- WALK with God
- Reach the LOST
- INVEST in a FEW
From the Church we THANK Matt and his Family for all they have done here at RCC. We know God has great plans for them in the future.
Stages of Fruitfulness // Brandon Preaching
- No Fruit
- Some Fruit
- Much Fruit
- Lasting Fruit
- Jesus is my model for life and ministry.
- We underestimate what God wants to do through us.
Conclusion #3 — Jesus is my model for life and ministry.
Ian Thomas used to always say that Jesus “became Man as God
intended man to be.” As the last Adam, Jesus did what Adam failed
to do: “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even
death on the cross” (Phil 2:8)! Jesus fully obeyed and became that
“life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). Jesus did what Adam failed
to do—obeyed fully. He was man as God intended man to be.
As a result, we often compare Jesus to ourselves, when in reality
Jesus was more like Adam before he sinned than He was like us.
While Jesus was sinless, and we will never be sinless this side
of glory, we should sin less. Because Jesus was what Adam failed
to be, therefore Jesus was fully justified when He said, “do what
I have done” and “walk as I have walked.” In His humanity, Jesus
showed us how to live as humans: fully dependent, fully obedient,
fully reliant upon the Word of God, Spirit of God and prayer. Jesus
was man as God intended man to be; therefore, He is my model
for life and ministry. Jesus was sinless while we are sinful. But as
we mature, we should sin less. When in doubt, don’t ask WWJD
(What Would Jesus Do), but first study to see WDJD (What Did
Jesus Do). Jesus showed us how to live in a sin-soaked world and
He did it perfectly.
This is why I never tire of studying not only what Jesus did, but
how Jesus did what He did. He is my model for life and ministry.
We should not just study the message of Jesus (which is a lifelong
process), but we need to study His methods and the model of His
life. We still need to follow the real Jesus who was fully human
and showed us how to live life. It is no accident that the Gospel
of John starts with “Follow me” (John 1:43) and ends with
“You must follow me” (John 21:22).
Conclusion #4 — We underestimate what God wants to do through us.
On two occasions, Jesus marveled at the great faith of two people—
the Canaanite woman and the centurion (Matt. 8:10, 15:28). But
on seven different occasions, Jesus rebuked His disciples for their
lack of faith (Matt. 6:30, 8:26, 13:58, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20; Mark
16:14). He challenged them, saying, “Are you so dull?” (Mark 7:18).
Throughout the life of Christ, you find Jesus challenging His
disciples to trust Him for every issue in life. Listen to these verses:
n “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the
Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his
harvest field” (Matt. 10:37–38).
n “ ‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered. ‘Truly I tell you, if
anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,”
and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they
say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you,
whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it,
and it will be yours’ ” (Mark 11:22–24).
And then, in the context of Jesus telling us how everything He did
was done through His Father living in Him, Jesus says: “Very truly
I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been
doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am
going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me
for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12–13).
And then a little while later, Jesus reiterates: “Very truly I tell you,
my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now
you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will
receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:23–24).
In Matthew 17:14–21, a man brings his demon-possessed son
to Jesus. The man said that he had asked the disciples to drive out
the spirit, but they could not. Jesus, with grief in His heart said
(probably to His disciples directly), “You unbelieving and perverse
generation . . . how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I
put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then the disciples
asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied: “Because
you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small
as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here
to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I personally believe that the greatest grief we bring to the heart
of Jesus is our lack of dependence upon Him in all areas of life.
We were created not to be independent but dependent. Sin
THE HUMANITY of JESUS 9
is independence—the opposite of dependence upon the Father.
Scripture says that: “without faith it is impossible to please God”
and “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Heb. 11:6;
Rom. 14:23). These are strong statements. In His last message
to His disciples, on six occasions Jesus told them to just ask!
Now, what are you depending upon God for in your life? As I study
Christ’s life and listen to His words, my own faith and dependence
upon the Father is challenged.
- When a person chooses to follow Jesus, God expects that person to begin to bear fruit that brings Him glory and proves to people watching that he or she truly belongs to Jesus.
- Character Fruit
- Conduct Fruit
- Conversion Fruit
Jesus: Known by His Fruit // Matt Preaching
- Jesus did not dip into His deity to live out His humanity.
- The resources that Jesus had available to Him are the resources available to you and me.
Conclusion #1 — Jesus did not dip into His deity
to live out His humanity.
If Jesus had used His deity to live out His humanity, He would
not have been fully human. He would have been less or more
(depending upon your perspective) than human. Instead, He
“shared in our humanity” (Heb. 2:14) and “he had to be made
like them [his brothers], fully in every way” (Heb. 2:17).
What a profound thought! Jesus, with His sinless nature
throughout His earthly life, experienced all of life as we do.
He did not utilize His divine power to live out His human life
on earth. Jesus was that second Adam, who lived in a world filled
by sin, greed, lust, and pride, just like us. And yet He did not sin.
From the first minute of His life, all the way to His last minutes
on the cross, Jesus, in reverent submission to His Father, obeyed
Him in all aspects! Amazingly, He did this without dipping into
His deity to live out that humanity!
To fully understand this is to better understand the temptations
of Jesus. In the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus to use His deity
to turn stones into bread to meet His personal needs. Jesus resisted,
saying, “man does not live by bread alone.” Peter in Matthew 16
becomes a major stumbling block to Jesus when he suggests Jesus
doesn’t need to go to the cross. Jesus then tells His disciples,
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and
take up his cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24).
At this point, most people began to question this concept and say,
“But what about . . . ?” Let’s look at those “what about” issues.
I’ve listed three:
- What about His miracles?
Surely Christ’s miracles are proof that Jesus used His deity.
Jesus could not have done all of His miracles without using
His divine powers, right? Not necessarily. They are proof
that He is the Christ sent from His Father (John 10:25) but
Jesus in His own words tells us that He did nothing in and
of Himself—everything He did was done through His Father
and in submission to His Father’s desires.
Let’s look at a few of Jesus’ own words (italics mine):
n “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself;
he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19).
n “By myself I can do nothing . . . I seek not to please myself
but him who sent me” (John 5:30).
n “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the
Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me”
n “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who
sent me” (John 7:16).
n “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will
know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own . . .
for I always do what pleases him” (John 8:28–29).
n “The miracles I do in my Father’s name testify about me”
n “I have shown you many good works from the Father”
n “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me
commanded me to say all that I have spoken. . . . So whatever I
say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:49–50).
n “The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority.
Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the
Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the
works themselves” (John 14:10–11).
n “Now they know that everything you have given me comes
from you” (John 17:7).
n “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands
on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed
at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:5–6).
Jesus, as that second Adam, in reverent submission to
His Father, became a conduit of the power of His Father
flowing through Him, as everything He did was done in
acknowledgment of His Father’s work. In the same way,
we find Jesus saying to us—just as my Father has sent me,
so send I you. Just as Jesus modeled total dependence, He then
told us in John 15:5 “apart from me you can do nothing.”
The Apostles in the Book of Acts followed Christ’s example
by acknowledging every miracle as coming only from God’s
working through them.
n “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was
a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders
and signs, which God did among you through him,
as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22).
n “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I
do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
walk’ ” (Acts 3:6).
n “When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Fellow Israelites,
why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by
our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?’ ”
- What about His knowledge?
Didn’t Jesus know all things? He knew things before they
happened—doesn’t that prove He used His deity to live out His
humanity? Not necessarily. Eleven different times in the Gospels
it said that Jesus “knew” something that others did not seem
to know. On five occasions He “ knew” people’s thoughts:
n “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only
by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives
out demons.’ Jesus knew their thoughts” (Matt. 12:24–25).
n “Now some teachers of the law were sitting there,
thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that?
He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what
they were thinking in their hearts” (Mark 2:6–8; also see
n “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking
for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely
to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew
what they were thinking” (Luke 6:7–8).
n “Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
Jesus knew their thoughts” (Luke 11:16–17).
