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Come – Matthew 14v22-33

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Matthew 14v22-33 – Come!

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Telling the same story in his Gospel account, John records the reason why Jesus retreated to spend some time alone and why the disciples were sent into the boat. This reason is that the crowd wanted to crown Jesus as a physical king. Jesus didn’t want this to happen and so withdrew with the disciples went back into the boat. This experience of the disciples in the storm can be an encouragement to us when we go through the storms of life. We all go through storms and troubles. When we find ourselves in these storms, we can rest on 4 assurances about Jesus if we are Christians and following Him.

By faith – He is praying for us

This entire scene is a dramatic picture of the church and the Lord today. God’s people are on the sea, in the midst of a storm. Yet Jesus Christ is in heaven, making intercessions for us – (Romans 8v34). He saw the disciples and knew their troubles (Mk 6v48), just as He knows our troubles and needs now. He feels the burdens and cares we have and knows what we are going through (Hebrews 4v14-16). Jesus was praying for the disciples that their faith would not fail. If you knew Jesus was in the next room, praying for you, would it not give you new courage to endure any troubles you have and follow Him? Of course you would. He is in heaven now, praying for you and me – in our needs, our fears and He is in control.

By faith – He will come to us

Often we feel Jesus has deserted us as we are going through hard times. In the Psalms, David often complained that God was far away and unconcerned. Yet he knew God would ultimately rescue him. Even the apostle Paul got into a situation so difficult he felt “burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” 2 Corinthians 1v8

Jesus always comes to us in the storms. He may not come in the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him most. He waited until the ship was as far away from land as possible, in the darkest hours of the night, so that all human hope was gone. He was testing the disciples’ faith.

Why did Jesus walk on water? To show the disciples that the very thing they feared was merely a walkway for him to come to them.

Why did they not recognize him? They did not recognize him, because they were not looking for Him. Had they been waiting and watching in faith, they would have recognized him immediately. Instead they jumped to conclusions that it was a ‘ghost’. Fear and faith, living together causes doubt, and doubt is double mindedness that blinds our eyes to the Lord.

By faith – He will help us to grow

This was the whole purpose of the storm, to help the disciples grow in their faith. After all, Jesus would one day leave them, and they would face many storms in their ministry. They had to learn to trust Him even though he would not be there with them, and even though it looked like He didn’t care.

Now here comes out bit about Peter. He gets a bit of a raw deal a lot of the time, and is generally criticised for sinking. Lets honour him though for demonstrating his faith – he did walk on water remember. He dared to be different. Anybody can sit in a boat and watch, but not our Peter. He went for it. Why did he sink? Because fear arose, he looked at the stormy weather instead of at Jesus. Jesus asked him after rescuing him, “Why are you in 2 minds? Did I not say, look to me? We must also give peter credit for asking Jesus to save him and perhaps this is what he was thinking of when he later wrote in his letter “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers”. This all helped Peter to grow in the knowledge of the Lord

By faith, He will see us through

Jesus said come, Peter went with him and together they walked to the ship. This must have encouraged the other disciples as well as Peter. When they saw the power of Jesus, they worshipped him. So whatever temporal troubles we have, Jesus will see us through to the end, for His praise and glory.

By faith, Jesus is praying for us. By faith, Jesus will come to us. By faith, Jesus will help us grow in spiritual maturity. By faith, Jesus will see us through difficult times. Conclusion

If you are a Christian already, continue to focus on Him. He cares for you, just as he did for those disciples in the boat. By faith, Jesus is praying for us. By faith, Jesus will come to us. By faith, Jesus will help us grow in spiritual maturity. By faith, Jesus will see us through difficult times.

If you don’t already have faith in Jesus, please consider Him. If you want to turn to God there is no need for delay. He is ready and willing to take you as His own right now. You only have to ask Him to forgive you and to give you help on the journey ahead. It is a partnership between God and yourself. In other words, it is a dynamic relationship and not a dormant religion. The act of deciding to change course in mid-life, is what is called conversion, or deciding to be a Christian. When you place your faith in Jesus, becoming utterly dependent upon Him, you turn to God. You don’t need to do or change anything to become a follower of Jesus!

