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What Jesus Said About Baptism


Matthew 28:18-20

My granddaughter and I went to the Caverns of Sonora last week and had a wonderful time…but on the way home I made a wrong turn and soon we realized that we were going the wrong way…we were lost.

Now, I believe that is what people need to do when it comes to their eternal salvation…perhaps even some here this morning.

Now, this morning, I want to look at something that a lot of people who claim to be saved…or who claim to be disciple’s of Christ have never done even though the Lord Himself commands it for salvation. Look again at the passage that was read: Matthew 28:18-20.

18        And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19   “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20        teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

These are the final “marching orders”….the final instructions of Christ to the church while He was still here on earth.

Now, every religious group that considers Christ to be Lord obeys 3 of these 4 commands.

But, why is it that they leave baptism out?

MARK 16:15-16       And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16        “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Notice in this passage what baptism is associated with?

Faith and baptism go hand in hand.

JOHN 3:3-7   Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4          Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5          Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6          “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7          “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’


Notice there in verse 7 that Jesus says, “You must be born again.”

If you desire to enter into the kingdom of heaven and spend an eternity with God, you must be born again of “water and the spirit.”

Now, a lot of people want to take this passage and say that the “water here is not talking about baptism.”

Jesus Himself is saying, “You will not enter into the kingdom of God unless you are born of water…and the Spirit.”

One more passage for this morning….there are others that I want to consider but I will do them another day….turn to ACTS 2:38

Peter had been preaching about Jesus and telling the people that when they crucified Him they crucified the Messiah…and the people cry out, “What shall we do? And Peter says:

 38        “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Now notice how Peter said, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.”?

Well let me share with you three thoughts concerning this passage.

Turn with me to Matt. 26 and look at verse 27.

Jesus is instituting the Lord’s Supper and he gives his disciples the cup and in verse 27 he says:

 “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

 Where Jesus says, “FOR the forgiveness of sins”…that is the exact same word used in Acts 2:38 when Peter says, “FOR the forgiveness of sins.”

Another thing I want you to think about here.

Another thought….

This passage says what it says.

It says, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

No one is saved…no one comes into the presence of God…no one enters into the kingdom of heaven still bearing their sins.

Now let me close with this.

Someone might say, “Well, what’s the big deal.” “What difference does it make?”

I will tell you. Didn’t Jesus say, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”?

But the reason I am so concerned about this…and the reason you should be so concerned about this…is because people by the thousands and thousands…are believing they are saved…when in reality….they are not.

And what adds to the tragedy of this is…some of us who have been baptized for the remission of our sins….are almost indifferent to this horrible teaching…

 What this dangerous doctrine should do is it should break our hearts and motivate us to oppose it like we would any other false teaching that leads people astray.

What about you this morning?

Were you “baptized for the forgiveness of your sins?”  Or were you forgiven separate and apart from baptism.

Were you saved when you were baptized? Or were you saved….even without baptism?

Think about how and when you were saved?

If it wasn’t in accordance with what the Bible says…it may be that you were never saved at all.

Please, give it some serious, prayerful thought.

Don’t take a chance with this.

We are talking about an eternity in heaven or an eternity in hell.

Don’t you want to make sure you have it right?

Right according to what Jesus says:

“He who has believed and has been baptized, shall be saved.”

If you want to study about this more…please come see me.

If you want to just get it right this morning…we are here to assist you.

If you want to give your life to Christ…and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…what ever your need is….





Dead And Alive


Matthew 28:1-10

We have been studying Matthew for a long time and now we come to the end…and that is “Good News.”

Now, as we go through this passage it seems that Matthew really wants to make the point that when Jesus died on the cross…He was really dead.

So Matthew seems to make every effort to point out that Jesus was really dead.

57 And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him.

Now, what you need to know is that back then, the death of a condemned man on the cross did not mark the end of his humiliation.

The only way you could give a crucified man a proper burial is if you had permission from the Roman magistrate in charge of the area.

But in Jesus’ situation some one did.

But there is something else I want you to know about this man…it is found in the gospel of Mark in chapter 15:43.

And if you look at Mark 15:44 when  Joseph makes his request for the body of Jesus and Pilate is surprised that the body is already dead.

Now, this is the same centurion that Matthew spoke of back up in verse 54.

So in vs. 57 and 58 Joseph of Arimathea asks for the body of Jesus…and Pilate orders that the body be given to him.

But now Matthew is not through.  To make sure that everyone knows that Jesus was really dead he tells us about the actions of Joseph in verse 59.

Did you hear me? He was dead!

But Matthew is not through. Look at chapter 26:62.

62 Now on the next day, which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64 “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

Now, look at Matthew 28 starting in vs. 1: Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

Now, look at vs. 2: And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; 4 and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead;

 What happened to the body?

