Making disciples ‘only for Jesus’

A quote on Matthew 28.18-20:

Unlike other ancient teachers, Jesus’ disciples would not raise disciples for themselves but only for Jesus (23:8). Greek tradition could praise those who made many disciples (as in Diog. Laert. 8.1.16). Greek philosophers thought in terms of “conversion” to philosophy (see Nock 1933), and various pagan religious cults were propagated by travelers in antiquity (Stambaugh and Balch 1986:42; compare Acts 8:4). Judaism also spoke of sages as having disciples (see comment on 4:19; 19:21-22) and sometimes even persuading large numbers of people to become students of Torah (as in ARN 26, Section 54); they also separately recognized the conversion of Gentiles (see comment on 23:15; see De Ridder 1971). But ancient hearers would, and modern hearers should, recognize a drastic innovation in a command to disciple nations.

#Great-Commission #mission #Matthew


Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19.23-24

The disciples did not understand. They believed that God blessed those who were faithful with wealth. This belief was based in the Old Testament. Yet, Jesus had just seen a young rich man who had been asking him in regards to what he must do to gain eternal life sadly walk away when Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. He walked away sadly because he was not willing to part with his wealth.

Riches can be deceiving. With some people, the more wealth they have, the more they want. It can quickly consume that person’s life destroying everything in the process, including their relationship with God, family, and friends. That is what makes it so difficult to be rich and enter into heaven.

The riches can also become the false idol that gives false security. You trust in the money that you have to provide for you instead of trusting God for the things that you need.

Neither attitude is an acceptable one to God. However, it is just as easy for a poor person to be more concerned with daily needs than with trusting God to provide for them. It is important to give God the throne of your heart so that he rules in your life independent of your financial status.

#risingjoy #Matthew #wealth

His Child

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7.21

People can easily become arrogant if left to their own devises. This is even more visible in the religious world. Religious leaders have twisted God’s word to say what benefits them, 2 Peter 3.16. They do not respect God’s word; therefore, they lack respect for God.

In Matthew 21.28-32, Jesus told a parable about two sons. Their father had told them both to go to the field and work. One son refused to go, then changed his mind and went. The other son told his father that he would go and did not. Jesus asked which of the two had done the father’s will. It was the son, who, though in the beginning refused to go, had a change of heart and went.

You can call Jesus ‘Lord’. However, if you do not obey his word, you are unknown to him. He will not acknowledge you before God. You might be a good person in your own eyes, but what is important is how God sees you. This is why it is so important to read and study God’s word! You need to know what it says so that you can obey it. Otherwise, on the last day, God will not know you as one of his children.

#risingjoy #Matthew #Jesus-as-Lord


Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

“Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6.19-21

For what do you work? What is worth getting up early every day, leaving home, and spending most of your time to accomplish? Or spend the majority of your time working on?

People tend to be focused on “things”. There seems to be a never ending list of items that they are willing to work like crazy to purchase. But, the latest purchase has barely made it out of the package before they have started after the next item on their list.

Items break. They wear out. They have to be replaced which means more work has to be done. This does not even consider the amount of energy that is used to maintain these things. Who suffers from this massive output of energy? You do. Your family does.

Jesus is probably shaking his head at so many who are running after treasures on earth. He tells us to accumulate treasures in heaven. When we deposit our time and energy toward a heavenly treasure, it helps keep us focused on what is important, where we get the most for our investment.

Where are you investing?

#risingjoy #Matthew #treasures

The true definition of repentance

“And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. … Which of the two did the will of his father?” Matthew 21:28-32.

Jesus begins this parable by saying that a man had two sons. So He is speaking of those within the church who claim God as their Father.

Many are like the second son who say he will work in his father’s vineyard but who don’t go. They’re excited to find a group of good and loving people at the church who give them a sense of belonging or sometimes material things, but their service and connection with the body rarely extends beyond attendance at Sunday morning service. Continue reading

#dougkashorek, #matthew, #repentance

What you wish someone would do for you

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets. Matthew 7.12

At times, one can sit around wondering what they could be doing to serve in God’s kingdom in a better way. That is a good thing! Many times we need look no further than our own need for encouragement.

What encourages you? Is it a note that has a Bible verse written on it that someone passes to you? A birthday card on your birthday? Could it be when someone calls to talk to you about things in general and with nothing specific in mind.

Everyone needs encouragement! The very thing that you wish someone would do for you, could be what would encourage someone else. It is just a matter of stepping out of our comfort zone to act.

Do you wish others would arrive on time? You arrive on time. Do you wish someone would send you flowers? You send those flowers to someone! Acts 20.35 states that Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. That applies in all areas of life. Treat others as you would like to be treated! Be careful for you may just cause someone’s life to make a change for the better!

#risingjoy #Matthew #encouragement

The impartial God

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5.44-45

God is just and good, as well as kind. He blesses even when such action is not merited. The sun rises and sets on all men independent of whether or not they believe in God, much less obey his commands. The rain falls to the earth whether the people in the area are righteous or not. He is impartial.

We are to be like our heavenly Father. We are to be just and good, as well as kind. What does that mean when someone is being mean to you? What does that mean when someone seeks to bring you down?

Jesus said to love your enemy. That does not mean that you have to have positive emotional feelings toward that person. It does mean that you treat that person the same as you would anyone else, with justice and with kindness.

