Monday, March 28, 2022

Christ, The Church, The Commission #5: All Authority Matthew 16:13-19

Christ, The Church, The Commission
#5: All Authority Matthew 16:13-19

Introduction: Perfect Church Building

A very famous and wealthy architect went to his pastor and said, "I’ve talked with the deacons and the church and we want you and take the family to the Europe, the Mediterranean Islands and then the Holy Land everything will be my gift to you. While you’re gone we are going to do some work on the auditorium and it will be a surprise when you get back.” The pastor had always wanted to take a long vacation  to far away places, especially the land of Jesus’ birth and so he said thanks and the family packed caught a plane and took off on an adventure.

After three months they returned home and were at the airport by the architect church member.  He took them to the church and they went into the sanctuary.

"This is the finest thing I’ve ever designed," said the man.  "No expense was spared and it is the perfect place for you and the members."

The pastor was impressed, the building looked brand new, it fit the land and the community wonderfully. It was truly impressive. But there was something the pastor couldn’t figure out. There was only one pew, at the very back of the church. 

"You built a church with only one pew? Don’t you think we’ll have a few more attend than that?" asked the pastor?

"Well, now there are some surprises that you’ll have to wait until Sunday to see." the rich man said.

When the time came for the Sunday service, the early arrivals entered the church, filed onto the one pew and sat down.  When the pew was full, a laser triggered a switch, a circuit closed, gears meshed, a belt moved and the singly rear pew began to move forward. When it reached the front of the church, it came to a stop. At the same time, another empty pew came up from below at the back and more people sat down.  And so it continued, pews filling and moving forwards until finally the church was full, from front to back.

"Oh this is wonderful!" said the pastor, "Marvelous!"

The service began, and the pastor started to preach his sermon.  He was excited, he hadn’t preached in 3 months, and he had just got back from the land of the Bible. He launched into his text and it was going to be a long one. When 12 o'clock came, he was still going strong, and there was no end in sight.  But then, suddenly a bell rang, a light flashed and a trap door in the floor right behind the pulpit dropped open and the pastor disappeared.

The congregation cried out, "Oh, this is wonderful! Marvelous!"

This morning I want us to consider the real designer and builder of the church, Jesus Christ. And the church he built truly is wonderful and marvelous. It is the pillar and ground of the truth, and it has been commissioned by it builder and founder to preach the Gospel throughout the world. This is our last message in the series, Christ, The Church and The Commission and I could not think of a better text than Matthew 16:18 where Christ tells us of the plan, the perpetuity and the power of His church.

Now after today, you are all going to be a bunch of contrarians. Now knowing some of you folks, you don’t need a sermon to do that, but I’m talking about Independent Baptist Contrarians, not just contrarians in the general sense. After you hear what the Lord told His church, you’ll find that there are very few others who will agree with you in all the details of this passage. And that’s okay, because the Lord didn’t call us to be in agreement with everybody, but we better be in agreement with Him when it comes to His church.


This is the 4th in the series: Christ, The Church and The Commission.  We have looked at and hopefully been inspired and instructed by God’s Word in these truths about the Commission and the church.

All The World - Acts 1:8 …ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth

All Your Need - Philippians 4:19 God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

All She Had - Mark 12:44 they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

All Come In - Luke 14:23 compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

All Authority – Matthew 16:18. Let’s turn to Matthew 16:13 and look at the importance of the church to Jesus and to the continuation of His work until He returns.

Jesus, The Rock - Matthew 16:13-17

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? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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.

Jesus’ Question

Who is Jesus? The Disciples have been drawn apart at a critical time in their life and in the ministry of their Lord and Messiah. In a sense they go on a spiritual and physical retreat to the regions of Cesarea Philippi

Listen to this description by Alfred Edersheim, "Nestling amid three valleys on a terrace in the angle of Mt. Hermon, it is almost shutout of view by cliffs and woods.  Everywhere there is a wild medley of cascades, mulberry trees, fig trees, dashing torrents, festoons of vines, bubbling fountains, reeds and ruins, and the mingled music of birds and waters.  The views, sheer down the precipitous sides of the mountain, into the valleys and far away are magnificent.” Now I want to go.

Into this beautiful, restful place Jesus leads his disciples and He planned more than just to remove them from the stress, strife and opposition of Jerusalem’s religious self-righteous. He bring them here to discuss the most important question of their time, our time and of all time. That question is, “Who is Jesus?” The Lord asks this question in two ways? First he asks, “Who do men say that I am?” Then after he hears their answer He asks, “But, whom do you say that I am?”

