Gospel of Matthew Sermon and Lesson Outlines

Posted: March 4, 2012 in New Testament
Tags: , , ,

Passage: Matthew 6:19-24 and Matthew 20:20-28

Reason for Choosing Passage:

There’s a larger connection with the whole of Matthew’s description of two kingdoms warring against one another.  I think this passage is one of the hermeneutical keys for understanding the difference between earthly empires and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Audience: Piedmont Church of the Nazarene (mixed audience)

Purpose: Preaching

Outline:

I.            The Power of Empire

  1. Rome
  2. Herod
  3. Tax Collectors
  4. Roman Soldiers

II.            Hoped for Power of Deliverance

  1. Exodus – God’s Past Deliverance
  2. Covenant Hope – Messiah

i.      Descendent of Abraham

ii.      Davidic King

iii.      New Moses

  1. Misunderstandings of Messiah

i.      Not another Maccabean Revolt

III.            A Mother’s Request for Improper Power

  1. Place of Power and Prestige
  2. Men of Action
  3. Jealousy and Discord

IV.            God’s Picture of Power

  1. Servanthood

i.      Jesus Came to Serve

ii.      The Crucifixion

  1. Equality – Do Not Lord It Over Others (Matt.

V.            Storing Up Treasure (Matt. 6:19-21)

  1. Two Kingdoms, Two Options (Matt. 6:24)
  2. Blessed are the… (Matt. 5:3, 10)

Exegetical Content:

            Empire exists for itself and its own self-propagation.  Once an institution does this, it quite often lives in opposition to God’s life-giving, life-blessing design for Creation.  Rome and its pawns follow this pattern of destructive behavior.  People are commodities and resources to use up for their own comfort and power.

Israel finds themselves once again under an oppressive regime, enslaved.  They look forward to a day of deliverance, one like they had experienced in the Exodus and remembered each Passover.  The Maccabean revolt had also been a deliverance of similar magnitude.  Judas Maccabeus used his military prowess to defeat the enemies that had desecrated the Temple.  But, it had only been a momentary reprieve.  Now, the people waited in hopeful expectation for the Messiah to come again and deliver God’s people.  They looked forward to another Judas-like leader to come and lead Israel to deliverance.

            James and John’s mother asks Jesus for a favor: that her two sons would be seated in the place of power and prestige by Jesus’ side.  James and John were men of action: Sons of Thunder.  They were ready to act and join in the military coup.  But, they don’t fully understand God’s Kingdom coming.

God’s use of power is inherently and vastly different than Empire’s use of power.  God empowers Creation.  God limits God’s power.  Jesus’, as God’s divine representative, models this picture of proper power.  Jesus comes to serve, cares for the least of these, and is ultimate obedient unto death.  He uses the power granted him to give life, rather than to use people to serve his own means.

The Beatitudes reflect the tension between these two kingdoms: Empire and God’s Kingdom.  Where are treasure is that is where our heart is also.  We cannot have divided loyalties.  We either serve one master or the other, not both.  That ultimately means that power cannot be the end goal.  Rather, it is a tool in which we reflect God.  To maintain power, to seek “earthly riches”, and to serve something other than God is to choose a master that then enslaves us.  James and John want earthly types of power because they don’t fully comprehend God’s Kingdom come.  That Kingdom is found in the “poor of spirit” and in those who are “persecuted because of righteousness.”

Bibliography:

Blomberg, Craig. Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1997. Print.

Borg, Marcus J. Conflict, Holiness & Politics in the Teachings of Jesus. New York: E. Mellen Press, 1984. Print.

Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print.

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. New York: Geneva P, 1986.

Brueggemann, Walter. (1999). The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity. Christian Century,

116(10), 342.

Fretheim, Terence E. Exodus. New York: Geneva P, 2003.

Gammie, John G. Holiness in Israel. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2005. Print.

Garland, David E. Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Macon: Smyth & Helwys Pub., 2001. Print.

Greenman, Jeffrey P., Timothy Larsen, and Stephen R. Spencer. The Sermon on the Mount through the Centuries: From the Early Church to John Paul II. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007. Print.

Hagner, Donald A. Matthew 1-13. Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1993. Print.

Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1994. Print.

 

Passage: Matthew 7:24-27 and Matthew 2:1-23

Reason for Choosing Passage:

This pericope ends the Sermon on the Mount.  In a way, it summarizes and concludes everything that comes before within the Sermon on the Mount.  However, it also has larger implications for the tension between Jesus and the various power brokers within the Gospels (i.e. Herod).  As such, I want to use this as a hermeneutic to understand the conflict between Jesus’ Kingdom and Herod’s Kingdom.  Ultimately, if one is not in alignment with God’s plan, their “house” is doomed to fall.

