Matt 5:17                   New Doctrines for the New Kingdom                            4/01/2018      ßà   

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       What Did Jesus Come to Fulfill? (Matt 5:17, Rom 5:10, Col 3:3, Rom 6:14, 10:4, Col 2:14)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       How Long Will the Law Be in Place? (Matt 5:18, 1Cor 13:10, Col 2:14, Rom 10:4, Rom 7:1-4, 5:13, 3:31)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Who Are They That Are Least? (Matt 5:19, 20:25-28, 2Tim 2:20, Rom 9:21)

 

 

 

 

 

#4.       What Is the Acceptable Righteousness? (Matt 5:20, Ex 19:5, Matt 5:48, Luke 18:9-14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 5:13 (2X). Last week we saw in Matt 4 that Christ was tempted, but He did not sin. Therefore Christ, the second Adam, qualifies to be our spotless Lamb of God. And that is why Christ, who is called Israel, is entitled to gather the New Bride of Israel to Himself, and thus His Bride also adopts His Name Israel. And in so doing Christ defines for us all over again the New Kingdom of Israel. For the King of Israel, the King of the Israel of God, the King of all the remnant chosen by grace out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, has purchased with His life His Kingdom where He rules. And where does Christ rule? He rules on earth in the hearts of the remnant chosen by grace, and He rules over all the souls of the saints and angels in heaven. His Kingdom of Heaven consists of two parts: a Kingdom on earth in the imperfect church where His saints reside, and a Kingdom in heaven where all the saints and angels reside in sinless perfection. The New Kingdom of Israel on this earth came into being after Pentecost of AD 33. And here in Matt 5 and 6 and 7 the Lord Jesus Christ is preparing His Kingdom for the new doctrines that He is teaching His disciples. And so, the title of this sermon is, New Doctrines for the New Kingdom (2X). What we have here in Matt 5 and 6 and 7 is also known as:

What is the Sermon on the Mount? When we read Matt 5, and 6, and 7, we are struck with the systematic layout of 32 subject matters by Jesus; 16 in chapter 5, 8 in chapter 6, and 8 in chapter 7. And then we remember that Matthew was an accountant. He was a tax collector when the Lord Jesus called him into His service. That is why Matthew grouped 32 of the teachings of Jesus together in one package that is known as “The Sermon on the Mount”. We can see this systematic approach again in Matt chapter 13 where 8 of the most important parables are grouped together.

In Matt 5:3-12 we first see 8 beatitudes. What are these? These describe the character of a Saint. We should not read the Sermon on the Mount as a code of ethics. These 8 beatitudes describe eight sides of the character of a Christian in a very general way. These are 8 principles! And they apply to every true believer, every true saint. And then in verses 13-48 the Lord lays out 8 examples of the saints submitting to the Law of God. The Lord Jesus lays down new laws for the New Kingdom. Six times do we read in chapter 5, “Ye have heard that it hath been said,……”, which every time refers to the OT moral law, the Law that was given by God through the hand of Moses. The Lord Jesus is not rescinding these laws; He is expanding them, because in the NT time the saints must be merciful, like God is merciful. And so the Lord Jesus modified these laws by saying, “But I say unto you, …...” These are commandments the Lord gave to us, and they are to be obeyed, because this chapter gives us 8 examples of the saints facing the law of God. Then when we turn to chapter 6 we find there 8 examples of the saints living their life in the presence of God. And when we turn to chapter 7 we find there 8 examples of the saints living their life in the fear of God, for on Judgment Day God says that He will be a consuming fire to all the unsaved. Let us now look at this passage, Matt 5:13,

Mt 5:13 ¶  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Mt 5:14-16  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.                 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.      Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Mt 5:17-18,  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.      For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mt 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

What do we see here? We have been appointed to be the salt of the earth. Remember that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt? It was the wrath of God, or the Judgment of God. In other words, when we are appointed to be the salt of the earth, we must remind people that the Judgment of God is coming upon all mankind. This is the first step in the proclamation of the Gospel. If we leave out this first step, our Gospel proclamation is good for nothing. It will be cast out and trodden under foot by men. That this salt, the wrath of God, is part of our witness of the Gospel is clear from the context, for the next verse says, “Ye are the light of the world”. This is why we are still in this world. That is why God has not yet taken us up into heaven, because we must be the light of the Gospel in this dark and sinful world. And we must let this light of the Gospel shine in such a way that we do not get the glory, but the Father who is in heaven gets all the glory. It means that we must witness of the wisdom and sovereignty of God, not only in salvation, but in everything that comes to pass. This was a new doctrine, a new command for the believers, for in the OT God did not command the nation of Israel to go out and be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Then we read in Matt 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill”.

#1.       What Did Jesus Come to Fulfill? (Matt 5:17, Rom 5:10, Col 3:3, Rom 6:14, 10:4, Col 2:14)

Well, the OT contains many prophecies concerning the coming of Christ, and concerning His work of paying for our sins on the cross of Calvary. All these prophecies the Lord Jesus came to fulfill. And thus Christ fulfilled everything in the Ceremonial Law, for every aspect of the Ceremonial Law was a picture of the atonement of Christ, or of the church that is in Christ. This fulfillment He did on the cross. And by this atonement all the sins have been paid for all the remnant chosen by grace. But Christ also came to fulfill the remainder of the Law for all those whom He came to save; and this fulfillment He did by His life before the cross and by His life after His resurrection. For example, we read in Rom 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”. And we read in Col 3:3, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God”. And so, by these two fulfillments, His death on the cross, and His life before and after the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ purchased His Bride, the eternal church, the body of believers whom He transforms from sinners into saints, and from willing slaves of Satan to willing servants of Christ. Let us now come down to earth and consider two general principles:

Have you noticed that there is a change of direction here in the Sermon on the Mount? In Matt 5:3-16 the Lord Jesus is saying (paraphrased) “Remember, this is what you are, you are a child of God and you are in the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore you must let your light shine to show the world what and who you are.” But in Matt 5:17 and following the Lord Jesus is saying (paraphrased) “Since you now know that you are in the Kingdom of Heaven, this is how you behave as a child of God and as citizens of the Kingdom. Continue to learn of Me through the Scriptures and learn that I placed you in a wicked world”. We can now see the contrast between verses 17-18 and verses 19-20.

#1.  In verses 17 and 18 the Lord Jesus is saying that everything He is going to teach is in absolute harmony with the entire teaching of the OT Scriptures. Why did this question come up at all?  The Jews were saying “Who is this man who teaches all these new doctrines? He is a carpenter; an untrained illiterate in the Law. He did not go through Seminary, like we did. He has no credentials at all. Besides, He says He is observing the Law, but He seems to be breaking the Sabbath all the time. By His actions He shows that He has no regard for the Law.”

#2.  Then Jesus says in verses 19 and 20 that His teaching, which is in such harmony with the OT Scriptures, is in complete disharmony with the teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees; in fact it is in total contradiction with the teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees who are not teaching the Law of Moses correctly. What good does that do to US? The teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees were important in Jesus' days. And besides, doesn’t that lead to much criticism and judgment of our current teachers which is a judgment we are not to engage in? But that is not so! Today there are many teachers and preachers in the church who are like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ days. In fact, they will look at two apparently contradicting passages in the Bible and they will decide by themselves which one they are going to believe. That is amazing. But let us examine ourselves. Is that perhaps what we do?         Let us look again at Matt 5:17 where the Lord Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill”. Is that puzzling to some of us? Doesn’t the Bible say in Rom 6:14 that we are not under the Law? God says in Rom 6:14, “For ye are not under the law, but under grace”. Don’t we find in the Bible that the Law has been nailed to the Cross? God says in Col 2:14, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”. And God says in Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth”. And there are many other verses I could bring up. Don’t all these verses say that Christ fulfilled the Law in our place, and abolished the Law completely and that He introduced grace in the place of it? Well, if that is what we conclude out of Col 2 and other verses, then we have a problem with Matt 5:17, because Jesus clearly says that He did not come to do away with the Law. In fact, then we have a contradiction.

#2.       How Long Will the Law Be in Place? (Matt 5:18, 1Cor 13:10, Col 2:14, Rom 10:4, Rom 7:1-4, 5:13, 3:31)

Mat 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

When will that moment in time be? When heaven and earth pass away, after all the unsaved are thrown in Hell, when it is time for the NH&NE, and when everything in the Bible has been fulfilled, only then will the Law be done away. That is why we also find in 1Cor 13:10,

1Cor 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

What then do we do with the contradiction? Has the Law been done away, or is it still in force? The solution is in the twofold meaning of the word to fulfill in Matt 5:17. #1, the fulfillment of the prophecies of Him in the Law and the prophets, & this is only known to those who believe, and #2, the fulfillment of the Law in our place by substituting His perfect life for our life. But notice that Christ has fulfilled the Law in our place. He did not fulfill the Law for everyone else in the world. For all those who were not chosen unto salvation the Law still stands, and they will be held accountable for worshipping other gods. And thus, the Law points an accusing finger at them for being so unfaithful to the Law.

But for those who became saved the Law is not a threat any more. The Lord Jesus Christ has paid for every sin we have committed against the Law, our past, and present, and future sins. That is why the passages I quoted before: Col 2:14 and Rom 10:4 refer only to those who have been saved. When I am saved the Law has become a friend: The Law shows me how I became saved. The Moral Law shows me what I can do to please my Heavenly Father. The Ceremonial Law teaches me the intensity of the sufferings of Christ, and it teaches me the blasphemy of those who still adhere to the Ceremonial Law, for by their actions they demonstrate that Christ has not yet come.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 7:1 (2X). When the Lord Jesus said that “one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” He indicated that the Law still stands. But the Bible also teaches us that we, who are the remnant chosen by grace, were in Christ from before the foundation of the world, and we were crucified with Christ, and we died with Christ, and are raised with Christ when He rose from the tomb. Notice, we died with Christ. We read i:

Ro 7:1-4,  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,)how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?      For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.        So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.                       Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by (lit: through) the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

What do we learn from this passage? We learn that every person who comes into this world is born married to the Law. And thus the Law points an accusing finger at anyone who commits sin. But when we are in Christ, we have died with Christ. And this benefit comes to us the moment we are born from above. In other words, like verse 4 says, we have died to the Law through the body of Christ. We are no longer subject to the Law. For us it is as if the Law is as good as dead. Please turn one page to your left, to Rom 5:13 (2X). And now we can make sense out of this verse where we read in Rom 5:13, “But sin is not imputed when there is no law”. You see, after the moment that we have become born from above, all our sins are wiped away, and no more new sins are accumulated, “for sin is not imputed when there is no law”. Please turn again one page to your left, to Rom 3:31 (2X). Shall we now live as if there is no more Law of God? Absolutely not, for we read in Rom 3:31,

Ro 3:31  Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

You see, we establish the Law. We now understand how we can please God. Please turn again to:

#3.       Who Are They That Are Least? (Matt 5:19, 20:25-28, 2Tim 2:20, Rom 9:21)

Mt 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break (lit: relaxes) one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

This is a puzzling verse. Aside from the difficult question: “Which commandment is the least” we now have an additional problem: Who are called least or great in the Kingdom of Heaven? Does this mean that there are some who will be demoted and some will be rewarded for the works that they do here on earth? Now we know that this is the wrong interpretation, for salvation is all by grace, and there is nothing that we do that is free from sin. We have nothing good enough to offer to God, for all our works are tainted with sin. I have addressed this false doctrine of extra rewards many times. It is a doctrine that opens the portals of Hell. Our reward is salvation itself, which is a gift that is infinitely greater than any possible reward for the greatest work done for Christ here on this earth. There is simply no comparison. Please turn in your Bibles to the 20th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 20:25 (2X). The Lord Jesus is addressing the two sons of Zebedee who want a special favor from the Lord Jesus, for they want to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. And thus now Jesus defines those who are called great in the Kingdom of heaven. We read in Matt 20:25,

Mt 20:25-28  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.     But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;      And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:     Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

We see here that those who are called great in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are willing to serve, or are willing to be the lowest servant. But wait a minute. This is the common denominator for everyone who is saved here in this life. The normal Christian life is to follow Christ and be willing to serve Him as He was willing to serve us. But then, who are called the least in Matt 5:19? It is obvious that the Lord Jesus is setting up a contrast between those who are saved and those who are still unsaved, or those who are called great and those who are called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But how can you be unsaved and also be in the Kingdom of Heaven? We have to get a good grip on this concept. Did we remember that the Kingdom of Heaven consists of two parts: a Kingdom on earth in the imperfect church where His saints reside, and a Kingdom in heaven where all the saints and angels reside in sinless perfection? In 2Tim 2:20 God speaks about the church when He said,

2Ti 2:20  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour

The church is called the great house. And in this great house are people who are called vessels. And of these vessels there are only contrasts: Either vessels of gold or silver, or vessels of wood and of clay. Either they are vessels unto honour, or they are vessels unto dishonour. Either they are saved, or they are unsaved. And that God contrasts saved and unsaved people here is clear if we bring to our memory Rom 9:21, where God brings up these vessels again. God says in Rom 9:21, “Hath not the Potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” God is the heavenly Potter who made people according to His good pleasure, and He made them vessels unto honour and vessels unto dishonour. The Kingdom of Christ on this earth is the place where His Kingship is acknowledged, and that is the church. But in every church there are people who are unsaved. And that is why the pastor must preach the Gospel every Sunday, for it may be that God the Holy Spirit will use that particular sermon for the conversion of one sinner. For this reason the Gospel of salvation can be heard in every sermon that I preach. And those who are least in the Kingdom of Heaven, according to Matt 5:19, are those who pretend there are laws of God so small that they need not obey them. But in expressing that they are least in the Kingdom of Heaven God indicates that these are unworthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. And so, we must not get the idea that it is OK to be least in the Kingdom of Heaven, as if it is OK to have a little less glory than those who are great in the Kingdom. It is not OK, for that person is on the way to Hell. Please turn again to chapter 5 in this Gospel account, Matt 5:20 (2X).

#4.       What Is the Acceptable Righteousness? (Matt 5:20, Ex 19:5, Matt 5:48, Luke 18:9-14)

Mt 5:20    For I say unto you,   That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the

scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

What is the righteousness that is acceptable to God? The Lord Jesus says here in Matt 5:20 that the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees is not good enough. In verse 19 the Lord Jesus was  referring to the scribes and Pharisees who taught the people that there are lesser and greater commandments, and that they who violated the lesser commandments were guilty only of  a trivial offense. Even today there are pastors who teach that there are mortal sins and there are venial sins, and the venial sins are a kind of excusable sins or misdemeanors. But that is why the scribes and Pharisees were called “least” in the Kingdom of Heaven. And that is why verse 20 starts with: “For”, which means “Therefore”. Therefore your righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. And why is that so? #1, Since they teach that you are allowed to commit a trivial offense, they are called “least”, which means they are unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. #2, Since they teach and believe that your righteousness depends on how well you obey the Law, it means they are unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. #3, Since their righteousness is just an external righteousness, and not a righteousness of the heart, it means they are unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. #4, Since their righteousness is self-sufficient, and since they do not need a Savior to save them from their sins, theirs is a self-righteousness, and this means they are unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Why is God so unmerciful toward the scribes and Pharisees? They are doing the best they can. As far as obedience to the Law goes they are the cream of the crop. And is that not what God requires? Did God not say just before He gave the Ten Commandments, in Ex 19:5, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine”. Is this not what the scribes and Pharisees were doing? But now God says, “No! That is not good enough!” What then is good enough in the eyes of God? Only total perfection is good enough! Please drop down to verse 48. God says in Matt 5:48,

Mt 5:48  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

How can we be totally perfect in the sight of God? We must have the righteousness of God! How do we get that Righteousness? Christ must give it to us!  FREE! We cannot buy it; it costs too much! We can only get it if Christ pays for all our sins. What can I do that Christ would pay for all of my sins? Nothing! The only day that sins were paid was about 2000 years ago, on April 3, in the year AD 33. Just ask Him if He paid for your sins!  And if He did, He will give you a sincere heart. Plead with Him from a sincere heart! How can you be sure that this is the true answer? From the Bible! Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Luke, Luk 18:9-14 (2X).

Lu 18:9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:     Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.                 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus to himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.   I fast twice in the Sabbath, I give tithes of all that I possess.      And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.                 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Here is a perfect example of the contrasts that the Lord Jesus was describing in Matt 5:20. It is a contrast between the righteousness of a Pharisee and the righteousness that is exceeding that of the Pharisee. The Pharisee trusted in himself (Verse 9); he trusted that he was living a righteous life that was pleasing to God. He is a prime example of a moral, law abiding citizen. He had only one tiny problem: he had a healthy dose of self-respect. Look at how the Pharisee prayed: he prayed to himself. No sign of gratitude to God for anything. He is a proud man. The tax collector had all kinds of problems because he was a great sinner. He had only one tiny good thing: he had a healthy dose of fear of God; he was standing afar off, he dared not to come close. Look at how he prayed: he dared not look up to Heaven, because he knew God was looking at him and God knew his sins. He smote upon his breast, because he knew that there is where the problem was. He needed a new heart from God. He pleaded for mercy, because he knew that this God was a merciful God, who delights in mercy. He knew for sure that he was a great sinner. But he pleaded for mercy because he wanted to stop being such a great sinner. He repented of his sins. This tax collector knew God. This man knew God’s character: He is a merciful God. This man went home justified, which means he was made righteous. This man found grace in the eyes of God. This man received the righteousness that was exceeding the righteousness of the Pharisee. And what were the circumstances that led to the repentance of this tax collector? Did he just one day decide enough is enough? Don’t you believe that for one moment! It was God who was drawing him! It was God who gave him a sincere heart. This is how people receive the righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees. They receive it by grace. They receive a regenerated soul that is born from above.

What can we learn from these teachings of the Lord Jesus? Are we anxious to get in the Kingdom of God in heaven? Do we realize that it will cost our life? We first have to die before we can get into heaven. Are you afraid to die? If we firmly believe all that God has said in the Bible, why would we be afraid to die? There are many who say that they believe God’s Word, but they are deathly afraid to step into an airplane. What does that tell us about their faith in God’s promises?

Do we really know this King who rules over the New Kingdom of Heaven? Do we believe that the new doctrines the Lord Jesus gave us in Matt 5 are for us to obey? Are we willing to submit to the rules of this New Kingdom? How are we doing so far? Have we been trying to do the best we can? Now you know that this is a recipe for disaster. The scribes and Pharisees were also doing the best they could, but in God’s eyes that was not good enough. According to verse 48, only perfection is good enough. Only the righteousness of Christ is good enough. And that righteousness of Christ is given to those whom God, in His wisdom, decided to give before the world began, even before He created the first speck of dust. God is sovereign. How can we know if we have received this perfect righteousness of Christ? How can we know if we have been transformed to willing servants of the Lord Jesus Christ? What evidence can we bring to bear? Please turn in Matthew’s Gospel to chapter 13, Matt 13:5 (2X). From where I stand, I can only see your enthusiasm for the Lord. Over the years I have seen some who have begun in this church enthusiastically, but over time their enthusiasm has been waning. And this reminds me of the seed of the Gospel that has been sown upon stony places. We read in Matt 5:5-6,

Mt 13:5-6  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:       And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

This is the second soil where the seed of the Gospel was sown. As you know this is the parable of the sower, which is also called the parable of the four soils. Only one of the four soils was good soil. Only one of the four soils indicated that this person was absolutely saved. Even in the church it is only a remnant who become saved. But what is the characteristic of this person who is represented by the second soil? The Lord Jesus explained this parable a few verses down. We read in Matt 5:20 (2X),

Mt 13:20-21  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;                     Yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

This seed of the Word of God was received with JOY! How wonderful! But as the years go by his enthusiasm goes down, and down, and down. For example, in the beginning this person participated in Bible studies, but gradually other events took over the priority of Bible study. And certainly their children are not participating in Bible study. It seems to be an unspoken rule in this congregation that children do not need Bible study, for the children have more important things to worry about. For example, children are never seen in the Sunday afternoon Bible Study. But children also need salvation, don’t they? And Sunday afternoon is not an ungodly time. The Sunday afternoon Bible Study was set up as an alternative to a second Sunday Service. If people all over the world can enjoy a second Service on Sunday, why should this be an ungodly time in this church? Years ago I heard from Annie the excuse that the little ones have to sleep on Sunday afternoon. That is fine. But now they are teenagers and they still have other things to do. Does this not tell the parents that they have role modeled for their children in believing that it is not important to participate in church events? You cannot say that this church does not provide enough opportunities for participation in all kinds of events. But if the study of the Word of God is an unattractive event, I would want to remind the members of this church of this parable of the stony places. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.