Memphis Belle

Untitled Document
Mathew 1:17
Mathew 1: 18-25 Mathew 2: 1-23 Mathew 3: 1-17 Mathew 4: 1-11 Mathew 4: 12-25
Matthew 5:1-12 Part 1 Matthew 5:1-12 Part 2 Mathew 5:13-16 Mathew 5:17-26 Mathew 5:27-37 Mathew 5:38-48
Mathew 6:1-8, 16-18 Mathew 6: 7-15 Mathew 6:19-34 Mathew 6:25-34 Mathew 7:1-12 Mathew 7:15-23
Mathew 7: 24-29 Mathew 8: 1-17 Mathew 8: 18-34 Mathew 9: 1-13 Mathew 9:14-26 Mathew 9:27 - 10:31
Mathew 10:32-42 Mathew 11:1-31 Mathew 12:1-21 Mathew 12:22-50 Mathew 13:1-23 Mathew 13: 24-43
Mathew 13: 44-52 Mathew 13:54 -14:12 Mathew 14:13-21 Mathew 14:22-36 Mathew 15:1-20 Mathew 15:21-31
Mathew 15: 32-39 Mathew 16:13-23 Matthew 16:24-28 Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:14-27 Matthew 18:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20 Matthew 18:21-35 Matthew 19:1-12 Matthew 19:13-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew 20:17-34
Matthew 21: 1-11 Matthew 21:12-17 Matthew 21:18-22 Matthew 21:23-46 Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:15-46
Matthew 23:1-39 Matthew 24:1-31 Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 25:1-46 Matthew 26:1-13 Matthew 26:14-54
Matthew 26: 54-75 Matthew 27:1-26 Matthew 27:27-66 Matthew 28:1-20    
           

 

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Matthew 13:54-58

 

“And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us?  Whence then hath this man all these things?  And they were offended in him.  But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

 

Matthew 14:1-14

 

“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.  For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.   For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.  And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.  But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.  Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.  And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.  And the king was sorry:  nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it be given her.  And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.  And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel:  and she brought it to her mother.  And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.  When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart:  and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”

 

There have been seven themes in Matthew up to this point

 

“Turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 13…So, chapter 13 of Matthew verse 53, here’s an easy outline, maybe you haven’t been with us too much.  When you study through a book it’s important, I mean, there’s a melody that you could say, there’s a melody line some commentators call it.  The book has a heart to it, there’s a reason, a purpose of the author.  And so, true of Matthew too, there’s a little bit of melody line as you go through it that we want to remind ourselves of.  And an easy outline to remind yourself to, of where we’ve been in Matthew, starting at the first chapter, we’ve been at it about thirty some odd weeks, here we are now in the middle of the book.  But so far we’ve learned about 1) Jesus’ purpose, 2) his person, 3) his principles, 4) his power, 5) his persecution, 6) his parables, and now, 7) what can be called his pulling away, as we come into the middle of the book.  Matthew, remember, he writes with this intent of showing us that Jesus is King, he’s the King of kings and Lord of lords, he has come to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets, prophecies about this coming One, the Christ, Messiah.  And so Matthew is putting together passages, not necessarily in sequential order, certainly thematic, to prove to you and I as his audience that this man is the Christ, he’s fulfilled the prophecies.  But yet at the same time, given many of the things he’s given, he’s also, he’s got to be the Son of God, God the Son, he’s Divine.  So Matthew initially in the first four chapters declared to us the purpose of Jesus and the person of Jesus.  And then in chapters 5 through 7 he showed us the principles of Christ, especially through the Sermon on the Mount.  Then in chapters 8 through 9 we saw a display of the power of Christ, miracles of Christ, tremendous miracles of Christ.  Chapters 10 through 12, then, we were introduced to the beginnings of his persecution, the opposition that’s growing against him.  And then in chapter 13, he because of this growing opposition, began to teach in parables in response to the hardening of the hearts, the people’s hearts.  Now we come to the end of 13 going into 14, and that is what can be called “the pulling away”, that of Christ now withdrawing from the multitudes.  In chapters 14 through 20 we’ll see this frequently, he’ll withdraw from the multitudes, he’ll be alone with the disciples.  And so many of the things that occur are with him alone with the disciples, ministering to them, or using some of the things that occur within the multitude, getting alone with the disciples, and then bringing out truths, teaching truths to the disciples, but ultimately to equip them and prepare them for the road ahead.  It’s not an easy road.  This opposition is growing.  But you think about where we’ve been, quite a transition, the Gospel begins with just such glory, such power, such preaching.  And now we’re in this time where he’s pulling away because of the opposition, the persecution that is growing.  Such a transition, that the Messiah himself would have to retreat from the crowds, of course to prepare his disciples for the road ahead. 

 

Two reasons people don’t follow Christ---lack of faith, and a love of sin

 

And this opposition, when you think of opposition, we’re going to notice this today, but there have been two primary reasons for the opposition.  And it’s true even of  people today, any people today that are opposed to Christ, there tend to be two predominant reasons, two big reasons that people choose not to follow Christ, to reject him and stand opposed to him.  And the two primary reasons, first reason is a lack of faith, a lack of faith in their hearts, second reason is a love of sin.  A love of sin, so they reject, they oppose Christ.  And we’re actually going to see that in the two passages we’re going to look at now, the next two passages here at the end of 13 and beginning of 14, we’ll see exactly that.  People that are opposed, offended at Christ because they lack faith, and then people that are opposed to him, ultimately somebody resents him because of a love of sin.  So let’s say a word of prayer, and we’ll get started.  ‘Lord, as we look at these Scriptures, and we stop for a moment to consider your Word, first I’d like to thank you Lord that your Word does not return void, it is your Word, and I do believe that.  We do believe you are the giver of life, and even now as we go through these Scriptures, you can use this time to give life to us.  So I thank you Lord.  But yet the Scripture too makes us wise.  No doubt things that we’re going to study, there are things here Lord, that if are taken to heart, are principles that we then can live by.  We will be wise, walking in greater wisdom.  And so, Holy Spirit, shine your light upon us even now, be upon all of us, and upon myself now as we go through your Word, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

Jesus goes home for a visit

 