Do these occurrences mean that He used His divinity to
know their thoughts? Couldn’t His Father have revealed their
thoughts to Him? Perhaps He sensed them in the countenance
of their faces or the posture of their bodies. Doesn’t Proverbs
say that the Lord takes the upright into His confidence
(Prov. 3:32)? Amos 3:7 tells us that the “Sovereign LORD does
nothing without revealing his plan to his servants.” Surely the
Spirit of God can give a discerning edge to know men’s hearts.
On three occasions, it says that Jesus “knew all people”
(John 2:23–24) or “knew their hypocrisy” (Mark 12:15).
Couldn’t these statements be made by a mature believer
who understands the Scriptural teaching about man?
On three occasions in John 13, it says that Jesus “knew that the
hour had come for him to leave this world” (verse 1), He “knew
that the Father had put all things under his power” (verse 3),
and He “knew who was going to betray him” (verse 11). Could
this knowledge not have come through a thorough study of the
Scriptures coupled with a personal grasp of His Father’s plan?
THE HUMANITY of JESUS 7
On the other hand, you find the Scripture telling us that Jesus
“grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”
(Luke 2:52). You find Jesus often speaking of His learning.
“I . . . speak just what the Father has taught me” (John 8:28).
Jesus shared everything with His followers, saying “for everything
that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John
15:15). Like any human, Jesus studied the Scriptures, grew
in wisdom, and allowed the Spirit to guide Him into all truth.
He did not come to live among us already knowing everything
He needed to know—He had to grow and learn too.
In Hebrews, we read that Jesus “shared in [our] humanity”
(Heb. 2:14) and He “had to be made like [his brothers]
in every way,” (Heb. 2:17) “tempted in every way, just
as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15).
When I meditate on this profound concept, my respect for the
Son of Man is greatly deepened. With new insight and profound
appreciation, I realize that He learned obedience through His
suffering—a suffering that began early in life and went all the way
to the cross. So often I have pictured that Christ only suffered
when He went to the cross. But when I understand that His
obedience throughout life caused suffering for Him, I begin to
understand what Paul means when he speaks of the “fellowship
of suffering.” He was without sin in a sinful world. That pure
conscience and unstained life caused Him to experience deep
sorrow and pain as He ministered to people, even as a young child.
He obeyed all the way to the cross, even death on the cross. When
He cried out, “It is finished,” He had borne every type of mockery,
scourging and injustice that sinful man could pour on Him. He
suffered when He obeyed (Heb. 2:18) and yet “learned obedience
from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the
source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Heb. 5:8–9).
Conclusion #2 — The resources that Jesus had
available to Him are the resources available
to you and me.
What resources did Jesus have available to him? I would like
to suggest four:
- The Spirit of God
n conceived by the Spirit (Luke 1:35)
n anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; Isa. 11:1–2)
n filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14; John 3:34)
n sealed by the Spirit (John 6:27)
n led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1)
n filled with joy through the Spirit (Luke 10:21)
n able to perform miracles by the power of the Spirit
(Matt. 12:28; Luke 4:14–15, 18)
n raised by the Spirit (Rom. 8:11)
If the Living Son of God, in all His greatness, chose not to live
without the constant help of the Spirit for even one moment,
how can we do any less?
Over forty times in Scripture you find that Jesus “often
withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). It was in
forty days of prayer and fasting that Jesus began His ministry
(Luke 4:1–11) and while praying He ended His ministry
(Luke 23:46–47). It was while He was praying that the Spirit
came upon Him (Luke 3:21–22). It was after a season of
prayer that Jesus walked on the water (Matt. 14:23–25),
chose His twelve apostles (Luke 6:12–13), showed compassion
on a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1–10), and faced the
horror of the cross (Matt. 26:36–46).
