That Witness Series – Matthew 12:38-40
Intro: There are many signs in this world we are guilty of ignoring. With that said the stop sign seems to get a little more attention than other signs, most people stop for this sign. A lot of us tend to generally slow down and stop to avoid the repercussion of a ticket. Of course many of us after being pulled over try to explain to the officer that was a complete stop when they are giving us a ticket for not making a complete stop before we enter the intersection.
This wasn’t the kind of sign the Scribes and Pharisees were wanting from Jesus; they wanted more. The freedom from bondage and the splitting of the Red Sea wasn’t enough. The daily manna provided while wondering in the wilderness wasn’t enough, they wanted more. Every step that the children of Israel made came with wanting another miracle or some kind of supernatural event in order for them to stay the course. Even after the revealing of the life, death & Resurrection of Christ mankind still wants more signs to stay the course. Isn’t that a shame! I believe we will find in our text today Jesus explained the use of the stop sign in another way: STOP YOUR WHINING!”
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
Text: Matthew 12:38-40 (NKJV)
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”
Application: My authority is written all over the scriptures.
1. The Request: vs. 38 "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."
There is within the heart of every person a desire to be special and to be treated special. Such is the nature of man. The desire to be special can be good or it can be bad. What is within the heart makes the difference. In dealing with God it is good to want a special relationship a special call or a special gift. However, it is evil to seek special or spectacular signs. Christ is very clear on this point. Why? Because God has given every sign that could be needed in Christ Himself.
The Jews required a sign, Jesus told them: "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.” The Jews always required supernatural signs from any prophet or messenger who claimed to be from God. This is the same kind of temptation that Jesus faced in the second temptation of His wilderness experience; to prove His Messiahship by some spectacular sign. The Jews wanted more than the signs of miracles. They wanted a sign from heaven, apparently some spectacular event occurring in the sky which would reveal beyond doubt that Christ was the promised Messiah. They wanted the sign to appear at a given moment by His command, not some freak spectacular event happening accidentally in the future that He might claim as a sign. Jesus was making it clear it is more than signs: “Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." John 4:48
Signs and wonders were not as important as believing Jesus. A man's eternal salvation was at stake, and the man had to believe to be saved.
God’s Sign of Love was the cross: There had to be a cross—some meaningful dramatization of God’s will and way for persons in this world. Without the cross there would be no gospel. It is understandable why the cross was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks; neither had a gospel—no recent word from God, no good news following their dark Fridays!
The request denied, Jesus is the sign and that is enough!
2. Greater than Jonah: vs. 39-41
“Because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.” Jesus in this conversation with the religious leaders turns quickly from the demand for a sign and reminds them of the city of Nineveh and a prophet name Jonah who preached repentance. It is not the sign that is important it is the sinner turning from sin and self toward a relationship with a living God.
The sign of Jonah pointed to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The resurrection is the great proof that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He is: “Declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.’ Romans 1:4
Jesus claimed to be greater than Jonah. He claimed to be the greatest messenger who had ever come, the Messiah Himself. Since His coming, all men are definitely without excuse. The worst sinners in history repented at the preaching of a mere man, the prophet Jonah. Now the Messiah Himself, God's own Son, has come. And He has preached and announced that the Kingdom of God itself is at hand. Every person is now, beyond question, without excuse.
Illustration: Repentance. The difficulty some have in entering the doorway to the kingdom of God is like the experience of the boy who got his hand caught inside an expensive vase. His upset parents applied soap suds and cooking oil, without success. When they seemed ready to break the vase as the only way to release the hand, the frightened boy cried, “Would it help if I let loose of the penny I’m holding?” So it is all too often with us. We cause others great anguish and risk the truly valuable because we will not let go of the insignificant things we possess today.
- True repentance has a double aspect; it looks upon things past with a weeping eye, and upon the future with a watchful eye.
There was a great Christology represented with the prophet who for three days ended up in the belly of a great fish only to end up vomited back up on dry land and then to go preach repentance to the people in Nineveh. But even with that great story. There was one greater than!
Jesus is greater than anyone else and the key is repentance!
3. Greater than Solomon: vs. 42
“The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”
This evil generation did not seek Jesus, the One who knew the truth who had the wisdom. Jesus gave a prime example of what He meant in the Queen of Sheba. “When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built. 6 She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.” 1 Kings 10:1, 4, 6 (NIV)
The Queen of Sheba demonstrated how a person is to seek the truth and how important it is to seek Christ. She had to seek as diligently and go through as much as anyone ever has in seeking the truth. She had a long and perilous search. She had to travel from "the utmost parts of the earth" to seek the truth. She had extreme responsibility. She was a queen with demanding duties and a busy schedule as the Head of State. As with all Heads of State, there was much demanding her time and presence and depending upon her care, yet she let nothing stop her search for the truth. She could not be absolutely certain that Solomon was as wise in the truth as he was said to be. She had no personal invitation to visit Solomon. She could not be sure he would see her nor grant much time to her. She had to bear terrible prejudice. She was a woman in a man's world. In her day women were nothing more than an article of movable personal property, possessed and used by men for their own pleasure as they so desired. The Queen of Sheba will be used as a testimony in the day of judgment. Her diligent seeking will stand as a testimony against all who fail to seek after Christ. Her seeking will leave all without excuse. There is no distance too far, no road too perilous, no responsibility so important, no question so weighty, no prejudice or opposition so strong that it should keep a person from seeking after Christ. The Queen of Sheba faced all this, yet despite all, she sought the truth. It was the primary drive of her life; therefore, her example leaves everyone without excuse. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" John 1:14 KJV
ONE GREATER THAN SOLOMON HAD COME AND THAT WISDOM IS ETERNAL!
Conclusion: One of the last things any of us want to experience is a knock at the door from a Law Enforcement agency. With that said one thing that is certain that you would expect from that visit is that they would identify themselves by presenting a badge, proving who they are and what might be the purpose of their call. We want an authentic sign they are genuine.
Illustration: Removing Traffic Sign. In the introduction of this message today I mentioned the stop sign and the result of neglecting to come to a complete stop. Pranksters in Shawnee, Oklahoma, took a stop sign away from a highway intersection and left it half a mile up the road. Chuckling as they drove off, they soon heard the results of their practical joke on the radio.
The Reverend Clifford L. Head, still in his thirties was driving his station wagon, filled with the four other members of his family, past the intersection, when another car zoomed out of the warning-less side road, directly into the front of the station wagon. Pastor Head was killed instantly. His wife had both arms and legs broken. She and the children and the other driver all had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency aid.
Signs have their purpose and some have detrimental conclusions. Repentance and wisdom leads to “One Greater Than!”
In : Sermon
Tags: "are you that witness series" "book of matthew"
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