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Who Can Forgive Sin?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 1, 2021 7:00 am

Who Can Forgive Sin?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 1, 2021 7:00 am

Although the promises made on big billboards, clever TV ads and online popups are tempting, we often learn the hard way that many of them are simply false advertising. We’ll learn how Jesus substantiated the claims he made about himself and find out how his miracles silenced those who questioned his divinity.

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Although the promises made on big billboards, clever TV ads, online pop-ups are tempting. We often learn the hard way that many of them are simply false advertising on this broadcast of the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will learn how Jesus substantiated the claims he made about himself listening to find out how his miracles silence those who question his divinity and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

Jesus life and ministry on this earth caused quite a stir. He wasn't a political revolutionary or social activist.

He made one simple claim and it turned the world upside down. Let's listen and to learn how he proved his power as the son of God. People who pick up Matthew for the first time and just begin to read it might very well get the impression that the collection of material is haphazard or at least topical. It is topical. Of course I tried to point that out before, but it's actually more than that because it develops a very significant way as it goes along make all the points that Matthew things are most important. Concerning the life of Christ.

I have an example of land in these chapters were looking at now.

Chapters 8 and nine, and even in chapter 10 we have an eight and nine are a collection of miracle stories remind of them altogether is a bit of a progression, there already looked at three element we were studying chapter H healing of a man with leprosy and the healing of the servant of the centurion and finally healing Peter's mother-in-law was a break at that point and then we, in the end of that chapter.

The two things that go beyond it because here Jesus shows power not only over disease but he shows power over nature. He stills storm on the Sea of Galilee, and then he shows power even over demons that is extends into the spiritual realm. He does it by driving to spiritual many spirits out of the two men were demon possessed and got around the far side of the sea and were going to see as we go along that he heals a paralytic that has to do with sin.

And finally, as we got to the end. He actually raises a woman from the data and then restore sight to blind man and he does other things along the way. So was a kind of progression, there was also a progression in these interesting little segments that interrupt the telling of the line miracle stories we've already seen one that sees man who came and wanted to follow Jesus and you got a discussion of discipleship there.

Jesus has an opportunity to explain what it really means to follow him, that significant then you move on with the story of Matthew's own calling and you find there that it has to do with the forgiveness of sins, and finally toward the end of chapter 9 and all the way into chapter 10 the hallway to the end. You have the commissioning of those who actually have follow Jesus and have been given forgiveness of their sentence to the task of world evangelism, which is what the disciples began to do and that we do as well. So all that is a progression of a significant one at that, we come to now is the sixth miracle of the series and that's a story this well-known story of how four men brought their friend was paralyzed to see Jesus. Jesus recrossed Galilee. By this time he had been in the land of the Gadarenes and they had not wanted them to stay because what happened to the pigs. They preferred their pigs to people who were healed and so he went back over the Sea of Galilee. And he came to Capernaum, which is described as his own County come from Nazareth originally will.

Nazareth had actually driven them out. Stones were going to stone him because of his works preaching in the synagogue. Now Jesus and Peter and some of the others were settled there in Capernaum was preaching he was in the house at this time people were crowding in the houses probably were not very big but all of the space was taken and these men come with their friends and I want to get close to Jesus. So Jesus can heal. How are they going to do it well. I got this clever idea of going up on the roof and attaching the tiles which were loose and that's kind of a house when they made an opening big enough, they lowered their friend down in front of Jesus must've been a very dramatic moment. Imagine preaching.

All of a sudden the tiles are being dislodged up Bob.

Suddenly Don comes this man through the ceiling areas lying in front of Jesus. Everybody is watching to see what's going to happen. I imagine the man himself must've had a little bit of anxiety because of the way Jesus addressed them. Jesus said, take Clark's son what that meant was, don't be afraid.

It's all right something good is going to happen. Then, without batting an eye. Jesus goes on to say, your sins are forgiven, what we heard them say, your sins are forgiven us what the Pharisees are segments standing on the side are saying and he said that right something wrong here.

Nobody can forgive sins but God if he's claiming to forgive sins is claiming to be God's blasphemy, he ought to be stone right in their fax of course, workday Matthew expects his readers understand that point. That's what all of this is about. Only God can forgive sins right because sin by definition is a violation of the law of God, I can't do it God can. What follows from that of course is that of Jesus can forgive sin as he now goes on to prove that he can that he must be God or at least he speaks and acts with divine authority and that's exactly the way Jesus himself handles the situation because Butler told us that he knows what they were thinking. He knows their thoughts and calls evil and so returns to them and asking this question is which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven. Of course, is exactly what he had daughter to say get up and walk so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins when he turns to the man was paralyzed and he says to him, get up, take your mat and go home and he did completely cured and the people were astonished were told verse eight that they praised God who had given such authority to man didn't go far enough.

Of course nobody at this point recognize that Jesus really was God. You don't find that in the gospel until you get Peter's great confession in the 16th chapter, but they want as far as they could at the time they understood something really astonishing was happening. Another number of important lessons in the story of the first one is obvious that the root problem are human beings with sin is because Jesus himself raised the issue raises a number of other questions we say does this mean that the paralyzed man was the center in some special sense so that his sin was directly linked to his paralysis doesn't mean that all sin is sometimes linked to illness and illness to sin, so that you can ever disentangle the two Matthew doesn't answer that question because that's not his point here. This point is a Jesus is able to forgive sin in the healing of the man is a proof of it. But if we turn other passages in the Bible we get answers to those questions. One thing were told was that not all illness is directly related to sin.

The example of the blind man in chapter 9 is proof of that disciples thought it was a son who send this man or his parents that he was born blind has to be a connection. Jesus denied a case that has nothing to do with that. This man was born blind, simply so I could come along. At this point in healing and give glory to God was to build the way they were used to thinking in those categories.

So somebody is sick we can never say sick because God punishing them for some sin. It isn't right. Sometimes sin is linked illness and illness to send. Sometimes we bring things on ourselves combined with inherent problems from our parents and sometimes that's going to sink in any case, here was some link so what Jesus said is if I can heal him physically. It's proof but I've also had the authority to forgive his sin is another question that emerges when we raise it because people have in mind this phrase, healing, and the atonement may pardon some forms of Christianity today teach that there is healing in the atonement, meaning that if you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. You have the right to perfect health is our connection layer. Well, that's another one of those questions that has to have a yes and no answer.

Yes, there is a connection on the sense that all bills, physical or otherwise, are related in one way or another to sin we wouldn't have any problems. We were sinners know if we mean there's a direct connection as far as expecting perfect health because we come to Jesus Christ. The parallel is there something like a resurrection body can we expect to have a perfect resurrection body one day because we have faith in Jesus Christ of the been safer Mars and the answer is yes, but we don't have a reason to expect it now, so God sometimes gives people health and sometimes he also gives him sickness for his own ends. One day we will have perfect health. Justice will be delivered every vestige of sin. But in the meantime, we have to glorify God for where we are now Matthew's point is that Jesus raised the sin question because the final purpose of his coming was to deal with sin to ignore it or to treat it lightly.

It's entirely different from the way people treat sin. Today we do everything we can to minimize that I talked about in the different ways before either we ignore rents as it is really there were we blame it on someone else.

I'm only doing what I'm doing is my parents because of the environment in which I grew up or we pretend it doesn't matter. Doubts doesn't matter matters infinitely because we will suffer eternally for it unless it's atoned for by the infinite value of the death of Jesus Christ. So we start with. I point the root problem for human beings is set that's what's involved in the story. Second point is this, Jesus has authority to forgive sin and it proves his deity.

All the people got from the miracle. As we saw is that God had given amazing authority to man. Matthew means more than this for several reasons. For one thing, he raises forgiveness question by showing what the Pharisees were thinking it was a link only God can forgive Sam and then he brings in the matter of the healing as a proof of the forgiveness and what he is arguing is a Jesus, therefore, is the son of God, is why the healing is so important. Anybody complained to forgive sin.

You can select I can do it. What is that mean returned to you and say I forgive your sin anymore than that simply doesn't matter to me.

Go ahead. I don't care. I'm a sinner to I mean more than that your sin is actually forgiven.

You don't have the punishment for anybody looking on census ludicrousness nonsense can forgive sin. Anybody can go around say it but it doesn't mean anything, but if there's a connection between the healing and forgiveness which we have here and one is being put forward as the proof of the other and then somebody actually does the healing that you have proof that they're able to pronounce the forgiveness and that is exactly what happened.

The claim is substantiated by a miracle. When that occurs, as it did this occasion, we had better be filled with all the people were because what it really means is that God himself is among us all the lessons of this first story carry over into the second 12, which is why Matthew includes the account of his own calling to discipleship by Jesus at this point already told of the calling of four of the disciples in chapter 4 is going to provide a full list of the 12 in chapter 10. Includes his own story to indicate what we have to see that exactly like the paralyzed man. The key to needed to be healed by Jesus. What he needed to be healed of primarily as was also the case of the man it would been paralyzed was his sin. Jesus alone was able to do a number of verbal links between these two stories that Matthew has put in intentionally.

So we got the point. One is the fact that just as the paralyzed man was a sinner. So are the people appearing in the story, in the opinion of the Pharisees. Matthew a tax collector. Those it is like were sinners.

I those who were guilty of all kinds of violations of the law very kind of people with whom they would have nothing to do but it is precisely sinners. Jesus came to save and so Matthew is quite happy to put himself in that category. So yes, I'm a sinner. Jesus came to say people just like me and he did reminds me of what the Dutch painter Rembrandt did in one of his paintings. You may have seen it as one of his most famous paintings of the crucifixion else in this magnificent painting all of the characters that you would expect to have in the painting of the crucifixion of Christ on the cross and the two thieves and the soldiers of the great crowd of people in the fire season. All of that down in the corner of the lower right corner. Rembrandt has a picture of himself as a way of saying I was there as well. It was my sin because Jesus to go to the cross and as a testimony of the fact that he was trusting Jesus Christ as his Savior know that's exactly what Matthew was doing in the story.

Now Matthew going to understand the significance of this was a person who was unacceptable when they talk about tax collectors and sinners are saying that a variety of ways in which Matthew was an unacceptable person was unacceptable politically. First of all because he collected taxes that meant that he was the person who was collaborating with the Roman authorities nobody like that nobody like taxes and any more than they do today kinds of taxes when Berkeley in his commentary, list some of them some of them were the obvious kind of taxes should expect statutory taxes that were bike fixed rates.

There was a ground tax 1/10 of all the grain and 1/5 of all the fruit and grapes.

It was an income tax of 1% of the person's income. We wish we only had Lance and a poll tax that was imposed on all males 14 to 65 in every female from 12 to 65. Those were the three main taxes but then in addition many other taxes which the tax collectors grew rich with by overcharging duty tax would violate from 2 1/2 to 12 1/2% was levied on all imported and exported goods were taxes for using the main road crossing bridges and entering market times using harbors pack animals were tax was a tax on the wheels and axles of parts. Capernaum was a time where major roads came together and so Matthew is sitting there where all this commerce went and he grew rich by passing taxes, employment, of course, he was hated for not only was he politically unacceptable. He was unacceptable religiously because he was considered to be unclean. Jews use the verse in Leviticus the 20th chapter verse five which required Orthodox Jews to cut off anyone who was guilty of quote prostituting himself to Moloch." Bolick was even God, but they understood it somewhat as we do, is having to do with money. Money being considered a God Mammon is Jesus referred to it in the sermon on the bouncer or somebody who has sold himself out for money and therefore doesn't deserve to associate with religious people. Tax collectors weren't even allowed to testify in a court of law. And finally, just as he was politically unacceptable and religiously unacceptable. So was a socially unacceptable religious people spoke of those who failed to keep all the petty details of the law is the Yamaha RX means the people of the Lamb on coupon. The civilized un-religious people and they work to have anything to do with them. They were forbidden to go on a journey with them. Do business with them. Give them anything, receive anything from them have them as guests or be guests in their homes of Matthew was one of these people. The wonderful thing significant thing is that although it was politically, religiously and socially unacceptable to his contemporaries. He was not unacceptable to Jesus because Jesus is God. He wasn't unacceptable to God the father, either. Jesus comes and calls Jesus says follow me just as you called the other disciples. Matthew did exactly what they had did he got swept the paralyzed man dead when Jesus healed him of his paralysis got up and began to follow Jesus. Matthew doesn't mention this, but Luke adds in his account that he left everything that is his position. His job and is in, in order to follow Jesus. So we asked the question at that point we say was this man really converted answer yes yes of course he was was ever kind of evidence for any follow Jesus, for one thing, and inactive. Faith is no faith at all. True faith always follows after Jesus, but you're not following you're not a Christian. Secondly, left everything to do it. Nothing is ever allowed to stand in the way are following after Christ.

He doesn't always ask us to abandon family and friends in jobs available that we have to do it in the assets. Nothing must come before him he already saw that in the earlier story of the men came and wanted to follow him.

And thirdly, this is where the story goes on he arranged to have his friends meet Jesus as a link between the story of Matthew is calling on the story of the healing of the paralyzed man of the first eight verses in the first story it was the friends of the paralyzed man who brought him to Jesus to be healed here in verse 10, Matthew was trying to do the same thing with his unconverted friends.

Natural for those whom Jesus is saved and makes us ask, are we in that great company witnesses you been saved so are you trying to introduce your friends to Jesus. You can convert them. Of course you can't make them Christians you know that God's work, but you can introduce them to Jesus. That's what Matthew was doing in the story of how he's doing this. We also see opposition a lot of opposition beginning to grow here in the middle portions of the gospel. That's the same in all the Gospels and what we have here is in the emergence of certain criticisms thing they criticize Jesus for his associating with tax collectors and sinners we seen it. It's an attack on his morals because the obvious implication is that of his associating with logotypes. It's because he must want to be like them and do the kind of things they do doesn't necessarily follow Jesus answered it this way he does it by an illustration via text from the Old Testament. The first illustration is drawn for medicine talks about doctors he says about the healthy you need a doctor but the sick come to call the city doesn't mean by that. Of course, that his critics were healthy. They were sinners. They just didn't know it was explaining why was that he was associating with people that they look down on because they had needs spiritual needs of you come to meet them today. We don't understand this very well because we got sick we go to a doctor go to the hospital those days there were many hospitals and the doctors didn't have offices or somebody was sick. The doctors went to them magically actually made house calls back there in the good old days Jesus says that's exactly what I have come to do a come to go and find the sinners.

Secondly, he challenges him to look at a verse in the Old Testament, and that's Hosea 66 says for I desire mercy, not sacrifice and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. He says look if you hadn't been so hung up on the little formal details of your law whether we can keep the Sabbath in your way or not, or whether we do all the other little things you might've been able to show some mercy to people because that's what God says he really wants. Must've been a favorite text of Jesus because it comes up again in the 12th chapter and verse seven and that passage as well as here Jesus is saying if the leaders of the people were really right with God as they imagine themselves to be the outreaching sinners were Jesus was right with God is exactly what he was doing and we better be glad of as he came to say people just like you and me and that's where the conversation ends. Jesus concludes by saying I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners calling them. Of course, to repentance and faith in himself as the Savior finish had one more accusation and it was less Matthew was throwing supper and everybody there was feasting and Pharisees disciples of John the Baptist this time. Apparently, fasting, and so they come with the question they say why is it that you don't fast when we do around, that's beginning to challenge his piety had challenged him for his low Association slandered his morals. Now they were challenging his piety and Jesus answers that by saying you know when there's a wedding. People don't fast the wedding comes at a happy time bride. Is there a bridegroom is there, and so if you will feasting.

Everybody's happy. Jesus like this.

You see, bridegroom is calm is another illustration. He says nobody takes a new piece of cloth and sows it on an old garment patch a hole because as soon as you wash up the new piece of shrinkable tear away by the bigger hole than you did before. The same thing with wineskins you don't put new wine in the old skin because the old skins are already hard when the wind ferments expands it to break the skin's saying is something new has come. You don't understand it yet, but when I have, I come to do something new. It said new gospel. It's a new thing and it requires new forms course order for that to happen.

Jesus had to go to the cross and died were happy that he did.

We rejoice in mind were glad they were not caught in that old kind of legalistic religion where what we worry about is whether somebody is observing some the exactly the way we think they should or whether there dotting all the eyes across all the keys of some kind of man-made system of religion. Rather, we have a gospel of the grace of God for sinners. People who break the law and thought, word and deed, and do it all the time, but who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, that's a wonderful gospel. That's really good news.

That's what Jesus came to bring us what the paralyzed man discovered what Matthew found that anyone who has genuinely become a Christian is found in all in Jesus Christ.

Praise the Lord.

Father, we thank you for the stories that we been able to study today. We ask you to bless them. Through our minds and also to our hearts. We are sinful people that we don't recognize it and we need a Savior.

Even if we don't recognize that you be gracious to bring many to faith in Christ because those who know you to rejoice afresh the wonder of such a gracious salvation necessary. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution.

Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us online alliance nets.org for Canadian male. Those 2237 Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M1 C2 line 9 ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and thank you again for your continued support and for listening to Bible study


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