TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

Matthew 18 – 19

Matthew 18

Jesus makes it plain that if we do not keep the Word of God the Father in heaven as a small child trusts and follows his loving parent, we shall in no wise be resurrected to spirit. Those who reject the scripture on the Biblical Calendar, or who trample all over the sanctity of the Sabbath, or who reject any zeal to live by every Word of God, to follow idols of men, are not fit to be a part of the bride of Christ. 

To spell this out:  Most of today’s Ekklesia; WILL NOT be in the resurrection to spirit and eternal life; UNLESS THEY SINCERELY REPENT of their IDOLATRY and spiritual ADULTERY and their total lack of childlike humility and zeal to follow God their Father in haven to live by His EVERY Word!

Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

That old issue of politics again enters the scene with men thinking that they are some great one and each wants to be the greatest, just like in today’s assemblies. Each man strives for his own cause and if we continue in that attitude we will quickly lose sight of Christ and our mission to serve God above all else.

This is in no way a new problem and was regularly dealt with by Christ, who even had to give instructions and an object lesson at his last Passover. This is a VERY IMPORTANT matter. And very many of our leaders today have fallen into this same trap of seeking personal advantage, instead of a life of true service to God and HIS flock. They do cloak their personal ambition by saying that they are only trying to serve better; but Almighty God knows better!

Such men will not even be in the resurrection to spirit unless they repent and humble themselves before God; seeking his wisdom and DOING all of Gods commandments, as little children trust and obey their parents in true unpretentious passionate love for their father. Christ himself says that such people are not even converted and need to become converted to a full true sincere repentance, turning away from compromise and sin, and toward a child-like, Christ-like passion for God our Father.

18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

The attitude of a small child [before he is infected with this societies evils] is the very attitude that Christ has for his Father: absolute faith and trust, absolute faithful passionate love and obedience; and an exalting of God the Father above all self interest and all else! If we become like that also, and we begin to have the same attitude that Christ has; we are truly internalizing Jesus Christ.

To be filled with personal ambition like very many in the Ekklesia today, is to be like Satan and his worldly society.

To offend and harm the faithful and persecute the zealous to live by every Word of God, is to offend and seek harm to God the Father and Christ! The personally ambitious and political persons will NOT be held guiltless by our Father. Seeking personal advantage is the root cause of much evil; as the shepherds feed themselves and do not feed the flock with the Word of God, because that very Word convicts them of their actions. 

Those who persecute the zealous for God; will not be held guiltless by the Almighty!

18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

What offends God is SIN, which is the transgression of his law (1 John 3:4). It would be better to be a cripple and be in the resurrection to spirit, then to offend God with any sin, including that of putting one’s personal ambition above his commandments, or abusing his flock.

Those who abuse the flock, by playing politics and trying to be seen as the nice guy and NOT rebuking sin and those who fail to teach the way to salvation and instead put a stumbling block before the flock, teaching them to compromise and tolerate sin: Will have a great correction.

This is a grave warning to all those who would lead the flock astray into a lukewarm tolerance of unrepentant and unrebuked sin.

18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

This is a message to many today, who would persecute and condemn these little ones who have the faith, love and humility to be zealous for God their Father and his will. If you condemn them for their zeal, if you call them over righteous and Pharisees; if you twist scriptures to try and mislead them: You SHALL face a severe judgment unless you repent quickly.

Christ is calling sinners to repentance, and that includes the sinful in these organizations calling themselves God’s church. If you condemn the one who repents and turns to God in zeal just to feel good about your own lack of zeal; you SHALL face a judgment, unless you quickly repent

18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

God the very Father himself, who is ruler of the universe, loves those who are repentant and turn to him in passionate zeal.  When you attack them and seek to lead them astray; when you seek to cause them to give up their zeal through your temptations and criticisms; you are offending the Mighty God of Eternity!

Repent quickly and likewise turn to God the Father!

18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Here we are commanded to do our best to work out our problems with others.

If you are offended in any person; go immediately and directly, and seek to resolve the matter privately in humility. Do not go and say: “you evil man, you did such and such;” no, rather go to him and say “there is a matter that I do not understand, why did you do this?” Speak softly and seek peace.

Do not delay and allow the matter to fester and grow out of all proportion in your imagination; go immediately.

18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

If he/she will not respond then go to the Ekklesia for a judgment; and if sin be found let the sinner be accounted wicked and rejected until he repents. 

The following about binding and loosing; has nothing to do with binding and loosing God’s Word!  Quite the contrary, it is referring to binding and loosing or judging DISPUTES among the brethren; Based on God’s Word!  The context above is clearly about disputes among the brethren!

18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you [the faithful followers and zealous keepers of God’s Word]  shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall [Lawfully and according to scripture] ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

The context of this matter is that when those in the faith agree, based on God’s law, concerning a matter of dispute among brethren; God will bind that decision.

Such a decision MUST be a matter of legitimate POOF based on God’s commandments and be just, fair and equitable. This is about making decisions based on God’s Word; it is NOT talking about making decisions contrary to, or outside of God’s law.

Any decision made by those faithful to and zealous for God’s commandments; based on God’s Word and consistent with God’s Word; will be bound and backed up by God Almighty. 

18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

If some are gathered together in Christ’s name, and are acting faithfully according to God’s Word; He WILL back them up.

If they are acting contrary to his Word, or contrary to God’s commandments; God WILL NOT, NO NEVER, back anyone up in such a sin!

If we are the servants of Christ: WE WILL BE DOING WHAT CHRIST HAS COMMANDED!

If we are not doing what God has commanded: WE ARE NOT HIS SERVANTS!

