‘Who is Jesus? Three opinions about Him’ (Rev Keith Bell, Matthew 16:13-23 and 17:1-9)

When Jesus gathered His twelve disciples to Himself at Caesarea Philippi in Matthew 16:13-23, He asked them two very important questions…who did the people say that He was and who did they think that He was? While they answered these questions well, God the Father also had something to add as revealed in Matthew 17:1-9. Of course, what God thinks about the question is more important than anyone else’s opinion! What do you think of Jesus?

‘The right foundation. The right response.’ (Matthew 7:24-29)

Everything that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount was designed to get those who heard Jesus to do something, that is, not just hear him and walk away, but hear him and act. In Matthew 7:24-29, the final conclusion to everything that Jesus said that day, this could not be more true! The illustration he gave to complete the sermon was designed to highlight the pointless nature of merely hearing what he had said. His words demanded a response and the right kind of response. They still do. Only then can we be sure that our foundation is secure.

*Unfortunately a recording error means that a portion of this audio is missing. The full text of the missing bit appears below.

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‘True and false teachers, teachings and believers’ (Matthew 7:15-23)

Jesus really puts the ‘cat among the pigeons’ in Matthew 7:15-23. After making clear that he wanted those who heard him to enter through the ‘narrow gate’ and so enter his kingdom, he straightaway warned of those who would keep people away from that narrow gate by their false teachings. More than that, he also warned those who think they have entered that narrow gate, to be doubly sure that their profession of faith in him is real. Two dangers are clear in his words. Those who tru to deceive others by distorting the truth and those who are self-deceived, who say they believe but do not!

‘Two gates. Two ways. Two ends. Two crowds’ (Matthew 7:13-14)

Everything that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount is so important, but these words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 seem to have much more importance and weight than the rest. Why is that? Because eternity hangs on what Jesus said in these verses. The outcome of our response to what He said will either be heaven or hell. There is no in-between. And so what He said is so vital.

‘Ministry with the mighty, merciful Messiah’ (Matthew 14:13-21)

The miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the multitudes is one that is found in all of the gospels. It served as a sign that he was Israel’s Messiah, the living Bread, who came down from heaven. In this message on that miracle found in Matthew 14:13-21, Chris explores what the miracle might have meant for the disciples back then and for disciples in this age. What attitude is required for us to be able to do ‘ministry’?  And what is that we learn most of all about the one who was able to feed the multitude, but also said, “You give them something to eat”? (Sorry, sound quality not that great!)

‘The rights and wrongs of the Lord’s ‘general’ rule’ (Matthew 7:12)

A lot of people have made far too much of what is called the ‘Golden rule’ found in Matthew 7:12.  While this verses is important in the whole context of all that Jesus said and taught, it is not, nor was it ever, the be-all and end-all of His teaching. The Golden rule can never save us – only God can do that! However, the Godlen rule does remain an important expression of what it means to ‘love our neighbour’ as God’s Word consistently teaches us. The danger comes when we place the Golden rule as the most important and neglect to love God (the first and greatest commandment).

“Ask, seek and knock: What an incentive to pray!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

After instructing His disciples on how to avoid being careless in making evaluations of one another and then how to be careful with His Word and so make wise judgments, in Matthew 7:7-11, he then spoke about prayer. While it may at first glance seem that there is no connection between what Jesus had been saying in the previous verses and these ones, the connection is there and it is a strong one. If we are ever going to come close to doing what Jesus taught in verses 1-6, we’re also going to have to do verses 7-11 very well!

‘There is a time to judge! There is no question!’ (Matthew 7:6)

After Jesus warned his disciples to be careful of passing judgment on one another (Matthew 7:1-5), Jesus went on in Matthew 7:6 to say some words that are a little bit harder to understand. What is it about pigs and dogs that we must take note of? And, what did he mean by warning us ‘to be careful with what we do with our ‘pearls’? HIs words are weighty and they require some thought and some application!

‘To judge or not to judge; that is the question!’ (Matthew 7:1-5)

The words of the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 7:1-5 are heavy and soul-searching, but they also require a great deal of thought and consideration if they are to be put into practise. These words have been misunderstood over time and probably also badly applied, but this does not excuse us from tackling both their implications and their correct application – which again (like so much in the Sermon on the Mount) is a matter of the heart.