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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - October 10, 2007
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October 10, 2007

Matthew 20-21
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Matthew
Chapter 20
  1. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
  2. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
  3. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
  4. And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
  5. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
  6. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
  7. They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
  8. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
  9. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
  10. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
  11. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
  12. Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
  13. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
  14. Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
  15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
  16. So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
  17. And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
  18. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
  19. And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
  20. Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
  21. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
  22. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
  23. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
  24. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
  25. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
  26. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
  27. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
  28. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
  29. And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
  30. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
  31. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
  32. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
  33. They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
  34. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.


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Matthew
Chapter 21
  1. And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
  2. Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
  3. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
  4. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
  5. Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
  6. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
  7. And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
  8. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
  9. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
  10. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
  11. And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
  12. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
  13. And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
  14. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
  15. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
  16. And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
  17. And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
  18. Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
  19. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
  20. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
  21. Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
  22. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
  23. And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
  24. And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
  25. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
  26. But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
  27. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
  28. But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
  29. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
  30. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
  31. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
  32. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
  33. Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
  34. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
  35. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
  36. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
  37. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
  38. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
  39. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
  40. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
  41. They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
  42. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
  43. Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
  44. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
  45. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
  46. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.


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Thought for the day:
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 Matthew 10: 20-28 expands on the idea of what it takes to be great in the sight of the Lord. The mother of James and John came to the Lord with a request. While there is a selfish aspect to her petition, I believe it is worth noting that she came with an attitude of worship, and she asked for something of a somewhat spiritual nature. She did not come demanding something. She did not act like Jesus owed her something, nor does she seem to think that her sons had earned the right to sit immediately next to the Messiah. She also does not ask for finances or material blessings for her sons, and she asks nothing for herself directly. Perhaps, in spite of her inappropriate request, we can learn from her what our priorities ought to be both for ourselves and our children.

 The Lord reveals to her, and them, that they do not understand what they are asking for. Jesus is going to be exalted in the kingdom, but He is going to pay the price of the cross in order to do so. In Philippians 2:8-10, Paul writes,

"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..."
This shows that God has given Jesus His authority as a direct result of His willingness to come to leave Heaven and come to earth, and then His willingness to die the cruel death of Calvary's cross. If this is the price that the Lord had to pay to be placed in authority, it would be foolish to think that His servants could rise to leadership without paying a price as well. Christ asks them if they can go through what He is going to go through, and they confidently state that they can. They have no idea what awaits them, but Jesus tells them that they will go through the difficulties as well. All the disciples will be persecuted, and all but one will be martyred, although certainly they will not take upon themselves the sins of the world. In spite of this, Jesus states that the decision as to who will sit next to Him is not His to give, but will be determined by our Heavenly Father.

 The remaining disciples were upset by the request of their comrades' mother. Apparently each one of them felt that he himself deserved to sit in the highest seat because of all that he had accomplished. Jesus quickly stepped in to set them straight. He taught them an important principle that each one of us needs to learn: servant leadership. He opens by reminding them of the methods by which the heathen gain greatness. They do it by beating down all who oppose them and stepping on and over anyone they need to in order to rise to the top. He then contrasts this with the method that God has established for His children. Christian greatness is not achieved by the person who exalts himself, but it will be given to the man who ministers to others. The greatest servant may well become the greatest leader. This seems strange to the human mind, but the Lord uses Himself as the example to prove its truth. Jesus Christ came to earth and ministered to people. He did not expect His disciples to take care of His needs; He took care of theirs. He met the needs of those that He came in contact with, some of whom ultimately rejected Him. He finally made the ultimate sacrifice of His own life so that the spiritual needs of mankind could be met. If the Master could humble Himself in such a fashion, and could give Himself to and for as others as He did, then we who are His servants can and must be willing to do the same.

 Remember, true greatness comes only from God, and it comes only in response to our willingness to serve.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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