Text: Mark 3:20-35 | Speaker: Levi Bakerink | Description: Perhaps some phrases in the Bible are more famous than they deserve to be. That is certainly the case with the warning against the "unforgivable sin" of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Far from being a cause of undue concern for the Christian (have I committed the unforgivable sin), this passage should comfort us because Jesus tells us plainly that He has bound the strong man, Satan, and set free His people. And if we are in Christ, then we truly are His family.
One of the big dangers that the Church faces today is bad pastors and selfish leaders. We must beware of those who want respect because of the clothes they wear, or who makes long prayers for pretense. A pastor is nothing more than another redeemed rebel whom God has given the gift of teaching. Those pastors who are intent on their own aggrandizement and fleecing widows are not God's shepherds. The Jewish scribes only saw what everyone was able to give, but Jesus wants only a faithful heart – as was demonstrated by the poor widow who gave all she had to the Lord. Jesus does not act like these scribes. He – the King of kings – humbled Himself and came to serve others and die for sinners. That's who we need to follow and worship – the One Who is our Good Shepherd.
Matthew 13 famously introduces what are known as Jesus' "Kingdom" parables. This chapter begins with four public parables, delivered before the crowds. At the conclusion of those parables, the disciples steal away with Jesus and seek an explanation. In that private meeting, Jesus follows His explanation with three more famous parables (The Hidden Treasure, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Dragnet).
Jesus follows His teaching with a check on learning: "Have you understood all these things?" They respond with a tentative "yes". In light of their response, Jesus dubs them "scribes" and proceeds to outline the duties and characteristics of scribes by way of one final parable, the parable of the "householder." What do scribes look like? Let's take a look at Jesus' teaching and explore three characteristics of the Savior's scribes.
The Gospel of the Kingdom - Message 106 - Whitewashed Tombs - Matthew 23:23-28. Jesus condemns the religious leaders as false teachers and hypocrites and demonstrates the dangerous beliefs and practices that are leading them to judgment. In these 3 woes He focuses on the drastic difference between what they do on the outside and who they are on the inside.
Text: Mark 1:21-28 | Speaker: Levi Bakerink | Description: John the Baptist promised that one coming after him would be 'mightier' than him. In this passage Jesus demonstrates his mightiness, his authority, in ways we do not expect. Not only does he have authority in his power over the unclean spirits, but he also has authority in his preaching—striking right to the heart of those who hear him. And this authority is good news for his people, because he is powerful to keep and protect us, and able to speak words of comfort into our every need.
The Gospel of the Kingdom - Message 103 - The End of Questions - Matthew 22:15-46. Jesus used three parables to demonstrate the failure of the religious leaders in Jerusalem to respond to God's call and the consequences of their failure for Israel. Now the religious leaders ask 3 questions in an attempt to entangle Jesus in controversy and turn the crowd against Him. He avoids the traps they try to set and then asks a question in return that they cannot answer. Their inability to discredit Him and answer His question sets up His denouncement of them in the following chapters.
We have here a concluding Parable to the 7 Parables given by the Lord Jesus here in Matthew chapter 13. It is a Parable concerning the scribes of the New Testament kingdom of God. These scribes are not the scribes who were related to the Chief Priests and the Pharisees; those who were legalists, and who thought that they understood spiritual things correctly, but they didn't. They didn't understand the way of righteousness. These scribes are those ministers and pastors who know the Lord and are able to bring forth things old and new which relate to their teaching and preaching ministry.
The appalling human injustice of Pilate knowingly sentencing an innocent man to death in the place of a guilty one subserved God's great and just purpose of freeing us from our deserved condemnation through the substitution of Christ.
Authoritarianism seems to be on the rise. People and organizations want control. And it was the same way back during Jesus' earthly ministry, too. The Sanhedrin had been struggling up and down for centuries to maintain their power; and now, by overturning the tables and merchandise in the Temple, Jesus had come in and put a death blow to their power. They came and demanded Him to explain Himself and tell them whose authority He was under.
It wasn't that being a scribe or a high priest was evil in itself. The problem was that these men had taken their God-given power and used it for their own purposes. And they failed to see and acknowledge that the Messiah Himself was standing right there in front of them.
Jesus asked them a question in return concerning John's baptism – whether it was from God's authority or men's. But they preferred to shuffle around instead of dealing with the honest question and have their tyranny be impaired.
Jesus had authority from heaven to judge the Temple because He was the Lord of the Temple. Who do you think Jesus is? Either the Bible and Jesus' testimony concerning Himself are a big lie, or else they really are true – just as they claim to be. Who is Jesus to you?
The Gospel of the Kingdom - Message 101 - Two Parables - Matthew 21:28-46. Jesus uses three parables to demonstrate the failure of the religious leaders in Jerusalem to respond to God's call and the consequences of their failure for Israel. He contrasts those who presume that they have a right to their privileged position and those who instead find themselves unexpectedly promoted – those who the religious leaders particularly despised as being unfit for the kingdom.
We approach a whole section of Scripture around which many of our Bible translations place brackets and footnotes. What are we supposed to think about this? In this message, we consider the history of the Bible and see that such matters give us great confidence in the text!