At the first question, the disciples call out answers to who the world thinks Jesus is, “Some say you are John the Baptist, some Elijah, some Jeremiah or just another of God’s prophets.”

When Jesus asks the second question it is Peter that gives the answer that all of them in their heart of hearts knows. Peter the bold, the dedicated, and almost always, the first, acts as the spokesmen for the rest and he says, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God.”

You are the Messiah, the anointed one, the promised one, the hero and future ruler of Israel. You are God’s own son, very God of very God, God in the flesh, the son who the eternal living God sent to be our savior.

Peter’s answer is eloquent, powerful and eternally right.

Our Answer

The questions asked by Jesus of the Disciples that day, must still be answered by us today. Who Is Jesus, to the world and who is Jesus to us?

The world says he was a great teacher, the Muslims and Jews say he was a great prophet. According to a survey found in the book the Jewish 100, Michael Shapiro says that Jesus ranks second in importance of all the Jews of history. Moses is first, Jesus is second and Albert Einstein is third. You also have Sigmund Freud (4), St. Paul (6), Karl Marx (7), the Virgin Mary (9) and one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time Sandy Koufax (98). That’s pretty much what all the world sees in Jesus, a great man, a great teacher, a wonderful prophet.

But Jesus isn’t interest in that the world believes. He wants to know, what do you believe? His question is as direct and personal to us today as it was to the disciples over 2000 years ago. Who do you say I am?

Is Jesus truly God in the flesh, the very God of very God?  Was He miraculously born of a virgin? Did He die on the cross paying the price for my sin?  Three days later did He come forth from the tomb, in power over death, sin and the grave? Is He alive today, waiting to return and claim this world as His own? Who is Jesus to you this morning?

The Uniqueness of Jesus

Someone once wrote this observation about who Jesus is, "Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, but Jesus for only 3. Yet the influence of Christ's 3-year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. Jesus painted no pictures; yet some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world's greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies, and oratorios they composed in His praise. Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.

"Yet, His unique contribution to the race of men is the salvation of the soul! Philosophy could not accomplish that. Nor art. Nor literature. Nor music. Only Jesus Christ can break the enslaving chains of sin and Satan. He alone can speak peace to the human heart, strengthen the weak, and give life to those who are spiritually dead."

“Who is Jesus?” is the only question that will matter in eternity. And we better know the right answer.

 Jesus, The Builder - Matthew 16:18

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.

Jesus’ Promise

Jesus asked the disciples who they believe he is. Peter gave the answer, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God." Jesus then uses a play, actually a pun, to then promise his Church it would stand against the very gates of hell. He says, “Thou are Peter (gk. Petros, a small pebble or rock) but upon this Rock (gk. petra, large outcropping or ledge) I will build my church.

Jesus says there are two rocks here, but the rock I am building my church upon was not Simon’s nickname, Peter. Jesus would build His Church upon Himself, the Rock of Ages.

We see this throughout the Bible,

In 2 Samuel 23:3 He is the Rock of Israel, In Isaiah 8:14 He is the rock of offence In Daniel 2:34 He is the rock cut out without hands. In Psalms 95:1 He is the rock of our salvation.

Jesus is and always shall be the Rock upon which the church was founded. 1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s church would be built upon the unfailing foundation of the Lord, Himself. Peter failed time and time again, as did the other apostles, but Jesus never failed, nor will He ever fail. Peter is long gone, but the Lord is here even now. Peter has no power today, but Jesus has all power.

Jesus is the only foundation that can allow the church to stand until he comes back and takes it to heaven as His eternal Bride. Jesus’ promise that His Church would never cease until He returns can only be true if He supports, empowers and protects it.

Promised To Us

Listen again to the promise of Jesus the builder and founder of our church, “Matthew 16:18…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Even the Gates of Hell, the full and unrestrained power of Satan’s kingdom, would not be enough to destroy, slow down or stand against the Lord’s church.

The church has withstood the test of time, the test of martyrdom, the test of compromise and still stands today because it was built upon Jesus, the Rock of our salvation and His unfailing promise that it would prevail.

