Summary: What is behind the kingdom of God "suffering violvence"?
A few years ago, a major Multinational company was looking for a new Marketing Director.
After much advertising and many applications, three candidates entered the final selection process: A mathematician, a statistician and a lawyer.
The first to be invited in for the final interview was the mathematician and the Managing Director asked him a simple question: What is 2+2. The mathematician was surprised, thought about it for a bit, wondered if it might be a trick question and then simply answered 4.
The Managing Director looked at the Board, shook his head and thanked him for coming, but he wasn’t the candidate they were looking for.
The statistician was the next in and the Managing Director asked him too the simple question: What is 2+2. He paused, thought about it for a bit and then replied that statistically it was a number between 3 and 5. The Managing Director smiled and Board were quite impressed. The candidate was thanked and ushered out.
The last candidate, the lawyer was then invited in to the interview and the Managing Director asked him too the simple question: What is 2+2. Without batting an eyelid he replied: “What do you want it to be?” He was promptly hired on the spot.
We might call it creative accounting – sometimes things don’t always add up.
Sometimes Sermons don’t Add Up! They typically teach based on misconceptions.
Matthew 11.2-6 – John’s imprisonment and question
Misconceptions of this passage
1. Standing Against Our Enemies
A. Satan – 1 Peter 5.8
B. Our flesh (sin nature) – 1 Corinthians 9.27
When do we need to practice aggressive faith?
When experiencing difficult days
We must not quit when things become difficult, we must rise up and conquer in Jesus name. We are soldiers in the army of the Lord.
2. The Kingdom Suffers Violence.
a. There are 2 opinions here:
1) Those that received the message of the Kingdom were violently treated in persecutions.
2) The description of those desiring all that God & heaven has for them.
b. Luke 16:16 "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. (NIV)
3. Jesus is telling us about the attitudes of those that heard John's preaching.
a. Since John began to preach "the kingdom of God" the response had been a violent one by those who were opposed to it, & by those who were enthusiastic about his preaching. Those who were touched by his message violently, enthusiastically seized it & wouldn’t let it go.
b. Their response to the message was so passionate, it's compared to violence
Let’s Look Deeper
12I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
13 He who opens the breach goes up before them;
they break through and pass the gate,
going out by it.
Their king passes on before them,
the LORD at their head.
I. The Role of the Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Philip Keller was a sheep rancher. In his book, "A Shepherd Looks at the Twenty-third Psalm," he says that sheep they require more attention than any other livestock. They just can’t take care of themselves.
Unless their shepherd makes them move on, sheep will actually ruin a pasture, eating every blade of grass, until finally a fertile pasture is nothing but barren soil. Sheep are near-sighted & very stubborn, but easily frightened. An entire flock can be stampeded by a jack rabbit.
They have little means of defense. They’re timid, feeble creatures. Their only recourse is to run if no shepherd is there to protect them. Sheep have no homing instincts. A dog, horse, cat, or a bird can find its way home, but when a sheep gets lost, it’s a goner unless someone rescues it.
So the over-riding principle of Psalm 23 is that sheep can’t make it without a shepherd.
Feed – makes me lie down in green pastures
To places of food and (still) waters
Places of rest – This is a picture of shepherds settling their sheep in the night and the ensuing morning
Predators (David – lion/bear – giant)
Night Time Vulnerability – Needed a good wall of protection – makeshift rock wall on side of mountain
The next morning he would make a hole/breach in the wall and lead the sheep out; he steps through the “gate” and the sheep follow closely behind him
The sheep have been penned up all night and are anxious to get out of their quarters – they push and shove in their excitement further breaching the gate in their excitement to get to pasture