Matthew chapter 11:20-24 (continued)
“Then He began to reprimand the cities where most of His mighty works were done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the Day of Judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who is exalted toward heaven, will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you.’”
We ended last time discussing the Old Covenant verses and the New Covenant that we have in Jesus. Under the old one we are told that the Law was designed to show us our sins, no one was saved by observing the Law. We see this in Romans 5:20:
“The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
The Law was there to condemn us and show us our sinfulness. As I am reading through the Old Testament I am awed by how often the Lord’s servants simply fall on His grace. Men like David and Abraham and others lived by grace, they understood that they were nothing and simply fell on the loving grace of the God of Israel.
In the New covenant we have in Jesus, our sins are taken away and we are now able to have constant peace with God not through the blood of bulls and goats, but by the blood of Jesus. You and I do not have to offer sacrifices over and over again and again as far as blood is concerned, Jesus died once for all and ever. His sacrifice is all we will ever need for redemption and peace with God.
Today we will tackle a tough subject, one that is difficult when we see the heart of God and understand His love for mankind. What happens to people that refuse to repent? How does a loving God deal with that issue? What will happen to the people of our generation when we take a look at what Jesus said? How great will be our judgment?
How deadly will be the anger of God upon these arrogant places? And how will this generation answer God after He has revealed himself to us in the power of science and creation? This lesson is a tough one, sad one to be honest; we live in a blessed time, like no other time before yet we see scores of scoffers who reject God and defy/deny Him.
Sadly the NT church has stopped preaching about the reality of Hell and the seriousness of eternal punishment. We have made light of the wrath of God and forgotten that he is the God who spoke us into existence and can easily speak us out of existence. Our arrogance is a rotten smell in the nostril of the Living God. We have forgotten who the Creator is and who is the created, Romans 1: 25:
“They turned the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
This is such an affront to the Lord who sustains us each and every day; the loving, kind and merciful God who feeds and cares for us all, even the one who are not His children. Yet we disdain Him. We will not have any excuses, this generation who has discovered a lot of the secrets that God kept for Himself will have no excuse.
We will stand face to face with the Creator and stand condemned because of our idolatry. God allowed us to see His frame work, the very fabric of creation and rather than rejoice in His majesty we created lies and theories to deny Him and His power.
Jesus pronounces “Woes” Verses 21 and 23
According the Webster’s Dictionary, a “woe” is a ‘condition to be dreaded, possibly signifying impending doom, condemnation and/or the wrath of God This sounds pretty serious to me. Jesus points out that there were the “mighty works” He had done in Chorazin and Bethsaida had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented. He goes on the point out that had the “mighty works” done in Capernaum been done in Sodom that they would have repented and still be around to Jesus’ day. Wow!
Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum formed a ‘mighty works’ triangle where Jesus did the majority of his miracles. They had seen the mighty hand of God in so many ways that other cities had not seen them. Jesus had revealed the power and glory of God to them and still so many were hard hearted and unrepentant. Imagine that, seeing the hand of God at work and instead of rejoicing, actually rejecting God.
Well this is what we have happening right now. We live in a time when science has revealed the complexity of God’s creation and rather than glorify God and declare His majesty we have created the religion of evolution to try to replace God and usurp Him by putting man as the ‘super species’ able to sustain himself. Nothing could be farther from the truth, we are incapable of sustaining ourselves; we can survive for a short period of time because of technology, but that is only as good as the power source it has. God simply had to turn off the power.
How will we be able to stand before God? We have seen more of God’s power than any generation or people before us and we are more hard hearted and rebellious than any people before us. It would seem that the more God reveals His power the more sinful and stubborn we become.
Remember Pharaoh in Exodus 3-13? God showed His power time after time and rather than repent he defied God and refused to humble himself before the living God. God destroyed Pharaoh and his nation stripping them of their goods and riches. They have never returned to that kind of prominence ever again. Imagine what God will do to the people of our time when the judgment comes.
We have explored space, sent crafts to Mars, the Moon, orbited our planets and seen many phenomena first hand. We have explored the depths of the oceans and seen things that no one but God knew about. We have understood the science of how we live and why we live like no other people. We can do things with the human body that bars on the miraculous and yet we deny the unique and supernatural creation of the body, we deny the complexity of the human mind and turn our existence into just that, an existence, not the glorious life God designed.
In Genesis 1-2 we can see that we were put here to dominate nature not be dominated by nature. We men and women are the pinnacle of God’s creation. It was created for us, for our joy and our wonderment. Man is not the bane of God’s creation we are the icing and the cherry on the cake, so to speak.
Judgment Verses 22 and 24
We don’t like to be judged. We don’t like to be held accountable for our actions. We want to live like we are diplomats and have immunity. But God will not allow us to go unpunished for our sins. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The penalty for breaking the commandments was and is death. Not just dying as in to stop breathing but to be separated from God’s grace and then burned in Hell forever. No parole, no consideration for good behavior and no arguments.
We excuse everything as a disease and as a syndrome. The real disease is sin and the syndrome is the sin nature. We have raised and continue to raise a generation who really believe that there are no consequences. The wages of sin for them is ….wait what is sin? Is there any such thing as sin? In the book of the Judges we see this phrase, “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
Judges 17:6 and 21:25 are just two of the places where we see this phrase. We live in a time such as this; everyone does what they feel is right and no one, NOT EVEN God can judge them. (Or at least that is how they feel.) We are in for a wake-up call. God is a god of wrath. In 2 Samuel 24 God judged Israel when David sinned in numbering Israel without God’s expressed permission.
God sent a plague that killed 70,000 men, see verse 15. We know of the account of the Flood, we know of the scourge of serpents that killed off many in Numbers 2:6 because of Israel’s sins. God sent the nation into slavery for 70 years for not observing his Sabbaths with the land, see the book of Daniel.
Judgment is coming on this world and we are without excuse. We have exhausted God’s grace and abused His love and mercy. We have taken His loving kindness as an affirmation of our conduct and we treat sin as sport. God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows that will he also reap, Galatians 6:7. This is what is coming to the world around us; this is what is coming to our unsaved family and friends:
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).
God talks about judgment and hell more than He talks about heaven. There is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain. There is only one way to shun hell and that is to be saved by Jesus Christ. “The wages of sin is death, BUT the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD” (Romans 6:23).
Cry out, call out, say something, do something to let people know hell is real. God is a God of wrath and to be found under judgment and not have Christ will make the worst day on earth look like a picnic. We don’t like to hear that hell is real and that the people you see in the mall, at the grocery store and your little old loving grandma who bakes the best cookies in the world are going there unless they have Jesus as their Savior.
No one will be able to mount a defense once Jesus opens the books and begins to list off their sins and no one will be able to offer an argument as to why they should be let off. NO! NO! They will be led screaming and fighting into the Lake of Fire and there they will pay their sins FOREVER!
God’s Sovereign Grace, Verses 21-24
God chose to reveal Himself to one people more than another. He did not do certain works in Tyre and Sidon, but he did those works in Chorazin. God did not allow the 1900 years of people to discover outer space but he let us. He allows one generation to do something and another one not to. He makes sure that all know, but that some see more than others. He is a God who will not be questioned and He does what He wants to do, when He wants to do it.
God chose the Gentile church through which to introduce the Holy Spirit as an in dwelling Spirit. He chose to let us be the messengers of the cross, He chose to let us find, copy and translate the Bible in our time. God did it. For those of us who have accepted His message and His grace we rejoice BUT to those who reject His love grace there is nothing left but judgment. God chose to whom and by whom He would reveal himself. He also chooses how much of Himself He reveals.
This should humble us and scare us at the same time. God has revealed himself to us like at no other time before and though some of us have received the revelation, the vast majority have turned their backs on Him and thumbed their noses at Him. Sad, really heartbreaking. And the more I think about what that meeting will be like when they are face to face with the God the deny exists, what will happen then?
Where will their pride and self-righteousness be? It will vanish, gone away forever and they will have no hope. I leave you with two contrasting verses. Both should humble us and make those of us who know the Lord Jesus be ever more thankful for His grace.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
“For we know Him who said, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.’ And again, ‘THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10: 30-31).
Both verses are true. Upon which verse do you fall? I cling to His promises; Jesus took His vengeance for me. What about you?