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The Twelve - Part 4



"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him."
Good Morning my beloved,
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a tremendous honor and great privilege to have you here with us today and share God's Word. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness and commitment to share God's Word with others. We have seen a dramatic increase of people from all around the world, who are responding to God's Word, with more and more coming to Christ. I want to let each of you know how grateful I am for your devotion, may He richly bless you for your efforts. God cannot not be restrained, it is absolutely amazing what He can do.
If you have recently received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write or text to let us know so that we can pray for you. Also, let us know if you would allow us to share your story. Each one of us have been blessed with a unique testimony. We'd love to hear from you.
According to Merriam-Webster, the word doubt is defined as: A "[noun] uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making. a deliberate suspension of judgment." Our society is plagued with doubt and fear, depression, stress, loneliness, emptiness, anxiety and through medications, only treat the symptoms. Needless to say, their efforts fail to solve the problem at its overarching cause. It isn't any wonder why our society is rapidly deteriorating. Doubt typically begins to take over the closer we come to the edge of our comfort zone.
Doubt and fear often go hand in hand. Fear, is like a cancer that takes over our emotions. In response to fear, the brain releases biological molecules that increases the heart rate and blood pressure, accelerates breathing and slows the digestive system. Doubt and fear are also the number one cause for many people giving up and not seeing their goals through to the end. It is the inner conflict begins between soul and ego. When we become a victim of doubt, allowing it to rule over our lives, the inability to make good decisions soon follows. In other words, we set ourselves up for failure. 

Before we get started, let us pray.

Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Word, for revealing the faults and weaknesses of those You have chosen to preach Your Word, bringing others into the knowledge of Your Truth, to advance Your Kingdom. Lord, help us to see our own weaknesses. Use us to proclaim Your Word, in truth that we may reach those whose hearts You have prepared. May they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. All for Your glory and for Christ's sake. 
In His name we ask and pray
Today's Message: The Twelve - Part 4 

As we noted in our last message, the second group of four is Philip, Bartholomew or Nathanael, Thomas, and Matthew. We've already covered Philip and Nathanael, now, we’re going to meet two other; Thomas and Matthew. Let's begin with Thomas. When we hear the name Thomas, we immediately think of, "Doubting Thomas." I am well convinced that Thomas has gotten a bad wrap, that most people really don’t understand him. It is my pray, that through this study, you’re going to learn some things about Thomas you didn’t know, that he will become much more than just "doubting Thomas."
Open your Bibles with me if you would to the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 10:2-4. I invite you to follow along with me as I read verses two through four, while we open our hearts for what the Spirit of God is saying to us. Matthew chapter 10, verses 2 through 4. The focus of our study will be on verse 3, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector.

Thomas, who was also known as Didymus, meaning twin. Thomas comes from the Hebrew; or Aramaic, and means "the twin." Didymus is from the Greek. It is likely, that Thomas was born a twin, however, Scripture does not give us any mention of Thomas's twin. He is also called Judas Thomas by the early Syrian tradition. He was born in Pansada, Galilee, Province of Judea, Roman Empire; modern-day Israel, likely around 1st century A.D. to a humble family. He was a Jew, but there is no written account as to how he became an Apostle to Christ.
John really helps to open us to the heart of Thomas. It is interesting to mention, that though he is named on each Apostolic list in the Synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke give us nothing about him. Not much is known about Thomas, and all are we aware of is that Thomas was one of the twelve Apostles. All that is known of him, we find in the Gospel of John. So, let's look at John chapter 11 verses 11 through 16.

"This He said, and after that He *said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep." The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him." Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, so that we may die with Him."
Jesus is outside of the city of Jerusalem, up by the Jordan River. He needed to leave Jerusalem because they were already plotting to take His life and His time had not yet come. That's when the report comes to them that Lazarus is sick. Even though Jesus loved Lazarus, He allowed sufficient time for Lazarus to die. Bethany is two miles east of Jerusalem. It was dangerous for Jesus to return to Jerusalem, going back would be like committing suicide, they wanted to kill Him. Thomas must have been convinced Jesus would die, look at verse 16 "Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, so that we may die with Him." Though Thomas was expecting the worse to happen, he said "Let's go with Him, so that we may die too." He was determined to die with Christ, that takes great courage! 
Clearly, Thomas was more than just a doubter, he believed Jesus. His fears of losing Jesus were going to come true and he was heart was broken, his love for Him was so deep, so intense that he could not imagine enduring existence without Him, so he was willing to die with Him. That requires great love! The same kind of love we see in John 14:5, When Jesus told his disciples that he would go ahead to prepare a place for them, Thomas said, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
However, many would remember Thomas from John chapter 20. "So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, "Peace be with you." And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
"But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." 
When all the rest of the disciples came together he wasn’t there. We know that he would have died with Jesus, he said as much, but Jesus died without him. I believe when Jesus died, something in Thomas died with him, he was lost, he was shattered, and depressed. His greatest fear was vindicated. I don't know if you've ever tried to talk to someone who is deeply depressed, it's extremely difficult. They really do not want to hearing anything that isn't in agreement with what they're feeling. That's why when they told him "We have seen the Lord!" he responded "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."  And that is what people remember most about Thomas, that's why he was given the nickname "Doubting Thomas."
Today, I submit to you that Thomas was not the only one throughout the history of the church, who was called by Jesus, that has doubted. In fact, if you will remember that one of the disciples believed until they saw Jesus. Thomas wasn't merely a doubter, he was like all of the others, pessimistic. By the way, Jesus isn’t offended by people wanting to be sure. If you're uncertain about Jesus, all you have to do is tell Him, He's only too happy to accommodate you. I'd like you to notice, He didn't scold Thomas, He reassured him. That's the kind of loving and understanding Savior we believe in!
Listen as I read John 20, verses 26-29, "After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then He *said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!” Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." 
When Jesus says "Blessed are they who did not see," He's talking about you and me. Thomas may have been a pessimist, but he gave one of the greatest testimonies ever received, "Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" For those who still question and deny the deity of Christ, Thomas just silenced those claims with a single statement, "My Lord and my God!" And after that day, Thomas traveled and preached the Good News of the Gospel, some say as far as India, where he baptized, and established several churches, until he was killed with a spear. All because of his faith in Jesus Christ. God can use a pessimist as well as a vile, wretched sinner. The most detestable outcasts of society who are willing to be forgiven. Nobody in the world knew better than Matthew. 
Matthew, means "gift of God" in Hebrew. He is also known as Levi, was the son of Alpheus, he was born and living in Capernaum, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, when Jesus called him. He gave up more than Peter, James, John and Andrew, who were fishermen. I mean if the whole Jesus thing didn't work out, because there would always be fish, they could always return to fishing. In fact, in John 21, they did. They all went back fishing. Matthew, however, had a prominent position with the Roman government, a publican, he had a career of sorts. Yet, when Jesus said "Follow Me," he immediately got up and left everything, cutting it off for good. He paid a high price. It's interesting his name quickly vanished from most Biblical records after Jesus' death.
Matthew was a tax collector, a heinous reputation, synonymous with a sinner. I believe he despised it, he knew who he was, a sinner and he wanted out, he wanted forgiveness of sin, seeking confession and repentance. So when Jesus said "Follow Me," he instantly ran to get that. That's the key to receiving salvation, recognizing that you are a vile, wretched sinner with a willingness to repent and be forgiven. Although, we could say that he jumped from the frying pan into the fire, by identifying with Jesus, who was equally rejected and hated by the establishment, namely the scribes and Pharisees. I am grateful that Jesus has a heart for the lost, even the most hated of men. Matthew would have been fairly well-educated and literate because of his role in Roman society. In Matthew chapter 9, Jesus invited him to a banquet, of which he was the host, which is what prompted the Pharisees say, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?" To which Jesus responded "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Jesus takes the outcasts, the unqualified and completely transforms them. He even used them to write the Gospels. Matthew was a silent man, finding himself unworthy to even speak a word. That is until the Spirit of God commands him to pick up his pen. He one of the writers of the Synoptic Gospels, inspired by the Holy Spirit, therefore is accurate and true. Matthew played an important role in the teachings about Jesus. His Gospel is the longest of the four, and some scholars believe it was the first to be written.  
I believe Matthew had compassion for the lost, the outcasts having been one of them. Matthew would spend the rest of his life proclaiming that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God who will return to establish His Kingdom, spreading his message first in Judea, then throughout other countries, though ancient writers are not in agreement as to which other countries these are. There is little is known about Matthew's death, although the Orthodox Church tradition holds that Matthew died as a martyr and the Babylonian Talmud appears to report his execution in Sanhedrin. In the end, we really don’t know what actually happened to Matthew. 
In Closing..
In the Gospels, we see the kind of people can and does God use, we also see there's no one Jesus couldn’t forgive. In fact, throughout His earthly ministry, He gravitated toward them. Thankfully, today, Jesus still forgives sin! And one of those vile, wretched, unworthy sinners He forgave was me and also a man named Matthew.
The Good News is, He's willing to forgive you too! All it takes is a willingness to acknowledge your own weaknesses, that you can't save yourself. That you too are a wretched sinner, in need of a Savior. Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If you have accepted Christ, please write or text to let us know, we'd love to hear from you. May everyone who receives this message, also receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 
May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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