Archive for the ‘Gospel of Matthew’ Category

What the Kingdom of Heaven is Like

March 27, 2014

Title: What the Kingdom of Heaven is Like
Text: Matthew 13:31-32
Time: February 22nd, 2014

 

This past week I was reading a book that quoted a famous atheist of the last century, Bertrand Russell, who once was asked, “When you die if you find yourself standing in front of God Almighty, and he asks you why you didn’t believe, what would you say?” He replied, “Not enough evidence!” I immediately chuckled to myself and thought, “What would be enough evidence for him to believe in God?” How much evidence is enough? How much more evidence does he need? For myself, I see an abundance of evidence all around of God’s existence. But then I started wondering how one man or woman can claim there isn’t enough evidence to believe in God, yet other men and women have no problem seeing enough evidence and believing in God. After having thought about that question for a while, I concluded that it’s all in how a person follows up on the evidence they are given by God. In my Christian life I find that the more evidence I see, the more I’m given by God to see – and so on and so on. But for an unbeliever or atheist or skeptic they probably don’t recognize the evidence for God that they are presented, and then in turn, they fail to see any more evidence because they’ve closed themselves off to the initial evidence before them. And so it starts a vicious cycle of blindness on their part to the presence of God in the world. I then thought of the parable of the mustard seed told by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 13:31-32, “He (Jesus) told them another parable: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come a perch in its branches.’” And that’s just the way faith is, like a mustard seed planted inside someone’s heart – it starts out small and grows to become the biggest thing in a person’s life. For example, today after many, many years of believing and living the Christian faith, God is the biggest thing in my life. But for an atheist, an unbeliever, a skeptic, God is nothing to them, or very insignificant in their life. They live a life totally apart from God in their thinking, feeling, and living. Does it come down to evidence, like the world famous atheist said? No, because he sees the same thing as Christian believers see. But it comes down to how he follows up or processes the evidence. It comes down to what he does with the evidence, his reaction to it, his openness to it, whether he pursues it or dismisses it. A believer looks at the world, looks at his own life and pursues God with whatever evidence he sees, while the unbeliever rejects whatever evidence he finds, or he doesn’t follow it any further. In other words, you might say, if we look close enough we’ll find traces of God everywhere, but if we try hard enough, on the other hand, we can dismiss any traces of God that are available. I’d like to use the parable of the mustard seed this morning to bring out this point further, because it explains how the Kingdom of God can be big in one person’s life, and virtually non-existent in another person’s life. It all comes down to faith, and how we follow up on what God gives us to work with. I hope this message will encourage you to pursue God whole-heartedly with your life. (more…)

All Who Are Weary, Come To Jesus

March 27, 2014

Title: All Who Are Weary, Come To Jesus
Text: Matthew 11:28-30
Time: February 8th, 2014

 

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I like this verse because it’s so realistic. It doesn’t paint too rosy a picture of the Christian life. If you listened to some evangelists talk you’d think that when you come to Jesus life suddenly changes and you no longer have problems, no longer feel pain, no longer experience difficulties. Life just sails by, like a ping pong ball over Niagara Falls. But we all know that’s wrong. Living for Jesus doesn’t guarantee an easy life. In fact, sometimes when you draw closer to Jesus your life actually becomes more difficult, because now you face opposition from the world, the flesh and the Devil, all trying to trip you up. Whereas before, when you weren’t living for God, you might have just coasted along with the crowd, flowing downstream along with everyone else. As a Christian you may face persecution for your faith. People you thought were friends might leave you. People will misunderstand you or reject you now that you follow Jesus. But what I like about this verse is that it explains the Christian life honestly but encourages us to keep following Jesus. Some of you might recognize that this Bible passage is sung in the famous Handle’s Messiah. I mention that because we just finished up the Christmas season, so it might be fresh in your mind. If you’ve never heard Handle’s Messiah you should check it out, and look specifically for this biblical passage, it’s a beautiful melody along with the words of the verse. But I love this passage because it encourages me to hang in their with the Christian life even when the going gets tough – and the going will get tough from time to time in the Christian life, so you’d better be prepared for it. Modern Christianity today tends to oversell happiness and well-being and success and prosperity and all the positive things we hope and pray for. There are many blessings from God, yes, but the Christian life isn’t all fun. But if you listen to some preachers you’d get that impression. They always smile, they’re always upbeat, and they come across as if they’ve not a care in the world. But that’s a misrepresentation of the gospel. It doesn’t fit historic Christianity – remember that the early Christians were sometimes fed to the lions in the Roman Arena. And it doesn’t line up with what the Bible teaches us. But what we can put our hope in is that Jesus will be with us and see us through anything and everything we have to go through. Sometimes he delivers us from trials and tribulations, but other times he helps us through the process. This verse gives us the proper perspective when face the difficulties of the Christian life. So let me talk about this one important verse and point out three truths contained in it. (more…)