It’s just that simple!

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

If the person is genuinely repentant and trying, diligently our forgiveness should be endless, because he may offend in many different things over time. If he offends in the same thing endlessly, we should warn him of his offense or sin and it might be better to avoid the situation in future as well as to forgive.  [Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother]

Know this, healing from any abuse begins with forgiveness, even if he is unrepentant. I am not saying to remain being abused, one can leave an abuser.  What I am saying is that holding grudges will eat you up emotionally and spiritually like a cancer eats up our bodies.

We need to do that most difficult of things and forgive the sinner; while hating the actual sin.

Remember that while we were still sinners Christ gave himself for us.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

A parable of forgiveness

Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

This is a lesson that God the Great King forgives the sincerely repentant. 

This is a parable of the sinner who was forgiven much and then holds grudges and refuses to forgive others.

18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 18:29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, [upset, angry] and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

If we, who have been forgiven much; should refuse to forgive others; then we shall be judged for our lack of love and our own refusal to forgive others.

18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 19

Matthew 19:1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

They obviously knew that this would be an issue with Christ. Remember that Jesus grew up discussing these things with the doctors of the law as early as the age of 12. It is quite possible that he was well known among these men and had been in frequent discussions with some of them over time.

In effect these Pharisees were calling him out in public on a point that was likely to be unpopular with the people. Yet Christ was content to boldly declare the truth.

19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Notice that Jesus Christ forbids divorce!   Why?  Because God HATES putting away! 

Malachi 2:16  For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

The disciples ask about the law, and Jesus explains that divorce was permitted because of the sinful nature of people; but that the spirit and intent of the Creator was that one man marry one woman permanently.   

Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Jesus then gives the only reason to lawfully divorce; which is Pornea!  While mistranslated fornication here; the word Pornea actually means any kind of disloyalty including adultery, homosexuality or abandonment. 

19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication [adultery, pornea], and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Divorce was allowed because of the wickedness of the people; it was better to have a divorce than to have a couple living in abject misery due to unrepentant sin, abuse and hatred.

The converted person should never behave wickedly and is to be repentant and following all the commandments of God. The man leading by example and instruction in love and NOT by dominating and bullying; the woman working to support, assist and be a help to her husband, instead of for what she thinks she can get out of the deal.

The words “fornication” and “adultery” here are from the Greek “Pornea” which mean the same thing: Any disloyalty, especially sexual. The ONLY legitimate cause for divorce is unrepentant sexual disloyalty, or abandonment.

1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage [bound by marriage when their spouse has abandoned the faith and will not live in peace] in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

It is unlawful and sin for two people (BOTH claiming to be converted and both remaining in the assembly), to divorce and especially to remarry others. That is SIN and those who do such things are NOT obeying Christ.

Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

Jesus then says that most people cannot keep this command, but that the converted who have his spirit will keep it and obey God. 

There are many elders and brethren claiming to be converted who are living in adultery today.  They have forgotten the words of God by Malachi and live in sin. 

19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given [God’s enabling Spirit]. 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

The solution to preventing divorce in the faith is for each mate to truly love the other and for each to be personally repentant of sin, and continually forgiving of each other!  Any couple that divorces with both still claiming to be “In the faith,” commits sin!  and if they  marry another, they are living in adultery! 

Then children were brought to Christ as an allegory that we all must come to Him in humility and trust, as a small child comes to his parents.

19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 19:15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

This is a direct reference to the comments on becoming like little children, in trusting love and humble faith toward God our Father. Jesus here uses this opportunity to enforce that message with this illustration.

19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

This question is used to emphasize that it is God the Father who is being obeyed and followed by Christ; and that the ONLY way to salvation is to live by every Word of God the Father. There is nothing ambiguous here: if you want eternal life, you MUST keep all of God’s commandments with zeal and without excuse or compromise.  Jesus then lists a few of the Big Ten.

19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The deceitfulness of physical things 

If our focus is on the physical and not on the spiritual we have departed from the faith. 

The issue is not wealth itself, but our primary focus and pursuits. 

If we love money, or power, or friends, or family, or corporate organizations, more than we love to keep the Word of God; they have become our idols.

19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

The lesson here is also clear; those persons fixed on the things of this world will tend to trust in them and will not be focused on the spiritual things of God. We MUST be prepared to give up ALL physical things, right up to and including our very lives to obey God to the absolute end; in order to receive eternal life.

Our dedication to Christ and God the Father MUST be complete, total and absolute.

19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Some have agonized over this very simple saying; which is only intended as a graphic illustration of the difficulties of focusing on God when distracted by riches and the pursuit of advantage in this world.

19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With [unconverted] men this is impossible; but with God [with God’s Spirit and help we CAN become totally dedicated to God the Father and to a zeal and passionate love of his Word] all things are possible.

When God is working with a person: all things are indeed possible. He often allows men to go through a lengthy period of many years of suffering and poverty to build their character to the point that they can handle wealth before blessing them. One need only remember Joseph or David for an example.  Very often many have died in great suffering to gain that pearl of great price.

On the other hand God will allow great trials to destroy anything that comes between us and him; and that includes taking away our wealth as in Job’s case. When we go through such trials of loss it is wise to seek to understand why, rather than to lament the loss; for physical loss is for God’s called out, only spiritual gain; as God the Father teaches us lessons that will last for eternity.

19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The twelve are each promised ruler-ship over a tribe of Israel, and David was promised kingship over all Israel; and Christ is to rule all nations.  Those who suffer to gain a place in the Promised Land of eternal life shall have a great reward. 

19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

This is explained in the Matthew 20 parable.

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