Pastor's Pen
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes - Matthew 17:24-27
Among the ranks of Christendom, there are some that argue it is wrong to pay taxes and support an immoral government. They believe that the government is immoral and corrupt, and they are corrupting themselves should they support it or use its services. There is a problem with this thinking when we examine the example of Jesus in Matthew 17:24-27.
The Concern - Do we pay taxes? (Verses 24-25).
Jesus and the disciples had arrived in Capernaum, which was Peter’s hometown. Those who collected taxes confronted Peter: “Doth not your master pay tribute?” The tax required was a coin called a double drachma, which was two day’s wages. Peter replied: “Yes.” The Temple tax was to be paid, even though the Jewish leaders had a reputation of being corrupt. Remember, Jesus called the Temple a den of thieves and cleansed it twice.
The Concept - Be subject to the government. (Verses 25b-26).
Jesus asks Peter: “Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.” The kings’ children did not pay taxes, but the subjects did. Even though the Temple was set up as a place to worship God, Jesus emptied Himself of His power and rights. He should have been able to go to the Temple without paying.
1 Peter 2:13-16 tells us to: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” Our lives and conduct are to glorify God.
Romans 13:1-7 indicates we are to be subject to the government even if it is corrupt.
The Coin (Verse 27).
Jesus showed He will supply our needs. Peter obediently followed Jesus’ instructions, and the funds needed to pay their taxes were provided.
The Conclusion
A believer’s first obligation is to obey and glorify God. Our second obligation is to obey the laws of the land. Yes, we are to pay our taxes. May we be thankful to God for the freedoms we do have, honor Him, and pray for our government.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/1/2023 4:59:51 PM

The Power of Faith - Matthew 17:14-21
Have you ever wondered if faith really does make a difference? Faith in Christ for salvation does not fail. “Whosoever shallcall on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).  What about faith for  everyday living. Does it make a difference?
A.  The need (Matthew 17:14-15). A father sought Jesus to heal his son when the disciples could not heal him. He asked Jesus for mercy. He called his son, who was demon possessed, a lunatic (verse 18). Demons have power to possess unbelievers and to oppress believers. Satan is a deceptive and powerful enemy.
B.  The nuisance (Matthew 17:16). The disciples were powerless to heal the boy. Three days before this, they had experienced the joy and glory of the transfiguration. Like the disciples, we often struggle dealing with everyday events. Failure after a meaningful mountain-top experience is not uncommon. Jesus is the True Vine (John 15:1-7). We are successful only as we abide in Him. Our strength and nourishment comes from Christ and not from ourselves.
C.  The rebuke by Christ (Matthew 17:17-18). Jesus rebuked the disciples by calling them faithless and perverse (verse 17). He then rebuked the demons in the boy (verse 18). They were told to leave, and the boy was healed. Whether people are possessed or oppressed by demons, removal of them today is accomplished through Jesus Christ.
D.  The request of the disciples (Matthew 17:19). “Why could not we cast him (demon) out?” Why are there times in your Christian life that things do not seem to work? Some things to consider: there is sin in your life; you are not asking or abiding in Christ, the timing is not right, it is not God’s will, or there is a lack of faith and trust in God.
E.  The response and the requirement (Matthew 17:20-21). “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Jesus let the disciples know that unbelief could hinder their ministry. Faith is necessary. Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We need to be spending time with God, trusting Him, growing in our faith, and knowing He hears our prayers and will answer according to His will.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/17/2023 10:50:36 PM

Four Separate Testimonies of Christ - Matthew 16:28 - 17:13
Jesus’ disciples had accepted Him as the Messiah while many had rejected Him. The disciples were hoping for the long-awaited Kingdom to be set up on earth and could not grasp the message that it was being postponed. Jesus was now telling His disciples He must go to Jerusalem to suffer, die, be buried, and rise again. The disciples were confused by this. They were waiting for the Kingdom, and now Jesus was telling them He was going to die. Even more confusing to them was Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:28: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and John up into a mountain (Matthew 17:1). These were the inner circle of His disciples. Four separate testimonies of Christ are seen at His transfiguration.
1.  The transfiguration itself. Verse 2: “And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” Transfigure means to change from one form to another, glowing.
2.  Testimony of saints. Verses 3-4: “And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” Peter was so surprised. He  believed he was elevating Jesus, and he wanted to build three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
3.  Testimony of God the Father. Verse 5: “While he (Peter) yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” The Father, the first person of the Trinity, has been revealing this since Genesis 3:15 that One would come, and He was here now. His work was to provide our redemption on the cross through His shed Blood.
4. Testimony of the disciples. Verse 6: “And when the disciples heard it (the Father’s words), they fell on their faces, and were sore afraid.” Sinful men in the presence of a Holy God will always want to hide or fall on their face.  In verse 7, Jesus comforts them and tells them to “Arise, and be not afraid.”
Jesus is none other than God incarnate, He conquered death and sin. He gives hope now, and offers eternal life to all who will call upon Him. Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/3/2023 10:16:59 PM

Marks of Discipleship - Matthew 16:24
Jesus began teaching His disciples the true cost of discipleship. Matthew 16:24: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Following are some marks of a true disciple:
1.  Self-denial - “Deny himself” comes from a word meaning to completely and utterly disown, separate from, or shut down your own will. It is a willingness to say, “Not my will, but thine.”
Romans 13:12-14: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” We must put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.
2.  Willingness to sacrifice and pay the price of discipleship - “Take up his cross”is a willingness to suffer shame, persecution, loss, and even martyrdom.
Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets, which were before you.” Persecution is a way of saying you are not wanted here, because you do not believe like we do.
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus says we are to be salt and light. “If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (verse 13).“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (verse 16). Light can not be hid.
3.  Obedience -  “Follow me.” We are to be resolute in following Christ despite our circumstances, be willing to pay the price daily to be His servant, and to live faithfully for Him.
1 John 2:3-6: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Do you keep God’s commandments demonstrating that you love Him?
To be self-centered is to lose in the end. We gain God’s blessings by doing things God’s way. To be victorious, we must be committed to Him. Total surrender is required. Truly, God is and has absolute truth! We can by faith follow Him to the end.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 4/20/2023 3:50:35 PM

Christ Is Risen From The Dead
Central to the Christian faith is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave. The resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. Without the resurrection of Christ, there is no Christianity and no hope of life after death. For those who place their faith in Christ, the message of the Scriptures is a message of resurrection hope where there is life after death. Death is not the end. Because of Christ, those who place their faith and trust in His atoning work receive divine forgiveness. John 11:25-26: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
Our relationship with Christ transforms us. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ remains central to salvation. 1 Thessalonians 4:14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
According to the New Testament writers, several facts emerge:
-Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:21-39; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-37).
-Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).
-On the third day, the tomb was empty (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10).
-The Roman guards were paid to lie about what happened (Matthew 28:11-15).
-Eyewitnesses saw the resurrected Christ. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18; the women returning to the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10); two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32); Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5); ten of the disciples in the upper room (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23); the eleven disciples in the upper room (John 20:24-29); seven of the disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-24); 500 people on Mount Tabor (Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6); the apostles along with his half-brother James while they were in Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:44-49; 1 Corinthians 15:7); the eleven on the Mount of Olives (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:3). The eyewitness evidence is overwhelming. Christ is risen from the dead.
It was the greatest of days because that which was impossible became possible. Christ rose from the dead to conquer sin and death. The atonement was made by Christ and accepted by God. He is risen. He is risen indeed.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/8/2023 10:42:42 PM

Why Did Jesus Die?
1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” The Gospel in a nutshell is found in verses 3-4: Christ died for our sins. He was buried. He rose again the third day. Why did Jesus suffer a cruel death and give His life for us?
Jesus died for our sins. Salvation cannot be bought with money, good works, communion, or baptism. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Even in the perfect Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell into sin. They yielded to the temptation of Satan and followed their own wisdom. Who has ever had to teach their children to sin? James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Our thoughts and actions are often selfish. Who has kept these commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (Exodus 20:3-4)? Who has kept all of the Ten Commandments? It should not be difficult to realize that we are sinners. Jesus died to save us from sin. Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus came to fulfill prophecy. Two times in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the phrase “according to the Scriptures” is used. Isaiah 53:9-10: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” As early as the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve knew salvation was needed, and it is promised throughout Scripture.
There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.3/30/2023 9:36:52 PM