Summary: Have you "said no" to God in something He has made plain to you that He wants? It isn’t too late. Have you "said yes," and not followed through? It’s not too late to regroup.

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The greatest thing God will give you is your freedom in Jesus Christ. It’s a promise from the Father, and His promises don’t wither or fade - they last forever!

This morning’s text is all about God’s will, and people that obey, or don’t. That is a simple truth everyone can understand. That’s what Jesus wanted to do - to make His teaching clear enough for all.

Here are two simple truths Jesus meant for us NOT to miss…



23When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Matthew 21:23-27

Jesus was often challenged by his critics. The Pharisees and Sadducees weren’t dumb; they were tough legalists and street-smart politicians. Jesus had asked them about John the Baptist and whether his ministry was from God or not. When they calculated their answer, they knew the crowd wouldn’t tolerate a "no" answer, because John the Baptist was a favorite. They couldn’t risk a riot. But, if they said "yes" they would be attributing heavenly origin to Jesus’ ministry also, because the Baptist had held Jesus up as the Messiah. So they took the expedient way out. People with a vested interest generally do that!

Calculating is closely-related to self-justification. The Pharisees were attempting to trap Jesus. If they could get Him to disclose His authority, they could manipulate the debate, discredit Jesus, and maintain their position as "Dr. Religious Person." The problem was they were much more concerned with their own comfort level than doing God’s will.

John Peter Zenger was a newspaper publisher in New York. He once printed a story on a local election that was fixed by crooked politicians. For this he was thrown into jail. A trial jury refused to convict him. For this the jury was thrown in jail.

Eventually, they were released when the whole story came out. How could this happen in America? The time was 1733. It was this case that was cited when the First Amendment (free speech) was added to the Bill of Rights.

For us it’s wise to note that you can never hear from Heaven until you’re honest enough to accept your place as God’s servant, ready to obey. Obedience is often difficult - it just takes doing what God has already made plain.

A Little-Leaguer said to his teammate: "What do you do when the coach signals you to steal third, and your mom signals you to stay on second?" It’s like that whenever the world wants you to do one thing and God has expressly said the opposite.

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