Pastor's Pen
The Character of a Messenger of the King - Matthew 11:7-15
Who does God consider a great leader? In Matthew 11:11, Jesus said: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” He goes on to compare him figuratively to Elias (Elijah). John the Baptist was a Nazarite. He did not wear fancy clothes. He lived an austere and simple life and followed strict dietary laws. What was it that made John the Baptist stand out? Character matters in becoming a great leader and messenger of the King.
 
Traits of a Great Leader:
1.  A great leader must be humble.
John the Baptist said: “He who is coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to loose” (John 1:27). A lesser man may have bragged he was chosen to be the leader. Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
 
2.  A great leader must be available.
Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” This prophesy was fulfilled by John the Baptist. Psalm 126:6: “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
 
3.  A great leader must be determined.
In Matthew 11:7-8, Jesus said concerning John: “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.” One must overcome fear and determine to convey strong convictions. John the Baptist, with conviction, bravely stood against the wrong of King Herod’s adultery with his brother’s wife. He was jailed and beheaded. The church needs to become strong in its convictions and stand faithfully upon the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
 
4.  A great leader must be faithful.
The parable of the talents is found in Matthew 25:14-30. Which would you rather hear: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” OR “Thou wicked and slothful servant. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents”?
2 Corinthians 5:20: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” May we truly be humble, available, determined, and faithful in our service for God. Character matters!
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/16/2022 2:34:38 PM

Overcoming Doubt- Matthew 11:1-6
Have you ever doubted God’s goodness, His will for your life, or His care for you? All of us, even John the Baptist, experience doubt. Now, John has been cast into prison for publicly reproving Herod’s adultery with his brother’s wife. In time, this led to his beheading (Matthew 14:3-12).
 
What Causes People to Turn Away from God?
1.  Some people, who think they are Christians, may not have truly trusted in Christ. Church attendance, baptism, Scripture memorization, good works, etc., do not make you a Christian. Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Many people who are religious are deceived.
 
2.  Difficult circumstances may cause one to turn away from God. Believers under difficult circumstances, such as John the Baptist, struggle with doubts. John, who had served God well, ended up in prison for proclaiming Christ. He sent two of his disciples to question Jesus: “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3). When we doubt what God is doing, we should follow John’s example and take our questions to the Lord (Philippians 4:6).
3.  Incomplete revelation may cause one to turn away from God. Remember that John the Baptist had been preaching and hearing that the Kingdom of God was at hand. There is danger when we lack an intimate knowledge of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15). For us to trust God in difficult times of doubt, we must know His Word.
 
4.  Worldly influences may cause one to turn away from God. John the Baptist was living in a time of true hope and change. The people were looking for their Messiah to come, defeat Rome, and set up His kingdom on earth. They loved Jesus as long as He provided their physical needs for food, healed the sick, and performed miracles. We need to be careful our flesh and worldly influences do not turn us from God.
 
5.  Unfulfilled expectations may cause one to turn away from God. John asked: “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Jesus sent reassuring words to him. Matthew 11:4-6: “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
 
Many people come to Christ expecting no problems. We must live for Christ through both good and difficult times. Do not let doubts control your thoughts, causing you to quit or turn away from God. Go to Him for help and strength. Determine to be faithful by staying in and applying His Word to your life.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/2/2022 7:52:45 AM

Being a Disciple - Matthew 10:24-33
Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” (Matthew 10:24-25). Why is it that the Christian church is accused of being dead? Why are many Christians not living for Christ? Why are we failing to make disciples? Pastors are partly to blame, but every Christian also shares in the responsibility of making disciples. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave the commission to go, teach, baptize, and make disciples. True disciples leave a mark on the world. Discipleship takes years of study and a commitment to follow Christ.
 
1.  A Disciple Imitates the Lord (Matthew 10:24-25). Ephesians 5:1: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” The Greek word used here for followers means imitators. We are exhorted to be like Christ. We cannot imitate someone we do not know.
 
2.  A Disciple Does Not Fear the World (Matthew 10:26-31). It is imperative that we fear or reverence Christ more than we fear the world. Proverbs 25:29: “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
A. The world will not get away with wickedness (verses 26-27). God knows and sees all. Those who reject Him will one day stand before Him to be judged. John 3:18, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
B. The world cannot kill our souls (verse 28). Christians are not to fear those who can kill their bodies. Our souls are safe in Christ. Paul states his willingness to be “absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
C. The world cannot take away our eternal rewards (verses 29-31). God, who sees the fall of one sparrow and knows the number of hairs on our heads, cares about us. Our rewards are coming. Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
 
3.  A Disciple Confesses Christ (Matthew 10:32-33). Are we willing to make a public declaration of Christ even if it means our death? Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Are you willing to live for Christ?
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/19/2022 3:44:02 PM

Jesus’ Warning of Persecution - Matthew 10:16-23
Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Sheep have no natural defenses, except to run, which usually results in them stumbling and falling. They are not considered to be very bright and easily become confused, panicked, or lost. Jesus sends us out in places controlled by wolves. His counsel is to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Serpents are not easy to trap or catch. We are not to be easily caught or deceived. Doves are known to be non-threatening and gentle. No matter what, we are to be faithful to what God has called us to do. We are to leave any punishment and retaliation in God’s hands.
 
