Matthew 9:1-8 Follow Up June 19, 2018

This week, we saw Jesus prove his authority to forgive sins. Check out the story once more:

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1-8)

Certainly, the story primarily highlights the divine authority Jesus possesses to forgive sins. But together with the additional details shared in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 5:17-26, we learned three additional truths from within the story:

1. Interruptions to us are not interruptions to Jesus:

Mark 2:4 and Luke 5:19 both tell us that the paralytic was lowered through the roof of the house Jesus was located in. But we also made note of what Jesus was doing as the paralytic was lowered through the roof: he was teaching (Mark 2:2; Luke 5:17). This would have been a major interruption to the preaching and teaching of Jesus at that moment, yet Jesus responded with compassion and grace. It helps us understand we, too, need to be okay with interruptions. More importantly, we also need to learn to use interruptions as opportunities to reflect and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to whomever is interrupting us.

2. Genuine faith persists toward Jesus:

In all three accounts, Jesus notices the faith of the men who interrupt his teaching (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20). In our time together on Sunday, we also noticed how their faith persisted to Jesus, despite the crowd blocking access to him. So persistent was their faith, that they climbed the house’s exterior stairwell in order to create an opening through the roof and lower the paralyzed friend to Jesus. And we learned: we, too, must persist over our own obstacles to Jesus—we must continue looking to him, setting aside the sin and weighty obstacles that keep us from him.

3. A godly community carries the mats of others:

One of the most beautiful aspects of the story is the glimpse we get into the love displayed by four friends: the carrying of a fifth powerless friend all the way to the all-powerful one (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:3; Luke 5:18). It’s a glimpse that encourages us to ask the question, “Whose mat are we carrying?” Inevitably, someone in our lives is paralyzed in their own sin and needs more than anything else the forgiving power of Christ. So, whose mat are you carrying? Think of the neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family members who need Christ and ask yourself, “How can I help carry this person to Jesus?”

The “Stage 3” scream everyone wants to know about:

During the sermon, I mentioned the three stages of a child’s screams. Stage 1: When a child’s toy is taken away by a sibling. Stage 2: When a child is pushed, shoved, or hit by its sibling. Stage 3: When a child gets hurt really, really bad. Parents know that “Stage 3” cry all too well. It usually involves some sort of accident. Take, for instance, a time in my own life while I was playing with childhood friends in my neighborhood. My parents had purchased a new construction home in the early phases of the community being built. This meant a lot of homes were still being constructed after we had moved in. For us as elementary-aged children, this also meant we were able to grab unused brick roof tiles from the ground to see which one of us could throw them the furthest down a canyon. Right in the middle of our contest, one of those roof tiles hit me right on the top of my head, causing a very bloody head wound. Enter “Stage 3” cry!

Thankfully, my young friends were wise enough to help me back to my mom. They understood I couldn’t fix my bloody head on my own. They also understood they couldn’t fix the gash in my skull either! So they took me to the person who was able to help me at that moment: my mom.

It helps us understand something the four friends from our story understood: their friend needed help outside of themselves. And they knew exactly who to take their friend to. My dear church: as we go about our day-to-day lives this week, let’s remember we’re powerless to stand on our own. We all need Jesus. In our need for Jesus, therefore, let’s remember to be okay with interruptions in life, to persist over our own obstacles to him, and to help carry others to him. You can review the sermon and download the sermon note sheet here (includes follow up discussion questions for your small group).

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom. 15:13)

Grace and peace in Christ,

Pastor Marttell Sanchez

Matthew 8.1-4 Follow Up May 14, 2018

On Sunday we began our new series examining the miracles of Jesus Christ. We started this week by looking at Jesus’ healing of the leper in Matthew 8.1-4. Jesus’ miracles were not just random acts of kindness, or impressive acts meant to shock the crowds. Jesus’ miracles were signs that were meant to teach us about the King, Jesus Christ, and His Kingdom. The miracles point us to Jesus. As we looked at Jesus’ healing of the leper we learned three key truths about Jesus and His work.

