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The Twelve - Part 5


"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 is my 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. May God richly bless you for your efforts. I want to let each of you know how grateful I am for you.
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. 

Let's us pray
Heavenly Father,
Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the examples of these men, who were flawed and imperfect, yet able to be used by You to change the world. We know we’ll spend eternity with You and them. Lord, help us to be faithful to do all that You have called us to do. May we be the fruit, for future generations, help us to focus our lives and ministry on that, using the unique gifts we have received from Your Holy Spirit. Lord, we pray that You will use us to reach the lost, reveal those hearts You have prepared so that we may bring them to Christ. All for His sake and for Your glory.
In Christ's name we ask and pray

Today's Message: The Twelve - Part 5

Once again, we find ourselves in tenth chapter of Matthew, Matthew 10 verses 2 through 4. I imagine you never anticipated this few verses taking so long to get through. But that's what happens when you thoroughly examine the text in expository teaching. You can literally spend a year or more, teaching in the same book. I believe however, you walk away with a much deeper understanding of the Scripture. And isn't that what preaching the Word is all about, people hearing and understanding the Truth? We’ve been looking at each of these uniquely imperfect men, who were called and sent to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe it is very comforting to know that God can even the flawed, sinful, ordinary people, who were like us. They, much like us, are the very opposite the saintly characters. They were however men who were willing to walk away everything, their families, their homes, even their own choices in life to follow Jesus Christ. And they were willing to pay the ultimate price, sacrificing their lives.
We've also been learning about what kinds of people that God can transform and use to advance His Kingdom. He uses men like Peter who was a leader, strong and bold, yet denied Him three times. He uses men who ambitious, uncompromising like James. He uses humble and gentle men like Andrew. He uses loving, passionate and over zealous men like John. He uses analytical, visionless, pessimistic men like Phillip. He uses men who are a seeker of divine truth, honest but with prejudice in his heart like Nathanael. He uses skeptical, unbelieving men like Thomas. He even uses the outcast, the wretched, vile sinner like Matthew. Now we see God can use men like James the son of Alphaeus, who never said anything, never wrote anything and never did anything ever recorded in the Bible. In fact, apart from a few details about his family, the Bible doesn’t really say much of anything about James. James was just James.
Listen as I read John chapter 6, verses 26-29  "Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."
In other words Jesus is saying, you're not interest in Me because you saw you saw the divine hand of God accomplish miracles, your interest in Me is not supernatural. Rather than a spiritual level, you're interest in Me is on a physical level, because of food and physical healing. You need to be more concerned with eternity than your life on earth.
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. 
"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."
As we return to the Gospel of Matthew we'll be looking at James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus. We said previously in our last several messages, whenever the list of Twelve is given and it’s given four times in the Scripture, and all the names always appear in the same group of four, and they move away in intimacy from Christ. James the son of Alphaeus, often identified as "James the Less." Little James, James the lesser and James the mikros, as he is called in Mark's Gospel. Mikros means small in stature, it can mean he was younger or that he was less influential. 
I find it very comforting to know that God does not depend on outspoken men to serve Him. Lord knows, I've never been accused of that, right? I mean I'm usually the strong, silent type. You can stop laughing at any time. But seriously, it's God Who gives the increase, and has the power to speak through men, He does not depend on a particular kind of man. He can even use the silent and the unknown. I believe that's why there's so little known of any disciple, only as they intersect with Christ. The focus is as it should be, always on Jesus Christ!
By the way, James son of Zebedee was sometimes called "James the Greater." James with the fiery temper, one of whom Jesus called Boanerges, which means sons of thunder. It is interesting to me that James the son of Alphaeus appears only four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles. James the son of Alphaeus, was born in 1st century BC Galilee, Judaea, Roman Empire. Alphaeus is also the name of the father of Matthew, the tax collector, which has caused some to speculate the remote possibility that James and Matthew might have been brothers. Though we are never explicitly told that James son of Alphaeus has a brother. Alphaeus was a pretty common name but then again, so is James.
James was a witness to Jesus' during the years of His earthly ministry and His resurrection. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit and a leader in the early church alongside the other Apostles  The early church tradition says he preached in ancient Persia, now Iran. Incidentally, it is said that they refused to hear him preach and crucified him. I often wonder what the world would be like today if they had listened to him preach. Perhaps there would not be such chaos and violence in the Middle East today if they had.

I believe what is most important to remember about James the son of Alphaeus, was that he was chosen by Jesus to be one of the twelve disciples. The lesson I believe we need to understand, it that you don't have to be particularly talented, gifted, intellectual or even outspoken to be used by God. The type of instrument can use is not important, in Luke 19:40 Jesus said "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" 

Thaddaeus is one of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus Christ. Interesting name Thaddaeus, it means breast child. It could indicate that he was the baby of his family. He was also called Lebbaeus which in Hebrew means heart. Usually it relates to someone with great courage. We can’t be sure. In Luke 6 and Acts 1, he is called Judas, son of James, it means Jehovah leads. Much like James the lesser, we know very little about Thaddaeus, he is mentioned very little in the Bible, other than in the list of Apostles. This is the last group and as I've mention before there is a decreasing intimacy with Christ as the four groups in list goes on. 
In John 14, he did ask Jesus one question, it's the only time he is recorded to have said anything in Scripture.  There's no need to turn there, I'll read it to you. Jesus said "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."
Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me." Notice that John calls him "Judas (not Iscariot)."
I know I've said this many time before, but I strongly believe it bears repeating; If you're going to claim to love Christ and you disobey His commands, your claim is false, it's a lie. If you don’t keep His word, you don't love Christ. I know a lot of people are offended by that statement, but Jesus affirms it "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word." How much clearer do you need it spelled out for you?  "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word!" If you're going to make the claim "I love Jesus," there must be a willingness to obey His word. God only manifest Himself to someone with a loving heart, one who loves Him enough to be obedient to His Word. I am convinced that's why so many self proclaimed Christians cannot perceive the truths of God.
In his question to Jesus, Judas, not Iscariot, asked "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" He's clearly asking "So You mean that the only those who love You are going to see You and know You? You're only going to manifest Yourself to those who love You? How can You establish Your kingdom and the world not see it? Doesn't the whole world need to know." Obviously, he's speaking about the great expectation that the Messiah would establish His kingdom and overthrow the Roman occupation. Jesus is saying only those who love Me, will know My message comes from God. The rest, they really just won't understand. Only those who walk in obedience will know the manifestation of God, and I believe that's the kind of person Thaddaeus was. Tradition has it he was martyred with an axe in about 65 AD in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria. Though we can't be dogmatic just how he died, we do know that he was faithful to His until the end. 

Let's finish up today with a look at Simon the Zealot. One of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus Christ. He is mentioned four times in the New Testament, in the same four lists of Apostles as the other disciples. Beyond that, we're given no information in the Bible.
A zealot is anyone who fervently supports a particular cause, primarily over throwing the Roman rule. In the original language the word "Kananaios," is used which has been unfortunately translated as a Canaanite. That is not a correct transliteration. It comes from the root word "qanna," which means jealous.
Simon the man full of zeal for the law of Moses. He was identified with the Zealots, who were considered to be terrorists,assassins, part of a Judaism political movement, who revolted against the Roman domination. I believe it is safe to assume that his priorities changed after he became a disciple of Jesus, at which point he became zealous for the gospel. The name Simon the Zealot was likely kept to distinguish him from Simon Peter. Can you imagine the passion and zeal he must've had once Simon believed and joined the disciples of Jesus, having been transformed by a better Leader with a far greater cause.
In 70 AD, the Romans finally put a stop to all of that, when they came and destroyed Jerusalem. It was recorded by Josephus that the Zealots activity was the primary reason for the destruction of Jerusalem. Then, they slaughtered people in 985 towns in Galilee. It is interesting to note that Jesus called both Matthew and Simon the Zealot, who were at opposite ends of the political spectrum. They became brothers with greater allegiance for the Gospel through Jesus Christ. How wonderful it was that Simon the Zealot could get along with Matthew the tax collector after believing and coming to Christ.

In Closing..
God can use anyone who is spiritually hungry, who doesn't they know everything there is to know, who wants to grow and learn, who can provide even some of the most modest encouragement, who are willing to embrace challenge and deep commitment of serving Him. 
It is deeply disheartening to me, that today many Christians seem to be divided by being more committed to a political party than the Kingdom of God. In many cases, fail to offer to walk with someone who has embraced a political viewpoint differing from ours, forgoing the opportunity for genuine, deep, meaningful relationship.
I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ, our alliance should be to the greater cause and the Kingdom of God, rather than a political party or candidate. We have in our hands the power of the Gospel with the ability to bring people to Christ and that must be our focus!

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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