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The Visible and the Invisible Church

The Visible and the Invisible Church

Text Matthew 7:21-23
False teachers are not not just found in pulpits, they have their equivalent in the pews. That’s why we speak of the church as being ‘visible’ – the church we see, and ‘invisible’ the church God sees. Just as there are false teachers in the church, so there are false followers too. Let’s see a description of such a person here…

1 The Sadness of a False Profession! THEY LOOK LIKE CHRISTIANS! 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

This must be one of the saddest, one of the most solemn verses in the whole of the bible, because it reminds us that there are people who genuinely think that they are Christians, but are are outside the Kingdom of God. Read more…

The Broad & the Narrow Way

The Broad and the Narrow Way

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Bible teaches us that there are only two roads in this life – the broad road and the narrow road. Only one of these roads will lead to God, to eternal life. Jesus told us that He, alone is the way to God. This is made clear to us than here in Matthew 7:13-14. Read more…

A Practical Help for Christian Living

A Practical Help to Live for Christ

Text. Matthew 7:7
Why is Jesus going back to talk about prayer? After all he has comprehensively dealt with this in Ch6. But consider the challenge of verse 1-6! It must have left the disciples reeling!

  • Don’t judge others – but exercise judgement!
  • Don’t be a hypocrite – be a critic!
  • Be humble, and meek, but don’t be so humble and meek that you are fooled by people..

The disciples must have been astonished. How are we going to put all this into practice in our lives? John Scott referred to the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount as a Christian Counter Culture. If that was so when he was writing back in the 1970’s, how much more today. Christianity is the direct opposite of the culture around us. How are these disciples, and us, going to undo everything that they have been taught by the world, and their upbringing and their culture and adopt a way of life that is entirely different? The answer is so simple. ASK GOD YOUR FATHER FOR HELP.

That’s why Jesus returns to our relationship with God – for without such a relationship, without a transformation of our lives and the indwelling Holy Spirit, who would be able or willing to obey this teaching.  And relationship with God means PRAYER. Is it any wonder then that Jesus returns to this very important subject? What can we learn? Read more…

What is a Church? Matthew 18 Study 6

WHAT IS A CHURCH?

Text:  Matthew 18:17ff

What is this ‘Church’ that Jesus is talking about?  Surely at this time the church hadn’t been instituted, for this event takes place well before Pentecost, when most evangelicals will tell you that the the church was born.  BUT, the church predates Pentecost!  Ancient Israel was as much part of the church as we are.  In the Septuagint, (The Greek version of the OT) the assembling of God’s people is the ‘ecclesia – the Gk word for church – Jesus certainly knew that the people who were listening to Him would know that.  In the passage Jesus quotes the OT, in verse 15, Deuteronomy 19:15.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

When we look at these verses we will see plenty of opportunity for proof-texting, lifting verses out of context to make them say something that fits with our own ideas, so we must be careful with this passage…. So, what are the characteristics of the ‘Church?’

Read more…

Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 5

Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 5

When a Brother Sins Against You

Text: Matthew 18:15-17

More practical teaching is to come, for we must seriously consider:-

  • The Possibility of Christian Discord. Moreover if your brother sins against you,

This is further to the previous teaching. ‘Moreover’.  Jesus has been warning his disciples about the danger, the serious consequences of leading other believers into temptation to sin.  But what if you are the believer who has been sinned against?

  • The sinning brother. ‘If your brother sins…’.   It’s not much doubt there.  Your brother will sin.  He’s a sinner, like you are yourself.  He WILL sin.  It’s just a question of when and how.  You will sin too.  BUT
  • The subject of his sin. ‘Against you…’. This is a very specific type of sin a sin deliberately directed against YOU.  It may be malice, it may be thoughtlessness, or envy, ruthlessness, ambition, – some people may even think that their sins are actually not sins at all, that they are quite justified in their actions.    Whatever the motive, whatever the sin, it is specifically directed to offend another believer, to cause them to stumble.

Some principles to remember when this happens:

  1. a) Who is the greatest sinner? Yes, my brother in this case has sinned against me, but haven’t I sinned too? Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners, an example for us all, yet Christ died for us so that all our sins would be forgiven.  When our brother sins against us our first thought us that we too are sinners!
  2. b) All sin is primarily against God.Psalm 51:3

So the overriding principle here is very simple.  When discord happens in the church, we must recognise it and do something about it, and try to put things right.

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Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 4

Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 4

Christ’s Care for Wandering Sheep

Text .    Matthew 18:12-14.

Jesus begins this parable with ‘What do you think’ – he’s not actually asking for their opinion – its a rhetorical device to get their attention. And the first question we must ask in response is the most obvious of all.  ‘What is a sheep?’

Read more…

Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 3

Studies in Matthew 18 – Study 3

Angels

Text:  Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

There is so much superstition around angels.  The ‘Angel on My Shoulder’ brooch, the new age, Roman Catholic superstition – all of these are reasons why orthodox Christians avoid the subject of angels – we seem to avoid it like the plague. Yet angels appear in the Scriptures, over and over again, and Jesus believed in angels, and was ministered to by angels, and spoke about angels, so we need to know about them, and be able to have a proper, biblical understanding of who they are and what they do.   In this verse, Jesus speaks about angels, so let’s look at the verse, and see what we can come up with.

But first…

Read more…