You Give Them Something To Eat

March 27, 2014

Title: You Give Them Something to Eat!
Text: Matthew 14:13-21
Time: January 12, 2014

 

I recently got for Christmas from my parents a little electronic box called a Roku Media Streamer. They’re sold in Wal-Mart, Kmart, Radio Shack and other electronic stores for the purpose of receiving cable and Internet TV programs without being hooked up to cable or satellite. It works by using your Internet signal and plays Internet videos on your TV. So for the past week or so I’ve been playing around with it in order to see what kind of TV programs I could find on it. I found it had Discovery Channel programs on it, so I started watching a series on climbing Mount Everest, you know, the world’s tallest mountain. I started watching the 1st Season and got hooked, so I watched the 2nd Season and finally the 3rd Season. It was really interesting because it showed all the different climbers trying to reach the summit of the mountain and all the trials and tribulations they went through in their attempts. One of the things I noticed was that climbers either fell into one of two categories – they were either too confident or they lacked enough confidence in challenging the mountain. But both attitudes, either too much or not enough confidence, were harmful. Only those who had just the right balance of confidence and humility were able to scale the mountain. So the tour guide director usually had to work on each person individually in order to get them to the right place in their attitude towards climbing. Some climbers he had to put them in their place in order to humble them so that they respected the mountain enough to pay attention to the dangers of climbing. Some climbers had to be encouraged and given confidence that they could conquer the mountain if they followed directions and gave it their best effort. When I watched this TV series on Mount Everest I thought of how Jesus had to work with the disciples in much the same way. Sometimes they got a little too confident, but other times Jesus had to encourage them that with God’s help they could do a lot more than they imagined. In Matthew 14:13-21 we read about a situation in the life of the disciples where Jesus reminded them that they could indeed help a crowd full of people when that looked impossible for them, naturally speaking. Let me read the passage (read). Like the disciples, we too limit ourselves in what we can do based on a natural evaluation of things. We need to, like the disciples, consider the power of God in the equation, and attempt great things for God. That not only applies to each of us individually, but also to churches too. This church might be small, low on resources, limited in ability, but with God it can make a big difference in the community here if it looks to God for power and strength. Jesus taught his disciples that they shouldn’t be discouraged because of the natural circumstances, but instead look to God for the power to get the job done. That’s a lesson for us all to hear today. Let’s look at the passage a little closer. (more…)

Binding the Strong Man

November 9, 2009

Title: Binding the Strong Man

Text: Matthew 12:29

Date: October 25th, 2009

 