However once you have made that decision, you leave behind your spiritual isolation and rebellion against Him. As you live each day, becoming more involved with Jesus day by day, you will find yourself changing. You will stop doing those things that separated you from Him. You will find yourself doing things that please Jesus and develop your relationship with Him. How do you develop this relationship? Sin, or what alienates you from God, controls your rebellion against Him in your attitudes and your activities. God asks that you accept his guidance and management of your life. His point of view and His strength become your point of view and your source of strength. You turn your mind, will and heart to Him for all you do.

If you want to become a Christian there are three simple steps to follow. Firstly, admit that you have done wrong against God and His ways. Secondly, believe and trust in Jesus. Call on Him, receive, trust, obey and worship Him, recognizing Him for who He is and what He has done. Lastly, confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Once sin has been confessed, and Jesus is believed in and trusted as Saviour, then you are a Christian. Now you are ready as Peter writes in the Bible, “to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

If you want to become a Christian, right now, then please say this prayer after me…

God, I know that I am separated from you. I am truly sorry for all the things I have done against you. Please forgive me as you have promised to do. I acknowledge that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for the things I have done wrong. I now believe in Him and invite Jesus to be my personal Lord and Saviour, so that I can live with Him forever. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer or a prayer like it, and would now call yourself a Christian, welcome into the family. Welcome to the family of God. God has chosen you; Jesus has paid for you and He has put His mark within you through His Spirit. (Ephesians 1:1-13). Please do leave a comment or email me so we can help you with your next steps.

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Sermon – Jesus WOW Factor

Jesus! WOW Factor

Dave G Roberts

Preached on July 4th, 2010

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Lets open our bibles to Matthew 16v24-26!

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16v24-26)

The Jesus I hear about today from some people outside the church, as well as inside the Church, bears no resemblance to the Jesus who said those words. They are comfortable with a Jesus who is at their mercy and who doesn’t ask too much of them! They like putting Jesus in a box and only opening the box to let Him out when required! That Jesus is an insipid, nodding head, Jesus – worthy only of being on the back shelf of a car and that’s about all.

But that is exactly the opposite of the Jesus who said those words from Matthew – the Jesus who commands obedience and sacrifice! As I look through the Old Testament, I read about how the world fell out of a living, dynamic relationship with God! But I also read how a Messiah, a saviour or rescuer if you like, was to be sent by God, in order to restore the world back into an intimate, living relationship with God Himself! I read the Gospels in the New Testament and I see this Messiah as the God-man, Jesus Christ.

As I read the rest of the Bible’s New Testament and the history of the followers of Jesus Christ and the spread of his followers, the church, through its birth and early life, I get a WOW factor about Him. But for a lot of people today, including those who would call themselves a Christian, their view or vision of Jesus is still too small. So I wonder, is your Jesus too small?

1. Who is my Jesus?

As I regularly read the Bible, I see at least a six-sided portrait of Him! There are many more, but we don’t have time for that today, you might be thankful to hear!

a. Unique

The first word I would use for Jesus is Jesus is unique – totally unique! Never before and never to be repeated ever – Jesus Christ is the standout person from all of history! Indeed, history is divided into BC and AD – ‘Before Christ’ and ‘After Christ’. In all of history, Jesus Christ is incomparable and totally unique!

Yet in human form, we read that during his earthly ministry he had no physical beauty that would draw people to him. We read that Jesus’ body on the cross was disfigured and tortured beyond that of human likeness. His perfect life, His salvation work on the cross and His subsequent rising from the dead, is what makes Jesus Christ unique – a once and for all lifetime Messiah or Saviour for the entire world! WOW!!

b. Majestic

Then the Jesus I see is full of majesty and awe! He is not simply a king with a crown on his head. He is the King of all Kings! This Jesus Christ did not decay in the grave – He overcame death in the grave and was raised again majestically! Paul writes in Colossians 2v3, that in Jesus Christ, all the majestic treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who with unparalleled majesty is the head of the church.

c. Tender

Next I go to look into his eyes – his tender eyes! Jesus looks upon people with love, adoration, justice, tenderness and compassion. Eyes filled with the tears of mercy, grace, love and compassion. Eyes that are also filled with rage at injustices! His penetrating eyes that can separate flesh and spirit!!