1. Jesus Receives the Unclean. Leprosy in the Bible was not just a horrible physical disease, but also made a person “unclean.” They were kept outside of the social and religious institutions of the day. In the Bible leprosy is often a picture of man’s sinfulness, even in the Old Testament (Hag. 2.11-14; Is. 1.6). As people, we are not just sinful because of the sins we do, but we are sinners by nature. We are unclean as well. Yet, we see that Jesus received this unclean man. He allowed this man to approach him. Jesus came to save sinners.

2. Jesus Touches the Unclean. Prophets had healed lepers before in the Old Testament, but nobody incorporated touching the lepers. In the Old Testament Law touching a leper invited unclean status upon oneself as well. Yet, Jesus reached out and touched this man. Jesus was not made unclean, but rather cleansed the leper. Jesus heals our uncleanness, not by standing apart from us, but by entering into our sinful world, taking our sins upon Himself, and dying for us. Jesus touches the unclean.

3. Jesus is Able and Willing to Heal the Unclean. When the leper came to Jesus he was confident that the Lord was able to heal him, but he wasn’t sure if Jesus was willing. Jesus told the man He was willing to heal him. Jesus is not only able to save, but willing to save. Nobody who comes to Jesus in genuine faith ever needs to worry that Jesus is not willing to save His people. Sometimes, however, we know that Jesus is willing and able to save, but we struggle with liking this fact. Do we really want Jesus to save our enemies? Are we sometimes like Jonah in the Old Testament who knew God was able and willing to save Nineveh, but was upset by this truth?

Jesus’ healing of the leper confronts us with a gracious, loving, powerful, and willing Savior. Praise be to God!

Here is the order of service from Sunday and some discussion questions: Matt. 8.1-4 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan

1 Corinthians 16.1-24 Follow Up May 7, 2018

On Sunday we finished up our series on the book of 1 Corinthians. What a joy it was to study this book together as a church! We tried to summarize Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthians by looking at 1 Cor. 16.1-24. In these verses Paul gives a brief summarizing exhortation surrounded by encouraging greetings that enable us to fulfill the commandments Paul gives us.

1. Summarizing Commands. In vv. 13-14 Paul calls us to  be watchful, courageous and to do all things with love. To be watchful is to be careful, diligent, and persistent in our walk with the Lord. We are called to be on guard against temptation in all the seasons of life. We need to be watchful and have courage because we, like the Corinthians, live in a world that is filled with temptation and foolishness. God calls us to his wisdom, and it takes courage to seek to please God above all else. It is important to note, however, that the call to be courageous is by no means a call to be angry and harsh. Paul wants us to do all things in love. It takes courage to stand for biblical truth which includes loving our enemies and serving one another.

2. Encouraging GreetingsPaul surrounds these last exhortations with a vast array of greetings from fellow Christians. Paul wants the Corinthians to know that while they are called to be watchful, courageous, and loving; they are not called to do this alone. The Corinthians have the local church in Corinth, godly leaders who live in their midst, other churches in Asia and Ephesus, and even other church leaders like Paul, Apollos, and Timothy. The Corinthians are connected and dependent on all of these as part of the Body of Christ. Paul then ends his letter with a reminder about God’s grace. In order to be watchful we must be dependent upon the Lord’s grace.

Even though Paul has given many commands in the book of 1 Corinthians, this last chapter really summarizes what we can take away from the book. May we all be watchful, courageous, and loving as we walk together with one another in dependence on God’s grace.

Here are the discussion questions and order of service from Sunday: 1 Cor. 16.1-24 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan

1 Corinthians 15.35-58 Follow Up April 30, 2018

On Sunday we finished our 3-week journey through 1 Corinthians chapter 15 as we looked at 15.35-58. In these verses Paul gives us some insight into the nature of our resurrected bodies. We often have many questions about what our bodies will be like when they are raised on the Last Day. As we looked at this text we asked, and answered, 5 questions about the nature of our resurrection bodies.

