Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Synagogues

Jesus goes teaching and preaching in the Synagogues – Matthew 4:23-25

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Jesus goes teaching and preaching in the Synagogues – Matthew 4:23-25 – 05/11/2016

Matthew 4:23 (ESV) And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse twenty three of chapter four.

V23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

Jesus went all about his mission from the get go, he knew the customs of the day that would allow visitors to teach in their synagogues and can you imagine being there and hearing the most holy words be read by the author himself? These Galileans did not know how blessed they were! Where better to start his ministry than the very house that they dedicated to God?

We read that Jesus was both teaching and preaching and although we have lumped them together in modern Christianity there is quite a difference in what he was doing, let’s look at that here…

  • Teaching – was where he was delivering the content and explaining what the matter meant.
  • Preaching – Is giving exposition on the scriptures and this is why the ESV uses the word proclamation because he was proclaiming the truth of what was written and its literal fulfillment in flesh before them. Who could argue with that?

In addition to his verbal ministry, Jesus was also healing people and was becoming quite famous for healing and I do wonder if people were coming to Jesus just looking for the temporary fix, you have to remember though that Jesus can see the heart and he knew who wanted what from him. Jesus did not seek fame and was simply looking to display the power that he had over sickness, and he had a genuine compassion for those who sought his help. We see what types of people in the next verse…

V24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

As stated above people wanted to meet the man who was healing all these people and his fame spread as far as Syria and they brought him to the author of all creation and he was able to demonstrate in a powerful way that he had power over creation and who better to fix someone than someone who was there and saw the original draft when the world was created.

I read this verse and it gives me great hope because as a spouse of someone who has a chronic pain issue and it reinforces my belief in the power of prayer because I know that Jesus can heal according to his will and here we see in a historical record written by a man who was so meticulous that the Romans had him collecting tax for them. He even goes as far to catalogue the types of people that Jesus healed. I love passages of scripture like this when I hear the skeptics argument that “the Bible is so vague”.

I also love that Jesus is mentioned to have healed people who were “demon possessed” and showed that he was indeed greater than he who was in the world. It was also a glimpse into the ease that Jesus will make all things new in the book of Revelation.

V25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Such as his fame attracted the numbers and here is a lesson for Pastors and leaders who worship the idea of having a mega ministry. I would state to you that it is not wrong to have such a united movement of people all pointing in the one direction as long as it is all about Jesus. I would state to follow Jesus example when he had the multitudes.

HE TAUGHT THEM! The temptation is there to not “go against the grain” or “talk about things that will lose numbers” Jesus never did that and Jesus frequently taught them the truth. Jesus wasn’t into impressing them with “holy tricks” or “miracles” he was looking to change their hearts and that is still the case today, if you have not accepted Jesus into your heart then I would urge you to get in contact and I would love to speak to you more. We are not promised tomorrow and the point of this blog is to introduce you to your Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will start in verses one through twelve of chapter five studying when teaches the part of scripture known as the beatitudes. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Psalms Saturday #10 – His Steadfast Love Endures Forever – Psalms 100

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Psalms Saturday #10 – His Steadfast Love Endures Forever – Psalms 100 – 03/12/2016

A Psalm for giving thanks

Psalms 100:1 (ESV) Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! 2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

This Psalm is awesome in its praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. I love this because it gives great examples of praise and thanksgiving and my hope is that you please enjoy this great Psalm of praise, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching and encouraging moments. I aim to look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

This verse even although it is only a few words long really speaks to me on a personal level. One of my personality faults is that I am like Chandler in the TV series Friends and I apply nervous humor to situations and one of my “common jokes” is my inability to sing in a manner that is beautiful to others. I often joke that I “make a joyful noise!” and I will give you an example of this below…

The church I attend on a Sunday had a real worship leader problem due to the Senior Pastor being unavailable, one of the worship leaders being sick and another was out of town and my wife, even although she was getting over sickness stepped into help, when she texted the Assistant Pastor she joked that I could sing and it was met with much hilarity.

We have to realize with worship that God care more about the heart of the worshipper than the exterior package. One of the things that put me off church when I was a young seeker bouncing between churches (see my testimony page for a fuller description) is one church I went to which was described as a “Charismatic church” where the ones who were held us as the “best worshippers” or “so full of the spirit” were also the ones who could turn on the “joyful noise” like a faucet (tap) and usually lived the most worldly lives outside the church and only came for the experience and were not deeply grounded in any faith as they all left within a few years and lived in the world, never to return to Jesus.