This Jesus is kind and sympathetic – his look of love on a world that is separated from God, and a world He is calling back into an active relationship with God. The love Jesus had when he wept in the garden as he sweated drops of blood, before he was betrayed and crucified.

d. Wise

Then there is Jesus the wise man! When Jesus spoke words, people were amazed! They were astounded that He spoke with elegance and yet with authority. They had never heard anyone speak like He did – with both grace and authority. The same is true today, if we are listening. That is why we read the Bible to find out what He would say to us. That is why we seek to hear Him speak to us and why we speak to Him. That is why preaching is to be seen as an act of worship – by both the preacher and the listener!

  1. Strong

Strong! Jesus is strong enough and capable enough, to carry any burden that we can lay upon Him. Jesus Christ gives a solid and sure foundation for all aspects of life. If something has a solid foundation, it will not fall and cannot be destroyed. Indeed Jesus Christ will never fall or decay such is His imperishability as the everlasting God. He is solid, dependable and strong; nobody and nothing can stand against Him. If we are truly His, then we ought not to fear or worry about anything, for we will be under his protection,.

  1. Lovely

Finally, my Jesus oozes loveliness! He gives out a sense of exaltation and joy. Joy is not always externalized loudly as some people think but also internalized quietly! So if somebody is filled with joy, don’t always expect it be seen! Jesus is altogether lovely and lovely altogether! Jesus is beyond compare for the things He has done and the things He will do. He is altogether lovely in regard to his person, humanity, birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, exultation, glorification, grace, protection, tenderness, power, wisdom, vengeance, judgment, majesty, redemption and pardon. I could go on and on!

That is my Jesus -unique, majestic, tender, wise, strong and lovely. Is this your Jesus?

2. Jesus – So what?

That is my Jesus, whom I seek to serve and obey every second of every day. This Jesus I seek to obey in every facet of life. And it is this Jesus whom I depend upon and personally know to be totally reliable in every way. But so what, you may say – those outside the church certainly ask it! All through this trip of the US, He has been dependable, going ahead of me! Amazing! This is the Jesus who commands self-sacrifice and obedience. This Jesus who commands His followers to rely solely on His sacrifice and have dependence on Him for all things. Jesus Christ who commands all His followers to a life of total obedience to Him and Him alone. This Jesus who died on a Roman cross two thousand years ago was the same Jesus who was raised from the dead, without decay, into newness of life and ascended to the right hand of the Father.

There is only one Saviour for the world and there will never be another. Despite the bleating of other religions and faiths! Jesus never said, “I am a true vine; a way, a truth and a life”. Just as He did not say “I am a shepherd, a door, a light or a bread of life.

No – Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life. Jesus is the only great shepherd and the only door to life with God. Jesus is the only light of the world and the only bread of life. Jesus calls everyone to partake of the nourishment and shelter only He can provide. Sadly only a few respond: “Yes!” Are you one of those?

3. Jesus! WOW!

Jesus WOW! What does WOW stand for, I hear you asking yourself? It means “Worthy Of Worship!” Jesus Christ most certainly is that! The Jesus WOW factor involves Jesus being radical and relevant! Even a brief look of the Gospels will reveal that about Jesus! Some people even back then didn’t get Jesus, and people still don’t get Him two thousand years later! And whose fault is that? Its not Jesus’ fault that people today still don’t respond to Him! It’s a result of the church and christians down through the ages, including today, not following Jesus and obeying His commands as closely as they could or should!

People out there are looking at the Church and Christians – looking at how we behave, how we speak, how we drive our cars and looking to see if we are any different to them and looking to see what difference Jesus Christ has made in our lives!

That’s why my parents thought churches were dangerous places and Christians brainwashed and deluded people. They did not hesitate to tell me that that is what they thought about Christianity! But I responded to the call of Jesus, rebelled against my parents and became a follower of him 30 years ago next year. You could say I am the white sheep of my family – so far anyway!

4. We are to be little Jesus’

The word Christian, means little Jesus. When living in London, after church each Sunday, we would go to this one particular Chinese restaurant for lunch each time. Often as a group of us entered and walked up the stairs to take our seats, they would say: “There go the little Jesuses!” They would mean it mockingly but we took it as a compliment!