And if we will but stand upon this promise, then Calvary Baptist church of Athens Texas, we will also prevail. We will overcome pandemics, lockdowns, even the loss of our loved ones. We will overcome fear, fatigue, apathy and anxiety. We will prevail not because we have any more power than fallible Peter but we will overcome because we as a church stand on the same foundation as that first church gathered in the valley of Ceaseria Philippi. We stand on the unshakeable rock of eternity, Jesus, Lord Savior and Returning King. When He comes back, His church will still be here, waiting for Him.

There is one more verse I want as to look at as a part of this study, here in vs. 19

 Jesus, The Giver -  Matthew 16:19

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.

Jesus’ Gift

What exactly did Jesus give that day when he gave the Keys of the Kingdom? The answer is almost as important as, Who Jesus is, because if we don’t understand it we will miss the power and authority that we as the church must have to carry out the commission Jesus commanded us to take to the ends of the earth.

Keys, in this context, represent authority. Once Jesus established the perpetuity, the continuance of the church, he then gives it authority. The keys are the authority given from the Lord to the steward, the servant who would carry out his will with his authority. The steward entrusted with this authority can now unlock any door as if he were the Master himself.

Example: If I gave my car keys to Bro. Harry, then he would know that I am granting him authority to drive my car. Please return it washed and with a full take of gas, brother. If I give someone my house key I would be granting them authority to enter my house. That key transfers my authority to them. This is exactly what Jesus did when he gave the keys of heaven to the church that day.

So, what do the keys of the kingdom of heaven open? It is not hard to understand, it is in the words Jesus used when He gave the gift. They are the “keys of heaven.” They open the door to heaven.

But, how do the keys open heaven? How does this work? Jesus didn’t hand a physical key to Peter. Heaven doesn’t have a physical lock and can’t be opened by a physical key. How do the keys given to the church open heaven?

Jesus just before His ascension, John 20:20-23 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Peter’s Sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 10:39-43 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

The key to the kingdom of heaven is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the key is the gift He gave that day to His first church.

Our Authority

We have been granted the highest authority under heaven and with it the highest responsibility to open the very doors of heaven to an eternity that is locked to a lost and dying world. Each time we preach, each time we send a missionary, each time we proclaim the story of Jesus Christ' death, burial and resurrection, the key to heaven is offered.  When the Gospel is accepted, the key of heaven turns and heaven is entered! What glory, what joy, what a blessing and what an honor is ours.

Look what Jesus says to the Church at Philadelphia, Revelation 3:7-8  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:…

This authority given to us in the keys of heaven and the commission of the church cannot be given by anyone but Jesus Christ.  It has been gifted to us and the Lord has never revealed any other that are entrusted with it.

In the Old Testament, Abraham once pleaded for Ishmael to be his heir,  but God said, "Through Isaac."  One time David was once driven from his God given throne but God would not honor Absalom. Nor can the church yield its God given authority to any other institution or well meaning group of Christians.

I know arguments can be raised and reasons given why the work of the gospel and the carrying out of the commission can be done by other agencies.  They can show you how it is easier, how it is more efficient, how it is more economical to let a board, or fellowship or a convention do the work of the church, but Jesus never built these.  He said, I will build My church.  He never gave the keys of heaven to these, he gave them to his church

We may not understand it any better than Abraham or David.  We cannot see how this works, any better than Peter could see how a small band of believers could stand against the Gates of Hell, unleashed through the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin and even the might of the Roman Empire.

But in faith realize this, we are not empowered to understand. The keys have been entrusted to us by Jesus the coming King. Therefore, what are we doing with those keys, with that authority and power? Are we going to all nations?  Are we making disciples? Are we baptizing them?  Are we teaching them all things?

We need no permission, we need no other authority, no outside power. What we need is fortitude, fearlessness and faith in the promise of Jesus our unbreakable Rock of Eternity.


We, the church of Jesus Christ, at Calvary Baptist, we have been given the keys of heaven. We have been commanded to go, disciple, baptize and teach. In our Rock, Jesus Christ, we have the power and the authority to tear down the Gates of Hell. Those gates don’t just stand out there in the wide and wicked world. No, there are gates of sin imprisoning our families, our schools, our community and our nation.

Will we take the keys of heaven and step up to those formidable gates, knowing that you can open them wide and set free the captives by the power of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  The Gospel is the key that opens heaven and it is in our hands. Will we have the faith and courage to use that key?