Chapter 13,  verses 53-58, “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that he departed from there.  When he had come to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is this not the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, Joses, Simon and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us?  Where then did this man get all these things?  So they were offended at him.  But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except within his own country, and in his own house.’  Now he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”  Now, again Matthew does not necessarily go in sequential order.  We just studied Jesus giving these parables there as he was in the boat, and the multitude along the shores of the Galilee.  We now come to where Jesus comes to his hometown, and we think just reading in Matthew this is sequential, this is the next event.  When you compare it against the other Gospels it doesn’t work that way.  It seems that Mark and Luke follow a more sequential order, because it doesn’t go in the same order of the other Gospels.  And it would seem, putting the different Gospels together, you know, Matthew is following themes, he’s tying certain instances together  giving us themes, at time sequentially, but not necessarily, he’s not holding himself to that.  Sometimes the Jewish compilers and writers at the time wouldn’t necessarily follow the sequential order of history.  But given all the Gospels, this is what appears happened.  He shares those parables, and then you actually in Matthew go back to chapter 8, he gets in the boat with his disciples, he heads across this Sea of Galilee to the area of the Gaderenes.  You remember when he went across, there was this storm.  In the area of the Gaderenes there were the two that were demon possessed, one with Legion.  And then that occurs before verse 53 [in this Matthew 13 account], it occurs between verses 52 and 53, he comes back across the Sea of Galilee with his disciples, and goes to his hometown of Nazareth, which he has been there before.  And so now we have that recorded here in verse 53.  Something that Matthew actually had in chapter 8 earlier.  He goes to his hometown, he goes to the synagogue.  This he did in Luke chapter 4.  You can read about a very similar event in Luke chapter 4 earlier in his ministry.  Now we’re right about that midway point, maybe a little bit after.  But earlier he went to his hometown too.  Very interesting, had a similar response, at least with  the hardness of their hearts, and also said similar things to those that were near of kin to him, those from his own villages and his community.  Now, he as you see here, and the heart is here, he is essentially rejected.  And this is the last time that he goes to his own people.  He goes earlier, he goes at this time.  And we never read of him going there again, we assume he doesn’t go there again.  And we see that pattern with Christ, where he will come and reveal himself to people, maybe even some of us here today, and if we put it off and don’t respond to it, he’ll come back, because he loves us and wants us to see him for who he is, and receive him into our lives, and he’ll come and reveal himself to us again.  And maybe again and again, but eventually, he doesn’t force himself on anybody.  And he doesn’t even do that with his own people in his own town.  They continue to reject him.  ‘So, ok, you’ve rejected me’, he moves on.  That is a principle we’ve seen throughout Matthew, and it’s true of God, God doesn’t force himself on anybody.  He’ll continue to come to you, and seek to draw you to him, but if you continue to just push him off, eventually he says ‘Alright, I’ll move on.  I’m not going to force you.  [Comment:  I heard this fine analogy from Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix, AZ.  He said that Jesus is looking for people that are looking for him.  He’s not really looking for people who hate him.  It’s like a guy asking for a girl’s hand in marriage.  Most sensible guy’s wouldn’t think of asking for the hand of a girl that hates him.  And the analogy fits Scripture, too, because all believers, from righteous Abel, through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, king David and all the holy prophets, as well as all in the Church, all those who will end up in the 1st Resurrection to immortality (cf. 1st Cor. 15:40-54) will become “the Bride of Christ (cf. Revelation 19-22).  When Jesus knocks on a person’s door, it is for a future marriage relationship with him, to be spent eternally with him.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm.]

 

Lack of faith due to familiarity

 

Verses 54-57, “When he had come to his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is this not the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary?  And his brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us?  Where then did this man get all these things?’  So they were offended at him.”  Now, as you know here, he comes to his own town, his own people, and they reject him.  And they repeatedly reject him, as we put all the different Gospels together.  We note there that they are astonished at his teaching, they’re blown away by his miracles, miracles that he has done that they’ve heard about, potentially seen.  He doesn’t do a lot here, but they’re blown away by his miracles, it says there, “his mighty works.”  Things that they acknowledge as true, they believe it is real, but yet at the same time they reject him.  Why do they reject him, his own people, his own family, in the sense of his own community?  Well there’s one big thing, as you see there, that they continue to trip over and stumble over.  And that is their understanding of his humanity.  Man they know for sure, they know for sure he’s human.  Now at the time, in the early Church not long after this, there was this Gnostic teaching [trying to infiltrate the early Church] that crept into the Church where people actually taught, because the Divine is holy and the physical is unholy, and that really gave them a license in the physical to be unholy and live licentiously, they taught that the Christ, that Jesus the man, when the Christ was here, the Divine, he was not actually physical, he could not be physical matter, because physical matter was evil.  [For more about Gnostics and this heresy, log onto:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html ] So there were teachings in some of the circles of Gnosticism that Jesus was not physically real.  That if you would have followed him, let’s say in the video by the Lighthouse on the beach, ah, he wouldn’t have had footprints.  You saw him, but he wasn’t physical.  He was this apparition.  Well, anyway, that’s clearly not true because he’s here in his own town, and they know that he is very much a man.  I mean, he grew up there, some of them saw him when he was young.  They can remember the different stages [of his growing up].  Some of them maybe even played with him, some maybe babysat him, some maybe took care of him.  And so it’s for that reason, as you see there in verse 55, the questions go, ‘Is he not the carpenter’s son?’ referring to Joseph.  Now it’s interesting, in Mark chapter 6, verse 3, the question is also posed, very similar, somebody says ‘Is this not the carpenter?’, meaning ‘he was raised by Joseph, trained to be a carpenter, Joseph was the carpenter.  But yet Jesus [Yeshua] himself, when he got a little older, you know he doesn’t begin to minister until he was thirty, he evidently was also the carpenter in the village.  And so he was known, ‘That was the carpenter, you know, he fixed some of my stuff.’  Now the word carpenter again, we noted this before, is not necessarily like a builder, but it’s the finish worker, it’s the detail guy.  So he probably worked on their yokes, and things like that, we’ve noted that before.  Others say, ‘Mary, that’s his Mom, we know Mary, I mean, this is the son of Mary.  And aren’t these his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, and aren’t these his sisters?’  And so they struggle.  Now, depending on what background you have, we should note here.  The fairest way to treat these statements is to say that Jesus did have physical brothers, these are his younger brothers and younger sisters.  Meaning, that Mary did go on and have other children.  And we even got into this a little bit at another time in the past.  But the word here that’s used for brothers in the Greek can be used, and those that say that these aren’t physical brothers, that Mary did not have any more children, that she was a perpetual virgin, those that say that, use the word “brothers” here in verse 55, and they take it in the tense that it doesn’t mean brother, but cousin.  That word in the Greek can actually be applied that way.  Generally the word means “brothers”, but in a further off sense, it can also refer to just a relative, a cousin.  However, it would seem, in the New Testament there is a word, a Greek word that is used, that is definitely “cousin”, and it shows up in the New Testament.  For instance, Luke chapter 1, verse 58, that word means “cousin” there or relative, and it does not mean “brother.”  And you would think if it was “cousins” of Jesus, that right here at this time, Matthew would have written “cousins”, he would have used a different Greek word, not the word that means “brothers”, ‘oh yeah, it can also mean a distant relative, brother in that sense, extended family, but more literally physical brother.’  And it would seem from all the Scriptures, which is certainly what I believe, these are his physical brothers.  Now we don’t know a lot about his family, there’s only a few different passages.  This is one of them that gives us some of the details.  But James is one of his brothers, whom we believe later becomes a leader in the Church [and wrote the Book of James].  Judas, many believe, I believe is the one known as Jude, that Jude referred to in the Epistle of Jude, is also one of the brothers of Jesus, I guess you would say half-brother of Jesus.  Not a lot of detail, but it seems clear that he has brothers.  So there, ‘I know his brothers, I know his sisters, I know his family.  [Why doesn’t anyone ever look up the Greek word for “sisters”, and see if that is the real word for sisters, and not also cousins?  Nobody ever thinks to do that.]  These people are 100 percent confident that he is a man, completely human, he is a relative, so they’re having a hard time seeing past the physical and seeing the spiritual.  ‘Yeah, he’s done mighty works, yeah his teaching is absolutely astonishing and incredible.’  But these people are walking by sight, they only can see the horizontal, they can’t see the vertical, they’re not walking by faith.  Because of that, they’re having a hard time believing.  And with that, they serve as an example to you and I, because it’s often that way with people, a lot of people are like that, people that struggle, they struggle with that element of belief, of faith.  Maybe there’s some of us here today with the same thing, when it comes to Christ it’s a lack of faith that’s the hard part, believing in him.  So people because of their hearts, I mean, they see the physical, they’ll acknowledge, ‘Yeah Jesus, there’s never been anybody like him.’ 

 

“You won’t come to me because you won’t believe---because you are not willing to believe”

 

The Word of God, the Bible man, it stands out unique in all history.  I see what happens when people go to church and study the Bible, I see it with people I know, it’s powerful, it changes lives.  And there are people that will say that, and maybe even going as far as saying ‘I do believe Jesus did miracles’, and on and on and on.  But yet when it comes down to seeing beyond the physical to the spiritual, there’s this lack of faith, and they trip over that.  And maybe you’ve met people, I can think of people.  There is one particular man, I’ve met many people, I taught on this in the first service, and people even came up to me and shared similar stories.  I remember one man and his family were coming here, wife was clearly Christian, God was doing a work in the lives of the kids, and this man was coming, he was excited, excited about the church, about learning the Bible, about our method of teaching verse by verse, and just interested, keenly interested in all these things about Christ.  Well I began to get to know him, and talked to him after the service, and it became clear to me that he was wrestling with whether or not to follow Christ.  But yet he saw all this stuff, and he was excited about it.  We one day decided, I wanted to just sit down with him and help him through with some of his questions.  And so we went to Duncan Donuts here at the end of the street, sat down, and just conversed, went back and forth.  And it was true, seeing all this, he realized and saw Jesus, and physically understood a lot of these things, but yet, I thought it was going to be pretty straight forward.  I got to the point, I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, that’s what this is all about here?  Why don’t you do it right now?’.  And his response to me was ‘I can’t.’  I said ‘Why not?’  He said, ‘I can’t believe.’  I said ‘Why can’t you believe?’.  He said, ‘I don’t know, I just can’t believe.’  ‘Well but you accept all these things.  Let’s just go, let’s believe and move on.’  ‘I can’t believe.’  And so we went back and forth.  I tried to reason with him…And so, other times talking to him after that, as far as I know, he’s never believed.  And I’ve met other people like that.  Maybe you’ve met people like that too.  Of course, Jesus in John chapter 6, he says to the people ‘You won’t come to me because you won’t believe.’  And then he goes on to say ‘You won’t believe because you are not willing to believe.’  He says that to the religious leaders.  And maybe it’s one and the same heart with you.  You know, you’re just not willing to open the door to your heart.  Well if that continues, then what happens is you have the type of heart we see here, because Christ, there’s a demand there too, I mean, he comes and he stands, this is it, he is the doorway to the kingdom of heaven, he’s the only way.  And so when there’s the presentation of Christ, there’s the conviction, and the uncomfortableness that goes with what it means.  And yet the folks aren’t willing to believe, to open their hearts and to believe.  If they have that lack of faith, well then, it’s often they become like his family here, the people in his community, that are offended, people from his own hometown.  Maybe you’re here today and that’s you.  You’ve been on a little bit of a journey, and to this point in your life, you’re ‘I hear it, I see it, man I see other people, it’s changed their lives.’  And yet you’re here today, and for whatever reason, you’re like ‘I cannot believe.’  Well we want to pray for you, I’d love to talk to you after the service, and simply pray for you.  Maybe you have the question ‘How do you get faith?’  How do you get faith?  It’s true, you cannot conjure up faith, you can’t go ‘Ah, I’m just going to give myself faith.’  You can’t do it.  Now the Bible does tell us how we get faith, and the way you get faith is through hearing the Word of God.  And so my encouragement to you is, if you are sincere, and you want to believe, because you see it all out there, then what I encourage you to do is get alone with the Bible, the Word of God and get alone with God and open your heart and just read, and consider it, and open your heart to God, and I would have to believe that you would believe when it’s all said and done, because faith comes by hearing his Word.