When Jesus came two thousand years ago to begin his work of salvation on earth for us, he didn’t come into a friendly or even neutral world. He came into a hostile environment, because Satan or “the god of this world” as the Bible describes him (John 12:31, 14:30,  2 Corinthians 4:4), had already laid claim to the planet earth and all its occupants. So Jesus was really invading enemy territory when he arrived in his incarnate, human form. But if this is so, how could Jesus go about his work of converting and leading people out of “darkness into his marvelous light” — as another biblical passage describes (1 Peter 2:9)? The answer is Jesus had to first deal with the Devil, defeat him, and then and only then could he free the spiritual captives from sin, death and damnation. That’s exactly what Matthew 12:29 is describing, “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” I like how the King James Version puts it – “binds the strong man,” because it conveys the sense of seriousness involved in subduing Satan or Lucifer, that is, actually “binding” him fast so that he can’t actively have his way in the life of an individual. The ancient world was a very dark place – not that today’s secular, modern world isn’t a very dark place also – but ancient times were particularly dark because at that time there was no Christian truth and light present in society, or any Christian church heritage to refer to. We take it for granted that for 2000 years biblical Christian values have shaped Western civilization and American culture. We are seeing the rapid erosion of those biblical Christian values in our culture today, particularly in America with abortion and homosexual rights gaining power, but it’s nothing like it was in ancient times. At least today there is the memory of the Bible, of the church, of the Christian faith standards for right and wrong, of true and false. But in ancient times, in most nations, there was gross immorality and deep darkness; there was dark spiritual error as the normal state of affairs. The Devil and his demons had a field day, so to speak, in the world at that time. The Jewish nation was somewhat of an exception to the norm as far as spiritual truth and good, because God had taught it through the prophets of the Old Testament, but it too was operating in a state of spiritual darkness by the time Jesus arrived on the scene. Its religion had degenerated into a state of rule-keeping and very little spiritual insight and power. So when Jesus began his ministry in the land of Israel, he found the Devil and demons everywhere opposing him, both directly in one-on-one encounters and indirectly through evil opposition in the person of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Jewish scribes, and other leaders. So one of the first priorities of Jesus was to deal with or neutralize the threat of organized evil. He had to constantly “bind the strong man” in order to free the captive souls of humanity. That’s what I’d like to talk about today. What use do we have for this kind of teaching? It’s a reminder that there should be a priority to our struggle to do God’s will in our lives – we should deal with any spiritual opposition we find first before we try to carry out the will of God. This only makes sense. Let me explain. (more…)

The Servant Messiah

October 9, 2009

Title: The Servant Messiah

Text: Matthew 12:15-21

Date: September 20th, 2009

 

I recently watched a debate on CNN between a conservative evangelical Christian and a liberal religious leader. In an attempt to harmonize Christian values with the agenda of President Obama’s administration, the liberal church leader said that because evangelical Christians are all about “good news” they should welcome the new emphasis on “good news” for the unemployed with greater job growth, the poor with more social assistance programs, and the uninsured with national health care. According to this spokesman, evangelical Christians should welcome all these initiatives because they represent “good news.” But he’s obviously using the phrase “good news” in a loose and general sense, not in the very specific biblical sense of salvation from sin, judgment and damnation. The “good news” or “Gospel” found in the New Testament is a message of spiritual salvation, not just “good news” in any or every sense. For example, what is “good news” to the drug addict? More drugs. Or what is “good news” to an alcoholic? Another drink. To an addict of any kind, “good news” would be more of the same kind of thing that they’ve grown to crave – the fulfillment of their addiction in whatever form that manifests. So then, we see that we can’t simply say that any loose or general application of the phrase “good news” is appropriate. People can get into their minds what they think is good news, but what they think or consider “good news” might not be best in the long term. That’s why we simply can’t equate Christians as promoting anything that comes along that seems to be good news to somebody, because that has nothing to do with what really is good news from a long term or eternal perspective. The salvation of the soul is the ultimate good news, and that is why Christianity preaches the Gospel message, but Christians are not under any obligation to promote simply anything anyone might consider good news because that would take the church far from its primary mission. That’s why I can’t go along with the statement, “Evangelicals are all about good news, and therefore should support all of the Obama administration’s initiatives.” In the short term, it might be “good news” to get a government paycheck, but what are the long-term consequences to out-of-control government spending? What may be “good news” for some people now, might be “bad news” for everybody down the road when the bills come due. The ancient Jews at the time of Christ were also thinking short term when it comes to the promised Messiah. They wanted a conquering hero to free Israel from Roman occupation. They wanted another king like David to rule a free Jewish nation. That’s why most Jews didn’t accept Jesus as Messiah, because he didn’t bring the “good news” of freedom and independence they were wanting. The real “good news” for them would have been a conquering Messiah similar to David; that’s what they wanted Jesus to be. But that wasn’t the “good news” Jesus brought, instead he came with the gospel of freedom from sin, freedom from judgment and freedom from eternal damnation. We see Jesus explaining this in Matthew 12:15-21 (read). Now the question we must ask ourselves today is – are we trying to fit Jesus into our short term expectations about life or are we letting him be our Savior on his own terms? Are we letting Jesus set his own agenda for our lives or are we trying to fit Jesus into our own agenda for life? Let’s look at the passage more closely to find out. (more…)

Is it Ever Permissible to Break the Law?

September 25, 2009

Title: Is it Ever Permissible to Break the Law?

Text: Matthew 12:1-14

Date: September 3rd, 2009

 

Of all the laws among the ancient Jews there were probably no greater number of laws than those surrounding the Sabbath. If you were to accuse the Jews of legalistic religion you could point to no greater example than the Sabbath laws. According to some sources there were at least 39 separate categories of activities forbidden on the Sabbath. Starting from the simple command of God, “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy,” found in the Ten Commandments, the Jews had multiplied law after law in order to cover nearly every conceivable activity. The Old Testament actually gives only a few instructions on how to keep this law, however that didn’t stop Jewish scribes from working out a whole system of Sabbath law-keeping that defined what this command meant down to the smallest detail. So when Jesus and his disciples thought they were entering a simple grain field looking for something to eat – which was permissible in those days, to eat from someone’s field only enough for oneself – they actually walked into a minefield, because the Jews were ready to fire at them with legalistic laws. The topic for today, then is, is it ever right to break the law? What is the difference between the law of God and the law of man? Is all law strictly absolute or are there exceptions? We need to answer these questions today because as Christians we are confronted with many laws found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. How are we to follow all of these laws? Do any of these laws sometimes conflict with one another? If and when they do conflict, which of them are we to obey? Now before I go any further, let me answer a question that some Christians raise in respect to God’s law. “Aren’t we free from the law of God since we are saved by grace alone through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross?” In other words, the question is, “Aren’t we now free from God’s law, aren’t we free from the obligation to obey it?” Well, the answer to that question is yes and no. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith and not by observing the law of God; but no, we are not free from our obligation to live by God’s will or law. It doesn’t save us, our obedience to the law, but it’s our instruction from God how to live, so we must follow it. But the deeper question is, how do we follow all of God’s will, because after all it’s not just a simple thing of following a list of rules. God’s complete law sometimes seems to conflict in life. For example, how do I as a parent balance God’s will for disciplining a child with God’s will to love that child? How strict should a parent be with his or her child? Does every act of disobedience demand punishment or are there exceptions? These are all important questions that Matthew 12:1-14 (read) touches on. The question is not, should we follow God’s law, but the question is, how shall we follow God’s law. Jesus teaches us some very important things to consider. Let’s consider them. (more…)

Jesus Offers Relief for the Weary Modern World

September 11, 2009

Title: Jesus Offers Relief for the Weary Modern World

Text: Matthew 11:28-30

Date: September 2nd, 2009

 

Today we come to one of the most comforting of all teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Unlike many or most Christian churches today, we just can’t go through the Bible preaching and teaching the sweet and pleasant verses while at the same time omitting and ignoring the difficult ones. That’s what congregations seem to want these days — all sweet and no sour – but we can’t do that and be faithful to the whole revelation of God taught in the Bible. No, we must state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as we are reminded each time someone is “sworn in” to give testimony in a court. So too we must hear the entire message God gives from his Word without editing out unpleasant parts or teaching exclusively from pleasant passages. And that’s the balance I try to maintain in my ministry – actually it’s easy to keep such a balance when I’m teaching verse-by-verse through a book or section of the Bible, because if I’m accurately explaining each verse there will be a balance between sweet and sour truths. But today we come upon one of the more pleasant passages in all of God’s Word, the invitation of Christ Jesus for everyone to find rest for their soul in him. That’s good news for a weary world like we live in today. The pace of life is so fast today, it seems like everyone is always so busy. And there is also lots of pressure today that wasn’t present in times past. Someone once observed that with all our laborsaving devices such as the washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, for example, that we have more time not less time for everything we desire to do. Wrong. When we get more time we quickly fill it up with something else so that we are just as busy as we ever were, only now we actually have more things to do! But it’s not just the pace of life that’s a problem today, it’s the way of life that even more troubling. As faith in God and obedience to his will slips more and more in society, as we try to live our lives on our own terms rather than God’s, we suffer a lose of meaning and purpose at the center of our lives. Our lives become hollow and empty. This may be the biggest problem facing the modern world today. It’s not so much that we are tired of activity as much as we are tired at the core of our being because we are more and more losing the very point and purpose of life. Our modern problem is truly a spiritual problem but few people identify it as spiritual. Most people today think it’s psychological – so they visit a counselor or therapist to get themselves fixed. They complain of a lack of drive or motivation, or low self-esteem, or depression or anxiety, for example, but the real problem stems from a lack of meaning and purpose because they’ve ignored God and God’s Word. They’ve substituted other things for God in their lives and wonder why they are so empty. But even Christians can get off track and begin substituting other things for God at the center of their lives, so the malady isn’t limited to non-Christians by any means. What is needed is a re-centering of God in our lives. God must be front and center in our lives, not just in theory but also in fact. Only then can we feel the peace and security he offers us through his Spirit, only then can our lives be properly ordered so that meaning and purpose flow from God at the center outward into every activity we involve ourselves in. That’s what Jesus invites us to in this passage. That’s what is such good news. Let’s explore it further. (more…)

