Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ. This week our suggested reading is Matthew 23. Like the Pharisees and scribes, many people you talk to will be convinced of their own goodness and worthiness before God, based on outward appearances and acts. This chapter, the woes pronounced against the religious leaders of the day, will hopefully be an encouragement to people to examine both themselves, and those they choose to follow, to see the truth of their spiritual condition. I pray the outline below will be helpful.
Read Matthew 23
Do not be deceived!
These woes were directed to the scribes and Pharisees, the leaders of the Jewish nation in Jesus day. We may not be the Jewish nation, but you know these people. You may be these people.
Jesus warned of hypocrisy, and I want to warn you of the same. I can’t point out who the hypocrites here are. I don’t know you and it’s not my place,
But I plead with you to examine yourselves, and make sure you are what you think you are. And examine those you follow, to make sure they are what they claim to be.
Your soul matters! It matters to God, and by His grace and His conviction, it matters to us. That’s why we are here. We don’t want your money, and we don’t just want you to join our church. We want you to repent, turn from your sins, and trust in Christ alone. We want you to be in a right relationship with your creator.
Examine yourself, and examine the truth of the bible. Please don’t fall into the traps of the religious hypocrites. Come to know the real God, the true creator, and savior, of the universe.
Don’t be fooled by pious appearance, and religious trappings, like the Pharisees were. Because someone has a nice suit, a fancy church and a big bible doesn’t make them trustworthy. Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed tombs, pretty on the outside but filled with filth. Listen to what you are taught, and know your bible so you sift the true from the false.
Don’t believe your own appearance of piety. An hour or two on Sunday morning, a cross around your neck, a few “spiritual” T-shirts in your closet and a check to the church won’t save you. There’s nothing wrong with them, but don’t deceive yourself and buy into your own lie, like the scribes and Pharisees did.
Know yourself in truth! Know that you are guilty before a holy God, but that God has provided a way for your sins to be washed clean, by the blood of the perfect, sinless lamb of God.
Don’t neglect the weightier matters of the law, such as justice and mercy and faithfulness. Be faithful to God, and to His word, which tells us that He is a God both of mercy, and of justice.
Don’t be like the Pharisees and scribes, who wanted to call themselves true men of faith, and then killed those sent to convict them of their sin. Before you attack someone, possibly sent from God, who “judges” you, stop for a moment to see if they are right! If they are, turn to God, confess your sin, and put your trust in Christ.
GO THROUGH THE LAW, SO THERE IS CONVICTION OF SIN
Don’t believe the lie that if you try your best you will be fine. God is righteous, and holy, and perfect, and all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags before him. There is no one righteous, not one. All have turned aside and have together become worthless. Look at God’s law, and you will see this to be true. The law was given to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
God is good, and will cleanse you of sin if you will humble yourself and submit to Him. Turn from your self righteousness to His goodness!
We are here because we care about you! We care about your souls. We are not looking to abuse or brow beat you, but to warn you. Heaven is real, but hell is just as real. God is loving, but God is also just and must punish sin.
Every one of us will be the recipient either of God’s justice, or His mercy.
The only way to receive His mercy is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, who paid the price for sin and satisfied justice so we could be seen as righteous before God.
Look, examine yourself. You know the truth. Listen to your conscience.
Repent and trust in Christ while He has given you time.
I pray that this will be an encouragement to you in your outreach. I would also love to get more feedback on our weekly posts. Feel free to post either on the event page or in the blog comments area. We also have not had many Halloween outreach posts or pictures, so please let us know how things went. I have posted a YouTube video from our local group, which was filmed on the 30th, but I would love to add more. I will also be posting the Black Friday and Christmas reading events soon, so be talking to people and gathering a team. Both of these are also amazing opportunities for sharing the gospel.
For the praise of His glory,