I say this not in a judgmental tone but one of concern for those folks, I did likewise but I also returned. I say it also because we have to check our hearts that we are not doing what Jesus accused the Pharisees or religious people of…

Matthew 6:1 (ESV) Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Yes Jesus speaks about giving and praying but he also touches on practicing your righteousness before other people and we have to be genuine in our worship to God and if we are weeping we are weeping, if we have our hands up and look worshipful then let us be worshipful in the inside too because we all need honesty and transparency and really need not to be fake and I pray for us all that we are the same through the week as we are on a Sunday morning when all the people we worship with see us being “worshipful”. It should be a life of worship as opposed to an hour a week and the Psalmist goes on to talk about how we should serve the LORD.

V2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

How should we serve the LORD? With gladness of course! I would go so far as to say that if you are serving the LORD with grumpiness or with a less than stellar attitude then I would ask for the good of yourself and the people you are serving then please take a time out from serving. Often time’s people are called to serving and I know from personal experience from when I was trying to “trudge on” and becoming “burned out” that folks were not volunteering to take my place because they saw that that ministry was covered. So you may very well be doing harm to yourself but also to the ministry at large.

If that continues then you will get what I call the “cataloguing Christian” where they start to list the ministries they have been involved in to puff themselves up, make themselves feel good and justify why they are griping about their present circumstances that in many cases they have volunteered for. This leads to the ones who people are relying on not actually wanting to come to church and you will rarely see these people coming into the presence of the LORD with singing! If you are reading this and questing what I am saying then please take a look at your own church and have a look at how many folks are shouldering most of the burden and that will give you an idea where you can help.

How do we avoid this? Well it can be two fold…

Leaders

We should not be just looking to “fill spots in a roster” and we should be looking to fill positions with people who are suited to what we are asking for, a decent example you would not ask someone who is horrible with kids to take a class of 6-8 year old screaming kids.

We should also look for willing but capable people to fill spots and train then up well by giving them decent support and while they are learning have a safety net where they can “fail on a small scale” as a learning curve.

We need to be observant for “burn out” and if someone is doing six months in a row doing Children’s ministry and not getting any fellowship then they may very well get burned out.

We can’t be pressuring people into doing something, whether it’s doing a task, giving or making someone feel like they are being pressured into doing something.

Volunteers

Be honest about your callings, don’t be pressured into something and be willing to help and try things out, if it is not for you then be honest about it and help to find someone to replace you.

V3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

He deserves our songs of praise because he is good, he is God and he really has that divine right to worship, it is what we were created for and this is also why the Psalmist calls us “his people and the sheep of his pasture”.

The Psalmist also states that “he made us” and that is true. If you have been following along in our bible studies in the book of Genesis you will know that we were literally made from the dust of the ground. We have to realize that the very breath in our bodies is a gift from God. When we fail to acknowledge this and give God the true place he deserves it leads to a self-worship that is unfulfilling and often leads to disappointment.

Who do you live for? Is it you or is it God? We are his people and we are the sheep of his pasture and like any good shepherd he knows his flock. Everything we have been provided has come from God. We read in Psalm 24 the following…

Psalms 24:1 (ESV) The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, 2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, does that change the way you view your surroundings? The meat you eat were made my animals created by God, the plants you eat were made by God, the water you drink was made by…you guessed it. Is it any wonder the Psalmist continues with…

V4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Feel like a benefits or a welfare case yet? That is not my intention but we are like the 30 something who still lives at home because Mom and Dad are cheaper than the real world! Then if we get a bump in the road we whine like a 3 year old! Often times when we get mad in our own first world problems it is not due to a major catastrophe it is due to something that has upset us that we will not even remember in five years!

On the flip side we should enter his courts with praise and here is why! Even if you are the poorest person in your church, living from paycheck to paycheck but just paying your bills, you are being provided for and God has seen you through it. You are still much wealthier than many are in developing countries.

V5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

And this is why we praise the LORD, because he is good, he loves us, his faithfulness is forever and his love endures forever. This is all from the father of truth so you can be guaranteed of the validity and truth of what is said.

