MATTHEW 23:33: “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: Who said that? Was it a rogue politician? Was it a Gentile that hated the Jews? Was it a tax collector?
NO – It was Jesus!
Jesus did not pull any punches when it came to calling out evil in his day. He had immense patience with the struggling sinner, but no patience with the religious hypocrites of His day. What did He call them?
• Blind guides
• Fools and blind
• Brood of vipers
• Whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones and all uncleanness
• Sons of those who murdered the prophets
• Unwilling to repent
Today we gasp when someone calls out “Fake News.” We call it harsh when someone identifies the elephant in the room. While others spin out lies and hatred, the believer is expected to be silent and not say a word. Jesus was not silent in the day that He lived. He was honest in his assessment of the culture and He used strong language to express it.
I have said this many times – Jesus was not crucified because He healed the sick, raised the dead, or fed 5000. Jesus was crucified because He spoke the truth to a fallen world!
- “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:19-21 NKJV
Jesus was the light of the world! Light exposes darkness. Those who come to the light are saved. Those who love darkness rather than the light push against the light with anger and hatred. We are experiencing this today. If you proclaim the whole counsel of God’s Word your are called a hate monger. If you only proclaim what is culturally acceptable your are called tolerant and understanding.
Jesus was tolerant of sinners but He was never tolerant of sin and hypocrisy. The ultimate expression of hypocrisy is to claim to be a child of the light when you are actually walking in darkness. This was the condition of the scribes and Pharisees. And, it is the condition of so many today. Hypocrisy is dangerous because it gives the appearance of righteousness but leads those who follow its ways directly into hell. This is why Jesus withstood it so vehemently!
- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15 NKJV
I think it is time for some plain speaking. Honesty and transparency need to be the hallmarks of a child of God. This is not a license to be rude or insult people. However, when you simply point out the truth that is evident, it is not rudeness, it is simply plain speaking. And this plain speaking may mean the difference between heaven or hell for someone’s life.
Christians are called to speak the truth in love. Yet, they are called to speak the truth. The motive is not to tear down but to lead men and women to repentance. There can be no repentance if there is no revelation of sin. There can be no revelation of sin if there is no light. And there can be no light if the truth is not proclaimed!
Jesus was not politically correct. He spoke against the religious and political rulers of His day. John the Baptist did the same and it costs him his life. The apostles followed suit and it led to their martyrdom. I wonder if the church today is willing to pay the price for proclaiming the truth. I pray that I will be willing to do so no matter what the cost.
Lord, give me grace to speak the truth in love. Help me to proclaim the truth unashamedly and boldly. May I be willing to count the cost so that men and women may come to repentance and be saved.
May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable to You, Oh Lord my Redeemer!
In Jesus Name!