Welcome to Defender’s Voice. I am Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Hope you are all doing well by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please visit our website www.doctorpaul.org to know more about this ministry. Our preaching ministry, medical mission and orphan home need your continued support. I thank everyone who is already supporting us. So, consider a prayerful donation to this ministry. You can visit www.doctorpaul.org to make a tax-deductible donation.
In today’s program, I would like to give an introduction to the Gospel of Matthew. The New Testament of the Bible starts with the Gospel of Matthew. It would be very refreshing to our souls to read this gospel and take a panoramic view of the wonderful life, teachings, death and resurrection of our blessed Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. We see so much confusion and chaos all around us. We should take time to study the Word of God and enjoy the person of Christ. Dr.Charles Rolls wrote,
“In Christ all the divine attributes
are perfectly balanced,
this being seen equally in
His matchless kindness,
His stainless pureness,
His peerless loveliness,
His blameless justness,
His flawless righteousness,
His faultless meekness,
His fadeless faithfulness,
His staunchless goodness,
His priceless preciousness,
His boundless blessedness,
His taintless truthfulness,
and His spotless holiness”.
The glorious character of our Lord Jesus Christ is fully displayed in the gospels. There are 4 gospels in the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are individuals who say, ‘Those 4 gospels are not enough for me. I need more information about Jesus. Then I will think about him.’ But we should remember that God gave us enough information in these 4 gospels to save our souls. If you want to get saved, if you want to lead a blessed life, if you want to understand the plan of God in history, if you want to live a godly life, if you want to live a peaceful life, if you want to go to heaven, if you want to escape hell, those 4 gospels should be enough. There is enough information in the gospels to save your soul from eternal damnation. So, don’t say ‘gospels are not enough for me’.
Who wrote these 4 gospels?
Matthew was written by Matthew, who was a disciple of Lord Jesus
Mark was written by John Mark, a spiritual son of the Apostle Peter
Luke was written by Luke, an associate of the Apostle Paul
John was written by John, a close disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These four gospel writers either lived with Jesus or gathered their information from the disciples and individuals who lived with Jesus. We can say that the four gospels are eyewitness accounts from the time of Christ. You don’t need Roman historians and Greek historians who lived far away from Judea to tell Jesus’s story. Listen to the stories told by the individuals who walked with Jesus.
Lord Jesus had 12 disciples. Matthew was one of them. He was described as a tax collector. The Romans levied heavy taxes over the Jews living in Palestine. Who enjoys paying taxes? The Jewish people hated the Romans and the tax officers who worked for their Empire. ‘I am a tax collector’: That is not something you could proudly tell others. If you say ‘I work for the IRS’, that would scare people.Right? Few people would endear themselves to Matthew, the tax collector. Yet, in this gospel, Matthew describes himself as a ‘tax collector’. He wanted to show us how the grace of God visited him through Christ. He was despised by people, but not by God.
One day Jesus went to Matthew’s home and had dinner in his house. He called him to follow him. ‘Matthew, follow me’. Matthew left everything and became a disciple of Christ. He left a lucrative tax collecting job to follow Jesus. I would like to show you 7 things from the gospel of Matthew.
A new covenant is here. The New Testament starts with the Gospel of Matthew. It is like a bridge from the Old Testament into the New. Remember Jesus was sent to save the Jews first. Who is Jesus? Who is this Jesus of Nazareth? All the prophets of the Old Testament predicted the coming of a Messiah, a Savior of the people of God.
Recently I was in Princeton, New Jersey. I had to catch a train. I called for an Uber to take me from Nassau Inn to Princeton train station. While riding in his car, I asked the driver, ‘How is your spiritual life?’. He said, ‘I believe in God. But I am not religious. I am Jewish’. I told him, ‘You are Jewish? Do you know God spoke to Jewish prophets like Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah and Jeremiah? Do you know that they prophesied about a coming Savior? Jesus Christ is that Savior’. That gentleman listened patiently.
Matthew had the same objective in this gospel. He says, ‘My dear Jewish brethren, remember all the prophecies God gave to our forefathers. This Jesus is the fulfillment of all those prophecies. He is the Messiah foretold by our prophets’.
The great promise given to Abraham, the Messianic prophecies given all over the Old Testament, the New Testament predicted by Jeremiah – they are all fulfilled in Jesus. Matthew mentions the Old Testament over 129 times. His main theme was Jesus is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament through a New Covenant.
Secondly, Matthew shows us Jesus as our King. As the son of David, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His first bed was in the manger. We can see the sacrifice made by the Son of God to come to this world to save us.