 

If you are willing to believe, THEN you can go on to prove God’s existence and the proof of the Bible as his inspired Word

 

You know, there is a place, being a Christian is not throwing out your mind.  It’s not a blind faith, it’s not just jumping off the cliff and going ‘I can’t logic this at all, I’ll just jump.’  It’s not like that at all.  There are religions, plenty of religions where it is a blind faith.  Christianity is not that way.  I believe, when it comes to the evidence, that Christ is indeed the Son of God, the Savior of the world, I believe there’s so much evidence that it’s overwhelming.  And I believe you can study the evidence, and you can research the evidence.  There are a lot of books.  Maybe you need to do that too, and that’s OK.  There are books like “Evidence Demands a Verdict”, another book by Morris, “Many Infallible Proofs”, there is “The Case For Christ”, you could go on and on, there’s so many books.  A number of books that I have read, and there are so many more, where they’ve compiled lots of the evidence, where you can sit down and just read the evidence.  And if you need more evidence, that’s OK. [Comment: For some of that evidence, right from God’s Word, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm .  Also proving God’s Word is really God’s Word, is true, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/ProofOfTheBible-FulfilledProphecy.htm.]  But at the same time, in the end, there is always faith that’s required, faith.  You can never come to God without faith.  The Bible is clear, without faith it is impossible to believe, and so you cannot please God, it’s impossible to please God without faith.  And so if you’re hear today, and you’re at that point, and you need to research more, get some of those books I mentioned, find some other books, study, be in the Word.  But understand, faith.  And maybe like the man that came to Christ and had to ask, ‘Lord, help my unbelief’, is a prayer that a sincere heart would ask.  But without faith.  Faith is amazing, because when you step that little step of faith, and you open your heart to Christ, ‘Draw near to God and he’ll draw near to you’, and then he reveals himself to you.  I have absolutely no doubt, and the reality of God and who he is.  It is amazing, people will struggle with faith in Christ, they’ll see all these things, and yet they’ll struggle with that step, but they’ll accept evolution, just accept it as fact.  And to me, evolution, it would take so much faith to believe in evolution.  In college I studied physics, and modern physics, and to study that, and see that this universe is so designed, that’s why we can study science, and have the formulas we do.  And yet to then say ‘You get all that from nothing to today but by accident’, that just takes sooo much faith.  The other day my wife and I were in the kitchen, I’ve been cooking a little bit more.  I grew up with a Mom that was a great cook, chef today, three sisters that learned from her.  I had four women growing up that could really cook.  I never had to cook anything, so it was nice, gourmet meals all the time.  It was kind of tough when I went out to college, you know.  I remember leaving the dorm, and that step of faith as far as living on my own, and got roommates, and somebody new had to make tuna-melts.  So that was great, we’d make them in the toaster-oven, but we were kind of clueless, I guess they had the same problem, when it came to cooking, some of the things that we came up with.  But now I’m on this new kind of food-plan, to get my cholesterol down, my wife is a great cook, but I’ve been doing a little bit more, to help out, because it takes a little bit more work.  But I was thinking about this, we were in the kitchen, and to me God is so real, and this is kind of a silly thing, but putting together all these different spices and ingredients.  And I was thinking about it, all this stuff actually comes together and tastes good.  And it’s wild, you’ve got all these different spices, just the different tastes and the different ingredients, and to think that happened by accident, truly, if stuff evolved by accident, you really wouldn’t want to eat it.  That’s just the truth.  If it was accidental, I mean, just imagine.  But it’s been designed, even God designed the herbs and the spices that you and I can make all these great tasting meals from.  There is so much proof of design in the universe  Accident?  I’ve eaten some accidents, you know, and [laughter] it doesn’t work when it’s an accident, it has to be designed.  And it’s designed, that’s why it tastes good, and it works together.  [To see a good article dealing with evolution log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/dinosaurs/dinosaurs.htm.]  Well anyway.  Faith, people will say “Evolution”, people will say “Lottery tickets”, one in a hundred million chance, but they have faith that if they buy that thing they’re gonna win.  They believe in that, on and on the things that they’ll believe, and put their faith in and trust in, but yet when it comes to Christ, when it comes to God, they trip over that.  Well Matthew records here, his own people, verse 57, struggling with the same thing, so as a result they’re offended, and man, they couldn’t deny the miracles, they couldn’t deny the teaching, but they couldn’t see beyond the physical, and so they wouldn’t believe.  And in the end then, they were offended at him.  And that’s what happens when people won’t believe, the conviction, the uncomfortableness brings you to that point, and maybe you’re here today, I mean, people come here, it’s true, and I can tell sometimes when I’m teaching, and they don’t look happy, it just ticks them off the things that I’m saying, they’re offended.  But it’s the Word of God, and you’re offended because you don’t believe.  Jesus earlier said in Matthew chapter 11, verse 6, “Blessed is he, happy is he, who is not offended because of me.”  Well, Jesus then in response, I mean, they’re like ‘Where did this man get these things?  I mean, how is this happening?’. 

 

“A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country and in his own house”---a law of human nature

 

But it’s a statement of a lack of faith, and they’re offended, and in verse 57 Jesus says “‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country and in his own house.’  Now he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”  You get honor when you get further from the house, but in his own house you get no honor.  You know, the distance thing, get away, and suddenly there’s the enchanting part of it.  But up close, no honor.  He said that for the second time to them.  That’s a proverbial phrase that he quotes.  It didn’t seem to originate with him, it was something that was often quoted in the culture, so he just uses that proverb, I mean you can find it with the Greeks, their writings, the Romans, their writings, and in Jewish writings. But the point is, there is no honor.  You know, as Christians sometimes we face the same thing, and we have Christ in our life, we have faith in him, he’s so real to us, and we have this experience.  And then we go to people close to us, our relatives, and we share Christ with them, share our experiences, and sometimes that’s the hardest person to share with, with somebody close to you, because they just know you so well, and you can tell them you’ve changed, and it’ll take about a hundred years for them to believe you, even though everybody else has seen the change.  It’s very hard at times.  Well Jesus had the same experience.  But yet we’ve got to share. [Comment:  In the military during WWII, a mustang officer, one who would get a field promotion to that of a being commissioned officer, whether it be on the battle-field in the army or on a ship in the navy, it was a hard-and-fast rule that that individual would have to be transferred out of that unit, or off that ship and onto another, because it was a recognized principle, that with no honor comes no respect, “familiarity breeds contempt” is a parallel statement, and with military officers, that is a condition deadly to effective command.  I run this tiny little website, and I have found that it gets very high praises on the Guestbook from those who do not know me personally, from those who live far away from where I live and don’t know me personally and are viewing this website on its own merits.  But those in my family, or even those from my old church denomination who know me on a personal level, forget it man, there is no respect to be found.  And it’s not that I’m some whacky sort of guy, or one whose involved in all kinds of personal sin, it’s none of that stuff.  This is an active principle that I have witnessed and personally felt the effects of, much to the detriment of the people who might be nourished by this site, but due to the fact that they personally know me, that familiarity gets in the way, and it does tend to breed a sort of contempt, which ends up hurting them in the end, they miss out.  How much worse did this principle hinder those who actually knew the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, those who grew up with him in his hometown of Nazareth?  It cut them off from the Savior of the world, that’s what it did.  Even pastors of churches have more respect if they come from outside the hometown environment where their congregation resides.  The pastor who is giving this sermon came from Maine, trained in San Diego, and then was assigned to come to this area.  Those who train up under him to the point of becoming a pastor themselves, go to their HQ for some finishing training, and then go out to a different area, same principle in operation here.  If it’s recognized by the military, and by churches, and especially by Jesus himself, that it is law of human nature, then that law must be taken into account, which both the military and church denominations do.  And laws like that must be respected.  Like gravity, you break the law of gravity and it will break you.]  Verse 58, “Now he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”  Because of the lack of belief, without faith it’s impossible to please God, verse 58, there’s no faith, man, so he does not reveal himself, not a whole lot of mighty works going on here because of a lack of faith, because of their unbelief.  In Mark chapter 6 it says he marvelled, he marvelled because of their lack of belief. 

 

Lack of faith because of a love of sin

 

Chapter 14, verses 1-13, as we continue.  So we have a lack of faith holding these people back.  Next we have a category of people being held back because of a love of sin.  Chapter 14, verses 1-13, “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.’  For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.  Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’  And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.  But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod.  Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.  So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’  And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those that sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her.  So he sent and had John the Baptist beheaded in prison.  And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.  Then the disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.  When Jesus heard it he departed from there by boat to a deserted place by himself.”  Now we have what is like a parentheses, I’m sure you follow that.  Herod the tetrarch hears about Jesus, and has a certain feeling and belief about Jesus at this point, because of an earlier experience that he has been part of.  So then Matthew takes us back in time, and gives us details on that event.  So it’s like a parentheses here that we’re studying. 

 

The history of Herod Antipas

 

Herod the Tetrarch, tetrarch meant he was in charge of the quarter of the territory.  What happened was Herod the Great, his father, when he died, his area he was in rule over in governing over was divided for a season into four different quadrants, and given to different people to rule, and a tetrarch was one in charge of one fourth of that area.  So, Herod the Tetrarch, son of Herod the Great.  Now this is Herod Antipas, he’s called Herod the Tetrarch here, but we know him also in the Bible as Herod Antipas, again son of Herod the Great.  Now Herod the Great, going back to Bethlehem, he was the one who killed those little infants.  Herod the Great was this little guy, and he was really brutal and really evil, you didn’t want to be around him…[tape switchover, some text lost]…he had his own wives killed.  [Caesar once said of Herod the Great, ‘It is safer to be one of Herod’s pigs than one of his relatives.’]  This is one of his sons, Herod Antipas.  Herod the Great, one of his wives was a Samaritan, and that’s where Herod Antipas comes, and has another brother, Archelaus, and they were actually tutored and trained for awhile in Rome.  And this particular man was also deceptive and selfish, he loved luxury, was very ambitious, wanted to become a tremendous ruler [like his father].  That gets him in trouble a little bit later. [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_Antipas and http://www.essortment.com/all/herodthegreat_rnnp.htm.]  Well anyway, having been tutored and trained in Rome with his brother, he goes back to Rome a little bit later, and this is where his story is important, I was reading through Josephus and different commentaries, but Josephus, this ancient historian, Jewish historian tells us a lot about this man, and about what happens, that gives us some of the story here, some of the history.  He [this Herod] went to Rome, and while he was in Rome, he was visiting his brother, Herod Philip, and while he was visiting with Philip, Philip’s wife Herodias, he ended up falling in love with Herodias, and actually kinds of seduced her away from her husband.  Now Herodias was also Antipas’s half niece.  Well he then planned on divorcing his wife, and heading back, and eventually having Herodias coming back to be with him in Israel.  Well as he was heading back to Israel, his wife back there, who was a princess, she was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, and so when he was heading back, she had heard word of what was going on with her husband and Herodias, did not say anything to Herod Antipas about this.  When he gets back, without him knowing it, she says to him, ‘Hey listen, I’d like to go visit my dad, can you let me go to the end of your territory, which was the beginning of her dad’s territory.’  And her dad had worked it out so she had an escort to the edge of the territory there, and there was this transfer where she went to her dad, but she never told her husband, but she went to tell her dad what was going down.  She goes to king Aretas and says ‘Hey, Antipas is going to divorce me, and take this gal Herodias to be his wife.’  Well, historically, according to Josephus, that really got this king angry.  Already there was a border dispute between the two, and that didn’t help matters, so he gathers his army, Antipas sees that, gather’s his army, there’s a war, and king Aretas really did a number on Antipas, so much so that it essentially destroyed his army.  The Jews then, because of what happens here with John the Baptist, saw it as a judgment of God upon Antipas.  Well, a little bit more interesting history with him.  After that, Herodias does come and becomes his wife, or at least they’re together like they’re husband and wife.  And then Caligula, who was the Emperor, the Caesar at the time, decides to take one of Antipas’s nephews, Agrippa, now we could go on and on with these Herod guys, it gets really confusing.   But this is the point, because this all comes into play.  Agrippa, whose one of his nephews, becomes king, Caligula makes him king of the other three areas there [tetrarchies], territories, where Antipas has only one fourth.  Well Herodias, she is a total Jezebel, just heart and soul a Jezebel.  She says to Antipas, ‘Hey, he made him king.  Not fair, let’s get a lot of money, let’s go to Rome and see Caligula, and get him to make you a king.’  Well, they go there.  Now Agrippa hears that this is going down, he sends word to Caligula, says, ‘You know, this guy Antipas is actually trying to pull a fast one on you and undermine you.’  Well when Antipas got there with Herodias, Caligula said, ‘No way, Jose’, you’re not going to be anything.’  And he banishes him to Gal, which is France, and eventually he heads to Spain and dies in Spain.  Herodias goes with him.  And Caligula takes away all his royalty, all the wealth, and he basically goes as a poor man into banishment.  Now, little bit of history for you.  I’m sure you got all of that and you won’t ever forget it.  [laughter] But we could keep going on and on and on, because the gal here, Salome, daughter of Herodias is actually part of the family here, there’s some intermarriage stuff going on here that’s pretty ugly, and she marries another Philip, the tetrarch, actually becomes the sister-in-law of her mom and the aunt of her mom through that marriage (to Antipas), and divorces him and marries another one of them, and it’s a bizarro family, it’s a messed up family. 

 

Herod’s guilty conscience starts playing tricks on his mind

 

Anyway, Herod the Tetrarch, hears the report of Jesus coming to him, he’s doing miracles, he’s doing all kinds of things.  Based on what he’s done earlier, when he hears the report of this, he thinks---now not initially, it’s over a period of time, a few things cause this to happen---but  he thinks that this Jesus is actually John the Baptist raised from the dead, whom as you see there, he had earlier killed.  Now, it says in Mark chapter 6 that the fame of Jesus really went out, and so Herod is hearing about that.  He says to his servants, those servants are attendants, the Greek there would indicate they’re younger, like a teenage boy or girl, the attendants that serve one of the kings.  And he says this is actually John the Baptist, and he comes to that conclusion ultimately because of guilt.  Now, as you look in the other Gospels, initially we find that Herod, in Matthew and in Mark, Mark chapter 6, initially he’s fascinated with John the Baptist.  He initially believes that he is a holy man, a godly man, and so Herod Antipas actually would bring John the Baptist to speak to him at times, and he would enjoy listening to him. 

 

Be careful who you “yoke up to” in marriage!

 

But Herodias, with Herod Antipas and Herodias together, Herodias just completely hates John the Baptist, because he has a certain message that makes her very uncomfortable, and she hates him.  From the start she despises him and wants him dead.  Eventually that actually poisons Herod Antipas’s heart, and over time he has the same heart.  As you see here in verse 5, it says “although he wanted to put him to death.”  So he wanted to put John the Baptist to death.  His heart changed.  Studying in Mark initially though he admired John the Baptist.  He’s got this gal for a wife, and she’s totally poisoned his heart, and I tell you, there’s a constant warning in Scripture, we looked at it on Wednesday night, about when you yoke up with certain people.  We saw Ahab and Jezebel and what Jezebel did to Ahab, and what it cost in Ahab’s life.  And this is a Jezebel and Ahab deal, this man has a certain gal that he loves, and it’s just poisoned, completely poisoned his life.  In Proverbs chapter 5, verse 22, I mean, you could say this man married sin, and because he married sin and it consumed his life, “his own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his own sin.”  On Wednesday night I quoted McGee [J. Vernon McGee].  McGee said “When you marry a child of the Devil, your father-in-law sees to it that you have trouble.”  And who is your father-in-law when you marry a child of the devil?  The Devil is your father-in-law.  And that’s essentially what happened, he married sin, he joined with sin, and in time it just consumed his life, and changed his own heart to a terrible state [not that he had that good a heart anyway, with Herod the Great for a father].  Later, he does want even Jesus killed, and we read about that in Luke.  And word comes to Jesus about that.  So his heart gets really, really dark.  Initially he’s intrigued about reports, wants to hear about Jesus, wants to see Jesus, we read that in the other Gospels too.  But then eventually he wants Jesus killed too.  And so when Jesus finally stands before Herod, as you saw maybe in The Passion of the Christ, Jesus doesn’t say a word to him, because the man’s heart is so dark, evil and wicked, Jesus won’t even give him the time to speak a word to him.  He just stands there silently before him, because of what he is and what he represents.  Well anyway, there were reports coming out about Jesus that he was Elijah, you read that in Mark chapter 6, same story about John the Baptist, in Mark you read that Herod is hearing that some are saying he’s the Elijah, or Jesus is the Prophet that was promised.  There are some that are telling Herod, ‘Hey, I think this is maybe John the Baptist, he’s a lot like him.’  And so there’s a bewilderment we read about in Luke, and there’s a confusion over time, and it’s because of guilt, it’s because of guilt in his own life, things that he’s done, that he begins to think ‘Man, it really is John the Baptist, come back to life.’  [Shakespeare must have studied the history of Herod Antipas before he wrote Macbeth] 

 

The story of what happened to John the Baptist

 

