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Rethinking Church

December 5, 2013 1 comment

Typology at its Best

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Two of the best essays I have read on typology are by Jim Hamilton.  His essays on Joseph and David as types of Christ demonstrate exegetical how Jesus fulfills in his life what these two men did.  You can access the essays below and to read the whole post click here.

The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel

Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus

Recommended Commentaries for Matthew 2.0

July 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Several years ago I recommended commentaries for Matthew, but having preached through the book I would like to give an updated list.  Some of these recommendations aren’t commentaries, but books I found helpful in my studies.  Also, I realize there are many more books and commentaries out there, but these are the ones that proved valuable to me.

David Jackman & William Philip, Teaching Matthew.  A short book, but a helpful survey of Matthew.  If you are looking to get a broad overview of Matthew before teaching it; this would be the book.

David Garland, Reading Matthew.  I read this book before and enjoyed it immensely.  Reading it again proved just as helpful. The book is very beneficial when it comes to structure and theology.  I highly recommend it.

D. A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World.  The book is a combination of two of Carson’s previous works on Matthew.  Although his book is not a commentary per se, it provides good insights and has helpful applications.

_________ , Matthew. Carson’s commentary is part of the Expositors Bible Series.  Carson does a great job of laying out the debates on difficult passages and gives thorough explanations to his own.  His commentary was usually the first or second place I would check.

David Turner, Matthew.  Turner’s commentary is part of the Baker Exegetical Series.  I enjoyed using Turner’s commentary; however, at times it lacked some depth.  Overall it is a good resource in tying together the book of Matthew to the rest of Scripture.

Michael Wilkins, Matthew. Wilkins’ commentary is part of the NIV Application Series.  I was pleasantly surprised with his book. He was especially helpful on some application points.  A condensed version of his notes for Matthew are found in the ESV Study Bible.

Grant Osborne, Matthew.  Osborne’s commentary is recent, but an excellent resource.  It is part of the Zondervan Exegetical Series.  The strength of this volume is the format of the series: introduction to each passage, detailed exegesis, and theology.  I highly recommend it.

R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew.  France was one of the foremost scholars on Matthew.  His work was invaluable on some thorny issues.  France does a good job connecting Matthew to the Old Testament and provides a lot of helpful theology.

In addition to the volumes above, I read John Calvin regularly on Matthew.  Below are some other commentaries I read (or have read), but not as extensively.  They all helped at various times.

Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew.

Donald Hagner, Matthew: 2 Volumes.

Dan Doriani, Matthew: 2 Volumes.

Craig Blomberg, Matthew.

James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew: 2 Volumes.

Sinclair Ferguson, The Sermon on the Mount.

One commentary that I have heard is worth considering is John Nolland on Matthew, but I have not read it.  You can read a review here.

The Use of Irony in Matthew

July 9, 2012 1 comment

I finished preaching through the book of Matthew this past Sunday.  It has been a journey, a test in perseverance, and a blessing.  There are so many insights that the Lord brought out to me as I prepared each week (many of which didn’t make it into the sermon).  Perhaps the richest part of preaching through Matthew for me were the last three chapters.  One of the highlights of these last three chapters is the way Matthew uses irony to bring out the message of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection.  What is irony?  The dictionary defines it as: a literary technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or apparently stated.  Below are some ironies that help bring out the glory of Christ and the folly of man.

