DiM | “There is Power” by Lincoln Brewster

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

September 8, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “There is Power” by Lincoln Brewster which currently sits at #4 on the KLove top 10.

Lincoln Brewster is one of the Integrity Music stars who cranks out a lot of music intended for houses of worship. He falls in the Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman category. This song is one such song aimed at corporate worship, intended to lift up the Name of Jesus. In some ways it is successful, though there is some stuff to look out for regarding how Scripture is being represented. In the end, there is just so little sound doctrine to be found in the actually lyric of the song, and the new-age Presence theology is so heavy-handed, that I find myself disapproving of this song entirely for radio airplay, much less for corporate worship.

Probably one of the biggest warning signs is that the song was a part of the NBC debacle known as “A.D. The Bible Continues”… which didn’t even remotely follow the Bible.

NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues (video available until 9/20/2015)

http://www.nbc.com/ad-the-bible-continues/video/lincoln-brewster-there-is-power/2861047

Integrity Music Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

There Is Power

Where two or more are
Gathered in His name
He is there
For all who come
Who run to Him in faith
He is there, He is there

There is power
In the name of Jesus
There is power
Power in His name

No fear, no lie
Can stand against us now
He is here
The Word has come
To silence every doubt
He is here

One name, one name can save
One name breaks every chain
One name, always
One name, Jesus
One name, one name remains
One name, we will proclaim
One name, always
One name

Publishing: © 2014 Integrity’s Praise! Music/BMI & Worldwide Echoes/BMI (all adm by Integrity Music via CapitolCMGPublishing.com) & Sony/ATV Tree Publishing/Upside Down Under/BMI
Writer(s): Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes

Discussion

Verse 1. The first verse is using the phrase “where two or more are gathered” in a manner typical of “Presence” theology… the idea that Jesus is present when two or more are gathered. This is to set the stage (in corporate worship) for the mindset that since we are gathered together in Worship, we can now expect Jesus to be in our presence.

Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV) | If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Note: Which translation you are using will largely determine how you read this passage, simply by how it breaks up the paragraphs (ESV;NIV;NASB). The ESV keeps these verses together as one passage, keeping it all in within the context of church discipline. The NIV isolates verse 18 and further separates verses 19-20 as a third thought, while still maintaining all 3 paragraphs under the section heading “Dealing with Sin in the Church”. The NASB inserts a break before verse 18, treating verse 18-20 as a separate teaching on Prayer. Their heading for this passage is “Discipline and Prayer”. It matters which version you use, and it is important to remain consistent, but it is also important to take note on which passages have been interpreted differently even between good translations.

Since we now use the ESV here, I will continue with the view that the entire passage falls under Church discipline. For backing in this view, let us look to chapter 5 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 5 (ESV) | Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.

Church Discipline. This is definitely not something you’ll find in the Precious Moments® section of Hallmark™. As for the “two or more gathered” part of the phrase, many point back to the Law of Moses.

Deuteronomy 19:15-21 (ESV) | Laws Concerning Witnesses

15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 20 And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

This is a strong case in support of the ESV’s treatment of the Matthew text. Now, as far as the song goes, are we saying the God is NOT present when the saints gather together? No. We know that believers are sealed by God the Holy Spirit and that He is with us always… even when we are alone. But we know this because Jesus promised us that He would not leave us alone, that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us.

Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) | The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Therefore, we do not need to invoke the presence of God the Holy Spirit by finding another Christian. It is good to fellowship, to gather together for corporate worship and for church discipline, but we don’t need to pluck this verse out of context to know the Truth of God’s Word regarding fellowship and assembly. I don’t think the NIV and NASB are mistreating the text with how they divide up the paragraphs; I think there is plenty of sound teaching to be explored in the efficacy of corporate prayer according to the Will of God that extends beyond the area of church discipline, but it has to be done carefully so as not to slide into the new-age “Presence” theology that tends to treat the Holy Spirit as some sort of wish-granting genie where 2 or more are needed to rub the magic lamp.

 Chorus. There is indeed power in the Name of Jesus. That is Truth. But we must guard against the new-age spirituality that treats the Name of Jesus as some sort of talisman that grants the invoker some sort of creative power… it isn’t the Force the Power that is in the Name of Jesus is the Gospel of Jesus. Let us look at how the power of the Name of Jesus is demonstrated in the Preaching of the Word in Acts.

Acts 2:37-39 (ESV)

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Acts 3:2-8 (ESV)

And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Acts 4:7-12 (ESV)

And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

It is by the Name of Jesus, and by that Name alone, that forgiveness and righteousness is made available to us. Amen. Does the chorus of this song convey this understanding of the power that is found in the Name of Jesus? Nope.

Verse 2. Here the song cheers the congregation on about how they are overcomers. But here we see again a clever slight-of-hand inserting the new-age Presence theology. Jesus is indeed the Word made flesh (John 1:14) but this song is tying in the claim of the first verse that Jesus is present wherever two or more are gathered. Now that the song has built up, it is claiming the Presence of Jesus is now going to defeat every lie, every fear, and silence ever doubt. That doesn’t happen by proximity alone, for if it did Judas Iscariot wouldn’t have betrayed Jesus unto the cross. It happens by faith, not by proximity.

Rom 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

This is the biggest error in so-called Presence theology… you don’t gain faith by singing hypnotically repetitive affirmations and declarations inviting the presence of God. The Word of Christ must be preached for the eyes of the blind to be opened by the Grace of God.

Bridge Loop. It doesn’t say anything wrong… but repeating these lines doesn’t do what it is claiming to do. Preaching the Name of Jesus isn’t truly achieved by repeatedly saying “I will preach the name of Jesus”. It is at this point of the song where my head flips over to the song “Break Every Chain” by Jesus Culture (from the Bethel cult).

Conclusion

This song does not edify the saints. There is room for those who have never been exposed to the new-age teaching of Presence theology to at least focus on the importance of preaching in the Name of Jesus. However, I find the influence of Presence theology so overwhelming in this song that I cannot recommend it for casual listening.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | Submission to Authority

CTTToday’s Completing The Thought (CTT) post will be an examination of the scriptures regarding submission to authority in light of what is currently going on with KY County Clerk Kim Davis and what will soon take center-stage with Oregon Judge Vance Day. Please keep these national events in mind and in your prayers, because the visible church is about to be tested here in the US and we need to be ready.

This is a topic that was addressed in detail by both the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, and by the Apostle Peter. Please notice that in both cases, the instructions for submission to authority come after the teaching for what it means to live as Christians.

Let us begin with looking at Paul’s instruction to the Romans. For the sake of establishing context, let us begin in Chapter 12, verse 9.

Romans 12:9-21 (ESV) | Marks of the True Christian

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 13:1-7 (ESV) | Submission to the Authorities

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Notice the hard instructions come before the mention of authority? I mean, really… the truly tough instructions on loving our enemy, blessing our enemy, and not taking vengeance on our enemy apply to all of our walk. Does this mean that every governing authority has the right to dictate to us our theology, morality, and understanding of God’s Word? Absolutely not. It does mean that if we pay taxes, we follow the laws of men that don’t lead us into sin, and we submit when their laws place us into custody. Let us look at how Paul walked this out.

Acts 23:1-5 (ESV)

23 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?” Those who stood by said, “Would you revile God’s high priest?”And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Paul wasn’t wrong, what Ananias had commanded was indeed contrary to the law. However, Ananias was indeed the high priest, and Paul paid him due respect and honor for the authority he held. Paul wasn’t wrong. Ananias wasn’t right. However, Paul knew what was written, and that Paul was not to speak evil of a ruler of his people. If you read through the accounts in Acts, Paul remains imprisoned here despite not being guilty of breaking any laws of Rome nor of the Jews. Though Paul is innocent, he remains submitted to their authority to detain him. Why did Paul submit to wrongful imprisonment? Luke records for us why:

Acts 23:11 (ESV) 11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.”

Paul is eventually put to death in Rome. He spends years in prison, writing letters to the churches, letters we now hold as God-Breathed scriptures. Paul did not capitulate to the opinions of men regarding Godliness or the Gospel. Yet he was submitted to the governing authorities. I have to be honest, how the peddlers of the prosperity gospel get away with their false teaching is beyond me, except that they never allow their victims to read the New Testament in context. Let’s take a look at what Paul includes in the introduction to his letter to the church in Philippi.

Philippians 1:12-26 (ESV)

The Advance of the Gospel

12 I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

To Live Is Christ

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Did you catch that comment in verse 20? It was Paul’s eager expectation and hope that he will not be at all ashamed… he was praying for courage so that in his body, whether by life or by death, Christ will be honored. May we have the same clarity of mind and confidence in Jesus Christ our Lord when we face such trials and tribulation.

Now, let us look to how the Apostle Peter taught this matter in his letter.

1 Peter 2:1-12 (ESV) | A Living Stone and a Holy People

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”

and

“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Peter comes into this chapter with a reminder of the Gospel, of the distinction between those who believe and those who do not. Finally, Peter charges Christians to be a people for God’s own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness. He urges us to abstain from the passions of the flesh… and he calls us sojourners and exiles. From what? From this world in which we still live but are no longer a part. Peter charges us to keep our conduct honorable, so that when we are accused as evildoers, they’ll see our good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Notice that Peter isn’t promising that if we keep our conduct honorable everyone will like us.

1 Peter 2:18-25 (ESV) |  Submission to Authority

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

It should be noted that when Peter is talking about the emperor as supreme, Peter was martyred during the reign of Nero, an active persecutor of Christians. And from where did Peter draw his instruction to the saints? From the example of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Peter then brings it right back around to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, had done NOTHING wrong, yet He submitted even unto death, a horrible death on the cross for our sins, and for God’s Glory.

Conclusion

The Gospel of Jesus Christ can never be the occasion for rebellion and lawlessness. We don’t get to use the Gospel as a reason to overthrow our government in a coup. It is not the role of the church to take over the government. Neither is it a mandate for Christians to run and hide when the law of the land criminalizes Christianity or the Word of God. We are called to stand, in submission to authority, while testifying of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A time will come when such submission will mean imprisonment for most Christians. The day will come when what is happening to Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran is happening here. This world is passing away, nothing will remain. All will be brought to an end, and then the Judgement. Those who by grace through faith are part of the Resurrection, we shall see the new heaven and the new earth. Do not place your hope in this temporal life. Instead, let us place our hope where the Apostle Peter placed his.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

August 18, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill which currently sits at #15 on 20theCountdownMagazine’s top 20 and at #2 on the KLove top 10.

This is another cross-over song written for corporate worship that is very popular on in Christian radio. This song serves no purpose for the unbelieving hearer, it is meant as a song of declaration of anticipation for the return of Jesus Christ for His Bride, the Church. We’ll discuss the merits of the song in that vein, to see how to best equip the believing Christian for maintaining a Gospel focus grounded in Biblical Truth. Overall, this song has some good stuff. The further removed from Passion/Hillsong the better, since their theology regarding the Church, the Kingdom of Heaven, Presence theology, and Word of Faith is aberrant. Whatever good can be found in this song, I strongly discourage anyone from accepting Hillsong theology.

PassionVEVO Lyric/Chords Video

Lyrics (via Air1.com)

Kristian Stanfill – Even So Come Lyrics
From the album Passion: Even So Come

All of creation
All of the earth
Make straight a highway
A path for the Lord
Jesus is coming soon

Call back the sinner
Wake up the saint
Let every nation shout of Your fame
Jesus is coming soon

Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

There will be justice
All will be new
Your name forever
Faithful and true
Jesus is coming soon

Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

So we wait
We wait for You
God, we wait
You’re coming soon

So we wait
We wait for You
God, we wait
You’re coming soon

Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing

Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

Even so come
Lord Jesus, come

Publishing: © 2015 sixsteps Songs // Worship Together Music // S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (Admin. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com) // Vistaville Music obo Itself / Go Mia Music / Chrissamsongs Inc. (ASCAP) // Sony/ATV Timber Publishing // Open Hands Music (SESAC)
Writer(s): Chris Tomlin, Jess Cates and Jason Ingram

Discussion

To begin, it is important to note that this song is not written for the unbeliever. There is no Law/Gospel, Sin/Grace, Repentance/Forgiveness… this song does not convey the Gospel message for the unbeliever. For that, it will not get an overall Approval. The song’s message gets a little bit scattered after the first time through the chorus. Rather than a unified message, it sort of bounces between loosely related  verses, sometimes sung to God, sometimes sung to believers, so it can easily become awash in experiential emotionalism, so that bears some guarding.

That aside, as a song intended for believers to focus on the imminent return of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I think it is quite good. Let’s work through the themes of the song and focus on the passages of Scripture being invoked.

Make straight a highway, a path for the Lord. The Prophets in the Old Testament often called Israel to repentance in light of the Promised Messiah of the Lord God. Probably the most often remembered passage comes from Isaiah 40.

Isaiah 40:1-5 (ESV) | Comfort for God’s People

40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord‘s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Now, for the unbeliever, this is at-best a prophecy of “the end”, when God will finally be revealed. For those who have believed in the Name of Jesus Christ, we know this to be a prophetic call to repentance. If I may, we find similar words of comfort connected to repentance in Isaiah 57.

Isaiah 57:12-21 (ESV)

12 I will declare your righteousness and your deeds,
    but they will not profit you.
13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
    The wind will carry them all off,
    a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
    and shall inherit my holy mountain.

14 And it shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
    remove every obstruction from my people’s way.”
15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
    who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
    and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
    and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 For I will not contend forever,
    nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
    and the breath of life that I made.
17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
    I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
    but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart.
18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
    I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
19     creating the fruit of the lips.
Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord,
    “and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
    for it cannot be quiet,
    and its waters toss up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

The Promise of restoration, comfort, healing, and peace. The rest of our Lord Jesus Christ. We who are of the household of faith will enter into that rest. There is, however, no peace for the wicked.

Like a bride waiting for her groom… Here is where we need to pay attention to our theology and discern what is Biblical and what isn’t. Hillsong (and many others) push a “Kingdom” theology that declares the present church is the bride of Christ and we have a role to play in ushering in the Return of Jesus Christ. This is a false narrative. We have no part to play in spurring on the return of bridegroom; rather, our task is to be dressed in readiness and to keep our lamps lit (Luke 12:35). Hillsong hijacks the promises of God and twists them to promote their services or “worship experiences”. The end of the song with the repeating “even so come, Lord Jesus come” ends up falling into Hillsong’s presence theology, the idea that the point of worship is to invite the Holy Spirit to manifest in the church service in an emotional way… because Hillsong is a cash-cow selling an emotional high while calling it worship. The key to having the right perspective in all of this is asking one simple question… Who is preparing the Bride for her King?

Revelation 21 (ESV) | The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

God prepares the Bride, the Church of Jesus Christ. It is God who does the work, it is the Alpha and Omega who declares ‘It is done’! and it is He who allows the thirsty to drink without payment. Hillsong preaches a man-centric, works-based, theology that exalts the Hillsong brand. They are not the only ones who peddle in this false doctrine, but they are the single most influential music mogul in the world, and it is important that we recognize the theology that fuels their music. The Church has her marching orders, expressly laid out through the New Testament. Preach the Word, grow in the knowledge of Christ, keep the faith. What we’ve read in Revelation 21 isn’t about what the church is doing… or going to do… it is about what God is doing and Will do. With that in mind, let us read the last chapter of the book.

Revelation 22 (ESV) | The River of Life

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city;also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Jesus Is Coming

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

It is my prayer, that as the song plays on the radio and repeats the refrain, “Even so come Lord Jesus, come…” that it will be this passage you meditate on. Our Lord is coming back, and He will make all things new.

Luke 12:35-40 (ESV) | You Must Be Ready

35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Conclusion

The song bears a great proclamation of the Promise of our Savior… He is coming soon. Be ready, bear the fruit in keeping with repentance, and walk according to the Spirit by faith in Christ Jesus.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Cast My Cares” by Finding Favour

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

August 11, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Cast My Cares” by Finding Favour which currently sits at #16 on 20theCountdownMagazine’s top 20 and at #10 on the KLove top 10.

This song is a goal-setting motivational song. The goal is scriptural for Christians. Unfortunately, the song doesn’t provide any indication in how to achieve the goal, nor does it share the Gospel or call people to repentance. It doesn’t stand on its own, but I think if we take some time to study what God’s Word says, we can make the best of hearing this song played the radio. Let’s give it a listen, examine the lyrics, and then search the Scriptures for the clarity this song sorely lacks.

Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via Air1.com)

Finding Favour – Cast My Cares Lyrics

When fear feels bigger than my faith
And struggles steal my breath away

When my back’s pressed up against the wall
With the weight of my worries stacked up tall
You’re strong enough to hold it all

I will cast my cares on You
You’re the anchor of my hope
The only one who’s in control
I will cast my cares on You
I’ll trade the troubles of this world
For Your peace inside my soul

This war’s not what I would’ve chosen
But You see the future no one knows yet

And there’s still good when I can’t
See the working of Your hands
You’re holding it all

I will cast my cares on You
You’re the anchor of my hope
The only one who’s in control
I will cast my cares on You
I’ll trade the troubles of this world
For Your peace inside my soul

I’m finding there’s freedom
When I lay it all on Your shoulders

Cast my cares
I will
Cast my cares
I will
Cast my cares on You

Publishing: © 2014 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (ASCAP) / Songs Of Emack (ASCAP). All rights for the world on behalf of Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing and Songs Of Emack administered by CapitolCMGPublishing.com. Sony/ATV Timber Publishing/Not Just Another Song Music (SESAC). Shivel Songs a div of Daywind Music Publishing/Sesac (admin. by ClearBox Rights).
Writer(s): Blake NeeSmith, Casy Brown & Sam Tinnesz

