Matthew 23:1-15

Matthew 23:1-15

God's Word is not always fun to hear, and it's not always easy to hear, but it is always what we need to hear.The law is a burdensome thing, but yet each of us still have to live under law. Now, we’re saved by grace. God’s love for us is phenomenal, and His grace is what saves us, but you know what? When I break the law, if I’m going 80 miles an hour down the highway, I’m breaking the law. I am subject to that law, and there are rules and regulations laid out for us in how to live our lives according to God’s Word that becomes the law to us, that we need to live by, and when we break those laws, we suffer the consequences of the broken law. The law is a heavy, heavy burden, but you know what? God’s grace given to us was meant to bind each of us together to help bear that heavy load so that one person or two people, [or] a handful, would not have to carry the burden of the law on themselves, but that through the distribution of God’s love and God’s grace and God’s mercy, the law can be carried. You know what? I depend on God’s grace when I break the law; for Him to carry the law. He took the burden, the punishment of the law, for me so that now when I break the law, I depend on my brothers and sisters, when I can come to you and say, “I’ve blown it,” and have you pray with me and bear up the burden with me so that I don’t have to carry the full brunt of the consequence of the law. That, once again, is why we are a body…

Let me ask you, do people know that you’re a believer? And if they know you’re a believer, how do they know you’re a believer? Is it because you’re always waving your Bible around and whacking people with it? Or, is it because you live your life in such a way that the love of God is shining through you, and it has nothing to do with the clothes that you’re wearing. It has nothing to do with how your hair looks. It has nothing to do with the size of the Bible or if you’re even carrying a Bible. How do people perceive you? Do you walk down the street making sure that everybody knows by shouting out religious things so that people will look at you, stop on the street corner, and make long, lengthy prayers so that people will know that you are religious?…

Those that truly love God are not necessarily going to be seen for the things that they wear on the outside, but will be seen by what comes from the inside… Don’t tell everybody you’re a Christian. Let them see by who you are and how you live our life. Not by how you dress, not by what you carry in your hand, but by picking up the heavy load and bearing it with your brother. Walking with your sister just a little bit further because you know she’s not going to make it, being the strength for those who are around you when they feel weak, and doing it even when nobody else is noticing, when nobody else is looking…

That’s what Jesus is asking us: to be crazy; to not view ourselves or each other the way the world does, but to actually take the humble position; to step into that place where you may never be recognized. Imagine that. Working hard, seeing things accomplished, but no one ever seeing that it’s you that’s doing it. I guarantee you, there is One Who is seeing it, and taking note of it. But Jesus is telling us, don’t exalt yourself…

You know what? If you handle God’s Word in such a way that you only bind people to the law, and never show them the truth of the freedom of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, you shut the door to the kingdom in their face, and even when they’re trying to get in, when they’re trying to understand, you deny them even the very knowledge that they could have that’s given freely, woe to you. Heaven is not for me to give. Heaven is not for you to give. Heaven is for us to talk about, and how to get there is the blessing that we’ve been given. The knowledge has been given to us freely, and Jesus has said, I’m that knowledge. All He’s asking is that we tell people about Him and His love and His mercy…

It’s a matter of Lordship. Who is your Lord? Who is it that you are subject to? Who is it that you are trying to impress? Who is it that you are living your life to represent? This is what Jesus was about. Jesus came that men would not have to be sons of hell. Jesus came so that men could be freed from the bonds of the law and the punishment that came when that law was broken, which was separation from God, cast away to that place we call hell. He came to free them from that…

You and I do not save anyone. We offer them the knowledge of what God did for them to save them. Woe to anybody who does anything other than to share the truth…

This is God’s Word. It’s not my word. I don’t care what lifestyle you’re living in. I don’t care what sin you’ve chosen for yourself. I don’t condemn you for it. I don’t tell you [that] you can go to heaven or go to hell. That’s not my place. It is up to me to tell you that what you’re doing is living in sin and God has a remedy for it through His Word. You’re responsible to that Word, not to me, not to my biases, not to my lifestyle, not to the things that I deem appropriate, but you are responsible to the things that God deems appropriate here in His Word. Woe to you if you’re saying anything else. Woe to you if you are living your life in such a way that you want people to notice you more than just to live your life as a believer loving God and loving those around you. That will bring you notice enough, I guarantee it. But when you have to start telling people — I guess this is the thing. If you didn’t tell them, would they notice? If you just kept your mouth shut and lived your life, would people know that you’re a believer? If you wore your blue jeans and your grungy shirt, would people know that you’re still a believer? How would they know? The Holy Spirit shines through those that are believers, and even in turmoil and hardship, people who have the Holy Spirit are generally recognizable because the Holy Spirit makes Himself recognizable. Woe to you if you try to do it any other way…

Lord, Your word is not always fun to hear, and it’s not always easy to hear, but Lord, it is always what we need to hear. And Lord, it is not about the vessel that delivers the message, but Lord, it is about the message that comes from Your Word. It’s important.

Pastor Dave Elkins