Growing by the Numbers

Matthew 13:31-33

Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.’
Another parable spake He unto them; ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.’” Matthew 13:31-33 (KJB)

These two parables if you will notice are placed between the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the explanation of the wheat and the tares. This was intentional so that we might see His intent of the two parables. He is warning us of the deception of the enemy. We all like to see growth in our churches. Hopefully we mean by growth – people being called to Christ through faith in the shed blood of Jesus’s death, His burial, and resurrection. Too many times churches have crowds, members, and numbers, but no salvations. “But Oh, we had a great crowd. There was excitement in the air.” something along this line said, and everybody is feeling great; but is Jesus truly praised, worshiped, and glorified?

I. The growth of the mustard seed in this parable would normally be to become the bush of an herb.

* + It, however, becomes like an “Oak tree”.
* + How is it that the power, popularity, and prestige of Christianity has increased in past years?

II. The devil likes nothing better than for the church and the kingdom to have an unholy, ungodly, supernatural growth.

* + We are accepting people into congregations that call themselves Christian, but they have had no personal experience with Jesus.
* + They are still in their sins, unforgiven, unredeemed.
* + They have not been regenerated by the power of the Spirit of God, they have not been justified, there is no sanctification, and until they have these things they certainly will not be glorified in the presence of Jesus.

III. The Psalmist wrote in the song, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1).

* + Rather than relying on “fire under the altar” (1 Kings 18:23, 25) why can the church not depend on the fire of God?
* +We depend too much on the methods of the flesh.
* + May God forgive us, and may we get on our knees, rebuild our altars and seek the power and the face of God.

IV. Leaven, in every case in Scripture, Old and New Testaments, is seen as a symbol of evil.

* + There is not one instance where it is seen as a symbol of a good growth of puffiness.
* + Some have taken Leviticus 23:17, and taught that this is a picture of the leaven being good.
* + The woman represents false religion; she could even be represented by Jezebel who was the wife and queen of Ahab.

V. Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

* + Jesus was referring to their legalism and false doctrine that had bound them in their sins and iniquities.
* + Paul the apostle warns of the dangers of letting iniquity/sin stay and permeate a congregation in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”.

VI. The kingdom of heaven grows in every individual who knows, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

* + Yet, numerically, it can grow in pretense and hypocrisy.
* + False doctrine destroys unity, while those who teach false doctrine talk of uniformity – you give up the truth and we will have unity – and accuse those who stand for truth as the ones who cause disunity.

-by Tim A. Blankenship
For further study you can go here and here

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The Raised One Speaks

Preached at Shiloah Baptist Church on Nov. 04,2018

The Raised One Speaks

Revelation 1:17-20

INTRODUCTION –
I. THE RAISED ONE IS NO OTHER THAN JESUS CHRIST – THE FIRST AND THE LAST.
II. HE COMING AS A LIVING MAN DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS DEAD, AND HE ROSE AGAIN.
III. THE OUTLINE OF THE REVELATION IS GIVEN
IV. THE EXPLANATION OF THE PRESENT SITUATION WITH THE CHURCH.

I. THE ONE SPEAKING IS THE ONE WHO CAME AS A MAN, TO LIVE, THEN DIE, AND TO BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD (vv. 17-18).

II. OVERCOMING THE GRAVE HE CONQUERED DEATH AND HELL, THEREFORE HAS THE KEYS OF HELL AND DEATH (v. 18).
A. He is the everlasting One; there was nothing but God, and He made everything.
B. Because of His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection; He defeated death and the grave (1 Cor. 15:55-56).
C. He who has the keys has the authority to let in, keep outl
III. THE RAISED ONE GIVES US UNDERSTANDING IN HOW TO READ THE REVELATION (v. 19).
A. The things which you have seen – the past (chapter 1).
B. The things which are – the present (chapter 2-3).
C. The things which shall be hereafter (chapters 4-22).

IV. THE SEVEN STARS, AND THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS [lampstands], ARE THE ONES TO WHOM THE FOLLOWING SEVEN LETTERS ARE WRITTEN (vv. 20).
A. Addressed to the seven stars (messengers) and are the angels (pastors).
B. The seven candlesticks are the seven churches representing the church throughout the Church age; also called the age of grace.

1. Be sure you know the One who was living, who died for your sins, was then alive again.
2. He came out alive to give us evidence, proof of who He is, and forever shall be – open your heart.
3. There is an opening of the heart and the eyes that helps us see Jesus and His purposes for the past, the present, and the future.
4. These letters to the pastors of the seven churches are also relevant and needed for today’s pastor, people, and the Church.

The Kings Authority Over Evil

The King’s Authority Over Evil

Matthew 8:28-34

We have seen Jesus the King as He has dealt with physical ailments, sicknesses, diseases, and our infirmities. We have seen Him deal with the storm which came up at sea which could, itself, have been generated by supernatural means, through the demons we see in our text. It is only my supposition to think it was of supernatural means, and I think a good supposition due to the fear of the four fishermen who were on the boat of the previous verses. If it was not supernatural, then, it was one of the fiercest storms they had ever encountered.

JESUS IS MET BY TWO WHO ARE POSSESSED BY DEMONS (v. 28).

* Two people all the other people feared and would take long walks around where they dwelt.

* Two people who were in bondage; who actually were crying for help from within their souls.