Did the disciples steal the body?

Did the enemies of Jesus steal the body?

What happened to the body?

Listen, God did not roll that stone out of the way to let Jesus out.

Well there is no need to wonder. The only thing to wonder about is, “Will you hear the word of God on the matter?”  Look at verse 6 again.

But Matthew isn’t through!  Look at verse 8 at the reaction of the ladies.

“And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

So the ladies go to report to the disciples…and look at what happens in vs. 9: And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see Me.” 

Vs. 11 Now while they were on their way, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and counseled together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14 “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

And with this account, God, through Matthew, has given indisputable proof that still exists today that Jesus was all that He claimed to be…that He is the Son of God….that someday our Lord will return and judge this world…He has given us the empty tomb!

Is it all a lie? Or is it the truth? If it is the truth…and Matthew says it is…God says it is….and the empty tomb says it is….then I hope that you are courageous enough to do that which the truth demands. Look at vs. 16:

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ” 

All through the gospel of Matthew, Matthew has been calling us to discipleship…not just people who have been baptized…He has called us to die to ourselves….and take up the cross and follow after Him.

Cross Words


 Matthew 27:11-56

This morning, in this chapter we come to that which Matthew has been leading us to for some time.

This morning, as we go through this passage, we are not going to examine every detail.

When you get to verse 11 the Jews have brought Jesus to the Roman governor, Pilate.

And that is the irony here.

But notice what Pilate knows about this situation in verse 18.

And Pilate knew that.

Pilate just didn’t realize HOW jealous they were!

You see, Pilate didn’t realize how much people desire power and influence.

Now look at vs. 23-24: And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” 24 And when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”

And so what Matthew has done is he has shown us that Jesus is led to his death, not just by the Jews…but also by the Romans.

Why? What crimes was Jesus guilty of?

Notice verses 27-32. What happens to Jesus in these verses is brutal.

And they mock Him as King…and they keep beating Him with reeds…and spitting on him.

And you would think that by now they would have all had their fill of being so cruel and inhumane toward Jesus.

 And those men who mocked Him and said, “You saved others, but you can’t save yourself”, just didn’t realize that He could save others….and He could have saved Himself.

And then what happens next is hard to imagine. Vs. 45 says that “about the 6th hour darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

Jesus cries out, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?”

It wasn’t so much the pain of the cross that made Him cry out.

God departed from Jesus so that He would never have to depart from you.

And that is why we should lift up the cross.

Notice now verse 51. Another strange thing happens. Just as Jesus breaths His last and dies, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Now notice verse 54. Here in this verse a Roman soldier, standing right in front of Jesus sees Jesus breath His last, and then he says what Matthew has been telling us all along.

He calls Him the “Son of God.”

No one else calls Him that until this centurion does here in verse 54.

This centurion expresses what this gospel has been saying all alone.

 They thought when they killed Jesus that they would stop His message.

So, have you heard the cross today?

There were three crosses that day.

On the right there was another man.

Because on that cross in the middle was a man who had no sin in Him…but who had all sin ON Him.

Jesus died on the cross, “forsaken by God” so that you would never have too.

Peter On Trial


 Matthew 26:58, 69-75

Last week in our study of the gospel of Matthew we looked at the arrest and trial of Jesus.

And we talked about how Jesus told the mob that coming out at night with all the swords and clubs was so unnecessary because they could have arrested Him at any time during the day.

It was an ugly scene.

And then we talked about Jesus’ trial found in verses 57-68…that is if you can call it a trial.

Everything they did was illegal but they weren’t worried about legalities.

It was an ugly, ugly scene.

But I want you to notice verse 58 again.

I think Matthew puts this here because he wants us to see that during this dark hour more than one man is on trial.

So let’s begin in verse 69.

Now, keep in mind just a short time before this (in vs. 31) Jesus had told the disciples that “He would be struck down and that they would all fall away or be scattered.”

But look at verse 69. Peter was in the courtyard…and one of the servant girls of the high priest comes up to him and she looks at him and she says, “You too, were with Jesus the Galilean.”

He denies Christ!

Peter goes to the gateway…and another servant girl sees him and says to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth!”

And Peter doesn’t know that even as he denies Jesus that his own words betray him because of his Galilean accent. Look at the end of verse 73. They say, “Surely, you are one of them, for the way you talk gives you away.”

Notice now verse 74. Peter has got to convince these people that he is not one of those who followed Jesus so “he began to curse and swears, “I do not know the man.”

 And notice that Matthew says, “Immediately a cock crowed.”

Notice the irony. Inside, a bunch of brutes are beating Jesus while He is blindfolded, telling Him to prophesy…mocking Him as a prophet…while outside exactly what He prophesied would happened is coming true.

Look at verse 75. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

 Not one time during this whole episode does Peter use Jesus’ name.

When Peter weeps here I believe that his tears reflect genuine sorrow.

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.  6    And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, {here is} the place where they laid Him. “But go, tell His disciples and Peter….”

Make sure you tell Peter. Be sure that Peter knows that Jesus wants to see him again.

You see, the great danger in a story like this is for you to say, “It is a great story but I just can’t relate to it. It could never happen to me.”

Let me close now with just a couple of lessons that hopefully we will learn.

First of all I want you to go back to verse 74.

I want you to notice that after he curses…the people never accuse him again about being a disciple.

And the thing I think we need to understand is, if it worked for Peter…it will work for us.

It will work every time.

Peter “cursed and swore” and denied Jesus and no one charged him anymore with being a disciple.

You see, what you say says a lot about whose you are?

Lesson Number 2: Be careful about thinking to much about yourself.

Do you remember earlier in the evening when Jesus was in the garden and he came back and three times he found Peter and James and John asleep?

Jesus knew what was going to happen that night…and he knew that unless Peter prepared himself the flesh would give in and he would fall.

Let me tell you, Satan is going to present several opportunities this week for you to confess or deny Jesus as Lord.

It may be one of many possibilities…and depending on how you handle it….you will either confess or deny Jesus.

It is so important for you to be in worship each week…and each Sunday night…and each Wednesday evening.

And finally, we need to learn that sin is a reason for weeping.

Do you know what sin is? Sin is a denial of the Lordship of Jesus.

And because he did…the Lord took Peter back again.

IF all we do is excuse sin….deny sin…ignore sin…justify sin….and by doing so deny the Lordship of Christ….then their will be no sorrow…there will be no repentance…and as a result their will be no restoration back to Christ.

Conclusion: Jesus wasn’t the only one on trial that night…Peter was too. And today each one of us in on trial. Where do you stand with Jesus? What do people say about you?


Arrested Development

Matthew 26:47-56

In the passage that was read Jesus is arrested and will be put on trial.
• And even though this trial took place over 1900 years ago, in a sense, Jesus is still put on trial today in many places by many different people.
• And many people are still willing to make a case against Jesus.

The question that we will be faced with this morning is, “What do you say about Jesus?”
• Will you defend Him to be who He claimed to be?
• Will you stand and say that He is worthy of all that those claims make Him worthy of?
• Or, when the pressure is on, will you deny who He is?

Let’s study starting in verse 47.

In verses 47-56 we read about Jesus’ arrest.
• And because we have read it so many times we don’t think too much about what took place.
• But let me tell you, this was an ugly scene.
• Keep in mind that this takes place late at night.
• And this mob doesn’t come all nice and polite, worried about Jesus’ civil rights.
• They come with swords and clubs…with anger and hatred.
• And there was probably some cursing…and threatening.
• This mob comes prepared to strike.

And you can imagine the fear and the threat that the disciples felt.
• They knew that threats had been made against Jesus’ life.
• And they also knew that, because of their close relationship to Him, they too were in danger.
• So they probably bristled some too.
• And besides, they had just before this sworn that they would “die themselves before they would deny Jesus.”
• This was a very scary scene.

And then Judas comes forward and He signals to the mob which one they were after by kissing Jesus.
• And it was not just any old ordinary kiss.
• The term used here is that of a “passionate, intense, emotional embrace.”

And when he does that verse 50 says that the mob, “laid hands on Him, and seized Him.”
• And for one of the disciples, that was the wrong thing to do.

They seize Jesus and in verse 51 and John 19:10 Peter jerks out his sword and he swings at the face of one of the high priest’s slave with every intention of ending his life.
• And an ear falls to the ground.

Had Jesus not picked it up and placed it back on the head of the man who was injured and healed him, there very likely would have been 4 crosses the next day at Calvary.
Look what Jesus says in verse 55: “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me.”

This scene in the middle of the night was so unnecessary.
• They could have arrested Him at any time.
• Why are they doing it now?

Because they are afraid of the people.
• Many of the people esteemed Christ.
• They may not have believed He was the Messiah but they did think He was a prophet.
• And these members of this mob knew that.
• And the best time to arrest Jesus to prevent an uproar from the people was in the middle of the night.

So they arrest Jesus, but I want you to notice the very end of verse 56. Jesus says: “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
• One more time Jesus exposes the hearts of these men.
• He says, “What is happening here is a fulfillment of scripture?”
• They could check it out and see if it was not so.
• And if it was so, then they would know that He was truly the One God said would come.
• But they aren’t interested in the truth.
• All they want to do is get rid of Jesus.

This was an ugly, frightening scene.

In verses 57-68 you read about the trial…that is if you can call it a trial.
• Keep in mind that it is in the middle of the night.
• And if you will notice in verse 59 that the “Council” or the “Sanhedrin” is there.
• The Sanhedrin was the Jew’s highest court…it would be like our Supreme Court.
• It consisted of 71of the most powerful, educated men in Israel and they were the ultimate authority when it came to Jewish Law.

And they want to condemn Jesus so badly that in verse 59 they bring in witnesses to lie.
• But if you look at what Mark says in Mark 14:56, the witnesses testimony didn’t condemn Jesus because their testimony wasn’t consistent…it was conflicting….and no one can be found guilty on conflicting testimony.

And so in verse 62 the high priest stands up and he begins to question Jesus.
• And after hearing what Jesus says the high priest in vs. 65 accuses Jesus of blasphemy.
• And then the court condemns him to death.

And look at verse 67.
Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?”

This whole trial was a sham! This was a Kangaroo Court.
• This whole thing took place because this Jewish court didn’t have the right to condemn Jesus to death….only the Roman court could do that.
• But these men are determined to see Jesus punished…they are desperately trying to come up with some charge that they can take to the Romans so that the Romans will execute Jesus.
• And what they do here is a mockery to their own judicial system.

First of all, according to Jewish law, the arrest was illegal.
• According to their own law you could not arrest anyone at night.
• Secondly, the arrest is illegal because it was brought about by the word of a traitor…and you could not arrest on that basis.
• Third, the court proceedings themselves, this hearing before the Sanhedrin was illegal because a trial could not take place at night….it could not take place before the morning sacrifice.
• It was also illegal to have a preliminary hearing in private. Any kind of hearing like this had to be public.
• It was against the law for the high priest to question the witness. The high priest was not allowed to directly question the witness.
• Conflicting testimony is being accepted.
• The witness himself is condemned based on his own testimony…that was against the law.
• He was charged with blasphemy…and even though the charge was serious…under Jewish law that charge was not specific enough to condemn Him.
• Once the accused is found guilty, 24 hours had to pass before sentencing could occur. They passed sentence immediately.
• The Judges were not polled individually for their verdicts. They were supposed to ask each one individually what his verdict was.
• And under Jewish law, any verdict that was unanimous was considered invalid because they said that a unanimous verdict was clearly the action of a mob or the result of emotional fervor.

You see, this whole thing was a sham.
• Every thing they do here is done intentionally to find some kind of charge they can take to the Romans to hopefully have Jesus crucified.

But there is something here about Jesus I want you to notice.
• They bring in these false witnesses to accuse him…but that doesn’t work very well.
• So in verse 62 the high priest stands…and he comes forward to Jesus and he says, “What about all these charges? Are you not going to answer?”
• And Jesus stays silent….He doesn’t say anything.

But they have got to find something to justify their actions against Jesus….so the high priest presses Jesus in verse 63, “I adjure You (appeal to, command) by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
• Now look at this!
• All through the gospel of Matthew, Jesus has been hesitant to announce and reveal his identity.
• It has not been His practice to tell people this.
• When people did tell Him that He was the Son of God…He would tell them not to tell anyone.
• So it has been Jesus’ practice not to acknowledge who He is.

And now, if there was ever a time to keep silent, this is it!
• If He will just stand there and keep quiet, they will have no grounds to approach Pilate and the case will be thrown out.

But guess what?
• The one time when it is the most dangerous.
• When it is prudent not to speak.
• Jesus says, “You have said it yourself;” “Or, “It is as you say.”
• In other words, He is saying, “I am the Christ, the Son of God.”

And look what he says in verse 64: “I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
• That is not a confession. That is a warning!
• Because anyone who comes on the clouds comes to judge.
• And what Jesus is saying to this high priest and the rest of the court is, “You try me today but I promise you, the day will come when you will see me on the bench. And you will be before the bar, and I will be the judge, and I will pass irrevocable judgment on you.”

The high priest knew he got the answer he wanted.
• And he said, “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you say?”
• And they all condemned Him to die.

And they beat Jesus with their fists, and slapped Him, and tell Him to prophesy….and they don’t even realize that as they do so, they themselves are fulfilling prophesy.

Now, let me give you 3 lessons from this story.
1. In the midst of all of this Jesus stands alone.
• Back in vs. 56, Matthew says “All the disciples left Him and fled.”
• Jesus was totally abandoned by people who earlier pledged to never deny Him.

And the point is, when you follow Christ, you too may find yourself at times, standing all alone.
• You may find yourself at some time being the only one standing up for Christ…standing up for what is right.

Jesus stands alone and His courage and His conviction does not rest on others.
• His courage and His conviction came from inside.

And if we are going to stand alone…we must do the same….we must develop a faith of our own that gives us the courage and conviction to withstand any and all charges that people might make against us because we follow Jesus.

2. Jesus told the truth.
• When the high priest asked him, “Are you the Son of God?”, what did He say? “You have said it yourself.”
• He tells the truth.
• He is not ashamed of the truth…He is not afraid of the truth.
• He doesn’t back off from the truth…
• He knows they want to kill Him…He knows that they will ridicule Him and mock Him…and still He tells the truth.

Jesus told the truth and the question is, “Will you?”
• And you may think that is a strange question…but the fact of the matter is, many people don’t tell the truth about Christ and the things He says.
• They are afraid of what people think…and what people might say….and what people might do.
• Or they are afraid of what that truth might mean to them.
• It might cause them to have to do some things differently…or not do some things they are doing.

Will you tell the truth about Christ? Regardless of how painful it might be?
• Here in this passage these men didn’t…and because they denied the truth the truth destroyed the One who told the truth.
• But the irony is, in the long run, He was raised up because He told the truth.
• And they were judged by the very truth that they denied.
• You can deny the truth…ignore it…or reject it….but be sure you cannot escape its judgment.

3. You stand on one side or the other…there is no middle ground.
• You either stand with Caiaphas or Christ.
• Line up your life with Christ…or deny him and do something else with it.

You see, that is why this story is here: For you to ask “where do I stand?”
• Are you defending Christ…or are you by your life and lip denying Him.

Two things about your verdict:
• To deny Him is to face his judgment.
• That is what Jesus told the Sanhedrin that night.
• That He is going to come back as judge.
• And when He comes there will not be many questions.
• There will be just one. And that one question will be “What did you do with Jesus of Nazareth?”
• And Jesus gives the answer in John 8: 24, “If you do not believe that I am the one that I claim to be you will indeed die in your sins.”

You see, Jesus is no longer on trial, but we are.
• To deny Him is to face His judgment.
• To defend Him and to follow Him is to accept his sentence.

Don’t miss Matthews point.
• Jesus had a lot of chances to declare his Messiah-ship.
• Chances that would have brought him fame, applause, masses and masses of fans, and He never spoke up.
• But when He had a chance to speak up and it brought him a cross, you could not keep Him quiet.
• And the point is obvious.
• If you are going to speak up for and follow Jesus Christ, don’t do it thinking you are going to get popular.
• Don’t do it thinking you are going to get applause or a big following.
• You better do it knowing that the people who speak up for Jesus might get the same sentence He got.

It might mean a cross for you too.

And so what will you do? Will you stand up with Him or will you flee.
This morning, you are on trial…He is watching you…what will your answer be?


In The Garden


Matthew 26:36-46

This is a picture of the garden of Gethsemane as it looks today.

When Jesus went into the garden He only took 3 of His disciples with Him.

Anita tells me that it is a beautiful garden…and it may be that its beauty is enhanced by the fact that it is also a battlefield.

Today, in our study, Matthew is going to take us into this garden.

He is going to test your heart because you are going to see the Son of God bowed low.

Let’s begin in verse 36.

In verse 36 Jesus and His disciples come to Gethsemane.

It says that, “He began to be grieved and distressed.”

It is so easy for us to just say these words and go on and miss the whole impact of how Jesus is feeling.

Do you see the word “grieved” in vs. 37?

 And the word “distressed” literally means to “be heavy.”  Burdened down”

And the phrase in vs. 38, “deeply grieved in His soul to the point of death” literally means He was “surrounded by sorrow.”

And some of you have felt that and seen that.

I have had times when I have had to tell someone that their mate…or their child has died.

That is much of what Jesus is feeling here because look at verse 39.

Why? Why is Jesus so grief stricken? Why is He feeling so crushed…so heavily burdened?

Well, look at verse 39. He says, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” All things are possible for Thee, remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”

Do you see the word “cup?”

And what you need to understand here is, Jesus is not burdened down with grief and pleading with God just because He is about to die.

He is burdened with grief and full of sorrow because He is soon to feel the wrath of a sin

hating God!

that we might become the righteousness of God.”

Did you know that this is where   Jesus comes under a lot of criticism from Antichristian critics?

What they fail to understand is, Jesus is facing more than just death.

And that isn’t all.

And understand this… because this is where the test of your heart comes in.

That is why He is grieving!

This is His dread!

And so He falls down and prays.

He raised His voice, He clinched His fists and He cried out, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.”

But then He says, “Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

Many believe that the cross was the critical moment in Jesus’ life in terms of His struggle to obey God’s will.

Here is where the tough decision was made.

When God made man and called him Adam, He put him in a garden, and He didn’t ask much.

But here, outside of Jerusalem, the second Adam is in a second garden, and, oh my, what God asks of Him.