Discussion

Let’s knock out the obvious… this song doesn’t bear any Gospel message. There is no call to repentance. No mention of sin. It doesn’t even clearly identify the “You”. This song most assuredly does not stand on its own. If this song is to have any value or provide any degree of encouragement, it must be heard by Christians with solid theology. The allusions to Scripture are so pale that they can be hijacked by the most amateur false teacher. Nevertheless, this song can be an encouragement for one who has a good foundation of solid theology, and for that it does not get a flat-out disapproval.

I think the best place to begin this discussion is in Peter’s letter to the Church. We are going to look at the closing chapter of his first letter, because in his closing he is leaving general marching orders to the Church. These apply to us directly, so let us examine what the Holy Spirit wrote via the Apostle Peter:

1 Peter 5 (ESV) | Shepherd the Flock of God

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son.14 Greet one another with the kiss of love.

Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

Peter first addresses the Elders of the Church, and he includes himself as their fellow elder.  He then addresses the need for the younger ones to be subject to the elders. Peter than shifts to “all of you” for his exhortation. Notice that Peter begins the command to Humble ourselves… casting all our anxieties on [God], because He cares for us. Is it not pride / arrogance / selfishness that motivates us to insist that we do things on our own, carry loads we weren’t meant to carry, and refuse help? Notice something else here… Peter begins with humbling ourselves, flows into casting our anxieties upon God because He cares for us, and then moves directly into resisting the devil. James also put these things together in his letter.

James 4:1-10 (ESV) | Warning Against Worldliness

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Now James was addressing different issues, but notice the submission to God, humbling of ourselves, purifying our hearts of double-mindedness (Someone who doubts God James 1:5-8). The connection to our song is right here, I think, in the purifying of our hearts of doubt and holding on by faith as the intersection with what Peter described as casting our anxieties on God. The heart of a double-minded man is filled with anxiety and tossed by the seas of circumstance. Let us look to one more passage of Scripture found in the letter to the Philippians from the Apostle Paul. Again, we’ll be looking at the concluding portion of the letter, beginning in verse 1 of Chapter 4:

Philippians 4:1-9 (ESV) | Exhortation, Encouragement, and Prayer

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

So much good stuff in this passage. I want to start with the highlighted portion… The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious… That’s vital. It isn’t just an empty imperative or command to “stop being anxious”, not at all… it flows as a result of the acknowledgement of the Truth that the Lord is indeed at hand. Read it as you did Peter’s exhortation to cast your cares on [God], because He cares for you. The Lord is at hand. You are not alone, you are not on your own, it isn’t your burden to carry… put your faith in Him and purify your heart of doubt (double-mindedness).

We see something else here in Paul’s conclusion that can help us in our next step… searching for the “how” in casting our cares upon God. Paul doesn’t begin with the “thou shall not be anxious”… he begins with rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Don’t make this a commandment as in “be happy or else!” because just as we saw in verse 6, Paul is making this commandment a reflection of the previous statement whose names are in the book of life. Yes, at the Resurrection every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but Paul is urging us to rejoice always (x2) in knowing that our names are written in the book of life. We are to rejoice in the Grace God has shown toward us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By faith we have been redeemed and our names have been written in the book of life. Rejoice in that, brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord is at hand… cast your cares on Him. In everything… by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests to God. Prayer and supplication require humbling yourself in the sight of the Lord. In verse 7, we see that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ… from whom? The devil and his temptation. We are not to be ignorant but vigilant and sober-minded, as Peter wrote. That brings us the finally of Paul’s exhortation… think about these things.

We are not ignorant of the trials and tribulations that lie ahead… in fact, we are to count it all joy (James 1). But we know that it isn’t by our strength or might that we are to face these challenges; rather, we are to cast our cares on the Lord who is at hand, because He cares for us. Rejoice in the Gospel of Grace, think on whatever is praiseworthy, and the God of peace will guard our hearts.

Conclusion

The song doesn’t stand on its own, but for those who are in Christ Jesus, it can be a reminder that we are to humble ourselves before God, casting our cares and anxieties upon Him, and trusting in Him in everything. There are some other nuggets than can be fleshed out, but I think we’ve covered the heart of the intent of the song here. Think on these things, trusting in Him who paid the price of our sin, suffered and died on a cross, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and Promised to return once more.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Gospel Wednesday | Matthew 15

bibleAs we continue our walk through the Gospel According to Matthew, last week we closed out Matthew 14.

