Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

Can we Really Understand the Bible?

September 06, 2021 Mark Roberts Season 1 Episode 15
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
Can we Really Understand the Bible?
Show Notes Transcript

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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church. 

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the west side churches special Monday morning coffee podcast. On this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With a look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch, and he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we just start the week together on Monday morning coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Good morning. Welcome to the Monday morning coffee podcast for September the sixth. I'm Mark and I have my Bible open, some notes from yesterday, sermon my Bible reading schedule for the week, and I am drinking a really fine latte this morning. This podcast is all about keeping the spiritual momentum from Sunday rolling into the work week. And that may be a little bit difficult because a lot of us are off on Monday today with it being labor day, but we can do it and let's get to it. Yesterdays, sermon was a very basic and very fundamental kind of sermon on. Can we really understand the Bible? There was just a couple of very simple ideas put out yesterday in the sermon, this isn't complicated or really technical or difficult to understand first and foremost, the idea that God expects us to understand the Bible. And then secondly, the Bible expects to be understood, that led then to probably to the real meat of the lesson. When we start talking about why people don't understand the Bible and that comes of course, because some people just don't read the Bible very much if at all. And then sometimes our minds are cluttered with other messages and other media, and that's obscuring our understanding of the Bible because we're believing other things or we're just not getting to the Bible very regularly. And then of course, sometimes the Bible contradicts our preconceived notions and ideas, and that leads to the fourth reason. People don't understand the Bible. They don't want to understand the Bible. They have a closed heart or a closed mind. So that's the basics of yesterdays . Now yesterday's lesson. Let me see then if we can work with that just a little bit. I want to ask a couple of things here that I think will be helpful to us as we make use of that material. First and foremost, I want to really encourage all of us to do more listening. When we're in conversation with people about the Bible. When someone is expressing frustrations about the Bible, maybe is dissing the Bible. They don't like the Bible they're down on the Bible. My temptation is to just jump in there and immediately start correcting misconceptions, shoving the Bible down their throat. I know the Bible. I know the Bible is God's word. I know it's amazing. It's incredible. You need to know that too. So here I come, that's probably not a great approach. I need to do more listening to see why someone is struggling with the Bible. That could be just as simple as they don't know where to start in the Bible. The Bible is a big book and there's a ton of different kinds of material in the Bible. If you just decide, Hey, I should be reading my Bible and you turn your Bible to Ezekiel and you start reading some of those apocalyptic visions. This is not going to come easy. And it may be that you just end up being kind of discouraged. And I can't really grab onto this. Maybe you turn from Ezekiel and you happen to jump over into Revelation. Guess what? It's more of the same monsters and beasts and terrible things. I, I don't understand this book. I would want to have a very different reaction to someone who says, I've tried to read the Bible. It was confusing. I didn't know where to start. I want to have a very different kind of response to someone like that than I would to someone who said, I grew up going to church, I've read the Bible. I've heard the Bible. I know the Bible, and I hate the Bible. The Bible is useless. Nobody can really make head or tail out of that thing. And as you begin to listen, you begin to hear that it's not an issue of understanding the Bible. It is that issue of the closed heart. The closed mind, the Bible is saying things that they don't want to hear. I'm going to respond differently to that. So I am looking for people who have some interest in the Bible, and I think there's more of those people out there than sometimes we give credit for there being in our society today. I think there are a lot of people who have interest in the Bible. I say that because when I do, for example, my Bible reading stuff, and I'm reading the Bible live on Facebook and I've done live bible reading over various social media channels. A lot of people tune into that. A lot of people are interested. What does the Bible have to say? And so I think there is that interest out there. Now I need to listen and try to pick up on what's the barrier what's hindering you from getting serious with the Bible. Then I can make the appropriate response. And then I think the other question that I want us to work with this morning,

Speaker 3:

What's going on with me?

Speaker 2:

Why am I not reading the Bible? If you're not regularly reading the Bible, what's the deal with that? Are you just not carving out the time that it takes? Sometimes a big key is to say, I'm giving up this so I can put this in place. We only get 24 hours in the day. And if we just keep adding more stuff in, something is going to get squeezed. And even though we said, we're going to do this and we're going to do this and we're going to do that too. No, we're not there isn't enough time to do all those things. So if it's just a time management issue, take something out. So you can put time with the Bible in . Maybe it's something else. Maybe you feel that you can't really understand the Bible. What kind of helps? What kind of material could you lay hands on from the internet or read online so that you would be able to understand and make good application of the material that you're reading. Maybe this podcast can help you. Maybe other materials can help you, but what's going on. That's keeping you from saying, I want to make this a regular part of my life. I think most of the people listening to this podcast are going to say, sure, the Bible can be understood. It's God's word, God expects us to understand it. The Bible says it can be understood. Let's do that, yes, yes. The Bible can be understood. Now it's up to us though, if we believe that to get in the Bible so that we can understand, and then of course do what God says and that's where all that needs to go. James, 1 22, be doers of the word and not hearers, only deceiving yourselves. We want to obey what we read. We want to put that into our lives. I hope this podcast is helping you do that. And I hope that'll make you think through some things with Bible, with the Bible and with Bible reading and understanding the Bible, particularly with an application to evangelism and an application to ourselves. So let's turn our attention To our daily Bible reading. As this week, we will complete the gospel of John on Monday and start the gospel of Matthew on Tuesday. Let's talk about daily Bible reading. In our Bible reading this week, we start or rather more. We finish the gospel of John in John chapter 21, beginning in verse 15. And I just want to spend a very brief moment here is I really want to focus on reading Matthew's gospel. That's really what we want to talk about in this week's podcast, but there's a very famous section here where Jesus says Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? And he and Peter go back and forth three times in sometimes what we hear about that, or what we have heard about that is that Jesus is saying, do you agapaha me or agaphe me , however you want to pronounce that? And that that's a very special high kind of godlike love. And that Peter answers with phileo , which is a love that is kind of more , uh , like, or I like you a lot. So Jesus keeps asking Peter and Peter doesn't really seem to get it. And, and he never really says, I agapaha you or agaphe love for you. And , and that's, what's on here. And I want to say that the Greek will not bear that out at all. That's just a good example of when we don't know much about original languages and we climb in because we were able to click on a word and see something on the internet and we start making distinctions that are simply not there. It will not hold water. In fact, if you work with that, it ends up where Peter's kind of insensitive. He never does say I Agapaha you. And yet Peter is clearly trying to please Jesus. And why doesn't Jesus just say, look, I'm asking you if you have this higher godlike love, what's the deal, Peter, get it together. But the most important thing to say about that is that there is nothing to be made here off the different Greek words for the word love. It's simply variation that John or Peter and Jesus are using that does not have some kind of special significance. We're told many times that agapaha, Agapaho, depending o f the verb form or norn form is, is very significant means. I love you unreservedly, where would just be more of a brotherly kind of love, but there is nothing the s cholars say intrinsic to either of those words to prove that it has a unique and special kind of love later on several c enturies later agapaha or agapa comes to mean a Christian Love. And it is used maybe in some of those ways in later kind of writings. But , um , John has used both terms in his gospel to express the love of the father for the son, for example, and the love of the son for the father. Uh, and in fact , agahapa's love is not always such a grand thing in second, Timothy four verse 10. Paul says that Demus left him because he, agahapa's this present age. So that's not where we want to go with that text The real key here is that Peter denied Jesus three times and now is asked to affirm his love for Jesus three times. So we're paying attention to some Greek stuff that doesn't mean anything. And we're missing that. Jesus asks him three times to affirm his love. And there's just no doubt that what's happening here is that Peter status is being restored. He's being recommissioned if you will, by Jesus to tend the flock and to feed the sheep and to do the kind of things that Peter is going to need to do both as an apostle and as a preacher. And even for first , for first Peter five, the kind of things that Peter will do as an elder. So I hope that'll help you as you think about John chapter 21, let's think a little bit now about reading, about reading Matthew's gospel. Usually in the podcast, I'm giving you notes for each day's reading and that's designed to help you better make use of that reading, understand that reading, get application of that reading, but for the podcast this week, I'm mostly going to focus here on giving