Summary: This message deals with the fact that more often than not we minimize the core things that are really what lead to spiritual greatness.
AN OVERSTATEMENT OF POVERTY
TEXT: Matthew 14:17
Matthew 14:17 KJV And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
I. INTRODUCTION—A BELIEF THAT WE HAVE LESS THAN WE DO
-One of the easiest things, in fact it can become a habit in life, is to overstate our poverty. There can be a tendency on even the most vigilant of souls to look at life and think that all is lost. We can allow the constant pounding of the everyday begin to pull at our faith and our hope.
-This can especially be true in light of the sweeping societal changes that are taking place at a breakneck pace around us. To take an honest look at culture can be a very disheartening thing to do.
-Kent Hughes in his book, Set Apart: Calling a Worldly Church to a Godly Life, asked the following questions in the preface:
• What experiences and observations can you supply to confirm or illustrate the changes in culture?
• Have you observed inroads that these cultural trends have made in the church or in your personal life?
• What (if anything) in the survey of cultural trends or the life of the church surprised or shocked you?
• Are there any things that have convicted you in the last six months that you felt that you shouldn’t have been involved in even though they are commonly being accepted as the cultural norm?
• Are there any general biblical themes or specific Scriptures that have brought you to a place of contemplation about the direction of your life or even of this church?
• Are there any changes that you made to repent or change your attitudes about?
-When you start thinking of these matters in our society compared to what is taking place in the world, it can literally be overwhelming to even the most lukewarm of Christians. I believe that deep within all of us that there is a crying out that longs to bring us to a place of holiness and godliness that is pleasing to the Lord.
-How I think about God, His Word, and His church will directly affect the way that I live. A high view of all three will make a great impact on my own personal spiritual growth. A low view of these things can put me in the condition of Lot so that my soul is vexed by the “filthy conversation of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7).
-The challenge that we all face is that when you see the culture affecting the church it is mostly gradual in its work. It is like the leaven the Bible speaks about and with the passing of the years, we can see its impact on us.
II. MATTHEW 14
-This single verse illustrates that very powerful lesson to us when we feel that we are literally overwhelmed with the magnitude of the job the church needs to be doing in our times.
A. The Background of This Miracle
-Before we get to the miracle that we will walk through, we need to fill in some of the details. This is one of the longest and most difficult days in the life of Jesus. Although when you look at it from the overall scope of His life, many of His days were very difficult.
-But this one was more because when you start in Matthew 14, there is a discovery that John the Baptist, the cousin of our Lord, was beheaded because he was preaching against the adultery that Herod was involved in.
-Instead of repenting and turning toward the Kingdom of God, Herod kills John at the request of Herodias, his brother’s wife. It was a savage, drunken party that took place on that day and there is probably good enough speculation that Herod was drunk and had lost his ability to think clearly.
-In one of those disastrous times when an alcohol clouded mind got the best of him, as has taken place on an innumerable host prior to and after that, he made an error in judgment and behavior and it affected him for the rest of his life and extended into his eternity.
-John the Baptist wasn’t a diplomat or a compromiser and because of his fear of the Lord, he said things that weren’t religiously or politically correct. There was a godly boldness about him that never considered the consequences.
• A faithful man of God confronts sin wherever it is committed.
• A faithful man of God pays no mind to the power that might be held over him politically.
• A faithful man of God has surrendered his life in such a way that only God has power over him.
• A faithful man of God is willing to forfeit his life rather than forfeit the message.