Today, we will be looking at some impactful teaching from our Lord Jesus Christ, followed by some more miracles testifying of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and of His compassion and love.

Matthew 15:1-9 (ESV) | Traditions and Commandments

15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Did the Pharisees rebuke Jesus via His disciples regarding the Law? No… it was regarding the tradition of the elders. In some places you’ll hear it referred to as the oral tradition. You see, the Pharisees held a dual standard of holiness… there was the Law and the Prophets, what we have preserved in our Bible and then there was the oral tradition (recorded in the Talmud in the 2nd century A.D.) which was said to have been given by God to Moses to explain the written Law. You see, the Pharisees had positioned themselves as the arbiters of the Law, they explained how to fulfill the Law, by their traditions. A useful comparison would be the Catholic Church in Luther’s day… where the people relied on the Church to tell them how to serve God. Like the Catholic Church, the Pharisees had abused the authority God gave them, and failed in their responsibility to shepherd the people of God. They even broke the Law of God for the sake of their own traditions. We discussed this some time ago in a CTT post when we looked at the sin of the Pharisees. Actually, we’ve talked about throwing the Pharisee card out, too… but know that Jesus pointed out the error of the Pharisees explicitly… it wasn’t that they were holding to the Law; rather, that they taught as doctrines the commandments of men. Immediately after the rebuke, Jesus moves onto instruction.

Matthew 15:10-20 (ESV) | What Defiles a Person

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

In Mark’s Account of this encounter, he explains the impact of what Jesus regarding what defiles a person.

Mark 7:18-20 (ESV) 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.

Given Matthew’s audience, I don’t think it was necessary to add the extra explanation. Ceremonial law was but a shadow of the Christ (Hebrews 8) who was now before them. Now that Christ had come, and the matters of the heart could truly be addressed. Our hearts are not defiled by what our physical body consumes; rather, our body is defiled by what comes out of our hearts.

Matthew 15:21-28 (ESV) | The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

This passage can be very difficult for folks to work through. The biggest impediment for most is the idea of their “precious moments Jesus” first ignoring and then actually saying these words to the Canaanite Woman. Was Jesus being mean to her? Was He being sexist or racist? No, no, and no. This woman knew who He was, and more importantly, she believed. She had faith in Jesus as Lord, the Son of David, despite being a Canaanite. Let’s take a quick look back in Genesis for the significance of being a Canaanite.

Genesis 9:18-28 (ESV) | Noah’s Descendants
18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. 20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,

“Cursed be Canaan;
    a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem;
and let Canaan be his servant.
27 May God enlarge Japheth,
and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
and let Canaan be his servant.
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years.

The sons of Canaan would go on to become a wicked and godless people. God promises Abraham all the lands of Canaan. Jesus makes it clear that He had been sent for the lost sheep of Israel. He further tells the woman, it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs… Jesus didn’t come to personally evangelize the world, He came for a specific purpose, to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and to lay down His life as the pure and perfect atoning sacrifice. This woman was undeterred, she acknowledged her place and proclaimed her faith in Him, that she only needed a crumb of His Glory to heal her daughter. Such Faith! and from a Canaanite woman… an outsider… a dog in comparison to the children of Israel. And Jesus healed her daughter, according to her faith. Not her lineage, not her works, but her faith in Him. I am that dog, who by God’s grace has been granted faith to believe that all I need is for the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table. I’m reminded of how Paul references the Gospel in his opening to his letter to the Romans:

Romans 1:16-17 (ESV) | The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Amen. Let us continue.

Matthew 15:29-39 (ESV) | Jesus Heals Many

29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33 And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” 35 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 38 Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.39 And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

The first thing I’d like to point out is the punch line to Jesus’ healing ministry… it brought glory to God. This went on for 3 days, and the Lord had compassion on them. The second thing is that we see Jesus again charging the disciples to feed His sheep. Jesus is unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way. He is still unwilling, which is why He left us the Apostles and why He sent God the Holy Spirit as a seal of the Promise for all who are in Christ Jesus. This is a theme that John picked up on and expressed in greater detail in his account of the Gospel, even to the reinstatement of Peter.

Until Next Week

Next week we’ll see another encounter with the Pharisees and we’ll also see the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of His Disciples… the confession of Peter. I look forward to continuing our trek through the Gospel According to Matthew.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen, indeed.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge