The Study of Demons and Swine

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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The Madmen and the Pigs

28-31 They landed in the country of the Gadarenes and were met by two madmen, victims of demons, coming out of the cemetery. The men had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down that stretch of road anymore. Seeing Jesus, the madmen screamed out, “What business do you have giving us a hard time? You’re the Son of God! You weren’t supposed to show up here yet!” Off in the distance, a herd of pigs was grazing and rooting. The evil spirits begged Jesus, “If you kick us out of these men, let us live in the pigs.”

32-34 Jesus said, “Go ahead, but get out of here!” Crazed, the pigs stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned. Scared to death, the swineherds bolted. They told everyone back in town what had happened to the madmen and the pigs. Those who heard about it were angry about the drowned pigs. A mob formed and demanded that Jesus get out and not come back.

-Matthew 8:28-34 The Message

Jesus Sends Demons into Pigs

Verse 28: And when He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men confronted Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.

Verse 28 study: The region of Gadarenes is located southeast of the Sea of Galilee, near the town of Gadora, a significant city of the region. Gadara was a member of Decapolis. Independent government was inhabited mainly by the Gentiles, including the ten cities that explain the herd of swine. The Jews didn’t raise pigs because they were unclean and unfit to eat.

Demon-possessed people fall under the control of one or more demons. Demons are former angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against God and are evil spirits under Satan’s control. Demon possessed helps Satan to make people sin and have a destructive lifestyle. When Jesus confronts them, they lose power. The demons saw Jesus as God’s Son (8:29) but didn’t obey him. Believing is not enough for conversation of belief and devils (James 2:19).

Faith is more remarkable than belief. With faith, you accept Jesus and what he has done for you, and receive Him as the one and only who can save you from sin, and live by faith by obeying his commands.

Matthew said there were two demon-possessed men, while Mark and Luke said one. Mark and Luke only mentioned the man who did all the talking.

The Jewish ceremonial law says that men Jesus encountered were unclean in three ways:

  1. They were non-Jews, meaning they were Gentiles.
  2. They were demon-possessed.
  3. Lived in tombs.

Jesus helped them no matter their issues. We shouldn’t turn away anyone unclean or repulsive to us or violate moral standards and religious beliefs. We must realize that all humans are unique creation of God that needs to be touched by his love.

Verse 29: And they cried out, saying, “What business do You have with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Verse 29 study: Revelation 20:10 tells us that the devil and his angels will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone at the end of the world. When the demons asked if Jesus had to come to torment them “before their time,” they showed they knew their ultimate fate.

Verse 30: Now, there was a herd of many pigs feeding at a distance from them.

Verse 31: And the demons begged Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

Verse 32: And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the pigs; behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.

Verse 32 study: When the demons entered the swine, they drove them into the sea. What the demons did showed their actions as destructive. Now, if they can’t destroy man, they will ruin the swine. Jesus’ actions showed the value he places on human life.

Verse 33: And the herdsmen ran away and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.

Verse 34: And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they pleaded with Him to leave their region.

Verse 34 study: What is on the minds of the people. Why do they ask Jesus to leave? Their own gods don’t have control. Jesus couldn’t be controlled, contained, or subdued. They feared Jesus’ supernatural power, a power they had never witnessed. They were upset because of the swine they were about to lose. They weren’t happy about the deliverance of demon-possessed men. What are you concerned about? Property and programs or people? Humans are created in God’s image and have eternal value. It’s easy to value foolish things, investments and possessions. Even animals over human life. Wouldn’t you want Jesus to finish his work in you?

Cross References

8:28

Matthew 4:24

8:29

Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10; 19:22; 1 Kings 17:18; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Chronicles 35:21; Mark 1:24, 5:7; Luke 4:34; 8:28; John 2:4

8:33

Matthew 4:24

8:34

Amos 7:12; Acts 16:39

Sometimes we look at things differently than how we should see them. Father, I pray that we can look at the events the way you do. It is a time to rejoice when it is the time, a time to be sympathetic when the situation needs it, and never turn our backs to anyone who needs love. Let us be instilled with your love and patience. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jesus’ Storm Miracle

Monday, December 20, 2021

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23-25 Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”

26 Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass.