  • Matthew 26:31-35: The disciples are insisting that they will die with Jesus (and yet eventually abandon him); Jesus is the only one who actually dies (and never abandons anyone).
  • Matthew  26:57-68: Jesus is accused of being a temple destroyer; the religious leaders are the real temple destroyers as they seek to put the true temple (Jesus) to death.
  • Matthew 26:69-75: Peter swears before God that he does not know Jesus, as he denies Jesus who is God.
  • Matthew 26:57-75: Jesus is silent, while Peter is speaking; Jesus is wrongly accused, while Peter is rightly accused; and Jesus is adjured by an oath to reveal his identity, while Peter evokes an oath to deny his identity (a disciple of Jesus).
  • Matthew 27:3-10:  Judas returns to the temple to find forgiveness from the priests and finds none; if he returned to Jesus who is the true temple, he would have found forgiveness.
  • Matthew 27:15-23: Jesus is not the revolutionary; Barabbas is.  Jesus is truly innocent; Barabbas is truly guilty.
  • Matthew 27:15-23: Barabbas’ name means Son of the Father; yet  it was the true Son of the Father (Jesus) who took his place so that the people could be set free.  The crowds would rather have an earthly son who would only bring them temporal deliverance by the sword; rather than the heavenly son who would bring them eternal deliverance by a cross.
  • Matthew 27:24-26: Pilate proclaims himself innocent; Jesus is truly the innocent one.  Pilate washes his hands  of the blood of Jesus so as to be innocent; it is only by the blood of Jesus that he can be made innocent.
  • Matthew 27:27-31: Those who haughtily bowed down to him will one day humbly bow down to him.  Those who mocked him as king will one day magnify him as king.
  • Matthew 27:32-44: One Simon (Peter) fled Jesus; another Simon (Cyrene) walks with Jesus.
  • Matthew 27:32-44: While the temple will be destroyed in 70AD, Jesus as the true-temple will not be destroyed but be delivered and raised on the third day.  In order to truly save others, Jesus cannot save himself.  As he hangs on the cross and suffers for us it doesn’t disprove his trust in God, but actually proves that he is the Son of God.
  • Matthew 27:45-56: Jesus was separated from the Father, so that we would never be separated from the Father.
  • Matthew 27:62-66; 28:11-15: The very ones worried about a hoax, concoct that exact same hoax.  They create the very thing they tried to prevent.
  • Matthew 28:1-10: The ones assigned to guard the dead, become like the dead at his resurrection.  The one who thought he had authority over the grave (Pilate), has no authority over the one who was in the grave.
  • Matthew 28:16-20: The one who seemed powerless on the cross and was handed over by the power of others; now by his resurrection has all power.
Categories: New Testament, Preaching

Jesus’ Last Week

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunday was Palm Sunday and I encouraged our church to reflect on Jesus’ last week as we approach Resurrection Sunday.  I provided them a handout that harmonized the gospel accounts and explained what Jesus did each day.  I challenged them to read each day during Passion Week what Jesus did for their daily Bible reading.  Below is the outline.

JESUS’ LAST WEEK

Saturday

  • Mary anoints Jesus (John 12:2-8; cf., Matt 26:6-13)

Sunday

  • Jesus enters Jerusalem (Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; John 12:12-18)
  • Jesus surveys temple area and returns to Bethany (Mark 11:11)

Monday

  • Jesus cleanses the temple (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17)
  • Jesus curses the fig-tree  (21:18-22; cf., Mark 11:12-14)
  • Jesus teaches and performs miracles in temple (Matt 21:14-16; Mark 11:18)
  • Jesus returns to Bethany (Mark 11:19)

Tuesday

  • Disciples ask about fig-tree cursing (Matt 21:20-22; Mark11:20-21)
  • Jesus confronts religious leaders and nation (Matt 21:23-23:39; Mark 11:27-12:44)
  • Jesus gives Olivet Discourse and returns to Bethany (Matt 24:1-25:46; Mark 13:1-37)

Wednesday

  • Very little recorded in the gospels.  Jesus remains with disciples in Bethany.  Judas arranges betrayal of Jesus (Matt 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11)

Thursday

  • Preparations for Passover (Matt 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16)
  • Passover and Last Supper (Matt 26:20-35; Mark 14:17-26)
  • Jesus gives final words to disciples (John 13-17)
  • Jesus goes to Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matt 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42)

Friday (after midnight)

  • Jesus is betrayed and arrested (Matt 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52).
  • Jesus is on trial with Jews (John 18:13-24; Matt 26:57-75, 27:1-2; Mark 14:53-65, 15:1)
  • Jesus is on trial with Romans (Matt 27:2-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:6-12).
  • Jesus is crucified (between 9am – 3pm; Matt 27:27-66; Mark 15:16-39)

Saturday

  • Jesus is in the tomb

Sunday (He is Risen!)

  • Disciples and women attest to the resurrection (Matt 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12)
  • Jesus appears to disciples (Matt 28:9-20; Luke 24:13-53; John 20-21)
Categories: Bible, New Testament

New Commentary Series

March 22, 2012 Leave a comment

There is no end to commentaries, but this one looks unique.  The new series is The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament.  Below is a series description, along with a list of contributors.

