The importance of living lives that reflect God's justice and truth, resisting hypocrisy, and honoring God through our actions.
Good morning, family. Today, we're gonna dive into an important discussion that's as relevant today as it was during the times of the prophets, Jesus, and Paul. Our focus will be on three key passages: Matthew 23:1-12, Micah 3:5-12, and 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13. These Scriptures teach us about justice, warn us against hypocrisy, and urge us to live lives worthy of God.
As we explore these truths, I'm reminded of a quote from Zac Poonen. He once said, "Humility of heart is the first step to salvation." This is exactly why we’re going to be discussing humility today.
Let's read the full passages together:
Let us open our hearts as we pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, we ask for your wisdom and understanding as we delve into your Word today. Guide us to live lives that reflect your justice, resist hypocrisy, and bring honor to your name. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
Let's dive in!
The first point we're going to delve into is the concept that God condemns those who abhor justice. This is a theme that is woven throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament prophets to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.
The prophet Micah: He prophet warns of the dire consequences for those who lead God's people astray, who proclaim peace when they are fed, but are ready to wage war when they are not. These are individuals who, instead of upholding justice, use their positions for their own gain. They are willing to sacrifice the well-being of others for their own benefit. God's response to such behavior is clear - He condemns it.
The New Testament: Jesus echoes this condemnation of those who reject justice. In Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus criticizes the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, who sit in positions of religious authority but do not practice what they preach. They place heavy burdens on others but are not willing to lift a finger to help. They seek honor and recognition for themselves, rather than serving others. Jesus warns that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. This is a clear message that God values justice and service to others and condemns those who reject these values.
More than punishment for wrongdoing: It is also about ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and has what they need. It is about standing up for the oppressed and the marginalized and working to right the wrongs in our society. When individuals or institutions reject these principles of justice, they are not only failing to live up to God's standards, they are actively working against them. God's condemnation of those who abhor justice is a call to action for us to strive for justice in our own lives and in our communities.
Not abstract or theoretical: It is deeply practical and personal. It involves our everyday actions and attitudes. It affects how we treat others, how we use our resources, and how we make decisions. It is not enough to simply avoid doing wrong. We are also called to actively do what is right, to seek justice, and to stand up for those who are being treated unfairly.
A warning to us: It is a reminder that we will be held accountable for our actions and our attitudes. It is a call to examine our own lives and to make sure that we are not only avoiding injustice but actively pursuing justice. It is a challenge to live up to the high standards that God has set for us.
A heavy topic: and it's one that requires us to take a hard look at ourselves and our society. It's not always comfortable, but it's necessary if we want to live lives that are pleasing to God.
Pastor, here would be a good place to share a personal story about some of the ways you try to hold yourself accountable. How has doing this affected your life and your faith?
The second point of our discussion today is centered on the warning Jesus gives against hypocrisy in Matthew 23:1-12 ... View this full PRO sermon free with PRO