Tag Archive for: Ministry

Matthew 18:21-35; 19:1-9

Adult Christian Education

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

Matthew 18:21-35, 19:1-9

pgs.’ 52-53

 

Forgiveness in the Church

  1. Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
    1. Peter comes to Christ with a question, “How often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?”
    2. Jesus response not “up to seven times but up to seventy times seven”

Do not keep track of wrong doings

Parable- story of a man, a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.

Talents- each talent worth approx., six thousand denarii, or six thousand days’ wages for the laborer, 10,000 talents was an extraordinary amount. Debt is unrealistic- billions of dollars in today’s world. Figure is huge because it images the debt of sin we owe to the King of Heaven.

The slaves plea and later actions toward one who owed him 100 denarii (that is just over 3 month wages for the working man, a figure 600,000 times less than he owed the King.)

“Be patient with me and I will repay you”

Reasonable demand of the King to forgive what the man could not do even though his life and family were spared.

Message to us- forgive, forget, move on.

The past is behind us, the future is unknown, live in the joy of the present!

 

  1. Final part of Christ’s journey to Jerusalem (20:17)

Wherever Jesus went, there was the power of God.

  1. Conflict with the Pharisee over Divorce
    1. They ask if it is permitted for a man to dismiss his wife in divorce in every cause. It wans’t a question but a trap.
    2. Jesus Christ refers them to scripture- He who created them Gen 2:24,  a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, so that the two will be one flesh.
  • Pharisee refer to what Moses wrote later in the law

A man shall give his wife a booklet of divorces and dismiss her (Deut. 24:1-3) If divorce is contrary to the will of God, why did Moses

command this? To prevent serial divorces and remarriage of the same women. This was a practice referring to the trading of animals.

  1. Christ rather severe response and acknowledgement not everyone can make room in his heart for his word of teaching.

Matthew 18:10-20

The Gospel of Matthew

12/7/14

Sampson Kasapakis

Matthew 18:10-20

Finding the Lost Sheep

 

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

–Matthew 18:10-14

 

  • This narrative of finding the Lost Sheep can also be found in Luke 15:3-7. Take a look at this version as well.
  • Look at some of the bible passages where we are compared to sheep within parables.

Some examples are: 1 James 2:25, John 10:11-16, John 10:26-30, Matthew 25:31-46

  • What is the symbolic nature of a sheep? How are we like sheep?

 

-“He calls them “sheep” on account of their gentleness, and because they yield fruit and useful things for us, as do sheep, providing wool, which is divine and spiritual protection, and milk, which is the spiritual sustenance of what is needed. The goats are the sinners, for they walk along the precipices and are unruly and fruitless”- Blessed Theophylact

-The Greek word for sheep is πρόβατον. It literally means any four-footed, tame animal accustomed to graze, most common a sheep or a goat; but especially a sheep. The word has a deeper meaning than just that when broken down. The word πρόβατον is a derivative of προβαίνω. When you dissect it you see two words, πρός, from πρός, meaning, toward, and βαίνω, to go, which is really from βάσις, which means a step, or in the verb form, to take a step. When it is broken down like this you can see why we as Gods People are compared to sheep. We are just like sheep, in a manner of we are to take steps towards something, and that something is God.

The weekly challenge: Be a sheep…I know it sounds ridiculous but hopefully after this it wont: “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…”

–Matthew 25:32-34

Matthew 14:1-14

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 40 – 11/30/2014

Fr. John Codis

18:1-14

The Essence of Christian Discipleship

 

Seven qualities can mark the personal relationship of the Christian. They are: humility, responsibility, self-renunciation, individual care, discipline, fellowship, and spirit of forgiveness.

Unless you turn

Christ warns the disciples that they are going in the completely wrong way by asking “who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” This indicates that the disciples had no idea what the Kingdom of Heaven was. Christ said, “Unless you turn.” Focus yourself on forgetting selfish ambitions and a life of service not power.

Become as little children

There are many characteristics in a child which mark the man of the kingdom: the power to wonder, the power to forgive, the innocence, and only to do.

There are three great qualities which make a child the symbol of those who are citizens in the Kingdom.

  1. Humility
  2. Dependence
  3. Trust

“A child’s humility is the pattern of the Christian’s behavior to his fellow man, and the child dependence and trust are the pattern of the Christians attitude towards God, the Father.”

A terrible responsibility

There is nothing more terrible than to destroy someone’s innocence. If we are called to be “as little children,” to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and we destroy others innocence a great weight is laid upon us. It is better to have a large millstone hung around our necks and be drowned in the open sea.

This responsibility is given to us not to teach another to sin!

Yes there is sin within the world. “It is inevitable to avoid temptations in a world which sin has entered; but that does not lessen the responsibility of the man who is the cause of a stumbling-block being placed in the way of a younger person or of a beginner in the faith.”

It is therefore our responsibility to remove the stumbling-blocks never to place them in another’s way.

“In every child there are infinite possibilities for good or ill. It is the supreme responsibility of the parent, of the teacher, of the Christian Church, to see that his dynamic possibilities for good are realized. To stifle them, to leave them untapped, to twist them into evil powers, is sin.”

God’s Love

  1. Individual
  2. Patient
  3. Seeking
  4. Rejoicing
  5. Protecting

Christ will always go after us no matter how far we stray from the path. His love is forever and will always find us.

Matthew 17:9-27

Adult Christian Education

Rev. Christopher T. Metropulos

Matthew 17:9-27

November 23, 2014

pgs.’ 49-50

 

  1. The Descent from the Mountain and healing of the Demonic Child
  2. Takes place after Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. It is good for us to be here.
  3. Request of the Demoniac’s father.
  4. Jesus’s response to the father’s lack of faith- its meaning for him and us.
  5. Disciples lack of faith- not being able to perform the miracle.
  6. Faith of a mustard seed.
  7. Jesus Suffering- the imminent delivery of Christ to be crucified.
  8. Jesus pays the Temple Tax.
  9. Does not your Teacher pay the temple tax?
  10. From whom do the kings of the earth receive custom or poll tax- from their sons or from others? From others. Then the sons are free.

Matthew 16:24-17:1-8

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 38 – 11/16/2014

Sampson Kasapakis

16:24-17:1-8

 

Bible Passage:

16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us [a] make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”While he was still speaking, behold, a cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

What it means to take up our Cross:

  • Today and every day are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow a life towards Christ.
  • When we look at the literal definition of denying oneself, it is defined as a refrain from satisfying one’s desires and needs.
  • One of the early Church Fathers, Caesarea of Arles, says, “Just as we are lost through loving ourselves, so we are found by denying ourselves.”
  • Looking at the Greek text, the words that are used for taking up our cross are “ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.” Aράτω can mean to take up or away, but what is more interesting is that it is similar to the Hebrew word nasa’ which means to expiate sin, remove sin.

The Meaning of the Transfiguration of our Lord:

  • It was a lesson for the disciples about who Jesus was.
  • The Transfiguration occurred to show the true authority of Jesus Christ.
  • It confirmed that the Kingdom of the Messiah would be characterized by glory.
  • It is the key to understanding the Cross of Jesus and His commitment to it.

Matthew 16:16-20

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 37 – 11/9/2014

Fr. John Codis

16:16-20

Jesus is Christ the Son of God

 

“But who do you say that I am?”

Peter was the first man on earth, whom it was revealed to him by the Father, to proclaim Christ as The Son of the Living God.

The revelation of the Messiah and His true purpose could not be realized through flesh and blood men; it could only come through divine revelation.

“You are Peter, and on this rock”

Christ will build His Church on such a rocklike “confession of faith” as Peters.

Peter is the rock – not in himself, but insofar as he embodies the Church’s confession.

Theodore of Mopsuestia says “This means he will build his church upon this same confession of faith.”

“I will build my church”

The church in this sense is not a building an institution with organizations, buildings, offices, services and meetings, it is understood here as a “gathering assembly.” Christ refers to the gathering of His disciples as “they meet to form and constitute the renewed messianic Israel,” the new Israel.

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven”

Peter is made the steward of the Kingdom with “authority to administer God’s house.” He will be responsible and given the great power and blessing to open the doors for thousands upon thousands of people.

Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

“Christ declares that His disciples, gathered in community, have power to speak with the voice of God. To join the Church is to receive the Kingdom, and to oppose it is to war against the Most High.”

“Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no on that He was Jesus the Christ.”

To tell people that Christ was the Messiah was to spark rebellion against the Roman Empire. Christ did not want that to happen yet. The time would be the Cross and Resurrection.

Conclusion

Peter was given the great revelation of the truth about Jesus Christ; the responsibility and privilege. It is a revelation that we all have the ability to see and comprehend and when we are given it, the same privilege and the same responsibility will be laid upon us.

Matthew 14: 1-12

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 3 – 9/28/2014

Sampson Kasapakis

Matthew 14:1-12

Herods Fears

 

Intro: Story-“Young and the Restless, General Hospital, One Life to live…”

Meaning of the story: The importance of knowing the people of the Bible passage, who they really are, and what their role is in the Bible passage.

Transition: Today we are going to talk about the two main people in this bible passage we will cover today. We will cover what their roles are and how they are different.

Herod the Tetrarch

1. Generally known as Herod the Tetrarch or Herod Antipas. Caesar Augustus of Rome ratified Herod’s position as tetrarch when his father, Herod the Great had died and his kingdom was divided into four parts.

2. There are plenty of Herods throughout the Bible. This one is not to be confused with:

a. Herod the Great, his father, who ruled when Jesus was born – Mt 2:1,3,19

b. Herod Agrippa I (nephew), who killed James in Acts 12:1-2

c. Herod Agrippa II (grand-nephew), before whom Paul appeared in Acts 26:1

3. His “Accomplishments” as Tetrarch: Governed Galilee and Perea for 42 years (4 B.C. – 39 A.D.), Built the cities of Sepphoris, Tiberias, and oversaw other projects, Imprisoned and executed John the Baptist (Mk 6:14-29), Sought to kill Jesus because He described Herod as “that fox” in (Lk 13:31-32), Later mocked Jesus prior to His death, which led to friendship with Pilate (Lk 23:7-12)

4. Herod had the potential and power to be a great man. But those in positions of power often have personal failings. Such was true of Herod Antipas since he was easily manipulated.
St. John the Baptist:

A. He was faithful to the Word:

1. His message was a call to lead everyone to repentance Mt 3:1-2

2. He did not back away from pointing out the sins of the king since Herod had married his brother’s wife, Herodias. It was an unlawful marriage for several reasons: a) Philip was still living, making it adultery b) She was Herod’s niece c) The Law prohibited marrying a brother’s wife – Lev 18:16; 20:21

3) Rather than change his message to accommodate the king, John was willing to go to prison and ultimately die for the Word of God!

 

Conclusion:

The difference between them: Fear! Let us think to ourselves, what is our deepest fear?

 

Ending Quote from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Matthew 13:51-53

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 31 – 9/21/2014

Seraphim Danckaert

13:51-53

Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there”

1. This is Jesus’ “exam” after his course on the Kingdom of Heaven. He preached seven parables, each revealing a different facet of what the Kingdom is and what it means to say “Thy Kingdom come!”

2. Jesus’ concluding statement in this exam is that we must be like a steward bringing forth from the treasure entrusted to us both “new and old things.” This statement is unique to the Gospel of Matthew, and is a summary of what the Gospel of Matthew is all about.

3. This statement is the key to how we should read the Bible today. In reading the Bible, we too must be “scribes” — but a specific kind of scribe: the kind Jesus calls for here.

4. Bringing forth both “new and old.” The “new” realities of Jesus are rooted in the “old” things of Israel, and yet it is only through the “new” that we can truly understand the “old.”

Matthew 13:33-46

The Gospel of Matthew

Session 30 – 9/14/2014

Fr. John Codis

13:33 – 45

Parables of the Leaven, Hidden Treasure, and the Pear of Great Price

 

Opening thoughts and basis for discussion

To illustrate and make things familiar to his listeners, Christ drew from the scenes and activities of everyday life.

The transforming power of leaven

Leaven is like yeast. It can be seen working yet unseen working as well.

The comparison Christ makes between the Kingdom of God and leaven, is to provide a certain shock. This shock was used to derive interest and attention.

More importantly the point and purpose of the leaven is not to convert the whole world, but that the whole world would be reached in the “transforming power of the leaven.”

“The introduction of the leaven causes a transformation in the dough; and the coming of the Kingdom causes a transformation in life.”

“Sold absolutely everything he had”

The reason for giving up all possessions and selling them comes from the joy we receive from our discovery.

“Joy is the engine of change!”

“In the parables he (Matthew) represents (the kingdom) as of great value in itself and of great advantage to those who embrace it.”

Conclusion

We cannot compare occurrences with yesterday, last month or last year, but look at the whole picture. We must count our blessings through our entire. If we do then we see a steady progress of the Kingdom.

However we discover the will of God, it is worth anything and everything to accept it.