The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament is not meant to be an academic or highly technical series. There are many helpful exegetical commentaries written for that purpose. Rather, the aim is to provide lectio continua sermons which clearly and faithfully communicate the context, meaning, gravity and application of God’s inerrant Word. Each volume of expositions aspires to be redemptive-historical, covenantal, Reformed and confessional, trinitarian, person-and-work-of-Christ-centered, and teeming with practical application. Therefore, the series will be a profound blessing to every Christian believer who longs to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

  • Matthew: Daniel R. Hyde
  • Mark: Jon D. Payne
  • Luke: Iain D. Campbell
  • John: Terry L. Johnson
  • Acts: TBA
  • Romans: John V. Fesko
  • 1 Corinthians: Kim Riddlebarger
  • 2 Corinthians: Derek W. H. Thomas
  • Galatians: John V. Fesko
  • Ephesians: Jon D. Payne
  • Philippians: David T. A. Strain
  • Colossians: Sinclair B. Ferguson
  • 1 & 2 Thessalonians: Daniel R. Hyde
  • 1 Timothy: David W. Hall
  • 2 Timothy: Michael G. Brown
  • Titus/Philemon: Rev. Dr. Malcolm Maclean
  • Hebrews: David B. McWilliams
  • James: Harry L. Reeder III
  • 1 Peter: Jon D. Payne
  • 1 – 3 John: TBA
  • Jude & 2 Peter: Kim Riddlebarger
  • Revelation: Joel R. Beeke

The first volume will be out in March.  See it here.  The series website is here.

Jesus, the Rich Young Ruler, and Us

March 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Over the past two weeks I’ve preached on Matthew 19:13-20:16.  Because our Bibles have chapter and verses breaks, we tend to view 19:13-30 as one part, and 20:1-16 as a separate part; however, this is one long narrative.

In the first part of the passage we find Jesus’ conversation with the man who wanted eternal life. The Bible tells us he was rich, young, a ruler, and overall a good guy (cf., Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23). From all appearances he had it all. In his attempt to gain eternal life he asks Jesus, “what good deed must I do?” This man thought that by doing something good he could get something from God. His idea of eternal life was based on exchange or merit, rather than grace. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. Jesus’ words do not imply that one can earn salvation by keeping the law, but are meant to show the man that he isn’t really a law-keeper, but a law-breaker. The man argues that he has kept all these commandments. The man had done many good things in his life and believed that his own goodness entitled him to something from God.  But when confronted with the call to give away his wealth and follow Jesus, he left sorrowful. Jesus’ challenge to the man revealed that he loved his money more than God.  In other words, he loved his money more than Jesus (God in the flesh). Therefore, in actuality he had broken the first and most important commandment of the law (you shall have no other gods before me, Exo 20:3).

Having heard Jesus’ discussion with the rich young ruler, the disciples logically ask, “what about us?” The disciples did forsake all for Jesus (cf., Matt 4:20). Jesus assures them that they will be rewarded accordingly, but also quickly warns them not to misunderstand God’s grace. In some sense, the disciples are like the rich young ruler. They were asking Jesus to look at their goodness.  Jesus’ warning to his disciples in this parable is that God’s grace is not conditioned on your hard work or goodness, but is freely given according to his sovereign grace (cf., Matt 19:23-26).

Too often we are tempted to think that our goodness earns us something before God; because our mindset is framed according to our own sense of goodness, rather than God’s definition of goodness (which is perfection). When we define goodness according to ourselves we will always use it to justify ourselves and will always view God as unfair. Yet, the gospel teaches us something entirely different. The gospel is never good news until we first hear the bad news. The gospel reminds me that God is fully justified in sending sinners to hell. The fair thing for God to do is to pour out all of his judgment and wrath against us. God does not owe us anything; he doesn’t even owe us the opportunity to hear the gospel. But what God does for us in Jesus is that he seeks us, saves us, and gives us everything that is his. Jesus becomes my sin bearer; he takes my punishment upon himself at the cross. Jesus is the true rich young ruler who gave up his home in heaven and became one of us. Jesus is the perfect law-keeper, who always did the Father’s good will. In Jesus we find perfect goodness; and when we trust in him we get all of his perfect goodness to stand before a perfectly good God. The gospel is not what we must do for God, but what God has already done for us in Christ.  Logically, this means that true change happens in our lives when we stop believing the lie that we need to do something for God, but instead start believing the truth of what God has already done for us in Jesus.  Satan’s primary way to destroy us is to tempt us to forget what God has done for us in Jesus and to get us to believe that our acceptance before God is based on something other than Christ’s perfect righteousness.

And so, what is it you are still depending on for your salvation?  Have you fled to the Lord Jesus Christ?  If you have fled, do you continue to flee to Christ as your only hope, your only salvation, and as your only source of satisfaction?