That’s what being a Christian is to be – a little Jesus! In our local community, wherever we happen to live, work or be! We are to live lives worthy of Jesus Christ, being transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives inside each one of us if we are His, and being totally and willingly obedient to Him! Loving God and loving others – by, showing compassion, helping others and being the voice of Jesus Christ to a community out there, which is rapidly decaying.

The world out there and this community will know you and I are Jesus’ followers, if we are obedient to Him, practically showing love to all! Oh that we as the church would love each other instead of fighting with each other!

Imagine this community transformed for Jesus Christ, having got the WOW factor! Imagine this community filled with people seeking to know about our Jesus, because the Christians were sacrificing their time and possessions, wanting in every aspect of life to give Jesus the glory and honour that is worthy of His name alone – just as they did in Acts 2!

Loving God and loving each other as He commanded would spread the WOW factor through our local communities, both large and small! Transformed communities of people devoted to Jesus and experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing people back to God the Father! The WOW factor is not always an exuberant experience but also covers the silent, contemplative and gob-smacking experiences! Jesus Christ doesn’t just live in the loud, as some would proclaim, but also in the quiet where the small, still voice of God is whispered.

Don’t be like the only man who left Jesus’ presence in sorrow. Let me read about him to you. Matthew 19v16-30 from The Message

“Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”

18-19The man asked, “What in particular?”

Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”

20The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”

21“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”

22That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.

23-24As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”

25The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”

26Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”

27Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”

28-30Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields-whatever-because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” “

Now riches aren’t necessarily a problem but they were for that man because nothing could take precedence over them – they were his ‘god’ as it were, and he was placing all his trust in them, even if he didn’t realise it at the time! What are you placing your trust in, over and above, Jesus Christ?

Conclusion!

If you are already in a relationship with Him, He wants to give you freedom, true independence on this Independence Day, to live a life worthy of Him. Is Jesus your whole life and your whole life Jesus? That means does He have total authority over every aspect of your life. All aspects of life such as relationships, family, work, bank accounts, possessions, worries and troubles? By authority, I mean power!

Following Him and carrying your own cross means that – a life sacrificed for Him and obedience to Him alone! Jesus wants to influence every area of your life – not just certain parts you are willing to give up but all aspects of life! Jesus came to earth to give comfort to the uncomfortable and we are to do the same – give comfort to those in need.

Maybe you are feeling the desolation and loneliness because of decisions made in the past. Give it up willingly to Jesus and don’t keep trying to take it back like a security blanket! If you have something even partially blocking your relationship with Jesus, get rid of it – ask Him to take it away!

Finally, you may not yet be a follower of Jesus Christ. I don’t know. If that is you, then accept His call upon you. For He is calling you, urging you to return to a relationship with God through Him and Him alone. You may not get another chance. Usually, with a small still beckoning voice, Jesus whispers: “Come! Come and follow me alone!” This Jesus wants to connect with you in an intimate, dynamic, active and spiritual relationship – remember His eyes wander the earth looking for those wanting to submit themselves willingly to Him. If that is you, then please do speak to somebody today about finding out how you can start this relationship with the Living God, Jesus Christ. He calls you by name.

Jesus says to all here “Come! Let me get in the driving seat and you hold on to Me! Follow me and follow me wholeheartedly and with all aspects of your life, obey Me alone! I will take all your burdens, give you true freedom and independence and help you in all aspects of life! Come! Follow me!”

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BAM – Matthew

New Testament

Book of Matthew

Summarised in 1 Minute

Key Verses

Matthew 16:15-16 – He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 28:18 – Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”

Summary

Matthew wrote primarily to Jews who knew the Old Testament. He wrote to present Jesus as the Messiah to Israel and to record the Israel’s attitude towards Him as Messiah. Matthew gives us the genealogy, presentation, and the authentification of Jesus as the Christ Messiah. Matthew then shows the nation of Israel’s opposition to and rejection of Jesus as the Christ followed by Jesus’ rejection of Israel due to her unbelief. He then records the death and resurrection of Christ. He concludes with Christ commissioning the disciples.

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