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Sunday Message - Today Jesus 128

14/10/07
<Matthew 23:1-36>
WOE TO YOU, YOU HYPOCRITES!
Read <Matthew 23:1-36>
• v2 “sit in Moses’ seat” refers to anyone who teach (e.g. Pastors, parents, etc)
• v5 Only sincere on the outside
• v8 This does not mean that we need not have Pastor, Preacher, Deacons, etc but we should
listen to them to obey God
• v9 Our earthly father represents our heavenly father. Thus, we must love God by loving our
earthly father
• v12 This talks about the attitude of a person. Who is humble, and who is proud? How would
we feel after hearing God’s word? Some will humble themselves after hearing God’s word and
God will raise them to the highest. However, some will have their own thoughts, explanation after
hearing God’s word and refuse to humble or love people
• v13 This is the type of people who don’t know the mystery of the heavenly kingdom but wants
to preach God’s word
• v15 They added a lot of rules and rituals upon the person whom they spent much effort in
bringing to church, causing them no able to grow
• v16-22 A lot of believers values the physical and visible things much more than worshipping God
and things that are unseen
• v23 “Tithes” is done with a heart of “loving God and men”. Thus, it doesn’t mean we don’t
need to have any actions as long as our hearts love God and men. It also doesn’t mean that after
we’d good actions, we need not fear God because we had already fulfilled our responsibilities
• v26-28 A lot of believers look very sincere though they’d not really seen God. Those who have
yet to see God only love one another with their lips and not with their hearts. Why is it so? It is
because, those who teach didn’t teach correct
• v29-32 This is a very serious statement. A lot of people had prosecuted the Prophets in the era of
Prophet Jeremiah. Here, the Pharisees are saying that they are not like those who had
prosecuted the prophets. However, Jesus Christ claimed that the Pharisees were indeed such
people. We are blessed indeed, because we will still want to listen to the altar message despite
being week and not able to obey God in a lot of areas
• v33 Is our church message criticizing others? Look at the four Gospel books: Lord Jesus
Christ is always asking Saints to be sanctified. Both the Lord and we are not targeting any
specified individual or church. Our teachings also serve as a warning to our own church
• v35 Abel and Zechariah were the first and last to die respectively because of the Gospel
before Jesus Christ has came to earth

• After we’d read today’s passage, we should not just re-examine ourselves, but receive the more
important conviction: God tells us (people who are already blessed) that the heads of our enemies
were broken. Thus, instead of being accused, we should rejoice

1. The “hypocrites” who lives in “curses”


1) The seven “curses”
(1) Shut the doors to the kingdom of heaven <v13-14>
(2) Bringing people to hell <v15>
(3) Values the gift and look down on the altar <v16-22>
(4) Losing justice, mercy and faithfulness. Giving a tenth and serving <v23-24>
(5) Clean exterior but dirty interior <25-26>
(6) Beauty on the outside but unclean in the inside <v27-28>
(7) Prosecuting the righteous <v29-36>
• There are two types of Believers in the church. Some will receive more of God’s love and
thus, becoming more joyful as they worship God. They will open up themselves to face
people and will also have testimonies to comfort others
• Some will receive more accusations and have less convictions and strength when they
worship God more. Because of the accusation they’d received, they are often weary that
others are judging them. Thus, they tried all sort of ways to protect themselves. These are
the hypocrites
• The Lord woes (ie cursed) the Pharisees. He also mentioned in a very places that the
blind are leading the blind
• Some believers teach others and their children using their personal values, without first
seeing God’s love and mercy. And they often made known their complaints to others also.
So much so that those being taught by them dare not reveal their inner feelings
• Therefore, children often refuse to reveal their thoughts to their parents thinking their
parents will not understand them even if the parents had heard them
• This is what Jesus Christ had said, “You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You
yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

