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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
July 8, 2018
Proverbs 14:34 states, Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. There certainly can be no debate about the disgrace that has come upon the American people as our society continues its slide into sinfulness. America’s slide into immorality did not start with those who are pushing immoral practices. It did not start with the drug culture, hippies and “free love.” It did not begin with radical feminism that disdains the way God has created male and female, nor did it did not originate in the homosexual movement or LGBTXYZ confusion. The immorality of our nation does not trace back to sinners pursuing sin, but rather in the supposedly righteous, those who profess to be Christians, departing from the proper worship of God. National immorality begins with the improper and/or lack of worship of the Lord God, Creator of all that exists.
When those who claim to belong to God no longer worship Him according to His design, then they worship something other than the true God whether that is blatant idolatry or simply a false religious system developed in an attempt to worship God according to human design. False worship, whether in ignorance or intentional is a slide that descends into all sorts of sin since it follows the folly of human wisdom instead of the truth of God. This in turn will result in a society that strays farther and father into sin even to the point of calling what is good, bad, and what is evil, good. That has been seen historically in other nations and is now blatantly obvious in our own.
Romans 1 makes it clear that the slide into immorality begins with an improper worship of God. Romans 1:21-22 states, that though they “knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” The slide continues in verse 25 which states they “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator.” This resulted in them being given over to their degrading passions which is specifically marked out as homosexuality in the text. The moral decline continues in verse 28 in which they “no longer see fit to acknowledge God any longer, and God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper . . .”
This morning we will see Jesus apply the principle of Proverbs 14:34 to the nation of Israel as He condemns their worship resulting in a condemnation of the nation. Turn to Luke 19:41-48 and place bookmarks in Matthew 21:10-22 and Mark 11:11-26
Condemned City – Luke 19:41-44
In the last sermon in this series, we examined the story of Jesus coming from Bethany up to the top of the Mount of Olives. According to His instructions, two of the disciples had fetched a donkey and its colt from Bethphage, and Jesus then rode the colt. As He did, the disciples and then the crowd of people that had gathered laid down their coats, branches and palm leaves in front of Him and then began to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.” This was in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 about the manner in which Messiah would enter Jerusalem.
We pick up the story in Luke 19:41 as Jesus comes to the crest of the Mount of Olives and can now see Jerusalem below Him. 41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
This is a powerful and disturbing passage, and perhaps more so when you picture the scene in which it occurs. Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem in the manner of a king coming peacefully into his capital by riding the colt of the donkey. The people are treating Him as a king by laying down coats and branches before Him as a sign of the honor due Him. The people are shouting joyful expressions which signified His position as the Messiah. Yet, in the middle of this happy throng of excited people, Jesus is overcome by sorrow and begins to weep.
I have stood on the Mount of Olives and looked down upon Jerusalem. Its higher elevation allows you to see clearly the entire city with the Temple area being most prominent because it is directly across the Kidron valley. It would have been a beautiful sight, but Jesus is thinking about what will be happening in both the immediate and near future. The people are cheering, but Jesus knows that in a few days they would be jeering. They are celebrating His arrival, but soon they will reject Him and He will be crucified.
There are several things that need to be stressed here, and the first is the compassion of Jesus. Jesus knows the people are fickle and that He will suffer at the hands of His enemies. Jesus also knows the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place in less than 40 years. Most of us would have a certain sense of joy in justice being carried out on our enemies, but Jesus weeps instead. His command to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us is not theoretical for He is the living example of what that means. While we should long for justice to be done, we should also have compassion upon those who will suffer for their sins. It should cause us sorrow that such suffering occurs because the means of forgiveness has been rejected. That is what is happening here.
Jesus’ lament here reflects Isaiah 48:18, for if they had paid attention to the law, they would have known peace with God that enables serenity in the rest of life. The Prince of Peace was in their midst and He had clearly proclaimed repentance from sin and faith in Him as the means to having peace with God. They were looking for Messiah and Jesus had publically fulfilled prophecy after prophecy, yet they were blind to the truth of it even while shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David.” They did not recognize the time of their visitation.
They should have known and yet they did not. Why? The verb “hidden” is in the passive tense instead of active tense. The truth was not concealed where they could not find it. The truth was openly proclaimed, but it was “hidden” in plain sight for they simply could not recognize it. As Paul expresses it in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” This is still the way it is today and why so many who hear the truth and may even acknowledge and be able to repeat back the truth will still not accept and believe the truth. God will be just in their future condemnation, but we should still have sorrow for them.
In Luke 19:43-44 Jesus predicts the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman General, Titus, who surrounded Jerusalem. He finally broke through in AD 70 and utterly destroyed the city by burning it and tearing down every stone of the temple pushing them into the adjacent Tyropoeon valley.
Jesus lamented over Jerusalem and predicted its destruction. Jerusalem was a condemned city. It is a warning that still should be taken seriously for its fulfillment in precise detail assures that future judgments will also be fulfilled. Paul warns in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 that “. . . when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day . . .” Those without saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are under God’s condemnation, but they do not have to stay that way. They only need to repent of their sins and place their faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus.
The narrative continues in Matthew 21:10-11 which reads, “10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Jesus came down from the Mount of Olives and into the city, and it was understandably in quite an uproar. The crowd with Jesus as He came into the city through the East gate would have been quite a sight and quite noisy. The people in the city that did not know what was going on kept trying to find out – “Who is this?”
Their answer revealed their shallow faith. Instead of continuing to proclaim Him the Messiah, they answered that it was Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. A true statement, but Jesus was much more than just a prophet. He is the Son of God. He is God Himself in human flesh come down from heaven to redeem man.
Though the excitement in the city was great and people were wondering what Jesus would do next, Mark 11:11 states that Jesus did not do much after this triumphal entry into Jerusalem. “He entered Jerusalem and came into the Temple; and after looking all around, He departed for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.”
During Passover the population in Jerusalem would swell to 4 – 5 times normal, so there simply was not enough room in it for everyone. Many people would stay in the surrounding villages, which is what Jesus and His disciples did. They returned to Bethany to stay with Mary, Martha & Lazarus or some other friend. This would become a retreat for Jesus from the turmoil of Jerusalem in the few days that He had left before He would be crucified.
Mark 11:12-14 picks up the narrative on Tuesday. 12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.
Though it was not the season for figs, this was not irrational. I have been in Israel in May, a month later than the time of year would have occurred, and even then I saw fig trees with old fruit from the previous season. Many rotted figs were on the ground, but many edible figs were still on the tree. Jesus was looking for old fruit to satisfy His hunger, but not finding anything, He cursed the tree. Mark makes mention of this here because of what will occur the next day which we will cover at the end of this sermon.
Matthew 21:12 picks up the story with Jesus entering the temple. Jesus would have come in through the East gate which leads directly up to the Temple court area. The temple area was divided into several courts by walls and buildings. Each court becomes more restricted as you get closer to the Temple itself and the Holy of Holies within the temple. Gentiles were only allowed in the outer most court. By each entrance that led into the inner courts an inscription in Greek and Latin was placed that warned that no Gentiles were to enter further upon pain of death. The Court of the Women was next and then past that was the court of Israel which was in front of the Altar. The Court of the Priests surrounded the Temple itself and only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year.
As Jesus came up came into the Court of the Gentiles, His senses were assaulted by the sights, sounds and smells of a street bazaar. Bulls, oxen, goats, sheep, and cages full of pigeons and turtle doves were all for sale to be used for sacrifices. Other men were hawking incense and grains to be used in offerings. These things were bad enough, but in the midst of all of them were the money changers.
Preparations began many weeks before Passover with roads and bridges being repaired, sepulchers getting a fresh coat of white-wash to make sure no one would accidently make themselves ceremonially unclean by touching one. Various rituals of purification would get started, and the money changers would set up shop in the towns and villages throughout the country.
The money changers were needed because the annual temple tax could only be paid in exact half-shekels of the Sanctuary or ordinary Galilean shekels. In addition, many of the merchants in Jerusalem would only accept Jewish currency. All foreign currency – and Persian, Tyrian, Syrian, Egyptian, Grecian and Roman money circulated freely in Palestine – would have to be exchanged and the money changer would charge a percentage fee for his lucrative service. They were regarded as not much better than thieves. A couple of weeks before Passover, these money changers would leave the small towns and set up shop in Jerusalem.
