Sunday, August 7, 2016

Withered Hands and Withered Hearts

Temple Baptist Church - 8-7-2016

Matthew 12:1-15


A.  Our Lord’s interaction with the Pharisees, Scribes, and Lawyers was a bitter-sweet one.  Everywhere Jesus went, the crowds gathered to hear the Word of God speak.  There were those who were just curious and came to watch; there were those who were just sick and came to be healed; there were those who were just hungry and waited to be fed; there were those who tempted the Lord and watched for failure; and there were those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness.

B.  This morning, I want to look at these for a few minutes.  I am not trying to be hard but things have not changed much since the days of our Lord who fed the multitudes and died virtually alone.

1.  Those who were just curious and came to watch.  To many, the things of God have just become a side show.  A form of Christian entertainment.  A place to get the emotions stirred and a place to have a good time.  A place where the miracles of salvation that sit on the pews are only things to be watched, not experienced.  Church has become a place for entertaining goats instead of feeding sheep.  Church is not a place of entertainment; it is a place of worship and reverence. 

John 6:1-2  After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.  (2)  And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

2.  Those who were just sick and came to be healed.  It is not always God’s will to heal those who are sick.  When those who are just sick come to be healed, if the healing does not take place, they just leave and go some were else.  If the healing did take place, they would still just wander away for they got all that they came for.  These are those who are in trouble.  I have seen so much “jailhouse repentance” in my years as pastor.  They weep and wail until they get out of jail and then it is business as usual until the next time.  Some just come to church to see if the Lord will get them out of their trouble but have no heart felt repentance.

Luke 17:15-18  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,  (16)  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. (17)  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  (18)  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

3.  Those who were just hungry and waited to be fed.  I receive calls all of the time from people who prey upon the goodness of the churches and have to discern who actually needs help and those who just live off of the generosity of God’s people.  They have family that can help but they call the church.  There are jobs to be had but they do not work.  They live in open sin and rebellion but want the churches to support their lifestyle.

John 6:25-26  And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?  (26)  Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

4.  Those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness.  Nine times, in the Book of John, the words “many … believed” are found.    I find it interesting that these words are not used together in Matthew, Mark, or Luke.  The Book of John speaks of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and it is only when one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ that they are saved. 

John 2:23  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

Matthew 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

C.  I want to deal with two types found in our verses: a man with a withered hand and men with withered hearts!

1.  Men with withered hearts!  Verses 2 and 14.  There were two sects that came out of the 400 silent years between Malachi and Matthew: the Sadducees and the Pharisees.  The Sadducees upheld the written Law and denied an afterlife.  The Pharisees upheld the oral Law and believed in life after death.  Both of these sects rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah,

a.  Withered heart people are a type of religion.  People are innately religious but the religion is personal merit.  People who have religion instead of salvation become the enemies of the church and the work of the Lord.

b.  Withered heart people are a type of rejection.  Religion has knowledge of biblical principle but such knowledge brings about a decision to turn to Christ or to turn from Him.  Those who reject are always enemies of Christ and, therefore, enemies of the saved.

c.  Withered heart people are not fond of the “withered hand” people coming to their churches!  Instead of the foolish, they desire the wise; instead of the weak, they desire the mighty; instead of the base, they desire the noble!  They desire a certain kind of people in their churches instead of all kinds of people there!

Mark 2:16  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

d.  Withered heart people are not glad when the “withered hand” people are forgiven of their sins and spiritually healed!  The reason is simple, true salvation shows up religion.  These “withered hand” people have a change of life; they have a song in their hearts; they have a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Mark 2:5-7  When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.  (6)  But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,  (7)  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

e.  Withered heart people are not happy when their church savings account or CDs are liquidated and money goes to missions to help win a world to Christ.  They are not happy when they are no longer in control and can pressure the preacher into silence.  They get angry when the direction of the church becomes biblical in nature.  Their hearts are withered by the sin of religion and they try to find fault.

f.  Withered heart people normally remain that way and die without Christ!

2.  A man with a withered hand.  Verse 10.  Those with withered lives are welcome to come to church; they are accepted by Christ; they are the ones for whom He died.  I thank the Lord for our young people who come to Christ at an early age and never know the ravages of a sinful life.  Stay clean and live for Christ but the withered hands were the people who came to Christ in faith and find healing for their souls! 

a.  Lives withered by sin and shame!  Many of us were the undesirables, the off scourings of the world!  I thank God that He loved sinners!  A friend to the lost and dying!  The Saviour of the world! 

b.  I thank the Lord for the drunks that became saints.  The harlots who became godly ladies.  The drug addicts who are now clean.  The blasphemers whose mouths are now filled with praise.  The lost that are now found.  The hurting that found healing in Christ.  The backbone of the local churches! 

c.  Sinners who came to Christ for spiritual healing and feeding, not just for what they could get.  We have helped so many people with physical needs over the years and none of them are here tonight!  But, we have helped so many who had spiritual needs and they are here.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  (27)  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  (28)  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea,and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:  (29)  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

d.  Thank God for the people who came to Christ by faith and were gloriously, instantly healed!  Their lives forever changed!  Their hope in heaven!  God loves all mankind but especially those of the household of faith!

Ephesians 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Conclusion:  We find a man with a withered hand healed while the ones with withered hearts angry because of their religion.  God was able to heal the man with the withered hand but not the ones with withered hearts!  He certainly could have if they would have!

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