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Matthew chapter 18

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, July 27

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18

BY: Josh Boles

I would like to skip down to verse 21.  Peter asks a very important question about a topic that causes a lot of us a lot of grief.  He wanted to know about forgiveness and, in particular, how many times he needed to forgive.

Before Jesus could actually answer the question, Peter offered his own answer.  He asked Jesus if forgiving someone seven times was sufficient.  It is important that you know that Peter undoubtedly thought he was being more than generous with the amount of times he should forgive his friend.  The reason he would have thought that is that the rabbis during that time taught that forgiving someone three times was sufficient.  The other reason Peter might have thought he was being crazy generous with seven forgivenesses is that a lot of us struggle forgiving a particular person even once.  

I suspect when Peter offered his seven times he thought that he was putting himself in a place to receive some glowing praise from Jesus.  Instead Jesus said we are to forgive seventy-seven times.  That would be 490 times.  You know that had to have hurt Peter’s feelings just a little.

let’s not take Jesus too literal here.  I don’t think He was suggesting we keep a running tally of how many times  we should forgive somebody.  Can you imagine saying to someone, “Listen, according to my painstakingly kept records, I have forgiven you 489 times.  You got one left.  Use it wisely.”  Besides, 1 Corinthians 13:5 says love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.  This can’t be taken literally.

So why did Jesus say this. Well, if you remember from out time at the beginning of Matthew, Jesus' standards for living are drastically different than ours. Just as a refresher. The law says to love your neighbor. Jesus says to do that but also to pray for your enemy. The law says not to murder, but Jesus says if you look at your brother with hatred you have already committed murder. There are several more of those in Matthew Chapter 5 but the point is. Jesus expects more of us than our flesh has to offer. 

This is why Jesus rebukes Peter. As we already said, Peter thought he was forgiving sufficiently, but in reality his flesh was ready to stop forgiving his brother. Ever been there? Jesus is imploring us to not live life trusting our flesh but live according to His righteousness.  

It is never a bad thing to live according to Jesus' standards. Is it incredibly difficult, or even impossible? Probably so. This does not mean however; that we should use every last breath that we have trying to live up to the measure of his grace. In reflecting on this, I would ask you to go read Ephesians 4:13. 

There is a current theological debate about whether or not sanctification is possible while we are here on earth. I do not have enough space to give you my thoughts on that, but would gladly share them with you if you want to have that discussion. Whether is is truly impossible or possible is irrelevant. Even if it were impossible, we should live as if it were possible. God says about 9 times in the Bible to, "Be holy for I am holy." And in Ephesians 4 Paul is talking about something we can, Attain," and maturing, "To the measure of Christ." Living this way however; is impossible of you have un-forgiveness in your heart. Forgive others in the same way Jesus has forgiven you. The end. 

 

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Matthew Chapter 10

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY JULY 14

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 10

BY: Josh Boles

Matthew chapters 10-11 are two of my favorite chapters in the Gospel in regard to the Church’s mission while we are here on earth. My favorite is probably Acts chapter two but these next two days have some really, really good missional content for us. Chapter 10 specifically is long and has so much to unpack so rather than breaking it up I am just going to hit the high points all today.

As we enter chapter 10 Jesus has finished calling all of His 12 disciples. Now that this event is complete Jesus’ ministry on earth has been fully started. In a way, its kind of like a Church plant in today’s society. They gathered resources, recruited people, and got the message out there. Now they are ready to dive full on into their ministry. This is a good way to look at it as it will really help us to draw application from this text for our Church culture today.

This whole chapter is about Jesus sending out His disciples. Jesus gives each of them sound wisdom and encouragement, but also warnings. The first bit of wisdom really is involving discipleship. The first bit of instructions that Jesus gives the 12 is to not go preach the Gospel among the Gentiles in verse 5. This seems odd doesn’t it? Did Jesus not come to save the Jews and the Gentiles? Yes! But again, it is really a point of discipleship above anything else. You see there were Jews (lots of them) who had lost faith in the coming messiah who was right there in front of their eyes. So naturally, the disciples first priority was to go wake up the sleeping Jews and disciple them. We simply have to be pouring into other Christ followers lives in order for the kingdom to advance. We must disciple each other. Iron sharpens iron right?

The next piece of wisdom comes in verse 14 and is so important for us top hear. How many of you get discouraged when somebody does not respond the way you had hoped to the Gospel? We take it to heart right? And sometimes we get offended. I love Jesus’ practical wisdom here, “Shake it off, and move on!” (Paraphrase of vs 14.) We have to realize that they are not rejecting us, even when it feels that way. They are rejecting Christ and as we see, that is not going to end well for them. So what is our response? I believe that it is prayer, consistency, and grace.

After this Jesus gives the disciples a few warnings. The first warning is to not become worldly in verse 16. So why would Jesus offer this advice? Well because the disciples are supposed to hang out with lost worldly people. That is why Jesus says that he is sending us as sheep in the midst of wolves. To quote the book of James, we are to be, “In the world but not of it.” Remember yesterday when Jesus reclined with the sinners? That is what we are supposed to do but we have to be thermostats, not thermometers. If we do not engage with the lost culture, then we have nobody to share the Gospel with. When this happens it is a great tragedy. It’s ok to have lost friends, in fact, Jesus encourages it. Just be consistent in your faith and point them to Jesus always. 

There is still so much in this chapter to cover so I am going to do my best to just sum up the rest of the chapter. We have this thing called the Holy Spirit that is always with us, and will always guide us. We just have to listen. See verse 19-20. The heart of this chapter in my opinion is verse 27. There is a reason we come together to worship a couple of times a week. There is a reason we pray, and do Bible studies. There is a reason we disciple one another. None of those reasons are for us, it is for them, the lost. Just pay close attention to this verse. The things that Jesus whispers to us in secret, we proclaim to the lost world. Sunday is not a day for us to just rest and get away from the world. It is a day for us to fuel up and prepare for a week full of sharing the Gospel on every rooftop proclaiming the saving grace of out Lord Jesus Christ.

I know this devotion is long, but I cannot help but point your attention to verse 42 in light of the sermon Sunday. The world around us is waiting for a cup of cold water. Go give somebody a cold cup of water! The “littles ones,” in this verse does not refer to children, but to anybody in need. Who is in need of the Gospel? Everybody!

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