THE FALLEN ANGELS KNOW WHO JESUS IS AND PLEAD WITH HIM FOR A REPRIEVE (vv. 29-31).

* These demons recognize their Creator who cast them out of heaven.

* They still despise Him, though they may show some humility to Him, recognizing His superiority over them.

MATTHEW’S GOSPEL RECORDS JESUS ONLY SPEAKING ONE WORD, AND THAT WORD IS “GO.” (v. 32).

* Jesus’s word “Go” to these fallen angels was to depart from the tormented souls of these individuals.

* The Christian is commissioned to “Go”, and tell, and deliver the lost from the torment of evil.

THE OWNER’S OF THE PORK STRONGLY URGE JESUS TO LEAVE (vv. 33-34).

* This whole event is about the deliverance of people who have been in bondage to evil.

* What is of more importance pigs and/or possessions or the lives of human beings?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus Said, ‘Follow Me’

Being A Disciple Of Jesus

Matthew 8:18-22

“Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head. And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead.” Matthew 8:18-22 (KJV).

ANY DESIRE FOR POPULARITY MUST BE DEALT WITH (v. 18).

* Jesus had no desire for popularity, nor should His disciples.

* The false teachers and preachers love the praises and accolades of crowds they draw by their showmanship, and “Miracles”.

THERE IS NO GUARANTEE FOR MATERIAL SECURITY – NO PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD – NO PROMISE OF COMFORT (vv. 19-20).

* Jesus knows the hearts of all men, and He knew the heart of this scribe, just as He knows yours and mine.

* We never hear of this man again – he is only known and remembered as “A certain scribe”, though as some kind of parable or illustration.

THERE CAN BE NO LINGERING, WAITING FOR YOUR EARTLY INHERITANCE (v. 21).

* Burying his father was not the idea, because his father was not dead, it is the inheritance that was on his mind, and that responsibility.

* We can be faithful disciples of Jesus when we disciple our families into Christ.

* The follower of Jesus Christ taking the responsibility to see that his/her family comes to Christ is the greatest achievement of that disciple.

THE COST FOR BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST IS VALUING THE ETERNAL OVER THE TEMPORAL (v. 22).

* If you determine that following Jesus is too costly, then you will lose everything ( “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” Matthew 10:39).

* The life of the follower of Jesus Christ is a crucified life – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Gal 2:20 (KJV).

* It would be more beneficial for the questioning disciple to follow Jesus; for then, there is great possibility that his family will follow too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Communicating Perfection

Communicating Perfection

Matthew 5:33-48

We start off with an “Ye have heard…” statement. It is the fourth of five if you count the “It has been said” of verse 31. This shows us Jesus’s familiarity with Scripture and the Law. It also shows that He is familiar with the general interpretation of those Laws.

In looking at the SERMON ON THE MOUNT we must realize that for the time being these principles are our goal. I fall so short of these principles of His Kingdom. The only way they are lived is when we are in complete obedience to the leading of the Spirit within us. Let me say here that our perfection/completion is only by God’s own decree – “You are Justified. All your sins are gone. Jesus has paid your debt”. This is still our goal for now.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN LIVING HONESTLY, WITH HIGH HONOR AND INTEGRITY IS WITH JESUS CHRIST (vv. 33-37).

* When your heart is right with God your first responsibility of honesty is with Him.

+ He already knows your heart and thoughts why would you lie to Him.

+ Why lie to others, if indeed, you see the image of God in them, and we should.

* When making a vow, or promise, let your Yes, Be Yes; and your No, be No!

+ If you must swear on a “Stack of Grandma’s Bibles”, then, your word is probably as good as the ocean front property in Arizona.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN SEEKING THE GOOD OF OTHERS IS BY LOOKING AT THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BE LIKE HIM (vv. 38-42).

* Jesus even turns this toward those who would strike you.

+ Is it a wimpy thing for a man to “turn the other cheek”?

+ Is it the right and courageous thing to “turn the other cheek”?

* Giving others what belongs to you shows that you care for them more than we care for things.

+ Giving them our time – if you are “compel(led) to go a mile, go with him twain”.

+ Giving possessions – if he “take away you coat, let him have your cloke also” (vv. 40, 42).

“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 (KJV).

LIVING WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE OF RETALIATION IS A WORK OF JESUS CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS (vv.43-47).

* I recall nowhere in Scriptures which tell us to “Hate your enemies”.

+ Most error in such things comes from misinterpretations and evil hearts.

+ Here, Jesus quickly puts that thought out in the cold

* The law does teach, “Eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25).

+ Seeking justice and seeking revenge are two different thoughts.

+ You can still love the person when justice is being done, but revenge almost requires hatred.

* When we love those who love us, we are doing only what others will do.

+ When we love those who have stricken us, who have lied about us, who have harmed us, then, people will see the love of Jesus Christ, and the difference He has made in our lives.

+ We need to be strengthened by the Spirit of God each day to walk with Christ and be like Him, in loving and forgiving those who have despised us, even hated us.

THE PERFECTION OF GOD IS THE COMPLETENESS WE HAVE SOLELY IN HIM (v. 48).

* This is similar to God’s command to Israel:

+ “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45, and 1 Peter 1:15-16.

* Perfection is the work of God taking us and making us more into the likeness of His Son.

+ It is the goal of every follower of Jesus to one day be made like Him for we have the promise;

+ “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship