Summary: An overview of the entire book of Matthew showing a general outline Nature of Scripture - fulfilled in Jesus, Nature of Kingdom - Relational not religious, Nature of the Messiah - Suffering Servant.

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Hope Community Church

March 7, 2004

The Nature of Things

Part 1 of Walking with Jesus through the gospels

The first four sermons lay the foundation by examining each of the four gospels, authorship, and various foci. These will help us to understand the individual pericopes better.

Don Calhoun worked for $5.00/hr at an office supply store. He had attended two Chicago bulls basketball games in his life and was on his way to his third. When he strolled into Chicago Stadium, a woman who worked for the Bulls organization walked up to him and told him they were selecting him to take part in a promotional event during the game called the Million Dollar shot.

The shot came after a time-out in the third quarter. If Calhoun could shoot a basket standing 79 feet away – that is behind the free-throw line on the opposite side of the court – he would win one million dollars.

Calhoun had played basketball at the YMCA but he had never tried a shot like this before. As soon as the ball left his hand, coach Phil Jackson said, “It’s good.” Sure enough, the ball swished through the basket and the stadium went wild.

When Calhoun went home that night he had $2.00 in his pocket but he would receive $50K/year for the next 20 years. Sometimes one action, one decision, one moment can change everything.(1) It was just that way when Matthew went

I. From sinner to saint

A. Matthew was also called Levi

1. He was a tax collector

2. Son of Alphaeus

3. Possibly the brother of James son of Alpheus

B. He was hated by the Jews

1. He was a sell-out to the Roman empire

2. He profited by taking taxes from his countrymen

3. He was in the same class as prostitutes and traitors

C. His life was transformed when he met Jesus

1. Mark 2:13-17

D. The gospel was written in late 50’s or early 60’s ad

1. Parallels with Luke-Acts which ends in 62

2. Referenced in early writings

a. Didache ca 90

b. Ignatius ca 110

3. References to temple taxes, sacrifices all predate destruction of temple in 70 A.D.

E. Matthew’s encounter with Jesus transformed how he understood prophesy of the Old Testament, the nature of the kingdom of God, and the kind of Messiah who would rule the world.

II. The Nature of Scriptures

A. Jesus is fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures

1. Isa 7:14 = Matt 1:22-3

2. Mica 5:2 = Matt 2:6

3. Hosea 11:1 = Matt 2:15

4. Jer 31:15 = Matt 2:18

5. And that is just the first two chapter

B. Interpretation was misguided

C. We can have confidence in Scriptures

1. Old Testament fulfilled in Christ

2. New Testament

a. Gospels written early

b. Paul’s writings are early

c. Peter references Scriptures and includes Paul’s writings among them

D. Scripture is a lot like art. It is subject to many interpretations but it takes knowing the author to truly understand what he had in mind. It wasn’t until God, himself, interpreted the Scriptures for his disciples that they understood what was meant.

III. The nature of the kingdom is defined by heart (Matt 4:17)

A. It is relational not religious (12:1-14)

1. The Pharisees and Saducees taught rules to govern behavior – Jesus taught principles to guide the heart

2. The religious teachers taught the Sabbath must be kept by following a myriad of rules – Jesus taught to do what honors God

a. Picking grain to eat

b. Healing on the Sabbath

B. Good deeds done in secret (chapter 6)

1. Giving

2. Prayer

3. Fasting

C. Healing (Therapeuo and iaomai occur 20 times in Matthew)

1. Physical

2. Spiritual

D. Preaching – sending out the 12

E. Caesar hoped to reform men by changing institutions and laws; Christ wished to remake institutions and lessen laws by changing men. (2)

IV. The nature of the king is a suffering servant (Matt 16:21)

A. The Jews expected a great military ruler

1. From the line of David

2. A political ruler

3. A military conqueror to set Israel up above all nations

B. Jesus is a suffering servant (16:21)

C. He is God (17:2)

D. He holds all authority (28:18)

V. You are called to be transformed into the likeness of Christ

A. You must correctly handle Scriptures

1. Daily study and prayer

2. Discipleship and mentoring

B. Seek to have your heart thawed and changed

1. Be careful not to become bogged down in rituals

2. Do not lay burdensome rules on yourself or others

3. When your heart is right your behavior will follow

4. Today face transplants are a reality. Several plastic surgeons in England have said they are now ready to use donated faces of donors to help victims of burns and accidents look normal again. Getting a new face is purely external. The inside doesn’t change. True spiritual transformation is just the opposite, the inside is changed while the outside is left intact.

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