October 4: Exposing False Religion (Matthew 21:12-22)
This Sunday we'll begin a new series on Christians and Culture taught by Nik Lingle and Josh C. at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project.
We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper together this Sunday, as we do the first Sunday of each month. In preparation for this visible celebration of the gospel, please take time to consider the state of your soul. Resolve conflicts that you have ignored, repent of sins that you have hidden, and consider the great love of a Savior who has reconciled us to God by his death and resurrection.
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”
And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (ESV)
As you remember from last week, Jesus enters Jerusalem disclosing himself to be the king, promised by God, humble and coming to save. As king he performs his first royal responsibility, which is to bring order to the chaos of Israel's worship. He enters the temple and condemns both the worship of Israel and the fruitlessness of their lives. They had borne little fruit as God's chosen people and would now be assessed by Jesus, God's Messiah. It is interesting that Jesus' harshest words were not for the sinners, the culture, or even the Roman government but for the professing people of God. Peter is surely right as he says, "judgment begins in the household of God." With humility, let us examine ourselves to see the genuineness and God-centeredness of our worship. With an eye on the gospel, consider your life. Are you bearing fruits of righteousness and godliness? Let us hear the words of Jesus with opens ears and hearts.
Review and Apply
1. Is your worship of God driven by a sense of obligation? Do you come to worship with mechanical regularity, passive, unprepared or little engagement of mind?
2. How can it be said that false worship robs God?
3. What makes worship right? How do humility, confession and transcendence make right worship?
4. How often do you take inventory of your life? How often do you examine the fruit in your life?
5. In what areas of your life do you find hypocrisy and deception?
6. How does daily faith in the gospel lead us to right worship and fruit-bearing lives?