Jesus Without His Cross

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Matthew 16:13-28 is one of the most important chapters in the New Testament.  It may even be considered the most important chapter in Matthew.  In this passage, we find an interesting contrast; one minute Peter is confessing Christ and the next minute he is rebuking Christ.  Even though Peter made this grand confession of Christ (by way of divine revelation), there still remains confusion on his part about Jesus.  Isn’t Peter’s emphatic rebuke of Jesus in 16:22 understandable to some degree?  Peter had the same misconceptions about the Messiah as others did.  Messiah would be a political and military figure who would overthrow Roman power, rather than a suffering servant.  If Jesus is the Christ, then why does he have to die?  Peter is thinking in earthly categories.  Peter is trying to prevent Jesus from going to the cross.  His attempt to frustrate Jesus from going to the cross is not simple ignorance, but actually is born out of something quite evil.

What we learn here is that Jesus’ identity (the Christ, the Son of the living God) cannot be separated from his occupation (suffering servant).  We cannot talk about Jesus or claim to have Jesus without his cross.  If we attempt to have a Jesus without the cross, we actually have no Jesus at all.  As a matter of fact, to claim to have Jesus without his cross is not only unbiblical–it’s demonic.  That is why Jesus says to Peter, “get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance to me.”  If we minimize, ignore, reinterpret, or gloss over the agony of the cross and what God was doing at it, then we cannot claim to know Jesus.  The cross is at the heart of Christianity; because at the cross God did for me what I could not do for myself.

Categories: Gospel, New Testament

1% of Christ

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment

In Matthew 15 we find a Canaanite woman crying out to Jesus three times (15:22, 25, 27).  Jesus’ response is puzzling.  She is ignored by Jesus.  At first glance it appears Jesus isn’t very compassionate; something Matthew has repeatedly highlighted in his gospel account.  The delay of Jesus’ response is not to portray him in an insensitive light, but to highlight the confession of the woman.  The woman recognizes that Jesus is the Son of David, that he is Lord, that he alone is worthy of worship (she knelt before him), and that only he can make her daughter clean.  Jesus is all of these things and that’s what Matthew wants us to understand.  He does something for the unclean and undeserving that they cannot do for themselves.

How this woman found herself is how we must find ourselves as well.  This woman recognized her unworthiness and desperateness; and cried out to Jesus.  To find ourselves like this woman is not moralizing the text (be like this person or that person for right standing before God), but ultimately it is to confess and understand our complete failure before the only one who can truly heal us.  When we become aware of our own sinfulness, so we come to discover that 1% of Christ is more satisfying and sweeter than 100% of anything else.   When we find ourselves broken over our sin and humbled before God, so we confess Jesus as our Lord, as our Healer, and as our Savior; and in return God gives me all of his Son.  I don’t just get a morsel or a crumb of Christ, but a get a buffet of his love, a never-ending well of his grace, and a plate full of his mercy.

Categories: Gospel, New Testament

Jesus Greater than The Law

July 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Over the past two weeks I’ve preached on Matthew chapter eight.  On two different occasions I brought out how Jesus is greater than the Law.

1.) Jesus shows his greatness over the law in his exchange with the leper (Matt 8:1-4).  The Law prescribed that touching a leper would make one unclean (Lev 13-14), but when Jesus touches lepers the unclean become clean.  Jesus is greater than the Law because he is not subject to the stipulations of the Law when it comes to clean and unclean.  In similar fashion Jesus takes upon himself (at the cross) my defilement, my leprosy of sin.  Therefore, like the leper I now present before men the gift of Christ, which serves as a testimony that I am clean.  In other words, I point men to Jesus as the one who has made me clean and as the one who can make them clean as well.

2.) Jesus shows his greatness over the law in his exchange with the disciple (Matt 8:21-22).  The Law instructed Jews to honor their father and mother (Exo 20, Deut 5).  It was a serious sin to dishonor your parents (Deut 27:16).  One way to honor your parents was to give them a proper burial; however, Jesus teaches the disciple that he is to first honor him.  Jesus is greater than the Law because he deserves supreme honor and attention.  The disciple must not only first honor Christ, but must abandon his earthly family to join his new spiritual family (Matt 10:37-39; 12:46-50).  This statement by Jesus would have been defamatory and offensive, but the greatness of Christ does not allow for any other obligations besides him.

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