Tag Archive: matthew

Beyond our bubbles

I came across this outside a local restaurant recently – Covid-safe dining in isolation. Is this indeed the new normal? It also made me wonder if as Christians & the church, are we guilty of living in our isolated bubbles? Another way of putting it is, do we exist in our own echo chambers? 2 Tim. 4.3-4 warns us that a time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but gather teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear, suiting their own desires, turning away from the truth. May we instead heed Jesus’ instruction to be salt of the earth & light of the world, not hidden, but to shine our light before people that they may see our good works & glorify God our heavenly Father (Matt. 5.13-16).

Finding rest in the midst of anxiety (Matt. 6.25-34) | Tony Yeo


Do not be anxious (x3)
Gk. worry, concern, restlessness, unrest
Not problem free, but anxiety free
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As part of his CRU speaking engagements in Singapore, we had the privilege of having Josh McDowell speak at our morning service on the topic “Is Jesus really God?” from Matt. 16.13-17. Years back, I was able to attend an apologetics talk he gave, but did not get to talk to him.
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Church in the marketplace (Matt. 5.13-16)

Matthew 5:13-16
Church in the marketplace

– E Stanley Jones, no.1 problem of church = irrelevance (not meaningfully connected with the real world outside, therefore making little or no impact)
– lost influence in marketplace, neglected responsibility to be salt and light where we are
– ref Lord’s Prayer “Your kingdom come, Your will be done”
– not just individuals, but entire environment of marketplace
– Christians feel confined to church building 4 walls, marketplace arena of the devil

  1. Spice up the marketplace as salt of the earth (v.13)
  • Ed Silvoso “Anointed for business” – government, business, education // heart is to body
  • early church saw marketplace as their parish/do ministry
  • witnessing as a way of life (+ signs and wonders) e.g. Acts, 40+ in Acts, only 1 in religious place (3:1-10)
  • Acts 18:1-3 – partners in ministry + business (Paul, Aquila and Priscilla)
  • // today, millions of Christians called to full-time ministry in the marketplace
  • full-time followers of Jesus Christ (not just pastors and missionaries)
  • potential to be generals in God’s kingdom
  • salt, indispensable, precious commodity for trade (salary = “salt money”)
  • seasoning, flavouring for food
  • preservative, prevent food from spoiling
  • 40% professionals are Christians
  • challenge to be the best you can be in your workplace (bring added value, pursue excellence)
  • we can spice up marketplace, as long as not lose our flavour
  • salt can lose saltiness when contaminated
  • not go around condemning other people
  • NT says nothing about protests, confrontation, boycotting, petitions against sin (Jn 3:17)
  • not point out unbelievers’ sins, but stress God’s forgiveness, to repent and accept His grace; those passages confronting sin is addressed to believers, within the church

2.Shine in the marketplace as light of the world (v.14-16)

  • light in contrast with darkness, knowledge versus ignorance
  • seek opportunity to perceive truth about Jesus through lives of Christians
  • light can lose effectiveness by being hidden
  • v.14 ref Jerusalem on a hill, seen from far
  • v.15 bowl/basket, big bowl for grain
  • in difficult work environment, natural to hide our identity as Christians (defeat purpose of witnessing)
  • v.16 shine our light through tangible/practical good deeds
  • goal/purpose = glorify God
  • if we remain hidden/not visible, people may praise you as a person, not God

– survey of views of institutions (Mar 2010)
  – banks/financial institutions 22% yes, 69% no
  – large corporations 24% yes, 65% no
  – churches/religious organisations 63% yes
– we are change agents in our marketplace

Always be prepared

What would you do if you knew that you only had 1 month left to live? How about 1 week? How about 1 day? Would you live your life any differently, do all the things you always wanted to do, but never got the opportunity or time to? There’s something about the urgency of time when we know that our end is near. Somehow we abandon rational or logical thinking, such as saving up for a rainy day, or the perspective that we work hard today so that we can enjoy in the future. I believe that it is something that God tries to remind us, yet only when we realise the brevity of our fleeting lives, that life is short, and that many endeavors and goals in life are temporal, without eternal value or significance, that we stop to ponder and gain perspective of what is important and what we should focus on in life.

Jesus exhorts his disciples in Mk 13:33 to “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” and elsewhere, in Matt 24:42 to “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Time and time again, throughout the New Testament, there is a consistent and imminent message, “The kingdom of heaven is near.” One day, sooner or later, Jesus Christ is coming again. As Christians, we have the assurance that either we will die and be united with Him in heaven, or He will return in our lifetime to reign over heaven and earth.