To make matters worse, the High priest, Annas, and his family controlled what happened in the Temple Markets. In fact, the Temple-market was called the Bazaars of the Sons of Annas. They were paid part of the profits from the money changers and the merchants. The merchants gained access to what was nearly a monopoly. All the animals that were to be sacrificed had to be inspected by an official examiner to be sure it met the Levitical qualifications. A fee would be paid to this examiner, and if he did not like your animal, you had to bring another. Corruption here was also prevalent with the result that the people basically had to buy their sacrificial animals from Annas’ merchants in Jerusalem at greatly inflated prices.
Matthew 21:12 records Jesus’ reaction to what was occurring. “And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves.”
This is the second time that Jesus drove merchants out of the temple. He did this several years earlier, but this time His accusation against them was even stronger. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record Him saying to them, “it is written, My House shall be called a House of prayer, but you are making it a robbers den.” In the first temple cleansing (John 2), Jesus simply told them not to make the House of His Father a place of merchandise, but now Jesus quotes from two scriptures. In Isaiah 56:7 God says that “Mine House shall be called a House of Prayer for all people.” That was the purpose for which David collected materials to build the temple and to which Solomon dedicated it.
The court of the Gentiles was supposed to be the place where those that did not know God could come and learn of Him and be instructed in how to worship Him. It was supposed to be the place where the worship of God was showcased before the unbelieving that they might believe. Instead, it had become a place no different than what was around any pagan temple. The worship of God was being turned into a money making venture.
It would have been bad enough if it had just been a case of honest merchants offering their products and services in an inappropriate place. But the practice of these merchants was corrupt. They were thieves and Jesus calls them just that in quoting Jeremiah 7:11. This generation was just as corrupt as those of Jeremiah’s day. They had turned God’s house of prayer into a den of robbers.
Jesus did not just clear out all the merchants and then leave Himself, He stayed there to make sure they did not come back. Mark 11:16 adds that Jesus “would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.” Apparently people who were coming or going from the city would take a short cut through the temple instead of using the common roads. Jesus would not allow them to desecrate God’s house of prayer by using it as a common road.
You would think that either the merchants or the corrupt priests would stop Jesus. There were many more of them plus they had the temple guard too, yet they fled before Him and didn’t even argue about it. Perhaps in part it was because they were afraid of the people who hated them anyway. A couple of decades later the people themselves did revolt against this corruption and threw the merchants out on their own. But more than a fear of the people was a fear of Jesus Himself. This was God at work.
As the crooked merchants were kicked out, the blind and lame began to come in. Matthew 21:14 notes, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and He healed them.” Again we find Jesus’ compassionate towards those in need and He healed them. This is another demonstration that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
The chief priests finally react when Jesus does these miracles and the children in the Temple start to imitate the praise they had heard the day before. Matthew 21:15-16, But when the chief priest and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David, ” they became indignant and said to Him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” and Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read , ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast prepared praise for thyself’?”
The chief priests were corrupt, but they were not stupid. They said nothing publicly about Jesus disrupting their business, but now that Jesus is getting praise as the Messiah from these children, they can stand it no longer. They must destroy Him and to do that they must discredit Him first. They do not believe that He is the Messiah, so it must be blasphemy for Him to receive this praise by the children, and they want Jesus to make them be quiet just like they wanted Him to quiet down the crowd the day prior. But Jesus uses the occasion to again proclaim that He was the Messiah and that He is God.
Jesus answered simply and pointedly, “yes.” He heard the praise of these children (paidovV/ paidos) who were probably 12 or 13 year old boys who had been through bar-mitzvah. Jesus acknowledges he heard them and then He quoted from Psalm 8:2, the implication being that if God prepares praise for Himself from babies under three, then certainly the same is true of older children. In quoting this Psalm and accepting their praise, Jesus equates Himself with God.
From Mark 11:18 and Luke 19:47-48 we know that this made the chief priests, scribes and leading men even more upset so that they were seeking how to destroy Him. However, they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching (Mark 11:18), and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said (Luke 19:48).
Jesus came to the Temple and cleansed it from these who perverted the worship of God and made His house of prayer into the abiding place of thieves. And from the accounts of the historian Josephus, the corruption and debauchery in later years only got worse. Their false worship was rightly condemned.
