So there is a story that is told about one of the doctors of the church and that’s none other than St. Augustine. And in one preaching, Charles Spurgeon shares a story that he thinks happened to Augustine, and I quote: “One of the early saints I think it was Augustine had indulged in great sins in his younger days. After his conversion, he met with a woman who had been the sharer of his wicked follies. She approached him willingly and said to him, Augustine, but he ran away from her with all speed. She called after him and said: Augustine, it is I, mentioning her name.. but he then turned around and said: but it is not I. The old Augustine is dead and I am a new creature in in Christ Jesus.” The reason I opened with that story is that a person who truly comes to know the Lord would act like Augustine did when confronted with someone from his past. As he now understands that the life he lives, is not his own, but one he owes to his Saviour, Jesus.
Please turn with me to your Bibles to Matthew chapter 9. We’ll be reading from verses 9 to 17. As we learn from our message entitled Royal calling. Once again, that’s Matthew 9 verses 9 to 17 and I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version. Here now the words of our true and living God..
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
May those who have ears hear the message of the spirit to the church.
So we’re still in our series in the gospel of Matthew. And by way of recap, if we’re dividing Matthew’s presentation of the life of Christ into themes, we may view this section which includes The Sermon on the Mount starting from chapter 5 all the way to our chapter currently which is chapter 9 as talking about or demonstrating the King’s authority. Now if you remember, Matthew wrote his gospel because he wanted to present to the Jews that Jesus was the long promised Messiah that they were waiting for, okay. While Christ demonstrated His authority in terms of knowledge of the word of God, such that the people were astounded because He preach authoritatively in the succeeding stories after The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew carefully presents story after story after story that builds a case that Jesus had supernatural dominion such that no person before or after Him ever had. And this is shown in the story of Christ healing the leper by touching him and then in another case healing the servant of a centurion simply by saying it and from a distance, right. He also healed Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever and then after that, droves of people who were sick were brought to Him and He healed all of them. And we are told that is to fulfill prophecy. And then, and so we see that Jesus exercised sovereignty over sickness. But it doesn’t stop there. Matthew also described Jesus’ absolute power over nature. When Jesus stopped the storm, the wind and the waves by a simple command.. and they obeyed. And then Jesus also has power over the spiritual realm that even the demons tremble and obey Him. And then last week we saw Jesus even has the power to forgive sin; a power that is reserved to God and God alone. And this presentation of Jesus being the forgiver of sin, Matthew demonstrated also by telling his testimony or by sharing his own story of how Jesus saved him.
And so that is our passage for this morning. A sin is the root of man’s problem and it’s also the reason for man’s separation with God. Then this specific power of Christ is of utmost significance. Matthew also makes a contrast between God’s radical call and offer of forgiveness with man’s futile efforts to commend himself before God or to gain acceptance and forgiveness before God. And so in some, our passage for this morning is about Christ forgiving the worst of sinners and the radical life change that it brings. And so our message for this morning is this: Christ call results in salvation that brings a total life change and trans transformation. Once again, Christ call results in salvation that brings a total life change and transformation. Ang tawag ni Kristo ay nagre-resulta ng kaligtasan na nagdudulot ng kabuuang pagbabago at transpormasyon.
And we’ll be looking at this in two points. The first one being Regal command. Now Jesus in The Gospel of Matthew is presented as a king and as such, His call is not just a normal request, but is actually a royal command— an edict by a sovereign, so to speak. And therefore, since God ,or since Christ has dominion over all of creation, then Christ’s sovereign call impresses itself upon the very core of man’s being. It impresses itself upon the soul of man. And because Jesus is God, His call brings with it untold blessings and riches which brings us to our next point which is Radical Change. If Christ’s command is a regal command, then it also brings with it a radical change. Jesus did not call people just to improve their life from its present state. Jesus does not merely refurbish lives! But He brings with this call upon a person a new life in him. That’s what we will discuss in the second point.
