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Journey Through Matthew: Listen to Him!

Journey Through Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God the Father instructed us to listen to what Jesus taught us, and by extension wha tthe Holy Spirit is teaching us each and every day.

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Introduction

Good morning and welcome!
This morning if you would, start turning in your Bibles to .
In a moment we will be reading from , which includes the account of the Transfiguration of Christ.
If you will recall last week we asked the question, “who owns your heart?”
And I hope that we all at least spent some time exploring that question for ourselves, because as we looked at last week, the answer to that question is really what determines the health of your relationship with God.
In fact, depending on your answer to that really dictates whether you have a relationship with God or not.
Also, one of the key things that impacts our heart and who owns our heart are the things that we put value in.
In essence, do we seek after the things of the world or do we seek after the things of God?
Do we risk everything for the things of the world or are we willing to give up everything for the things of God?
And these questions are the same questions that Jesus was posing to his disciples because he knew what they were getting ready to face.
He knew that they were getting ready to see things and endure things that would shake them to their very core.
But before the problems began there was one more thing that they had to see.
Something that would stick with them the rest of their days.
And something that when times got really bad they could look back on and remember .
Something that when all seemed to be lost they could hold on to and draw comfort from.
Something that they could look back on and know without a doubt that Jesus is in fact the Son of God.
Which is what we are going to be talking about this morning.
So, if you have found in your Bibles I’d invite you to stand with me if you are able.
And again, we are going to be reading the first 8 verses of Matthew 17.
Matthew writes . . .

Scripture Focus

Matthew 17:1–13 NIV - Anglicised
1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no-one except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” 11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognise him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Matthew 17:1–8 NIV - Anglicised
1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no-one except Jesus.
Matthew 17:1–7 NIV - Anglicised
1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”

In the Presence of God (Vs 1-4)

In the Presence of God (Vs 1-4)

Alright, so we come now six days after the events that we talked about last week.
And Jesus decides to take a trip, but he doesn’t go alone.
He chooses Peter, James, and John to go with him and they go up onto a high mountain by themselves.
Now, this in itself is interesting, why didn’t Jesus take all of the disciples?
Why these three?
And Peter, James, and John didn’t know for sure why Jesus took them with him and not the others but they probably were feeling pretty special.
And if the flesh had started to influence the other disciples, they were probably getting pretty jealous.
We don’t have any proof of any of that, but just knowing human nature, if the Holy Spirit wasn’t interceding somewhere in the mix, this was more than likely what was going to happen.
Which is why it is important for all of us as well to remember to live our lives under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
Because if we are left up to ourselves, then all sorts of crazy things start to work their way into our minds.
And that jealously brews, which can ultimately destroy us.
And the fact was, Jesus didn’t take these three and leave the others because they were his favorites or that he liked them more.
It was for a specific purpose.
There was something that was going to happen that they needed to see.
And when we think about all that Peter, James, and John did and endured after Jesus ascended, its easier to see how this was a solidifying moment in their faith and was probably one of these things that gave them the hope to endure when things got really bad.
And hopefully, we have all had those solidifying moments ourselves as well.
Those things we can look back on when things get really bad and remind us of where our hope comes from.
And if you have not, then today can be that day, if you will allow it.
So, that’s really the dynamic though of what is going on here.
But, at any rate, Jesus, Peter, James, and John have gone up on this high mountain alone.
And then . . .
Matthew 17:2 NIV - Anglicised
2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
Matthew 17:2
This in itself is an amazing event.
The word “transfigured” here means “transformed” just like the old toys transformers.
Jesus went up in one form but then was changed into another form.
And the Bible says that his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light, which is an indication that Jesus appeared to them there in his true form.
In what we would consider his glorified form.
His Godly form.
And at that moment, they knew without a doubt that Jesus was exactly who he said his was.
If all the miracles hadn’t convinced them then at least for these three, they were convinced.
But just Jesus’ appearance was not the only thing that happened . . .
Matthew 17:3 NIV - Anglicised
3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17:
Two guys who had been gone for centuries.
Moses, dead, buried and gone.
Elijah taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.
Now they are suddenly there with Jesus having a conversation.
And here is the thing we often miss---none of these disciples had every laid eyes on Moses or Elijah.
How did they know who Moses and Elijah were?
Jesus was talking to Moses and Elijah, so he didn’t tell them, so how did they know?
God revealed it to them.
But, why these two? Why not Isaiah? Why not Abraham?
They knew in their heart, in their soul, that they were standing in the presence of Moses, the man who freed Israel from bondage; and Elijah, the one who challenged the false God and taught of the coming Messiah.
Moses, the representative of the Law and Elijah, the greatest of all the Prophets, standing with Christ talking.
And that is really it, Moses was the Law and Elijah the Prophets, but Jesus superceded both.
His authority was far superior than either other theirs and they are both subject to Jesus, just as all things are subject to God the Father.
All things are under Jesus’ authority.
So, anytime we think that we have a better idea that what God is telling us, we probably need to slow down and think a bit about who has all authority.
And if it doesn’t fall in line with what God is telling us, then we may want to rethink our position, because God’s isn’t going to change.
So, here we have Jesus, Moses, and Elijah chewing the fat by the water cooler, and Peter, James, and John standing over here with their jaws on the floor not really knowing what to do, so they come up with an idea.
Matthew 17:4 NIV - Anglicised
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Peter is excited.
Think of the most famous person you have ever heard of, or somebody you have always wanted to meet.
Now, they show up. That’s how these disciples felt.
And Peter is like, “this is some good stuff here!”
And Peter wants to honor them and be hospitable.
Roll out the red carpet.
So he offers to put up shelters, or tabernacles, which are really tents covered by animal skins.
Clean the place up so the guests could be comfortable.
And to be honest he really didn’t know how to act.
I mean, honestly how would we act if Moses and Elijah walked in?

Do What He Says (Vs 5-8)

However though, Peter, James, and John didn’t quite get the implication of Moses, Elijah and Jesus talking.
By offering to set up the tents, Peter is, unknowingly in his mind, making the three equal with one another which they are not.
Which is what prompts the next event . . . .
Matthew 17:5 NIV - Anglicised
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
And that’s the thing here.
Jesus could have straightened them out, but there is always that chance that they wouldn’t quite get it.
That they would be sort of like, “yeah right Jesus, BUT here is Moses and Elijah!”
Think about it, the people so loved Moses that God hid his body so the people wouldn’t set up a shrine and worship him.
Elijah was such an anointed and powerful prophet that he didn’t even die, God carried him up in a whirlwind.
So, very similarly to when Jesus was baptized, God the Father shows up.
This time in the form of a cloud and gives them some instructions.
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!
In other words, Jesus is who he says he is.
Jesus is far superior than any Law any Prophet, even Moses and Elijah.
And to add punctuation to it, When Jesus tells you something, LISTEN!
Listen to what Jesus has to say.
Do what Jesus tells you.
And this message is not just for Peter, James, and John.
This lesson is for EVERYONE who calls themselves a Christian, a Christ follower.
If we are going to call ourselves that, do we listen to what He has to say?
Do we do what He tells us to do?
Do we love God with all our heart, mind, and soul?
Do we love our neighbor as ourselves?
Do we go and make disciples?
Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him daily?
Are we willing to lay down our will for His?
Do we seek His kingdom first?
Because if we don’t DO, then it’s all just words.
We are merely hearers of the Word and not doers.
Our acts are like clanging cymbals, just making a bunch of worthless noise.
This whole thing about the Christian life is not just a bunch of “good ideas” that we follow if we want.
It is who we are to be.
God is not some made up glorified superhero.
God is the creator and sustainer of the entire universe.
And when God speaks, we need to be listening.
And when God spoke, it got Peter, James, and John’s attention . . .
Matthew 17:6 NIV - Anglicised
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified.
Matthew 17:6
As I would suppose any of us would be.
But here’s the thing, God is not a God we have to be terrified of.
God is not a dictator or a tyrant.
God is a God of love and relationship.
Which is why . . .
Matthew 17:7–8 NIV - Anglicised
7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no-one except Jesus.
We don’t have to be afraid of God.
Matthew 17:
We have to respect God and honor God.
The only thing we have to be afraid of in this entire universe is the consequences of our sin, if we refuse to listen to what God is trying to tell us.
That is it.

Prophesy Fulfilled (Vs 9-13)

Altar Call

So, really as we close, the question is what are we afraid of?
Are we afraid of what will happen when we die?
If we are then we either don’t understand some things about God, or we don’t know God.
It comes down to whether we need some discipling and teaching or whether we need to accept Jesus in the first place.
Because if Jesus is our Savior, there is nothing to fear, not even death.
But if he is not, then we have everything to fear, because we have no hope.
So, this morning for those who may be afraid, search yourself and ask yourself, why?
Why am I afraid?
You will find the answer and you will find the solution to that fear on this altar.
But also, what about those here who do not listen to God?
Why are you not listening and are you prepared to do something about it?
Think about what we asked earlier . . .
Do we love God with all our heart, mind, and soul?
Do we love our neighbor as ourselves?
Do we go and make disciples?
Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him daily?
Are we willing to lay down our will for His?
Do we seek His kingdom first?
Because if you refuse to listen and are refusing to do these things and you think that God will just let it slide, your wrong.
If God speaks we need to listen.
So, what is God telling you this morning?
Maybe you are here and you have another issue, another need.
I would encourage you to come to the altar this morning and pray.
Jesus is talking, are you willing to listen to him today?
It is your choice, but the altar is here and available, what will you choose today?
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