“Woe: Part 2” Matthew 23:16-30

“Woe: Part 2” Matthew 23:16-30


“Woe: Part 2”

Matthew 23:16-30 | Pastor Richard C. Piatt II

February 25 2024



This world needs the gospel and it needs a proper perception of just who this Jesus is. We’ll take your copy of God’s Word once again and let’s turn to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 23. This morning in the structure of how I want to do this, we’re going to go back and begin this morning at verse 13 and see if I can make it all the way to verse 36. If I don’t, that’s OK, because tonight then I’ll just finish it up. And that way we can get through this through this chapter today.

When before I came to Fellowship Baptist Church 30 years ago this August and the ministry that we were involved in was we were home missionaries. We started a church up in Jacksonville, Florida. It started off as South Point Baptist Chapel and then Eventually became ambassador of Baptist Church out on the beaches area. And I had a great fellowship of people and had a great time that was there. However, being a home missionary is, and also being from the state of Ohio, and when you tell people, I’m gonna be a missionary, they go, ooh, ah, and then you say, but I’m gonna be a missionary to Florida, and they go, yeah, right. you know, coming to Florida as a missionary. The only place that’s worse is probably Hawaii. But you know, we know Brother Lippincott is a missionary to Hawaii and they need the gospel too.

But anyways, as we went there and we had lost some support and so forth and needed to gain some in that, but I had the opportunity to teach in a Christian school. It’s a very, very large Christian school in Jacksonville, Florida, and was known for a lot of particular things, was really known back in those days for its football team. I mean, those football players were big, high school football players, and they were very big, but unfortunately, they weren’t very spiritual. That would be stretching it. In fact, many of them were recruited, and they went there, I think, and just because of how big they were and so that they could win the sport. But it was once a week we would have chapel, at least once a week we’d have chapel. And they had an evangelist in because this was very much an evangelistic ministry. And they really, really, really wanted to see their students born again. And this very, very, I’ll identify him as a very, very Arminian kind of a guy, and he is up there trying to get people to make decisions, almost if they were real or not. He could do that.

Anyways, he preached a very emotional message, and then he gave an invitation and wanted a response from the people. And if you, it was basically like this, if you really mean business with Jesus, and if you really love Him and everything, and you really wanna please Him with your life, would you please stand? Well, immediately, the entire football team stood. But yet the whole time during the preaching, they were, you know, goofing around and not really paying attention. And so as a teacher in that school, I just looked around, and I saw what I thought was one of the most precious Christian girls that I had ever seen. She was just sweet, she had a precious testimony, and she remained seated. And I chose to remain seated as well. And part of that was I did not want to be identified with what I believed to be some hypocrites. and that they were just doing things for whatever reason. And afterwards, she was in my class and I said to her, I called her up to my desk and I said, so I noticed that you didn’t stand up today. And she looked at me and she said, yeah, and I noticed you didn’t either. And I go, ooh, and I said, why didn’t you? And she said the same thing that I would have said. She says, because I didn’t wanna be misidentified with people that I thought were that were being extremely hypocritical. Hypocrisy manifests itself in so many different ways.

It was John MacArthur who said, this is one of the most serious passages in all of the Bible. It was the sin of hypocrisy that Jesus is going to nail and again and again and again when he is going to talk about judgment and why judgment was going to fall upon the nation of Israel. And we’ll take care of that this evening in all of that. Because keep in mind, in the next chapter in 24, we’re given very clear discussion about how the temple is going to be destroyed and the second coming. And that’s in that passage where it talks about one taken and the other left and so forth. And so the judgment of God, future judgment that we do not believe has come yet, And that is going to fall not only on the nation of Israel, but ultimately upon this broken world and all of the nations that have fallen into a bad way.

