Lord willing, we are going to print 10,000 copies of John and Romans in-country. We have contacted a printer and he has agreed to print them for us. He has already printed one copy and sent us the proof (see picture). The price is $0.26 a copy. So to get 10,000 copies we will need to raise $2,600. If you are interested in helping us with this project, please contact me.
Our goals are to (1) use these copies of John and Romans to freely given them out to anyone who wants one; (2) have a relationship with a printer that will print the Scriptures for us even as the restrictions on Bibles tighten; (3) use these copies in evangelism and spreading the gospel!
Proof of the Scriptures we are going to be printing, Lord willing.
Memory Verse: Matthew 16:24
16:21-23 Jesus Reveals The Cost Of Salvation
- 16:21 The turning point: “from that time forth”—from the time that Jesus made it clear that He indeed was the Christ, the Son of the living God and declared He was building a church (16:13-20), He began to reveal to His disciples that one day He would be killed but also be resurrected. This would help correct their understanding of what the mission of “the Christ” was (Suffering Servant)—not to setup up a physical earthly kingdom but to save people form their sins and establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of mankind. He began to outlined the events that would happen: (1) how that He must go unto Jerusalem (the holy city of the Jews)—He will go to the center of Jewish life to accomplish His mission; (2) how that He must suffer many things of the elders; chief priests and scribes (all leaders in Jewish society)—He will be judged and endure suffering from the highest authorities in the land; (3) how that He must be killed—He will endure suffering unto death on a cross on mount calvary; (4) how that He must be raised again the third day—but there will be victory because after Jesus is put to death He will arise on the third day.
- 16:22 But it seems the disciples didn’t fully understand why Jesus had to go through the suffering and be killed. Therefore, Peter took Jesus and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter had confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” and couldn’t see how this disgrace, humiliation and shame through suffering and death (he overlooked the part about the resurrection) could be part of Jesus’ plan. He was against Jesus’ plan, but He didn’t understand it.
- 16:23 Then Jesus turned to Peter and rebuked him for his suggestion to avoid the plan Jesus just reveal to the disciples. What Peter didn’t understand was that the only way to redeem mankind from the consequences of sin was though the death and resurrection of the Christ. Therefore, for Peter to suggest anything different was to act like Satan—an enemy of God and one who tries to thwart His sovereign plan. His suggestion was that of being on the side of Satan and Jesus refers to Him as such. If Jesus followed Peter’s suggestion He would disobey the will of God and cause Him to sin (like Satan tried to tempt Jesus to do in 4:1-11). Peter was thinking on the things of men and not God. Thus Jesus tells him to “get thee behind me”—meaning he needs to stop and go away because his temptation to sin would not be heeded to. Jesus has revealed and is committed to the cost of salvation: selfless sacrificial love.
16:24-28 Jesus Reveals The Cost Of Discipleship
- 16:24 After Jesus finished rebuking Peter, He addressed His disciples and tells them the cost of discipleship: selfless sacrificial love. Just like there is a great cost (suffering, death) for salvation, there is also a great cost (suffering, death) for those who want to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus says that, “If any man will come after me”—meaning that if any person (including today) is willing to accept and submit to Jesus as Lord (to be a committed disciple of Jesus) then they are also called to live a life of selfless sacrificial love just like Jesus. First, Jesus says, “Let him deny himself”—like Jesus they no longer live for themselves, but for the will of God. (Jesus made Himself of no reputation, was an obedient servant, and humbled Himself.) Second, He says, “Take up His cross”—symbolizing a person, like Jesus, who carries a cross to the place of crucifixion, which symbolizes suffering and even possible death of those who follow Jesus. (Jesus became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.) Third, Jesus said, “Follow me”—like Jesus they are to be faithful to the end. They are to keep following Jesus as disciples no matter how hard the pathway of discipleship is. (Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.)
Matthew 10:38; Philippians 2:5-11
- Jesus reveals the cost of discipleship to His disciples. Not only did He let them know that He himself would suffer and be killed but that He also expected them to follow in His footsteps. This goes against our natural sense of security (note Peter’s response to Jesus), but that is why Jesus tells us to deny ourselves—it isn’t about us, there is something greater to live for than self. Then we are to faithfully follow the path that God has prepared for us with selfless sacrificial love.
- Jesus is calling His disciples to full surrender—meaning you give up your whole way of life to follow Jesus. Your life is no longer about “your plans” for your life but it is about “God’s plans” for your life.
- 16:25 God is calling you to discipleship because (1) there is a greater meaning to life than living for yourself. Jesus continues with a great paradox. All who concentrate on obtaining life for themselves (live for themselves and not God) will loose their lives, but those who loose their lives for Jesus’ sake (live for God and not themselves) will find it. The paradox is that we have to concentrate our lives on Jesus, not ourselves, to really find it. He is asking you to give everything up so that He can give you something greater. If you live for Jesus you will find life in the fullest sense—now and in eternity. On the contrary, if you live for yourself then life has no purpose—now and in eternity.
- 16:26 God is calling you to discipleship because (2) your life is the greatest thing you have. Jesus asks us two questions to help us consider the importance of our lives. If we sell (disregard God and live for worldly pleasures) our souls (lives) in exchange for the whole world (everything in the earthly realm so that we are financially and materially wealthy), how will it benefit us? Answer: It has no benefit because our lives are the most valuable thing we have. So then Jesus asks, what can we give to buy back our souls that we gave up? Answer: Nothing. On Judgement Day, we can do nothing to buy back our souls from eternal punishment and damnation. Is it worth living for your own pleasure but end up in hell? It makes no sense to live for this temporary life at the expense of losing eternal life.
- 16:27 God is calling you to discipleship because (3) there is a day of judgment that has eternal consequences. Jesus (the Son of man) tells His disciples that there will be a day when He returns (after His death and resurrection) as a “Reigning King” (“in the glory of his Father with his angels”) and at that time there will be a judgment where He will reward every man according to his works—meaning He will reward or punish based on what we deserve. Those who choose God are rewarded. Those who reject God are punished
Romans 2:5-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
- 16:28 Finally, Jesus declares to His disciples that some of them who were standing there would not die until they saw Jesus (the Son of man) “coming in His kingdom”—which most likely refers to the event that follows in 17:1-13 where Jesus transfigures before three of the disciples and they become eyewitnesses of “His majesty”.
2 Peter 1:16-18
- From “that time forth” what did Jesus began to reveal to His disciples?
- Why did Jesus call Peter Satan and rebuke him?
- What did Jesus tell those who wanted to be disciple to do?
- Why is God calling us to discipleship?
- What is the cost of salvation and discipleship?
Memory Verse: Matthew 16:18
16:13-16 Who Do You Say That Jesus Is?
- 16:13 Jesus warned His disciples of the danger of false doctrine, especially that of the Pharisees and Sadducees (legalism and liberalism). Then when they came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples another question saying, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”—meaning, in general, who do people think that Jesus is? Jesus often refers to Himself as the “Son of man” which points out His humanity or that He is 100% human—but there is one big difference: He is without sin. This is possible because He is also the “Son of God”—meaning He is 100% God.
- 16:14 The disciples answered Jesus’ questions with all the different things that they have heard about Jesus. (1) Some people say Jesus is John the Baptist—a man who was a prophet preparing the way for the Christ. John had already died, but people thought he must have come back from the dead (this is not logical since Jesus and John lived at the same time). (2) Some people say Jesus is Elias (Elijah)—a man who was also a prophet but was prophesied to return before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” But John the Baptist was 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. (3) Some people say Jesus is Jeremias (Jeremiah)—a man who was also a prophet that preached a message of judgement like Jesus, so maybe they thought Jesus was similar enough that this prophet returned. (4) Some people say Jesus is one of the prophets—they don’t know if He was a prophet risen from the dead or a new prophet that God had chosen, but they thought His works and teachings placed Him in the category of a being a “prophet”.
Matthew 11:14; 11:21-24; 14:1-2; Malachi 4:5
- 16:15 Then Jesus makes the question extremely personal and says to His disciples: “But whom say ye that I am?” The public might have different ideas about who Jesus is, but Jesus wants to know who do you think He is? If Jesus were to ask you this question, how would you respond?
- 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter believes Jesus to be much more than a prophet, He was: (1) The Christ—the anointed One, the Messiah, the promised Saviour of the World. (2) The Son of the living God—the closest relationship with God that anyone could have and a term that basically means that He is claiming Jesus to be equal with God.
16:17-20 The Start Of The Church
- 16:17 Jesus responds to Peter by saying: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona (son of Jona)”—Peter is blessed meaning to be happy or fortunate and in this context a holy joy. The reason for this holy joy is because he understands who Jesus really is and because this truth wasn’t revealed to Him by human effort (flesh and blood) but because God (my Father which is in heaven) had revealed it to Peter. At that time, apart from God, those Jesus was speaking to had not fully understand who Jesus was. Jesus was claiming something higher than human observation could understand—that God was revealing Himself to mankind through His Son Jesus and that He would ultimately save them.
- 16:18 Jesus continues saying: “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church”. This is the first time that Jesus has used the word “church”. This is the beginning of the church being started. There are three important things about the church that we learn: (1) The church’s foundation is Jesus and those who confess Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God—being revealed to them by the Heavenly Father. Peter was the first such person. (2) The church’s builder is Jesus. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. (3) The church’s owner is Jesus. He will purchase it with His own blood through His death on the cross. (4) The church’s victor is Jesus. Finally, Jesus says, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Hell is the place that holds the human soul prisoner at death, thus the “power of death” will not overpower the church. Death is strong, its gates hold the dead within and people do not come back from it. But Jesus will overcome death by His resurrection from the dead—thus paving the way for all members of the church to do the same.
1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:4; 15:52-57; 1 Peter 2:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:19; Acts 20:28; John 10:14-18
- Every person who repents and believes automatically becomes part of the church in general. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. Although all believers are part of the body of Christ, Jesus carries out His will through local churches. The local church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:13-18; John 20:22; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18
- A local church is a group of believers who consistently gather together in one place for the common purpose of carrying out the will and work of God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:23-25
- Today, a local church exists when believers: regularly gather for edification in the Word of God desiring to obey it; are willing to baptize new believers as a testimony of their faith in Jesus alone for salvation; and eat the Lord’s Supper together in remembrance of His death, looking forward to His return.
Acts 2:38; 4:31; Colossians 1:24-26; 1 Corinthians 11:20-26
- 16:19 Jesus ends by telling Peter that He will give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven (the gospel of the church) and that whatever He binds on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever he looses on earth will be loosed in heaven (the discipline of the church). This is establishing authority within the church. This authority is first given to Peter but is also passed to all members of the church. The key that opens the entrance to the kingdom of heaven is the gospel. Then as the church functions it also has authority to excise its authority.
Acts 2:1-47; Matthew 18:15-18
- 16:20 Finally, Jesus precisely ordered His disciples to not tell anyone that He was Jesus the Christ. They were to take the same position of Jesus—of course He knew He Himself was the Christ, but He didn’t tell everyone. Why? The multitude most likely would have misunderstood the role of the Christ—thinking He came to violently overtake the governmental authorities of their day and setup His kingdom on earth. Thus, Jesus probably didn’t want the wrong information to be spread around.
- Who did people say that Jesus the Son of man was?
- Who did Peter say the Jesus was?
- How did Jesus respond to Peter?
- What four things did we learn about the church?
- Why didn’t Jesus want anyone to know?
God is on the move. The gospel is going forward, people are believing, lives are being changed, and many great things are happening, even in the midst of speculation about a new wave of persecution coming in China.
Once again, thank you for praying for boldness! The Lord continues to grant your requests and gives us much boldness to preach Jesus. Here are a few more ways that your prayers are continuing to be answered:
- In the past four weeks, we have seen 11 people make professions of faith (including the two mentioned last month). A lady brought her ex-husband and he was saved. A father came with his family and he trusted in Christ. A divorced woman with a young daughter came and placed her faith in Jesus. Hallelujah!
- We have seen at least one person saved every Sunday for the past four weeks after the morning service. Everyone at the church is excited and anticipating who will be saved next. Church members are bringing their family members to hear the gospel.
- One of the 11 was our second oldest daughter who after the service one Sunday morning tapped my side and sincerely said, “I am ready to believe in Jesus now.” Praising God for saving her!
- Our Easter activities and Sunday Easter service went extremely well. We had 100 people (our highest for a service) in attendance on Sunday morning, mainly adults, and 4 people made professions that day.
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!
Memory Verse: Matthew 16:12
16:1-4 The Signs Of The Time
- 16:1 Jesus is now in the coasts of Magdala (or the region of Magadan). The Pharisees and Sadducees came together to Jesus to put Him to the test with a desire that He would fail and they would show the true nature of Jesus according to what they believed about Him. Therefore, they asked (desired) Jesus to show them “a sign from heaven.” They wanted Jesus to perform an undeniable miracle that would verify that was divine in nature and therefore proving Jesus is who He claimed to be. They weren’t asking out of sincerity, but they were antagonist—actively hostile and opposing Jesus—thus it seems they were looking for another reason to find fault with Jesus according to their own standards, even if the miracle was performed.
- The Pharisees (legalist) are a Jewish religious sect who hypocritically try to follow the law, making their own rules and regulations, and who are proud of their own righteousness after the tradition of man. They believed in angels, heaven, and life after death. They didn’t welcome cooperation and compromise with others.
- The Sadducees (liberals) were also a religious sect who denied supernatural things. They only accept the first five books of the Old Testament. They denied belief in angels, heaven and life after death. They welcomed cooperation and compromise.
- 16:2-4 Jesus responds to their request in the following manner:
Matthew 4:5-7; 12:24, 38-40
- First, He points out their ability to distinguish the weather based on the sky. They knew that if the sky was red in the evening there will be fair weather the following day. But if the sky is red and gloomy (lowring) in the morning there will be foul weather that day.
- Second, He called them hypocrites because they could discern the face of the sky but they couldn’t discern the signs of the times—meaning they couldn’t discern who Jesus was from all the signs that He as already given to them. Jesus, the Son of God, was among them but they were so set in their ways that they couldn’t understand who He was.
- Third, Jesus calls them a “wicked and adulterous generation”—meaning they were morally bad or wrong and they had gone after other gods and not been faithful to the one true God, therefore, no sign would be given to them—especially not the kind of sign that is demanded by skeptics. Signs are received not by demanding for them but received as God freely gives them according to His own purposes. They are only useful to those who have faith and not to the faithless. We are not to tempt God and put Him to the test. It shows our lack of faith, trust and dependence on Him and His word. Jesus knew this and would not play their games or do “magic tricks” for their entertainment.
- Fourth, the only sign that will be given to them is the sign of the prophet Jonah (Jonas). This sign will be sufficient for them. Like Jonah was in the whale’s belly for three days, so will Jesus be buried for three days and then resurrect from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection will be the sign and infallible proof that He is the Messiah. Finally, He left them, and departed. Application: Jesus resurrection is the greatest sign that we have that Jesus is the Christ. We don’t need to seek any other signs, but we need to put our faith in the sign that we already have. Trust Jesus.
16:5-12 Beware Of False Doctrine
- 16:5-6 When Jesus and His disciples arrived on the other side of the lake, His disciples realized they had forgotten to take bread with them. Jesus uses this as a teaching time and says to them “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” At this time, people often made their own bread. Leaven is a substance (often some of the dough from last week’s bread) that is used to produce fermentation in the dough and causes the bread to rise. The focus is on the changing power of the leaven in the meal or the “influence” of the leaven. So Jesus is clearly telling His disciples to be careful, prudent and on guard about the influence of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Even though their teachings were different (legalism and liberalism), they represented a common adversary against Jesus and His teachings (grace).
- 16:7-12 But the disciples didn’t understand Jesus’ meaning and they reasoned among themselves thinking that Jesus’ saying had something to do with them not taking bread with them. When Jesus perceived that they didn’t understand His saying, He responded by saying:
- First, He points out their little faith. Even if Jesus was referring to the fact that they didn’t bring bread with them on the trip, did they not understand and remember the two miracles that Jesus already performed among the hungry multitudes. He fed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread with twelve baskets of leftovers. He also fed over four thousand people with seven loaves of bread with seven baskets of leftovers. If the lack of bread was a problem, then they are to have faith in Jesus to provided for them. Application: How often do we forget what God has done for us and even though we have seen Him do great things, we don’t trust Him to do the same when we run into problems in the future?
Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-39
- Secondly, Jesus is still a little baffled at how is it that they did not understand what He said about the bread. He then repeats the warning: “that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Finally, after this explanation from Jesus they understood its meaning. Jesus told them to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Therefore, “leaven” is referring to the doctrine or the teachings of these two groups and the negative influence that it has. Application: We are to “be on alert” against false teaching or any teaching that is against Jesus. It doesn’t matter that actually teaching, as the teachings of these two groups were different, because their teachings is unified in their antagonism—to actively oppose Jesus and His mission in this world.
- What were the Pharisees and Sadducees seeking?
- How did Jesus respond to them?
- What is the greatest sign we have from Jesus?
- What were the disciples confused about?
- How did Jesus respond to them?