Friday, March 25, 2022

Nehemiah Bible Study: Restorers, Repairers and Rebuilders Lesson 2 The Principle of Passion

Restorers, Repairers and Rebuilders: #2 The Principle of Passion

Power Point


 An Egyptian Pharaoh hired an engineer to raise an obelisk in his honor.  The Pharaoh did not think that the engineer was being careful enough in his plans so as not to drop the huge stone pillar and break it.  On the day the obelisk was to be raised the engineer walked out to the site and looked over the work.  There he saw tied to the very top of the pillar as it lay on the ground his only son.  When he went to the Pharaoh to ask to have his son released the pharaoh responded,  "Now you will be very careful with my obelisk because now your heart will be in it."

Though we would not agree with the pharaohs means we would agree with his statement. In order to do anything right you must have your heart in it.  You must care, you must possess passion for the undertaking.   This is especially true in the work you do for God.

Through the next lesson we will look at the quality of Nehemiah which caused him to leave his job and risk his life as he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.  It is the quality of passion, caring enough for something to be moved to action.  The same quality is needed in our life if we are to rebuild the ruins we will find in our lives.

The Burden Of The Work - Nehemiah 1:1-4

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

Nehemiah Faces The Need For Rebuilding

Nehemiah receives information from his brother who has just returned from a trip to Jerusalem about the conditions he saw there.  Nehemiah, the kings cupbearer, hears how the once mighty and great city has been laid waste. Where once silver was as common as stones, now wild animals roam the streets at night. Where once was heard the praise of Solomon’s wisdom now was heard the laughter of derision from Israel’s enemies. Where once a beautiful temple had stood filled with the glory of God now it was filled with the sounds of an open field no stone stood atop another.

What is Nehemiah's reaction to the news about Jerusalem?

His heart is broken by the ruin of Jerusalem. He weeps, prays and fasts.

Facing the ruins around us.

We do not need to worry about rebuilding a city, but there are many things in our lives needing to be rebuilt. List some things you see around you that need to be rebuilt.

Many lives are needing to be rebuilt. 

Many families need to be rebuilt.

There are churches that need to be rebuilt.

There is a nation that need to be rebuilt.

Brokenness Before Blessings

Before Nehemiah could rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, what had to happen in his own life and heart?

He had to be broken by the burden of the task. Being a rebuilder is not a task lightly undertaken.  It is not playing at being a Christian it is the true spirit of a willing sacrifice given to God. You must be willing to risk your emotional safety, sometimes even your physical safety to reach out to those who most times will not respond positively to your offer of help.

The Rebuilder’s Brokenness

To rebuild for the Lord, you must understand the principle of brokenness. For God to use us as a rebuilder, He must first rebuild us. That process begins with our own brokenness.

Read the following scripture and then give the guarantee and the condition of the passage.

Psalms 126:6 He that goeth forth with weeping bearing precious seed will doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.

This was a prophecy given to the people of Israel as they were taken into captivity. Their tears would be the guarantee of their return with rejoicing and reward.

For us the guarantee is that we will rejoice and bring our sheaves, the condition is going forth with weeping bearing precious seed.

Isaiah 6:5-8 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. hen flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:  And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah was “undone”, he was broken by his encounter with God.  God then rebuilt him with the coals off the altar, before Isaiah could serve.

Broken Servants Before Service. Look at the following great people of God and recall the  brokenness they had to endure in order to serve God.

Jacob: Wrestled with an angel until he was crippled.

Joseph: Sold by his brothers into slavery then accused of adultery.

Moses: Driven from Pharaoh’s court to become a shepherd.

Peter: After denying Christ three times.

Paul: On the Damascus road and many time after.

Jesus: Crucified, died and buried before the resurrection.

Every person who has served God greatly has been broken. This is the result of being caught up in the passion of the work God has given us.  Somewhere, we must be broken and the pieces gathered by God and put back together in the way we will best serve Him.

Listen to a man of passion from the early days of our country.  Richard Baxter, an English pastor who led a revival in the town of Kiddermister, England in the 1690’s, writes about "The Need of Personal Revival"