Before we continue, let us pause for a short word of prayer. Our great God and gracious Father, we thank You for Your faithfulness and gathering us this morning. Lord ,we thank You for everyone who’s here whom you have appointed to hear Your word for this morning. Lord, we also lift up in prayer our brethren who are providentially hindered by one reason or another. I pray that You’ll be the one to allow them to engage in the private means of grace but that You will also be the one to meet them at their need for those who are sick that You will be their healing, for those who have have suffered personal tragedy, that You will be their comfort, that they can also serve as Your comfort to other people when the right time comes. Lord we expect for great and mighty things because we know that You are here with us. I pray that You will cause life transformation to each one of us who will hear your word this morning. We give back all the glory and praise in Jesus’ Name, amen and amen.
So let us begin. Regal Command. So Jesus bids Matthew to follow Him and immediately Matthew obeys. So by this time, Jesus had been in Capernaum for some time. Though the exact time that he spent was not really told to us from the time that He healed the paralytic. But since we know that Jesus was a, was an itinerant preacher, which means that He traveled from place to place, it was time for Him to to move on from this place. And so of course when He’s passing by, when He reached the gate which is where the toll booth is seen for the tax collectors, He sees Matthew and then He approaches Matthew. He talks to him, telling him follow Me. And of course without any hesitation, Matthew obeys. Now we have to understand tax collectors were infamous people in their society. They were the most hated and they were actually considered traitors by their countrymen. In fact in their culture, tax collector equals sinner. That’s how they saw these people. Now you may wonder why is this so? Now of course the time in these times, the Romans were the ones who were ruling them and the Roman wanted to get the benefits of taxes without having to deal with all of the red tape and bureaucracy that is usually accompanying the collection of taxes. So what they did was that they auctioned off the license or the right to levy a tax in regions. Now, of course if you auction something off, the people that will be able to put a bid or place something that will be acceptable to you, would be the elite; it would be the ruling class, it would be people who have the money, right. And what they usually do is they buy the license. So parang meron silang franchise to be the one authorised to be the B.I.R of that particular place, and what they do is they hire the local people so that these local people will be the ones to tax their brethren, okay. And the Romans, the way they set up their system so that it’s efficient based on the trade and commerce of that place, they set an amount that will have to be remitted to them each time. So let’s say sasabihin nila: itong lugar na ito 1 million gold coins, yun na yung kanila; they don’t care how you come up with that amount. They don’t care what kind of taxes you will ask from people, they only care that when it’s time for them to get that money, you remit that money to them. Having that system, you already know where it goes. It’s prone to abuse, di ba? Kasi kung ako yung may target 1 million pero kahit anong amount, pwede kong singilin, pwede ko siyang taasan. Pwede kong gawing 2 million kung hindi naman ako masyadong garapal. Pero kung gusto ko talaga silang pahirapan, pwede kong gawin yung tax para sa buong lugar – 3 million, 4 million or even higher. And whatever is in-excess of what is needed by Rome, akin yun, kita ko yun, okay. So that was their system. In a system that encourages heavy taxation where the collector is backed by the might and authority of Rome, publicans or tax collectors have a tendency to abuse their power as there was no way to regulate the taxes and no way to ask for fairness in dealing with tax collectors. The people hated them. Kasi kausap mo lang yung tax collector eh. Sasabihin nung tax collector pag tingin sa iyo, hmm..mukhang kaya nitong mas mahal eh. Sige, bayaran mo ‘ko 500 gold coins. Yun na yung tax mo.