27 The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea stand up and take notice at his command!”

-Matthew 8:23-27 The Message

Jesus Calms the Storm

Verse 23: When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.

Verse 23 study: Jesus’ disciples were fishermen; they were fishing boats. Josephus is an ancient historian. He wrote that there were more than 300 fishing boats on the sea of Galilee at one point. These boats were large enough to hold the 12 disciples and Jesus and were powered by oars and sails. The sails were taken down due to the storm to prevent ripping, and it allows the boat to be controlled easily.

Verse 24: And behold, a violent storm developed on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.

Verse 24 study: The Sea of Galilee is small, 13 miles long, 7 miles wide, and an unusual body of water. It’s also 150 feet deep, and the shoreline is 680 feet below sea level. Sudden storms can appear over the surrounding mountains with little warning, causing violent 20-foot waves. The disciples didn’t go to the sea foolishly, they were caught off guard, and their danger was legit.

Verse 25: And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”

Verse 26: He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.

Verse 27: The men were amazed and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Verse 25 study: The disciple witnessed many miracles, but they panicked in this storm. With the experience they had as sailors, they knew its dangers. They didn’t realize that Christ could control the forces of nature. There may be a stormy area where you believe God can’t work or won’t. When you understand God, I mean really understand God; we will realize he controls the storms of nature and the storms of troubled hearts. Jesus’ power that calmed the storms can help us deal with the problems we face. Jesus will help if we call him to. We should never discount his power even in trouble trials.

Cross References

8:22

Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 9:59, 60 John 1:43; 21:19

8:25

Matthew 8:2; 9:18

8:26

Matthew 6:30, 14:31; 16:8; 17:20

Storms of nature, storms of life. Father, I pray that we can take the time to understand you. It is challenging to not believe you can do the impossible. That is the purpose of Bible study, to stay in the word, to stay faithful to you, to continue to learn in repetitions that you can heal all wounds; we just have to trust you. Let us open our minds to trust you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Being Faithful to Jesus

Sunday, December 19, 2021

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Your Business Is Life, Not Death

18-19 When Jesus saw that a curious crowd was growing by the minute, he told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake. As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.

20 Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

21 Another follower said, “Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.”

22 Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.”

-Matthew 8:18-22 The Message

Discipleship Tested

Verse 18: Now, when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea.

Verse 19: Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”

Verse 20: And Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Verses 19-20 studies: It’s not easy or comfortable to follow Jesus. It means sacrifice or significant cost with no earthly rewards or security. Jesus didn’t have a place to call home. You will find that following Christ will cost you popularity, friendships, leisure time, or treasured habits. But, while following Christ may cost, the value of being Christ’s disciple is even higher. Like anything we invest in, being a disciple is an investment that will last for eternity and yield incredible rewards.

Verse 21: And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”

Verse 22: But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Verses 21-22 studies: Looking at these two verses, the disciple was asking not to go to his father’s funeral and perhaps wanted to follow Jesus until his father died. He may be the firstborn son and wanted to claim his inheritance. He probably didn’t want to face his father’s wrath if he left the family business to follow a traveling preacher. It is unknown if financial security was a problem or a family problem; he didn’t want to commit himself to Jesus. Jesus did not accept his excuse.

Jesus is always upfront with those who want to follow him. Jesus made sure they counted the cost and set aside any conditions for following him. As God’s Son, Jesus didn’t hesitate to demand loyalty. Family loyalty couldn’t take priority over the demands of obedience. The challenge is to ask ourselves about our own priorities in following him. The decision to follow Jesus should not be put off through other loyalties compete for our attention. Nothing should be placed above total commitment to living for him.

Cross References

8:18

Mark 4:35; Luke 8:22

8:20

Daniel 7:13; Matthew 9:6; 12:8, 32, 40; 13:41; 16:13, 27f; 17:9; 19:28; 26:64; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:8; 18:8; 21:36; John 1:51; 3:13f 6:27; 12:34; Acts 7:56

8:22

Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 9:59; 60; John 1:43; 21:19

Being faithful to you can be challenging, especially when our goals don’t match yours, like fitting in with the world. Father, I pray today that we can see the benefit of following you and being obedient. The difference between following the world and following you is different with different outcomes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Jesus’ Miracle to Others

Saturday, December 18, 2021

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14-15 By this time, they were in front of Peter’s house. On entering, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed, burning up with fever. He touched her hand, and the fever was gone. No sooner was she up on her feet than she was fixing dinner for him.

