January 2018 Prayer Letter

Happy New Year! We are excited about what this year is going to bring as we joyfully serve our Lord until He comes or until we go to be with Him!

“Twins” Update: Praise the Lord for the healthy birth of our twins. Everyone is home and we are adjusting to being a family of seven! Our little girl was first-born: weight: 2460 g (5.42 pounds); height: 48 cm (18.9 inches); birthday: 01/08/2018 11:31 PM. Our little boy was second-born: weight: 2960 g (6.53 pounds); height: 50 cm (19.69 inches); birthday: 01/08/2018 11:33 PM. Pray for us as we raise these two new additions and all our children for the glory of God!

Christmas Outreaches” Update: We had a sweet time at out members’ Christmas service. Our Sunday morning Christmas service with a special meal and kids’ program was a great success with over 80 people in attendance. Also, the young people’s Christmas party was lots of fun—we are excited to reach out to college and high-school students. Pray for those who heard the gospel through these different outreaches.

The Next Generation” Update: At the beginning of January, our team and church (while we were in the hospital with the twins) received another family from our home church who are here to learn ministry and do language school for about two years. This means we now have three American families here from our home church. Please pray for each of these families to adjust to the culture, quickly learn the language, mature in their training and grow their ministries.

Prayer Request: Continue praying for the church and ministry as we strive to make more disciples and train men for the ministry, all for the glory of God!

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our team, Project China. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known!

Twins Update #4

Praise the Lord, the twins were born this past Monday. They are healthy, as well as my wife! Everyone is home and we are adjusting to being a family of seven!

Our little girl was first born.

  • Weight: 2460 g (5.42 pounds)
  • Height: 48 cm (18.9 inches)
  • Birthday: 01/08/2018 11:31 PM

Our little boy was second born.

  • Weight: 2960 g (6.53 pounds)
  • Height: 50 cm (19.69 inches)
  • Birthday: 01/08/2018 11:33 PM

Pray for us as we raise these two new additions and all our children for the glory of God!

Matthew: Jesus Fulfills The Prophecy Of The Messiah

Memory Verse: Matthew 12:21

12:14-17a Conspiracy, Retreat, Healing, Obscurity

  • 12:1-14 Conspiracy: The Pharisees have been trying to deceive Jesus and prove that He approves of actions that are contrary to the law of God. Jesus goes on the defensive and explains their actions aren’t contrary to the law. The Pharisees (whom represent religion) show themselves to be the ones that are deceptive and hypocritical and Jesus (whom represents the truth) shows Himself to be the one that is honest and merciful. The Pharisees were offended by Jesus actions of mercy and held a council to conspire against Him and how they might destroy Him. Truth was a threat to their religious system.
  • 12:15a Retreat: When Jesus knew they were plotting a conspiracy to murder Him He left that place. His time had not yet come to die, therefore He fled that place to avoid the persecution from those Pharisees until His mission on earth was accomplished. (As believers, we are permitted to flee persecution so that we can continue our ministry, but there may be a point in time where we will be called to sacrifice our lives—like Jesus will when He dies on the cross.) He didn’t stay there to provoke them, but moved on to the next group of people so that He could continue to minister.
  • 12:15b Healing: Great multitudes of people followed Jesus and He healed all that came to Him for healing. Unlike today’s false healing ministries that are characterized by cheating people out of money and the healers’ inability to heal a person on the basis of the sick person’s lack of faith—Jesus’ healing ministry never failed. All who came to Him were healed, because Jesus’ healing ability is based on who He is, not on the faith of the sick person. Jesus was willing to heal all that came to Him. He had 100% success rate.
  • 12:16-17a Obscurity: Then Jesus charged the great multitude to not make Him known. This seems like a strange request. The multitude that was following Him probably came to the knowledge and belief that Jesus truly was the Messiah. But they probably would have mistakenly believed that the Messiah would exercise His authority to forcefully or violently overtake the governmental authorities of their day and setup His kingdom on earth. But this wasn’t Jesus’ mission or the mission of the Messiah. Because of Jesus’ authority and power displayed through His teaching and marvelous works those in authority positions already felt threatened by Jesus’ influence over people. It seems as if Jesus didn’t want the wrong information to be spread around and that He would show people who He was by fulfilling the prophecy of the Messiah.

