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Summary: Jesus calls us to place value on the things in life that are truly important.

A Messiah's Rules For Living

Text: Matt. 22:13-36

Introduction

1. Illustration: Rules of chocolate:

a. If you’ve got melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.

b. Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

c. The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car. The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

d. A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn’t that handy?

e. If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can’t eat all of your chocolate, what’s wrong with you?

f. What do we call equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate: a balanced diet.

g. Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

h. Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.

2. In our text today, Jesus gives us 3 simple rules for living:

a. Be Door Openers

b. Major in the Major's

c. Respect God's Messenger

3. Stand as we read Matt. 23:13-36

Proposition: Jesus calls us to place value on the things in life that are truly important.

Transition: The first thing that Jesus tells us is to...

I. Be Door Openers (13-15).

A. You Shut the Door of the Kingdom

1. In our text today, Jesus continues his scathing critique against the Pharisees and teachers of the religious law. However, if we look deeper into what Jesus is saying we can see that he is really telling us how to live by pointing out the sins of these religious leaders.

2. First he says, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites!"

a. The series of "what sorrow awaits," traditionally know as the "woes," begins here.

b. In a way they are a contrast to the Beatitudes that Jesus began his teaching with back in chap. 5.

c. It is not merely a warning but an intense cry of grief because of the judgment that awaits.

d. When Jesus utters this cry seven times, he is deploring the miserable condition in which the Pharisees can be found, but he is also pronouncing the fate they have brought on themselves.

e. They seem unaware of the judgment that awaits them, living in a fool’s paradise while thinking that they are the epitome of religious blessedness.

f. Their woeful condition lies especially in their hypocrisy and blindness, in which they disfigure the truth of God’s revelation through their self-deception and inconsistency.

g. What sorrow awaits you: A stark warning of judgment from God.

h. He refers to them emphatically as Hypocrites!

i. In English, hypocrisy describes a contradiction between reality and appearance.

j. But in biblical usage, hypocrisy is misperceiving God's will, leading people astray, and thus incurring God's judgment.

k. Coupled with this is often a desire for prestige and power, abuse of teaching authority, false teachings on doctrine or practice, and preoccupation with ethical trivialities.

l. An accurate English term for this combination of factors is heresy.

3. The reason for Jesus pronouncement of judgment on them is, "For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either."

a. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees would not enter the Kingdom, and even worse, they would take innocent people with them because of their false teaching and hypocritical living.

b. As teachers they should have opened the door to the Kingdom instead of closing it (Horton, 497).

c. Jesus condemns them for their hypocrisy, that is, attempting to bring the people into a righteous relationship with God while at the same time not being in a genuine relationship themselves (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary New Testament: Matthew, 750-758).

d. By their false teaching and opposition to Jesus, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees prevented others from hearing and believing the truth about the Messiah.

4. In his second pronouncement of judgment on them Jesus says, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!"

a. A convert (proselyte) made a full conversion to Judaism, performing such observances as baptism, sacrifice, and circumcision.

b. A convert was thus distinct from a "God-fearer," who adopted certain Jewish beliefs, most notably monotheism, without fully converting to Judaism.

c. It is likely that to make one convert means to persuade God-fearers to become full converts to Judaism by undergoing circumcision (NLT Study Bible).

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