Google+ 10/23/13 Never Shut the Door to Heaven in People's Faces!

Matthew 23:12-13


But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees.


For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces.

You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either."


In part three of our six-part devotion series entitled, "Knock, Knock...God's There," we listen as Matthew quotes Jesus.  As we all know, Jesus was not a popular person with the scribes, chief priests, and Pharisees.  Our Scripture today is one of the chief reasons.  Jesus is explaining how the religious leaders of the day simply don't measure up to the glory of God.  In addition to other things said, He calls them hypocrites!  The Jewish people are not to follow them as they say one thing and do another.  Calling all Christians...we should examine ourselves and our churches.  As we have discussed before, Jesus is identifying the single biggest reason people stop going to church.  We can get all the hypocrisy we need in the world.  We certainly don't need to go to church to experience this kind of behavior, and God's people are right to expect something different from Christ's church.  Refusing to be hypocritical is one of the most important things in our ministry.  Jesus calls us to tell the truth in love.  Things haven't changed one bit in this area from the days of Matthew and Jesus.  Most New Testament churches are driven by hypocritical situations and have the same root of many types of evil that were present with the chief priests and Pharisees.  What is that root of many different kinds of evil?  You guessed it...MONEY!  The Jewish church of Jesus's day was corrupt.  The priests extorted money from both the rich and the poor.  It is no wonder that the chief priests and Pharisees shut the door on the Gospel message from Jesus.  It would have ruined their livelihood.  Before we begin to justify that this practice went on a long time ago and doesn't apply to us, let's talk.  Most churches today are declining.  Most ministers have misunderstood God's message or have simply turned from it to do something else.  We have built massive structures that we simply can't afford.  We have stopped evangelizing, discipling, and baptizing, all very much keys to God's Kingdom.  We have changed our worship services in hopes of being politically correct, often making us NOT spiritually correct.  We have watered down the Gospel so as not to offend anyone.  So, what have we done?  The same thing the chief priests and Pharisees did.  We have shut the door to the Kingdom of Heaven right in the faces of the people who need Christ most.  Matthew concludes by explaining that the tragedy of these actions is not that churches and ministers have chosen to not walk through "God's door," but we are actually standing in the way of others who wish to be blessed by God.  Jesus says to tell the truth in love.  Remember His admonition?  No man can serve two masters.  You will love the one and hate the other.  Give up the love of money now and count on God.  Examine your heart and your church and resist hypocrisy.  Worship God and Him alone.  As Christians, we must be careful to "Never Shut the Door of Heaven in People's Faces!"