 “I know not what others think, but for my own part I am ashamed of my stupidity, and wonder at myself that I deal not wit my own and others souls as one that looks for the great day of the Lord; and that I can have room for almost any other thoughts and words; and that such astonishing matters do not wholly absorb my mind.  I marvel how I can preach of them slightly and coldly; and how I can let men alone in their sins; and that I do not go to them, and beseech them, for the Lord's sake, to repent, however they may take, and whatever pain and trouble it should cost me.  I seldom come out of the pulpit but my conscience smites me that I have been no more serious and fervent.  It accuses me not so much of want of ornaments and elegancy, nor for letting fall and unhandsome word; but it asks me, "How couldst thou speak of heaven and hell in such a careless, sleepy manner?  Dost thou believe what thou sayest?  Art thou in earnest, or in jest?  How canst thou tell people that sin is such a thing, and that so much misery is upon them and before them, and be no more affected with it?  Shouldst thou not weep over such a people, and should not thy tears interrupt thy words?  Shouldst thou not cry aloud, and show them their transgressions; and entreat and beseech them as for life and death?"  And for myself, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unprofitable course of life, so the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every sermon I preach; when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me, and that men's salvation or damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble lest God should judge me as a slighter of His truths and the souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty of their blood.  Me thinks we should not speak a word to men in matters of such consequence without tears, or the greatest earnestness that possible we can; were not we too much guilty of the sin  which we reprove, it would be so.

ruly this is the peal that conscience doth ring in my ears, and yet my drowsy soul will not be awakened.  Oh, what a thing is an insensible hardened heart!  O Lord, save us from the plague of infidelity and hard-heartedness ourselves, or else how shall we be fit instruments of saving others from it?  Oh, do that in our souls which thou wouldst use us to do on the souls of others.”

Nehemiah is broken but he is still not ready to be a rebuilder for his God. He must prepare and pray for the work that is before him.

Preparation For The Work.  - Nehemiah 1:5-9

And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:  Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.  We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.  Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king's cupbearer.

Nehemiah Goes To God.

In his brokeness Nehemiah went to God.  It was here in God's presence that he made the preparations needed for the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. 

What two things did Nehemiah do to prepare for the work that lay before him?

He fasted and he prayed.

If I Am To Be A Rebuilder, I Must Prepare For The Task.

Before I can become a rebuilder, I must have a burden for the work, for those who need to be rebuilt. That burden must be great that God can use it to break me in order that I can myself be rebuilt by God before I be used by God to be a rebuilder of others.

Once I have be broken and rebuild by God I must prepare through fasting and praying.

Fasting Before The Work. First, I must fast.

Fasting is no longer held in popular religious practice.  We look on it as an Old Testament ritual, even though the New Testament  contain many examples of Christians fasting.

Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Luke 5:35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Perhaps it would help us if we looked God’s purpose for fasting.  Read the following passage and then explain what God wanted in a fast.

Isaiah 58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

What was God’s purpose for fasting?

The idea of fasting was for the purpose of devoting one's entire energy to a spiritual task especially on the behalf of others.  So much so that even eating would be a distraction to seeking and serving God.

For us this may mean an actual fast from food or it may mean the cutting off of something which hinders our walk and work for God.  What are some things that I should “fast” from in order to better serve God as a rebuilder?

Television, Radio, Music, Habits, Friendships, etc.  Almost any worldly activity may be interfering with my walk and service to God.

Being a rebuilder requires every drop of concentration and a great deal of time, therefore some things must be dropped. We need a fast both of eating but also of interruptions and diversions from the task at hand.

Preparation Through Prayer.

Nehemiah fasted and he also began to pray.  Read again Nehemiah’s prayer and then list the elements of his prayer.

vs. 5 Prayer contained praise of God

Vs. 6-7 Prayer contained confession to God

Vs. 8-9 Prayer contained an appeal based upon God's promises

Vs. 10 Prayer contained an appeal based upon God's relationship with Israel

Vs. 11 Pray contained a plea for God's power vs. 11

Before I can be a rebuilder for God, I must be broken and rebuilt by Him. The process of my own rebuilding begins with focusing on God through fasting and then turning to Him in prayer for the strength I will need.

Seeking the power of God 

Psalms 62:5-8 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

With such power then the task of being a rebuilder is not one of being beat down, it is one of be lifted up in God’s own power.  This is not a job that leaves you defeated and beaten, but one that empties you of yourself and fills you with the power of God.  It is a joy, and honor and a privilege to serve as a rebuilder for God.

David Livingstone was a missionary to Africa who became a world hero.  He knew that serving God to the fullest of one's life was the best of life.  What he says here could easily be applied to the way we should view the task of becoming a rebuilder.

"People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa.  Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owing to our  God, which we can never repay?  Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?

Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought!  It is emphatically no sacrifice,  Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit  to waver and sink; but let this only be or a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us.  I never made a sacrifice! Of this we ought not to talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father's throne on high to give Himself for us."


