Jesus a man of Integrity

Matthew 22:15-22

In an attempt to trap Jesus there was an alliance formed between the Pharisees who were strong Nationalists, supporting a Jewish nation and the Herodians, Jews supporting the Roman rule of the Herods. They visited Jesus and posed the question in verse 17 “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? ” As you can quickly recognize, this is a loaded question because, if Jesus says “yes” the Pharisees will regard him as a supporter of Rome, and untrue to the Jewish Nation. If he says “no”, the Herodians will regard him as a traitor and have him executed. (NIV footnote 22:15-17)

Jesus turns this attempts to trap him, into a moment to teach the Pharisees and the Herodians by taking the high ground. He doesn’t advocate ignoring one or the other and gives a “yes and yes” answer in verse 21 and says ….. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” In short, he reminds them that there are two kingdoms. There was the kingdom of Caesar with earthly rules, where all needed to give as required, or face the consequences. Likewise, there is the Kingdom of God that is often ignored, and has its’ consequences for ignoring.  One of the reasons I feel we often ignore the kingdom of God is because, we don’t understand the consequences of ignoring the kingdom of God.  In many cases there is no immediate consequence. By avoiding immediate consequences we feel there are no consequences at all, but eventually the consequences catch up with us. However, we must all admit that as soon as the consequence of ignoring Caesar or God hits, and trouble visits out door, we run back immediately to the kingdom of God for help.

Jesus reminds both groups that as Caesar had a standard, God has a standard. In this text, both groups of men were Jews who were there very knowledgeable of the Scriptures, noting that only the Old Testament existed at that time. They were very familiar with and understood Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Does it sound familiar to you? Of course it does because it is the foundation for Jesus’ statement “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But, seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “  Matthew 6:31-33. In other words for Christians, seeking God is the standard to all life. Seek the higher ground. Seek the “Jesus Way” first as Jesus was the representative of his Father in heaven.

The strange thing about this text is that in attempting to trap Jesus, the Pharisees and Herodians had to be complimentary. “They had to admit, however unwillingly, that Jesus was candid, faithful in speaking God’s truth, fearless before any man, whether a mob or king. “ (TIB Vol 7, pg 517-18). In Matthew 22:16, The King James Version states “… Master, we know that though art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men”. In the same verse, The Revised Standard Version says “….’Teacher we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. ‘…. However, I like the way the New International Version shows it in saying “….Teacher, they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance to the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are….” Here, the key is “a man of integrity”.

In this passage, the English word integrity is translated from the Greek word alethes. The Greek word alethes, when it translates to the English word integrity, has five attributes or descriptions and they are True, Genuine, Reliable, Trustworthy and Valid.  A highlight of these attributes in Jesus, gives us examples of how we as Christians can strive to be “Jesus Like”.

  1. True – Jesus was true. There is nothing false about Jesus. In John 1:6-9, The Apostle John wrote about, Jesus to distinguish Jesus from John the Baptist. The Apostle said There is a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The TRUE light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. “ Who is the TRUE (non false) light? Of course it is Jesus.
  1. Genuine or Actual – Jesus is true with nothing false about him as he was the ACTUAL Son of God. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Who was the Genuine/Actual Son of God? Of Course, Jesus.
  1. Reliable – Jesus can be trusted because he is not only God’s Son but God’s agent. Jesus is reliable because his source is reliable. In John 8:26 Jesus said, “I Have much to say about judgment of you. But he who sent me is RELIABLE, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” Who had reliable information because he had a reliable source? Of course, Jesus.
  1. Trustworthy Able to be trusted to do or provide what is needed. Who can you depend on in a time of need or a time of joy? Who is there whenever you call on his name? Of course, Jesus. Have you ever depended on Jesus and He let you down? No!
  1. Valid – Valid is the quality of being officially acceptable. Jesus is officially accepted as God because He is God. John 1:1 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John the apostle opens his gospel with a clarification of who Jesus is. Jesus is the official, factual son of God. John said it, the Bible consistently proves it and I believe it.

Referring to Jesus as a man of integrity was meant to be a trap. But, He is a True, Genuine, Reliable, Trustworthy and Valid Jesus. With the attributes of True, Genuine, Reliable, Trustworthy and Valid, we can only reach one conclusion. Jesus on Earth, was definitely a man of integrity. The Pharisees and Herodians, in their attempts to be tricky, were more correct that they ever knew. Jesus was and had to be an earthy “man of intergrity” because, He is in fact the God of integrity. Psalm 118:29 says Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; and his love endures forever.” The God of integrity is the source of honesty, the source of morality, the source of righteousness, the source of truthfulness and the source of sincerity. Jesus, the son of God was honest, moral, righteous, trustworthy and sincere. He was not only full of integrity, He is the God of integrity. He is the only one that Father God accepted as a “purification for our sins” (Hebrews 1:3). He is the Jesus, crucified, died, buried and arose from the dead. Jesus was a man of integrity because he is the God of integrity.

1. Edward W. Goodrick and John R Kohlenberger III, The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance, Zondervan, 1993                                                                                          2.The NIV Study Bible, The Zonvervan Corporation, 1995

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Born of the Spirit – John 3:1-36

 

Why Should We Be “Born Again?”

