THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 10-19-03

LESSON TITLE: GOD'S CHOSEN AND INSPIRED WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: "THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW"

WELCOME

"This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it," Psalms 118:24! Oh, how true these words should be to every follower of God! This is a great day! We should be rejoicing! We must be glad! WHY - We are blessed servants of God able to assemble before His throne on this, the Lord's Day!

I am glad you are with us this morning and thank God you have made the right decision to give this time to your Creator. I look forward to our time spent together today as we sing praises to the Almighty and as we study from His matchless Word! This Morning, I know we will all be edified through our time spent together. So let's all do our part to make this time profitable before God, and furthermore may we use it as a great encouragement one to another!

At this time, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer:

(PRAYER)

Just think for a moment how much your Lord has done, and is doing in your life! I hope none of us have forgotten what a wonderful Savior we serve! This morning we want to begin with a song that reminds us of the wondrous Son of God who loved us enough to serve us! So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "A Wonderful Savior!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Aren't we blessed to have the Bible! A book full of God's Will to man! A book that not only answers all of our spiritual questions of the day, but which also gives us all the answers that pertain to life and Godliness!

How would we have the answer to questions like, "where did we come from," "what is life all about," or "where are we going after death?" Only the Bible gives us the proper and complete answers to all those things we need to know in this life.

When was the last time you wondered, "How should I act," or "what should I say." Maybe you questioned, "where should I go," or "how should I react! Again, there is only one source where we can turn for these and all other answers we need to be proper in the eyes of God.

I really love the way Peter put it in 2 Peter 1:3. There we read, "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." Did you catch all of that! Because of God's Power we have and know all things pertaining to life and Godliness. Again where do we find these answers - from God's Book itself - the Bible! The same verse goes on to talk about how through this same book, we can have the knowledge we need and truly know God and His Will. Oh, how truly blessed we are to have the Bible!

Finally, let's read how God gave us this wondrous book that equips us so completely! First you might remember what Peter further said in his book in the same opening as above. However, now let's drop down to verses 20-21. There we read, "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." There we have it, God chose faithful men and lead them to write those things according to His Will as He so desired!

How blessed we are to have a God who cared enough to give us His complete revelation. So that we may not only know Him, but also - so we can know what we need to do in order to be found pleasing in His sight. In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. In fact, this morning we will begin a new series of study which will focus on the writer's of this great Book of Books! Have you ever considered who they were, where they were from and why they were chosen by God to write his Word? Well, hopefully together we will be able to answer some of these questions as we begin a series entitled: "God's Chosen and Inspired Writers Of The New Testament!" Our first lesson today will deal with the, "Gospel According to Matthew!" So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our next song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Give Me The Bible."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us today and we're excited about our new series of study as we now can come together and look at these things. Thank you so much for continuing with us as we now can go back to God's Word and find out more about what it has to say to us about who He is and about where it comes from.

You know whenever we talk about the Bible which is God's Word, we're able in this country to freely own on our own and we all have been afforded the opportunity because we have money and because most of us have jobs and are able really to have several copies in our homes of the Bible and therefore we take it for granted, but we forget sometimes how precious this book really is, how precious the Word of God is and what it really means to us and then we look at the content of scripture and we realize clearly as scripture says that it is from God as we have even said earlier this morning and as we have clarified even in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16-17. There we find that "it completely and thoroughly furnishes us unto all good works that God would have us to do." That's what scripture will do and that's why it's from God and that's why He inspired holy men to write it and to provide it so that He might give us His complete revelation. And when I have questions, I can go there and find out what it really says to me. Well now as we kind of put that in a little bit of a different perspective and a little bit of a different light, the new series that we're beginning really is to help us to maybe in an even more deep way to understand scripture, but to understand it from the standpoint of the writers of the Bible. We know that all of these writers were holy men of God. They were specially chosen of God. They were unique individuals. We can tell even by the books themselves that they show clearly different characteristics and personalities that the writers have, but at the same time in the guidelines of what we've already understood and read today in reference to their 2 Timothy, we find there that all scripture is God-breathed. It's inspired. It's controlled by God and everything pen to ear is from God and is profitable. It's profitable and good and holy because God controlled and He made sure that what was penned here is what we needed to know. So therefore, when we start looking at the Bible and we start seeing some of the uniqueness and the differences, we might begin to wonder and sometimes question why is it so? Well, there were many different writers in the Bible. And especially as we'll be focusing in this series on the New Testament, those New Testament writers who provided for us this great information, this saving information that without it being recorded for us today, oh how much farther from God we would be. But because of it how much closer we can draw to our God because we can for ourselves read the Word and find out what He has to say to us.

