Faithlife Sermons

Walk the Talk


If you know me, you know I love products that work. Products that live up to there promises. If I am channel surfing, I stop at all infomercials, and I often check the home shopping network to see what product they are selling.I wonder if this is it as good as they say? Does this work? I do occasionally buy, but often I am skeptical.
There is a saying - “If you talk the talk, you had better walk the walk” Perhaps, you have heard that expression. Of course it means what you say ought to line up with what you do.
In our study in 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul was trying to get across to the church at Corinth that the gospel is proof that the talk meets the walk. The gospel has an effect, it has an impact. Now, that may cause us to wonder is this so? Do we see this in our churches, does the gospel have an effect on peoples lives or is it just helpful talk?
If the Gospel is only talk, a philosophy or great teaching, than a church might not look much different than any club, or school, or other non religious charity organization.
I am not going to answer that, you decide for your selves, look around at the church today in America, what do you see. Is there evidence, hard evidence of the gospel or an encounter with Jesus, or is it simply teaching. Do you go to churches expecting to encounter Christ, or to hear some helpful tips for living and good teaching.
In Matthews Gospel, chapter 4, we come across these words.
Matthew 4:23 NIV
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Jesus went throughout Galilee doing three things.
Proclaimed the good news of the kingdom
The teaching part is very simple for churches, right? We can all agree on that. Jesus was a great teacher so we focus on his teachings. We come in every week, here a sermon about how to live a good life, and go home.
Then, we come across #2 Proclaiming the Good news of the kingdom. That means preaching the gospel, Calling people out of the kingdom of the world and into the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, what we often do is stop there. We proclaim the gospel, but the evidence that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation escapes many contemporary Christians today.
Then there is this third one. Matthew says Jesus healed every sickness and disease. And Mark writes this, about Jesus’s ministry.
Mark 3:10 NIV
10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.
Luke 7:22 NIV
22 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
The church today has not experienced that type of healing. Many people over centuries , many good people on many occasions have prayed and pleaded to God for healing, and have not been healed. So, as a result people have said, well., this must be unique to Jesus’s earthly ministry. Of course Jesus is not here, and we do not see that kind of healing, occasionally--maybe--- sometimes- we may see some miraculous healing. But for the most part this is not the norm.
Now, with page after page of miraculous healings listed, the church has often said well, generally then these portions of scriptures are simply metaphoric for our healing from sin. Now with that business of metaphores in our head, it is a short leap and the whole story suddenly becomes a metaphor. The miracles the healings and even Jesus himself , is metaphoric, and we focus on the teachings, and leave the power of the gospel out of our lives and our churches.
Love one another, be kind, don’t steal, work hard give to charity, come to church once a week, and hear some good teaching and go home.
Now, I am not DISCOUNTING THE TEACHING that is #1 in Matthews account of Jesus’s mission, I am just saying there is something else.
But as we learned in 1 Cor, that was NOT what Paul was saying. Paul was saying that the Gospel had some sort of REAL tangible effect. It was more than than just great teaching it was the the power of God. The tangible of evidence of faith in the gospel was transformational for people. This evidence of the transformation power of the gospel was what was going to keep the church at Corinth together.
Take the apostles for example. They were in prison and tortured and killed for their faith. If it was just helpful teaching they would not have chosen to die. Most likely not, someone usually does not die over teaching, there must have been something more that was holding them.
Or the persecuted church. Today the church survives in the harshest of conditions. People are in fear for their life, they are in prison, they are tortured and killed, is it all just for good teachings or is there a REASON they are holding on to this faith so tightly. ANd what is your reason> WHy do you come in the snow and cold, risk illness, give of your time and hard money, is it becasue these are helpful rules to live by or is there more?
What I hope to show you in the next few weeks is that this is Matthew erties about that in addition to the teachings of Christ there is something more. SOmething that gives the teachings authority and credibility.
He is showing us that there is something more, something tangible to the effect the gospel has on our lives, and it is transformational. ANd that brothers and sisters is also consistant with what Paul is saying. ANd as all of us experience the transformational power of God in our lives, we become a transformational community.
Let’s begin by reading from Matthew chapter 8,
Matthew 8:1–17 NIV
1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. 14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. 16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
Matthew 8 one says this.
Matthew 8:1 NIV
1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.
Now, This chapter starts with…when Jesus came down from the mountain. Matthew is referring there to the sermon on the mount. This passage begins right after the famous sermon on the mount.
Now let’s go back and get the full picture of what Matthew has going on here. Let’s go all the way back to Matthew chapter 4.
The verse I started with was Matthew 4.23
Matthew 4:23 NIV
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Ok SO Matthew lays out what he is going to show us here. Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Then Matthew writes this...
Matthew 4:24 NIV
24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.
