Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Matthew Chapter 25

This chapter is a continuation of the discussion that Jesus was having with His disciples.We find out in Mark 14:1 and Matthew 26:1, that at this point Jesus only had 2 more days to walk the earth as a man. Remember that from Matthew 21 thru Matthew 28, only one week of time transpires. Jesus is still working to get the disciples prepared for what was coming. 

Jesus starts this chapter with the parable of the 10 virgins. In Chapter 24, He spends the time urging the diciples be ready. He gives a list of things to look for that will take place before His glorious appearing, which He describes to them in  Matt.24:29-31, but His clear emphasis was on being ready because "No one knows the day or the hour" (Matt.24:36 and 42). He now goes on to describe people who think that they are ready, but sadly, are not.

 Starting in Matt. 25:1, He speaks of virgins who were attendants at a wedding. All of the virgins had lanterns. They took the lanterns and went out to meet the bridegroom. In verse 25: 2 we are told that five were foolish and five were wise. Verse 3 says that the foolish took no oil with them to replenish their lamps. Verse 4, but the wise took oil in flasks, along with their lamps.

I think that it is significant that we are told right away that the 5 with no oil were foolish and the others were wise. There seemed to be no question that the amount of oil the foolish five had, was not going to be sufficient to last until the bridegroom arrived. The wise virgins knew this and were prepared. They knew what was going to be required to be ready to meet the bridegroom . The foolish 5 thought  they knew what they needed to be ready, but they didn't. 
Verse 5 "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep" Verse 25:6, says that at midnight there was a shout to come out and meet the bridegroom. (this was the point in time when they were supposed to accompany the bride to her wedding) 
 Verse 25:7 "then all the virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. In verse 8, the foolish ask the wise for some of the oil in their flasks because their lamps would not stay lit. Without more oil, they would  not be ready for the coming of the bridegroom. The wise virgins  tell them that they have to go get their own oil. (25:9) And of course, while they were going to buy oil, the bridegroom comes and the doors are shut. When the virgins come back it is too late. They bang on the door saying, Lord, Lord, open up to us. Verse 25:12 says, But, he answered and said" Truly I say to you, I do not know you."

Remember, this was a continuation of a conversation that Jesus was having with the disciples in chapter 24. There IS NO BREAK IN THE CONVERSATION. So after Jesus had made the point to His disciples that they needed to be ready because "no one knows the day or the hour", He makes two more important points to them. He speaks of the virgins who do not have the oil to be ready when the bride groom comes. The foolish virgins are people who say that they are Christians but their lives do not seem to profess Christ. I have had many people tell me that they are Christians.  They tell me that they have been relatively good and do not believe that they need to be born again. They are not into the "over the top, fanatical Christian stuff." They will meet the bridegroom and wait to see what happens. (read Prov. 13:9) 

I do not think that these are Christians who have let themselves run out of grace or the Holy Spirit as some commentators teach. I think that the virgins are people who think that they are going to heaven when they die, but, they don't know Jesus. Therefore they will not ready when He returns and Jesus Himself will say that He doesn't know them.   

READ LUKE 13:22-29 AND MATT. 7:21-23

In the next passage, Matt. 25:14-29, He is speaking to the disciples about the things that are entrusted to us by God. Do not get caught up in trying to compare God to the wicked land owner and do not give too much attention to the amount of talents that were given to each individual slave. Focus on what the Lord was teaching the disciples (and us). He was teaching them that we are to be about doing God's work. Using all of the gifts, talents and callings He puts on our lives. The important part of this teaching is the motivation and faithfulness of each slave, not the amount that they increased the master's money  or how much was given to them. When the master returned his praise was for their goodness and faithfulness (25:21)." Well done, good and faithful servant"

Pray to be good and faithful in all that the Lord has called you to. Do not be fooled. He is calling you to something!! Get on your knees. That is where you will hear His voice. That is where He can break your heart with the things that break His heart. Beware,  if you ignore the call He has spoken into your life, you will get better and better at not hearing what He's calling you to do. 

My husband and I adopted two hard to place girls from the state because the Lord kept calling and putting it on our hearts to take in children without permanent families. We were in our 40's when we got our girls. One Sunday ,I was speaking to a woman who was visiting our church ,with her husband, from another state. She met our youngest daughter  and I explained that she had been a foster child and we adopted her. The woman said that she felt that the Lord had put it on her heart to take in children that needed a home but that she could not see how that could happen in their lives because  they "paddled". She was speaking of going down rivers in canoes and "paddling" down the river. I was so surprised by what she said that I didn't have an answer for her. The importance of the eternal had passed her by and the voice of the Lord calling her to help the fatherless, was lost in the noise of a beloved hobby.

