We are going to take a tour through the New Testament for the rest of the year. We will study through the whole New Testament in the order as the Holy Spirit inspired the authors. We will start with Matthew and end with Revelation but the order in between will be very different than what you are used to.
You can get a list I have prepared if you go to the churches app under bulletin or ask me for a copy.
There is some discussion as to which book was written first I am going with RC Fosters chronology which begins with Matthew. Some will say James was written first and others will say Mark.
I am using 45AD as the date for when Matthew wrote his gospel of Jesus, that is just 15 years after Jesus was crucified and resurrected.
Books from the first century didnt have a date on the first page like books today. To determine dates scholars must look at internal and external evidence, so dating a book can be somewhat subjective.
Dont go to Wikipedia for solid Bible information or any TV program created by the Jesus Seminar.
Liberal Bible scholars want to remove miracles, prophecy, and inspiration out of the Scripture.
For example: If we go to Wikipedia to find out when and who wrote the book of Matthew we will find.
Most scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110. The anonymous author was probably a male Jew.
Liberal scholars dont believe that Jesus could have predicted the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD therefore any writing with that prediction was written after the fact to give the book credibility. Also with a late date Matthew the Apostle, an eyewitness and disciple of Jesus could not have written the book.
It is true that Matthew did not sign the book as Paul did or even Luke but the Apostle Matthews authorship was not questioned until the last few hundred years. Second century church fathers such as Papias in 140AD mention that Matthew wrote the first gospel and all the oldest manuscripts say, According to Matthew.
(Ninety-five years may seem like a long time to have the first confirmation of the author but in antiquity that is incredibly close and trustworthy. The only reason it isnt is because it is Gods word and people dont want to submit to what the scripture says. So, if it is just another book they dont have to obey.)
I am taking time here because I want us to be aware of the motivation behind the questioning that the Apostle Matthew did not write the first book in the New Testament. Scholars even want to accuse Matthew of copying from the Gospel of Mark and a document that has never been found called Q. Thus, removing the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit and calling into question the errancy of the Bible.
We even have to be careful by the subtleties of art.
Painting – The Evangelist Matthew Inspired by an Angel (Rembrandt) Dutch / painted 1661
Rembrandt is giving the idea that an angel inspired Matthew. The truth is the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew and the other authors of the Scripture; both Old and New Testament.
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Because the Bible we have today was God-breathed, inspired, we must be corrected by it and learn the righteousness of God. Our translations are not inspired, the original manuscripts where inspired, but of all the copies we have there is 99% accuracy; the differences of that 1% are mainly spelling and punctuation, no doctrine is in question.
Remember what Jesus told the Apostles?
John 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
We can have confidence that what Matthew wrote is an accurate account of Jesus is because the Holy Spirit reminded him of everything Jesus said and did while Matthew walked beside him.
The Apostle Peter tells us the same thing about the Holy Spirits involvement.
2 Peter 1:20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Then later in his book he gives an example the Apostle Pauls letters are scripture, on par with the Old Testament.
2 Peter 3:15 our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Some of Pauls writing are hard to understand and people are still distorting them today as they do other Scriptures.
God has given us the New Testament scriptures so we could know Jesus, so we could become part of His Kingdom. That is exactly what Matthew did as he wrote his gospel to his fellow Jews.
Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who had meet Jesus and his life was changed. He wanted his fellow Jews to know that Jesus was the promised Messiah so their lives could be changed too. Matthew quoted the Old Testament around 50 times to convince faithful Jews that Jesus was and is the one they had been waiting for.
Matthew also answered the question on the mind of every Jewish reader: If Jesus is the King of the Jews, then where is Gods promised kingdom?
Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
God is with us, in the person of Jesus, just as Isaiah promised. That is the theme of the gospel of Matthew the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus, the Messiah King is here and is establishing His Kingdom.
Before we see what Matthew wrote lets look at who Matthew was.
Matthew 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.
First century Palestine was very class-oriented society and everyone knew their place. The elite class were the royal family, the high priests family and wealthy entrepreneurs. The next class are called the retainers, those who mediated, administered the financial and political affairs of the elite and enforced their will on the peasants. That was Matthews place in society, a tax collector, wealthy but never going to be able to break into the class of the elite because he was a retainer.
Matthew would have been hated by the peasants and disrespected by the elites. Then came Jesus.
Jesus accepting Matthew for who he was but not wanting him to stay that way. Follow me. Matthew followed and wanted his fellow sinners to meet Jesus so he threw a party. That is why he wrote His gospel account also, so his fellow Jews could meet and know Jesus. Matthew wanted others to know the love and acceptance that Jesus gave to him; that should be our desire also.
Matthew begins his book with the genealogy of Jesus to prove Jesus legally descended from King David and had a legal right to the throne. Matthew proved from the birth of Jesus that he was the Promised Messiah that the Jews had been looking for since Isaiah, really since Moses, really since the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
So, Matthew proves that Jesus is the promised Messiah King and that His Kingdom has arrived. So, we will see a dozen of times Matthew writing the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
If we along with the Jews who followed Jesus want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven then we must humble ourselves.
Greatness in Gods kingdom is not judged as it is by the world. Power, prestige and arrogance will not make you great in Gods kingdom; Childlike faith is being dependent upon God the Father, resting in Him will make you great.
Matthew learned that the hard way many of us must learn from our mistakes. After he had spent over two years with Jesus he still did not understand what it meant to be great in the Kingdom of heaven; and he shares when he had a wrong attitude.
Matthew 20:24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Being great is not being in control or having power which meant having wealth. The first century class system doesnt seem to be much different than today. Those with wealth are the ones with power but that doesnt make them great. If we want to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven we must become a servant. As a Christian, being Christ-like, we must become a servant like Him. That means serving others and not expecting to be served.
At least 10 times Matthew records Jesus parables about what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like; seven are in chapter 13. (Matthew 18, 20, 22)
From these parables, we learn the that Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed, like a mustard seed, like yeast, like a treasure found in the field, like a merchant, like a net, like an owner of a house, like a king, like a landowner and like a king.
From each of these parables we get a glimpse of various aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven; we learn that the righteous and the wicked will co-exist until Jesus returns; we see that this small band of disciples will grow and impact the world. We also discover that the kingdom of heaven is worth surrender all you have to find the joy that being part of the Kingdom offers. We not only find out about those who choose to be part of the Kingdom but we find out about the King. King Jesus is forgiving, generous and invites all to come.
Who wouldnt want to be part of a Kingdom where the King is loving, forgiving and generous. Where the King sets the example of serving others and where the King meets all your daily needs.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow.
All you have to do is accept the Kings invitation.
Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come
Will you accept the Kings invitation?
The Apostle Matthew wanted his fellow Jews to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah and he wants us to accept Jesus too.
If you are not a part of the Kingdom of Heaven will you come today?
Matthews last words record Jesus call for discipleship.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Will you become a disciple today and if you are a disciple will you go make more disciples?