Well, my name's, Pete Woodcock. I'm 1 of the elders at the church here. We've been going through Matthew's gospel, and we are continuing to go through Matthew's gospel. Looking at the parables, we're not doing the whole of Matthew's gospel.
We're just sort of sticking at the parables, and, we're at this 1. Let me pray. Father help us now, please. To hear your word, that we would understand what you're saying and live in the light of it in Jesus' name we pray. Ma'am.
Have a think about this scenario. The preacher concludes his powerful sermon on love and forgiveness. But he concludes it with the question to the congregation. Have you understood? You understand what I've been preaching about.
We must love and forgive each other. Says the preacher. The lord wants us to bear with each other and be slow to anger. Do you understand? Have you understood?
And the heroes all nod. They've got it. They understand. He doesn't need to labor the point anymore. They've they've got it.
They know what he's saying. So he announces the last hymn, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity, and that him reinforces the truths that they've heard in the sermon as they speak them out from their heart in into song as just been hearing what songs do. It reinforces the truths that the preacher has been preaching. And then after the service, Vera meets the preacher at the door on the way out. Thanks, pastor.
Wow. That was a challenging sermon. I guess putting it into practice is gonna be the hard thing. To work out, isn't it? So sorry, pastor.
What what is he doing? I've I've told him not to do the chairs like that. Actually, that really annoys me because he doesn't actually listen, does he? That's the problem with him, isn't it? I'll tell you what I'm gonna get out of here before I explode.
Alright him an email. Don't worry. I'll sort this out. Why he does that? I don't know.
Did Vira understand the sermon? Did she understand it? Next, John. Great sermon, pastor. It's what the world needs.
Forgiveness, love, look what's going on around the world. And and it gives the the church a chance to offer the world love and forgiveness and for it to be seen. Thank you. Thank you, John. How's your your neighbor?
Fred getting on? Well, the whole thing's still rumbling on, to be quite honest, his skin is on my nerves. I mean, it's disgusting what he to my tree. I'll tell you what, if that tree dies, I'll never forgive him. Did John understand the sermon?
Sorry. This makes me laugh myself. Did John understand the sermon? Did Vira understand the sermon? Have you ever been a John and a vera?
Well, in this passage, we find Jesus has finished his sermon. It's in the magnificent thing, the whole of chapter 13. He's told 7 parables. 7 stories, 4 in public, and then, 3 in private to his disciples. And then he turns to them, and he asks as any good preacher should, verse 51, have you understood these things?
Have you understood these things yes, they reply. That's my first point. Have you understood? Have you understood all these things? Now the word understood literally means to to bring together, actually to send together.
It's almost as if you've got different pieces all over the place and you send them together. It's a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle where you've got, you know, little bits all over the place and you bring them and you send them together to join up. That's what the word understood means there. It's the ability to take concepts and see the relationships between them and put them together. It's knowing how to use what you've heard, and it's applying it to your life and your life circumstance.
It's not just knowing. In theory, it's practice. It's life. That's what the word under understands means. In fact, in verse 14 of chapter 13, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah, you can see it there.
And he tells people what the opposite to understanding is. So look at verse 14, in in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah in these people that I actually don't understand. Then he says, you will be ever hearing, but never understanding. It's the same word. You'll be ever hearing but never being able to bring everything together and live it out.
You will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's hearts has become callous. They're hardly here with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. He's saying that type of hearing is not understanding, and it will it's extremely dangerous. It's really dangerous to hear the word of god and not understand, not put it into practice, not apply it to your life.
Your your your hearts become callous if you hear like that. He's saying. It's very, very dangerous. So Jesus doesn't just want hearers. He wants understanders.
And the immediate application are these parables that Jesus has spoken and if you listen to them on 1 level, they're sort of quaint sort of common scenes from ancient galilee. They're sort of quaint little stories about fish and and seed and stuff like that. And so if you just hear the stories Jesus say, and what a wonderful storyteller is, if you just hear on that level, you're not understanding. But then there's another level, and that's well, no, I know they're not just nice stories. I think I know what they mean, but you don't put them into practice.
