-16), and more than 1000 years before that, Moses had to address the problem in the giving of the law (Deut 24). Though never mentioned in Scripture prior to Moses’ Law, we can assume that such was also the case in the previous millennia when the world…

Matthew 18: Where Two or Three are Gathered

While Matthew 7:1 is the go-to text for the biblically illiterate everywhere, and only the first two words at that, fewer texts are more abused among shallow thinking Christians than Matthew 18:20. Ten times out of nine (yes, you read that correctly), this verse is used in reference to the worship of God. One line of thought is to comfort those who of necessity must worship in extremely small groups. However, the far greater use of the text is by…

Matthew 17: How much more proof did they need?

Matthew 17 opens with the account of the transfiguration of Jesus. What I find striking about the entire event is its apparent necessity to prove the superiority of Jesus. Consider for a moment what these disciples had witnessed: In chapters 8 and 9 alone, they had witnessed Jesus’ power over disease (8:1-4), disability and distance (8:5-13), demons (8:16, 28-34), disturbances in nature (8:23-27), and even death 9:18-26). Moreover, Jesus had empowered them with the ability to work these same miracles…

Matthew 16: Do You Understand What You are Saying?

One of the most well-known statements in all of Scripture is found in Matthew 16:16, where Peter made what is often called “the good confession.” Much could be said of the religious error and confusion about Jesus’ response in verse 18, but I want to focus on the verses that follow, specifically verses 21-23. Following Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Christ, Jesus began to teach them about His suffering and death which would be accomplished in Jerusalem. Rebuked by…