Now, John the Baptist, he’s imprisoned, we saw this earlier, but he was imprisoned by Herod the Antipas because it says there, verse 4, because John had said to him “It’s not lawful for you to have her”, that is Herodias, “your brother’s wife”, ‘it’s wrong.’  Leviticus chapter 18, verse 16 says “You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife, it is your brother’s nakedness.”  Leviticus chapter 20, verse 21, “If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing, he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness, they shall be childless.”  So John the Baptist said ‘This is unclean, this is wrong!’.  The tense of that, it’s not just a passing remark in the Greek, it’s something he continued to say over and over again, he was relentless.  ‘Herod, Herodias, this is evil, you’re leaders of the people here, and this is poison in this land, this is wrong’, and he was relentless.  We’ll Herodias hated it, eventually with that Herod has John the Baptist put into prison.  Well of course Herodias isn’t happy with that though.  This woman has got it in for John, she’s a Jezebel.  And this man, John, says things against her, she doesn’t like to hear it, she doesn’t want to hear anything like that, so she wants him dead.  So, as you see there, when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, you read in the other Gospel, Mark chapter 6, it says “When an opportune date came”, meaning the opportunity came, Herodias dialed in.  ‘Hey, it’s a big party, he’s got all his friends over.  I know the way my husband works.  Of course, pretty clear, even at the beginning, ‘I know what drum he beats to, and here’s a party, I have my opportunity to set him up and corner him.’  And that’s what she does.  His birthday, man, he’s got all sorts of people with him.  You read in the other Gospels, there’s leading people from the area of Galilee, there’s governors, there’s nobility sitting there with him.  The way the Greek is, is they’re reclining at the table, they’re feasting, and never once in this passage does it mention alcohol.  But very interesting, I look at lot of commentaries, old and new, commentaries that go back 100, 200 years, and everybody mentions in this story, alcohol.  No mention of it.  But it doesn’t have to be mentioned, you just feel it, that they’re having a feast.  [Comment:  Of course all commentaries mention this, alcohol was a proper part of Jewish life at meals, and not the abuse of it, but in proper moderation.  That is understood in Jewish culture.  That is one of the very reasons alcoholism is very low amongst Jews, they’re taught as youth the proper use of alcohol during the meal.  Now whether they were getting a buzz on, it’s not mentioned because alcohol itself is not mentioned.]  And this man, Herod, is not in his good sense, and it’s because of that his wife goes for that, Herodias, to deal with John the Baptist and sets him up.  And we’re going to talk about alcohol here in a moment, because I believe the Lord has something he’d like to say about that too.  Well, Herodias goes for the opportunity.  So she gets her daughter, nobility, the word when it says “girl” there, would mean that she’s not like a little girl, she’s at least a teenager.  So she’d developed, evidently she’s a very attractive woman.  But this mom takes her daughter, her daughter’s willing to do this, and sends her out before Herod and all these men, and has her do a dance.  Now, it’s not just an ordinary dance.  Given the Greek, it’s a dance, the Greek word suggests there’s a lot of movement, it’ a seductive dance.  She is doing something very, very seductive.  This mom has her daughter doing that, before her own husband, before all these people.  It tells you a little bit more about the depravity of this woman and the evilness of her heart, how far she’ll go to do evil.  And so her daughter’s out there doing this very seductive dance, it’s a shameless thing, it’s really the dance of a prostitute, not of a princess [must have been like pole-dancing in a bar].  Well as she does it, as it says, it works.  I mean, Herodias knows the way Herod Antipas works, it says “it pleased Herod.”  And the other translations says “it very  much pleased him.”  I mean, the point is, it was a turn-on.  And we know in the other Gospels that even the other men, they’ll all kind of like ‘Oh wow!  Do it again, do it again!’.  There’s an arousal in this room.  And that often goes with the alcohol.  And I’m sure they’re all a bit tipsy with the alcohol.  And so here the music’s going, the dance is going, and so he says something that is so foolish to say.  In response to a simple dance, he makes a promise and an oath, and he says “I’ll give you whatever you want.”  We learn in the other Gospels what he promises, “I’ll give you up to half my kingdom.”  Why would you say that in response to a dance?  The point being, he’s clearly drunk.  It’s so foolish, he’s enticed, he’s entrapped, and he speaks something very foolish.  Herodias knew the man, and she cornered him.  So Salome, when he says that, Salome the daughter, she goes right to her mom, as we put the different Gospels together, and says ‘Mom, what should I say?’.  Mom says ‘Go and say this’ the Greek says Immediately, right here, right now, tell him you want the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  ‘We don’t want to give him a chance to work out of this.’  Salome goes out immediately and she says ‘Right here, right now, this very moment, Herod Antipas, you’ve made the promise, give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’  Well, as you see there in verse 9, the king was sorry, NIV says he was distressed, Mark says “he was exceedingly sorrowful”.  Now, it doesn’t appear that he’s sorry because he likes John the Baptist.  A little earlier it says he wanted him dead.  His heart has changed, himself.  He’s been poisoned by his wife.  But he’s sorry, we would assume, because there’s a sense of conviction, this isn’t right, he feels that at the moment.  And he’s pressured, he’s been cornered, he can’t do anything about it, at least in his own eyes he can’t do anything about it.  Of course he can.  A righteous man would repent of his words at this point, a righteous man would not go through with this.  But as you read there, because of what he said, and especially because of the fact that there are these people around him.  Mark says there’s the nobles, there’s the high officers, there’s the chief men of Galilee, and he wants to appear as a man of his word, and in his eyes, he wants to appear as a strong ruler.  He’s made the word, and so even though he’s got the emotion going ‘Ah, I can’t believe I got caught up in this’.  He says to an executioner, we read in the other Gospel, he sends an executioner, they go, and they take off John the Baptist’s head, which is against the law, against Jewish law to be beheaded.  There’s not trial, that’s also against the law, and he has the head brought out.  So, wanting to appear strong, really he’s an Ahab, he’s a weak leader.  He’s a puppet of his Jezebel wife Herodias, and he’s too into reputation and what other’s think at this moment, to do what is right, and so he actually is a very weak leader.  Well, John the Baptist is beheaded, and the head is brought to Herodias, to Salome.  And I can’t imagine, I mean, what a gift.  I mean, a normal woman would just freak at the sight of a little bit of blood.  You know what I mean?  But ‘Bring me the head’?  And she actually receives the head.  I wonder what her mind and heart, you know the Proverbs talks about the thoughts of the wicked are abominable to God.  And I get that sense as a reader too, what’s going on in her mind, it’s just so depraved to God, this whole thing.  Well the head comes, and she’s got it. 

 

Lack of faith because of a love of sin

 

And Herod then serves as an example, a very important example to you and I.  Here is a man that, it starts as we put his life together, we realize he had an openness to spiritual things.  He saw John the Baptist for who he was, and there was an openness to it, he was attracted to it.  But how did he get to this point?  The reason he got to this point is because he loved sin.  Why did he ultimately reject Jesus Christ?  Because he loved sin, and because he loved sin, the sin had a trap on him, and in the end it destroyed him.  He serves as an example of that.  There are people like that, they love sin, they love sin.  Their conscience, when they hear the Gospel, the Bible, the Word of God, their conscience may be pricked.  They may have a sense of God and Christ.  They may believe in the Word, in the message, they may even be attracted to Christ.  But because they love sin, they reject the Lord, they’re not willing to turn to the Lord, they want the flesh, they want to fulfill the flesh.  And so they’re in bondage.  I can think of people like that.  I think of an individual I know in the central city of this state, doesn’t go here, so I can say this.  I had a little study I was doing for awhile that this person came to, and this person, I still pray for this person, but man, he seemed to have an interest in God and Christ and in prayer and the Bible.  But it didn’t take long to learn that he was living with this lady.  And it was interesting, this lady, of course they weren’t married, so it was sin, and he even told me, knew it was wrong.  And I said, ‘Well, you know, you can’t have her and follow Christ.  You know what I mean?  Follow Christ, dude.’  But he chose in the end to go the other way.  And it was interesting, if you called the house to talk to him, which I did, and others did on occasion, the response would be, you would hear this gal immediately try to disrupt the conversation, it was the strangest thing.  And immediately he’d become uncomfortable, and want to get off the phone, and you could hear this stuff going on.  And it was very clear, she wanted him to have nothing to do with Christ, which he would even tell you, nothing to do with the Church.  And in the end, he loved that, and he chose that rather than following Christ.  Maybe he’s going to repent and get out of that.  But to me, at this point he’s serving as an example, there are people like that, that they love sin, they love it.  And how foolish, right, to love sin.  When it comes to whether or not to follow Christ, you choose sin, when sin is so temporary and so empty, and so meaningless, and so destructive in the end.  It’s really, it doesn’t bring you anything, except it causes you to be wrapped up and tied up in a web, and in the end it just ruins your life.  But maybe you’re here today, and that is a message for you, and you know it.  You hear Christ, you hear the Word of God, you know it’s truth, you know he’s real.  But your very battle is that you love sin, you love it.  And we pray for you today, that you’d hate what is evil, and you’d love what is good, and you’d be wise and you’d turn from sin, and you’d turn to Christ.  Eternity, do you understand what weighs in the balance?  Do you understand what it means? 

