Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Matthew 11:1-19 "Forceful Living"

Read Matthew 11:1-19.

"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." NIV
I don't remember ever reading this phrase before, but I love it. It shows such abandon and passion for Christ. People were so hungry and hurting that they came in great droves to see Christ and receive his message of healing and love. They committed themselves -- many even to death -- to follow the Rabbi. Oh, how I wish I had been there living at the beginning of a revolution that continues to this day.

But what saddens me is how few people still come running to Jesus. The hunger is still there -- the faith is lacking. Over time, the enemy has grown doubt in people's hearts. It began even back then. Look at verses 2-6. John starts questioning Jesus and Jesus must warn John the Baptist of doubting the true Messiah. Jesus begins teaching John's followers, reminding them of the prophesies that John has fulfilled. No matter what John and Jesus did, they had their critics and naysayers following them.

Doubt continues to plague the advancement of the gospel and the growth of the body -- internally and externally -- to this day. How many times must Jesus prove Himself? When will the unbelieving generations stop fighting and surrender to the power that He promises to give? All it takes is faith the size of a mustard seed. Can today's generation not even find that? They have faith in movie stars, athletes, musicians, and themselves. But so many can't seem to find a grain of faith for the Almighty Creator of the Universe to be Who He says He is. They can't trust Jesus Christ to be the Son of God as the prophesies foretold. Where will it end?

"Wisdom is proved right by her actions." The Truth will prevail, and we must plod on to bring as many with us as possible. We must daily surrender to His will and power and deny the force of doubt to invade our thinking. Live as forceful people taking hold of a forceful God. The Body with a passion for Jesus Christ will prevail.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Where is John the Baptist prophesied about? HINT: He is referred to as a "messenger."
  2. Doubt is a virus that will attack, and if we allow it, fester as in a wound. It will continue to grow unless we eradicate it immediately. How do we do that? What should we do when doubts begin to try to override our faith?
  3. In what ways can we live as forceful men and women? Write down what we must do and what we must be. Support with Scripture.

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