Christ Exposes and Indicts the Established Church

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We’ve been going through the book of Matthew. I’ve been pointing out that there’s a theme in all of the parables that Christ has. Today we will be going through Mat 21. It includes the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple. Then there are several parables concerning the householder, 2 sons, and the Pharisees questioning Christ’s authority. I think you will see a theme in all of it.

Mat 21:1-6 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

They certainly did not recognize him as the Son of God, but these are the very same multitudes that, in just a few hours, will be calling for his death. What was it that would have made them do what they are doing here? When you read the book of John, you realize that this all happened right after Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. It was shortly after that, just a week later, here he is coming to Jerusalem. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived right outside Jerusalem, everybody knew them and everyone learned about this raising Lazarus from the dead.

Mat 21:10-14 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

Now, this chapter that we are reading is preceded with the healing of 2 blind men. Christ said, ‘What will ye that I do for you?’ and they said ‘that we might have our sight.’ He healed them. Jesus’ miracles were multitudinous and they were real, it was nothing like what we have today with all of these charlatains faking miracles. His miracles were so dependable, people knew that if they could just get near him and touch him or let someone down in front of him, somehow get his attention that that person was going to be healed.

Mat 21:15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,

Here is Christ at the zenith of his ministry being recognized somewhat as at least a great man of God. Of course, the established church is sore displeased. That’s always the way it is, when the real thing is getting any attention at all, the hypocritical establishment is going to be very upset.

Mat 21:16-17 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

There’s a little more to that story that Luke gives. Luk 19 and Mat 21 are basically the same story except one gospel always adds something that the others don’t.

Luk 19:40-41 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

The city of Jerusalem represents the people of God. What Jesus was doing is what we ought to be doing today, looking around us and seeing the sad state of affairs in the churches. The counterfeit is being accepted and the truth is being neglected.

Luk 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

If you can come to see that the Jews of Christ’s day represent the church of today (they were the church of the day). When you see that they are the established church and you understand that the established church is what God calls the rejected, the elder son who hated his younger brother. He calls the established church the nine lepers who had no gratitude for being healed. They were healed but they had no gratitude.

Mat 21:23-27 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Christ is not sucked in by the people that are around him. He is aware of what the very thought of their heart is. He knows what they are doing and what to do in every situation. You and I are promised the exact same thing. We can know what to say and when to say it. Let’s go back here:

Mat 21:18-19 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

In another gospel tells us it was not even the season for the figs, it had already passed. There’s a point being made here that has nothing to do with the tree itself. Christ is making a point.

Mat 21:20-22 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Has anyone ever cast a mountain into a sea? Has anyone ever done greater things than Christ did? Why would we want to do what was done to that fig tree? What Christ is getting at is Rev 11, the 2 witnesses have fire come out of their mouth and devour their enemies and kill their enemies. Didn’t Christ tell Peter ‘put up your sword, whoever takes the sword will die by the sword.’ Why would the 2 witnesses be killing people? It’s all spiritual!Luk 19, as I said earlier, is Mat 21, the same thing, but look what Luke adds. He stick right in there the parable of the pounds.

Luk 19:20-23 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

This is not an encouragement to charge usury, which is also condemned, this is just a point that Christ is making.

Luk 19:24-27 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

Who is he talking about? He’s talking about those who would not let him reign over them. Those who say ‘Lord, Lord,’ who say ‘Oh, you son of David,’ but don’t do the things that he says. The whole Christian church will tell you ‘God is love’ and in the same breath tell you he is going to burn people in hell forever. They’ll tell you to love your enemies and in the same breath tell you to go fight in Iraq. It is a religion of hypocrisy. God has rejected the established church.

Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

What nation is that? Is that the United States as opposed to the state of Israel? Absolutely not. Nations in scripture have to do with what goes on inside of you. This (verse 43) has to do with the cursing of the fig tree. The fig tree represents something.

Joe 1:6-7 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

He’s talking about his own people, the people of Israel and he calls them ‘my fig tree.’ He says that the fig tree is not going to bring forth any fruit for the aion. ‘Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever’ (that is for the aion). Christ is foretelling the fate of the nation of Israel which did reject him.

The point that we need to get out of the cursing of the fig tree is that, if we don’t bring forth fruit, the light that is within us will be made darkness and what we do have will be taken from us. It is not that we will still have what we had, we won’t, it will be taken from us. It will be given to someone who will bring forth fruit. We have the parable of the two sons in verse 28. Here we go again, it is the same thing all over, all the parables are the same thing.

Mat 21:28-29 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.?

Why two sons, why didn’t he have three? Because God has two people, he has his elect and he has his reject. He has many called and few chosen, that’s his two sons. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. What is interesting here, what is first about this one, is that the one who said no, I won’t repented. There is a lesson in that. The lesson is the people who are God’s elect always say no first, they fall away. They are one of his two sons, but they are like the prodigal son.

Mat 21:30-31 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

And we just read in Ezekial 16 where Sodom and Samaria are going to come into the kingdom before the rejected nation of Israel which the whole Christian world takes to be the chosen people of God, all because they can’t see what is in the spirit, they see only the outward. Israel is the outward people of God. Christ says:

Mat 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Now, we have another parable. What do you suppose it’s about? It’s called the parable of the house holder.

Mat 21:33-39 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

You don’t have to be too biblically literate to think about Joseph, with his coat of many colors, all of his brothers knowing that his father loved him and seeing him coming at a great distance in that coat of many colors and saying ‘look who is coming here.’ Who do you think the story of Joseph is talking about? Do you think it is a story about Joseph? If you think so, you are missing the whole point. The point in every one of these stories is that they are examples and types of us (1 Cor. 10). We reject Jesus Christ, we are all of the things that we read about, the good and the evil. The difference is that the elect repent. It’s all the work of God. The prodigal son repented because God drug him to that point. The whole scenario is ‘after the counsel of his own will.’ We are clay in the hands of the potter.

Mat 21:40-41 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

These are the people who he is talking about that answered him that way. If you ask a minister of God today, what will become of those who take advantage of the flock, the first thing out of his mouth is that God will deal with that person. He’ll burn in hell forever!

Mat 21:42-43 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

That is the point of every parable He gives.

Mat 21:44-46 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

Christ is rejected by the established church.

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