Well we begin in the New Testament, the scripture that is, we find out really that the Bible begins to refer to the gospel that God has delivered to us and in fact if you'll notice in Galatians chapter 1 Paul talks about the gospel there. But in verses 6-9 he actually mentions there that "he marveled that many were turning away from the gospel." Then he goes on to really preface and to clarify the things that he had said earlier and now that he is mentioning further to say there that "if anyone preaches a different gospel..." In fact, verse 7 says, "If anyone perverts the gospel or preaches a different gospel than what you have heard from us, that which is directly from God through the Holy Spirit delivered from our lips, let him be accursed." Then he repeats it again in verse 9, and he says, "If anyone preaches a different gospel let him be accursed, whether it be a man, whether it be an angel, whoever it is, reject it."

And so when we put that in our minds and we begin to look at the accounts that are given of what we refer to as the gospels, those life and times and the existence of Christ while He was on the earth and what happened and the ministries and the parables and all the stories and illustrations and the commands. When we begin to look at all of those things together and we begin to consider the gospel, the gospel that God has given us that is all centered around that death, burial and resurrection of Christ, then we really can begin to understand I think more clearly what it's all about. Why it is that men like Matthew or Mark, Luke, and John were chosen by God, holy men, and then were inspired of God's Holy Spirit to pen the things that God desired for us specifically to know.

So then today we want to look at the gospel, the single gospel again, not the gospels. There were several gospel accounts written by different men, but the one gospel as it was recorded by Matthew. Why is it that Matthew was chosen? Who was this Matthew and let's find out what the Bible tells us in conjunction with really what this man was all about. Why not first of all then go to his book because he gives himself a good introduction to really how he was approached by Christ, how he knew that he was a chosen one of God.

There we find in Matthew chapter 9 around verse 9 that it says that "Jesus was passing by and He saw a man that was named," notice in verse 9, "Matthew sitting as a tax collector." We already learned that Matthew, his occupation was a tax collector. That tells us immediately as a Jew that he was hated by his brethren. He was one that was imposing the laws of Rome and collecting money for Rome and even allowed as himself to gain his own salary off of those taxes that he took but yet a specific portion was to be given to the Roman government. So he was a tax collector. Just like today, we're not crazy about the tax collectors of our day. They weren't either and they didn't care for Matthew. In fact, you'll often notice in scripture that the tax collectors always lumped in with sinners: the tax collectors, the publicans, and the sinners, because their people didn't like them. They thought that they were traders and they were people who had turned against their own. Well here it says that he was a tax collector and he was sitting there and Christ calls out and says, "Follow me." I want you to notice his reaction there. "Immediately he arose and followed Him." I think that tells us further a lot about the heart of Matthew, a man who now has the call directly from Jesus Himself and Jesus says, "Why don't you follow me, know me, learn who I am, draw nearer?" And immediately he does. He leaves that booth of collecting taxes and there he begins now to follow his Christ, his Jesus.

And now it happened. It goes on to say in verse 10 that "he sat down at the table in his house that he may behold that there were many tax collectors and," notice it says, "sinners that came and sat down." The next scene that we find in verse 10 is that Matthew evidently because of his money and possible wealth had a nice home and he brings Jesus, after he begins to follow Jesus, to his home and there in his home what does he do? He doesn't just hoard Him to himself like many of the Jews might have done, but he calls all of his friends and some family and all those that he knew and even those who don't know God or follow God or even those who are not followers of Christ or believers of Christ and he brings them there to his home so Jesus was with the tax collectors and the sinners. He was with those that really did not yet know Him, but who needed to know Him.