There are crumbling ruins all around us. God is calling for rebuilders.  People like Nehemiah who refused to accept the idea that it was too late to rebuild Jerusalem. It's not too late to rebuild lives, hearts and souls. It is not too late to rebuild families. It is not too late to rebuild our community and nation. 

It will only be too late when we no longer care, no longer sacrifice, no longer pray, and no longer desire to be used by God.  


Monday, March 21, 2022

Christ, The Church, The Commission 4: All Come In Luke 14:15-24

 Christ, The Church, The Commission 4: All Come In

Text: Luke 14:15-24

Power Point


This is the 4th message in the series Christ, The Church and The Commission. 

We began with All The World Acts 1:8 ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth

Next All Your Need Philippians 4:19 God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Then All She Had Mark 12:44 they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Today is All Come In Luke 14:23 compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

This passage begins in Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.

Either there at the feast for on the way or just outside a man comes before him, Luke says, “Behold” so it seems this was sudden and unexpected. The man has dropsy and is seeking Jesus to heal him. Dropsy is a swelling of the body caused by the retention of excessive liquid in the tissues. We aren’t told nor could they know back then what was causing it, but it was a painful, pitiful condition. He comes for healing, but it is the Sabbath Day, when no work should be done and the Pharisees are watching.

You of course know what Jesus did. He healed him after asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath Day? This situation and this question have happened before, as had the challenge that Jesus issued, “Which of you having your work animal fall into a ditch would not immediately pull it out, even on the Day of Rest?” Vs. 6 says, “they could not answer him again.”

Once inside he gives two quick parables really just illustrations of truth, about suppers like this one he is attending.

First, he tells the invited guests it is better to take the lower seat at a supper and be raised higher. Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Second parable is to the host of the supper instead of the guests. Jesus tells him, Luke 14:13-14 when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

The third parable is the most extensive and it is told in response to one of the guest, I’m sure it was a Pharisee, making what he must have thought was a very fitting and pious statement. In Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Now Jesus really has something to say.

Go Call - Luke 14:16-20

Luke 14:16-20 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

God’s Call

Now before we go any further lets definition what a parable is an who you interpreting them.
The simplest definition of a parable is “An earthly story that tells an Heavenly truth.” The word is transliterated from the Greek word παραβολή (parabolē) and literally means to place alongside. It is a story told alongside the truth that is being taught.

And there are rules for interpreting parables. If you don’t apply these then you’ll wander off into some of the worst heresies that circulate among the false churches of this world.

1st Never make a parable walk on all fours. (Only one truth being taught, stay with that truth.)

2nd Interpret according to context. (Who, what, when, where and why)

3rd Interpret according to proper time frame. (Kingdom parable, Church Age parable, Life Lesson)

4th Never use a parable to interpret doctrine. (Parables are pictures of the truth not the truth itself.)

This of course is a Kingdom parable, we know that because of the context of the guest who calls out, “Blessed is the one who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Jesus purpose then is to set in order this idea, this presupposition about who is going to be in that kingdom supper one day. Because obviously this guest and probably many others there that day, believe it will be them.

The parable is very simple, a man makes a great supper, a great feast and invited many people to come. This feast like any big event took time and much preparation days if not months in advance. He host of the supper sends his servants to those who have already been invited, the people who the supper was for, people who have been invited weeks ago. Luke 14:17 say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

The people for whom the supper was set and had been invited and, we would say, should have already sent in their RSVP begin to offer excuses why they can’t now come, to a supper that was prepared for them. Such a refusal now, at this late date, is an extreme insult to the host of the feast.

In this day and culture when you invited guests to a supper, you told them the day but not the exact hour of the meal. The host had to know how many were coming so he could have enough food and drink. When it was time, the host would send servants to each of the guests to tell them everything was ready Come and dine. Each of the guests in this parable had already accepted the early invitation. They should have been there when the time came.
Nor are the excuses even valid. At face value they are meant to be insults. They may have been a conspiracy of these guests against the man for the Bible says, “with one consent, one agreement.”

Luke 14:18 The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: Who buys land without first looking at it?

Luke 14:19 another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them. Again, no one would buy an ox team without first trying it, anymore than you would buy a car without driving it.

Finally, Luke 14:20 I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Even marriage was not an excuse to refuse the master's invitation since a Jewish wedding was the major event of a Jewish society and was planned years in advance. This man either lied about the wedding or about coming at the first invitation.