For Jesus, prayer was a source of strength to resist temptation
(Matt. 26:41) and a time to listen to His Father’s words
- The Written Word of God
On over ninety occasions, it is recorded that Jesus quoted the
Old Testament Scriptures—referring to seventy different Old
Testament chapters. He knew the Scriptures, studied them and
used them in the everyday events of life. The Word took center
stage in Jesus’ life and ministry.
In John 13, it is reiterated that Jesus “knew” that the time
had come, that the Father had put all things under His power,
and who was going to betray Him. Why? Because He studied
the Scriptures. Jesus knew the events before Him because He
clearly studied and knew that the Scriptures must be fulfilled
(Matt. 26:54, 56; Mark 14:27; Luke 22:37; John 19:24, 28).
Jesus communicated this depth of understanding later
on the Emmaus road when “beginning with Moses and
all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all
the Scriptures concerning himself ” (Luke 24:27). With His
disciples later, Jesus reiterated this truth: “This is what I told
you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled
that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets
and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44).
Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees was in regard to their lack of
knowledge of His Word. In Matthew 12:3, Jesus said to the
Pharisees, “Haven’t you read what David did.” In verse 5, Jesus
continued, “Or haven’t you read in the Law.” In Matthew
19:4, Jesus said, “Haven’t you read . . . that at the beginning
the Creator made them male and female.” In Matthew 21:13,
Jesus stated boldly, “It is written . . . My house will be called a
house of prayer.” In verse 42, Jesus said, “Have you never read”
and then in Matthew 22:29, “You are in error because you
do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
- Friends and Family
Even though Christ’s brothers were not initially supportive,
Jesus gained strength from His family. Mary and Joseph were
obviously a source of strength when Jesus was younger and
even up until His crucifixion on the cross, Jesus was concerned
for Mary’s care.
THE HUMANITY of JESUS 8
Jesus’ twelve disciples were a source of great joy and sorrow at
times. But in Jesus’ own words they moved from just followers
(John 1:43), to servants (John 13:16), to friends (John 15:15)
and then brethren (John 20:17). Hebrews 2:11 tells us that
He is not ashamed to call us all His brothers.
Every aspect of Jesus’ ministry was relational. To Jesus,
relationships were not a strategy; they were part of being fully
human. Just as God the Father is in community in the Trinity,
so God the Son established a community of brethren. In that
fellowship of community, Jesus drew strength from those
relationships (Matt. 26:36–38) and then told us not to
“give up meeting together” and to “encourage one another”
(Heb. 10:24–25). The early church in Acts clearly understood
this resource (Acts 2:42).
Bruce Ware, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Seminary,
says, “So many people minimize the obedience of Christ by saying
‘Of course He obeyed, He was God and had God’s nature in
Him; He had no choice.’ Scripture does not allow us to draw this
conclusion. It presents Christ as a man who faced every temptation
and succeeded, not because He relied on His divine nature, but
because He relied upon the Word, prayer and the Spirit. And He
succeeded all the way to the cross—even to death on the cross.”
When I think about this truth, my love is intensified. I thank
God the Son for what He did and thank God the Father for what
He has provided. The beauty of Christ’s life is that He modeled
how to live life—one lived in total dependence upon the Father.
Many people conclude that we are to do what Jesus did. In a more
profound way, I believe we are to live how Jesus lived. He did not
model what to do as much as He modeled how to do it.
- Jesus hand selected these disciples to be leaders. They were an interesting group of people. None were wealthy, highly educated, powerful or from the ranks of the elite. Most were pretty ordinary people.
- Tie in “names” of great war people...intro
- Jesus uses ORDINARY people
- Jesus’ UPWARD Priorities
- Jesus’ OUTWARD Priorities
- A 3D object is fully formed. It’s not flat, one-dimensional image or even a two-dimensional image - it is fully formed with length, height and depth. Jesus never called for 1 or 2 dimensional disciples - He called us to be fully formed and following completely in all areas of our life.
- Dedicate my life to Jesus and His Mission
- Develop an attitude prioritizing my life for the Kingdom
- Deployed to MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- A Line in the Sand
- The Real GOAL - Teach; not just REACH
- Raised UP and TRAINED