you some things to look for and some strategies for reading Matthew so that you will get so that I will get what Matthew wants us to understand in his particular special portrait of Jesus, the Christ. That is a really good latte this morning. Of course , uh, as we think a little bit about reading Matthew and how all that's going to work, maybe a word or two about when this was written would help us. A lot of scholars are going to date that book being maybe as late as 80 AD, but I think there's good reason to think of it as being much earlier like AD65, AD 70 is just a marker. That's when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Roman empire. And I think there's some things as we read along in Matthew's gospel, that it helps us see those things haven't happened yet, or I think the way Matthew records , some things, particularly when Jesus talks about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that is to come in Matthew chapter 24, I think some of that would be phrased differently and would sound a little bit differently. Just kind of pay attention to some of that and see what you think as we come along. Now. Uh, maybe the thing to ask here is what's going to be unique. What's, what's good here in Matthew that I really want to put both hands on as I'm reading along the way. And a couple of things immediately come to mind first and foremost, Matthew preserves, large blocks of teaching, like the sermon on the Mount and like the Oliver discourse that I just mentioned in Matthew, the 24th chapter. Well , we're going to get a different viewpoint on Jesus's birth and there's just a heavy, heavy use of the old Testament. So those kinds of things begin to set the stage. As we start thinking through Matthew and developing some strategies for reading Matthew, particularly, I think you'll notice that Matthew's audience is a Jewish audience, probably maybe Jewish Christians. This could be maybe kind of an evangelism handbook to help other Jews come to see Jesus as the Messiah. I think the purpose of Matthew's gospel and maybe I shouldn't say the purpose. I think a couple of things are working here all together , but I think without any question, Matthew is just a craftsman and he has very carefully composed by the pen of inspiration, a masterpiece. This is a beautiful picture of Jesus that has very certain stresses, very certain emphasis , uh , about Jesus that is just gorgeous to behold. And that would be particularly centered on the idea of Jesus being the promised Messiah. The key idea in Matthew is fulfillment over and over and over again. Matthew says the old Testament told us about this. Hey, this is what the prophet said. In fact, the book begins and we're going to read this on Tuesday. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, and then there's a whole long list of Hebrew names and Israelite names that are hard to pronounce. That's about the most Jewish beginning that I can possibly imagine because Matthew wants to connect Jesus to the old Testament as part of that, then maybe the second main purpose in Matthew's gospel is the idea of the messianic kingdom. The Messiah has come and with that, the kingdom of heaven is now here. What an important idea, not just for Jews and Jewish listeners, but for you and I together, we need to think through that the kingdom has come and Jesus then is seen Jesus and his kingdom are going to be seen as fulfillment of old Testament prophecy. So as we're reading in Matthew over and over again, we're going to get these giant trues. These are the reading strategies, the things that you want to look for, how am I seeing Jesus as king in Matthew chapter 27, verse 11, Jesus standing before the governor and the governor asked him, are you the king of the Jews? That's the question of the book of Matthew? That's the question that Matthew is written to answer. And by the time we finish, Matthew wants us to say, yes, yes, he is. He is king of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the king. That's why the book starts with that big genealogy. Think about it. Can you be the king or queen of England? The answer to that is no, you cannot. Not even if you marry the king or queen of England, you still don't get to be, if your spouse passes away, you don't suddenly get to wear the crown because you're not of the right house. There's all kinds of crazy rules about all of that. And there's people who are their whole job is to figure out the rules of the house of Hanover, the house of Windsor and the house of this and the house of that, who is in line for Royal succession. Well guess what, Matthew chapter one, is it Royal succession? Jesus is the king. He's the prophesied king who sits on David's throne. And what a king he is. Matthew shows us everything about him has been powerful and unique and amazing his miraculous birth, his flight to Egypt, the announcement by John, he battles Satan. He's the greatest preacher ever. He can do miracles. He has incredible courage, his selflessness, his willingness, a king dying for his people, whoever even heard of that, Jesus is the king. That's what this is all about. And we want to just watch constantly to see that going on, where secondly, then going to watch for all sorts of stuff about the King's kingdom. This is the book of the kingdom of heaven. The key phrase in Matthew is the kingdom of heaven. It appears more than 30 times in Matthew, and it does not appear elsewhere in the new Testament. So we want to listen to Jesus's teaching as Jesus talks to us about the kingdom of heaven. And it's so important here that we don't think of physical castles and physical realms, physical armies , physical crowns. If that was what Jesus was trying to establish, he would have accepted the physical throne that the Jews wanted him to take while it is certainly true that the kingdom is spiritual. And that does mean that in some ways it is synonymous with the church because the kingdom is composed of the saved and the church is composed of the saved. The kingdom is a different kind of metaphor than the word church or house of God or family of God or body of Christ. These other figures that are used in scripture to describe that saved relationship. A kingdom is about a king and it's about subjects who are subject to the king. So we want to watch in Matthew and learn about the king. And then we want to learn about his kingdom, about how people react to the king and whether they obey him or accept him or reject him. So we want to really pay attention to king and kingdom. The other thing that I'll give you is, is we ought to pay attention to all the questions Matthew's gospel, just brims with questions. People are always asking Jesus questions and we can learn a lot by watching those questions and watching how Jesus responds to those questions. I think it was from time to time, people will talk about how great it would be to have Jesus for supper, and to be able to ask and to do some one-on-one with Jesus, or maybe have Jesus come and do Q & A morning on the last Sunday of the month. That would be extremely cool. Well, if you, if you pay attention to these questions that Matthew records for us, maybe, maybe we don't need to have just for dinner, maybe the questions that we would ask Jesus, Jesus has already answered. If we would pay better attention to what the king is saying about his kingdom and how the king is answering questions that are being directed towards him. So we will be reading Matthew's gospel. And as we are doing that, what we're just going to see again, and again, is that for Matthew, Jesus is the center of everything. And of course that should be true for you and me as well. So we're just going to be right at home in the gospel of Matthew Matthew's gospel says that for over 400 years, God had been silent and the people of God were wondering if God maybe had forgotten them. And what about his plan to redeem the world in Matthew says, God has not forgotten in Matthew connects the old to the new Testament in a powerful way through the person of Jesus, the king who has brought his kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. Of course, we will have some questions that will help us as we're working each day with the reading. And I have put these together after thinking extensively about Matthew and doing a lot of reading in Matthew. I'm not sure if you remember in Luke's gospel, I ended up kind of swapping out some questions as we got about halfway through, as I was better seeing what Luke was doing there and substituted in what I thought was some better questions. I may have to do that with Matthew's gospel as well, but this is what we're going to start with. This is what we're going to start with. Here are five questions that we want to ask about every day's reading. First question will be, how does today's reading connect to or fulfill the old Testament in Jesus in what does that tell us about Jesus? The second question, we're going to stay with that people question. How does Jesus handle people in this text? But I want us particularly to pay more attention to the opposition, to Jesus, because there's a lot of opposition to Jesus in Matthew's gospel. And we want to talk about what Jesus does with that we're experiencing as Christians, more opposition in our society. We need to get more fluent in how to handle hostility. Our third question then is going to be what verses show Jesus is king or talk about the kingdom of heaven. We need to have both of those ideas working. Jesus says king in the kingdom of heaven, what's going on in our texts that enlightens us about that. And then of course our fourth and fifth questions will remain the same. What's the Jesus impact. Question four , is this helping me to be like Jesus, submit to Jesus teaching change increase. What, what do I need to do to be more of his follower? And then finally fifthly, what can I share with someone that is good news about Jesus? The king has come and has established his kingdom. That is really good news. How can we share that good news with more people? What can we say in our reading today that will help somebody else see Jesus as king? So that's will hold us for reading notes for this week's daily Bible reading, be back next week, to talk more specifically about each day's reading and try to plug those five questions in a little bit and give you some help in that direction. But I think these ideas of our reading strategies for Matthew will hold us in this podcast. I'm almost to the bottom of my cup of coffee and you probably are as well. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the Monday morning coffee podcast, we'd love for you to subscribe, follow rate and give a review on iTunes or whatever app you're listening on that really helps people find the podcast. If you would just simply tell a friend about the show that would very much help us out as well. So until next time, may your coffee be delightful? May your Monday be short or maybe since for a lot of people, this is a holiday. Maybe your Monday should be long, but may the Lord be with you today all day? See you next week.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the west side church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with Mark, for more information about Westside. You can connect with us through our website, just christian.com and our Facebook page. Our music is from uppbeat.io. That's upbeat with two P's UPPBEAT where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a cup of coffee, of course, on next Monday.