Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Woes! Jesus’ Call To Be The Real Deal!

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.
We are on a journey with Jesus and his disciples through the Passover week teachings of Jesus.  Jesus teachings during this time become increasingly passionate.  After overturning the outer courts of the temple and sparing with the religious leaders, he now launches into a sevenfold warning against hypocrisy.

Some would call this a ‘tirade’ after reading it (Matthew 23:1-39).  Jesus goes after the appearances.  He goes after masks and facades.  He goes after preaching one thing but then practicing another.

If I had to boil it down, Jesus is calling his disciples to be real – to live authentic lives in following Him.  He does this by calling his disciples once again to humility, service, and the worship of God alone, following Jesus alone. 

When reading the text for preparation of Sunday’s message, what do you think Jesus is going after?  And what is Jesus calling us to do and be?  Jesus calls the religious leaders many different names, “Blind!  Whitewashed tombs!  Snakes!  Brood of Vipers!  Hypocrites (5x’s)!”

This teaching of Jesus can’t be denied, pushed aside, or explained away.  Matthew puts it right in front of us where we can’t miss it.  Title of Sunday’s message: Seven Woes!  Jesus Call To Be The Real Deal!   Matthew 23:1-39 

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

For an Audience of One

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We are turning to ‘page two’ in the Sermon the Mount.  Jesus shifts his focus to some common Jewish practices of devotion and worship: giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting.  In all three situations, Jesus warns against playing the hypocrite and seeking human kudos.  He again goes after the heart’s motivation and intent.  We will spend some extra weeks unpacking the Lord’s Prayer.

Our text this week is Matthew 6:1-4.  This chapter begins with a warning: Don’t be like the hypocrites (actors).  Instead, practice righteousness (giving, prayer, fasting, etc) for an audience of One – GOD!

Its so tempting to speak and act in order to puff up our image or our character.  Jesus assures us that God sees.  In this teaching, Jesus whispers, “Be free of the need to be on stage.  Let go of concern for status or the need to gain the approval or recognition of others… God sees.”

In what ways do we try and put on an image of something we are not?  In what ways do we try to impress others, ‘take a look at me?’  The signs are everywhere.  Jesus once again goes after the heart motivations and desires.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Mark