Of course you can see the Lord’s purpose in this parable can’t you. The proud Jewish people, especially the super religious, super legalistic Pharisees believed they had a reserved place in the Kingdom of God and yet Jesus who was no in their midst was inviting them to enter the Kingdom through repentance of their sin and belief in Him and they were refusing the invitation.

Man’s Excuses

Today we live in a world that is trying to excuse itself from God’s invitation and God’s house. We have people who are too intellectual to believe in fairytales. Instead, they believe in science and the fallible men who make up the science as they go along.

We have people who are too busy with work, or careers or just life to take time out to even think about God.

We have people who are quite sure they are good enough and therefore repentance, faith and church are okay for some but not for them.

There are as many excuses for refusing God’s invitation as there are people in this lost and dying world, but just like the excuses giving in this parable, they invalid lies and insults to the grace of God.

I am reminded of the poem, Poem "No time for God."

No time for God?
What fools we are to clutter up
Our lives with common things
And leave without Heart's gate
The Lord of life, and life itself-

No time for God?
As soon to say, no time
To eat or sleep or love or die.
Take time for God
Or you shall dwarf your soul
And when the angel death
Comes knocking at your door,
A poor misshapen thing you'll be
To step into eternity.

No time for God?
That day when sickness comes
Or troubles find you out
And you cry out for God,
Will He have time for you?

No time for God?

In the parable when the servants come back with these insulting excuses, look at the master’s response, Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry…

This is a parable, but when the truth behind the parable is a revelation of the anger of God almighty, these ceases to just be a story about a supper. People think they can play games with the creator of the universe and it is not a game that God will ever play.

Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

The master of the feast, who we understand is God the Father, in response to this rejection acts in..

Go Quick -  Luke 14: 21-22

Luke 14:21-22 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

God's Command

First the master of the feast gives this command to the servant, " Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind."
This is what Jesus had told the host of this supper in the second parable. Now he was saying to the self-righteous Pharisees and upper-class Jews. That God, just like the man in the parable will not be denied his gift of grace. If those for who it was first offered refuse it then God will search out those who they have rejected and offer it to them.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

After the servant goes he comes back and says, "it is done and yet there is room."  Aren't you glad, there is still room.

Servant’s Obedience

Notice the servant,

The word here is bond servant, this is a slave who has been bought with a price. He doesn't belong to himself he belongs to his master. This of course is who were are if we are saved and the children of God. We are bond servants brought with the price of Jesus life blood. We are not our own, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Notice also the command

Luke 14:21 Go out quickly, There was no time to wait, for the supper was ready, the banquet was set and it would start at the Master's appointed hour. And by His will, grace and love there would be guests sitting at that supper. It is the task of the servant to bring them in.

It is the task, the command of the servant of God to go quickly, for there is no time to wait for a better day. The invitation of grace will end at the Master’s appointed time. It is our command to invite those are broken, hurt, and rejected to come and to come now.

Notice the place the servant was sent.

Luke 14:21 Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city… literally these were the main streets and the little roads. He is saying look everywhere and anywhere in this city. From the busiest place to the quietest place, find them at work, find them in the parks, find them in their homes. Find them all around you, and find them now.

Notice the people the servant is to bring.
Luke 14:21 bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
Why these people? They also were rejected and in that rejection they would respond to the graciousness and love of the one calling them to a feast.

The servant was to look for the rejected. Look for the hurt. Look for the blind. They see their need, they know they have no right to a great feast, and when a faithful servant of the Master comes to bring them to a great banquet they respond.  

Finally, notice the result.
Luke 14:22 Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. They had come but there was still room. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? There is still room for more. If anything should keep us working, invititing and sharing the Gospel it should be this truth, “There is still room.”

If you are here today and haven’t responded to the invitation of grace, then understand that in God's house and at that great supper waiting in heaven there is still has room for you. It's been 2000 years since this parable but still there's room for more. There is a place for you, an invitation but remember that invitation can and will end. The servants go out quickly and the guests must respond in that same manner, for none of us know when the invitation will end for us.

Room at the cross for you.

There's room at the cross for you. There's room at the cross for you. Though millions have come there's still room for one. There's room at the cross for you.

If you are here today without God’s grace then know, there's room for you. And servant of God, there’s room for your friend, your mother, dad, brother and sister. Yes, there's room for your neighbor, your co-worker, there's room. Go quickly and bring them all in and there will still be room.

