Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev19961020.htm
MATTHEW: JESUS AS ISRAEL'S MESSIAH AND HIS MESSIANIC KINGDOM
Part X. Christ's Messianic Kingdom Postponed
J. Encouragement To See Discipling Advances In World Missions In Crisis
Lesson: God is not limited in His ability or desire to do great spiritual things with His people who are burdened to reach the world through missions. Neither spiritual darkness in home fronts from which missionaries have come or darkness where mi ssionaries end up can or will stop God's power or work.
- When we hear of wars and economic crises overseas where our missionaries work, it can cause us to begin to wonder about their safety and survival to make inroads with the Gospel.
- Better yet, with the spiritual difficulties supporting American churches themselves face, how can their missionaries sent from their midst retain their financial and spiritual bearings and support?
- Matthew 15:29-39 is a tremendous spiritual encouragement regarding world missions and missionaries that all involved in missions can use today:
- Encouragement To See Discipling Advances In World Missions In Crisis, Matthew 15:29-39.
- Prior to the feeding of the 4,000 in Matthew 15:32-39, Jesus had exposed dire theological and spiritual deficiencies in the nation's spiritual leaders, Mtt. 15:1-14.
- The nation's theologically conservative Pharisees, the spiritual leaders from Jerusalem had been critiqued by Jesus for elevating their legalistic washings rules to the realm of God's Word, Mtt. 15:1,2-9.
- When Jesus exposed their error, they did not repent, but became offended, Mtt. 15:10-12.
- Jesus then revealed that these leaders were spiritually blind, and that they were leading their people into spiritual trouble through their blind leadership, Mtt. 15:13-14.
- To encourage the disciples that some will respond even in great darkness in view of the apostasy amongst the alleged most theologically conservative parties in Israel, He had then taken them after this crossfire to Gentile territory to heal a Canaanite woman's daughter of demonic possession, Mtt. 15:21-28.
- However, Jesus did not stop there, but broadened this encouragement to show what He willed and could do with throngs of Gentiles, Mtt. 15:29-39:
- Mark's Gospel notes that the events in Matthew 15:29-39 occurred in Decapolis, the Transjordan area around the eastern shore of the Galilean Sea where a high percentage of Gentiles lived, Mark 7:31.
- In this area, Jesus gained a huge Messianic following amongst GENTILE believers, Mtt:29-31:
- In this location, Jesus sat down on a mountaintop where great multitudes thronged him to heal various diseased and infirmed people, Mtt. 15:29-30b.
- When He healed them, these people glorified the God of Israel, Mtt. 15:31b.
- In the context of their seeing Jesus heal the dumb, the lame and the blind, matters specifically denoting the Messiah's arrival (Isa. 35:5-6), we have throngs of Gentiles accepting the Messianic evidence of Jesus as the MESSIAH! In other words, God was demonstrating His capacity to build a kingdom of believers amongst the nations in lieu of the rejection of Israel's elite, theological conservatives from Jerusalem, cf. Mtt. 15:1-9 vrs. Mtt. 15:29-31!!
- Going beyond just meeting their spiritual needs, Jesus also demonstrated His capacity to meet the temporal needs of Gentiles, a picture of His worldwide rule to come in Israel's Kingdom, Mtt. 15:32-39:
- As He had with the 5,000 Jews, Jesus felt compassion on these Gentile crowds, Mtt. 15:32; 14:16.
- As with the first feeding, Jesus miraculously multiplied inadequate resources to meet the need, 34-38.
- As with the first feeding, Jesus use His Jewish disciples to deliver the goods, Mtt. 15:36; 14:19.
- As with the first feeding, all present were filled, Mtt. 15:27a; 14:20a.
- However, going beyond the initial miracle with Israel, instead of 12 hand-held Jewish baskets (kophinos) of food left over with the 5,000, there were 7 man-sized Gentile rope ba skets (spuridas) of leftover fragments with the feeding of the 4,000 Gentiles, cf. MacArthur, Matthew 8-15, p. 480. Jesus thus revealed His willingness and power to minister in gracious abundance to reach the lost world in spite of the discouraging spiritual decadence of the folks back home as His disciples saw it!
Application: Always abound in the work of the Lord as our work is not in labor in Him! (1 Co. 15:58)