The Kingdom Upside-Down #4 – Matthew 20:1-16 “The last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Matthew 20:1-16 (The Passion Translation)
1 {Jesus said,] “This will help you understand the way heaven’s kingdom operates: “There once was a wealthy landowner who went out at daybreak to hire all the laborers he could find to work in his vineyard. After agreeing to pay them the standard day’s wage, he put them to work.Then at nine o’clock, as he was passing through the town square, he found others standing around without work. He told them, ‘Come and work for me in my vineyard and I’ll pay you a fair wage.’ So off they went to join the others. He did the same thing at noon and again at three o’clock, making the same arrangement as he did with the others. “Hoping to finish his harvest that day, he went to the town square again at five o’clock and found more who were idle. So he said to them, ‘Why have you been here all day without work?’ “‘Because no one hired us,’ they answered. “So he said to them, ‘Then go and join my crew and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard went to his foreman and said, ‘Call in all the laborers, line them up, and pay them the same wages, starting with the most recent ones I hired and finishing with the ones who worked all day.’ “When those hired late in the day came to be paid, they were given a full day’s wage. 10 And when those who had been hired first came to be paid, they were convinced that they would receive more. But everyone was paid the standard wage. 11 When they realized what had happened, they were offended and complained to the landowner, saying, 12 ‘You’re treating us unfairly! They’ve only worked for one hour while we’ve slaved and sweated all day under the scorching sun. You’ve made them equal to us!’ 13 “The landowner replied, ‘Friends, I’m not being unfair—I’m doing exactly what I said. Didn’t you agree to work for the standard wage? 14 If I want to give those who only worked for an hour equal pay, what does that matter to you? 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what is mine? Why should my generosity make you jealous of them?’ 16 “Now you can understand what I meant when I said that the first will end up last and the last will end up being first. Everyone is invited, but few are the chosen.”

Everyone is invited, few are the chosen.

> The Master is always looking for people to join Him.

> You prove that you are “chosen” by God when you choose Jesus.

> The Master pays the same salary, no matter when you start working.

> The Master isn’t obligated to be fair.

> The Master is never less than fair.  He is always more than fair.

Ephesians 2:1-9 (TPT)
1 [Jesus’] fullness fills you, even though you were once like corpses, dead in your sins and offenses. It wasn’t that long ago that you lived in the religion, customs, and values of this world, obeying the dark ruler of the earthly realm who fills the atmosphere with his authority, and works diligently in the hearts of those who are disobedient to the truth of God. The corruption that was in us from birth was expressed through the deeds and desires of our self – life. We lived by whatever natural cravings and thoughts our minds dictated, living as rebellious children subject to God’s wrath like everyone else. But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace! He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.

> God deals with us according to who He is, not according to who we are.

The Kingdom Upside-down #3 – Matthew 19:16-26

Matthew 19:16-20
16 Just then someone came up and asked him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus said to him. 

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus said to him. “There is only one who is good…” 

17“…If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he asked him. Jesus answered, “Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 “I have kept all these,” the young man told him. “What do I still lack?”

> He’s looking at the Kingdom of Heaven in a transactional way, not a relational way.

Mark 10:21
21 Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him… 

Matthew 19:21
21 “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

> Jesus knows that WHAT HE HAS is more important to this man than WHO HE IS.

Matthew 19:22-26
22 When the young man heard that, he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.

> We must hold on to our possessions loosely, so that we can hold on to Jesus tightly.

23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

> “Riches” can make us satisfied with this life, instead of making us yearn for the next.

> What we have often gets in the way of what we need.

> Everything we have is a tool that God has loaned us to build the Kingdom.

 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The Kingdom Upside-down #2 – Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 18:21-35
21 Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.” 23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. 25 Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. 26 “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything’ 27 Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan. 28 “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’” 29 “At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed.” 31 “When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’” 

> If you have received a great amount of mercy, you should pass on that mercy to others.

34 And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35 “So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”

> Forgiveness is a big deal in the Kingdom of God.

Your unforgiveness does not keep you from heaven.

Your unforgiveness shows that you have not been forgiven by God.