Audience:  Piedmont Church of the Nazarene (mixed audience)

Purpose: Preaching

Outline:

  1. Wise and Foolish Builders (Matt. 7:24-27)
    1. The Waters of Chaos (Matt. 7:25, 27)
    2. House Built Upon the Rock (Matt. 7:24-25)

i.      Hear and Obey (v. 24)

ii.      A House that Stands (v. 25)

  1. House Built Upon the Sand (Matt. 7:26-27)

i.      Hear and Disobey (v. 26)

ii.      A House that Falls (v. 27)

  1. Pharaoh and Egypt
    1. Slaughter of the Innocents (Ex. 1)

i.      Anti-Creation Acts (Ex. 1:16)

ii.      Chaos (v. 22)

  1. Death of Pharaoh (Ex. 14)
  2. Herod and Rome
    1. Slaughter of the Innocents (Matt. 2:16-18)

i.      Anti-Creation Acts (v.16)

ii.      Chaos (v. 18)

  1. Death of Herod (v. 19)
  2. God’s World, God’s Way
    1. God Subdues Chaos (Gen. 1:1-2)

i.      Creates Space for Life (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9; 2:3)

  1. Creation: Life-giving, Life-blessing (Gen. 1)

i.      Be Fruitful and Multiply (Gen. 1: 28)

ii.      It is Very Good (Gen. 1: 31)

  1. God Empowers Creation (Gen. 1)

i.      Sun and Moon Govern (Gen. 1: 16-18)

ii.      Human’s Govern (Gen. 1: 28-30)

  1. Stewardship
  2. Acknowledging Our Foundation – The Rock (Matt. 16:16-18)
    1. Peter’s Confession of Messiah (Matt. 16:16)
    2. Church will be Built Upon the Rock of Peter’s Confession (Matt. 16:18)
    3. The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail (Matt. 16:18)

Exegetical Content:

            In order for a house to weather a storm, it is essential that it has a sturdy foundation.  The foundation is the most vital part of a building.  Rock was the surest foundation upon which to set a house.  This was especially true compared to sand, which was likely the worst base a house could have as a foundation.  The waters of chaos are bound to rise up, but will the house stand?

Two archetypes for “faulty foundations” in Matthew 2 are Herod and Pharaoh (by memory of Pharaoh’s slaughter of Israelite males).  These two show the ultimate result of these ways of power and dominion in the world: death and destruction of the innocents.  The treachery and malicious intent of both of these rulers cannot be sustained.  Pharaoh ends up dead by drowning (ironic) and Herod dies and passes his throne (which he had tried to keep at all costs, but ultimately could not defeat death) on to one of his sons.  The “Pharaohs” of the world are doomed to be like houses built on sand.

God’s picture of Kingdom and reign looks drastically different from Herod and Pharaoh.  God subdues chaos, creates space for life, and then fills that space with life.  God then empowers Creation to continue to create life (i.e. be fruitful and multiply).  And, God also shares God’s power with Creation.  He sets the moon and stars to govern over the day and night and he sets humanity in the garden to govern over the whole of Creation.  God’s use of power is inherently different than Pharaoh or Herod: it brings and sustains life.

A solid foundation is based upon the recognition of who is really King.  Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ.  Upon this “foundation” (Rock) Jesus will build the Church.  Upon this recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, the Church will have a sure foundation that will be laid, unshakeable.  Herod and Pharaoh’s houses were doomed to fall because they failed to recognize who was truly God and to use power in ways that were God-like.

Bibliography:

Blomberg, Craig. Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1997. Print.

Borg, Marcus J. Conflict, Holiness & Politics in the Teachings of Jesus. New York: E. Mellen Press, 1984. Print.

Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print.

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. New York: Geneva P, 1986.

Brueggemann, W. (1999). The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity. Christian Century,

116(10), 342.

Fretheim, Terence E. Exodus. New York: Geneva P, 2003.

Gammie, John G. Holiness in Israel. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2005. Print.

Garland, David E. Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Macon: Smyth & Helwys Pub., 2001. Print.

Greenman, Jeffrey P., Timothy Larsen, and Stephen R. Spencer. The Sermon on the Mount through the Centuries: From the Early Church to John Paul II. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007. Print.

Hagner, Donald A. Matthew 1-13. Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1993. Print.

Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1994. Print.

 

Passage: Matthew 5:17-20 and Matthew 7:15-23

Reason for Choosing Passage: 

This is an often quoted passage from the Gospel of Matthew.  I would like to explore some of the possible connections of this pericope within Matthew’s Gospel and the further connections with Moses and Jesus.