As we study the book of Revelation, there might be times when we ask ourselves, what relevance does the end times have with my life? Ask yourself, if Christ returns tomorrow, would you be ready to give an account for your life? What would be the things you wished you had done or accomplished, for yourself, for your family, for God? What would be the words that you would regret not saying to your loved ones, your friends, your spouse or children? Would you regret not spending more time or money on the things and people that matter most?

Don’t live your life simply for tomorrow. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself … Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:33-34) Live for Christ today. He exhorts us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him (Lk 9:23). Let us proclaim His good news with boldness and urgency, since “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise … He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:8-9). May we always be watchful, always alert, always prepared.

Paul Washer’s “shocking” message, preaching from Matthew 7:13-27.

Download the transcript here (transcribed by http://www.bibletranscripts.com).
Distributed by Grace Community Church @ San Antonio, Texas

Temptation of Jesus

Temptation of Jesus
Matt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12, 13; Lk 4:1-13

A summary of exegetical insights into this familiar passage on the 3 temptations of Jesus.

Temptation to be (from Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus)
1. Relevant (stones)
2. Spectacular (throw from temple)
3. Powerful (kingdoms)

3 temptations correspond 3 worldly sins (1 Jn 2:12-17)
1. Lust of the flesh (stones)
2. Lust of the eyes (kingdoms)
3. Pride of life (throw from temple)

3 Ps of temptation
1. Pleasure (stones)
2. Possessions (kingdoms)
3. Power/Pride (throw from temple)

See also
21st century temptation and the 1st Sunday of Lent

3 Temptations of Leadership – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Nouwen’s understanding of Leadership
A first eleven: leadership

Did Matthew embellish his work with nonhistorical additions?
Leslie R. Keylock
Christianity Today, 11 Jan 2003

This article originally ran in the February 3, 1984, issue of Christianity Today

“As one of the five founders of the Evangelical Theological Society, with a heavy heart I officially request that Dr. Robert Gundry submit his resignation, unless he retracts his position on the historical trustworthiness of Matthew’s Gospel.”
Thus Roger Nicole, professor of theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, brought to a decisive climax a controversy that has been brewing for several years in the 35-year-old society of evangelical scholars.
Standing at a microphone in the packed dining room on the ninth floor of the Spurgeon Harris Building on the campus of the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies in Dallas, Nicole was asking for the resignation of the bald, bespectacled, erudite professor of New Testament and Greek at Santa Barbara’s Westmont College.
Robert Gundry is the author of Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Eerdmans,1982), a mammoth 652-page study of the first Gospel that has stirred the opposition of conservatives everywhere because of the enthusiastic use it makes of the scholarly technique in biblical studies known as “redaction criticism.” This discipline presupposes that the four Evangelists, especially Matthew and Luke, have adapted the deeds and words of Jesus to fit the life and experiences of their readers. For example, redaction critics would argue that Matthew adapted his prose to the rocky topography of Palestine and quoted Jesus as saying the wise man “built his house upon the rock” (Matt. 7:24). Luke, writing perhaps for readers in Greece, with its thick soil, felt it necessary to have Jesus specify that the man “dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock” (Luke 6;48).
Even more controversial has been Gundry’s suggestion that in the “infancy narratives” (Matt. 1, 2) and elsewhere Matthew uses a Jewish literary genre called midrash. Like many preachers today, the writer of a midrash embroidered historical events with nonhistorical additions. When, for example, a preacher in a sermon quotes the conversation between Adam and Eve in the garden, he is embroidering a biblical text to help his hearers understand a point, but his hearers do not reject what he says simply because the conversation is not historical.
Similarly, Gundry argues, Matthew has freely changed stories that are related more historically in Luke. Gundry says, for example, Matthew changed the shepherds in the fields into the wise men from the East because he wants to foreshadow and emphasize the mission of Jesus to the Gentiles. Gundry does not believe wise men visited Jesus.
Writing in the current issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Norman Geisler, professor of systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and the chief organizer of the effort to expel Gundry from ETS membership, rejects midrash in the Bible. “Any hermeneutical or theological method the logically necessary consequences of which are contrary to or undermine confidence in the complete truthfulness of all of Scripture is unorthodox,” Geisler argues.
In a rejoinder, Gundry writes, “I deny in some texts what would be the literal, normal meaning for a reader who assumes a modern standard of history, but not what I believe to be the literal, normal meaning for the original audience, or even for a modern audience that is homiletically oriented.”
At the very hub of the controversy is the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. All 1,698 members of the from ETS, who must have at least a master’s degree in theology for full membership, annually sign a creedal statement that distinguishes them from members of such more inclusive scholarly bodies as the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, both of which met in Dallas the following week. That statement says, “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written, and is therefore inerrant in the autographs.”

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