Jesus warns us to beware of certain men (Matthew 10:17-18). We may suffer both religious and governmental persecution. Paul said persecution can be expected: “Yea, and all they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). History is filled with examples of the religious persecution and martyrdom of true believers. Even today it goes on in many areas of the world. Apostasy is rampant, and Christian values are constantly under attack even by so called religious leaders.
 
Governments have and will be agents of persecution. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
 
Matthew 10:21 points out that persecution may even come through our family. We have all heard about those who were disowned by their family for their testimony for Christ. It is not uncommon for family members or friends to reject those who follow Christ. Some may suffer the loss of a job. Verse 22: “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.” All men refers to the humanistic, governmental system that is against what true Christians believe.
 
God will give us the words to speak when we are persecuted (Matthew 10:19-20). This means we must know His Word, so the Spirit can aid us as we speak
 
Matthew 10:23 tells us to go on to the next city when persecution strikes. In the Book of Acts, we see that persecution was the means by which the gospel was spread from city to city. As the persecuted fled, they preached the gospel in the next city they came to. Persecution and mocking may take many forms, but we are not to be deterred. We must remain steadfast in Christ’s strength.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/6/2022 3:50:04 AM

Pattern for Effective Ministry - Matthew 10:5-15
Jesus was about to send His disciples out with specific commands and instructions. They were not to go to the Gentiles or any city of the Samaritans but to the house of Israel. They were to preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Once the Church was started, we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone. The disciples heard Jesus say, “follow Me.”  Are we willing to do the same?
 
1.  The Call (Matthew 10:5). Three Ways To Know If You Are Called To The Ministry:
A.  Desire - 1 Timothy 3:1: “If a man desire the office of bishop (pastor).” God gives a man the desire and burden to minister, feed, protect, and teach those under his responsibility. God gives the desire and the spiritual gifts to carry out what he has been called to do.
B.  Affirmation - 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 1 Timothy 4:4. For a man to know if he has been called to ministry as a career, certain fruit will be evident in his life and he will be a man of character. Ministry is serving others not ruling over them (Romans 12:7-8).
C.  Opportunity - 1 Corinthians 16:9. God opens the doors for ministry.
 
2.  The Commission (Matthew 10:5-7).
A.  Clear Objective - The disciples were not to go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans. They were to start with Israel. Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Gentile).” It is good to go first to those who know you, let them see the change Christ has made in your life, and be ready to share the gospel with them.
B.  Concise Message - The disciples’ message was the kingdom of God is at hand, which was rejected. Our message is about Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection for our justification.
 
3.  The Credentials (Matthew 10:8). The disciples proved their ministry through miracles. These miracles were for that time period only.
 
4.  The Cost (Matthew 10:9-10). Ministry is not to be done for money. You need to rely upon God for His blessing and provision.
 
5.  The Command (Matthew 10:11-15). The disciples were to go to those who would listen and depart from those who would not. When we witness to people, we should only give them what they are willing to hear. Give them time to think about it, and at a later time share more with them. Not everyone is willing to hear about Christ. Even so, we must be faithful in sharing the gospel.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/21/2022 10:16:36 PM

Common Men with an Uncommon Mission - Matthew 10:1-5
In Matthew 10:1-5, Jesus lists the names of His twelve disciples. Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose these twelve men, or why He chooses us today? Through the study of Scripture, we can see and identify with many of their shortcomings.
 
The disciples lacked spiritual insight. We see this in the way Jesus taught them using the parables. Another example is found in Peter's response to Jesus washing their feet (John 13:4-9). Eventually, God was able to use them to impart spiritual truth and insight.
 
The disciples lacked humility. They were proud, jealous, concerned with their own welfare, vying to see who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. When they asked this question, Jesus called forth a little child telling them they could not even enter the Kingdom without being converted and humbling themselves as this little child (Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 9:34-37).
 
The disciples lacked faith. An example is seen in Mark 4:35-41, when the disciples feared drowning, and Jesus was asleep in the boat. They said, “Master, carest  thou not that we perish?” What kind of faith do we exhibit?
 
The disciples lacked commitment. When tested at Jesus’ crucifixion, they all forsook Him (Mark 14:50). How often have we held back our identification as believers in Jesus Christ?
 
The disciples lacked power. They thought they were strong but were unable to do what they thought they could. Peter and the others all thought they would never deny Jesus and would even be willing to die with Him (Mark 14:31).
 
The disciples spent time with Jesus throughout His ministry on earth. As they spent time with Him, He transformed their lives and gave them what was needed to fulfill what was required of them. We must also determine to spend time with Jesus. God is still able to do great things through ordinary people.
 
Why does God use ordinary men? (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God uses ordinary people that He might receive the glory, that He might confound the worldly wise, that He might show forth trophies of His grace, and that He might encourage ordinary people to follow Him. What can God do with ordinary or less than perfect people? If people are wholly dedicated to God, the world can be turned upside down by their lives.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.4/8/2022 10:34:41 PM