After the servant tells his Lord, there is still room, the Lord gives his next command.

Go Compel - Luke 14:23-24

Luke 14:23-24 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

God’s Compulsion

Now the servant is sent out one more time. This time he is sent outside the city to the highways and hedges.
And it is an even more powerful invitation for He says, "Compel them to come in. That my house may be full." This is not being forced against their will, this isn’t a confirmation of Calvinism or the first guests who refused would have been forced to come anyway. No, this word means to use every means the servant has to convince them to come.

The word is used of Jesus in in Matthew 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
Can see also see the parallels in this parable with the commission given to the church.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,

Mark 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, (the streets of the city) and in Samaria (outside the city), and unto the uttermost part of the earth (the hedges, the fenced in places.)

Love’s Compulsion

To us the servants of God, the parable has a powerful application. Jesus is saying to us, "Keep going. Don’t quit, don’t coast, don’t give up. Go out and compel them by the love of God to come to the feast prepared. Go out beyond your Jerusalem, there are highways leading to multitudes that are lost. Go out past the fences, the obstacles, even the laws that hedge the lost from the grace of God. Behind those barriers are people who haven’t heard the invitation to Come and dine in heaven with God.

Praise the Lord for missionaries that He has sent and for those we support but never allow yourself to think that by putting money in the plate to pay the pastor or support a missionary that I've done all my part as a blood bought servant of God.

God is telling us, you and I, "Go out to the highways and hedges and compel them that my house must will be full." He tells us to "compel them."

I once heard a preacher man talking about winning souls, He said he was going to do everything that he could to win everyone he could. Even when the rapture came he was going to grab the nearest sinner by the shirt and as he dragged upward to heaven he would be shouting, "Repent you sinner or I'm going to let go."
We are to compel them and that means to use every chamber of our heart, it means use every particle of our intelligence, it means use every memory of our experiences, it means use every cord of our muscles, it means use every breath of our lungs, it means use every penny in our pocket, it means use every prayer we pray and every word we speak to bring them to Christ.

John Harper's Compulsion for souls

John Harper was a Scottish Baptist preacher in 1914 he had been called to be the pastor of the church of D. L . Moody in Chicago. He booked a passage from England to America for himself, his daughter and his niece, his wife had died years before, He bought tickest for their transatlantic voyage on a ship called the Titanic, the newest, fastest and unsinkable ship of the White Star line.

Well you know the story of the ship but you may not know the story of John Harper. After the ship hit and iceberg and it was told to the passengers that there were not enough lifeboats for all, he placed his six-year-old daughter Annie and his niece Jessie into a lifeboat than then stepped back to the deck of the sinking ship. As the ship sank the passengers in the lifeboat looked back and saw John Harper clinging to the rail while pleading with a young man to come to Christ. It was said that he went from person to person as long as he could and urged people to come to the Lord.

The story didn’t end there in that cold seas, for four years later, after Titanic become the most famous maritime disaster of modern times, a young Scotsman stood up in a testimony meeting at a church. In giving his story of salvation he said, "I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper, of Glasgow also on a piece of wreck near me. "Man, he called out to me, “are you saved?” “No, I said, I am not." He told me, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

The waves bore him away, but strange to say brought him back a little later, and he said, "Are you saved now?' 'No,' I said, 'I cannot honestly say that I am.'  He said again, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' And shortly after he went down; and there alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper's last convert."

John Harper was a servant of God who understood his Lord’s will. He had been called at 18 years-old by his master to invite and to compel men to come into the Lord’s house and even as he struggled in the icy waters of death, he was still compelling them to come to Christ. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

What of us this morning? Are we searching the streets and lanes of our city for the broken, the needy and the rejected? Are we willing to go to to the highways seeking the lost and to break down the hedges to compel and constrain? Are you following the compulsion of God to fill up his house for there is still room?  

Bring them In.

Hark tis the shepherds voice I hear out in the desert dark and drear. Calling the sheep who've gone astray. Far from the shepherd’s fold, away.

Who'll go and help this shepherd kind. Help him the wandering ones to find. Who'll bring the lost one's to the fold? Where they'll be sheltered from the cold.

Out in the desert hear their cry.  Out in the mountains wild and high. Hark tis the Master speaks to thee. Go find my sheep where’er they be.

Bring them in, bring them in. Bring them in from the fields of sin. Bring them in, bring them in.  Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.