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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - October 8, 2007
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October 8, 2007

Matthew 15-17
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Matthew
Chapter 15
  1. Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
  2. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
  3. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
  4. For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
  5. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
  6. And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
  7. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
  8. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
  9. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
  10. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
  11. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
  12. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
  13. But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
  14. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
  15. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
  16. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
  17. Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
  18. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
  19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
  20. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
  21. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
  22. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
  23. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
  24. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
  25. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
  26. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
  27. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
  28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
  29. And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.
  30. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:
  31. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
  32. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
  33. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?
  34. And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
  35. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
  36. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
  37. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.
  38. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.
  39. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.


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Matthew
Chapter 16
  1. The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
  2. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
  3. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
  4. A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
  5. And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
  6. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
  7. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
  8. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
  9. Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
  10. Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
  11. How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
  12. Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
  13. When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
  14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
  15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
  16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
  18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
  19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
  20. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
  21. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
  22. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
  23. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
  24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
  25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
  26. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
  27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
  28. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.


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Matthew
Chapter 17
  1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
  2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
  3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
  4. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
  5. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
  6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
  7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
  8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
  9. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
  10. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
  11. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
  12. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
  13. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
  14. And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
  15. Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
  16. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
  17. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
  18. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
  19. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
  20. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
  21. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
  22. And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
  23. And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
  24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
  25. He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
  26. Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
  27. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.


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Thought for the day:
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 Matthew 15 opens with an interesting story from the life of Christ. The Pharisees came to Jesus and accused his disciples of failing to follow the traditions that the Jewish leaders had established over the years. The one that was mentioned here was the washing of hands before eating. This was not a cleansing for the purpose of hygiene, but rather a ceremonial washing for the purpose of showing how righteous and sanctified they were. These religious leaders believed that the failure of the disciples to follow through on this tradition made them sinful in the eyes of God. Christ's response is pointed:

"Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?"
His disciples may have been breaking tradition, but the Pharisees were using their tradition to violate the clear commands of God. Here we see the first principle of this passage: traditions are unimportant, and the Word of God is all-important. Many religious groups, including some fundamentalists, are guilty of raising their traditions to the level of doctrine. The fact that something is traditional is not necessarily bad, but it is not necessarily Biblical, either. It has been said that the seven last words of a dying church are, "We never did it that way before.", and I believe this is often true. While it is never correct to compromise the Scriptures in order to accomplish something, we need to be careful that we not place our customs on that level. We also need to be careful not to preach our traditions as doctrine (9). Just because Baptists do it, or because our home church or our Bible college believed it, does not mean that the Bible teaches it. We need to be careful to only speak dogmatically in the areas where the Bible speaks clearly.

 It is interesting to note Christ's rebuttal to the Pharisees. His disciples may have been breaking tradition, but the Pharisees were using their tradition to violate the clear commands of God. Not only were they elevating tradition to the level of Scripture, they were exalting it over and above the Bible. Jesus reminds them that the Bible commanded that parents were to be honored by their children (Exodus 20:12), and also said that those who cursed their parents should be killed (Exodus 21:17). Yet rather than put this into practice, the Pharisees devised a system which allowed them to ignore this command. If a son did not want to share any of his property or finances with his needy parents, the religious leaders encouraged him to declare that the money that he would have given to them for support was "Corban" (Mark 7:11): a gift dedicated to God. Thus, because he had committed it to God, he could not give it to his parents. The priests taught that there was no greater gift than one given to God, so many men chose to go this route and leave their parents in need. The religious leaders profited from this because ultimately the money flowed into the Temple treasury. Of course, the man who declared the money to be a gift to God was not obligated to give it immediately, nor was he required to give everything. He simply had to say that the money that he would have given to his parents was set aside for God, and that was that. We need to be careful that we not use our traditions to actually undercut the Scriptures. I have personally seen people violate Biblical commands concerning soul-winning, brotherly love, and personal separation so that they can uphold some personal or church custom that is not only not found in the Bible, but may in fact contradict the Bible. Christ called these type of people hypocrites (7), because they ignore the Scriptures while claiming to make decisions based upon the Scriptures. They talked about how much they loved the Lord, and used His work as an excuse for their actions, but the truth was that they were only concerned about themselves (8-9).

 There is one final thought that should be mentioned here. The disciples came to Jesus following this event and asked,

"Did you know that you offended the Pharisees?"
How often do we make decisions about what we should or shouldn't say based upon what the ungodly might think? Christ was unconcerned about the reaction of those who rejected Him. They needed to hear the truth, and He told it to them. If they didn't want to listen, they were blind, and would be rooted up. Those who wanted to follow their traditions were equally blind, and would wind up in the same spiritual ditch (12-14). May we never compromise truth, or hold our tongues, out of fear that people won't like the message. We need not be offensive in our method of presentation, but we must make the presentation.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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