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The Enemy Within

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The Enemy Within

John 1:12 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
,
“Tough Love” - “an expression believed to have originated with Bill Milliken’s 1968 book of the same title - used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run” - Wikipedia
Horror of too tough and not enough love and grace
Also horror and heartache when no one has the grace to say something is wrong and disruptive can be almost as painful in other ways.
Need of considered balance of grace, truth and love.
Having spent almost 3 years walking with, teaching and discipling those whom He called and loved, Jesus’ heart must have ached because of the disciples’ continued glaring lack of perception and understanding as to who He was and what He was about to do.
Perhaps that is why He so pointedly questioned and warned them.
Perhaps that is why through the Word and the Holy Spirit He also asks us some hard questions.
Before we proceed, we would do well to remind ourselves of a couple of facts.
Although the disciples had extended time with Jesus, there is no Scriptural reference that they were indwelt/filled by the Holy Spirit in the sense that all. Without the Holy Spirit, the disciples would not have had that indwelling guide in truth.
John 16:13 ESV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
The flip side of that is that we as believers, have Holy Spirit to guide us into ALL truth as well as the Word to teach, reproof, correct and train us.
We should not surprised when through the Word, we are prodded so that,
2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Tim 3:16-
When we allow the Word of God to teach us, reprove us, correct us and train us for righteousness, it will be profitable - produce a change because we are profitable and equipped for every good work.
WHAT DOES THE WORD OF GOD SAY - SAY TO US?
We need to remember that question. Jesus wants to talk to me, to you, to use as a congregation.
When we hear
Revelation 3:20 ESV
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
most of us remember the very moving picture of Jesus standing outside the door of a house knocking. The context here is not one of Jesus knocking at the door of the heart of an individual who has yet to open his heart to Jesus. While that could be the meaning and a third degree application, THIS JESUS KNOCKING AT THE DOOR OF THE LUKEWARM CHURCH IN LAODICEA. The heart braking fact was that they were lukewarm and did not seem to know. Even sadder, we have no indication that they heard Jesus knocking.
In the portion open before us, the majority of the text is the Son of God, the living Word speaking, teaching, reproving, correcting and training the disciples.
The Pharisees argue with Jesus -
provides the location for this confrontation - Dalmanutha - travelled by boat to NW quadrant of the Sea of Galilee
In Matthew’s parallel account, he recorded that they travelled by boat to the region of Magdalan .
Both of which - NW Sea of Galilee
Matthew 15:39 ESV
And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
Matt
Most of the verbs suggest an aggressive confrontation on the part of the Pharisees.
Came - exelton - came out - as if in military rank
Argue - ask too gentle - question or dispute with a view to gain control - ask with a view not to know but undermine.
Test - not objective prejudiced or weighed to discredit.
Used 4 times by Mark - Satan’s tempting, 3 times opposition of the Pharisees.
Mark 1:13 ESV
And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Mark 8:11 ESV
The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
Mark 10:2 ESV
And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
Mark 12:15 ESV
But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”
- For another greater sign from heaven
For another greater sign from heaven
In both the NT and OT seeking signs was spoken of negatively
1 Corinthians 1:22 ESV
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
1 Cor

Even in the OT, however, signs were not regarded as proof positive of God’s will. A prophet who commanded something contrary to the Torah but performed a miraculous sign was still a false prophet, for example (Deut 13:1–5). On

Deuteronomy 18:22 ESV
when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
Deut
From Deuteronomy to verification that a prophet and the prophecy was true, it was understood in Deuteronomy that a prophet should never contradict the Word. It is ironic that even though Jewish commentators agreed that a miraculous sign did not declare a prophet true, they contradicted their commentators by seeking a sign.
To test Him
Looking for a sign indicating divine authentification was a pattern in Judaism and prominent in some part of their history/
Moses - staff became a serpent and serpent became staff - ; unnamed signs in sight of the people - ; God commanded sign of staff to serpent at Pharoah’s request - - intended to be accepted as proof of his mission.
Elijah - called fire from heaven -
Isaiah - God took the initiative in through Isaiah commanding Ahaz to ask a sign - - virgin conceive - Immanuel
Through Isaiah God assured Hezehiah’s prayer to extend his years & deliver Hezekiah and Jerusalem from the King of Assyria - sun turned back 10 steps on the dial -
All signs were not to be considered miraculous or to be trusted - , ; ;
Disciples and Apostles
Pharisees came to argue and discredit rather than a desire to be believe
They refused to accept the evidence that they have.
That is true of most today re creation and the world around us.
The Gospel of Mark The Blindness Which Desires a Sign (Mark 8:11–13)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Why does this generation seek a sign?”
Jesus sighed deeply - groan - in His Spirit - word - anastenazein - very rare Greek word - once in NT - 30 times in all of Greek literature - in the few usages - not used of anger or indignation but more so of dismay and despair.
cc - God’s attitude toward obstinately disobedient Israel
Exodus 33:3–5 ESV
Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.’ ”
Psalm 95:10–11 ESV
For forty years I loathed that generation and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”
Deuteronomy 32:20 ESV
And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.
Deut 32:2-
Ps 95:
The disbelieving generation of Noah’s day
Genesis 7:1 ESV
Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.
2 Peter 2:4 ESV
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

Ironically, the Gentiles in the previous story who were “far off” (8:3; Eph 2:13–14) are closer to Jesus than those of his own faith and people like the Pharisees. The solemn declaration

Ephesians 2:13–14 ESV
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
They ask because their hearts are hard they choose not to believe.
“No sign shall be given this generation”
Jesus refused to give them a sign. They were knowingly and deliberately hard hearted and unbelieving.
TRULY - unegquivicacally
Supreme sign verifying Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah/Son of God would be His resurrection.
Matthew 12:39–40 ESV
But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matt
After having recently cross the Sea of Galilee by boat, they recrossed to the other side, NE side probably near Bethdsaida -
2. The disciples’ discussion: no bread -
Parting ways with the Pharisees - who not only did not believe but refused to believe.