This last message of Jesus is for the leaders of his day. And it is put together in a marvelous way with a prelude, the first 12 verses of which we looked at. And again, as I said before, it’s about who they were and how they would be identified. But then in verse 13, it’s going to begin with a series of woes and the pronouncements of Jesus against them. And that’s gonna be the body of what he’s gonna do. And then he’s gonna conclude it with, what’s going to happen in light of you scribes, Pharisee, hypocrites. The word woe is that of pouring down a tremendous amount of judgment upon them. It was what was considered a divine oracle. Old Testament in the words of a prophet, it was to make the pronouncement of God’s judgment upon the world or upon whatever nation that was going to talk, be addressed and so forth. It was very serious language. And Jesus comes and He utters these woes, but we’re going to find out in the passage this morning that it’s not the first time. And so what I want to do this morning as we look at the body of this divine oracle of judgment is to, and we’ve already kind of looked at the prelude, the first 12 verses, but I’m going to pick it up so that we can look at all the woes together because they kind of come in pairs except for the last one.

And so just so that we can get a fuller look at that. But so one of the points is going to be very swiftly go through the first one simply because we did consider most of that last week. And this morning what I wanted to do is to look at the four important areas of Jesus’ pronouncement of woe. And the first one found in verses 13 through 15, and this one has that verse 14 in the parenthesis, not in the most best original copies of God’s word. We’re gonna let that 14 go, we spend enough time on that. But the first two woes that are mentioned here, these are woes of leading people astray. The heart of God becomes very distraught when people lead other people astray. That’s the reason why the Bible is clear. Those who teach God’s word, whether it be in a Juana Sunday school, pastors, teachers, and the like, we have a greater judgment Because we have the ability to lead people astray.

Well, I don’t really think that we need to be so judgmental over some terrible sins or, oh, I don’t need to make mention of certain things in the pulpit because I wanna have a big church and you can’t have a big church if you mention certain sins of the society of today. And I’m not gonna go picking on any of them because that’s not my point of saying this. But when people play hypocritical and play hypocrisy, with truth and then they lead people astray, that’s a dangerous thing. And so verse 13 for example, notice what it says, To you, scribes, Pharisee hypocrites, for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men. In other words, you are shutting the way of truth. You’re shutting the way of the door. You’re helping skew people into the broad way, not the narrow way. You’re doing what you can to disguise the truth. For you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. In other words, they were hindering people from going into the truth or going into what God would have for them, as it says up there, the kingdom of heaven or into salvation.

Look at verse 15. Woe to you, scribes, Pharisee, hypocrites, for you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. So in other words, these were unsaved men, the scribes, the Pharisee, the hypocrites, who were leading other people or keeping other people from believing the truth. And because of all of that, those that they were leading, most of the time those would be Gentiles coming in to becoming a Jew, but becoming into their style of Judaism, that they were twice the sons of hell. And these were the sons of hell making sons of hell, and they were reproducing themselves and keeping people out of the kingdom. In other words, to build a big church around things that are not true or will lead you in another way.

Now we have a lot of this today in, I think, some contemporary Christianity. I want to go more to application since we didn’t get to that last week. But there are some churches today that’s part of the pragmatism of let’s avoid talking about certain sins because you can’t get big if you talk about certain things. Or for those of us who say that marriage is between a man and a woman and that’s all, anything else that takes place that is called marriage, if it’s not between a man and a woman, I’m speaking in broad sweeping strokes here, it’s not marriage. Well, you know, maybe we shouldn’t say it quite that strongly or say it that particular way. Or when those who say, well, the Bible never says anything about why that’s wrong. And then if you point to verses, says he, a man that lies to the man as with a woman, it is an abomination unto God. Okay, what part of those words don’t you understand? And we say, yeah, but that doesn’t apply to today. Scribe, Pharisee, hypocrite. You’re leading people down a wrong way when this is what the Bible says, and you say, but no, that’s not what it says. Or, well, that’s what it was meant back then, but things are different now. Like what? Well, what happens to God? Who, I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. As a statement of judgment.

You want to go around messing up with what the Bible says, then you are leading people down a wrong way. And that’s judgment, that’s apostasy, the woe, Jesus pronounces woe of the scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, because they are leading people down wrong pathways. These were the people that had the stewardship of the people’s spiritual well-being. It’s a weighty trust and they were avoiding it. They were leading people to themselves and authority unto themselves. And oftentimes you can see this in the response of the Pharisees when they would ask Jesus a question and Jesus would turn it around and ask them back, well, you know, we are the sons of Abraham. And you go, la dee da. Yeah, no, but this is the son of God talking to you. Or when they when they question the whole thing and later on, it’s going to come to the woe of perverting God’s law. Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath. And then what happens? Well, they question him. And then when that guy finally says, oh, do you want to believe in him too? We are Abraham’s children.

But then they go on to say, and if you don’t believe what we want, we will have you cast out of the synagogue. And yet Jesus said that he was the Lord of the Sabbath and they wanted to stone him for being a liar. But the fact of the matter is he is the Lord of the Sabbath. And so they had none of those perceptions consider that. Their hypocrisy and lack of conversion and faith and saving faith led to a zealous conversion or a zealous seeking to the convert of making proselytes and leading them down a wrong way.

That’s the reason why knowing the truth, proclaiming the truth becomes so important. Corrupting the truth is so bad. I think of one popular preacher out west that is known for having one of the largest churches ever. And if you ask him about sin, well, we don’t like to emphasize the negative, excuse me. that the Bible definitely is enough for the wages of sin is death. That’s the reason why we’re all going to die. And to the fact that it’s because of the reality of sin that Jesus had to die to save us from the penalty of sin. So if you’re going to avoid the word sin then you’re nothing more than a false prophet leading people down a false way. You’re going to keep them out of the kingdom of heaven and Jesus just pronounced judgment upon you. So you see, this becomes very relevant, even though we don’t have the historical Pharisees of the first century. You’re gonna have to say that, because people act as Pharisees all the time.

But the first woe is the woe of leading people astray. Well, what’s the response? You should never call a person unto, well, you know, you really need to become a Baptist. You need to become a church member. You need to come to Christ. When we invite sinners to deal with their sin, it is not found in a confession. It’s not found in a church. It’s found in a person. and it is to Christ and to him alone.

So we need to be careful of leading people astray into something that is wrong. but rather to teach and to know and to preach truth. Well, the second woe, and that we pretty well took care of and those two. Now in verses 16 through 24, we have the second woe that as we would classify, and this is the woe of perverting God’s law. And of course, we’ve seen already as we’ve gotten through the first 22 chapters of the book of or the gospel of Matthew, how that Jesus constantly was confronting to them. So let’s just go back and take a glimpse at one of those. And let’s go to Matthew chapter 15. Matthew chapter 15. in the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in Matthew chapter 15, we’ll pick it up at verse one and see that they were being condemned for the perversion of the truth. Verse one, then the scribes and the Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus saying, why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.

And let me just pause there. Remember, if you remember, the real thing there is Jesus was interested in the law, and they’re giving the idea that they’re transgressing the law, but that’s not what they said. They are transgressing the tradition of the elders, which was in addition to the law. And that’s one of the marks of a Pharisee is they add to the law of God. And so he says, they don’t wash their hands when they eat bread. And Jesus answered and said to them, why do you also transgress the commandment of God?

You see that he turned it back on them because you’re true because of your tradition. For God commanded saying, honor your father and your mother and he who curses father and mother Let him be put to death. But you say, whoever says to his father or mother, whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to you, to God. Then he need not honor his father or mother. Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites. See this you know 23 chapter 23 it’s not the first time he called him a hypocrite. He said you are taking the traditions of the elders and your interpretation of some of those traditions and you make your position with more power than the law itself. He said you’re a hypocrite. Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying, These people draw near to me with their mouth, and they honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, and in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men. When he had called the multitude to himself, he said to them, and he’s gonna tell them what this is about, hear and understand what goes out the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. I’m sorry, I didn’t read that right. Hear and understand, not what goes out of the mouth Not what goes into the mouth defiles the man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles the man. In other words, they’re speaking from inside and it’s not coming out the way that they should.

So they pervert God’s law. They were ignorant of the law that they should have mastered themselves. He goes on in chapter 23 to then call them fools and blind as if they were the blind leading the blind. Their hardened hearts and blinded eyes was trivializing truth. and not bringing people into the knowledge of the truth. They had no understanding in the balance of the law, and they wanted to neglect the far weightier matters. That’s where this is gonna go. Let’s go back to chapter 23. And let’s pick it up again for the second woe perverting God’s law, verse 16 again. 23, 16, woe to you, blind guides. or the blind leading the blind, as it were, who say, whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it. Okay, he’s gonna pick up fools and blind, he’s gonna further that with another woe, but what is this all talking about? Well, there was a way, back there in those days, the scribes and the Pharisees had taught that if you swear by the temple, Now, that’s kind of like one of those things where we would, if you have to verify what it is that you say, some people would say, well, I swear on my mother’s grave. Why would you say that?

First of all, what difference does it make if you swear it on your mother’s grave or you don’t? What’s the penalty? I guess the idea is either you and or your mother then die and go, it just doesn’t make sense. But this was a person that says, now if you wanna swear, but if you make an oath or take an oath, whoever swears by the temple, and so that would get a Jew’s attention, it is nothing. And he says, so you can do that and swear by the temple, and then if you don’t make right, you’re okay. But notice what he said, but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he’s obliged. See, now you’re legally bound. That’s when it becomes a sin. He is obliged to perform it. In Jesus it’s fools and blind. What’s the difference? The temple or the gold of the temple. And he’s gonna use those kind of illustrations because they’re perverting of the law.

People were buying it, but it doesn’t make even rational sense. But the people wanted to have a guarantee, and they were being led down the wrong way. So notice what he goes on to say, verse 17 again, fools and blind, for which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, and so here’s another illustration, whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing. Well, you know, the altar in the temple, that was really considered something. And people would swear. Well, I swear by the altar. And since we don’t have altars, we could say, I swear by the pulpit that I’m going to end this sermon in five more minutes. Ah, but at the altar pulpit, I’m not obliged to keep it, which is probably a very good thing.

But notice what it goes on. And whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing. But whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar, that is on it, he’s obliged to perform it. Now, the pulpit here, we don’t offer sacrifices up here. But in the synagogue, if you swear by the lamb that’s on the altar, well, now you got to obey because now that is legally binding. Now, where is that in the Bible? Where is that in anything? But these were religious leaders adding to the law, corrupting the law, leading people down to things that they thought was okay when it really wasn’t. Um, it’s just wrong. Um, sometimes, um, uh, there’s a lot of things that sometimes if people don’t either access these things for the, for the oaths or they can just easily write them off. But this was a whole system of inconsistent perverting of God’s law and, and telling people how they were supposed to live.

Roman Catholicism does a lot of that with respect to the prayers to Mary, or the treasury of merit, or when they talk about these things, they’ve added to the law of God. They’ve added to the Bible. That’s one reason why we are Protestants and not Roman Catholics, and the whole reason for the Reformation was because we believe in sola scriptura. It’s the scriptures alone. But when you have the scriptures plus ex cathedra statements of the Pope from the throne and his law, or in canon law, and when they add to the law and some of these things, for example, that of changing a time where if one was cremated, you would automatically be sent to hell by the church, because they have the keys to the kingdom. Well, to the kingdom and to heaven and hell. But yet then canon law changed and after, I think it was 1981, now you could be cremated and it’s okay, the church won’t send you to hell. I don’t believe that. That’s extracurricular, it’s not in the Bible, it’s nothing, and it perverts the truth. Woe to you scribes, you Pharisees, you hypocrites. Go through your Hail Marys and your soul will be okay. What does God think about that? Whoa, an oracle of judgment. And yet, population wise, probably more people believe that than believe not to do your Hail Marys. Or they’re just the nuns and they don’t believe anything. You see, this message, while it was given by the Son of God just days before His death to the religious leaders of the nation of Israel, the applications are everywhere. That’s why, what does the Bible say? What sayeth the Scriptures?

So this was a woe of perverting God’s law. And as we go on here, it goes down to verse 24. Notice what goes on that he says, verse 18, and whoever swears by the altar, it’s nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he’s obliged to perform it. Fools and blind, verse 19, for which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? He who swears by the altar swears by it and by all the things on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits on it. Showing the inconsistencies of all that. Why are you people making that? Verses 23 and 24. Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumam. and have neglected the weightier matters of the law. And this is about, you pay attention to what you want to pay attention to, and the other things you let slip by.

I remember hearing a person talking about, was telling a story, and they were at a party, and different ones were talking. And the hypocrite that, when they just said, oh, that they believe God, and it was so good, and things were great, and isn’t it great that Jesus is the Savior, and so forth. And then they said, so now, where are you gonna go after the party? He says, well, I’m gonna go home, I’m living with my girlfriend. Do you know what the Bible says about that? Oh, you know, that’s okay, that doesn’t apply or I’m okay now with it. And that is how people write off sexual sin today. Did you know that fornication is still a sin? It never stopped. Did you realize that adultery will see you straight into the pits of hell? And yet how many churches even no longer discipline for adultery of its members, a non-repentant?

Let me put that in there, non-repentant adultery, or non-repentant fornication. Well, the world says, I don’t care what the world, but my friends, I don’t care. R.C. Sproul referred to that as statistical morality. Everybody else is doing it, who cares? What does the Bible say? You don’t pervert God’s law out of convenience, or to grow a big church. or whatever kind, to be liked. We all want to be liked, but you don’t pervert it.

So they said, now what’s interesting about this particular passage, and I’m not going to go into this, but many people come to this passage when it talks about tithing. Now, we don’t go around tithing mint and anise and cumin, you know, the different articles of things that we come across and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith. Notice what Jesus said, these you ought to have done. You see, what makes error so dangerous is when it has some elements of truth. And so Jesus is not saying you’re not supposed to tithe. He’s also not addressing the church.

So I’m not going to go around saying that now all of a sudden this is going to go into a tithing message. All I’m going to say is is that in the Old Testament under the law they were supposed to tithe. And he says, you’re tithing the little itty-bitty stuff and you’re more concerned about that, but the more weightier stuff, and what was that? Justice, mercy, faith, and so forth. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone, blind guides. He’s jumping them. He said, you’re leading people down the wrong pathway. You’re making them pick the little itty bitty stuff, but let the big things go. Blind guides. And then he takes a thing. I don’t know.

I think it was James Montgomery Boyce said. He thinks Jesus did this almost as a tongue in cheek. He got a bit of a snicker out of the people that were listening in. I don’t know if that’s true, but we can actually at least see why they would. Verse 24, blind guides who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. I mean, it’s kind of a funny sight, isn’t it? I want to try and swallow a camel, but I’m going to strain it this little. But he had used that illustration before in camels and going through the eye of a needle. He said, you guys are missing it. You take a little thing that doesn’t make any difference at all, and you blow it totally out of proportion. We need to be about the whole thing.

So we have the woe of leading people astray. By the way, I didn’t mention this, but that’s true of spiritual leaders and teachers, but it’s also true of everyone who is a Christian. Now’s the time the preacher stops preaching and goes to meddling. How many Christian parents have really messed up their teenagers, their teenage kids, with an inconsistent Christian life? talking about bickering concerning things in the church, things that don’t make any difference, trying to do standards, comparisons, everything like that. When kids see the hypocrisy within parents, then they learn the hypocrisy is a mark of what goes on in a church or in a Christian’s life. No.

I had a guy one time who was a professing Christian, and he said to me, well, I understand that physical intimacy outside of marriage is wrong, but it’s okay to look, but just don’t touch. I said, have you ever read the Gospel of Matthew? Yeah, because Jesus said, if you look, you’ve committed adultery already in your heart with that particular woman. He didn’t like that. He said, well, nobody ever told me that. Well, I guess it’s okay if I don’t know it. No. But he had been led down a pathway perverting God’s law in that particular way. Perverting God’s law, leading people astray.

The third woe that’s found in this passage, and it’s a double statement, is found in verses 25 through 28. 25 through 28. Woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, for you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside are full of extortion and self-indulgence. I’m gonna pause there. This is, if you remember, where I went on just a little bit in Matthew 15. He says the same thing there. You wanna look different on the outside, but what about the inside? What comes out your mouth is what is really on the heart. How you respond, how you live. Well, he goes on, verse 26, blind Pharisees, and then he gives them a command, first cleanse. That’d be like repentance, trust God and so forth. First cleanse the inside of the cup and dish that the outside of them may be clean also. You need to start where the problem is. It’s with the heart of man.

Again, I’m gonna pause here for so many illustrations. This is one of the things that people sometimes get really confused with. Can you fully cleanse the sin out of your life? Can you do that personally by yourself? And yet, when you witness, how many times have we heard someone say, well, I got to get rid of a sin. I’ll consider taking Jesus as my savior as soon as I quit smoking. Or as soon as I can do this, or as soon as I can do that. And they never want to budge. Why? Because they’re trying to cleanse the inside themselves in a way that can’t be done, and it will keep them lost. But here it says this, blind guides first cleanse the inside, that is come to Christ, trust Him, have the inside taken care of and the outside, then your life will change. Verse 27, woe to you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like, and he uses another illustration a little bit more graphic, you’re like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly. You know, tombs, caskets.

I encourage people that if you’re gonna be one that’s gonna have a burial and so forth, it’s probably best that you go to a funeral home and inspect and walk through the casket room before you need to, because it can be devastating. They’re beautiful, they’re also empty. And when you see so many and then the only thing laying in there is a card with the price, of course that almost takes your breath away, but that’s another old issue. They’re just beautiful. And there’s a lot of people that get caught up and they want something beautiful to put in a body that is going to degenerate into a… I’m not going to get real gross. I can. I have a degree in biology. I could become real gross at this point. I choose to get not to. But it’s going to degenerate to a skeleton with a bunch of yucky stuff laying around and all the beautiful linens going to be stained.

He says, but inside they’re full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so, you also outwardly appear righteous to men. These were the religious leaders of the day. They were the ones walking, looking like they were nice and spiritual, but inside you’re full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, scribes, Pharisee hypocrites, because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous and say, if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Well, that goes on to the last and the fourth one.

So we’ve seen the woe of leading people astray, the woe of perverting God’s law, the woe of hiding evil with hypocrisy, and the self-indulgence. These are the people that are, by the way, masters of why lie when you can make the truth twice as deceiving. They were hypocrites.

Now the fourth, the fourth is the woe of murdering God’s prophets. This one is a single one and this one kind of puts it all together because they’re promoting and perverting the truth that they know to be true. And it says, Woe to you the scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, because you build the tombs of the prophets. and you adorn the monuments of the righteous.” In other words, I’m righteous, I look righteous, I’m doing righteous things for the tombs of the prophets. And then they say, however, if we would have lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have participated with them in the blood of the prophets.

Now that Jesus just chokes on. And he says, therefore, you are witnesses against yourselves. And you are the sons of those, you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. You’re the ones who killed them. But what’s interesting is what he does next. And you can’t really get this unless you do look at the Greek language. It says, verse 32, fill up then the measure of your father’s guilt. That seems an odd thing. OK, I’m going to show you just how guilty you really are. And he does it by using two names for snake. Oddly enough, now, the interpreters of the New King James, the first one is verse 13 serpents.

Now, serpents, that was a word that was used for snakes. But it was kind of broad. You could say non-venomous snakes or venomous snakes. Well, that takes up all kinds of snakes in two different realms. Or if you just say, do you like snakes? I know most of you would say no, but there’s a few of us here that we do like snakes. And so it’s a very broad term. When Jesus says this, serpents, And then he uses, probably pointing to the fact of Satan, but then it becomes a little bit better. Brood of vipers. A brood is just a bunch of baby snakes. You are the descendants of one who is the serpent. You’re nothing more than the children of hell or the children of Satan. But the term viper is what he says there. The brood of vipers.

Now, vipers are venomous snakes. But it’s just as a particular group of venomous snakes that are extremely well camouflaged. For example, if I would say I know someone here that was bitten by a copperhead. Copperheads are very well camouflaged. And they can bite people because they’re so well camouflaged, or they can play the part of a hypocrite looking like a bunch of dead leaves, but it’s a serpent. And that goes right to what he’s saying. Or even rattlesnakes and some other snakes that are the gaboon viper, a viper that’s got some of the longest fangs to envenomate. But they look beautiful. They’re gorgeous, but you put them in a tree or put them in a bush, they disappear. And those are the two words that Jesus refers. You are nothing more of the father, your devil. You know, when he said that one other passage, when he talked about that they are liars and from the father of lies. Serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Now, he’s not asking them that question, that’s called a rhetorical question. In other words, he’s saying, you cannot escape. Therefore, and now he drives it home, and we’re gonna kinda then come back, and this is where we’ll begin tonight. Therefore, indeed, I send. Notice, he didn’t say I sent, not past tense, it’s present tense. I am sending. Could be the same way, translate same word, same way. I send or I am sending you prophets, wise men, scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify. He’s making reference to himself. We’ve got, there’s going to be preachers and apostles and they’re going to go out and you’re going to kill them all. I send you prophets, wise men, scribes, and some of them you will kill and crucify. Some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth. You see, he’s still building that case.

Oh, we would never have killed any godly men. He said, you witness against yourself. You have been meeting behind closed doors to kill me. You’re trying to crucify me. And of course, Jesus being God knows what’s gonna happen at the end of the week. They know because the thing is already in process. You’re trying to kill me and you know, oh, we would never. And the way sometimes I like to say it today is just, you bold faced liar. That’s what they were doing, they were lying to him. He was proving to them, you’re a hypocrite.

Now the reason why I think this is so important, because of what he’s gonna go on here and down and say, and because of this, the judgment of God is falling upon you. So, well, they were innocent or they were basically good. They tried their best. They were trying to be godly. No, they weren’t. They were sinners underneath the wrath of God with due judgment, worthy of eternal damnation. Unless they would come to the Savior. And that same message is true today. Have you come to the Savior? The only salvation is to be found in Jesus Christ.

Don’t be led astray what you might get off of even Christian radio stations or Christian TV or from what somebody told you or from something else. What does the Bible say? What has God truly said? There is one city of refuge. In a man, there’s only one place you can go for protection against the wrath of Almighty God. It’s Jesus Christ. And he’s the one talking here, pronouncing judgment upon all who lead people astray, who pervert God’s law, who hide evil with hypocrisy. And they are the ones that stand opposed to God’s ministering servants. and judgment will come. Well, the cosmic treason comes to full orb when we read, when Jesus says, see, your house is left to you desolate. Judgment will fall upon Israel, and it’s gonna be ugly. 70 AD is a reality. But then the positive is, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord for his own. When Jesus comes, is he coming for you? He is, if you know him as your savior. If you don’t, don’t leave here today without talking to someone about your soul’s need.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, as we contemplate this time, Father, we are reminded that you hate hypocrisy. In the early church, it even rose up its head, not with Pharisees, but even among some professing believers, Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts chapter five. They were more interested in looking more spiritual than they were by lying to the Holy Spirit. Father, may we remind ourselves at how sinful we are, at how much we need the Savior. May we take the message of the gospel and come. And when people have said, come ye sinners, praise God, sinners still come. And even more praise to the God who says, all who come to me, you will in no wise cast out. The result is eternity somewhere. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

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