Matthew makes a point to tell us about these healing from illnesses, and demon possessions, and as a result large crowds start coming. this crowd was gathering to get from God what they Could not get for themselves. The things they wanted the things they needed. It os not wrong to be desperate for relief from pain or illness, or disease or any of life’s problems, God wired us that way he knows, and He is providing, so these people are drawn to Jesus and they see these miracles and they are thinking wow. What is going on, What movement of God is this... then Jesus teaches them.
ANd chpater 5 begins with the Sermon on the mount. For the next three chapters Matthew records Jesus’s teachings, probably just some of the teachings by the way. The sermon on the mount has been widely recognzed by CHristians and non-Christians aloke as one of the greatest sermons ever. The moral teachings are un-paralleled as Jesus gives us some of widely used quotes as blessed are the peacemakedrs , and You are the salt of the earth. and you are the light of the worldLove your enemies,…We recite the words of the Lord’s prayer every service from Mt 6, and do not worry., don;t judge others, seek and you shall find the narrow and the wode gate. Wise and foolish builders.
WOw what a great sermon. ANd we are not the only ones who are thinking these things this is what the people thought who heard him as well. the verses following the words of Jesus Matthew wrtites this.
Matthew 7:28–29 NIV
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Becasue he taught as one who had authority.....He had this authority of God since the miracles demonstrated that this was something not from natural means, but must be from God.
Now as I said earlier, there must be something that carries the the authority that validates the authenticity of the message. If caused the disciples and others to hold to the teachings of Christianity in the face of death and tirture. Churches across the centuries have been persecuteds and yet believers do not renounce the faith WOuld people be willing to die for simply goo teachings?
on screen no read
Matthew 8:1 NIV
1 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.
So when Jesus finished teaching these large crowds followed, and then
Matthew 8:2 NIV
2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
And this man comes up to him and kneels before him. This man perhpas heard the stories, and now sees this large crowd coming down following Jesus. ANd he has leporsy. Leporsy could mean any one of a number of contagious skin conditions. He is of course a social outcast as well as a spiritual outcast. It is really the worst of the worst, becasue you are kept out of the entire social sturcture. You are kept from temple and you in a state of physical and well spiritual seperation from God.
So possibly this man did not hear any of the sermon on the mount at all or maybe he did but at a distance. SOme of those things while certainly important and helpful teachings in reality at the end of the day had very little effect on this man’s life. I mean after all what good it to him to learn about tithing and giving to the poor when He in fact is the poor, and to call God his Father, that is great for those that get to temple but this guy is spiritually seperated as well.
SO he has no choice, he kneels before Jesus, perhaps not fully realizing the full extent of who Jesus is- maybe but perhaps just thinking this guy is from God and can do miracles, and he knells, and knows that the ability to be healed lies with Jesus
So he says to Jesus I’m in this spot-I can’t get out- I amybe stuck here but Jesus look-if you are willing you can. He is not demanding, Lord make me clan, or Lord tell me what I have to do and I’ll pay money or put in 40 hours of volunteer time, it is not a barter, He just comes to jesus and says Jesus it is in your hands, My life is in your habds,
Matthew 8:3 NIV
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Jesus then reaches out and touches this guy. He crosess the physical boundry, He exposes himself to the contagion , he cross the spiritual seperation line the dignity line, the disgusting line he corsses all of them He reaches across every line of the that day and says 2 greek words. 1 for I am willing and 1 for be clean. and the man was cleansed of leporsy.
WIth leporsy you have to cured of the illness, and you have to be cleansed spiritually as well before you are able to be back in spiritual standing.
Matthew 8:4 NIV
4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
SO jesus cures Him and sends him back into the spiritual fellowship.
I want you notice something here, for this guy here. All the teching and learning did not would not and could not bring this man back into a point of being cured and cleansed. The only thing that brough that this man back into the spiritual fellowship and cured him of his disease was an encounter with Jesus.
We can have all the Biblical knowledge in the world we can study the scriptures to no end. We can write and read books on the sermon on the mount, we can have seninary livbraries full of book written over centuries, but unless you have an encounter with Jesus Christ and unless He is the one who cures you cleanses you and bring you back into spiritual fellwoship the teaching means nothing. Then when you encounter Christ, and are brought back, you have the authority of that encounter that gives credence to the teaching. You know is true becasue you encountered Him, and then life and death decisions. for Christ are obvious.
When you encounter Christ and you know the gospel to be true, and real in your life. This man came to Christ humbly, placing his fate and his life in the hands of Christ and he ended up having an encounter with Jesus that Changed his life.
Maybe you desprately need healing or a miracle of some sort. Maybe you cannot fathom why you are facing this thing today, and you jsyt want to fix it or remove it or heal it. He may, or He may not. The truth is we do not all the reason he does things or does not do things. The point isn’t the miracle, the point is that Christ has the suthrotiy, the point is you cannpot be in a situation that Christ cannot reach into. The point is we have to kneel before hIs authroity and put our life and our problems in his hand and be content with the outcome, wether it what we desire or not.
Today if you have been relying on his teaching but have not encountered Him, humble yourself before Him, and place your life in his hands,
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