That's another level of not understanding. Jesus wants us to pause when we hear the word of god, and take a good look at ourselves and a good look at our spiritual condition and put it into practice. Apply it to our lives. Has the gospel seed been planted in the soil of my heart so that it produces more wheat, more fruit? Has the gospel so worked in my life that it can be distinguished?
I can be distinguished. As a child of god. I'm not a weed. I'm actually wheat, and you can see the difference. Has the gospel so worked in my life that you can see that there's a tree growing in me?
Like a tiny seed, but it's grown. And as I get older, it grows so that actually it gives life to the birds of the air. Has the gospel so affected everywhere area of my life that it's like yeast in a dough? Every area of my life is being affected by the gospel do I value Jesus? And the gospel, more than I value the world, a man finds a treasure in a field a man finds a pearl of great price gives up everything for it.
Do I realize that life is heading for a judgment day? Where there'll be a separation of the fish. Am I living in the light of that? And so Jesus is pushing his disciples Have you understood, he says, to his congregation? They're not just little stories.
They're not little bits of doctrine that you can play with and argue about. It's a matter of life and death. It's a matter of eternity. It's a matter of heaven and hell we're talking about here. Are you applying it?
Have you understood all these things, Jesus else? Yes. They reply. Yeah. Yeah.
They reply. So he takes there. Yes. And then he says, well, okay. If you've understood all these things, then something must happen.
Something will result something will come of it. If you've understood, there's gonna be an effect If you've understood and you've brought these things together and you've pieced them together in your life, then you'll be like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old. That's what you're gonna be like. That's the the effect, the ultimate effect of hearing and understanding the teacher of, the teachings of Jesus. What will happen is if you've really understood, you're gonna be like a household holder that has treasure.
Yeah? And you're gonna be a great and generous blessing to others. If you've understood the word of god, it's going to affect you and it will affect other people because the ultimate result is you're gonna be like someone who has a treasure but you're giving the treasure away. See, what should have been the result? From, the sermon on love with Vira.
What treasure should she have brought out if she'd really understood it? It's Oh, he's doing the chairs wrong again. Yeah. Okay. Look.
Oh, god. I I'll just go and help him. Hey, come on. Hey, no, you know, we did talk about not putting it that way because they're gonna do damage. Can I help you?
That is a treasure coming out of her heart, isn't it? What about John? Do you know what pastor I'm gonna give up on this argument about the tree. I mean, it's only a tree in it. Let's be honest.
I'm gonna just let let let it go. That wouldn't be a treasure coming out of his heart, wouldn't it? If he understood. Now, we'll get to the house a a holder, the the owner of the house in a minute. But Jesus gives a number of other descriptions of a real understander before we get there.
And the first 1 is this teacher of the law. Did you notice that? The teacher of the law. Some translations will have scribe which is probably better. So it says in verse 52, he said to them, therefore, every teacher of the law or every scribe who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his store room, new treasures, as well as old.
So the word teacher of the law is the word scribe. Scribe is the word teacher of the law is a description of what what they actually should be doing. Now to find out what they are, you're gonna go right back to the old testament. Actually, the original original scribes were basically people that wrote down the histories and and particularly the military histories of of Israel. But actually this this particular group of scribes, they be they they they're a group of teachers that that came together really under the leadership of as verse.
You got a whole book in the old testament called Ezra. And their purpose really was not just to preserve the word of god, the lord of god, but was to study it teach it and apply it to people. In fact, Ezra was a great example of what a scribe should be. Ezra Is there something that we need to do? No.
Okay. So as, Ezra is is is a great example because he he made a a a pulpit out of wood. This sort of thing. I guess it was coffin shaped like this because always have every bit of furniture like a coffee, and I don't know why. Well, I do, just to remind everyone of death.
But, it was a it was a wooden structure and from it, he read the law. He gave the meaning of what that law is, what the word of god was. He explained it, and this is how to live. And then he broke people up into groups, some big crowds into groups where he had trained up people who did discuss it and how to apply it to their lives. So he was a great thing.