Tax collectors were social pharias. They were not welcomed in polite society so to speak. In fact, they were not allowed in synagogues. And so their social circles are limited to their fellow tax collectors, or to prostitutes, or to criminals. Yung mga unwanted ng society, yung mga social outcast, yung mga tinatawag na scum of society, yung mga kino-consider na mga kriminal. Yun yung mga ka-uri nila. If they were to be compared with anything else, sa society, yung level ng tax collectors, unclean animals. Ganun sila kababa. And Matthew was one of those people. When Christ called Matthew to follow Him, Christ was asking Matthew not merely to be His disciple. He was asking Matthew to leave the life that he completely knew. This was not an easy decision to make. After all, Jesus traveled from place to place. So to follow Christ would mean to abandon his source of livelihood and security. After all, one cannot simply walk away and then go back to a job that is highly sought after and wanted. So here’s the paradox with their society: they hate tax collectors but it’s a very sought-after job. They’re willing to be social pharias just as long as they become rich. If anyone resigns from being a tax collector, 50 to 100 people are more than willing to take their place. Imagine that! And so if Matthew were to follow Christ, it was a call to poverty. After all, Jesus did not promise any kind of salary. In fact in an earlier passage, Jesus already said foxes have holes, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head. Jesus Himself, His ministry depended on the hospitality and the generosity of the people in the cities and towns that He visited. So wala Siyang maibibigay na pera kahit katiting o katumbas nung pwedeng kitain ni Matthew. Now, isipin nyo po ito: yung mga ibang disciples, for example sina Peter, Andrew, James and John, fishermen sila. Nung namatay si Kristo, ano’ng ginawa nila? Bumalik sila sa trabaho nila di ba? Naging fishermen uli sila. Sa tax collector, walang ganung klaseng safety net. Pag iniwanan niya yun, yun na yun. That’s it! No fall back plan. And yet with no hesitation, without protest or complaint, sabi pa nga sa Luke 5, “leaving everything he rose and followed him” Pansinin niyo po ito..when Christ approached him, he was already working. So chances are, meron na siyang pera dun sa table, meron na siyang nakolekta. Pag tinawag ka ni Kristo, sinabi ni Kristo sa iyo, uy sundan mo ako… siguro maiisip mo, ay sige Lord..tapos kukunin mo lahat ng mga nakolekta mo di ba kasi huling pagkakataon na ito. And yet Matthew did not do that! It says here: leaving everything! Lahat ng ma nakalagay doon, wala siyang pinansin. Nung tinawag siya ni Kristo, tumayo sya, sinundan niya si Kristo. And in doing that, we find the Royal call of Christ brings salvation to sinners. To the point na kinalimutan niyang lahat ng pangangailan niya sa lupa. Yung naiintindihan niya, kailangan ko ito, susundan ko ‘tong si Kristo. Ito yung pinaka-inaasam ng kaluluwa ko. Ito yung hinahanap ko, matagal na. Hindi kayang ibigay ng kayamanan. Hindi kayang ibigay ng pera. Paano natin masasabi? How can we say that Matthew was so happy and joyous with his decision? By what happens next — he throws a celebration! There was no tinge of regret, there were no second thoughts in his actions. He gave a party in honour of Christ and then he invited all the unwanteds of society.. all the criminals and the sinners na mga kaibigan niya. You know that Matthew is joyful with his decision and that he was truly saved? Because he throws a party in Christ’s honour. He did not grieve for the things that he lost, but he celebrated whatever it was that he gained that moment.
And so here was Christ and his disciples having fellowship with Matthew and his friends as well as other sinners and people. But not everyone was excited to learn of this. The Pharisees and the scribes ask his disciples why does he fellowship with sinners? And the way that they phrase it, it was a rhetorical question. They didn’t really want to know the answer. Why does he hang out with the losers? Why does he enjoy the company of the wicked? And it was asked with the intention of planting doubt in the minds of the disciples. And you know that they didn’t really care for the answer. You know why? They didn’t ask Christ the question. They asked the disciples. Bakit? Kasi their earlier interaction with Christ, napahiya sila because Christ revealed the sinfulness of their hearts.
Naalala ninyo nangyari last week? Sinabi nila, sino itong taong ito, that he forgives sin? And then Christ called them out. And so now this time, hindi na nila tinanong si Kristo, yung tinanong nila yung disciples. O dito na tayo, hindi nila alam ito, hindi nila ito masasagot. Kaya natin silang i-bully, mas matalino tayo sa kanila. In their minds, they were thinking the Messiah would not be caught dead hanging out with the wicked. But will instead affirm and strengthen the righteous, namely us, the Pharisees, the scribes, the teachers of the law. Surely this guy who enjoys parting with the wicked, He cannot be the Messiah! Because if He is, He would condemn them and then He would instead be best friends with us. He would love us, He would side with us. And it is in this section of Matthew that the rejection of the Pharisees and the scribes begins to firm up. Before that, they were cautious, they’re trying to weigh in their minds what to make of Christ. But by this point, they were starting to reject Him. And this rejection will culminate in their resolve to kill Him a couple of chapters later. Now of course their question has to be answered. Why does doesn’t He fellowship with us?
Simple lang naman yung sagot eh. Number one, wala namang nag-imbita sa kanila sa Kaniya, di ba? Why would they even ask that question, they don’t even want to invite Him. They don’t want to fellowship with Him. So medyo kalokohan yung tanong na ‘yon! Second, sinabi ko na ito kanina— they were embarrassed because Christ can read them. Kitang-kita ng Diyos yung laman ng puso nila and Christ always rebukes them for it. But what happens? Jesus heard them and so he answered the Pharisees saying those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. Then He sharply rebukes them! Go learn this: I desire mercy and not sacrifice for I came not to call the righteous but sinners.
This short answer of Christ actually demolished their arguments by pointing to science, by pointing to scripture and and also by pointing to Christ’s reason for being here; His purpose or what Christ set out to do in referencing science.
Christ talks about medicine. The healthy people do not need a doctor. Sick people do! It would not make sense for a doctor to be preoccupied with taking care of all the healthy people when the sick are getting sicker and dying. That’s essentially what He was saying! He used logic. He was telling them these sinners that you don’t want to be friends with, that you avoid, that you do not welcome in your assembly, they are the ones who need my help the most. They are the ones who need my forgiveness the most. So it would not make sense for me to spend time with those who see themselves as healthy. He also referenced scripture. He quoted Hosea 6 6, now you know the story of Hosea? He married a prostitute named Gomer and God commanded him to do that because his marriage to Gomer would image Christ’s fidelity even as Gomer or Israel continually kept on cheating against Him. And then God is saying I desire mercy not sacrifice. You who see yourselves as healthy, you are quick to condemn, and yet you do not offer them a solution when you think you have it in the palm of your hands. Ang galing niyong mag-condemn. Sa tingin niyo alam niyo yung way to eternal life. And yet, kinokondena niyo lang sila. Hindi niyo sila inaangat, hindi niyo sila tinuturuan..eto yung paraan upang mailapit rin kayo sa Diyos.
And then referencing what Jesus set out to do, Jesus says I came to save sinners and called them to repentance and faith. The Sermon on the Mount is proof positive that the kingdom is open for those who would repent and turn to Christ. But it is not for those who are righteous as the Pharisees were kasi nga ang sabi ni Kristo: your righteousness must exceed those of the Pharisees for you to enter My kingdom. So what is the challenge for us in all of this? That we should take comfort that in our great sin, we have an even greater Saviour. Alam niyo po nakakalungkot yung nangyari sa mga Pharisees ano? Kasi sinasabi ni Jesus di ba, the righteous I came to call the sinners and not the righteous. But He was actually using their folly against them. Bakit? Kasi yung righteousness naman ng mga Pharisees na ‘to, self-righteousness lang naman heh. At the end of the day, they were in an in an even worse spot than those sinners that they were mocking. Bakit? The sinners at least were honest about their situation. We are the scum of society, we are the unwanted. People will not fellowship with us, we’re not welcome in the assembly. We can’t even worship with others! And so we find solace in ourselves. Ganito kami eh! Makasalanan kami. And yet because they had no pretensions, because they were honest about the situations of their lives and of their souls, they were the ones who had an opportunity to fellowship with the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Dahil sila yung hindi nag-kubli nung totoong kalagayan ng kanilang mga puso, sila yung nagkaroon ng pagkakataong makasalamuha ang Diyos na Tagapagligtas.
Matthew’s testimony is proof that Christ’s grace is greater than our sins.
Matthew was a societal outcast. People were not allowed to associate with him. His word or testimony is unacceptable or inadmissible in their Jewish courts.
Ganun siya ka-walang kapangyarihan kahit na makapangyarihan siya in some sense by being a tax collector. Yet for the worst of the worst in their society, Christ showed great concern and mercy. Matthew received grace just like each one of us when Christ saved us from our sin. And because in our great sin, Jesus is greater. We have to make sure that we are truly following Him as He commands us to do so. We’re not talking about cheap grace here. Karamihan sa mundo yung mga nagpapakilala kay Kristo, they offer cheap grace. ‘Basta tanggapin niyo lang Siya! Tanggapin niyo lang Siya; say this prayer, say the magic words and then you can continue on with your life knowing that because you said that, may fire Insurance ka na, ligtas ka na, welcome ka na sa langit.’
When Christ calls us to Himself, we are called to leave everything behind. Don’t say you follow Christ and take for yourself the spoils of dishonest gains. Don’t say you follow Christ and yet have no sense of urgency to leave or abandon your old ways of living and thinking. Don’t say you follow Christ and yet expect the way that you live to be the same as before you met Him. We must take a sober and honest assessment if in being a recipient of grace, we exhibit God’s grace. And if in walking with Christ, we truly love His church. If we enjoy the fellowship of the brethren, if we are excited to ascend the Mount of the Lord every Lord’s day, to partake of Christ every supper, and if we devote ourselves to prayer. To pursuing good works, not because by doing so we will be made right with God. But because we know that God prepared good works beforehand for us to walk in them. Being called to follow God means His grace changes us. Sabi sa scriptures: His grace trains us to renounce worldliness and ungodly passions in order to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. Experiencing God’s forgiveness doesn’t make us think to ourselves: ‘Oh I can sin all the more so grace will increase all the more’. That’s not the right way of thinking. But rather, God’s love would compel us to live in obedience to His word. To pursue being holy as God is holy. That in a world that evangelises us: follow your heart. We deny our sinful desires. You know world where feelings and happiness is the standard of even spirituality. We lean instead on the truth of the word of God.
And in a culture where it is heralded— love is love and love wins— we say God is love, and not only that; love does not rejoice with evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects always, trusts always hopes, always perseveres and it never fails. Being saved by so great a Saviour means we exhibit a radical change in our lives… which brings us to our next point.
Jesus was questioned as to the conduct and spiritual disciplines of His disciples. So after the Pharisees were rebuffed, another group asked a question of Christ and they’re identified as the disciples of John. And by John, they mean the cousin of Jesus John the baptiser, okay. Now we need to understand by this
point in time, John the Baptiser already instructed his disciples. Christ, He must increase but I must decrease. And so this may explain the reason why these people were not with him but we’re already with Christ’s group. But for some reason, they’re still not identified as disciples of Christ. They’re still identified as disciples of John, okay. Which meant that they practiced fasting as a matter of spiritual discipline, similar to how the Pharisees in their day did it. And the question of course while reasonable shows their mindset as normative to the religious understanding of their day. So yung pag-iintindi nila, di ba napag- usapan natin ito. Meron silang mga pious acts that were viewed as meritorious if they do it. Ano po’ng mga ito? It’s giving, praying, and then fasting. Kaya nga experts yung mga Pharisees in doing all of these things in public, kasi nga pakitang-tao sila, okay. This being an honest question, you can see that Christ was a little bit more gentle with them. Hindi antagonistic ang pag-sagot ni Kristo sa kanila. Kasi ayos naman yung tanong nila eh. Iba yung pagkakaintindi nila.
They just wanted to know how is it that your disciples do not fast? Jesus answers that the wedding guests can’t mourn while the bridegroom is still with them. But when the bridegroom is taken away, then that is the proper time to fast. And in this, Jesus already foretells His death. And even after that, of His ascension, and that in between His ascension, and His eventual return, there is a time wherein His people will long for His return. And that would be a proper time to fast ,that will be a proper time to practice disciplines in anticipation of Christ’s return.
Jesus then illustrates what He’s doing. What He is doing is not a reformation of Judaism. But what he’s doing is ushering in the New Covenant that has been promised long beforehand, okay. And He does this by using illustrations.
Dalawang illustrations ang ginamit ni Kristo. Una, the illustration of the new cloth and the old garment. And then of wine— new wine and new wine skin versus old wine skins, okay. The illustration of clothing, it’s about patching an old garment with a new cloth. But what happens is of course if the new cloth shrinks, it pulls away at the old garment and it tears making the damage even bigger. So sa wine skins naman, you can’t put new wine in old wine skins because if you put new wine in old wine skins, it will ferment, it will produce alcohol and gases and because the old leather is already stretched to its maximum, when the gas start to accumulate, the wine skin will burst, okay. And the point of Christ in those two examples is really the same. That fixing the religion was not a matter of merely introducing reforms. Hindi lang ito okay, sige, imbes na dalawang fasting niyo in a given week, gawin nating tatlo, hindi ganun. Their tradition must be abandoned for them to even consider and accept what Jesus offers. Another way of looking at it is that here is something that Christ is offering them, but the problem is they’re already holding on to tightly to their tradition. And until and unless they let go that, they won’t be able to receive what Christ is offering them. Yung yung kailangan nating maintindihan dito. Christ’s salvation brings new life and not an improvement of a currently existing one. When Jesus makes mention of the two illustrations, He is bringing to the mind of His listeners what the Old Testament promised about God bringing in a New Covenant. We know that the Jews were unable to fully obey God when God made a covenant with them. And so there was a time in Jeremiah that God spoke to them, and this is what God promised them Jeremiah 31: 31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
What we have to understand— Jesus’s Incarnation was not to bring about a mere reformation to Judaism. It was to establish the promised New Covenant. So while their tradition of fasting is that it is a meritorious act and therefore must be observed regularly, Jesus was saying not so many words— that has no place in the gospel. That has no place in you being reconciled to God. It is not your works, it is not your good works that will enable you to stand before the holy God. Rather it is my gospel, my message: repent of your sins and turn to Me. And it is also His atoning work that is everything necessary for one to be reconciled to God. Jesus was foreshadowing with His statement the coming kingdom of God that will not be confined to one nation or ethnicity or even a locality. Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual, it’s not political. Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, it’s not religious. There’s no longer a heavy curtain that will separate men from God. It will be torn down and there will be a Mediator that will reconcile you to God. And while it was also true that during the time, this question was asked, it was a time of rejoicing. We have to ask ourselves then, what about us now since Christ has ascended but He has not yet returned? Christ’s absence means that we are in that time that Jesus says it is appropriate to fast. It is appropriate to anticipate the return of the Bridegroom. Because while Jesus is victorious over sin and death, He already warned us that in this world, our lives will not be smooth sailing. Jesus said in this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world. In the same matter that our victorious and reigning King earned His victory by way of suffering in the same way that Jesus triumph over sin and death. through agony and pain unimaginable and incomparable. We, as his followers, are expected to follow Him and to enjoy the privilege to be found worthy to partake in His suffering.
Christ did not promise us an easy life. He did not promise us a life free for from pain. But hHe promised that whatever happens, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. We might not have an easy life, but Christ’s abiding presence will be with us every step of the way. And so in light of this truth, the challenge before us is this: for us to Submit Humbly To Trials And Temptations And Testings Knowing Full Well That God Works All Things For Our Good. And I think this challenge resonates with a lot of us today. After all in the past weeks and even now, there are many of us who’ve been stricken with illness. Or if you’re not someone who experienced that personally, a family friend or a loved one or a relative or an extended family was someone who got sick or who got hurt. And so naiintindihan mo ito. There are some of us as well who have experienced accidents or unexpected negative situations. Meron ding naka-experience ng family problems. And I’m not here to belittle anyone’s situation. And I’m not here to say something trite like oh, lalampas din yan! No. I’m here to sympathise with every one of you. But I know that we know that God is sovereign. But knowing that God is sovereign does not mean our hardship is automatically diminished. It doesn’t mean that the burden suddenly disappears. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden we’re exempted from going through the trials by God’s grace.
But what we need to understand: whatever it is that we are experiencing right now, brethren, I want you to understand this thing: if you are are in Christ, the hardship that you are going through is not an indication of God’s affection or love towards you. Baka kasi isipin natin grabe Lord, itong pinagdadaanan namin; may galit Ka ba sa amin? May galit Ka ba sa akin? If you are in Christ, God’s love and affection towards you is constant. Don’t doubt that. But our situation may be God’s grace and providence showing us the hidden idols that we have in our hearts. It may be God’s way of graciously revealing our hidden sin or the pride that we may have or our so-called respectable sins that we have yet to mortify. And so huwag nating sayangin yung oras na ito. Kung meron mang naipapakita Yung pinagdadaanan natin na mga bagay na kailangan nating isuko sa Diyos o kailangan nating ipako sa Kanyang krus, gawin natin yun!
It will it may also be a way of God stripping us of our dependence or our seeming dependence on the material comforts or the privileges that we are enjoying right now. Paalala lang ni Lord: at the end of the day, all these things that you are enjoying, all these things that you are using, all these things that you have, they’re passing joys! They’re fading away. And if you want to know what is true joy, superior joy, everlasting happiness, that’s none other than Jesus Himself. It is Christ telling us when everything is taken away, I am enough. One thing we can be sure of is that in the midst of whatever situation we find ourselves in, Christ is not far away from us. Christ is also not unsympathetic to our pain. Huwag nating isipin porke’t nakaupo Siya sa Kaniyang trono, hindi na Niya naiintindihan yung mga pinagdadaanan natin. Christ is never removed from our human experience. Christ knows and understands us in a way that a human being could. Kasi nagkatawang tao Siya. He incarnated. But more than that, and even better than that, Christ know knows each one of us intimately as only God can. Sarap nun! Kilala ka Niya, naiintindihan ka Niya, hindi lang bilang tao, pero bilang Diyos din.
And God, this is the promise from His word, will work all things together for our good according to His purpose. He is concerned for us and understands us and Christ can bring relief to our suffering. Pwede mo Siyang iyakan. And if we ask Him, He will be the one to carry us when we are down and can’t go on. And He will also be the one to raise us up and rejuvenate and renew our emotions when we allow Him to. Now, if you’re listening to this and you realise, ano nga ba yung katayuan ko sa Diyos? Hindi ako sigurado. Friend, if you find yourself realising that you are not yet in Christ but that you have been leaning in your own righteousness, trusting in your own good works, I urge you by the mercies of God abandon that hope! Kalimutan mo na iyan! Minamahal ka ng Diyos! He’s giving you an opportunity this moment not to lean on your own understanding and not to lean in your own righteousness like the Pharisees did, but to call upon the name of Christ. Repent of your sin and trust fully in Him. Habang may buhay pa kapatid, kaibigan, gawin mo ‘to. Huwag mong sayangin yung pagkakataon.
Nangungusap si Kristo sa iyo sa oras na ito. God is holy and so He will judge everyone by His standard of holiness. If Jesus can save a great sinner like Matthew, then He can also save you from your sin. Siguro naman hindi ka kasing-lala niya. Christ offers forgiveness, transformation, eternal life to all who repent
of their sin and turn in trust to Him. We don’t have to look far in history to find a believer who humbly submitted himself to trials and suffering than St. Matthew himself. Alam ko po, wala tayong masyadong alam kay St. Matthew sa kung ano’ng nangyari sa ministry niya, okay. But extra biblical sources tell us that he laboured in Parthia and in Ethiopia in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadaba in AD 60, okay. Namatay ho si St. Matthew through martyrdom by being struck with a halberd while he was preaching the gospel in present day Iran. He was someone who faithfully submitted himself to trials and he counted himself blessed to be found worthy to partake of Christ’s suffering.
Brethren as we end, in Christ we are given a new life reconciliation with God and promise and eternity with Him. Christ’s call is but the beginning of a lifelong journey to be like Him, in Him. Endure patiently and walk faithfully because in the end is waiting for us our blessed hope Himself, Jesus our eternal portion and reward, and in this may Jesus cause all of us to be faithful.Let us pray. Great God and gracious Father, we thank You once again for Your faithfulness in our lives. Lord, maraming salamat sa Inyong paalala at paanyaya sa bawat isa sa amin na Kayo po ang Diyos na tumatawag ho sa amin na talikuran ang aming kasalanan at sumunod sa Inyo. At maraming salamat na ginawa po Ninyo ito sa karamihan sa amin. O, Diyos, para po sa mga taong nakikinig ngayon na hindi po sigurado sa kanilang katayuan sa Inyo sa Ngalan ni Hesus, hinihiling ko po… I pray oh God that You’d be the one to sovereignly call them. That You’ll be the one to impress on their soul their need of a Saviour. Lord, I pray that as You call them sovereignly, they would respond in humility. Lord, tulungan Ninyo ang bawat isa sa amin that we would continue to mortify sin, that we would continue to entrust ourselves even as You allow us to undergo suffering. That we would always remember that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us a glory that far outweighs them all. And so Lord, help us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Sustain us for the rest of the day. Be with us Lord. In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen and amen.