He is the righteous King of God. The wisemen from the East enquired King Herod, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star and have come to worship him’ (Matthew 2:1-2). Jesus was born as the Lord and King of the Jews.
Matthew starts his gospel with the words: Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. The Messiah must be the son of Abraham and son of David. Only Jesus was qualified to sit on the throne of his father David in Jerusalem. King Herod, who was ruling Judea at that time, was not qualified as the king of the Jews. He was not a son of Abraham; he was not a son of David. Herod was demonic in his pursuit of power. He killed his wife, his family members, even his own children to sit on the throne. But Jesus was not in the pursuit of power. He abandoned heavenly glory to come to this world and to conquer our hearts with his love. French emperor Napoleon once said, “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him”.
Why would millions of people die for Jesus today? Because he became the king of their hearts. When Jesus was in this world, the Jewish people were living under Roman oppression. They repeatedly pleaded with Jesus, ‘Jesus, become our king and liberate us from this Roman oppression’. Yet, Jesus did not respect their requests. Because their hearts were far away from God. They were not interested to love Jesus and follow His word. Unless you really love Jesus in your heart, He is not interested in becoming your king.
Matthew introduces Jesus as the heavenly king who came to rule our hearts. Prophet Micah predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the village of David (Micah 5:2). Like David, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Like David, Jesus was chosen by God. Like David, Jesus will rule over Israel.
Thirdly, Jesus brought a new message to this world. Sixty percent of this gospel is the teachings of Jesus. He gave 6 long sermons.
1.Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7)
2. Instructions to the apostles (chapter 10)
3.Parables about the Kingdom of heaven (chapter 13)
4.Forgiveness of God (chapter 18)
5.Condemnation of the pharisees (chapter 23)
6.the Olivet Discourse (chapters 24 – 25)
The Sermon on the Mount is the most famous sermon of Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not talking about the kingdom of man. It is the kingdom of God. It is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth
Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness
for they will be filled
Blessed are the merciful
for they will be shown mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart
for they will see God
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God
Blessed are those who are
persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’
This message influenced our world more than any other message ever given by human beings. Margaret Atwood wrote the novel Handmaid’s tale. Christian fundamentalists take over America and establish a totalitarian regime to oppress women. They would overturn Roe.v.Wade as they did today (06/24/2022). John Calvin’s Geneva. Oliver Cromwell’s London. Puritan New England. No. That is not how Jesus would establish his kingdom. Only the meek, the merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, thirsty for righteousness of God will be partakers of this kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Recently, America is shaken by the reports of sexual abuse in many churches. The Southern Baptist Convention released a list of over 800 pastors who were accused of abusing children, men and women in their congregations. 800 pastors sexually abusing people! Why is this happening? Because too many churches today think ‘sexual purity’ does not matter. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’. If you are not pure in your heart, don’t go anywhere near the pulpit. We have so many pastors and bishops with impure hearts. No wonder there is so much abuse in our churches. Jesus brought us a new message, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’.
Jesus also brought a new kingdom. He talked about the Kingdom of Heaven. This world knew nothing about this kingdom of heaven. Today our world leaders talk about nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfikar Bhutto once said, ‘We will eat grass if necessary to build a nuclear weapon’. That is the kingdom of man. Eating grass if necessary to build nuclear weapons. That is where the kingdom of man will end: death and destruction.
But the kingdom of heaven is about life. Living an abundant life.
Let us read Matthew 6:31-33
“So do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? or, what shall we drink?, or,what shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”
We spend a lot of time worrying about our physical needs. The pagans worry a lot about physical things. Where are these pagans? You are living among them. They are the people without God. Everyone without the true knowledge of God is a pagan. What shall I eat? What shall I drink? What about my family? What about my job? What about my health? What about my bank account? We waste a lot of time in stress, anxiety and despair. You are in the kingdom of heaven. So, don’t think like a pagan. Our blessed Savior says, ‘Don’t worry. Trust in God. Seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. God will provide for all your needs’.
Then let us read a verse from Matthew 5:44
‘I tell you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you’. That is the kingdom of heaven. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Congresswoman Lauren Bobbert recently said, ‘If Jesus had AR 15s he would have escaped the Roman crucifixion’. How blasphemous! Jesus had all the power of heaven at his disposal. He would have destroyed his enemies in a fraction of a second, had he wanted to. He kept his power under control and forgave them. Look at the Roman soldiers. They cursed him, spit on his face, punched his face, dragged him on the floor, crowned him with thorns, nailed him to the cross, pierced his side. He forgave them all. He prayed for them. That is the kingdom of heaven.