Here is where the battle took place…and thanks be to Christ that because He submitted
to the will of the Father… We won!

Jesus prays, “Yet, not as I will, but as Thou wilt,” and He gets up and He goes and finds his disciples sleeping.

Understand what He is saying here.

Prayer is so important because it constantly reminds you of God…and His will…and His purpose for you…and His power and His strength…

Prayer is so important for keeping the spirit strong.

Jesus tells His disciples to “Keep watching and praying”, and then He goes back and again He asks God to remove the cup from Him…and He agonizes again with the fact that He will soon face the wrath of God and be alienated from Him.

And then for a third time He asks God to remove the cup…and again He tells God, “Yet not my will but thine.”

But now don’t miss what happens in verse 45.

But then He says, “Behold, the hour is at hand; and, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand.”

Don’t miss the calmness and the courage of those words.

The cup is not removed from Jesus…instead He accepts the will of the Father.

You see, the real battle was won before the swords and clubs even showed up.

 And that fact puts you to the test. Turn to Hebrews 12:28.

Do you know what this verse says?

The word “gratitude” speaks of that which the heart feels because of what God has done.

So what you find is, your response to what Jesus did in that garden when He willingly agreed to die on the cross for your sins…your response to His actions that night…is a pretty good indication of the kind of heart you have?

One more quick point and the lesson is yours.

Today we read of the second of two significant gardens mentioned in the Bible.

And your relationship with God is summed up in the two gardens.

And in the second garden there is a second Adam, your spiritual brother.

And I suggest to you that your relationship with God and your future with God depends on which garden and which Adam you follow.

Jesus died to self and surrendered to the will of God….and because He did salvation is available to all.

But the only way you can be a partaker of that salvation is to do the same…you too must die to yourself…and surrender to the will of God. Will you do that today?

The Disciples Fall


 Matthew 26:30-35

One of the things that a disciple of Christ is supposed to do is he is supposed to live a life that manifests himself as a disciple of Christ.

But what about those times when we as disciples stumble?

Well, this morning, Christ and His disciples are going to give us some insights to these questions.

In the verses just prior to this Jesus has just initiated what we call the “Lord’s Supper” with His disciples.

And Jesus speaks and He tells His disciples a little more about what is going to take place in the next several hours.

So He tells them that they will “all fall away”, and that He would be “struck down”…and then afterward He would be raised….and after He has been raised, He will go before them to Galilee.”

 But Peter takes exception to what Jesus has said.

And Jesus tells him, “Peter, this very night, before a cock crows you shall deny me three times.”

 But Peter continues to disagree, and he insists that “he would die with Jesus, before he would deny Him.”

Now, let me make a couple of quick points and the lesson is yours.


You see, while Peter was with Christ…he was strong and confident.

Even when they came out to arrest Jesus down in verse 50, John 18:10 tells us that Peter pulls out a sword…and cuts off the “ear of the  high priest’s slave” in an effort to defend Christ.

So up to that point, Peter still seems strong and confident.

But look at verse 57….Jesus is removed from Peter.

And look who He is with in verse 58.

And look at verse 69…Peter is in the courtyard and one of the high priest’s servant’s girls sees Peter warming himself at a fire…and she puts him on the spot!

And in verse 71, another servant girl does the same thing; “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

And again, Peter denies it; vs. 72.

And then in vs. 73, the bystanders say it again, “Surely you too are one of them.”

What in the world happened to Peter?

Peter loses his confidence and his resolve because he is separated from Christ and the other disciples…and he is among those who give him no strength…and no encouragement.

And that is just exactly what Satan wants to do to each of you…and unfortunately has done to some of us.

You see, there is nothing that Satan wants more than to get you off by yourself away from Christ and your brethren…because if he can do that…he can destroy your confidence and resolve too.

Satan works in different ways.

If you aren’t spending time in prayer…if you aren’t spending time in His word…if you are only hit and miss in assembling with the saints….if you are doing those things…Satan is getting you to do just exactly what he wants you too.

Now, let’s look at some good news. Look at verse 31 again. Jesus tells His disciples…these men who walked with Him, learned from Him…and ate with Him…”that they would all stumble.”

Jesus knew that they could not be perfect enough and neither can we.

Well look at verse 32 again. This is interesting.

 Jesus doesn’t say, “You guys denied me so after I am raised I’m not going to have anything to do with you!”

Instead He says, “I will go before you to Galilee.”

Just because we stumble…and we will…doesn’t mean that you are without hope.

But notice something else here.

You see, that is the key!

But if we stumble…and stay down there…and refuse to come back to Christ and follow Him…then we have no fellowship with Him…and we, just like Judas, are doomed to destruction.

Turn with me to 1 John 1: 7.