16-17 That evening, a lot of demon-afflicted people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah’s well-known revelation:

He took our illnesses,

He carried our diseases.

-Matthew 8:14-17 The Message

Peter’s Mother-in-law and Many Others Healed

Verse 14: When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.

Verse 15: And He touched her hand, and the fever left her; she got up and waited on Him.

Verses 14-15 studies: We learned an example for us to follow in these two verses. Peter’s mother-in-law responded to Jesus’ touch by saying, “Wait for Jesus and his disciples; immediately.” Think back to when God helped you. Was it during a dangerous or difficult situation? Ask him, “How can I express my gratitude to him?” God promised us all his reward for his kingdom. So we should look for ways to serve him and his followers.

Verse 16: Now when evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.

Verse 17: This happened so that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled: “He Himself took our illnesses and carried away our diseases.”

Verses 16-17 studies: Matthew shows Jesus’s kingly nature. Jesus healed with a single touch in which we learned about in 8:3, 15. When he spoke a word, evil spirits fled his presence (8:16). Jesus is the authority over all diseases and evil powers. He is also in authority to conquer sin. Sickness and evil are the consequences of living in a fallen world. When God removes sin in the future, there will be no more sickness and death. Jesus’ healing miracles are a taste to the whole world people will experience in God’s kingdom one day.

Cross References

8:16

Matthew 4:24, Matthew 4:23; 8:33

8:17

Isaiah 53:4

People find it hard to believe in miracles. So, father, I pray for those who find it difficult to believe in impossible things to do. Many times, we see miracles right in front of us, and people call it luck. It is not luck when your work is in it. Let us teach about the miracles Jesus has done to show others it is possible. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Good Results In Faith

Friday, December 17, 2021

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10-12 Taken aback, Jesus said, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.”

13 Then Jesus turned to the captain and said, “Go. What you believed could happen has happened.” At that moment, his servant became well.

-Matthew 8:10-13 The Message

Verse 10: Now, when Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.

Verse 11: And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

Verse 12: but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness; in that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Verses 10-12 studies: Jesus told the crowd that many religious Jews who should be in his kingdom would be excluded because of the lack of faith. They were rooted in their religious traditions and didn’t accept Christ and his new message. Be careful not to be set in our religious habits that we expect God to work only in specified ways. Don’t limit God by your mindset and lack of faith.

Verse 13: And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

Verses 11-12 studies: From ‘east to west’ stands for the earth’s four corners. All the faithful people of God will be gathered to feast with the Messiah (Isaiah 6:55). The Jews should have known that his blessings would be for the Gentiles when the Messiah came (Isaiah 66:12, 19). But the message came as a shock because they were wrapped in their own affairs and destiny. When we claim God’s promises, we shouldn’t apply them personally that we will forget to see God’s point of view to reach all the people he loves.

Matthew emphasizes the universal theme. Jesus’ message is for everyone based on scripture, all the prophets knew this (Isaiah 56:3, 6-8: 66:12, 19: Malachi 1:11), but the New Testament Jewish leaders chose to ignore it. Each person chooses to ignore or accept the gospel, and no one can become a part of God’s kingdom based on heritage or connections. The blessing of having a Christian family is just that, a blessing. But it doesn’t guarantee you eternal life. You have to make the decisions to believe in and follow Christ.

Cross References

8:11; Isaiah 49:12; 59:19, Malachi 1:11; Luke 13:29)

8:12; Matthew 13:38, Matthew 22:13, 25:30, Matthew 13:42; 50; 22:13; 24:51; Luke 13:28

8:13; Matthew 9:22, 29

Father, this is an example of what happens when we obey you and have faith in every situation we have. Although the centurion does have difficulties like any person to temporarily have obstacles in the way of his faith, he overcame them. Let us use this as an example, not just for ourselves but for others around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What Obstacles?