And that is what keeps you from heaven.

> A truly forgiven person will forgive others as well.

> What forgiveness is NOT:

1) Pretending like it didn’t happen.

2) Not being angry at what happened.

3) Not allowing consequences to take place.

Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.

> What forgiveness is:

1) Freedom for you.

 “Forgiveness changes your relationship with the past so you can begin to move past it.”

2) Releasing them from what they did to you.

3) Releasing them from all expectations.

4) Wanting the best for them.

5) Setting them free, whether they ask for forgiveness or not.

 “I release (person) to walk in the freedom of my forgiveness.  I cancel any debts that I have felt they owe me and I ask God to do the same.”

> Why should you forgive?

1) God has forgiven you BIG.

2) Scripture tells you to forgive.

Ephesians 4:32
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

3) True forgiveness will set you free.

Galatians 5:1
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

> How do you forgive?

1) Ask God to help you.

2) Decide to forgive.

3) Write it down

4) Pray for them.

5) Walk in freedom!

The Kingdom Upside-down #1 – Matthew 18:1-5

Matthew 18:1
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “So who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 

Matthew 18:2-3
He called a child and had him stand among them. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

> Learn to approach the Kingdom of God like a kid would.

Matthew 18:3 (TPT)
[Jesus said,] “Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in.”

Job 11:7-9
“Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens— and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld — what do you know?  It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea.”

Matthew 13:44
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field.

Proverbs 3:13-15 (TPT)
13 Those who find true wisdom obtain the tools for understanding, the proper way to live, for they will have a fountain of blessing pouring into their lives. To gain the riches of wisdom is far greater than gaining the wealth of the world. 14 As wisdom increases, a great treasure is imparted, greater than many bars of refined gold. 15 It is a more valuable commodity than gold and gemstones, for there is nothing you desire that could compare to her.

> Am I approaching God and His Word like an over-eager child?

Matthew 18:3-5
“Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” 4 “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in my name welcomes me.”

Revelation 4:9-11
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the one seated on the throne, the one who lives forever and ever,10 the twenty-four elders fall down before the one seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne and say, 11 “Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.”

> The presence of God is the greatest reward anyone can receive.

John 14:15-17 (NCV)
15 “If you love me, you will obey my commands. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you.

The Kingdom Unhindered #7 – Matthew 17:14-21

Matthew 17:14-21
14 When they reached the crowd, a man approached and knelt down before him. 15 “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

Mark 9:17-18, 21-22
17 Someone from the crowd answered [Jesus], “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.”

21 “How long has this been happening to him?” Jesus asked his father.  “From childhood,” he said. 22 “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him.”

Matthew 10:7-8
7 “As you go, proclaim: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons…” 

Mark 6:12-13
 12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.13 They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

> Am I living in the fullness of the power of God?

Power is the “ability to do things, through strength, skill, resources, or authorization.”

1 Chronicles 29:11-12
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty… 12 Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.

> What does God’s power do in the believer?

1) God’s power strengthens our inner being.
Ephesians 3:16
16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit…

2) God’s power gives us all we need to live a holy life.
2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. 

3) God’s power gives us the ability to serve Him.
Ephesians 3:7 (NLT)
By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

4) God’s power is always God’s power, not ours.
Acts 3:16 (NLT)
16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.”

5) God’s power will do more than we can imagine.
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Matthew 17:17
17 Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” 

“Unbelieving” – Gr. apistos – actively disbelieving

“Perverse” – Gr. diastrepho – to distort, or turn off the right path

18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and from that moment the boy was healed.  19 Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  20 “Because of your little faith,” he told them. 

> Jesus challenges us to step outside of the natural, into the supernatural.

20 [Jesus continued,] “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 13:31-32
31 [Jesus said,] “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.”

Mustard seed faith is persistent faith.

> Our mustard-seed faith must always be based on who He is, and what we know to be true.

The Kingdom Unhindered #6 – Matthew 17:1-9

Matthew 17:1-2
1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured in front of them, and his face shone like the sun; his clothes became as white as the light. 

“Transfigured” – Gr. metamorphoō – to change into another form

Daniel 10:4-6, 12, 18
 As I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up, and there was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the brilliance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.