2) Not only to meet “curses” in the future, their lives itself is “root of curses”. Already lived in
curses
(1) Gentiles, state of other religious people = In fact, they were already separated from God
completely and are now operating in curses
- Chase after “flesh, materials, success, fame” that will be destroyed in future and
asking others to do the same
- Disaster of religion: Torturing oneself and misleading others with the wrong thoughts,
laws and mysticism
• The “curse” that the Lord spoke of didn’t simply mean the curse of entering Hell in the
future, but what a person has to face in his everyday living. They have the “root of
curses” in their lives. No matter what they say or where they go, they will pass on
curses to others
• This is the way of the Gentiles. They live for the physical things and are bind by them
• They do everything for their personal gains
• Their motives, thoughts, judgments etc are not spirit lead, and are all selfish
• This is the spiritual problem that resident in people permanently. Therefore, they are
passing on the curses to their children when teaching them while having such
problems
• Gentiles who have better conscious or are “good” will look for religions. In fact, that’s
worse because they are dealing with the evil spirit directly
• Religious people will pass on greater curses to their children. They will stop their
children from believing in Jesus because of their involvement with the evil spirit. They
are worried that nobody will take care of their needs after they’d gone to the Hades

(2) The “wolves” in Israel = the wrath of God and the disasters upon them are very serious
- God’s children (sheep, people) can only be found in Israel (i.e. church). The reason
why God has given laws / decree / commands to Israel is to ensure that God’s people
are able to receive “protection, power, abundance” in their lives. It is not for binding or
killing them. However, wolves that disguised themselves as sheep have entered the
community of Israel. They used “laws” to save / accuse / kill God’s people. Thus, we
are able to understand why Jesus Christ was so angry with the Pharisees & the
teachers of the laws; so much that He announced the “7 curses”
• The “7 woes” (i.e. curses) that Jesus Christ speak of today was not directed to the
Gentiles but people who go to church
• Church is where children and people of God gathers and where God shown His love
to us
• God wants His children to have a fruitful life. However, the church’s message not
only doesn’t allow this, it actually binds God’s children. That was why God was so
angry
• E.g. a Master instructs his servant to bring his children out to play. He told the servant
to take care of his children, especially when crossing the road. The servant who does
not understand his master’s intention will only cause the children to dislike going out,
by restricting their every movement. Worse, the servant might even beat up the
children when they do not listen to his instruction
• God’s teaching is for us to have a life and God-centered life

2. Wrong start, lost process, serious consequences


* In fact, a lot of Israel / Christianity leaders do not know their “mistakes”. Instead, they always
thought that they are “doing good fervently”. All their mistakes come from the error of “not
having meet God yet”. They had never know God and never understand “God’s perfect will /
desire which God has revealed to us through the Gospel” They has also yet to discover
“God’s love and righteousness that were displayed through Jesus Christ”. Therefore, all their
thoughts, judgment and actions were done in a “big misunderstanding”. All were deceived by
the evil spirit…
• How come the belief of the Pharisees and teachers of the law will come to such a stage? It is
because they’d a wrong start

1) Since the start is wrong, the more fervent they are, the more lost they will be and the more
serious will the result be
(1) The wrong start: It prevents a person to develop a “father & son, loving and eternal
relationship” with God
* The starting point shouldn’t be based upon “men’s condition” but “God’s choice” = It is not
because of my “actions or believe” that makes me “God’s children”. We are able to act or
believe because “we already are God’s children”
• We must ponder about this: Does our belief started correctly? Some go to church for
the sake of others. Some wanted to resolve their problems. Some are thinking of
gaining some benefits for their family or children
• Our belief should start with the establishment of a close and loving relationship with
our Heavenly Father
• When our starting point is wrong, we will definitely rely on our personal conditions
instead of God’s conditions
• A lot of people thought that they were saved because they’d believed or they’d did
something. This is incorrect
• In fact, we can believe because we were already children of God. We didn’t become
God’s children only when we believe in God
• E.g.: It is not when a child comes along loving me, which makes me decide to make
him my child. If not, he will not stop being my child when he doesn’t love me. Are
such thoughts correct? A child loves me because he is my child. We must get this fact
right first
• We must understand the true relationship between God (our Father) and us. The
Pharisees went into religious rituals because they didn’t have this perspective. Thus,
the fruits they received are only curses
• We must ponder: why I can’t counter-attack whenever I face a problem? It is because
we’d not understood God’s love
• God’s first love for us will last forever. No matter how messy is my family, it is chosen
by God and loved by God
• If we didn’t understand this truth correctly, we will love incorrectly all our lives. We are
not orphanages who were adopted by someone, one day

