Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Matthew 23 Sermon Notes

Matthew 23:1-39
Sermon Notes
April 9, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         This chapter introduces the final blow to the Pharisees. And in the next chapter, Jesus starts lays out the details of the downfall of Israel. In that chapter, He also sets out the hope and promise to those who faithfully serve Him. Something new is happening and His disciples need to be ready for it.
         These two chapters, delivered on Tuesday of Holy Week, ramp of the confrontation with the Pharisees. They have to submit to Jesus or kill Him.
         Jesus provoked this confrontation.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
You can obey the Bible without copying the one delivering the Bible. However, it is better if the preacher obeys the Bible, too!
Rom. 2:17   Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
A leader who wants everyone else to do the work is no leader. These Pharisees are hypocrites. What they tell you to do, they will not do. Sort of like Congress passing laws that they do not have to obey.

5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
The demand for respect is like this. Many are afflicted with this sin. Preaches, professors, politicians, to name a few. Are you enamored with acclamation? Watch out.
Make broad their phylacteries, scriptures written on and placed in a leather pouch and worn on the forehead.
Exod. xiii. 2-11; Establishment of Passover.
Exod. xiii. 11-16; The firstborn belong to God and teaching your children what this means in the deliverance from Egypt.
Deut. vi. 4-9; Shema, Hear O Israel the Lord thy God is one Lord. Deut. 6:4   Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Deut. xi. 13-21. The blessing and cursings for faithfulness or disobedience in the Promised Land.

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
This is a creeping problem, not just for religious leaders but also for every area of life. We like to be called by our titles because our titles give us honor from men. A pastor is what a do but I should not insist to have the honorific name. I should not be offended if someone calls me Virgil, or Mr. Hurt. Um, it’s Pastor Hurt.
How often do we see this? Only everywhere. Are you a Dr.? Good for you, well done in your work. But what is that Dr. for? Is it to have others serve your august person? Or, is it a degree earned or a skill earned, so that you can serve others?
Colonel Blakey, what a great and humble man. Engineer Officer USS Enterprise Carrior. Came from commanding a warship to doing toilets at Logos School. He had been the Captain of 350 men on a warship and now he was known as Patch, the janitor, cleaning the toilets for 350 students at a tiny little school in North Idaho.

11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
We tend to do the opposite of what Jesus suggests. We do not want to abase ourselves. We want to exalt ourselves. It is hard to be like Jesus. Jesus wants to exalt us. He is not interested in grinding us. But when we humble ourselves before Him, then we know that when we are exalted, it is He who has done so. Who would not want to be exalted by Jesus!

But WOE!

Woe 1- You shut up heaven. God’s ministers should open heaven.
Matt. 23:13   But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Woe 2- Devour widow’s houses. God watches!
Make long prayers. Showing off to impress men.
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Woe 3- Make disciples like yourselves, sons of hell instead of sons of heaven.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
And you are glad if they are worse than you.

Woe 4- Blind guides that lead people astray. Swearing and oaths are amiss, based upon your greed and pomp.
16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
You don’t even understand the basic workings of the world, the scriptures or doctrine. They are greedy and so the gold is more important to them than the alter or the temple that sanctifies the gold. They are fools and blind. Harsh words!
Don’t swear at all. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

Woe 5- Tithe down to mint sprigs but are unfaithful, unmerciful and unjust.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Tithers beware. These are greedy men but persnickety. And yet, they cannot judge fairly, grant mercy where it should be granted, nor exhibit faith in Almighty God. Tithing is fine as far as it goes, but not if you are unfaithful, unmerciful and unjust.

Woe 6- All show outside but inside extortion and excess. They don’t deal with their own sins!
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
All show. Inside, dead and empty.

Woe 7- Beautifully dead. Imagine a life-like looking corpse. That’s a Pharisee.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Not even a well embalmed. The worms are already eating him.

Woe 8- Deny that they want to kill the prophets while planning to do so.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
The Pharisees and scribes know that their fathers killed the prophets. They try to make up for it by building memorials for them. They claim that they would not kill the prophets but they are liars. They opposed John Baptist and they oppose Jesus. They are glad to kill them both just as their fathers killed the prophets of old. As long as they persist in resisting the men that God sends to call them to repentance, Jesus condemns them to the damnation of hell.

Matt. 23:34   Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Just as their fathers condemned the prophets, so, too, will the scribes and Pharisees condemn Jesus’s prophets, wise men, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And as they do so, they will heap on themselves a pile of blood that must be accounted for. God takes note. The result will be not only judgment upon the Pharisees but judgment upon the entire nation of Israel.

36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Jesus wept over Jerusalem. It was His desire to gather His chicks but they rebelled. They would not. He says, “How often would I have gathered.” The Lord had been trying to gather these wayward chicks for millennia. But they would not! His grace is deep. It covers a multitude of sin. But He does have an end of His long patience. At some point, there is judgment.
When the Lord lets us have our way, we are in great danger. First of all, He no longer protects us from falling headlong into deeper sin. He backs off. Secondly, He stops protecting us from the world, the flesh and the devil. Thirdly, if we still will not repent, He comes in judgment Himself, which is worse than the judgment of the world, the flesh and the devil. He is the one who can condemn body and soul to hell fire forever.

38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The house of Israel is left desolate. We see this come to pass in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroy the city and the temple. The form of Judaic worship ended forever. There are no more sacrifices.
But that is good for this is only one sacrifice for all sin for all time, the Lord Jesus, Himself. Blessed are all those who embrace Him, saying “Blessed is He who come in the name of the Lord.”

So, let us all do so. Repeat after me. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Amen.

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