12:17b-21 Characteristics Of The Prophesied Messiah

  • 12:17b There is scriptural support for all that Jesus is doing and it all points to Him being the Messiah. Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1-4 in part to direct our attention to the person of Jesus showing that He fulfills or will fulfill the expectations of the true Messiah.
  • 12:18a The Messiah is God’s Servant—Jesus came as a servant, as a slave. He was equal with God but He came to fulfill the will of God through humbling Himself by taking on the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man. His first coming would be that of the “Suffering Servant” but His second coming will be that of the “Reigning King”.
    Philippians 2:6-7
  • 12:18b The Messiah is chosen by God—Jesus was specifically chosen by God and set apart for a special task: that the world might be saved through Him. God didn’t send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but He was to humble Himself and became obedient unto the death of the cross.
    Philippians 2:8; John 3:16-17
  • 12:18c The Messiah is loved by God and God’s soul is well pleased by Him—When Jesus was baptized God from heaven, said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It confirmed Jesus as the Son of God (meaning He is equal with God), as well as that Jesus is fully loved and all of His actions are pleasing to God Himself.
    Matthew 3:17
  • 12:18d The Messiah has God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit—Jesus received the Holy Spirit at His baptism which was a unique endowment from God which will enable Him to accomplish the mission that God has for Him.
    Matthew 3:16
  • 12:18e The Messiah will proclaim judgment to the Gentiles—Jesus not only reached out to the Jews but also to the Gentiles (everyone who isn’t a Jew). He would inform the Gentiles of God’s message and will make sure that justice takes place—salvation for those who accept the message and judgment for those who reject it.
    John 12:49-50; 1 John 2:2; Romans 3:29
  • 12:19 The Messiah won’t quarrel (strive), scream (cry), or be noisy (voice in the streets)—Jesus didn’t come to argue His position and message in a noisy, angry or disruptive manner. He didn’t utter the message in a loud harsh sounding voice. Nor is Jesus raising His voice in the main streets to gain publicity. He doesn’t use any of these forcible tactics to push forward His agenda. His objective isn’t to start a revolution, revolt or riot. Instead He has a quiet, peaceable and submissive approach to accomplish His mission.
    Matthew 26:39, 48-53, 59-63; 27:12-14; Luke 23:35-37
  • 12:20 The Messiah will through gentleness and lowliness bring victory to the downtrodden—Jesus doesn’t ignore the sinful and rejected people of society like a person would break a bruised reed or like quenching a smoking flax (because both are seen as useless), but it is those that He came to ministers to until He brings about judgment or justice into victory—meaning in the end the Messiah will cause justice to triumph. Jesus preached the gospel to the poor, to the most needy and often neglected part of society to give them hope.
    Matthew 11:4-6; 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
  • 12:21 The Messiah will be the person (the name) the Gentiles put their hope (trust) in—Jesus will be highly exalted by God and His name will be above every name and there will be no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. At the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that He is the Christ, the Lord—to the glory of God the Father.
    Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12

Review Questions

  • What was the conspiracy at hand? Why?
  • Who retreated? Why?
  • Who did Jesus heal?
  • What did Jesus charge the great multitude to do? Why?
  • What are the characteristics of the prophesied Messiah? Does Jesus fulfill them?

Twins Update #3

Still in the hospital and waiting for these babies to make an appearance. Inducing in China is a different process…a three-day process! Today is day three, so we will see. But mommy and the babies are good and healthy so far, praise the Lord. Please keep praying!

Again, we are thankful for our Chinese and American friends who have been helping take care of our children and filling in for us over the past few days so that we can be here in the hospital and take the necessary precautions to have a safe and healthy delivery, Lord willing.

Thank you for all the support as well!

Twins Update #1

On Thursday morning, my wife wasn’t feeling well and had a pretty severe headache. I took her to see the doctor that morning and they decided to admit her. She had high blood pressure and since that could cause complications with the twins, they wanted to take precautions.

After everything was fine (the headache was gone), they wanted to do a CT scan to make sure that the headache wasn’t caused by something else. The results came back fine. (We had to be taken to a different hospital to get this done.)

They also started to give her shots that help the babies develop in case they decided to come early. My wife is 37 weeks along but the babies are still pretty small (between 4-5 pounds).

She has been having contractions on and off over the past three days (two nights) but it doesn’t seem to be progressing at a fast pace, so they should be dismissing us to go home in the next couple of hours or so…(at least that is the plan as I am writing this update).

My wife is doing good. She is just tired from it all. She has done an amazing job with the twins this pregnancy.

We have had a great experience here at the hospital and are so blessed to have good healthcare in our city. They have taken great care of us. (Note: I say “us” because in China when you stay in the hospital, you have to have someone to stay with you to wait on you, the nurses don’t wait on your like they do in the USA.)

We have also been blessed with a great team. We know that our girls are in great hands as our friends have helped watch them over the past three days.

Please continue to pray for our family and my wife as she delivers the twins sometime this month, Lord willing!

Matthew: Jesus Is Greater Than Religion

Memory Verse: Matthew 12:6-8

12:1-8 Religion Condemns, Jesus Defends

  • 12:1-2 Religion condemns: At that time—around the same time period that Jesus was offering His invitation for others to “come to Him” He went on the sabbath day through the corn and His disciples were plucking it to eat because they were hungry. But when the Pharisees (a sect who hypocritically try to follow the law, making their own rules and regulations thus making their own form of religion—which illustrates the weakness of all religion) saw it, they asked Jesus why His disciples “do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.” The law of the Old Testament allowed them to “pluck the ears with thine hand” from the corn of their neighbors so they weren’t “stealing” the corn, but the Pharisees saw this as “work on the Sabbath” which was forbidden by the law.
    Deuteronomy 23:25; Exodus 20:8-11
  • 12:3-8 Jesus defends: Jesus goes on the defensive and explains the exception to the law under “extenuating circumstances” and why it isn’t contrary to it.
  • First, He proves His point by pointing to two stories in the Old Testament asking the Pharisees, “Have ye not read?” They have misunderstood God’s intention for the Sabbath and made it into something that it was never intended to be. Therefore, Jesus teaches two lessons: (1) A lesson learned from an incident: When David and those that were with Him was hungry—in the same way the disciples were—He entered the house of God and ate the shewbread even though it was not lawful for him or those that were with him to eat it but only for the priests. David was not condemned for this because the hunger or “circumstance” overruled the regulation of who could eat the shewbread in that specific instance. Jesus is greater than David so how much more is it blameless for Him and His disciples to satisfy their hunger on the sabbath. (2) A lesson learned from the law itself: On the sabbath days the priests in the temple were to offer sacrifices, which was work and would profane the sabbath, but this work superseded the limitation of working on the Sabbath and they were blameless.
    1 Samuel 21:1-6; Numbers 28:9-10
  • Second, Jesus argues that if all of these “lesser” things and people were blameless then how much more blameless are these “greater” things and people. He continues saying that: “In this place is one greater than the temple.”—Jesus and what He was doing on Earth, ushering in the Kingdom of God, was greater than all the temple had accomplished.
  • Third, Jesus says that if they knew what the following phrase meant: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,” then they wouldn’t have condemned the guiltless—like they just did with the disciples. It means that the “moral standards” (inward) are more important than the “ceremonial requirements” (outward) of the law. Jesus was calling out the Pharisees hypocrisy. They were focused on sacrifice and burnt offerings more than having mercy and knowing God. Outwardly they were religious but inwardly they weren’t. They weren’t people of compassion but of condemnation.
  • Fourth, He justifies all that He has said by claiming that, “The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Jesus is the Son of Man and He is claiming ultimate authority that is equal with God. Who are the Pharisees to make a judgment of what is right or wrong concerning observing the Sabbath in the presence of the One who is the Master of it?
    Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13

12:9-14 Jesus is Honest, Merciful; Religion is Deceptive, Hypocritical

  • 12:9-10 Religion is deceptive: When Jesus left the place He was at, He went into Pharisees’ synagogue and there was a man that had a withered hand. The Pharisees’ tried to accuse Jesus by asking Him the following question: “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?” Again the question was asked: (1) out of a misunderstanding of what the rules were for observing the sabbath day; (2) out of a deceiving attitude that didn’t want to know the truth but wanted to find a reason to accuse Jesus. Religion often twists the truth or changes rules so that it can always find a way to deceive others and accuse them of doing wrong instead of desiring to showing mercy and doing good.
  • 12:11-12a Jesus is honest: Jesus ask them a rhetorical question in response to the question they asked Him: “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?” The answer to this question is obvious, no one would wait until it wasn’t the sabbath day to save his one and only sheep if it fell into a pit on the sabbath. They would do what it took to save it even on the sabbath day. Then Jesus continues with another rhetorical question: “How much then is a man better than a sheep?” Again, the answer if obvious, mankind is infinity more important and valuable than sheep. We were made in the likeness and image of God Himself. Therefore, if we would be willing to exert effort for these “lesser sheep” on the sabbath and were blameless then how much more blameless are we if we exert effort for these “greater people.”
    Genesis 1:26-27
  • 12:12b-13 Jesus is merciful: All of these “from less to greater” arguments point to one conclusion about the sabbath: “It is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” There is no law against doing good on the sabbath. “Good” overrules the “restrictions” of the sabbath. Therefore, Jesus is answering their question in the positive: “Yes, it is lawful to heal on the sabbath days.” Jesus goes on to prove what He says by saying to the man with the withered hand “Stretch forth thine hand” and the man stretched it forth and it was restored whole, just like his other hand. Jesus had mercy on this man and healed him on the sabbath. Maybe you have been living under the condemnation of religion your whole life, but today Jesus is offering you mercy—will you leave your religion for mercy?
  • 12:14 Religion is hypocritical: The Pharisees were offended by Jesus actions of mercy and left the synagogue. Why? Because Jesus called into question their understanding of the law—their whole belief system and authority. They even missed the big picture—Jesus just healed a man—something that He couldn’t have done apart from the power of God, thus God approved of it happening on the sabbath. Then they held a council to conspire against Jesus and how they might destroy Him. Those who were so worried about observing the sabbath lawfully are not plotting a conspiracy to murder Jesus. When religion gets offended by the truth it often responds with hypocrisy and violence.

Review Questions

  • What are Jesus’ four points of defense agains the first accusation?
  • How does Jesus respond to the second accusation?
  • What overrules the “restrictions” of the sabbath?
  • How do the Pharisees parallel religion in general?
  • Who is greater than religion?

Matthew: Jesus Is Truth And He Wants You To Believe

Memory Verse: Matthew 11:28

11:20-24 Truth Brings Repentance Or Judgement

  • 11:20 Jesus began to harshly criticize the cities where “most of His mighty works were done” because they didn’t repent. Jesus’ mission was to save the world not judge it. His mighty works were evidence of who He was and the truth that He taught. But many people still chose not to repent—a change of mind, heart, and life based on the understanding of truth or turning away from sin and turning to God. Therefore, in the last day, the truth that Jesus spoke will judge all who reject Him. The inhabitants of these cities were guilty of not taking Jesus seriously. The purpose of Jesus performing miracles was to lead people to repentance, but instead the people were indifferent to Jesus.
    John 12:47-48
  • 11:21-22 Jesus continues “Woe”—and interjection of grief or denunciation, and then address two cities by name: Chorazin and Bethsaida—Jewish cities of Galilee. He criticizes them for not repenting after He did mighty works among them. Then He said that if the same mighty works that were done there had been done in Tyre and Sidon—wicked Gentile cities of Phoenicia, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes— public signs of repentance and grief over one’s sin. Because they rejected the truth that was testified by the mighty works, they would be have a harsh judgment—it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment. This points to those who have a greater opportunity to repent but don’t will be judged more severely than those who have less opportunity—thus there must be different degrees of punishment.
  • 11:23-24 Next, Jesus turns to a third city: Capernaum—a Jewish City of Galilee where Jesus’ home was. This city thought that it would be “exalted unto heaven”—meaning they thought heaven would be their final destination, but Jesus corrects their thinking and tells them they will “be brought down to hell.” Heaven is the highest point and represents eternal joy in the presence of God, whereas hell is the lowest point and represents eternal punishment in the absence of God. Why hell? Because they were indifferent to the mighty works that Jesus did in their midst and refused to repent. He goes on to say that if these mighty works were done in Sodom—a wicked Gentile City that was destroyed for their sin—it would have remained until this day. Just like the other two cities, because they rejected the truth that was testified by the mighty works that they would have a harsh judgment—it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment. Why? Because they experience the works and words of Jesus, but ultimately rejected Him.
    Isaiah 14:13-15

11:25-30 Jesus Invitation: “Come Unto Me.”

  • 11:25-26 At that time—around the same time Jesus was criticizing these three cities for not repenting, He says a little prayer. First, Jesus addresses God as Father, and the Lord of heaven and earth. Second, Jesus thanks God because He had hid “these things” from the wise and prudent, and had revealed them unto babes. This means that God’s plan of revealing His will and truth does not come through standards of conventional human wisdom which often lead to pride, but reveals it to “babes” or those who are humble and willing to believe like a child does. A wise and prudent person is one who has good intellect, education, and thus can comprehend most things, but their intelligence often causes them to see themselves as superior to others and they choose to rely on their wisdom instead of placing a simple child-like faith in Jesus. This is the way that God has planned it and it seemed good in His sight. It doesn’t matter if you are wise or not, the truth is received by everyone the same way—through a humble faith.
    1 Corinthians 1:18-19; 2:6-8
  • 11:27 Jesus reveals God to us. Jesus tells us about His relationship with God. (1) All things are passed on to Jesus from God. Therefore, His teachings are the direct words and will of God without error. (2) Jesus says that God is His Father. This means Jesus is claiming to be the Son of God—the closest relationship with God that anyone could have and a term that basically means that He is claiming to be equal with God. (3) No man knows Jesus but God. No man knows God but Jesus and whoever Jesus reveals God to. Jesus is saying that He has true knowledge of God and that He can reveal this knowledge to others. God was not unapproachable or unknowable—for Jesus has approached Him and has a relationship with Him. At that time, apart from God, those He was speaking to didn’t fully understand who Jesus was. Jesus was claiming something higher than human observation could comprehend—that God was revealing Himself to mankind through His Son Jesus and that it would ultimately be Him who died for their sins to save them.
  • 11:28a Jesus invites us to come to Him. If you want to know God then you have to come to Jesus—the One who reveals God to others. He has a real relationship and knowledge of God and is willing to tell us. He is the way, the truth and the life.
    John 14:6
  • 11:28b Jesus invites all to come to Him, even the troubled—those who labour and are heavy laden. This is a metaphor that means those who are wearied from all of life’s troubles and sin—just like a person is exhausted from being overworked, through great strain or stress and have a heavy load they are trying to carry and causes great exhaustion. It is to this person that is overwhelmed by life’s troubles, sin and trying to earn salvation through good works or keeping the laws and rules of religion that Jesus invites to come to Himself. You don’t have to clean up your life first, start doing good, or fulfill all the rules, but you come to Jesus just as you are, with all of your problems and sin.
  • 11:28c Jesus offers to give rest to the troubled. This is continuing the metaphor that in the same way taking a break from your working activities in order to be refreshed is rest, Jesus is offering you salvation by grace, not by our own effort or works, and it gives us a peace that passes all understanding. Jesus is offering to forgive our sins and to bear the heavy load that we couldn’t bear ourselves. If you are tired from all of life problem’s or sin, tired from trying to be the best you can but to only fail, tired of trying to fulfill all the requirements of your religion to be accepted by a “god,” then come to Jesus, He offers rest.
    Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 4:7
  • 11:29-30 Jesus wants us to be His disciples. He tells those who come to Him: (1) to take His yoke upon them—meaning that we are to come under His headship and be submissive to Him and work together. His yoke is easy and His burden is light—the fear, worry and guilt that comes with life’s trouble and sin can be replaced with Jesus’ yoke. (2) To learn of Him—meaning that Jesus is a meek (gentle, mild) and lowly (humble, not arrogant or prideful) teacher and if we as His disciples learn how to be like Him then we will find rest for our souls—we no longer have to worry about earning our salvation through religious works or being good, but He freely gives it and teaches us how to live.
    John 8:31-32

Review Questions

  • Why did Jesus harshly criticize the cities where most of His mighty works were done?
  • Jesus reveals who to us?
  • Jesus invites who to come to Him?
  • Jesus offers to give what to who?
  • Jesus wants us to be His what?

Matthew: Everything Changed When Jesus Came

Memory Verse: Matthew 11:13

11:12-15 John The Baptist Represented A Monumental Shift

  • 11:1-11 John the Baptist, who is in jail at this time, wanted some reassurance that Jesus was truly the One—the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus told John’s disciples to look at the evidence, those things which they do hear and see, which were miraculous wonders that pointed to Jesus as being the One. Jesus then questions the multitude about John the Baptist, explaining that John the Baptist is more than a prophet because He is also the fulfillment of prophecy to prepare the way for the Christ. Even as great as John the baptist was, He was part of the dispensation that didn’t have the full understanding and experience of Jesus—thus all believers, even the most humble of believers, is greater than John the Baptist because of the privileged position they are able to experience—to know and believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist—meaning since he started his ministry of preparing the way for Jesus, who is the Christ, until now—the time in the story that Jesus is addressing the multitude, the kingdom of heaven “suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” This is a hard statement to understand but it probably means that the kingdom of heaven, from its preparation through it’s inaugurated by Jesus has struggled hard from opposition and rejection characterized by violence and persecution from many Jews and religious leaders.
  • 11:13 John’s ministry pointed to a change in how things were going to work. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. God would communicate His will to His people through His prophets and the law. But they were both limited—“until John”. These two ways of revealing God’s will had a limited duration as God had a better way to reveal His will to us. Together, these two would equal the whole of the Old Testament, and indicate that it was given as precursory to Jesus coming, but their work of “prophesying” went up until John started His ministry and doesn’t go beyond that. This doesn’t mean that they were no longer significant, but all that they prophesied about is starting to be fulfilled and a new dispensation is going to take place that extends beyond their revelation. Since John’s ministry was preparatory work for the Messiah—who Jesus claims to be, then the focus of God’s revelation turns to Jesus.
  • Dispensations are certain periods of time in which God works in certain ways in the world based on His own divine will and administration.
  • Salvation has always been “by faith” but in the Old Testament they had “faith in God” and His promise but in the New Testament they had “faith in Jesus”.
    Galatians 3:11; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:3
  • 11:14 This would have been hard for the multitude to hear. There would be many emotions and attitudes from those considering the words of Jesus. Jesus was trying to bring out a great truth about the role of John the Baptist and what his ministry meant: Everything is about to change, the Messiah is here. Jesus told the multitude that, “If ye will receive it”—meaning that if they would believe everything that Jesus said about John is true, then they could also believe the next statement about John the Baptist—“this is Elias, which was for to come.” This was a prophecy that Elijah (Elias) would return before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Jesus states that John is the fulfillment of this prophecy, not physically being Elijah (John denied that), but “in the spirit and power of Elias” accomplishing the work that it was prophesied for him to do.
    Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 17:12-13; Luke 1:17; John 1:21
  • 11:15 After saying this, Jesus commands the people—“he that hath ears to hear”—an expression used to refer to anyone—“let him hear”—not meaning that we are just to listen to what is said, but to pay close attention, understand and to respond in conformity. It is the responsibility of individuals to hear this message and heed to it through repentance and faith. For a Jew who was engulfed in his national identity and traditions, this was a hard message to accept. Today, you might have the same problem of giving up everything you thought you knew for something radically new to you. But would you rather guard your traditions or know the truth—the truth that can set you free. Their would have been peer pressure to not accept Jesus’ teachings. Many probably rejected the message for fear of those they were around. There is probably society or peer pressure for you to reject this message, but Jesus is calling you to receive it.

11:16-19 Jesus’ Comparison

  • 11:16-17 Jesus knows what those around Him are thinking. So He thinks of a comparison to help explain their attitudes and actions. He said that they are like children sitting in the markets and calling unto their friends saying, “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.” The children tried to invoke a reaction from their friends, but they didn’t cooperate. So Jesus is saying that the people who he is teaching in the same manner are hearing and be invoked but they aren’t cooperating. They have no reaction. They wouldn’t be happy or sad. Jesus goes on to apply this in the next two verses.
  • 11:18-19a Application: (1) John came neither eating nor drinking—meaning that he had a very strict diet that he followed and was not characterized be eating normally. Therefore, people said, “He hath a devil”—meaning they rejected his message, saying that he ate weird because he was of the devil and refused to conform to his message of repentance. (2) The Son of man (Jesus) came eating and drinking—meaning that he didn’t have a very strict diet that he followed and was characterized be eating normally. Therefore, people said, “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners”—meaning they rejected his message, saying that him eating normal meant he was someone who was devoted to overeating, drinking and becoming drunk. Also, they said because He ate in the company of publicans and sinners that He was their friend or someone who approved of their sinful lifestyle. Thus, they refused to rejoice that Jesus, the Messiah, had come. No matter if it was John or Jesus, they refused to cooperate.
    Matthew 9:10-13
  • 19b Jesus ends this comparison by pointing at that even though many have rejected the “wisdom” that has been given, it will be “justified” or be shown as right by “her children” or the lives and actions of those who accept it. This wasn’t something that was to be discussed and decided on but it was something to be believed and lived out, thus proven it to be true. Some will reject it, others will prove it to be true.

Review Questions

  • What was prophesying “until John”?
  • What are dispensations?
  • “In the spirit and power of” who did John fulfill the prophecy?
  • What did Jesus’ comparison point out?
  • How is wisdom proven right?

December 2017 Prayer Letter

Merry Christmas! We are in a wonderful season of ministry here in China. The church is growing, we have two Chinese families training for full-time ministry, there are American interns and other missionaries who are training and preparing for language school and our family unit is growing with twins on the way! Praise God!

Third Year Anniversary: Last month, our church celebrated its third year anniversary. Also, one the same Sunday we had our thanksgiving service and meal. We are thankful for all the Lord has done and how He has blessed the ministry and church.

Christmas Outreaches: Christmas is a great time of the year to outreach into the community. This past weekend the church has its yearly ladies Christmas party that went great. Please pray for our other activities this month: members’ Christmas service; Sunday morning Christmas service with a special meal and kids’ program; a young peoples Christmas party. This Christmas, like every day of the year, we want the Chinese people to know that Jesus is the Son of God and came to save them from their sins.

The Next Generation: The family here for their six-month missionary internship are doing a great job. They came with a learning spirit and have been a huge help as they are getting involved as much as they can. At the beginning of this month, we received another family from our home church who are here to learn ministry and do language school for about two years. We have been helping them over that past couple weeks to get set up as they start their new lives as “on the field” missionaries.

Praise and Prayer Request: A man in 30’s trusted in Jesus after one of the Bible studies in the past month! He has been coming for a long time. Praise the Lord! Also, there are 3 dad’s who have been coming for a long time but have not believed in Jesus. They are opening up. Pray for their salvation and the salvation of their families. Their English names are Michael, Richard, and Frank. Another praise is that we had some families come back to the church from our family fall party.

Twins: My wife is 34 weeks now! So our due date is next month! Please keep her and our family in your prayers as we welcome these twins into the world!

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our team, Project China. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward so that we can know Jesus and make Him known!