Jesus — The Only Way

September 11, 2009

Title: Jesus – The Only Way

Text: Matthew 11:27

Date: September 1st, 2009

 

One of the really exciting things about the Bible is the way it can teach us so much from just one verse! That’s what we have today as we work verse-by-verse through the Gospel of Matthew. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” Matthew 11:27. This verse shows what theologians call “the exclusivity of Christ,” or in other words, how Christ is the only way to God. I’m aware that this is a disputed fact among people of the world today; it’s even being questioned by some so-called Christians as well. Today, it’s popular to say that all religions are different paths to God. All faiths are valid as long as they are sincerely held. To claim that Christ or Christianity is the only way to God smacks of bigotry and narrow-mindedness. But if we are honest to God’s Word, if we are consistent with unanimous biblical teaching, we must agree that Jesus Christ is the only way to have access to God the Father in heaven. Now that doesn’t answer all the questions the critics have concerning the relationship between Christianity and all the other religions and philosophies of the world, but it does accurately express the Bible’s teaching on the subject. And Matthew 11:27 is just one of many passages that teach the exclusivity of Christ for salvation. There are others. For example there is the famous passage where Jesus clearly states, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s pretty clear. Another example of the exclusivity of Christ is found in Acts 4:12, where the apostles make this claim, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” I could give still other passages in the New Testament to support the exclusivity of Christ, but I’ve mentioned enough to prove the point – the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, the only way of salvation. But what about all the people from all the other religions? Can they be saved following their own religion sincerely? That’s what most religious leaders like the Dali Lama teach. For example, in countless interviews he has expressed the belief that for him Buddhism is the religion of choice, but for someone born in a predominantly Muslim society, Islam would be just as valid a choice. For someone born in a majority Christian society, Christ could be the way of salvation for him or her. He teaches the relativity of all religion. Or, in other words, all religions, if sincerely believed and practiced, can lead a person to God and the way of salvation. This view is fast becoming the view of most people today, although the Bible contradicts it. Just what does the Bible teach about Jesus Christ and the way of salvation? Does it really teach that Jesus is the only way? Let’s look at Matthew 11:27 and find out. (more…)

Hidden Wisdom

August 31, 2009

Title: Hidden Wisdom

Text: Matthew 11:25-26

Date: August 29th, 2009

 