(2) The mistake in the process: causes people not able to sustain “a loving relationship with
God”. Causes people not able to “receive freedom / strength / fruits”
* We received blessings not because we’d prayed or worshipped God, but because we
“are already blessed beings”, thus we like to use “prayer and worship” to enjoy the
“grace, strength and rewards from Heaven”…
* I didn’t live to “follow the truth and commandments”. Instead, to “enjoy an abundance life,
I really need the truth and commandments”
* Don’t chase after “future or results”. Instead, put more emphasis on “now, the process”
(must see God’s love now and follow suite hastily)
• The Christian living of those who doesn’t understand God’s love correctly or has
never confirmed before, is wrong
• They have the wrong starting point. Therefore, they won’t be able to maintain a loving
relationship with God. They won’t be able to guard themselves to have freedom,
strength and be fruitful
• Why will we feel unloved whenever we face setbacks? Our heavenly Father is
almighty. Therefore, it is only right for us to run to God whenever we are being
attacked. Even if we are crying, we should turn to God
• We will receive accusation everyday if our starting point is incorrect
• When our relationship with God is correct, we will feel comforted and beloved
whenever we turned to Him. Our problem will be gone instantly as soon as we call out
to our Father
• In the past, we might thought that God loves us only because of what we had done
for Him
• It is only Jesus Christ, who though was limited by His physical body, but still can
submit to God with His entire life to the point of death. We will be convicted whenever
we thought of this truth
• A person who is willing to submit to God will be changed by God
• We will receive the Holy Spirit’s conviction only when we have a relationship with God
• Will a person who already has a relationship with God decide whether or not to go to
church and worship God on Sunday basing on his feelings or conditions?
• Though the Lord seemed to be speaking to a group of people, He was actually
speaking to the evil spirit who are working in the minds of those people

(3) Two entirely different results:


* Those with life: “Develop with a solid foundation” “previous grace brings forth additional
grace” “the more one runs, the greater strength one will receive”
* Those without life: “wandering with no roots” “more and more irony” “the more fervent is a
person, the more bondage he will get” “the longer it is, the more serious it becomes”
• When we have a relationship with God, we know that it is for our good that God had
removed some things from our lives. He will give us greater blessings
• A lot of believers dislike talking about spiritual things. However, they are very
interested when we talk to them on worldly things
• Believers who didn’t establish a relationship with God will not able to see God’s grace
upon them daily
• “Former grace is related to the latter grace”. It means that if we are able to see God’s
grace on a certain thing, we will continue to see His grace in His everyday guidance
• Everything that happens in our lives has God’s grace in them. Therefore, our past
failures and sufferings are beneficial to us
• A person without “life” likes to go after mysticism. If that fails, they will go for legalism.
If that fails too, they will go for humanism. In fact, they are only after things that can
fulfill their personal carnal desire
• Therefore, there must be a system to our lives. God has a beginning, a process and
an ending. God’s purpose are throughout the period from my birth till now
• God has a correlated purpose throughout the process of us growing up, getting
married, giving birth, facing hardships, etc. We will able to see God’s past guidance,
present blessings and future hope when we restore our relationship with Him
• What else should a person who has seen this be afraid of? If we loss today, we will
receive more tomorrow. If we don’t have it today, we will receive it tomorrow
• As we worship God now, we must have hope for tomorrow
• As long as we have a foundation, it is all right even if we are weak. One day, we will
improve and grow up