John says, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”

But now notice the next part of the verse. He says: “…and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses (that is continuous action) us from all sin.

But notice, “the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin!”

Now go back to Matthew 26:32. Jesus says, “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

Do you have the same kind of character?

These men fall, and then they follow Jesus again.

Why would they do that? What made them so determined the second time?

Hopefully, the fact that Jesus takes us back too will cause us to be even more determined than ever….to follow Jesus…even to the point of death.











The Lord Institutes His Supper


Matthew 26:17-30

Just a little bit ago we participated in the taking of what we call the “Lord’s Supper.”

Notice in verse 17 that it is the time of the Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.

And so in verse 18 He tells His disciples to go into the city and He tells them that they would meet “a certain man” there and they were to say to him, “the Teacher says, My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”  

So, in vs. 19 the disciples do…they go into the city and they “prepare the Passover.”

Now look at verse 20-21.

Now these disciples have walked with him for 3 years now and not one single time has Jesus said something, and no matter how absurd it seemed, did it not come true.

And I think their response is interesting in that it seems to show that they are not confident in their own moral strength.

And now look again at what He says in verse 23 and 24.  He says, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. 24 “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

The first thing that Jesus does here is He narrows it down.

I think He is giving Judas a chance to repent.

But the reality is some people do not want to repent…and I hope you are not one of them because each one of us knows what happened to Judas.

And here is another thing.

And here is something else: When Jesus proclaims this betrayal “by one who has dipped his hand in the bowl with Him”, He implements within each of them a self-examination.

Self examination is something that we all should do regularly.

Now in the next few verses Jesus is going to share His supper with the other disciples, but I want you to see something that I think is significant in understanding His supper. Turn to John 13: 21.

Now verse 26, read with me:  Jesus therefore answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, {the son} of Simon Iscariot.             And after the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Jesus therefore said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”  Now no one of those reclining {at the table} knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 And so after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

 Jesus knew what Judas had in mind.

 Well, I will tell you why He does that.

I believe the apostle Paul says this same thing in 1 Cor. 10: 15:  I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. 16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

1 Cor 10:21-22  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

Now, go back to Matthew 26 and verse 26.

What Jesus does here when He does this is He equates Himself and His impending death to that of the Passover Lamb.

When He takes that bread and breaks it and gives it to each one and says, “This is My body” He is in a sense equating Himself to that Passover Lamb that they were eating of…and all that Lamb stood for.

 But there is more.

 Well, when it came to the Passover the door posts and the lintels served as the altar where the blood was sprinkled…and that signified atonement.

 And when Jesus hosted this Passover meal…and then took the bread and presented it to these disciples…He was symbolically saying, “We are in fellowship with one another.”

So you see, when we take of the bread…we are recognizing Christ as a sacrifice superior to the Passover lamb.

Notice something else.

Jesus takes the bread and He says, “This is my body.”

But now look at verse 27.

Back in chapter 20 and verse 28 Jesus said that “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

That is what the Lord’s Supper is.

Observing the Lord’s Supper does not take away sin.

Now, look at verse 29. Jesus says: “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 

When Jesus institutes this memorial supper He knows that by the next evening He will be dead.

That makes this memorial feast unique above all other memorials.

He is still alive…and He is coming back…and the Lord’s Supper reminds us of that.

Are you ready?

Judas wouldn’t repent and be saved. Surely you aren’t that way?



An Extravagant Love


Matthew 26:1-13

In this passage we find the story of what we call, “the Alabaster Jar.”

Now what you are going to find in this story is that some people couldn’t appreciate the gift for counting the cost.

As you look at verses 1 through 5 you find that it was a dangerous time for Jesus.

But it wasn’t up to them.

Now in verse 6, as Jesus’ day of crucifixion approaches, Jesus is in the little town of Bethany, which is just outside of Jerusalem.

John’s account, found in John chapter 12, says that Lazarus was also there.

But any way, while they are reclining at the table, Mark says, “a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume” came in.

Now why would she do that?

So what she does is she takes this “vial of perfume.”

She takes the most expensive…most precious thing she owned.

And look at the reaction of some who saw her do this. Look at verse 8.

But the disciples were indignant when the saw this, and said, “Why this waste?”

 For some, what she did was too much! It was too extravagant!

Well, they may have been able to do that…but not Mary.

You see, Mary had no limits on how much she loved Jesus.

But not this woman.

And so, some of those who were present began to rebuke her indignantly.

Mark says that “they were scolding her.”

Isn’t that amazing?

Today we see this manifested in a little bit different way.

Or a man quits his high paying job with all these wonderful benefits…in order to be able to attend church…or do more work for Christ…or to better fulfill his God given responsibilities to his wife and kids…and people say, “What a waste.”