12 “Don’t be afraid, Daniel,” he said to me…

18 Then the one with a human appearance touched me again and strengthened me. 19 He said, “Don’t be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong!”

Revelation 1:10, 12-18
10 I (John) was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet.

12 Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me. When I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was one like the Son of Man, dressed in a robe and with a golden sash wrapped around his chest. 14 The hair of his head was white as wool—white as snow—and his eyes like a fiery flame. 15 His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of cascading waters. 16 He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Matthew 17:2-3
He was transfigured in front of them, and his face shone like the sun; his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with him.

Matthew 5:17
17 “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” 

Matthew 17:4-9
 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good for us to be here. If you want, I will set up three shelters here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!” 

Matthew 3:16-17
16 When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.”

> We must never be too busy talking or working to listen to God.

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown and were terrified.

Jesus came up, touched them, and said, “Get up; don’t be afraid.” 

> When God speaks, He always follows it with comfort and strength.

When they looked up they saw no one except Jesus alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

> When you renew your mind, you are transformed into something new.

2 Corinthians 3:18
18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

> When we continually look into the glory of God, He slowly transforms us back into His image.

“Don’t be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong!”

TBI: In Part Six of The Kingdom Unhindered, Jesus is transformed, and we should be, too.

The Kingdom Unhindered #5 – Matthew 16

Matthew 16
1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven…
4  “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

> We have been given “plenty enough” proof that Jesus is the Messiah.

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

> We must actively be on our guard against bad theology.

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” 

> The church must ALWAYS be about “Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of the living God!”

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

> We must continually ask God to give us a Kingdom mindset.

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

> You are a true disciple of Jesus if you:

1) Deny yourself

2) Take up your cross daily

3) Follow him

4) Give your life for his sake

The Kingdom Unhindered #4 – Matthew 15:21-31

Matthew 15:21-31
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. 29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Matthew 15:21-22
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

Mark 7:24
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.

Mark 7:25-26
“…as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet…She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

Matthew 15:23
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

Matthew 15:24
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

Matthew 15:25
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

Matthew 15:26
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Matthew 15:27
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Matthew 15:28
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Matthew 15:28 (Amplified Bible)
Your personal trust and confidence in My power is great; it will be done for you as you wish.”

THE PERSISTENT WIDOW

Luke 18:1
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up

Luke 18:8
“…will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?”

THE RICH YOUNG RULER

Luke 18:22 (Amplified Bible)
You will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”

Luke 18:25 (Amplified Bible)
For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth or status] to enter the kingdom of God.”

Psalm 63:8 (KJV)
“My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”

 “Desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”    -A.W. Tozer

Mark 5 (The woman bleeding for 12 years)

Mark 5:27-29
27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

Mark 5:33-34
33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.

Mark 10:47-52
47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

THE ROMAN CENTURION

Matthew 8:5-10
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

The Kingdom Unhindered #3 – Matthew 15:1-20

Matthew 15:1-20
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand.11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

>Are there traditions in your life that take the place of true worship?

Matthew 15:9
They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.

>Who do you care more about pleasing than God?

Matthew 15:12
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

>What things are coming out of your heart?

Matthew 15:18
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.

The Kingdom Unhindered #2 – Matthew 14:22-33

Matthew 14:22-33
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. 25 Jesus came toward them walking on the sea very early in the morning. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and they cried out in fear. 27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

> Jesus demonstrated the priority of spending intentional time with the Father.

> Jesus is making a statement about who he is.

“I am above all creation.”

> The only one who can change the rules, is the One who created the rules in the first place.

27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter answered him, “command me to come to you on the water.”

> When we start with “yes,” we open the door to all that God wants to do with us.

29 Jesus said, “Come.” 29 And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 

> When your eyes are fixed on Jesus, you can always do what he calls you to.

> In moments of doubt, fix your eyes on Jesus.

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

31 “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (NLT)

31 “Faint-heart, what got into you?” (MSG)

31 “Why would you let doubt win?” (Passion)

33 Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

> When God does something in/with us, worship is our only response.