One of the realities of Christian conversion is that it can’t happen by “talking someone into” becoming a Christian. The most frustrating things of all in the Christian life is trying to explain the gospel to someone who just doesn’t “get it.” You can start with the paradise garden of Eden and explain how God made everything and everyone good at the beginning. But how our original parents Adam and Eve chose to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit, which resulted in the Fall. You can explain how we all today are born with a sin nature because of the Fall and how we soon too begin to sin on our own also in life, making us both guilty and headed for divine judgment. You can then show how Jesus Christ came to take our place on the cross by paying for our sins, taking our judgment and giving us his righteousness in exchange for our simple trust in him. When we confess and repent of sinfulness and sin, when we turn away from a self-centered life and turn to God in humble faith we are declared forgiven and made righteous through Christ. Apart from Christ we can never justify ourselves before God no matter how hard we try, no matter how holy we live our lives. Only through Christ can we obtain salvation and eternal life. This all makes perfect sense to a convert to Christianity, but it makes no sense to an unbeliever, which is why it’s so frustrating to share the gospel with someone who either doesn’t get it or doesn’t want to get it. It’s as if the truth of God is hidden from them, put out of reach of their comprehension. Well, it really is the case that the truth of God is hidden from them, because the Bible teaches exactly that in Matthew 11:25, “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.’”  It seems as if non-Christians can’t understand because they have been kept from understanding by God. It seems as if the gospel is hidden from unbelievers because, well, it has been hidden from them by God. The gospel and all of God’s truths are hidden behind their own pride. We’ve all heard the expression “blinded by pride,” well that’s exactly what this passage is describing in respect to salvation. People could be saved except for their pride. Everyone who is saved is saved through humility. There is a notion that is floating around in Christian circles today that says if only the church would make the gospel and the Bible clearer, then people would understand and believe. Or if only Christians would try harder to make the Bible more relevant and speak in more contemporary terms, then people could be saved. So then, under this kind of thinking, it’s mostly the church’s fault, it’s mostly Christians’ fault that people are not coming to the gospel and being saved. But this is naïve thinking because we can explain the gospel and the Bible with absolute clarity using the language of our times and perfectly relevant, yet people will still not understand or accept it. Why? Because it has been hidden from the proud; only the humble receive it. Let me try to explain this passage by breaking it down into three parts and analyzing each part. I hope by the end we can all appreciate how much a miracle salvation really is, and never take it for granted if we ourselves possess the miracle of salvation. (more…)

Tough Talk From Jesus

August 28, 2009

Title: Tough Talk From Jesus

Text: Matthew 11:20-24

Date: August 23rd, 2009

 

Today, we come to a passage where we hear some tough talk from Jesus, or it you prefer, tough love from Jesus. In Matthew 11:20-24, in only five verses, Jesus talks about three topics that are hardly ever heard in Christian churches today – repentance, Judgment Day and hell. Now you may hear one of these tough topics talked about on Sunday once in a while in church, but it’s very rare that you’d hear about all three. Today, there seems to be a strange aversion to these tough topics by preachers; they simply don’t talk about them very much. Why is that? Because people have told their pastor they don’t like to hear about such negative things on Sunday morning. Think about it. A family rises early to get ready for church. Then they all pack into the car and make the trip to church. Then they finally take a seat in the church and are ready to be inspired, uplifted, encouraged or in some way lifted up, rather than put down, depressed, discouraged or dealt with negatively. People have communicated in more ways than one that they’d rather hear positive messages of inspiration, rather than a negative message of warning. So pastors, always sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of the people, simply omit or neglect preaching on such negative topics as sin, repentance, judgment or hell. That’s the way the people want it, so that’s the way he does it; everybody is happy. Wrong! Everybody is not happy, because God, who is the most important church member or part of the Divine/human equation which is the church, isn’t pleased when pastor and people omit important aspects of biblical truth. If God communicates his will to people he expects them to listen and receive it, and he definitely doesn’t approve of churches omitting or neglecting some truths because they are too “hard” or “negative” or “difficult” for the sensibilities of modern people. Nevertheless, in most Christian churches today, the so-called hard truths of the Bible are rarely dealt with, and when they are mentioned they are usually watered down or soft-peddled or trimmed or softened so that people don’t get upset, or worse yet, leave the church for good. But the curious thing about all this is that Jesus never worried about offending or alienating people when he spoke or taught. He was more concerned about getting out the truth in order that people might be saved and enter into the kingdom of God. We have a perfect example of this in Matthew 11:20-24, where, like I said before, Jesus talks about almost all the modern day church taboo subjects of repentance, judgment and hell. He didn’t seem too overly concerned about offending or alienating his audience as he warned them of the consequences of sinful disobedience. Maybe we should follow the example of Jesus in our churches today and present the plain truth no matter who might take offense. After all, in the end, isn’t God the one we should most fear offending and not so much our fellow human beings? With that as an introduction, let’s listen to some tough talk from Jesus concerning repentance, judgment and hell. Matthew 11:20-24 (read). (more…)