John says that Judas is the one who actually spoke these words recorded here in Matthew .

But let’s not be too hard on Judas.

And do you know what this tells me?

But you see, this is just another example where the teachings of Jesus just goes in one ear and out the other.

And so, they turn on the one person in the room who had understood what Jesus was saying.

And it happens today.

 And let me tell you, we do this in reference to other congregations.

And do you know what I think Jesus would say to us when we do that?

Let me tell you what I have seen.

Realize this…in scripture Jesus speaks more against insincere, going through the motions, uncommitted, lukewarm, love and devotion than He ever does against what we might consider an extravagant expression of love.

Let me ask you this.

Let me tell you something…there are enough darts being shot at us from the enemy that you shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot at from the back.

Jesus says, “Why are you bothering her?” She has done a good deed to Me.”

Verse 11: He says, “For the poor you have with you always; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume upon my body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.”

In this verse you find another reason why Mary poured this costly perfume on Jesus’ head.

But not Mary.

Maybe we ought to do more of that today. Express our love before they die.

Now look at what Jesus says in verse 13.

“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her.”

 Notice this. He says the “gospel” is going to be preached.

So the “gospel”…the “good news of Jesus” would be preached to the whole world…

Why? Why would what Mary did here be spoken of too?

Because when you preach the gospel you call people to love Christ.

Now look at verses 14-16.

In these verses Judas goes to the chief priests and betrays Christ.

And I think the point is clear.

Mary loved Jesus because He raised her brother from the dead.

You know He has done more than that for us…He has saved us from our sins.

And, when Jesus died on that cross…wouldn’t you say that was an extravagant act of love?

Let’s be careful about criticizing others.





The End


Matthew 24:35-41

This morning we are going to talk about a truth that the devil does not want you to see…and that is the coming again of Christ.

Let’s go through this, this morning and let’s learn some things about the second coming of Christ.

If you remember from last Sunday, here in Matthew 24, the disciples came to Jesus and began to “point out the temple buildings to Him.”

So in verses 4-34 you have Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ questions.

Now, as Jesus answers their questions…His comments lead into a discussion of the end of the world. Look at verse 35:

35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

 Here Jesus says, “All that I have said pertaining to the destruction of the temple…you can count on. It is going to happen.”

 But notice that He speaks of “Heaven and earth passing away”?

First of all, I want you to look at the statement, “Heaven and earth will pass away.”

Well, when He comes again in the final judgment there will be no place to run.

So WHEN will this happen? Look at verse 36. He says:

36  “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father {alone.}

Look at what Peter says. Peter says in 2 Peter 3:10, that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”

And notice, this verse in Matthew 24 says that “not even Jesus knows when that day will come.”

How could that be?

 Jesus emptied himself of some of what it means to be God so he could be man.

Does He know now? I don’t know. Maybe?

And the interesting thing is, He was content not to know.

Jesus’ purpose when He was here was not to satisfy anyone’s curiosity about when He was coming again.

Now, look at vs. 37: For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.

Vs. 38   For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

40  Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. 

No one knows when the Lord will come again…but He will come…and it will be sudden and unexpected…in fact look at His instructions in vs. 42:

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

And then look at verse 44. He says: “You be ready.”

Because we are going to be tempted to fall asleep and not be ready…not physically…but spiritually.   Turn with me to I Thess. 5. Look what Paul says…and this pertains to what Matthew is talking about.

 1          Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3          While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4     But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6       so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

 You know, we speak of people who “are out of duty.”

Turn to Romans 13 and look at verse 11-12.

 11       And this {do,} knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

 The reason Jesus tells us to “stay awake” is because it is so easy to go asleep.

And what Jesus is saying here is, don’t do that.

When it comes to this idea of the “end of the world” there are two extremes.

But there is another extreme when it comes to the end of the world that is a trait of many Christians.

We live in the shadow of eternity.

You see, the problem is not getting prepared for when Jesus comes back.

Turn to Hebrews 10:24-25 and let me show you what God wants us to do in order to stay awake…or stay prepared.

 24        and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another} and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

 Why are you here today?

You hear us say, “You need to be in church…don’t miss.”

The reason we stress your being here in services is because those people who miss run a much greater risk of “falling asleep.”

So what do we do while we wait for the Lord to come?

How do we wait for the return of Jesus?

In closing, let me share with you a couple of things that Christ wants us to do while we wait.

Turn to 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

10        For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…

 In the face of the coming judgment Paul said they were busy trying to “persuade” men.

And now turn to 1 Peter 3:13:

13        Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober {in spirit,} fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  14        As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts {which were yours} in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all {your} behavior;

 While we wait Jesus wants us to grow in holiness.

 Persuading men…and growing in holiness.

Don’t be fooled by the lie that Satan has sold the world.