In the Synoptic Gospels the demand for “signs” is itself a sign of attempting to gain by empirical means what can only be gained by faith and trust.

It is the false prophet who seeks to deceive by signs and wonders (13:22). Jesus forsakes signs, for “to force the evidence upon one would make a faith response by its very nature impossible.” Faith that depends on proof is not faith, but only veiled doubt. If a man hires a private eye to spy on his wife while he is away in order to “prove” her faithfulness, the detective’s “proofs” will scarcely guarantee the husband’s faith. Faith, like love itself, cannot be proven; it can only be demonstrated by trust and active commitment

Like the prophet Ezekiel, Jesus was an exile among His own people.
Ez 12:2
Ezekiel 12:2 ESV
“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.
While the rank and file of Judaism did not believe, the disciples in whom He had invested so much time and energy did not really get it either.
With that:
Forgot to bring bread/one loaf in the boat & began discussing with each other the fact that they had no bread.
Jesus’ caution:
Watch out - cautioned, charged, warned
“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
Yeast is a leavening agent used in among other things baking.
Feast of the Passover - eat roasted lamb with unleavened bread -
Only one NT instance where yeast referred to positively - /
Matthew 13:33 ESV
He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
All of yeast references negative - corruption, unholiness and danger.
Matthew 16:6 ESV
Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
1 Corinthians 5:6–8 ESV
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.
Galatians 5:9 ESV
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Matthew 16:11–12 ESV
How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The Pharisees and Herod Antipas were united in their opposition to Jesus.

The one point at which the Pharisees and Antipas are united is in their opposition to Jesus. We have noted that the circuitous journey to Tyre, Sidon, and the Decapolis in 7:24–8:9 may have been motivated at least in part by harassment of both Antipas (6:14–29) and the Pharisees (7:1–23). Their opposition is the result of disbelief in Jesus, and disbelief is also fermenting among the disciples in the boat. The “yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod” appears to be the misunderstanding or even disbelief of the disciples that would be in effect as adversarial as that of Antipas and the Pharisees.

We have no bread ...

The disciples are unaware of their actual condition. They quibble about the meaning of “bread” without realizing that they are being infected by a deadly cancer. Their failure to comprehend can produce a hardness of heart that is tantamount to the declared opposition of the Pharisees and Herod. The danger is the more deceptive in their case since they are in daily contact with Jesus; and, as in the case of Jesus’ mother and brothers (3:31–35), the fact that they are in physical proximity “with” Jesus (3:14) may lead them to presume they are also with him in purpose and mission. Their proximity to Jesus must grow into understanding, and understanding into faith, or else, like Judas, it will in the end inoculate them to the meaning of his person and work.

3. Jesus’ 8 “tough love” loving but tough questions:
Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?”
“Do you not yet perceive?”
“Are your hearts hardened?”
Failure to understand leads to hardness of heart.

Failure to understand leads to hardness of heart (8:18). The plea for understanding is a reminder that faith is not separate from understanding, but possible only through understanding. This passage is a good apology for a proper understanding of Christian education. If intellectual and spiritual blindness lead to hardness of heart, blind faith without content must inevitably lead there as well. The faith for which Jesus appeals is a faith born of understanding and insight. The disciples are not chastised for not believing but for not seeing and understanding.

Even sincere well meaning folks can have hard hearts
Romans 2:4–5 ESV
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Rom 2:5
Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?”
Laments against the unbelief of Israel are here repeated in Jesus’ lament over the unbelief of the disciples who see but do not really see, hear but not really hear.
Jeremiah 5:21 ESV
“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.
Ezekiel 12:2 ESV
“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.
“And do you not remember?”
“When I broke 5 loaves for the 5,000 how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”
“And the 7 for the 4,000 how many baskets full of pieces did you take up?”
“Do you not yet understand?”

An ignorant heart cannot harden itself. Only a knowing heart can harden itself, and that is why those closest to Jesus—the Pharisees (3:5–6) and the disciples (6:52; 8:17)—stand in the gravest danger. The disciples mirror humanity-at-large, which is so stuck in its own world and cares that it is blind and deaf to God. The disciples are anxious about lack of bread, but Jesus is anxious about their lack of faith.

As hopeless as this might have seemed for the disciples, Jesus continued to work them and in them. What they will eventually grasp by faith will be only by God’s grace and the working of His Spirit.
Jesus who had called them will eventually finish what He began in them.
They will perceive and understand.
Their hearts will be softened and remember.
They will fully see and hear.
They will remember and understand.
Tough truths and questions that all believers must process:
Being discipled, even by Jesus and being involved in fruitful ministry in no way insures that we adequately understand who Jesus is and what He can do in and through us.
Many of us incorrectly assume that time with Jesus and other believers equals spiritually seeing , hearing and maturing.
At various times in our lives each of us should ask objective mature believers who are not in our small group circle for objective seeing and hearing assessments.
Some of us might deliberately selectively hard of hearing and wearing dirty spiritual eye wear.
At some point in our lives Jesus will ask all of us the “tough love” questions.
If we do not hear Jesus, the Word, our parents or others parents, someone else will ask in situations that are probably more painful.
Employer
Spouse
Children
If we do not hear and answer His questions now, we must all - believers - appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
2 Cor 5:
3. Only when we accurately answer the tough questions will we better perceive and understand who Jesus is.
4. True faith in Jesus believes that what He has done for others He is more than able to do again and for us.
This is not about remembering and answering correctly.
It is about remembering, understanding and applying. What He has done for others He can do for us.
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