2) Why can’t they have a “right start”? = Their nature and perspective cause them not able to
have a “beloved and blessed beginning”
* Because their hearts were hardened, they were proud in nature. They couldn’t
understand the “fundamental problem of men” (Carnal / roots of sin / Satan)
→ Thus, they cannot accept “men’s total devastation and men’s total helplessness”. Instead,
they believe in ”balance between good and evil” and “men can do it”
→ Thus, they cannot confess that “Salvation is God’s work completely. It is independent
from a person’s conditions. Only those who have received grace and are chosen can
receive salvation”. They thought, “a person’s conditions will affect God’s decision”
“salvation could be taken away in accordance to a person’s condition”
→ As such, their begin with “the fear of not able to receive salvation” and they do anything
with “a fear of losing God’s grace upon them”
=> Not only they couldn’t enjoy God’s love and grace (heavenly kingdom). They used their
wrongly teachings / judgment to cause others unable to enter heaven also
• Why was it that the Pharisees and teachers of the law had an incorrect beginning? It
is because, they had not understood the fundamental problem
• They didn’t know that their lives are completely condemned. They were always
thinking that “I can”
• A lot of believers are not able to overcome themselves because they thought that “I
can”
• They can’t accept that their salvation comes from God and God’s grace
• It is not about what we’d done for God. How can a dead person response to God?
How could Lazarus respond to Jesus Christ when he was dead? Unless God’s spirit
had first entered him

3) Only blessed children of God whom He has chosen are able to “begin their belief with the
correct perspective of seeing God’s love, able to communicate and walk with God in love”
* Only those with the characteristics of “eight type of people” (i.e. poor in spirit, mourn,
meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers,
prosecuted because of righteousness) are able to understand “men’s fundamental
problems”
→ Only then, they could understand “God’s beginning / process / development” and wanted
to “discover God’s doing, submit to God’s doing and testify God’s doing”
→ And understand “Salvation / Sanctification / Serving”. All these are only possible with
God’s love. Thus, able to meet God in love and attracted by God’s love to follow Him
→ Using “the identity / belongings / inheritance / future of being loved” to examine the
“conditions and experiences” that God has prepared for me. Thus, we are able to
discover God’s love on all things. Everyday, we are able to see God’s new grace upon us.
Therefore, we are not only able to enjoy God’s abundant grace in all things in our lifetime;
we are also able to testify God’s love and grace with others always. We are able to show
others the way to Heaven and enjoy God’s grace together with them…
• A lot of people were confused about “personal freewill”. A person’s freewill is actually
within God’s great predestination. The two have different weightage
• We can resolute because we are already beloved in the first place. A person who
understand this will go to the Lord whenever he is weak
• What is the purpose for us, Christians? Is it because we love to sing hymns, or we
simply love to worship God in the church? We became Christians because we
realized that there is a God, a Father who loves us
• The Pharisees worship God out of fear and responsibilities. Therefore, they were
hypocrites
• We are not able to overcome the ruler of the air if we aren’t too clear of our
relationship with God. The ruler of the air controls finance, politics, cultures, trends
etc
• Paul said, “for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out… what a
wretched man I am!” <Romans 7:18, 24> Paul knew that he will receive temptations
and trials in an instant. He knew that Satan rules in the air
• No matter where we are, we will be tempted or feel jealous in an instant (e.g. we will
be jealous when we see other brothers and sisters are having better conditions than
us)
• We must always remember that there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. We are
completely being loved and blessed. Those who have assurance in this are able to
walk out from any accusation. We must be freed!

3. Confirm and restore (we must pray and receive a breakthrough together this week)
• Who can accept himself / herself as beloved? Only the “eight blessed type of people”
• Don’t we all hope that our family members could all know Jesus, receive grace and salvation?
• The Lord’s lamb will have the same desire as that of the “eight blessed type of people”
• After we know that we are among the eight blessed type of people, we will accept God’s love
upon us and all His given conditions
• It is out of love that God has asked Abraham to chase Ishmael away. Things that aren’t part of
our inheritance should be driven away
• We must check ourselves to see if we had indeed accepted God’s love upon us. As soon as
we are able to accept; the things that cause agony to us will be stopped immediately
1) Affirmation
(1) Do I know my own life? Am I among the eight blessed type of people (八福人)?
• Are we “poor in spirit”? “Poor in spirit” means that “we are constrained / limited”.
Therefore, we need God
• When we discover areas that we couldn’t rely on God, we must do so immediately.
Those who does this are “poor in spirit”
• We mourn because we realized that we are very dirty. Thus, we need the compassion
of Jesus Christ
• Only the lambs of God will be exceedingly delighted when their loves ones receive
salvation
• We need not worry about anything after knowing we are among the eight blessed
type of people because the Lord tell us that these people will receive grace
(2) Are all the proofs for my belief based on I meeting God, or established upon God’s love?
• God shouldn’t be the one whom we should be afraid of or feel guilty towards. He
should be the one whom we must love
• Therefore, we must cast away all accusation, guilt and any feeling of being in debts
• God’s love is infinite and noble. God’s love is definitely not some “cheap love”
• How noble is our lives. Not everyone will have the lives we have gotten. We were
chosen by God before the world was created
• God doesn’t give His love in return for what we had given Him. God has given us
lives of the highest standard, which is “4 Gospelisation”
• We will only ask very cheap stuff from God when we don’t understand His will / desire
• From today onwards, we must not be in agony for anything else. We can only be in
agony if we can’t love or submit to the Lord

(3) How are my relationship, communication, and companionship with God currently?
• Only a blessed person will receive a blessed life and conviction. We can only
communicate with God, walk with God and continuously see evidences of God’s love
after we’d understood His love

2) Signs of danger that often appear in our Christian belief


(1) Fear God because we can’t see “God’s love” (i.e. God’s purpose)
• Sometimes, even blessed people will face some critical moments. Sometimes, we will
begin to fear God because we’d failed to see Him. It is the same as the Israelites.
After they’d crossed the Red Sea and entered the wilderness, they became afraid
when they couldn’t see God
• Joshua won all battles except one. During then, he asked God the reasons for his
defeats. God told him that someone among the Israelites had sinned. As long as we
are willing to ask God, He will definitely response to us
• God never losses. Problem is that we couldn’t see God’s reasons. When that
happens, we will fear God
• When we couldn’t see God in our hearts, it is time for us to quiet ourselves down and
offer our sacrifices
• God never wants to kill us. God only wants to renew us and love us
• When we find ourselves are in agony, meet with danger or couldn’t see God, we must
quickly come before God, build temple and restore God’s system
• God will definitely give us answers when we offer our sacrifice to Him with the desire
to really want to meet Him
• If we refuse to go to church and worship God because of some weaknesses; we will
surely face more things that will cause agonies to us in that week

(2) Refuse to submit to God’s obvious conviction


• God’s conviction to us is never a one-time event. He continually speaks to us using
different people. When that happens, we must submit to God. Otherwise, Satan will
gain the authority to attack us
• What does it mean by “submission”? First of all, we must determine the path for our
lives. This means, all our conditions (i.e. family, relationships, money, etc) are all for
God’s kingdom
• After we’d determine this, we just do things that God asked us to do. We shall put
down the things that God wants us to let go. If we can’t do it, we can talk things out /
discuss with God. We can ask God to give us time to submit to Him
• If we really have the desire to submit to God and yet unable to it even after talking
things out with Him; God will surely give us the way and time to submit to Him
• We will receive answers in God. God is very stubborn. Since He said He would love
us, He will surely do it ill the end. God will never stop loving us
• Because God loves us, the things He prepared for me are definitely the best. Thus,
the sooner I submit to Him, the better it will be