Thursday, December 16, 2021

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5-6 As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, “Master, my servant is sick. He can’t walk. He’s in terrible pain.”

7 Jesus said, “I’ll come and heal him.”

8-9 “Oh, no,” said the captain. “I don’t want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I’m a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

-Matthew 8:5-9 The Message

The Centurion’s Faith

Verse 5: And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, begging Him,

Verse 6: and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, terribly tormented.”

Verses 5-6 studies: A centurion is a kind of soldier in the Roman army responsible for commanding a century, or one hundred, men. The centurion can have many obstacles stand between him and Jesus. Pride, doubt, money, language, distance, time, self-sufficiency, power, and race. He didn’t let these barriers block him from Jesus; we sure shouldn’t let us stop him from Jesus. What’s keeping you from Christ?

Verse 7: Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

Verse 8: But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

Verse 9: For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”

Verses 8-12 studies: A centurion was a Roman army career officer with over 100 soldiers. The Roman soldiers were hated by Jews for their oppression, control, and ridicule; surprising? But this man’s genuine faith amazed Jesus! This hated the Gentile is faith put to shame the stagnant holiness of many Jewish religious leaders.

Cross References

Matthew 8:6

Matthew 4:24

Matthew 8:9

Mark 1:27; Luke 9:1

Like a centurion with many obstacles, we are no different from the Roman officer. But the centurion showed his faith by not letting things get in the way of his faith. So, when we struggle to find Jesus, what do we do? Father, I pray that this root question is answered honestly. What causes us to stay away from Jesus, and how can we fix that? Thank you for your many blessings. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Leprosy Miracle

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

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He Carried Our Diseases

8 1-2 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and dropped to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”

3-4 Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”

-Matthew 8:1-4 The Message

Jesus Cleanses a Man with Leprosy

8 Verse 1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.

Verse 2 And a man with leprosy came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Verse 3: Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately, his leprosy was cleansed.

Verses 2-3 studies: Like AIDS, Leprosy was a terrifying disease; there is no known cure. In Jesus’ day, the Greek word for leprosy was used for various diseases, and some forms were contagious. If a person contracted the contagious one, a priest declared him a leper and banished them from home and city. The leper would be sent to a community with other lepers and live there until they got better or died. When the leper begged Jesus to heal him, Jesus reached out and touched him, even though his skin was covered with the dread disease. Another incurable disease is sin; we all have that. Like Christ touched and healed the leper, he would need to do the same with us with sin and restore us to real living. But we have to realize like the person with leprosy realized he can’t cure himself and that Christ is the only one that can help.

Verse 4: And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Verse 4 study: The law required a healed leper to be examined by the priest (Leviticus 14). Jesus wanted the man to give his story firsthand to the priest to prove his leprosy was gone entirely so that he could be restored to his community.

Cross References

Matthew 8:2:

Matthew 9:18; 15:25; 18:26; 20:20, John 9:38, Acts 10:25

Matthew 8:3:

Matthew 11:5; Luke 4:27

Matthew 8:4:

Matthew 9:30; 12:16; 17:9; Mark 1:44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 6:30; 9:9, Luke 4:41, 8:56; 9:21; Mark 1:44; Luke 4:14; 17:14; Levicitus 13:49, 14:2

Father, as we study miracles, I thank you for diagnosing another miracle. I have had a tumor since my childhood that I never knew about, and for it to not be cancerous is a miracle. I can’t be anything but thankful because I was blinded by it. You weren’t blinded by it and made sure that your works showed. If anybody doesn’t think it is a miracle, I can’t convince them otherwise. My childhood was over 20 years ago. Just like what you have done in the Bible and the many stories we will be reading will show your works and how you can be trusted. Thank you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

How’s Your Foundation?

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 12/14/2021 8:00am

26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

28-29 When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.

-Matthew 7:26-29 The Message

Verse 26: And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

Verse 26 study: A house of cards crumbles just like a fool’s life crumbles. It is not intentional to build on a false or inferior foundation. The problem is most people don’t put thought into life’s purpose. As a result, many people are headed for destruction; it’s not out of stubbornness but thoughtlessness. One way as believers is to help people stop and think about where their lives are headed and point out the consequences of ignoring Christ’s message.

