The more we think of this command as one for others, the more we approve.
A specific command (v21)
Jesus said the man lacked one thing. Faith? The key to inheriting eternal life is faith. Little children are great at taking on trust. Jesus says that’s the key. We trust in his work. This man had a small view of Jesus and a big view of himself. The great command of the bible is to put your trust in Jesus, not to give away all your money. The problem was his lack of faith.
A common problem
Money tends to kill faith. People look to money to protect them, have a status or comfort them. God makes us worth something. We’re made in his image. How can we see ourselves as anything other than rich?
A guide to keeping money in its place
Money can creep in as a substitute. We have to keep it in its place.
1 Timothy 4.
View money positively
Enjoy the world, thank him for it and worship him in it. Money is a tool to help us do that.
It’s our responsibility to both earn and save (2 Thes. 3:12; 1 Tim. 5:8). Be good citizens (taxes, bills etc). Be a generous host. Protect the needy (2 Cor. 8:13-15). Support gospel work. The bible says they’re all important. As long as we pay attention to all of them, there is some freedom.
Abraham and David learnt contentment. Make sure luxuries aren’t seen as necessities.
Give, lend and share
It draws other people into our thinking about money. Money has the capacity to blind us. You can save it, spend it or give it. Only giving it breaks the power of money. If we don’t want money to master us, we have to give it away.
Theology of the tongue: to glorify God and other people.
Love is a set of actions that you do because you have an ambition for the glory of God and the glory of other people.
Gifts of the Spirit – sometimes the OT talks about natural abilities that people have. It also refers to times when there’s an intervention.
Tongues – a form of prayer and praise that is expressed to God in a language you don’t know.
Prophecy – speaking God’s truth into the lives of God’s people with a measure of timely and personal application. Can strengthen and build up but also brings conviction of sin. It included private words to people. It’s not talking about the Bible. The Bible is supreme and is from God. The gift of prophecy is not infallible.
Sometimes it’s just wisdom. When you speak a word of prophecy, there’s something intelligent there.
We’re supposed to have expectancy when we gather as a church. Paul expected God to be on the move. If you miss the gathering, you’re missing a dynamic that The Lord has intended to happen where people are to be built up.
What is your ambition for a gathering like this? We celebrate what Jesus has done.
The message of Christianity will solve your relationship problem but not the one you’re thinking about. It will change the way you’re meant to be but it won’t be subtle.
Baptism teaches us that change is a gift from God
The heart of this message isn’t try harder. The message is it’s too late. The problem with the people was that they’d rejected Jesus. Peter can’t help but dive into the implications that Jesus is God (v36). If Jesus is the creator of all things and you’ve ignored him, it’s as toxic a relationship attitude as adultery to God himself. We need a rebirth. Peter’s response is urgent. Stop and accept this gift. It’s this acceptance that has the power to cleanse you of your sin and to make you who you were meant to be. Baptism is a visible sign of an invisible truth.
Baptism teaches us that Jesus is enough
We will go through times of doubting. You can be reminded by your church family about your baptism. When our faith seems dry our confidence in Jesus goes. Jesus died once and rose from death once. If you’ve been made new by Christ you are not who you once were.
If you think of eternal life and you don’t want it, you’ve come up with your own false idea. Heaven is a biblical idea but the problem is that we think of it as a spiritual idea. It’s a physical world. A new creation.
We look for the resurrection of the dead
Jesus’ resurrection shows us what ours will be like. He was physically resurrected but he was also changed. He can’t die again and his new body won’t decay. We will not all die because Jesus may return at any moment. Those who are alive won’t be resurrected but will be changed. Jesus is the firstfruits so we know what our resurrection will be like.
We look for the life of the world to come
The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns, he will recreate everything so that it is as it should be. We can have confidence because Jesus has already risen. He is the evidence. He has authority over death.
We want to look forward to it and for it to shape the way we live. Are you longing for the day when Jesus returns and you’ll be transformed? Does the reality of eternity affect the decisions you make day by day? Truly knowing gives us a right perspective. What is your motivation for evangelism? Keep an eternal perspective. This life isn’t all there is.
What difference does this make to church? Church is the place where we are reminded of these life changing truths and are encouraged by others.
The context is the teaching that Jesus will return. We’re told that the wait will be painful. How do I keep going when life is so hard? Pray and do not give up. The one person who stands in between this woman and disaster is a judge. This story of those in power abusing responsibility is familiar. The woman keeps on asking. She metaphorically has the judge on the ropes.
Pray because God loves you and he will bring justice
Set your expectations rightly. The justice he is talking about is for when he returns. God does deliver us from many injustices but the full revelation of justice will happen on the last day.
Pray because it will revive your faith
The delay is a hard wait. When you meet Christ will your faith have endured? We have a judge who is infinitely more kind and loving. As you wait for justice, keep talking to God about how you’re doing. As we pray, we are filling our minds with a heavenly perspective.
Say what’s on your heart to God. Prioritise prayer. Pray with others regularly.
What is the gospel? A message about Jesus (as promised) (v1-4)
Most people assume Christianity is merely advice. It’s news. It’s not a message about what we should do. It’s a message about what someone else has done.
What does the gospel bring us? Powerful salvation (v14-16)
Paul says the good news that Jesus died and rose again is the power of God that brings salvation for those who believe. If you trust in Jesus, you have the most powerful gift. The gospel is shameful to those who don’t yet believe it. It’s because of Jesus’ death and resurrection that salvation is available to those who believe.
How does the gospel work? By making us right with God (v17)
The more we think about Jesus’ life, the more not like us he seems. Through faith in Jesus, people can have right standing before God as a gift. The gospel demands that everyone who believes it is eager to preach it.
