Summary: One of Christ's most scathing sermons.
CLOSING THE GATES TO HEAVEN Text: Matthew 23:13
INTRODUCTION: This chapter contains the most scathing sermon Christ ever gave. Eight times he calls them hypocrites. By their lives they were shutting up the Gates of Heaven against men.
They closed the gate to heaven . . .
I. BY LIP SERVICE ONLY
Matthew 23:3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.
DO AS I SAY AND NOT AS I DO.
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
II. BY INDIFFERENCE TO HUMAN NEED
Matthew 23:4 They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
WE MUST HELP LIFT MEN’S BURDENS BY BEING CHRIST-LIKE.
Matthew 25:35, 36 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
III. BY THEIR DESIRE TO BE EXALTED
Matthew 23:5-7 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
PHYLACTERIES were amulets or charms worn around the neck supposedly to keep the person wearing it from danger or evil.
Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
GOD DOES NOT NEED ANYMORE LOUD, BIG-MOUTHED PEOPLE — HE NEEDS MEEK AND HUMBLE PEOPLE!
Moses, Joshua, Caleb were humble. Gideon was humble. Joseph and Daniel ruled Empires and they were humble.
IV. BY INCONSISTANT LIVING
Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
WE CAN BE LEGALLY RIGHT BUT MORALLY WRONG.
Matthew 23: 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.
V. BY OUTWARD RIGHTEOUSNESS WHILE UNCLEAN WITHIN
Matthew 23:25-28 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. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 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. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
I Samuel 16:7. . . for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
** MY COFFEE- WOULDN’T USE A DIRTY COFFEE CUP**
VI. BY PERSECUTING THE MINISTERS OF GOD
Matthew 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:
God said in I Chronicles 16:22 Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
CONCLUSION: Jesus closed with a broken heart.
Matthew 23:37 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!