Audience: Piedmont Church of the Nazarene (mixed audience)

Purpose: Preaching

Outline:

I.            Law and Prophets (Deut. 6:4-19)

  1. Obedience to the Law (Deut. 5:32-33)
  2. God’s Call to Israel – Be Holy (Lev. 19:2)

i.      God is Holy

ii.      Israel is Called to Holiness

  1. Representing God to the Nations (Ex. 19:5-6)

i.      Royal Priesthood

ii.      Holy Nation

II.            The Prophet Moses (Ex. 3)

  1. Giver of the Law (Ex. 19-20; Deut. 5:1-21)

i.      Teaching from the Mountain

ii.      Decalogue

iii.      Expounding the Decalogue

  1. Deliverance from Enslavement – New Life (Ex. 14)

III.            False Prophets and Disciples (Matt. 7:15-23)

  1. False Fruit (Matt. 5:20; 7:19-23)
  2. Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing (Matt. 7:15)

IV.            A New Prophet Like Moses (Deut. 18:15; Matt. 4:1-11)

  1. True Giver of the Law (Matt. 5:1-2)

i.      Teaching from the Mountain

ii.      Beatitudes

iii.      Expounding the Beatitudes

  1. Deliverance from Enslavement – Repent (Matt. 4:17)

V.            Law and Prophets (Matt. 5:17-20)

  1. Obedience to the Law (Matt. 5:19)
  2. Jesus’ Call to His Disciples – Be Perfect (Matt. 5:48)
  3. Representing God to the Nations (Matt. 5:19, 28:19-20)

Exegetical Content:

Moses, for the Jewish people, was the great prophet and giver of the Law.  He had led Israel out of Egyptian bondage, led them through the wilderness, and was a mediator between God and the people.  Moses traveled up Mt. Sinai and received the Decalogue.  Moses would also regularly meet with God at the tent of meeting and would wear a veil to cover the fading glory of that encounter.  Deuteronomy foretells the coming of a prophet like Moses to lead Israel.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is exhibited as a “new” Moses.  He teaches from a mountain and re-interprets the Law and the Prophets.  He doesn’t negate the Law and the Prophets, but calls for a deeper observance that aims for the purpose of the Law and the Prophets.  And, Jesus teaches this with authority.  Matthew’s Gospel also has Jesus escaping to Egypt to avoid death by a powerful ruler (just like Moses escaped Pharaoh’s slaughter of young Jewish males).  Jesus exits out of Egypt and journeys in the wilderness, just like Israel after being freed from Egyptian bondage.  Matthew is at pains to make as many connections with Jesus and Moses as possible.

Observance of the Law was understood as a primary and important function of the community.  Holiness was of great importance.  Some believed that if all of the Jews observed the Law perfectly, God would send the Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression.  Some envisioned this leader as a Davidic King who would wipe out these overlords.  It was hope in the midst of a desperate reality.

            The Pharisees are in constant tension with Jesus in the book of Matthew.  Pharisees were “aggressive” in their observance of the Law.  Jesus even tells his disciples to obey what the Pharisees teach while on the seat of Moses, but do not do what they do.  We understand from the Sermon on the Mount why this is so.  Namely, the Pharisees have manipulated and distorted the original intentions of Torah, which Jesus comes to restore and re-initiate for God’s people.  The Pharisees seek the recognition of humanity, rather than living out the intentions of the Law to please God.

Jesus re-issues the call originally given at Mt. Sinai to the Israelites.  However, Jesus is now calling his disciples to fulfill Israel’s intended purpose: “be perfect.”  The intentions of the Law will be accomplished without any of it disappearing.  Jesus comes preaching the Kingdom and repentance.  This Sermon is a re-capitulation of the Law back to its God-oriented purpose: to glorify God and make God known to the world through God’s people.  One must not only “know” the Law (as the Pharisees did), but must live by the Spirit of that Law.

Bibliography:

Blomberg, Craig. Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey. Nashville: Broadman &

Holman, 1997. Print.

Borg, Marcus J. Conflict, Holiness & Politics in the Teachings of Jesus. New York: E. Mellen Press, 1984. Print.

Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print.

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. New York: Geneva P, 1986.

Brueggemann, W. (1999). The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity. Christian Century,

116(10), 342.

Fretheim, Terence E. Exodus. New York: Geneva P, 2003.

Gammie, John G. Holiness in Israel. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2005. Print.

Garland, David E. Reading Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary. Macon: Smyth & Helwys Pub., 2001. Print.

Greenman, Jeffrey P., Timothy Larsen, and Stephen R. Spencer. The Sermon on the Mount through the Centuries: From the Early Church to John Paul II. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2007. Print.

Hagner, Donald A. Matthew 1-13. Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1993. Print.

Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1994. Print.

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