(3) Becoming a routine (pray? Worship? Offer? It becomes a routine to serve; it’s lifeless;
lukewarm)
• Everything we do will slowly becoming a routine if we are not able to see God’s love
and guidance
• Sometimes, we go to church without having any conviction at all. Thus, we always
say that, “since we won’t receive any conviction, we might as well don’t go to church”
• If we really find no reason to go to church and has disheartened with the church and
the congregation, yet we still want to go simply because of God’s word. Then, God
will definitely give us the greatest blessings
• What, then, is routine? Routine means people do everything without love,
righteousness or faithfulness. God wants us to restore our lives within routines

3) How to restore?
(1) Our life goal is to turn to God (live our life for God). We must make this decision!
• We still have the contents of Pharisees in our lives. Thus, we must get rid of them
• We must turn to God regardless of the situation we are in
• Our life goal and purpose is to turn to God and live for God

(2) Draw out the principle of living (marital, being single, BGR, how to use money, etc)
• We must draw out the principle of our living because it will protect us
• The principle of martial relationship: Husband and wife come together for world
Gospelisation. E.g., a husband must always love his wife regardless of the situation
they are in.
• The principle of spending money: First, we must restore giving tithes. Second, we just
use whatever the amount given by God. Third, be contented. If we are able to live
according to these 3 principles but still lacking financially, then God’s provision will be
added upon us
• The proclamation of our belief: Restoring tithes. Spend in accordance to God’s given
principle. Find contentment in God
• Our financial values should be this: spend realistically. If we aren’t too rich, we need
not buy expensive clothing or go for expensive food
• God is training us to know what it is to be in need
• We shouldn’t follow the trend blindly because the world is ruled by the “ruler of the
air”. We should use the Gospel to heal our nature
• The principle of being in love or being single: God wants us to draw out the principle
for courtship, staying single or marriage life. We will only be protected after we’d
drawn the principle and lives according to it. Otherwise, we will continue to face
dangers or hardships

(3) Whatever weaknesses (i.e. things that do not match our goals and principle) we have in
our daily living, we must acknowledge them, repent and renew
• God understands that we will be weak sometimes
• Weak = losing our goals, or not living in accordance to the principle we’d drawn out
• Whenever we are weak, we must acknowledge it, which means to repent and renew.
God will have compassion on us

(4) Whenever necessary (i.e. feeling very burdened or troubled spiritually), we must go into
concentration prayers. During the concentration prayer, confirm and restore the contents
of the 3 points above
• We must have concentration prayer (or fasting / overnight prayer) when we cannot
resolve things even after we’d acknowledged it
• This is the way for us to have victory and not go into routine living
• Without following this way, nobody is able to retaliate
• God has loved us. Thus, we must confirmed that the “7 curses” that the Lord said are
not directed at us. Instead, we must rejoice because the head of our enemy was
already broken!
Sharing and Prayer Topics
1. The Lord rebuked the lives of those hypocrites who weren’t born again at all: Do I know my
life? Confirm: Does my life have the characteristics (i.e. poor in spirit, mourn, meek,
hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, prosecuted
because of righteousness) of the “eight blessed type of people” whom God has chosen?
2. Those hypocrites didn’t live with the foundation of meeting God: Is my belief established
upon “the foundation of having met God”? Recall: Since the day I’d met God till now, how
does my relationship with God advances? How is the outlook of my relationship /
communication / walk with God currently?
3. The most dangerous thing that can happen to our Christian living is this: “becoming
fearful of God, cannot obey God, becoming a routine because we couldn’t see God”
Diagnose: Has any of these phenomenal appear in my current Christian living? How
should we restore God’s love? How to restore walking with God with a lively life?