Treasures In Heaven Are Laid Up When Treasures On Earth Are Laid Down—Matthew 6:19-21

20171112FBCAM [Fall Harvest Sunday]

Levi Durfey 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Today is Fall Harvest Sunday—the main focus of this day is the special offering we take. It is, what some might call, a Stewardship Sunday.

 

Stewardship is a theme that has a lot of air time in the Bible. Jesus, for example, talked more about money, possessions and materialism than he did Heaven or Hell. According to one who counted,

 

Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the Gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all [out of 3,779]) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money and possessions. 1

 

To put it in another perspective, to keep up with Jesus, I would have to preach one or two Sunday morning sermons on money every month!

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O Worship The Meek King—Matthew 21:1-14

20170409FBCAM [Palm Sunday]

Levi Durfey 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Who or what do people tend to want to worship? It is whoever or whatever they think will be able to fulfill their needs and wants. 

 

Israel, when they were led out of Egypt by way of the Red Sea, eagerly worshiped the Lord. And why not? He had given them what they had wanted—freedom.

 

But let Moses disappear on a mountain for forty days to receive the law from God, what happens? 

 

1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. (Exodus 32:1)

 

The Lord disengaged for a short time, which the people interpreted as weakness. So they decided it was time to find some other god to lead them. 

 

People will worship whatever will give them what they want or need. Which brings us to our text in Matthew 21. Why were the people worshiping Jesus as he entered into Jerusalem? Let’s take a look—

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Take Jesus’ Yoke Upon You

Matthew 11:28-30

20151108FBCAM

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Some of my favorite books to read when I was a kid was the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And my favorite of the Little House books was Farmer Boy, because it was about a boy growing up on a farm—Almanzo, Laura’s future husband. 

 

Since I lived on a farm, I enjoyed reading about how a farm worked back in the 1800’s. One chapter described how Almanzo broke his calves to work in a yoke.

 

So Almanzo went to the barn and called the little calves [named Star and Bright] out into the frosty air. He fitted the little yoke over their necks and he held up the bows and put the bow-pins in, and tied a rope around Star’s small nubs of horns. He did this all by himself.

 

All that morning he backed, little by little, around the barnyard, shouting, “Giddap!” and then, “Whoa!” Star and Bright came eagerly when he yelled, “Giddap!” and they stopped when he said, “Whoa!” and licked up the pieces of carrot from his woolly mittens…

 

Now he had to teach them to turn to the left when he shouted, “Haw!” and to turn to the right when he shouted “Gee!” [So he and his father made a bull whip] Every Saturday morning he spent in the barnyard, teaching Star and Bright. He never whipped them; he only cracked the whip.

 

He knew you could never teach an animal anything if you struck it, or even shouted at it angrily. He must always be gentle, and quiet, and patient, even when they made mistakes. Star and Bright must like him and trust him and know he would never hurt them, for if they were once afraid of him they would never be good, willing, hard-working oxen.

 

Now they always obeyed him when he shouted, “Giddap!” and “Whoa!” So he did not stand in front of them any longer. He stood at Star’s left side. Star was next to him, so Star was the nigh ox. Bright was on the other side of Star, so Bright was the off ox.

 

Almanzo shouted, “Gee!” and cracked the whip with all his might, close beside Star’s head. Star dodged to get away from it, and that turned both calves to the right. Then Almanzo said, “Giddap!” and let them walk a little way, quietly. Then he made the whip-lash curl in the air and crack loudly, on the other side of Bright, and with the crack he yelled, “Haw!” Bright swerved away from the whip, and that turned both calves to the left.

 

Sometimes they jumped and started to run. Then Almanzo said, “Whoa!” in a deep, solemn voice like Father’s. And if they didn’t stop, he ran after them and headed them off. When that happened, he had to make them practice “Giddap!” and “Whoa!” again, for a long time. He had to be very patient. (Wilder, 96-100)

 

Turn to Matthew 11. Almanzo is a fine illustration of how I imagine Jesus to be with those who take his yoke. He describes himself as a gentle and patient master like Almanzo was.

 

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

 

This is an invitation for everyone to come to Jesus, and first, we learn that…

 

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The Golden Rule—Matthew 7:12

20150308FBCSC

Levi Durfey

 

INTRODUCTION

 

For centuries, people have searched for concise ethical slogans—brief moral statements or catch-phrases that are easily remembered and passed on. Perhaps the most famous is Jesus’ Golden Rule.

 

12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

 

Most people know something about the Golden Rule. It has been called the centerpiece of Christian ethics—the most concise statement on how Christians should act toward other people. 

 

Before we talk about the Golden Rule, however, we need to discuss what some have called the Silver Rule.

 

Legend has it that the great Jewish Rabbi, Hillel, was approached one day by a Greek Gentile. He promised Hillel that he would convert to Judaism if he could teach him what Judaism was about…while standing on one foot! 

 

Hillel was up to the challenge and said to him, “Don’t do to others what you would hate to be done to you.” That is the Silver Rule.

 

Unfortunately for Hillel, it wasn’t very original. Confucius taught the same idea: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” 

 

Ancient Greek Philosophers stated it this way, “Do not afflict on others the suffering that you avoid yourself.”

 

The Silver Rule is still used today…have you ever said, “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy?” It is just another way of saying, “Don’t do to others what you would hate to be done to you.”

 

What is wrong with the Silver Rule? Well, nothing, in the sense that it doesn’t command you to do anything wrong, but it is lacking something.  Continue reading

The Dark Side Of Christmas—Matthew 2:12-18

We normally, and rightfully, spend most of our time thinking about the joy that surrounds Christmas. After all, what did the angel say to the shepherds?

 

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10–11)

 

But there is a dark, sad side to Christmas also. A side that we don’t think about too often; a side that is not typically portrayed in Christmas plays—it’s the side recorded for us in Matthew 2:12-18. We pick up the story right after the wisemen had visited Jesus and Joseph and Mary—

 

Read: The Dark Side Of Christmas—Matthew 2:12-18

Why Is The Virgin Birth Important To A Christian?—Matthew 1:22-23

Christmas is a funny season for the church of Christ. We don’t have plays or gift-giving but one time a year, at Christmas time. We have a whole section of the hymnal that we don’t sing all year, and then, in four weeks we pack them in. 

 

Throughout the rest of the year, not much is mentioned about the birth of Jesus. It just sort of fades into the background. We don’t mention the virgin birth when we witness to people, even though the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is dwelt on.

 

This lack of attention is evident in the Bible as well. Only Matthew and Luke tell the story of the virgin birth. It’s not mentioned anywhere else (although it’s alluded to in a few places, e.g., Galatians 4:4). 

 

As you read through the history of the early church in the book of Acts, there’s nothing to indicate that Jesus was born of a virgin.

 

Critics of Biblical Christianity have seized on these things to denounce the virgin birth as a myth, a legend, or a folktale, something added to Christianity that is completely unnecessary.

 

Is this true? Is the virgin birth unnecessary for Christianity? Why is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ important? From these verses in Matthew, we can say that the virgin birth is important because, first…

 

Read:  Why Is The Virgin Birth Important To A Christian-Matthew 1:22-23

Jesus Is The Sweetest Name—Matthew 1:21

Our names are important to us, and in the Bible, names take on even more significance. Many Bible characters have names that tell us something about them. 

 

Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, means, “father of a great multitude.” David, known for his great intimacy with God, means, “Beloved.” Moses means “saved from the water,” a reference to how he was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

 

Jesus’ name also has special meaning—

 

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 

 

Read: Jesus Is The Sweetest Name-Matthew 1.21