The last part of this chapter is different from the 2 parables that we just talked about. Matt. 25:31-46 is not a parable. It is Jesus talking about when He will return and sit in Judgement of all nations. I do not want to go into too much detail about this passage. I want to simply say that we need to look at the overall emphasis of what Jesus is talking about. He is again talking about His people being about doing His work. He speaks of feeding and clothing, visiting and caring for strangers. He is asking His disciples (and us) to care about and love other people the way He cared and loved as He walked the earth. 

This is my poem for:

Matthew 24 and 25

Look up
Be ready
I will come like lightening to gather you to be with Me
Do not be fooled
I will come
Be ready
Be born again
Be faithful
Be obedient
Be diligent
Be kind and loving
Be with Me forever 

So, to remember Chapter 25 we are going to 
remember the number 25.  10 virgins + 15 talents=25,
so remember 25, 10 virgins 15 talents =25, chapter 25.
Hopefully this will help you remember where these two parables are located in the bible, Matthew 25.
The point of this blog is to help you remember what you have read in your bible. Keep practicing your memory tools. There are many things that you will be able to find easily in the book of Matthew as you work on your memory tools. We are almost to the end of this book. We are almost ready to celebrate!!! I pray that God uses you in a mighty way to bless others with your remembrance of His word. 

Practice as you go to sleep at night. Practice as you sit at a stop light or wait at the grocery store. The key is to read the chapter you are studying, over and over again until the Lord speaks to you and imprints it on your heart. There is no hurry.....

God bless you sweet ladies! I am praying for all of you.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Matthew Capter 24 part 2

Starting in Matthew chapter 24 with verse 23, Jesus has been telling the disciples about the future. We ended the last study with verses 24:21-22,in these verses Jesus teaches about the great tribulation. In verse 23, He again warns them not to be deceived  by people telling them that they know where the messiah is, or by someone being pointed out in a crowd with someone literally saying "there He is". This is a repeat of what he said to the disciples in verses 4-5 of this same chapter.  He wants to make sure that we  and the disciples ARE NOT FOOLED. We need to know our bibles. Jesus, Himself is warning us. As I said in chapter 24 part 1. If we have read these words or if we have heard these words, we will not be fooled when someone tells us that Jesus is hiding somewhere or that he will be appearing at  a rally in Buffalo, New York.

In verse 24:24 He goes further than He did in His earlier warning. He says "False Christs and False Prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead (with the sole intention to mislead), If possible , even the elect." Jesus is telling them, and us, that these things will happen!! There will be signs and wonders! Visions and miracles are not the proof that Jesus has returned!! . In verse 24:25, He says, "Behold, I have told you in advance." He then goes on to give another scenario that will be used to deceive people into thinking that Jesus has already returned or that He is hiding somewhere. (Just for fun, google, "Jesus has returned", or "has Jesus returned?" and see what you get. It's incredible). 
Read verse 24:27 and remember it!! Who can ignore lightening? Who can mistake what is happening in the sky when a powerful storm moves in. There is no question of what is going on when we are experiencing lightening and thunder.  It is loud and dangerous and cannot be mistaken or ignored. That is what the return of our Lord will be like.  It will be loud, powerful and unmistakable as His return. Tuck this info away in your heart. Remember it. You may save an eternal life one day with this information and you will never be deceived.

This next verse is very interesting. (Matt. 24:28) Jesus says "where ever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather" At first this verse doesn't seem to fit with the previous verses but if we look at what Jesus said in Matt. 8:22, He says " let the dead bury their own dead". This is the reply that Jesus gave to a man who said that he wanted to follow Jesus but asks if he could first bury his father. The man's father wasn't dead yet. What the man was really asking was if he could just wait  until his dad died,  before he devoted his life to the Lord. The man wanted to fulfill his family obligations before he followed Jesus. Jesus's answer to him was "follow me, let the dead bury their own dead" Jesus considers the unbelievers dead. When there are people who would deceive by claiming, to be Jesus or by claiming to know where He is,they are like a dead body that quickly draws vultures. A vulture only has to see the slightest activity from another vulture to be motivated to join the circling of a carcass. They gather in large numbers and quickly and enthusiastically, feed on the dead. Jesus is saying that these deceivers are like a dead body that gathers a large crowd quickly. The crowd is eager to feed on the information presented to them. They quickly digest it and make it part of themselves.  (my brother- in -law actually believes that Jesus never really died. He believes that Jesus was whisked away, still alive, and taken to India and hidden in a Hindu temple until He died of natural causes. A corpse was calling and my brother- in- law fed on it and made it part of himself ) It seems that more and more corpses will be calling to the vultures as time goes on. Do not be deceived. 
 2Tim.4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires and will turn away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
 These deceptions will definitely be of a spiritual nature. It will be an indication of people wanting a "god" but not wanting the truth. Keep your eyes of discernment open. You may be able to see this happening in your community.