The good news about Jesus’ rescue isn’t that good if you don’t know you need rescuing. We’re not okay as we are.
- God’s wrath is seen in our world right now (v18a)
- God is angry because people reject the truth about him (v18b)
- God is right to be angry because we all know the truth about him (v19)
- Everybody knows the truth about God (v19)
Everyone can see the truth about the invisible God. Paul says it’s obvious. This has implications for the way we talk to people. The problem isn’t that our friends don’t know the truth, it’s that they suppress the truth. We can always talk to our friends as if they know that God exists.
Everybody steals God’s glory (v18b)
We’ve robbed him. We know God but do not glorify him as God or give thanks to him. Adam and Eve decided that if they ate from the tree they would be in charge and be wise. God had rescued the people of Israel. They decided if they made an idol and said it had rescued them, they could use it and become powerful and wealthy. They worshipped other gods. Paul is hinting at both of these stories. These aren’t the only times humans have behaved like this. They’re universal stories. We are all like plagiarisers. We’re failing to live in the universe as it really is. We are exchanging truth for a lie.
Everybody is being judged for this right now (v18a)
God is judging people’s rebellion of him. God’s wrath on our sin is seen in our sins. Paul says we don’t glorify or give thanks to God so he hands us over to degrade our bodies. We’ve exchanged the truth for a lie so God gives us over to shameful lusts. We think it’s not worth bothering to know God so he gives us over to a deprived mind. We choose to find our significance in created things. We go to images instead of him. We serve created things, not the creator. The word ‘natural’ can’t be about our desires. It ignores the evidence we have about sexuality. It means the way God made things in the beginning. Paul is using the example of homosexuality because it’s a sin that moral religious people are good at condemning. It’s an obvious sin. It’s not like the way God first made the world.
God gives us over to the fair and just consequences of forgetting him. We ignore the God of truth and are full of deceit. These are the things we have chosen instead of God. Isn’t it obvious that we are not righteous? By the gift of faith in his Son, we earn God’s righteousness. We badly need the grace and mercy of God. Jesus died and rose again so we can be justified and made right freely. He died to save you from God’s wrath.
No excuse because…
We behave just like others we judge (v1-5)
The list of terrible sins is really just a list of symptoms. If you do any one of those things, you are doing the same things as other people. You are meant to respond by recognising God’s kindness. God’s judgment is a ‘we’ problem.
God requires persistence (v6-11)
It’s a good idea for God to repay each person according to what they’ve done. God’s impartial, fair and just judgment is a good thing as it conclusively proves that God is just. We should rejoice that God will not allow injustice to continue forever. We haven’t persistently sought to do only good. We are amongst those who do evil. God’s lack of favouritism means we will be judged.
Nobody is ignorant of what God wants (v12-16)
What about those who don’t know? The Bible’s answer is simple. People will be judged according to what they know. If you don’t know the law, you won’t be judged by it. That doesn’t mean everything is okay. All who sin apart from the law will perish. Even the person who has never read the Bible knows enough to be judged. Each time they do something good or true, it shows God’s law is written in their hearts. A part that knows when we have done right and when we’ve done wrong. On that final day, Jesus will ask if you kept the law that came out your own mouth.
There are millions of people who hear what God says and then misunderstand it. God’s requirement isn’t that we know what he wants, it’s that we do what he wants. There is no hope for us in being good. Sin isn’t a ‘they’ problem. It’s a ‘you’ problem. We need to throw ourselves at God’s mercy.
This section is critical of Judaism and Jews. As far as being right with God is concerned, Judaism is useless.
God’s law condemns the Jews (2:17-24)
The terms Paul uses were found in Jewish documents. The Jewish people were intensely aware they were privileged. What have they done with their spiritual riches? They’ve spoken against theft and adultery. They have done those things. 500 years ago Isaiah said that God’s name had been dragged through the mud by God’s people. Paul is saying that each Jew isn’t guilty of minor infringements but breaking God’s law. Even the pagans can see they haven’t kept it.
God’s circumcision proves Jews aren’t really Jews (2:25-29)
This was ancient even when Jesus was walking around. Circumcision was the sign of an intimate personal relationship between God and his people. Paul says it misunderstands the symbolism. It has value if you obey the law. They’ve mistaken the sign for the reality.
God’s faithfulness is not to the Jews but to himself (3:1-8)
God promised he would be faithful and just to his own character. God would always be seen as truthful and righteous. Paul identifies himself with the Jews. God’s judgment brings out his righteousness.
Christianity is not like Judaism so thank God for Jesus. Under this covenant, God doesn’t give you a bunch of rules. God makes a promise that we will save you from death forever through the death and resurrection of Jesus. There’s not set of rules that if you break them, God will cut you off.
Christianity is just like Judaism is heed God’s warning. The covenant requirement is to trust in Jesus. God requires faith in Jesus. Having the Bible or communion won’t save you. We have to keep the covenant. It isn’t a bunch of rules.
A man with a mission (v35)
Matthew is summarising unbelievable activity. Today, we know the mission because the book ended. It remains his mission today because he died for us.
The motive for mission (v36)
He had compassion on the crowds. When God sees a nation, what does he see? He sees crowds of people and his first instinct is compassion. When Jesus looks at us, he sees leaderless people. He doesn’t see need either (first). Sheep without a shepherd. You’ve got to think clearly.
The theology of mission (v37-38)
He really cares. He has compassion for you. The gospel is that the ketchup stains are wiped off and you’re white before Christ. Go there with your gifts and use them. We don’t have to pull it off. If you trust in Christ he will shine through you. It’s his harvest.
The strategy for mission (10:1)
What strategy did Jesus use to change the world? 12 muppets, one of whom was a traitor. The boss came up with a strategy. He loves you like he loved you the day you started.