 

The influence of alcohol in the world

 

Well, there’s this thought of alcohol too.  And I just have to say this, because I believe it.  When I teach the Bible I want to share with you what I believe Christ has put on my heart.  And sometimes it’s very simple to do this.  If you were a preacher you’d have this experience, but, I’ve had multiple times this week, passages, listening on the radio, tuning in to just that time, preachers speaking about the dangers of alcohol with Christians and with people.  I’ve heard it so often, I was thinking about it a lot when I came to this passage.  And I read in every single commentary, and I see what it does, and I’m like, ‘Lord, I know you want me to say something, I’ll say something.’  Now I believe, that you as a believer, I don’t believe that it’s a sin to have a glass of wine at your dinner [and both Jews and Italians are brought up to very moderately consume “a” glass of wine during dinner.  As a matter of fact, when I was dating my wife, and we were over at her family’s for dinner, the grandfather would sit at the head of the table, with the bottle of homemade wine firmly planted at his feet.  He would judiciously pour each person “one glass” of wine, to go with the meal (nobody dared ask for a refill, not that I ever recall).  He was in command of the bottle, and there was no question about that in anyone’s mind.  That was the Sicilian culture she grew up in.].  You may believe that it is [sin to have a glass of wine at dinner], and I’ll agree to disagree with you, and respect you for that.  I don’t believe it’s a sin, necessarily to drink alcohol.  [The Bible, if you study it from one end to the other allows the consumption of alcohol, but teaches “extreme moderation”.]  But yet, it can be very foolish.  Because what happens is, when you drink alcohol, alcohol begins to change you.  And it changes your reasoning.  And it’s very foolish to be somebody that drinks alcohol, that then goes into a club, says ‘You know, I’m a Christian, you know, I’m 22, I can go dancing.’  And to dance isn’t a sin either.  But you go there, and well, I’m with my non-Christian friends, so we have the alcohol, and the music’s playing, and the dance is going.  And do you understand you’re doing exactly what’s going on in here, you’ve got the Salome’s dancing.  And it happens so often, where there is a believer, who has the principle in their life, and they think it’s not a problem, it’s not a problem, and then later man, they have a season of incredible regret, because they weren’t wise.  I’m going to quote to you Jon Courson, I already had these thoughts on my mind, and then I read this, Jon Courson goes into this, and he says it so well, so I’m just going to read it to you.  I got blessed reading it, I thought you would be blessed too.  “There’s a whole lot of talk in our Yupified culture about getting ahead.  How do you get ahead?  Well, if the company has a party, you’d better be there.  And if the boss proposes a toast, you’d better lift your glass.  So what if there’s a little bit of carnality, a little bit of dancing, and people swapping partners, hey, that’s just part of the culture we live in.  You gotta get ahead.  Well the head that you get is the one you won’t want.  Ask Herod.  Watch out for an environment in which you know alcohol is flowing, and seductive music is being played, watch out Herodias is dancing, you’ll get sucked in, and you’ll regret it later.”  Maybe that’s you here today.  And you know, as we go through the Bible, there’s that Manna for today, it’s just the Word from the Lord for you.  And Herod has got the alcohol, there’s the music, there’s the dance, and where does it take him in the end, oh, it takes him down a terrible road.  Maybe you’re here today, and the Lord wants to say that to you.  I’d pray you’d be wise.  You know what, sometimes it’s just better to forgo alcohol altogether, just why not?  It shouldn’t mean that much to you, right?  So it doesn’t ever trap you, doesn’t ever get you in this place where you’re doing something so foolish.  The disciples take the body of John the Baptist here, and it says, I mean, the head, it’s decapitated, so they take it and they bury it.  And it looks like a morbid picture.  Of course, from God’s eyes, with John the Baptist it looks like such a morbid end for him, but it isn’t, because he’s not there, he’s gone straight to heaven [his human spirit has, the spirit in man that gave him his intellect and powers of comprehension.  There are differing beliefs within the Body of Christ about this.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.]  He’s a man of God, he’s in glory with God.  And the reality of him still being alive is the point of the passage, back to chapter 14, verse 1, Herod did all these things, Herodias did all these things, and yet a long time later, he’s still thinking John the Baptist is still alive, he never really killed him.  He killed him physically, but yet in the sense that, has he been raised to life?  You know there’s that other point there too, here’s this man and this people that have done this evil, and it’s possible when the day was over and he went home and thought ‘OK, stupid, stupid, stupid, but I’ll get over it.’  It’s clear he doesn’t “get over it.”  I mean, it troubles him, it bothers his conscience.  And so, so much later when he hears about Jesus, he actually starts to think in time that this is John the Baptist come alive.  You know, you might be here, and it can be that way, you might, you may have thought, ‘I got away with it, I just did it, nobody knows, I got away with it.’  But you never get away with it, do you?  Because, you’re here sitting, thinking ‘You know it bothers me even to this day that I did that, it bothers me all the time.  I always feel dirty because I did that.’  And that’s the experience that Herod Antipas had.  It wasn’t just going to be done and over with, it seemed to plague him and follow him, the guilt.  You know, if that be you today, there is yet hope for you.  If you’re here today and you’re bothered because of something you’ve done, the Bible is very clear, Jesus said ‘Come to him, confess your faults to him, confess your sin to him, and he will heal you and he will cleanse you and he will forgive you.”  If you’re here today and you’re plagued by guilt because of things that you’ve done, there is hope, and the hope is repentance and forgiveness.  Of course to repent is to turn from your sin.  Sometimes it’s going and making things right.  Sometimes you’ve got to tell other people because of what you’ve done.  It’s making it right.  But if you’re here, like Herod, and you’re in that season where ‘Oh man, I’ve got this stuff that’s following me’, we have a prayer-room, maybe you want to talk to some of the prayer-people after the service and have people pray with you.  But you can be cleansed and healed of that today, because God is a gracious God.  But if you’re not willing to turn, it’s a sad deal where Herod ends up in the end.  He ends up in Gal [France], ultimately banished [with no money, accompanied by Herodias, the woman he wanted so much in the beginning], hard life, hard life.  Let’s stand together…[transcript of an expository sermon on Matthew 13:54 through 14:1-12.]

 

Related links:

 

Proofs that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm

 

Proof of the Bible as God’s Word:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/ProofOfTheBible-FulfilledProphecy.htm

 

Important to understand the true nature of Christ in order to avoid heresy:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html

 

Good article dealing with evolution:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/dinosaurs/dinosaurs.htm

 

Herod Antipas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_Antipas

http://www.essortment.com/all/herodthegreat_rnnp.htm

 

Where is John the Baptist now?  Differing beliefs within the Body of Christ:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm        

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