Matthew 23:23-39 Closing The Door To Heaven, Pt. 2

by | Dec 14, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. Shutting The Kingdom Of Heaven V. 13

A. Fault Of Jewish Leaders- Obstructing Entrance God’s Kingdom
B Christians Are To Open The Kingdom Of Heaven Unto Others

Turn to Matthew 28:16-20

II. How They Shut The Kingdom Of Heaven

A. They Exploited Vulnerable People To Enrich Themselves V. 14
B. They Zealously Recruited Converts V. 15
C. They Taught “Loopholes” (Being religious, & excusing sin) Vs. 16-22
(End of Part 1, beginning of Part 2)
D. They Emphasized The Lesser, & Ignored The Greater Vs. 23, 24

1. The Jews were to tithe unto God
They were to give 10% of their material wealth to God & to the purposes of God
2. These leaders prided themselves on following the “letter of the law”
3. They would keep 90% of their garden herbs for themselves, and give 10% to God
4. They carefully kept the letter of the law as it related to material goods
That was good and right, for they were supposed to tithe unto God
5. But their hearts were far from God regarding love for people, & love for God
God’s law also commanded to love people, to be just, and to be merciful
This they failed to do, because their hearts were far from God
6. The Jews had dietary laws, & certain animals were unclean, & not allowed to be eaten. This included certain insects, such as gnats. It also included camels
7. A Pharisee would strain a gnat out of a beverage, so as to not “break the law”
8. Jesus said that they would willingly swallow a camel, but avoid a gnat
9. They emphasized the lesser things, and ignored the greater things
They were legalistic about that which was easier & less costly on a personal level
They ignored the deeper, more costly matters of the heart
They were sticklers for details, but blind regarding great principles.
10. Application-We must avoid emphasizing “religion”, while forsaking justice, mercy, faith, & love

a. Emphasizing certain church rules which are secondary to biblical truth
b. The church is often distracted w/trivialities while the world goes to hell
c. Many give up on Jesus b/c of man made rules that become heavy burdens
d. Others feel they never quite measure up, being unable to “keep in rank”

11. They blindly led others to emphasize the lesser, & ignore the greater
12. If you major on minors, & minor on the majors, you are a modern day Pharisee

E. They Were Unwilling To Deal With Heart Matters Vs. 25, 26

1. They focused on external appearances, & ignored heart matters

a. Extortion-The act of plundering or robbery
b. Self-indulgence-excess, lack of self control
c. NOTE– No matter what we look like externally, God sees our hearts
d. first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish- They were unwilling to do this

2. They failed to realize that if the heart is right with God, the external will follow

F. They Emphasized External Righteousness Vs. 27, 28

1. Before Passover, it was the custom of the Jews of that time to whitewash the tombs in the city of Jerusalem so that no one would touch one accidentally, thus making himself unclean
2. These religious leaders are like these whitewashed tombs – pretty on the outside, but dead on the inside
3. They looked full of spiritual life, but were actually spiritually dead to God
4. They looked like they were driven by spiritual sincerity, but were actually hypocrites, and were lawless, unrestrained in their hearts by God’s law
5. Application– When we live like this, we teach by example the importance of looking good. That is an unsatisfying way to live. It is burdensome, and can never sustain a person spiritually, and can lead to a false assurance of salvation

G. They Exalted Themselves Over Others Vs. 29-36

1. They “honored” the dead prophets by building beautiful tombs & adorning their monuments. That certainly looked “spiritual”.
2. They declared that they would not have killed the prophets as their fathers did. They admitted to being descendants of murderous men.
3. They considered themselves better than others, and thought that they would escape the judgment of God.
4. V. 32- Jesus chides them about their soon coming guilt.

a. Fill up– They hadn’t yet sinned to the fullest measure possible
b. They were capable of greater sins, for their hearts were full of sin
c. They would push for Jesus’ death.
d. Their fathers killed prophets; they would soon killed the Messiah
e. Turn to 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 people who don’t repent will fill up

6. V. 33– Jesus would send more people to reason with them, but Jesus predicted that they would punish & kill them also
7. Jesus said that they would not escape the judgment of God for their actions
8. V. 36- Jesus assured them that that generation would suffer the wrath of God

F. They Ignored Their Opportunity To be Saved Vs. 37-39

1. Jesus is honest with them about their sinful history and inclination
2. Over their entire history, Jesus, God the Son, had wanted to gather them as a hen gathers her chicks, but they refused Him
3. Their rejection of Him would result in their “house” being desolate
4. The Roman army destroyed Jerusalem less 40 years later
5. Many standing there would remember Jesus’ words, as destruction would come
6. Jesus tells them that there would be those who would one day bless his return
7. John 5:39, 40 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
8. Think of what their repentance would have done for them and their nation