Matthew 3:11, 13 15-17, John 3:1-18 NIV Study Bible

Matthew 3:11 (John the Baptist)  I Baptist you with water for repentance.  But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with Fire.

Matthew 3:13 – Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John (15) …Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all of righteousness.”  Then John consented. 

Matthew 3:16 – As soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. (17)  And a voice from heaven said, this is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased.

John 3:1-8 – (1) Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Ruling Council.  (2) He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.  For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.  (3) In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. (4) “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “ Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born!”  (5) Jesus answered, “ I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  (6) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit.  (7)  You should not be surprised at my saying, “you must be born again”.  8.  The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or, where it is going,  so it is with everyone born of the  Spirit.

Respectfully Submitted by

M. E. Stokes, D. S.W.

 

 

 

Testimony – John 1:6–8, 19-51

Are you being a good witness for God?  Are you providing a good and accurate account of God’s Grace and Mercy?  Looking at the scripture, John 1: 6 – 8; 19 – 51; the focus is on John the Baptist, as he testifies and witnesses of the coming of The Messiah.  In verses 6 – 8; he states; “There was a man sent by God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light.  He came only as a witness to the light.” This gives us insight into the mission of John the Baptist, concerning the coming of the Messiah.  Through his testimony and witnessing; a road map has been provided as to how to be a good witness for God and to insure that your testimony is edifying God’s Grace and Mercy.  The next time that you are reading this chapter of John; think about some things that you can input, improve, and express when you are witnessing and providing your testimony of God’s Grace and Mercy, in your life.

“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room!” Luke 2:1-7

To share with all again!

Homewords Ministry

Joy to the world the Lord is come,

Let earth receive her King,,

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven and nature sing,

And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

(From Psalm 98) Issac Watts

This familiar Christmas song really brings on the Spirit of Christmas.  It is the season when we wait expectantly for a renewed joy of the holiday.

Every year for as long as we can remember, we get more excited about Christmas.  Even when we are mandated to greet co-workers or people of other faiths with “Happy Holidays!” rather than “Merry Christmas!” to prove that we are sensitive— our hearts are shouting with a silent cheer—“Merry Christmas!”

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) …

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Bible Study Notes from The Gospel of John 2:1-25

The Ministry Begins 2:1-25

 

Jesus, who was at the start of his ministry, changed water into wine at a wedding feast in Galilee.  Jesus revealed through this first sign who He is.  He is loving, compassionate, a provider for the needs of those about to face disgrace and serious offense by running out of wine at this feast. He also illustrates through new wine coming last, the opposite order of what had been the custom, that Jesus is the new way of life. He shows himself to be the Son of God, doing the work of God.

Jesus continued to reveal who he is when he dispayed his anger and righteousness at His Father’s house being turned into a market by men selling animals and exchanging money in the outer courts of the temple. Jesus drove them all out. Jesus illustrated that all of the temple is sacred, even where Gentiles worshiped which was those outer courts. The temple was not just for Jews but for Gentiles too. Jesus acknowledged his authority given to him by God as the true temple here to replace the man-made one.

References:

  1. Life Change Series, JOHN, The Navigators, NavPress,1987,Lesson 4.
  2. Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV), Zondervan Corporation, 2002,Scripture & Footnotes.

How can the Word be with God and be God? John 1:1

How can the Word both be with God and be God? John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NIV)

John is referencing us back the Genesis 1:1, In the beginning….(NIV),

John wants us to know that Jesus has always been with God from the very beginning. If we see this verse as John states it… In the Beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with God and Jesus is God…

As you study John, you will understand why his gospel starts at the beginning… unlike the other gospel Mark, Matthew and Luke. They start with the birth of Jesus or the Baptism of Jesus.

References: NIV Bible, Life Change series: John page 21.

Bible Study Notes from The Gosple of John – Lesson One

 

Overview Summary of  Lesson One

Life Changes Series by NAVPRESS (1)

Who is John?

John describes himself only as “ the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23 plus ft.nt., 19:26, 20:2; 21:7, 20; see also 21:24).

John was  the son of Zebedee, a Fisherman (Mark 1:19-20); his mother was Salome (Mark 15: 40, Matt. 27:56).  He was the brother of James (Matt. 4: 21-22).

He was prominent in the early church but is not mentioned by name in this Gospel—which would be natural if he wrote it, but hard to explain otherwise. (NIV pg. 2177)

The book for this study is outlined simply, to give us a tour of the book of John.  The author gives the students the time to slowly get use to the author and how he (John) writes and teaches us about the gift of eternal life Jesus offers to all who believe in Him.

The study guide has work book exercises. Some important workbook exercises for this lesson were:

Outlining JOHN – One of the important guides in understanding the Bible is to identify the author’s intent in writing the book. In this study, on page 11, the author asks the student to, as you initially read the book, make a broad outline of the book by giving a title to each chapter or themes within a chapter.  Pages 11 and 12 provide assistance with a chapter/verse guide of important sections.

Question 5 on page 12 – “What do you learn about John’s intent and purpose for writing John from 20:30-31? “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Four Gospels (page 14) – The group was given enough information to compare and contrast the gospel of John with the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke by reading “Four Gospels” on pages 14-15.

  1. Life Change Series, JOHN, The Navigators, NavPress,1987
  2. Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV), Zondervan Corporation, 2002