Veiled Deception

Many very religious people don’t have a clue about how to get to heaven. They deceive themselves into thinking they are good enough or religious enough to earn a home in heaven. In our passage Matthew 12:38-50, Jesus defeats that way of thinking in a battleship exercise. Where out of the water, behind the helm our unrivaled Admiral teaches that three things are required if we want to avoid living in Veiled Deception: Increases, Alone, and The Price.

Jesus begins by sharing that our accountability increases with our knowledge (Matthew 12:38-42). Here in Matthew 12, some scribes now join the Pharisees in asking Jesus for a sign Matthew 12:38~Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” (ESV) Now scribes were considered to be experts at interpreting the Law, aka the books of Moses. Ezra 7:6~this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. (ESV) 

In the New Testament, most scribes were Pharisees. Mark 2:16~When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (NIV) They were experts in cases in which people were accused of breaking the Law of Ole Mo. Moreover, wanting to see a sign is not a sincere request because Jesus has already provided many signs to prove He is the Messiah. Remember we are here in His home base of operation, Capernaum. The scribes and Pharisees apparently are not asking for the blind to see, the mute to speak, the withered made whole or even the sick healed; these they have seen these many times.

What the scribes are desiring is want a sign that affects the world. In other passages, we find them asking for a sign from heaven. Matthew 16:1~How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (NIV) Yeast is life-altering to flour. It is both powerful and infectious. When making bread it allows it to rise and be soft. Yet in other ways, it can damage all of the flour by infecting it with this quality, and it only takes a little. 

Today, where are you keeping the yeast in your life? Have you separated it out from all the different flours you have? Perhaps you are at a moment of inspection, where you need to set everything aside and just take time to confess your life again to Christ. To allow the Lord to reorganize your priorities and desires so that they are fully and completely aligned with Him and His plan for you. I want to encourage you that each of us must do this in our lives from time to time, and probably more often than we want to admit. Take the time and let God make all things new, again.



Poisoned

When is the last time you scrutinized your Heart? (Matthew 12:33-37) Our Lord now gives some sobering warnings in Matthew 12:33~Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. (ESV) In other words, the character of a person will show up in his or her fruit, and the fruit stand, which is our subsequent lifestyle. Since Jesus’ works are good, He has to be good, because fruit is like its tree. Turning to look at the Pharisees to inspect their fruit He says, Matthew 12:34~You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (ESV)

Ever opened your mouth in a moment and heard what came out of it? Then thought where’d that come from? Wow, what in the world? Jesus looks at them and says, it’s not just one or two of you spoiling the whole bunch, really it’s all of you. This means that they are a den of poisonous snakes. So, Jesus calls what He sees in them as evil because of what they have just said about Him. Out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks.

Jesus explains a good person produces good things from the treasure of a good heart. Is your heart a treasure? Have you been storing good in it? How do we do that? We begin by praying, emptying ourselves of everything, and then we turn to the word as we fill up our hearts. Layer on some good worship to fill in between the spaces, as we take time to reflect and let God’s goodness settle in us, before we stir it all up like a pot of gumbo, taking what has been simmering out to serve a world in need. 

Our hearts are where the treasures of our thoughts, ambitions, desires, emotions, and loyalties are stored. A good heart cannot produce evil, which is first revealed by our words. Matthew 12:36~I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, (ESV) These are sobering words. Good people don’t gossip, cuss, tell dirty jokes, or use the Lord’s name in vain. Jesus adds we will be justified by our words and we will be condemned by our words. 

(Matthew 12:37) This doesn’t mean our words save us. It means they are evidence of whether or not we have truly been saved by God. 

So I ask you today, what flows out of your mouth? If our heart’s desire is to draw Closer, then we are going to have to learn how to lose the French, and treasure the Good of God. Paul writes in Colossians 3:8~But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (NIV) Today be an uplifting person, who walks in the beauty of holiness, who is gracious and full of praise. Be blessed by God.



Prologue, And God…Out of Patience—Genesis 7.1-24…Handout

Again and again the Bible reminds us how God is long-suffering but, what happens when God’s runs out of patience? 2 Peter 2:5~if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of ________________, and seven others; (NIV) This week, Out of Patience reveals three Biblical truths: Certain, __________ , Final.

1) God’s Judgment is Certain (7:1-11) For twelve long decades Noah has done ______ that God asked of him, and it could not have been easy. Genesis 7:1~ The Lord then said to Noah, “_____ into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. (ESV) Theology is the study of the ________ of God, and when it comes to some they hold a truly harsh view of God. What is your view of God _______? Noah and the ark is a story of God’s great love. The ark in this story is a _________ of Jesus Christ and how we are to be found ______ Him. John 15:4~Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (NKJ) Noah was in the ark, just as we are in Jesus Christ. More than____times the New Testament believers are referred to as being in Jesus. Noah may have slipped and fallen in the ark, but he never fell out of the ark’s salvation. In the same way, when we slip, stumble, or even fall but we __________ in Christ. Our lives are not garbage in, garbage out. Remember the rule of three, God wants us to be holy, joyful, and _________. Anything that makes one of those things true in our lives, without violating one of the other two, is ok. Genesis 1:9~And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to _______ place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. (ESV)

2 )The Righteous are Secure (7:12-16) How is salvation possible? Because they are _____ the ark. Why is this important? Because Noah and his family did as _____ told them. Salvation is about being in Jesus Christ. Also, the animals find _________ because they are in the ark. I love how even here in the midst of great destruction God is saying to us that He is_______ over all. This is an affirmation for us, God is now and _______ has been present, He is the great I AM. This is echoed in the New Testament as Jesus shares the seven I Am sayings found John 6:35, 8:51, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1. Like Noah, we are ________ in the spiritual ark of Jesus Christ. He alone is the Ark to whom all must come to escape the coming judgment. There is but one door to __________, and that door is named Jesus. (John 10:9)

3) God’s Judgment is Final (7:17-24) Genesis 7:17~The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. (ESV) After the LORD shuts Noah and his family in the ark (7:16d), He is silent until chapter eight. Understand God____not go back on His Word in Noah’s day, and He will____go back on His word now. Take-A-Step: I will share faith this week with _______________. 2 Peter 3:11~…You ought to live holy and godly. (NIV)