Little Faith and Hypocrisy

Read Matthew 16:1-12 with Jonah 4

Jesus spoke against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, calling it "leaven". Hypocrisy is insidious, like cancer, infecting immature faith with either its legalistic tendencies, or liberal leanings. Its most significant impact is moving our faith from the resting place of God's mercies in jesus Christ.

True Faith Versus Partiality

Read Matthew 15:29-39

Jesus, still ministering in the predominantly Gentile territory of Galilee, performs the miracle of feeding a multitude of four thousand people. Here he challenges his disciples' understanding of the make-up of the kingdom of God, which will include the Gentiles, while confronting the challenges of partiality = prejudices and bias that affect Gospel ministry.

True Faith or Mere Religion

Read Matthew 15:1-20

Jesus is confronted with the imposed traditions of religion, which the Pharisees and scribes had made as authoritative as God's law and word.  Though offensive to hear, for the sake of his disciples Jesus confronts the impact mere religion has concerning how God's Law is used, how hypocrisy is generated, and how the true nature of the heart is veiled. Too many have traded true saving faith in Jesus Christ for mere religion.

Little Faith Met By Christ

Read Matthew 14:22-36

Jesus' faithful ministry as Shepherd and High Priest is seen in this miracle of walking on water. He goes to meet his struggling disciples, whose faith is little, and who are making so little headway in the storm. He comes to refresh their faith in the knowledge of who he is, and by his presence bring them peace.

How Is Your Conscience?

Read Matthew 14:1-13 with 1Kings 21:1-29

We return to the Gospel of Matthew, and pick up the ministry of Jesus Christ at chapter 14. Here Matthew draws us to the death of John the Baptist, and how the seared conscience of Herod led him to execute this faithful prophet. This sermon looks to the place our conscience has in our lives, and the need of having it guided by the word of God and his law. Apart from the regenerative work of the Holy PSirit, and the Lord JEsus who cleanses our conscience, we truly would be no different from Herod.

The Vindication of Faith

Read Habakkuk 2:2-20 with Psalm 2

Living by faith in evil times is challenging enough; living by faith when God brings a hard discipline upon the church for her compromise and devolving into worldly conduct and ways, is even harder. Habakkuk, struggling to understand the mysterious ways of God's disciplines and judgment is being comforted by the wisdom of God, which wisdom will vindicate the just who live by faith in such times. God does not intend the end of the Church, but rather to prevail, bring justice and rule sovereingly over evil. As Psalm 2 declares, "Blessed are all those who put their trust in the Lord."

The Shield of Faith

Read Ephesians 6:14-16 with 1Peter 1:1-9

The imagery the Spirit uses for each piece of holy armour is significant. Faith is symbolized as a shield: its purpose is to cover the whole man; it is constructed that, even before meeting the enemy in battle, fiery arrows are shot, and this shield can quench them. So it is with faith. "Above all" take up the shield of faith!

The Grief of Unbelief

Read Numbers 14:1-25 with Matthew 13:53-58

Unbelief can show its grievous ways on several fronts. Sometimes it is disbelief in God's promises and Word; sometimes it is obstinacy wanting one's own way; sometimes it is an unwillingness to walk in faith because the way forward is hard. Jesus did not do many mighty works in Nazareth, not because he was powerless or restricted by unbelief, but because his gracious mercy was profitless to the unbelieving heart.