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Summary: In religious leaders’ refusal to accept God’s way not only did they not go through the door but also blocked the door to heaven for others.

In Matthew 23:13 Christ pronounced judgment upon the scribes and Pharisees when He said, "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."

Christ condemned the religious leaders for blocking the doorway to heaven. They themselves did not enter through the doorway to heaven. They rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah. They favored their own ideas to God’s Word. They chose the things of this world over the things of God. In their refusal to accept God’s way not only did they not go through the door but also blocked the door to heaven for others. They did so in at least three ways.

1. They tried to discredit Jesus Christ.

a. They questioned His authority

„h Matthew 21:23 "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority do thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?"

b. They sought to trip Him up.

„h Matthew 22:15-17 "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. [16] And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. [17] Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"

c. They derided His deity

„h John 10:20 "And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?"

2. They twisted the Scriptures

„h Mark 7:9 "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."

„h Mark 7:13 "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

3. They ridiculed and persecuted believers

„h John 9:22 "These words spoke his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue."

But in our text, it is not the Pharisees who are seen as blocking the door to heaven. It is the followers of Jesus Christ, the disciples, who in Luke 18:15 rebuke parents for bringing their children to Christ and in verse 39 rebuke blind Bartimaeus as he cries to the Lord for help. Why would any believer hinder anyone from coming to Christ? I believe there are times that some Christians block the door to heaven for the same reasons that the disciples blocked the door.

I. The disciples felt that parents brought their children for the wrong reason or motivation.

A. It was a practice for Jewish mothers to bring their babies to famous rabbis, and to ask these teachers to bless their little ones.

B. The disciples saw this as an act of frivolous pride.

C. Note - The parents brought their children to Jesus.

D. Often today, Christian parents take the attitude that they will let their children make up their own mind, to decide for themselves on spiritual issues. They use the excuse, "I don’t want to force or impose my views on them."

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