The Messiah’s Insightful Responses, 1

It appears that within every context of life our conversations are increasingly turning political in some way or another. It’s difficult to avoid the news headlines, the polarizing view points and the fact that our general election is quickly approaching. The tension continues to build. In like manner, political discussion and heated debate permeated first century Palestine. The religious leaders of Jesus’s day used this as a tactic to try and trick Jesus into expressing support for one of the contrasting political positions with the hopes of achieving His arrest (Matt. 22:15-22). This attempt was driven by malicious intent even though their words said otherwise. Jesus, knowing their evil hearts, called them out for their hypocrisy. According to Matthew’s account, the religious leaders demonstrated no genuine desire to learn from the wisdom of Jesus. Instead, they gave lip-service only for the expressed purpose of accomplishing a self-absorbed goal that was inherently sinful (v18). I can’t help but see similarities in my own heart. Initially, this connection is difficult to make until I take a deeper look. The fact of the matter is, I’m afraid we are far more hypocritical and insincere than we like to think. Our insincerity reveals itself even when we are greeted by other individuals: “How are you?” “Wonderful,” we will respond; when in fact our day is far from “wonderful.” Perhaps this can be observed in our prayer life as well, especially before meals or during church services when prayer may be used as mere  transitions or fillers. How we express sympathy is also a common example: “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll be praying for you.” Unfortunately, our insincerities are prone to go far deeper than prayer or superficial courtesies. Like the Pharisees, we too become blind to our own hypocrisy over time. We readily give lip-service in our prayers or in our confessions before men, but how often are we disingenuous in the application of such lip-service, concerned more with our image or self-promoting agenda? With hearts of humility, may we cling to Christ as our only hope for change. Jesus came to transform self-serving sinners like us into lovers of God and lovers of others (1 Pet. 1:22). May God continue to complete the work He has begun in us so that out of a sincere heart we might say with Paul, “I count all things as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus.” – Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Pastor Rory–The Christian & Government–The Purpose of Government

10AM: Pastor Rory–Matthew 22:15-22–The Messiah’s Insightful Responses, 1 (sermon notes)

6PM: Pastor Nate–Jeremiah 27:12-17–Service to the King

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