Recently we have seen the horrible school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. An evil young man went into a school and killed 19 children and two teachers. Their parents went through indescribable loss and pain. Yet, they found hope in Christ. They erected 21 crosses in front of the school for 21 victims of the shooting. They also put an imaginary drawing of the face of Jesus. None of these parents cursed the shooter. They found hope in Jesus. They forgave the shooter. That is the kingdom of heaven.
Then the Gospel of Matthew talks about new people. For the first time in the New Testament, it introduces the word ‘church’. That is unique to Matthew. Out of 4 gospels, he was the only one who used this word, church, Ekklesia. Lord Jesus told Peter, his disciple.
‘You are Peter, upon this rock
I will build my church;
and the gates of hell shall
not prevail against it’
‘Ekklesia’ means ‘called out’. The church is made up of people called out by God. In the Old Testament, we see God calling out Abraham. We see God calling out Moses. We see God calling out David. In the New Testament, God is calling both Jews and the Gentiles. This is not something invented by the Apostle Paul. Gentiles were not an afterthought to God.
Messiah would be the light to Gentiles, prophet Isaiah told us. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Gentiles came to worship him. Who were the wisemen from the East? They were Gentiles called by God to worship his Son (Matthew chapter 2). During his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ performed miracles before the Gentiles (Matthew 8:5-13). Jesus went to Gentile territories like Tyre and Sidon to preach the gospel (Matthew 15:21-28). In the Great Commission, he commanded his disciples with the words: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19). All nations means all Gentile nations. ‘To the Jew first, and also to the Greek’ wrote Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16. God called out a new people made up of Jews and Gentiles in Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ is building a new temple for God. The Old Temple did not please God. We read in Matthew chapter 21. Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem. This magnificent temple was supposed to be a house of prayer and of godliness. But sadly it became a place of commerce and foreign exchange. The leaders of the temple focused more on making money than on following God. Jesus became very angry at these individuals. He went into the temple, overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and cast them out. He shouted at them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of robbers’ (Matthew 21:12-13). But the leaders of the temple did not repent of their sins. Rather they plotted to kill Jesus. ‘This Jesus, how dare he stop our business. We should kill him’. They did not change their wicked behavior. Rather they wanted to murder the son of man.
See in Matthew chapter 24. Jesus made a shocking decision. He was going to destroy this temple literally. He said,
‘You see this temple.
Not one stone here will be
left on another; every stone
will be thrown down’
That prophecy was fulfilled on August 30, AD 70 when the Roman general Titus ordered the destruction of the temple. The magnificent temple of God in Jerusalem was put to flames.
As we go, let me tell you an interesting fact. The first temple was destroyed on August 30, 586 BC by Babylonians. The second temple was destroyed on August 30, AD 70 by Romans. Both were destroyed on August 30. Don’t tell me that was just a coincidence.
Now, where is the temple of God? It is not in Jerusalem. It is not in the Vatican. This is not a physical temple. Jesus Christ has been building a spiritual temple for God. Every believer who puts his or her faith in Christ and is washed by His blood is a living stone and is built into this spiritual temple of God. Matthew’s previous name was Levi (Mark 2:14). When he was saved, Lord Jesus gave him a new name, ‘Matthew’. Matthew means ‘a gift of God’. What a beautiful name! Grace is a gift of God. God saved us through his grace and built us into this living temple of Christ. No human force, no Satanic force, no Hellish force can destroy this living temple of Christ, which God has been building for the last two thousand years with stones gathered from all over the world.
Finally we see new worship in the gospel of Matthew. Let us read Matthew 18:20
‘For where two or
in my name, there
am I with them’
What is worship? People think, ‘I must go to a temple to worship God’, I must go to a mountain to worship God’, ‘I must go to a holy city to worship God’ ‘I need a priest to worship God’, ‘I need to make a sacrifice to worship God’ ‘I need a holy smoke to worship God’, ‘I need a special day to worship God’. Jesus says, no. You don’t need any of that. He introduces a radically new way to worship God. Because God is a spirit, we can worship God in our spirits no matter where we are located. Jesus made a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins. So, we don’t need to make a sacrifice to worship God. Jesus became our high priest. So, we don’t need a priest to worship God. B
Wherever two or three believers come together in the name of Lord Jesus Christ, God will accept that worship. Such worship goes to God as a sweet fragrance and delights His heart.
We’ve seen 7 things from the Gospel of Matthew.
Please come to Jesus, accept that you are a sinner, invite him to save you from your sins, believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the grave, and then you will be saved.
Let us pray. ‘Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us this opportunity to learn some truths from the Gospel of Matthew. Help us to love you more and follow you more closely and carefully. In your precious name, we pray, Amen’.