 In verses 24:29-31, Jesus returns to talking about the tribulation. He had been talking about it just a few  verses earlier (Matt. 24:21-22) (read Isaiah 13:10-13) Jesus
says "immediately after the tribulation of those days, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE IT'S LIGHT AND THE STARS WILL FALL FROM THE SKY and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, (many commentators, smarter than me, cannot agree on who or what these powers of heaven are) and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory". My favorite commentator, Eerdman, gives many examples of what this "sign" could be, but he believes that the cross is the only universally accepted sign of Jesus Christ that spans all countries, races and cultures. And then,"all the tribes of the earth will mourn". We all know people, that we love, who will mourn when these things take place. Then, Jesus will be coming on the clouds! Incredible.
 And (24:31)He will send forth His angels with a GREAT TRUMPET and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. 
So try to imagine all of this happening in quick succession. The sky will darken, the stars will fall from the sky. The cross will be  shining in the clouds and Jesus will descend from heaven the same way that the disciples watched Him go. (Acts 1:11) A trumpet will sound (In a miraculous way of course because the whole earth will hear it at the same time)And He will send forth His angels, who will gather His beloved from the whole earth.


lots of figs, not so many leaves
Verse 24:32, Jesus says "now learn from the fig tree"... this is very interesting. Fig trees get there fruit on old leaves or bare branches. In this verse Jesus speaks of the summer leaves that start to sprout in the spring. The fruit of a fig tree is ripe or well on its way to being ripe before the full leaves of summer are out on it's branches. (Does this mean that our "fruit" as a believers will be ripe and completed?) In verse 24:33, Jesus tells us when we see all these "things", know that He is near, right at the door. (we are to know, but the rest of the world will pay no 24:37-39.)

This next verse is very interesting. Matt. 24:34 says "Truly I say to you this generation will not pass away until all these "things" take place." The generation Jesus is speaking of is the generation in which all of these "things" take place. Remember in verse 24:33, He says "when you see all these things." THIS WAS ONE THOUGHT THAT JESUS WAS EXPRESSING HERE. THERE WERE NO CHAPTER BREAKS. HE WAS HAVING A NORMAL CONVERSATION WITH THE DISCIPLES. REMEMBER, CHAPTER 21 THROUGH THE END OF THE BOOK OF MATTHEW, REFLECTS APPROXIMATELY ONE WEEK IN THE LIFE OF JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES. Of course, it's taking us much longer than that to study it, but it is important not to loose our perspective of the time frame in which these things took place. 

Now on to verse 24:36. This is the verse we will use to remember what is in this chapter!!!!Jesus says " no one knows the day or the hour"  NO MAN, NO ANGEL, NOT EVEN JESUS HIMSELF KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR. ONLY GOD THE FATHER KNOWS!!!
Many people in my lifetime have claimed to have been given the privilege of knowing the day when the Lord would return. There is a man right now claiming to have seen miraculous signs and being told by an apparition of the Lord Himself, that JESUS will return on 7-11-2018 . He professes to being very humbled and says that he alone carries the heavy burden of telling the world of the Lord's return.!!!YIKES!!!We all suffer and the world suffers when people don't know their bibles. PRAY TO COMMIT THIS TO YOUR MEMORY.  Chapter 24...there are 24 hours in a day. NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR.  IF YOU CAN REMEMBER THIS SIMPLE PHRASE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO QUICKLY TURN TO MATTHEW 24 AND FIND THIS IMPORTANT SUBJECT THE NEXT TIME THERE IS A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE LORD COMING BACK. AS WE GET CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE LORD'S RETURN, THERE WILL BE MORE AND MORE CORPSES CALLING.
                                                                             BE READY

In verses 24:37-39, Jesus explains that the rest of the world, who have not accepted His plan for redemption, will not be ready. It will be life as usual for them. They will see the return of the Lord as we will, and will then be accountable for their unbelief. 
VERSES 24:40-41, have been analyze, debated and elevated above other texts and used to prove the rapture. I have read different commentaries and I do think that this is a scripture that supports the timing of the rapture, but people who are far more educated than myself think that it could be that the people being taken, are the wicked being taken to judgement. So, pray over it and make your own decision. These verses can be a distraction from what Jesus was truly trying to convey to us in this chapter. DO NOT BE DECEIVED, BE READY.

Sangha River, Congo
In the remaining verses of this chapter (24:42-51) Jesus again uses parables to call us to be ready for His return. I now see this entire chapter as His attempt to ready His disciples (and us) for the events that will unfold before us . It is not His intention that we should understand all of the details of His return, He knows that we are incapable of that.  His intention is that we live our lives knowing that He is coming and that our world needs Him. Pray for an eternal perspective........

So, we will use , chapter 24, 24 HOURS IN A DAY. "NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR" to remember this chapter. Keep reading your bible. Go on to chapter 25. You will see that it is a continuation of the conversation that the Lord was having with the disciples. 
Hong Kong
God bless you ladies! I am praying for every one of you! Do not forget the impact that your knowledge of the word of God can have on your children, your husband, your community and your own relationship with our amazing incredible Lord.