Verse 27: And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; it fell—and its collapse was great.”

Verse 28: When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;

Verse 29: for He was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Verse 29 study: The religious scholars, also called the scribes, cited traditions and quoted authorities to support their arguments and interpretations. Jesus spoke with a new authority, his own. He didn’t need to quote anyone because he was the original Word (John 1:1).

Cross References

Matthew 7:28: Matthew 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1, Matthew 13:54; 22:33, Mark 1:22; 6:2; 11:18, Luke 4:32, John 7:46

Father, I ask today, how is my foundation? Do I pick wisely spiritual friends? What about studying your Word or spending time with you? Can I say for a fact that anytime that I have a situation that I depend on you for comfort? Today, I will learn my diagnosis in a few hours, whether I have cancer or disease. I would be lying if I said I’m not afraid. But being in your Word helped me over the last week as I keep waiting with no answers. I have a community that reminded me of Philippians 4:6-7 in prayer:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

I pray that my foundation is strong with you and that I will handle whatever is thrown at me and that I continue to depend on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of Foundation in Your Life

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Monday, December 13, 2021

21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our super-spiritual projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

-Matthew 7:21-25 The Message

Verse 21: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Verse 21 study: Athletes can talk a great game, but it doesn’t show in their athletic skills. Not everyone who talks about heaven belongs to God’s kingdom. Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. He wants us to do right, not say the right words. Your house is represented as your life (7:24) will stand firm the storms of life if you do what is right instead of talking about it. What you do cannot be separated from what you believe.

Verse 22: Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

Verse 22 study: “That day” is the final day of reckoning whom God will settle all accounts, judging, sin, and rewarding faith.

Verse 23: And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Verses 21-23 studies: Jesus exposes those who sounded religious but had no personal relationship with him. On the day of judgment, only our relationship with Christ, our acceptance of Him as Savior, and our obedience to him matters. Many people believe if they will be rewarded with eternal life. The reality is, faith in Christ is what will count at the judgment.

The Two Foundations

Verse 24: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

**Verse 24 study: To build “on the rock” means to be a hearing, responding disciple, and not a phony, superficial one. Practicing obedience is the foundation to weather the storms of life.

Verse 25: And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

Cross Reference

Matthew 7:21: Luke 6:46

Matthew 7:22: Matthew 25:1, Luke 13:25

Matthew 7:23: Psalm 6:8, Matthew 25:41, Luke 13:27

Matthew 7:24: Matthew 16:18, James 1:22-25

**James 1:22-27 has more on putting into practice what we hear.

The foundation of our lives is dependent on our relationship with you, no matter the situation. So, Father, let us have a relationship with you so strong, no one can knock off the foundation of it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Study of the Tree of Fruit

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Sunday, December 12, 2021

15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.

-Matthew 7:15-20 The Message

A Tree and Its Fruit

Verse 15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Verse 15 study: False prophets were common in the Old Testament times. They prophesied only what the king and the people wanted to hear, claiming it was God’s message. False teachers are in our world today. Jesus’ message to us is to be aware of those who sound religious but are motivated by money, fame, or power. You can tell when they are because they minimize Christ and glorify themselves in their teaching.

Verse 16: You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thornbushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?

Verse 17: So, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

Verse 18: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Verse 19: Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Verse 20: So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Verse 20 study: Take time to evaluate teachers’ words by examining their lives. Trees are consistent with the fruit they produce; teachers who are good with their behavior and character should show when attempting to live out the truth in scripture. Teachers are not perfect, which means we shouldn’t start witch hunts, throwing out church school teachers, pastors, and others who are less than perfect. We all have sins, so we should show the same compassion to others that we will need for ouselves. When Jesus talk about bad trees, he talks about teachers who deliberately teach false doctrine. This is why we should examine teachers’ motives, direction, and results they are trying to seek.

Father, let us rejoice that we have an excellent teacher in you. I pray we take your teaching and use it to see those who are faithful and false prophets. In Jesus’ name. Amen.