Jesus also said to pray for those who persecute you. He is the perfect example of this to follow. His prayer to the Father during his crucifixion was for forgiveness for those who were guilty of his death, Luke 23.34. By praying for those who would do you harm, you show kindness.

May we strive to be impartial, treating all people equally, calling each one to follow in his footsteps.

#risingjoy #Matthew #goodness

Relationship with God involves communication

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others.” Matthew 23.23

Our relationship with God is not a list of rules that we check off once it is done. It involves communication! We need to be reading the Bible to hear what God is saying to us. However, we also need to be praying to pour our thoughts and hearts out to God. It is important to do both!

There is a need to be obedient to what he has told us to do. The little things, if we can call them that, are important to know. Some of those things left undone might keep us from entering heaven.

But, Jesus is giving a warning here. Our faith has to be more than just a list of small things to check off our “To Do” list. The Pharisees were very good at checking off the little things. Unfortunately, they had ceased to be just, merciful, and faithful! They had substituted their own system of religion!

As Christians, it is important that we not only concentrate on the details. We have to see and to understand the whole picture, Romans 15.4. If not, we will be like the Pharisees. We do not want the label of hypocrite!

#risingjoy #Matthew #warning

Exactly what you wanted

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field.(…) Matthew 13.44

Have you ever been shopping and come across an item that was exactly what you wanted, perhaps even needed? However, at the time, you did not have the money that you needed to buy it. So you stuck the item at the back of the shelf hoping that it would be there when you returned.

How exciting is it to come upon a treasure! You are working in the field and suddenly you discover something of great value. You look around and hide it once more. You are so glad to have found the treasure that you must purchase the field! What do you do? You sell all that you have to buy the field!

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to such a treasure. The church is the kingdom here on earth. The church is a treasure that is worth all that we have to possess it. Do you consider the church to be a treasure? Do you have this treasure in your life?

#risingjoy #Matthew #treasure

They shouted joyfully

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. Matthew 2.9-10

The wise men from the East had traveled to see Jesus. They had followed a star and had arrived in Jerusalem asking where the one who was born king of the Jews could be found. It caused a stir. Herod, who was the actual king at the time was alarmed.

Herod sets about learning what he can about the Christ. He calls a meeting with all the chief priests and experts in the law. Where is the Christ to be born? It is of utmost concern to the actual king.

After finding the location through the prophecies, he calls for the wise men. Arranging to meet with them privately, he enlists their help to find the baby. His intentions are not honorable.

Upon leaving Jerusalem, the wise men once again are able to see the star and follow it to Bethlehem where they are directed by the star to the place where Jesus can be found. Their reaction is to shout joyfully.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about four different types of soil where the seed that are sewn may fall, Matthew 13.1-9. There is the person who hears the word about the kingdom and does not understand it. The evil one comes and snatches it away. There is the one who hears the word, immediately receives it, but has no root within and does not endure. There is the one who hears the word, but allows worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth to choke the word so that it produces nothing. Finally, there is the good soil where the seed is planted. This is the person who hears, understands, and obeys, Matthew 13.18-23.

Have you found Jesus? What was your reaction? We choose the reaction that we will have. Will you be like the wise men and shout joyfully when you find him? Will you be good soil?

#risingjoy #Matthew #reactions

I tell you the truth, Matthew 18.3

“[Jesus] said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!”

Matthew 18.3

Jesus is the great truth-teller. There is absolute, objective truth to tell. He wants to get our attention. Pride and desire for greatness will keep us out of heaven.

Am I a truth-bender? Do I justify my competitive spirit? Do I make myself the center of all? Am I Jesus’ follower or judge? Have I turned myself around?

#votd #Matthew #truth

Worthy of me, Matthew 10.38

“And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10.38

In order to follow Jesus conditions must be met. Since salvation is in Christ, these conditions are not optional. Following him requires dying to self.

To be worthy of Jesus does not mean that one can merit Jesus’ fellowship, but that one is able to receive his presence and walk with him.

#votd #Matthew #discipleship

They mocked him, Matthew 27.29

“and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand, and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”

Matthew 27.29

Hardened Roman soldiers had seen it all. As the crushing arm of imperial power, they laughed at small-time attempts to overthrow the government. To them, Jesus was just another failed revolutionary.

Jesus not only died, but suffered humiliation in our stead. Our attempts at self-rescue are ridiculous. But in his humiliation we discover our salvation.

#votd #Matthew #crucifixion

We don’t know, Matthew 21.27

“So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’ Then he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.'”

Matthew 21.27

The Jewish authorities refused to answer Jesus’ question about John the Immerser because either option would put them in a bad position. In this way, our Lord showed their bad faith.

Do I avoid God’s truth by pleading ignorance or doubt? Do I appeal to prayer as a way to lay aside his commandments? Or do I readily embrace the truth that frees?

#votd #Matthew #honesty

Two for a penny: Matthew 10.29

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”

Matthew 10.29

Jesus guarantees that his messengers are not forgotten by the Father when they encounter resistance to the Good News. They need not question whether God has forgotten them.

The argument is from the lesser to the greater. God knows what happens to his creatures. So he will care for his most important creation: his children. Do you believe this as you share the Gospel?

#votd #Matthew #will-of-God