1. How will our resurrection bodies compare with our current bodies? In vv. 36-44a Paul uses some analogies in the natural world to help us gain some understanding of our future resurrection bodies. He tells us that our future resurrection will be like a seed planted in the ground. Our resurrected bodies will be very different. We need not worry about the nature of our resurrection bodies because, as Paul says, God is perfectly capable of creating bodies suited for their environments just as he has with humans, birds, fish, etc. In. vv 42-44 Paul contrasts our current bodies with our resurrection bodies in 4 key ways: 1) Our current bodies are perishable, but our resurrection bodies will be imperishable. 2) Our current bodies are dishonorable, but our resurrection bodies will be glorious. 3) Our current bodies are weak, but our resurrection bodies will be powerful. 4) Our current bodies are natural, but our resurrection bodies will be spiritual.

2. How will our resurrection bodies compare with Christ’s resurrection body? In vv. 44b-49 Paul tells us that our current bodies are made in the image of Adam and of dust, but our resurrection bodies will be made in the image of Christ’s resurrection body: heavenly. Jesus is the example of what our resurrection bodies will be like.

3. When can we expect our resurrection bodies? In vv. 51-53 Paul says that we will receive our resurrection bodies in an instant when Jesus returns.

4. Why do we need resurrection bodies? Paul gives us two reasons why our resurrection bodies are necessary: 1) Our current bodies are not suited for heaven. We need new bodies that are suited for the perfect and glorious reality of the New Heaven and the New Earth. 2) Victory over death is necessary. Paul tells us that God’s victory over death is not complete until we receive our resurrection bodies.

5. How should our future resurrection bodies impact us today? In vv. 57-58 Paul says the hope of our resurrection bodies should produce worship and steadfast obedience. Our future resurrection reminds us that what we do here and now is not in vain as we obey the Lord. This is because our bodily resurrection is just the final phase of the process of our becoming more like Christ. Even now we experience the power of the resurrection as the Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus. This will be completed when Jesus returns and even our bodies become like His.

May the glorious truth of our bodily resurrection be used by God as a source of strength and hope as we persevere in the faith for God’s glory. If you want the discussion questions based on Sunday’s sermon and the order of service, here are the notes: 1 Cor. 15.35-58 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan

1 Corinthians 15.12-34 Follow Up April 24, 2018

This last Sunday we looked at 1 Cor. 15.12-34 as we continued to look at what Paul has to teach us about the resurrection. In these verses we saw three truths about our bodily resurrection as Christians.

1. We will be tempted to neglect the truth of our bodily resurrection. In v. 12 Paul says that some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection. It does not appear they doubted the resurrection of Jesus as Paul has already said they received this message and believed in it. They may have even believed in an afterlife where our souls go to be with God. However, it appears they did not like the idea of a bodily resurrection that is promised to us in the Bible. We too often believe that eternal life is all about our souls being with God in heaven. While it is true that when we die as Christians our souls go into the Lord’s presence, this is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is that our bodies will be raised just as Jesus’ body was raised. There may be any number of reasons why would we struggle with, or neglect, the truth of our bodily resurrection, but we should not be surprised when we are tempted to do this

2. There are dire consequences for neglecting our bodily resurrection. In vv. 13-19 and vv. 29-34 Paul plays a game of “What if?” He tells us all the elements of our faith that fall if there is no resurrection. If there is no resurrection for us, that means there is no resurrection of Jesus because he rose as our firstfruits. If there is no resurrection of Jesus then our whole faith falls apart. Our bodily resurrection is what fueled Paul’s ability to suffer with hope. We too can suffer with confidence in the fact that death does not have the last word over our bodies.

3. Our bodily resurrection is an essential truth. In vv. 20-28 Paul makes the point that our resurrection is part of a process that started with Jesus’ resurrection and is completed when the whole kingdom is handed over to God the Father who is all in all. For Paul, our resurrection is a necessary consequence of the fact that God must reign and rule unopposed. All enemies, including death, must be put under His feet. Our bodily resurrection is not just some optional aspect of end-times theology, it is an essential consequence of who God is.

I pray that this passage gives us joyful hope as Christians as we are reminded of the glorious truth that our bodies are not left to be defeated by death. One day they will rise in glory. Next week Paul will give us more information about the nature of this resurrection. Here are the discussion questions and order of service from Sunday:  1 Cor. 15.12-34 Notes.

 

-Pastor Nathan Hogan