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 125 which speaks of trusting in the LORD, the LORDs faithfulness and the importance of righteousness, all in all a terrific Psalm and I hope that you don’t miss it. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
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TGBTG
SDG

Christ Jesus came to save sinners

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Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse twelve of the first chapter of First Timothy.

He has judged me faithful

Paul goes on to write…

V12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul makes it personal; he talks about his own testimony. Revelation 12 advises that the accuser will be thrown down by “The blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony” see below for full counsel of God…

Revelation 12:9 (ESV) And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death

Do not underestimate the power of your testimony! In sales people buy from people, if you can show in your life the reason for your faith, if you can show that your testimony does not end at conversion but there is a daily, life changing work being done in your life, that will cause people to question this faith and see that it is real. Paul speaks honestly who he was and what he did and where he was in that day.

Paul thanks Jesus because he has judged him faithful, he could see right into Saul’s heart that day on the road to Damascus, he knew who he was picking. Jesus hand-picked Paul for that mission, to reach the gentiles for Jesus Christ. He was counted, he was called as faithful, and he was one who was able to be used of God.

Correct attitude towards service

Paul has the right attitude towards his service; he often called himself a slave, a bondservant or Jesus Christ. One who volunteered himself into a life bound by service unto God’s will for our lives, Paul demonstrates a faithfulness that shows that he was completely compliant to his mission on earth. He was completely sold out on his main priority, furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul shows that regardless of where God has planted us, we can be faithful where we are at. We have to be faithful in the small things first and then as we grow God will test us and stretch us into further works for him. This is why it is vital we don’t beg for deliverance every time we are tested or tried, how are we meant to learn and grow in God if we never learn or grow in God?

Paul was in ministry (or service) he made tents during the working hours and spread the Gospel at every opportunity, he was not only in ministry when he spoke in the Synagogues. He was in ministry when he was sewing a tent, when he was chained to a Roman, wherever God had him.

This is a phenomenal lesson to us all as some of us will not serve unless we are a position to be noticed. Jesus spoke about those types of servants and advised the ones who sought the praises of man “had their reward already” and that is a real danger to us all as many good ministries have been damaged or torched by individual pride.

Useable > talented

We have to be useable, not necessarily talented but most certainly useable. I am no great theologian, but God has put a desire in my heart to research and write about his holy word. I am no great teacher, but God has given me people willing to come with a thirst to hear the word of God (not me) I am not really talented in many areas but I want to be used for his glory as opposed to mine.

I am not at all good with public kudos I am sure I have shared that before; when a pastor or leader shouts my name from the front of the church I do get a wee bit embarrassed and tend not to enjoy it. I am a behind the scenes guy who is just as happy stacking chairs as I am teaching a bible study. I am not saying this because it is one of the few things that I have right however we should try to bloom in God where we are planted for his glory first.

God’s choice = Glory to God

God knows how to pick them doesn’t he? Paul describes himself as a “former blasphemer and persecutor” but this is what I love about the bible, God picks the unlikely candidate to show that it was him that did it. He picked the leading thorn in the side to people of “the Way” the one that if there had been a Billboard Chart of top 100 feared Pharisees Paul would have been “Top of the Pops” every time.

He took this man and gave him a place in the front line, he knew Paul’s heart, knew how faithful he was and how faithful he would be and rather than let his past be a hindrance, he put him to work as a front line missionary in one of the most dangerous territories in the world. His conversion was not the end, but merely the first step in a new life as Paul the apostle rather than Saul the persecutor.

He was given an audience with the LORD and he states that he was “formerly” Paul shows that the grace of God was enough not just to get him into heaven but to wipe away the wrongs of the past and qualified him for service in Christian service. Paul shows Timothy that his past didn’t disqualify him; he states that he did it in “ignorance” God used Paul in spite of Paul, his greeting here to Timothy was that he should remain despite how inadequate he felt.

Who is worthy of service?

This is a common occurrence in Christian ministry, that people will try to disqualify themselves because they deem themselves unworthy. Truth is, none of us are actually worthy however in spite of us, and God will still find a way to use us. As imperfect as we are, as incapable as we may think we are God knows who we really are and that is why he has called us. We are called not because of who we are, but by God’s grace. We should take heart from Paul’s experience that he received mercy as opposed to judgment.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE