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Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for Matthew 17:4

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"IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE"
I. This Story is tied with the last verse of the previous chapter. "Verily I say unto you, there are some standing here who shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom."
A. Six days later Jesus took three of the disciples up into a high mountain, and there He was transfigured before them.
1. His face was as the sun.
2. His raiment was as white as the light.
B. Compare this with the vision that John had of the glorified Christ in Revelation 1.
1. His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
C. This experience had a lasting effect upon Peter. When he wrote his second epistle he made reference to it.
2PE 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2PE 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2PE 1:18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
D. The statement when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty, seems to correlate with the words of Jesus of some standing there who would not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.
E. Not only did they see Jesus transformed, but they also saw Moses and Elijah who were talking with Him about his decease when He came to Jerusalem. The word translated decease in the Greek is exodus.
1. Here two of the great figures of the Old Testament, the one representing the law, and the other the prophets. Talking to Jesus of His exodus from the earth when He went to Jerusalem.
2. Moses the man to whom God gave the law concerning the sacrifices. Who wrote concerning the sin offerings. He is now talking with the Son of God, the true sin offering of which all of those under the law were only a shadow of the one to come.
3. Elijah, who stood at the head of all the prophets who wrote so much of the coming King, His lowliness, and death by crucifixion, and now Elijah is talking with Him the One of whom the prophets spoke.
4. No wonder Peter said, "Lord it is good for us to be here."
II. Mountain top experiences are always wonderful.
A. Those times in our lives where God manifests to us the magnificence of Jesus, when the heavens seem to open to us, and we get a foretaste of the glory divine that awaits every child of God.
1. Those are the times that you don't want to leave.
2. As Peter we often want to build three tabernacles and just stay.
3. They are those wonderful experiences of the presence of Jesus, and the people just seem to linger around in expectation of what might happen next.
4. We echo the words of Peter, "Lord it is good for us to be here."
B. We are told that while he was speaking a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke to them out of the cloud.
1. Bright clouds were associated with the ministry of Moses.
2. The bright cloud of Moses day was known as the Shekinah, or the glory of God's presence.
3. In was a manifestation of the presence of God in the midst of His people.
4. This bright cloud led them through the wilderness. It rested above the Tabernacle, and at times would settle on the Tabernacle.
EXO 40:34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
EXO 40:35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
1KI 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place], that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
1KI 8:11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
5. Now this cloud settles down over the disciples in this mountain top experience, and the voice of God spoke out of the cloud saying: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased hear ye Him."
a. This is the second time that the Father has testified of His pleasure in His Son.
b. The first time was at the baptism of Jesus.
c. This time God adds, "Hear ye Him."
d. It is as though God is saying, I spoke to you through Moses in laying down the law.
e. I spoke to you through the prophets, who testified of My grace to come.
f. I am now speaking to man through My Son. Hear Him, this is the full and final revelation.
HEB 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
HEB 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
HEB 1:3 Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
C. This manifestation of the presence of God was more than the disciples could handle and they fell on their faces in fear.
1. Imagine being enveloped in the cloud of God's glory and hearing the voice of God.
2. Mere mortals are not equipped for such experiences.
3. How long they lay in this prostrate fear we do not know, but Jesus came over and touched them and commanded them to arise and not be afraid. When they looked up, they saw no man save Jesus.
4. Moses and Elijah are now gone from the scene, and only Jesus remains.
5. This in essence declares that you cannot look to the law for salvation, nor to the prophets for salvation. You must look to Jesus Christ, He only can save you from your sin.
6. The requirements of the law were all fulfilled in Jesus.
a. When John the Baptist objected to baptizing Jesus, Jesus said to him, "Suffer it to be so now, for it becometh Me to fulfill all righteousness."
b. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Think not that I have come to destroy the law, I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
7. How does this work out as far as our salvation? "Christ is the end of the law for those who believe."
a. Only to those who believe in Jesus. They are free from the law. All others are still under the law, and will be judged by the law. The law declares the standard by which entrance into heaven might be attained.
b. Speaking of Jesus, Paul said in Romans,
ROM 3:27 Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
ROM 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
ROM 3:29 [Is He] the God of the Jews only? [is He] not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
ROM 3:30 Seeing [it is] one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
ROM 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
c. Again in Romans 8 Paul said,
ROM 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
ROM 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
d. To the Galatians Paul said that the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
e. The writer of Hebrews sums it up in chapter 10:
HEB 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
HEB 10:2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
HEB 10:3 But in those [sacrifices there is] a remembrance again [made] of sins every year.
HEB 10:4 For [it is] not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
HEB 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
HEB 10:6 In burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
HEB 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
HEB 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein]; which are offered by the law;
HEB 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away first, that he may establish the second.
HEB 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all].
HEB 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
HEB 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
HEB 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
HEB 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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