And from there, There was this great bible movement of scribes, and that's what they did. They read the scriptures. How do we apply it today? And then they taught it to the people. But over the years, those scribes seem to be obsessed with not bringing the pieces together to see the whole glory of god and the love of god and love for other people.
They started sort of picking on 1 single piece and not connecting it together. So they they actually didn't understand the law because they were looking at the letter of the law, a single piece and examining that and then it it became really ugly as they were sort of arguing the letter of the law and then they added their own interpretations and man made laws to their little piece of the law until you got further and further away from what god said, and it was just the traditions of men largely. That's what religion does. They became religious. So instead of sharing god's word and how it affects us every day, They had this unrealistic, warped, idea of the word of god.
It was like traditions embalmed. They're dead, but they were pretending they were alive. And it stopped people hearing the word of god. And by the time of Matthew's gospel, these scribes were actually a posed to the word of god when they saw him in Jesus. They reposed to him and eventually had him executed.
And Jesus, in fact, calls these scribes, blind guides. In Matthew 23, here's a description. This is what Jesus says when he sees these scribes, woe to you teachers of the law and pharisees, you hypocrites, You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter nor will you let those enter who are trying to. You've so walked the word of god into your own traditions and your own ideas You've so added to the word of god.
You've so picked on the minuscule piece and not brought pieces together and made it the letter of the law. You actually are taking people to hell. You're going to hell yourself and you're taking people to hell. You're not listening. It looks like you're listening.
It looks like you're studying, but you're not. And so here, Jesus is making new scribes. He's going right back to the beginning. He's saying, if you've understood me, if you've understood my sayings, then you are the new real scribes. Jesus has been instructing and training scribes in the kingdom of heaven.
In the kingdom of heaven. So that's the first word, scribes. The next word is disciple did you see it verse 52 again? He said to them, therefore, every teacher of the law, scribe, who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven, is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom, new treasures, and old. So scribe emphasizes the learning, the knowledge, but a disciple emphasizes the living.
Disciples are doers of the word that they learn. And they learn by doing. Now we can sometimes emphasize learning at the expense of living. Or we can emphasize living at the expense of learning. What Jesus is saying is that every scribe must be a disciple, and every disciple must be a scribe.
It's living. You gotta live it. You're not understood unless you're a scribe and a disciple. When Jesus called to 12, to himself to be his 12 apostles, his 12 disciples, it says this. Listen to this.
He appointed 12 whom he also named apostles so that they might be, listen, with him. They might be with him, and he might send them out to preach. They might be with him. It's really important. We need to be with Jesus.
So that's what a disciple is. Someone who's with him. If you look at Jesus training model, it's it's absolutely brilliant. It was absolutely, you know, radical. Jesus training model was, be with me.
Be with me. Watch me. Hear me. Spend time with me, live with me. Yeah?
See me deal with opposition, see me deal with issues. See me live. Be with me. That's what a disciple is. You need to be with Jesus.
Yeah? Then then his training model went, listen to me. So be with me. Listen to me. I will teach you.
And keep asking questions so that I can teach you. Be with me. Listen to me. Watch me. Then Have a go, go and have a go.
Go off and preach. Go and have a go, then come back, download, and we'll feedback. That was the life of a disciple. You see that? We need to be scribes and disciples.
The ESV, the whatever. What does ESV stand for? English standard version, puts it this 52 this way. Let me just read it, and some of you got it. And he said to them, therefore, every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a house.
So every scribe who's been trained for. So that's the discipleship word. The discipleship word is the training word, but it's the training in life. So we need to be scribes, both in word and life, both in knowledge and living. That that's what's going on here, instructed in how to put the 2 together, your knowledge, what you learn, and how to live, instructed in how to understand living out the kingdom of heaven on this earth.
That's what he's saying. So both learning and living its life and lip It's knowledge and action. They go together, and that's what an understanding is. It's piecing these things together so that you know I understand that. Now I need to put that into practice.
Exactly what Vira and John didn't do. So every scribe must be a disciple, and every disciple must be a a scribe. No 1 could become a scribe of Jesus unless they were first with him, unless they walked with him and talked with him and prayed to him and understood him. So those who teach must first be taught, and those who are going to disciple must first be disciples. That's Jesus' way of doing it.
Now all that leads to my fourth point, which is the owner of the house. This owner of the house, this householder, as some, put it, or as the ESV talks about it as the master of a house, So what is this owner of the house? Well, he is the master of the house. In fact, that word master is despot. You know, despot is it's got a very negative term, isn't it?
He's at despot. But it means utter utter control. Utter authority. So he's the master. He he has utter supreme authority in the household.
Jesus uses this word owner of the house or household at 12 times in the gospel, and 7 are about him. He's the owner of the house. He's the householder. He's the master of the house. So it marks authority.
So these disciples to be true scribes with the authoritative, interpretation of the kingdom of heaven They also have to be masters of the house. If you're gonna be a true strive and a true disciple, the result is that you'll be a master of the house. And the master of the house It's it's a sort of fairly easy picture, really, responsible for the welfare of the household, the whole family. He's the head of the house, the master of the house, but he's responsible for the way welfare. So he would have supplies, a good master.
He would have food and clothing, and he'd be prepared for winter and for summer and for drought. And and so he in other words, you know, he's prepared. He's got provisions. That's the picture of the master of the house. He has a storeroom.
He has a treasury that he can draw from in whatever circumstances are gonna gonna come up with the people of the household. He's able to draw out old and new stuff that's, important at the time. Oh, we need some we need to get that old gear out. Because that's gonna be helpful for this situation because there's a storm coming. Or we need to get this new stuff out because because there's there's wild dogs coming.
Let's get that up here. Or there's food, old, and new. And and that's what it is. So he brings out of the store, the storeroom. Now the Greek word for bringing out means scatter.
It's actually lavish It's he's not stingy with his treasure. He's lavish. He's casting it out. He's he's throwing it out. It often has the idea of force when you bring out.
He's forcefully throwing it out. You know, he's making sure, you know, you need to eat this. You know, you you need you need to take this. You may not want it, but I'm gonna make sure you sit down and eat it. See, that's what that's what masters of the household do, isn't You need to sit and eat that because you won't get better until you take that.
So that that's the sort of thing that's going on here. It's it there's force in it, but there it's not it's not unloving. It's not brutal. It's authoritative, lavish, loving, scattering of his wealth to the household that needs whatever it needs. He knows the household.
He knows what it needs. That's what's going on here. Now in Matthew's Gospel, as you may know, treasure is is nearly always, if not always associated with the heart. So out of the treasure, out of his storeroom, he's talking about the heart. Jesus says in the sermon on the mount.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. We had the story, didn't we? Of the man that finds treasure in the field and the man that finds the Pearl a great price. And he sells everything. Why?
Because his heart is in the field, to buy the field, to buy the to buy the the the pearl. Because his heart is that's where his heart is. He's not in all of the stuff that he's got anymore. He'd frog that to get the feel because that's where his treasure is. And so the disciple scribe or the describe or or the scribe disciple is bringing things out of his heart, out of his heart understanding, and he's giving it away what he's learned.
Spurging great preacher, you know, often just gets everything right, doesn't he? It just puts his finger on everything. He says you seldom learn much to your own profit unless you are diligent in imparting knowledge and edifying 1 another. Did you get that? You seldom learn much to your profit unless you are diligent in imparting knowledge and edifying others, another.
I think that's absolutely true. There's this sort of circular thing that's going on here, I think Jesus is telling us about. You're a scribe and a disciple because you've under stood the teaching of Jesus, and that means you're putting it into practice. You put it into practice because you're a master of a house, that gives away what you've learned to the household. And as you give away what you've learned, you're becoming more of a disciple and more of a ascribe, and then you have more treasure therefore to give away.
It's a circular whirlpool, or that's always sort of negative though, but it's it's this whirlpool or this this torrent of going around of blessing, blessing, blessing. You receive treasure. You give treasure. You receive more treasure because you've given treasure. The trouble with John and Vira is they stopped at the door, didn't they?
They heard it, they understood, and they wouldn't give, they wouldn't give love, they wouldn't forgive forgiveness. So they go down the road as non scribes, non disciples, and non householders and they're just holding on to what they think they know and that they think they're better because they sat under a sermon and their hearts are becoming callous. And hard, and ungenerous, and unloving. That's what's going on. So like a master of a house who brings out his treasures, out of his treasure what is new and old, being able to put the new and the old together.
Jesus after the after the resurrection, remember he was walking if you don't know he was walking, on the road to emmaus, and he picked up some disciples on the road. And what did he tell him? He went through the whole of the old testament we call it, all of the scriptures, and he said they're all about me. When you look at the old, you'll see the new. Jesus is old and new treasure.
He's the fulfillment of the old in ever new ways. The master brings out new and the old, old truths that may be you know, well known, but brought out with fresh freshness and taught in fresh ways something that is old sometimes is just what you need to comfort a person, isn't it? An old truth. Do you just need to remind, you know, you know this? You know this?
Can I just remind you of this? And it's like fresh new stuff. In that situation, putting together the old and the new. Sometimes you need a a new taste And then he said, well, listen to it. It's actually very old.
Fresh new experiences of god's grace through the old scriptures. The fresh new understanding of old truths reapplied. Yeah. I knew that, but I just needed that reapplied to me. So there's all the stuff that Jesus has taught us.
Here's my fifth point then. It's from the first understanders, which were the disciples, the apostles, to us. Let's just apply it a bit here. First of all, the apostle was the 12 that heard. I'm not going into Judith and that stuff.
He was obviously a nonunderstander, but that's just see what happens here. So under the instruction of Jesus, these these apostles are becoming genuine learned scribes. They're the true disciples of the kingdom of heaven, and they are to become the head of a household. With old and new, new, and old treasure in it. And that and that's what the 12 12 disciples are.
They were taught directly by Jesus. They were taught the new, and they were taught the old, and they were fitted those 2 things together. And they became scribes. So we have the apostles teaching here in the new testament. This is the these are the words of Jesus.
The apostle John, when he speaks, he's speaking the words of Jesus. He heard Jesus. Matthew is writing down the words of Jesus. These are the these are the the ones that write it down. So so they're passed on to the church.
So we we don't the church doesn't make up the gospel. The church doesn't make up traditions. Well, it shouldn't do. It's not traditions that get in the way. It's the word of god.
We don't have to sort of think What do I say to this age? How how we we we we take the apostolic words, the words of the scribes, and the first disciples who wrote this down, who understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, who actually gave themselves so that most of them were killed in extraordinary, painful ways in order to get the word of god out to people. We have that. In the scriptures, this is the word old and new. This is the ever refreshing word of god.
We have this. This is the word passed down to us. We don't need to make up words. I don't sit at home with Tom and say Tom, what we're gonna make up today? Tom might do that, but I don't.
We don't sit down and say, well, we we we just go through the bible. It's the word of the scribes, the original ones. So we can be confident we're hearing the word of Jesus. But then you go to the elders and the preachers in in in church. That's the second group of people.
We go from the first understanders to us, and you've got the elders in the church. And in 1 Timothy, we saw when we were preaching through 1 Timothy, that the elders are to look after the household of god. How do you look after the household of god? By bringing out treasure new and old. Where's that in the apostle's word?
Applying it, making sure that the people in the household are understanding it, pleading with Johns and VIRos. Would you listen? Yeah. Because you haven't heard. You see what you've just done.
We bring out the apostolic word we bring out the scribes word, the disciples word, and hopefully that's the authoritative word in in in the church. It's not my word. It's not Tom's word. It's not the elders word. The elders are are are are bringing out the very word of god, the treasure that's hopefully in their own heart because they hopefully have been disciples of Jesus and their scribes of of the inscripturated word.
We sit under the word and we bring the word out. In an authoritative way, new and old, new and old. We're trying to deliver that so that the people in the household will understand. And so that brings us to all of us here. What do we do?
What do we learn from this? But we're we we believe the new testament. We believe the old testament. We we should be scribes We should be students in our own way. We sit at the feet of Jesus when we listen to the word of god.
That's what you're doing right now through a sermon. Someone who's an elder in a church who's trying to take the word of god and give you new and old stuff and try to apply it to your own heart. This is what we do. It's 1 of the joys of being a Christian is that we're always learning. We're always learning new stuff from the old We're constantly doing that.
It's always new and it's fresh and it's alive. And it hits I mean, who thought this little who's ever heard this little parable before? Yeah? I mean, my immediate thought when I saw it was, that's classic Tom that is. And I think Ben was around and Rory Let's give Pete that nasty little thing that no 1 knows, no 1 writes about.
Even 1 commentary I've got at home says, no 1 really knows what this is about. Don Carson has 15 ideas. Read him. Well, I didn't have him. You know, so thank you, commentary.
But it's like, what is this? And then suddenly you read it, and it's full of life and, hey, this is how we should live. This is These are the most important texts in the entire bible. You come to the point of, when you're when you're reading it in the end. It's it's that's the whole idea.
We work through the bible. We see this stuff. Never thought about it before, but actually look at it. It's wonderful. And we're to be people that study the word of god and be disciples so that we're with Jesus when we hear his word so that we're understanding it and it's it's actually coming into our heart so that we know it comes into our heart because we wanna bless others with it.
We wanna tell others We wanna communicate to others. We wanna tell him about the gospel of the lord Jesus Christ, come to Christ know what it is to to be in the family of god in the household of god. We wanna scatter the seed out. That's what learning is. When you learn something and you love something, you can't shut up about it.
Can you? That's what praise is. It comes out of our mouths because we know it in our heart. I'm forgiven. I've been loved.
I've screwed up, but actually Jesus has come into this world. To make me a scribe a disciple and a house own owner so that I could out of the treasures of the the things I've learned, I could spread them out to other people. And learn to love and learn to take the the word of god to people. It's extraordinary, isn't it? Even this tiny little thing, We see the word of god.
So might stand at the door, actually. It might shake your hand, and I'll be listening. Nice. Nice sermon preacher. I'm gonna kill my neighbor when I get home.
Who scratched my car out there? Yeah. Why does he do the chairs like that? How are we doing? How are we doing?
Let's spend a moment perusing and thinking about how we're doing Are we hearers or understanders? Let's ask the lord to help us to be more understanders. And then we will share from our treasure. Let's have a moment of quiet. We're coming to the lord's table.
It's an opportunity for us to remember the amazing things that he has done for us, the bread of life, shed his blood for us. It's an opportunity for us to remember what he's done for us. And ask that that would be so planted in our hearts that we would be lovers of other people and give our lives for other people. So have a moment of quiet. Father, we thank you for the lord Jesus Christ.
We thank you that he's the true scribe. He's the very word of god. Thank you that he obeyed you like a disciple. He was completed in his perfection. By suffering for us.
Thank you that out of his heart came treasure. That he is the great householder that gives gives the Holy Spirit gives the very word of god gives us the breath of life, the light of the world, the bread of life, his own blood. We thank you for this these emblems of bread, broken for us, that we may eat, that we may learn, and we may be disciples and scribes ourselves of the lord Jesus Christ. We thank you for his blood shed for us to cleanse us from our sins and our hypocrisies and our selfishness and our pretense. We thank you for the power in the blood of Christ It's shed for us.
And what we do here is to drink that blood of the new covenant. That we're made new in Christ for given our sins cleansed. We thank you for the body and the blood of Christ. And as we take this, cause us to be people that really do ingest it, but don't just take it out of habit Don't just put it in our mouths and swallow it, but realize that we are becoming part of the blood and the of the body of Christ and that we should be people that are are forgiving and loving and sharing and giving our lives as Christ has given his. Help us as we take this, please, to repent, to renew ourselves, and by your spirit, be people that take out treasure that we've learned in our own hearts.
We pray this in Jesus' name.