The first four books of the New Testament are called “gospels,” which means “good news.” They are fundamental to the revelation of God’s eternal plan to redeem and save lost humanity. They are often called biographies for they each tell the story of Jesus, his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. The good news of the Gospels is that Jesus has come, that he is both Savior and King, and people can know this is true because God has raised him from the dead. This section specifically focuses on the longest of the four Gospels, the Gospel of Matthew.
Introduction to the Gospels #1: The Centrality of Jesus Christ
The Centrality of Jesus Christ
The NT contains the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation. Jesus is the overarching theme of Scripture. It all points to Him. The Old Testament tells us Jesus is coming, and the NT tells us He came. This gives a special place to the Gospels, which most directly reveal His person and work. Gospel means “Good News from the Battlefield,” and the Gospels tell us the story of Jesus’ victory over that which has long separated God from Man and Man from God—sin.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Best Books in the Bible"
Introduction to the Gospels #2: The Uniqueness of the Gospels
The Uniqueness of the Gospels
This lesson explains the similarities and the differences between the four Gospels. While all the gospels have an emphasis is on the “Good News” of Jesus’ victory over sin, each preaches to different intended audiences, develops its own unique theological interests, makes its own story choices, in a unique structure.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Magnificent Obsession"
Introduction to the Gospels #3: The Ministries of the Messiah
The Ministries of the Messiah
This lesson explores the Synoptic Problem and reveals this series' plan for studying the Gospel books. It also gives an overview of Jesus’s ministry. He heals many and delivers many others from demonic bondage. Unlike His contemporaries, Jesus teaches with authority. These teachings were delivered through word and deed, and include lengthy sermons, profound responses to hostile queries, parables, and miraculous demonstrations. The proper response to Jesus is the confession of sin and repentance toward God.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Ministries of the Messiah"
Matthew #1: The Strategy of the Savior
The Strategy of the Savior
This lesson describes Jesus’ strategies for implementing the mission He came to Earth to accomplish. First, He separates 12 disciples and prepares them as part of His answer to the world’s needs. Next, giving them power, He sends them to multiply His efforts. Then He involves them ministering to people’s needs and positions them between Himself and the multitude, meeting needs by reaching out through His disciples. Finally, Jesus emphatically teaches this strategy through His Great Commission. “Go and reach the world by making disciple-making disciples.”
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Strategy of the Savior"
Matthew #2: The Kingdom of Heaven
The Centrality of Jesus Christ
This lesson reviews the concept “the kingdom of heaven,” the Kingdom’s citizen criteria, and Jesus’ genealogies and birth account. In the Old Testament, Israel rejected God’s rule in their hearts and chose earthly kings to rule over them instead. This lead to disaster and exile. Even after the exile, the true kingdom was not established in Israel. Then one day, John the Baptist comes to declare the coming of God’s man, the bringer of the Kingdom. Only a righteous person, repentant and reconciled with God, committed to Christ’s values can be a citizen of this Kingdom.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Thy Kingdom Come"
Matthew #3: The Crisis of the Christ
The Crisis of the Christ
This lesson introduces the ministry of John the Baptist and describes Jesus’ victory over Satan’s temptations. John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus and baptizes Jesus. After the baptism, Jesus goes into the wilderness led by the Holy Spirit and is tempted by the devil. Jesus confronts and overcomes the three-fold Satanic testing. Jesus’ victory over Satan demonstrates His right of place as the Messiah, a new Adam. Jesus puts God first; He doesn’t fall or fail; He remains sinless.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Crises of the Christ"
Matthew #4: Beautiful Attitudes
This lesson introduces “The Sermon on the Mount” as Jesus’ first Discipleship Training Event. It profiles the attitude of the kind of person Christ chooses to be a part of His solution for fallen and broken humanity. Jesus begins with Beatitudes where he explains eight beautiful attitudes of a true disciple.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "A Checkup from the Neck Up"
Matthew #5: Christ-Like Character
This lesson continues unpacking Jesus’ First Discipleship Training Event, The Sermon on the Mount. It considers four metaphors about the role of the Christian in the world. According to Jesus, if we have the eight beautiful attitudes, we will become salt, light, a city set on a hill, and a candle on a candlestick.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "A Turtle on a Fence Post"
Matthew #6: Relational Righteousness
This lesson uses the Sermon on the Mount to reveal Jesus’ fuller interpretation of the Law. God gives us Law because He loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer the results of wrong-doing. God’s Law comes out of God’s goodness toward man not as an end in itself. Thus, Jesus teaches us how to find happiness through righteousness in seven relationships. This lesson covers four of them. 1. Fellow Christians, 2. Adversaries, 3. The Opposite sex, 4. Spouses.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Relational Righteousness"
Matthew #7: Being Different
This lesson uses the Sermon on the Mount to show how different a true disciple of Jesus should be from others by maintaining righteousness in seven key relationships. The final three are covered here. Be righteous when dealing with 5. Those to whom you’ve made commitments, 6. Evil people, and 7. Enemies. Drawing upon the strength of God, they must strive to be perfect like their heavenly Father, and should seek His praise rather than the praise of men. This lesson ends by turning to a proper handling of spiritual disciplines, discussing right and wrong ways to give.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Look In, Look Out, and Look Up"
Matthew #8: Prayer and Fasting
Prayer and Fasting
This lesson continues to explain the rights and wrongs of spiritual disciplines by turning in the Sermon on the Mount to prayer and fasting. Jesus gives a model prayer that includes seven petitions: three concerning God - getting your priority straight with what concerns God, and then four for our personal needs - give, forgive, lead, and deliver us. All spiritual disciplines, Charity, Prayer, and Fasting, must be God oriented.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Divine Disciplines and Vertical Values"
Matthew #9: The Choices of the Committed
The Choices of the Committed
This lesson focuses on the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. A disciple must prioritize God’s kingdom and righteousness in their lives. He must commit to 1. “to look in” making sure his attitudes are correct, 2. “to look up” to diligently seek God’s grace and mercy, and 3. “to look around” to express God’s love for others. He must choose the disciplined and difficult path that leads to stability, beware of false disciples, and commit to living out His teachings.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Choices of the Committed"
Matthew #10: The Commission of the Committed
The Commission of the Committed
This lesson considers Jesus’ selection and commissioning of His twelve disciples to be sent out to extend His reach into the world. Jesus teaches them about the cost of discipleship, and the need to be kingdom focused. He empowers them for ministry, and commissions them to preach the kingdom of heaven. Jesus also gives them faith lessons to sustain them in the work.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Commission of the Committed"
Matthew #11: Salvation & Parables
Salvation & Parables
This lesson explores Jesus’ irreplaceable role in human salvation and looks thoughtfully at various Kingdom Parables. Salvation is entirely God’s work, but Jesus tells us to come to Him for salvation, be relieved of our heavy burdens, accept His discipline & values, and give up everything for Him. We can do it if we are yoked together with Him in the work.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Seeds, Soils and Sons"
Matthew #12: Jesus & Peter
Jesus & Peter
This lesson explores Jesus’ unconventional teaching through two encounters with Peter. When Jesus walks on water and comes to the terrified disciples, Jesus calls Peter out upon the waters. Peter responds to Him and walks on the water, but only until doubt seizes him and he sinks. When Jesus asks His disciples who they think He is, Peter replies correctly—Messiah. Mere minutes later, however, after Jesus declares Himself a suffering and dying Messiah Peter scolds Him and receives a world famous rebuke.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Righteousness, Inside Out"
Matthew #13: Fully Following Jesus
Fully Following Jesus
This lesson imparts Jesus’ teachings on a variety of subjects in Matthew: imperfect faith, church discipline, forgiveness, marriage, and committed discipleship. While responding to a father’s sincere prayer, Jesus teaches that all things are possible for true believers. Disciples should help other believers overcome sin, and maintain a humble and forgiving attitude. Their marriages should honor God, and provide a stable, loving, nurturing, God-centered home for children. They must choose Jesus above all other things.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Faith, Forgiveness and Family"
Matthew #14: The Last is The First
The Last is The First
This lesson explores the Kingdom value of humility and service in Matthew. It explores Jesus’ parable of the Vineyard Workers and then uses the Parable of the Two Sons to reveal truths in His Triumphal Entry. The Kingdom of Heaven receives all who repent, no matter how late in life it comes. The way to be great in God’s Kingdom is to serve. In the Kingdom, many of the religious miss out, and many of the wicked find repentance and salvation.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "The Call to Commitment"
Matthew #15: Christ's Final Crisis
Christ's Final Crisis
This lesson concludes the book of Matthew by considering the hostility of the religious leaders towards Jesus. The Pharisees and the Sadducees continually seek to trap Jesus, but He thwarts them, and rebukes them for their hypocrisy and false teaching. Jesus delivers the Olivet Discourse were he predicts the doom of Jerusalem, and His own second coming, and then tells three parables about His return: the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep & the Goats. The lesson concludes with the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the Great Commission.
To learn more, check out the below corresponding Audio Lesson: "Confrontation, Crisis and Commission"