Now the Pharisees in the next verse, verse 11, react probably similar to the way we would. "Why Lord are you going in with all the sinners? Why are you associating with those who aren't like us who have been faithful to you?" Well that's what the Pharisees did and they saw it and they said to His disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" And when Jesus heard it, He begins to tell them in verse 12, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do." Jesus said, He said there in the presence of Matthew and the presence of all those who were there, the tax collectors, the sinners, and as the Pharisees were questioning, He says to them, "I am here with the sinners because the sinners need to know me in order to repent, in order to be saved. Those who are already faithful, don't need a doctor. Those who are already well don't need a doctor. It's the ones who are sick that need a doctor." So spiritually the sinners being sick needed Christ and Christ said, "I'm here to serve, not to be served. I'm here to help others to know God's Will, the Father, that which I have come to do, not for them to serve me and to care for me." And that's why He goes on in verse 13 to say, "I do not desire mercy and not sacrifice for I do not come to call the righteous," He said, "but sinners to repentance." There, Jesus in a nutshell shows us in a beautiful story about when Matthew was first called and he shows us how that Matthew being a chosen one and bringing the Lord into his house now learns a valuable lesson about what Jesus was all about, why He was there, what He was doing, and it shows us also how endearing the Lord must have been to Matthew, and how that this Jesus whom he had heard about was willing to come into his home as one who was acknowledged by the Jews as a sinner and to eat with him and to fellowship with him and to show him love in order that he might truly know those things that God would have him.

Now, as we're going to see in some of the other stories and accounts, Mark deals somewhat with this same illustration. Also, Luke deals quite a bit in chapter 5 of his book with it and even gives different details and more details in some and less details or added concepts or different concepts and again that shows us that Matthew's perspective and cultures and ideas and likes show that they were much different from an educated man like Luke or an individual who really who really didn't maybe have the same backing and background, but yet when we look at Matthew, we find a man here who clearly knew the old law, who was clearly interested in the Messiah concept, one that was coming. And we see that evidence because even in Mark chapter 2 and verse 12, it says that "Jesus was in the area of Galialee and Capernaum and when many of these things came about we find there this man being referred to that was called Matthew or also referred to as Levi who was the son of Altheus, again clarified for us in Mark 2 and verse 14. Here learning more about Matthew, a man who was a Jew, a man who seemed to love God, a man who had money, a man who in his day was in a profession who most didn't like, but yet a man who God still chose, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, because He knew that Matthew would be an effective tool in His kingdom. You see, He saw past the outward shell of Matthew and He looked at the heart of Matthew and He saw the energy and the vibrancy and the desire to follow and serve and the willingness to have an open enough heart to know who Jesus was and to follow the Will that was portrayed there.

Well what about later? We find that Matthew was clearly evidenced as being a part of the disciples. Actually, we don't have a lot of information after the day of Pentecost, but we know that he was involved. We know that he was there. He's mentioned in Acts chapter 1 and verse 13, and he is mentioned there as one of those chosen, the original twelve of Jesus who were chosen to preach the gospel. But why was he chosen? Well he was chosen so that some day, most likely around 50 AD, he would be able to record primarily for the Jews the things that we read in relationship to the life that Christ lived while on the earth.

If I were to ask several of you to write information for different cultures and peoples, I would ask you do it in a perspective and in a way that they could understand it. Well Matthew was chosen as a Jew who would have known the law, who would have known these things to be able to relate to the true Messiah and Christ was Jesus and relate it from a Jewish standpoint, to be able to tie in all of the old laws and concepts that he does, all of the ideas of the Old Testament and the New Testament, the ideas about the kingdom, the coming of the kingdom and the new kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, these things that were changing and transforming from Judaism to Christianity and there was no one better it seems that the Lord could have picked than the man who had the heart that Matthew had to serve Him and to be willing to do those things that he needed in order to really boldly proclaim that Jesus Christ was the son of God. Matthew did an excellent job as we read in this book of recording the life of Jesus for the Jews to know that it wasn't just some mistake, that this was the Messiah, this was the Christ, this was the king of kings, the prince of peace, this was the one that had been told of and prophesied about and this was the same Jesus that they needed to follow, who now was over the kingdom of God if they wanted to inherit eternal life. And that's exactly again what he tells in the many, many stories of the life of Christ, the many parables, the many things that are involved there as here this man himself, a specific disciple of Christ, an apostle chosen by the Lord Himself was able to serve his God not only as He lived, but even 20 or so years after the church was established, to serve his God and his people and those who would know Him by telling them about the precious Lord that had taught him, about the one that had shown him the way, the truth and the life, about the one who could show them salvation and the one who could really bring them back to the Father as mediator, as friend, as caregiver, as comforter. Oh yes, Matthew knew the Messiah. He knew the Christ. He knew Jesus. It was his job to help the Jews to know that the Lord had come for all man, for all people, and today we must learn the same thing.

Will you follow that Jesus that Matthew taught us about?

(SONG # 3 - "To God Be The Glory!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!

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Thanks be to God for His servant Matthew, who recorded for us the life and times of our Savior - so that we might know Him more perfectly and obey His Word!

(Program closing)