I began this sermon pointing out that incorrect worship will eventually bring about a corruption that condemns the whole nation. It is this principle that explains the recording of the cursing of the fig tree by Matthew and Mark.
Matthew 21:18-19 records what I have already pointed out from Mark 11:12-14. Jesus was hungry and saw a fig tree, but there were no figs on it, so He cursed it. That was a demonstration of His humanity in that He was hungry, and a demonstration of His deity in that He could pronounce judgment on it. Matthew writes thematically and so he condenses the chronology in order to emphasize the curse and its implication. Matthew 21:19 states that “at once the fig tree withered.” The word there (paracrh:ema / parachrēma) does not mean immediately, but in a very short time. That matches Mark 11:20-21 of this being noticed the next day, As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered. ” He and the other disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” (Matthew 21:20). They were astonished that a tree could die so quickly.
Trees normally take a long time to die, but there are diseases that can kill them relatively rapidly. An example of this is “fire blight” in apple and pear trees which is so named because of the “scorched” appearance of the leaves and stems. The disease can be present for a while, but once it gets into the tissues that transport water and soil nutrients to the tree, it can kill stems and limbs within weeks and the entire tree in a season. That is fast, but this fig tree withered in just a day. That is incredible.
This fig tree was symbolic for Israel. Nations normally take a long time to die as well, but once their source of life is cut off, they can die quickly too. Israel was already diseased and the corruption was beginning to attack its source of life. It would not be many years before Jesus prophecy would be fulfilled, and the nation of Israel would die quickly.
This was the prelude to what would occur in the temple later that day. The “leaves” of Judaism were out. People were flocking into Jerusalem to worship God, but the leaves only hid the bareness that was there. Like the fig leaves on Adam & Eve in the garden, they gave only superficial covering for their nakedness. Like the parable of the fig tree Jesus gave in Luke 13, the owner gave the fig tree extra time to produce fruit, but time was now running out. It would be chopped down. Time was running out for Israel. When Jesus had wept over Jerusalem a day earlier, He had prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed and the temple would be leveled to the ground.
There is a warning to us in this passage, both as individuals and as a nation. As individuals we need to realize the truths of Romans 1 which I mentioned earlier. Sin and immorality begin with a wrong view of God and improper worship of Him. It descends from there. Sin gives birth to more sin and it does not take long to be led astray from God and into debauchery. The excuses and rationalizations you give now for the sinful things you do can quickly lead to a seared conscience that will no longer bother you. Twisted thinking and depravity can then easily enter in resulting in even advocating immoral, evil things as good things to do. Be warned, the end can come quickly and you do not know when it will come. Don’t even start on the road that leads to destruction. Stay on the narrow path leading to eternal life. That road is marked by true worship of God according to His commands.
We must also realize that this is also happening to the United States, and this nation can die quickly too. Our fall will be due to our own internal corruption. Is America great? In some ways that is still true, but mostly in comparison to how bad it is other places. The depravity of sin has already brought deep decay in this nation. There is nothing great about our crime rates. There is nothing great about abortion or euthanasia, and worse in claiming a right to do it. There is nothing great in flaunting and advocating all sorts of immorality as is common in media and entertainment. There is nothing great about government policies that oppress the righteous while celebrating the immoral and perverse.
Should we be alarmed. Yes. Should we be like “Chicken little.” No. Our God is still sovereign. He has authority and He knows what He is doing. He will direct us to fulfill our lives in service to Him if we will let Him.
Jesus uses the disciples’ astonishment about the fig tree to remind them of a very important principle of faith and prayer.
Matthew 21:21-22 gives a condensed version, 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Mark 11:23-26 is a little more comprehensive, 22 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
Jesus’ authority will be consistently challenged from this point on and in a few days He will be crucified. Jesus reminds His disciples that He does have authority and He gives authority to those that follow Him so that the Father’s will can be accomplished. The principle is simply this: God is not limited by what you can see and understand for yourself. They did not understand the miracle about the fig tree, just as they did not understand any of the miracles Jesus did. Yet, those things happened. The disciples would face much challenge and persecution themselves in the future. They must learn not to limit God, but have faith in Him to accomplish His work, and I might add, to do that work according to His will in His way.
Some have used this text to claim they can get anything they want from God simply by believing it. That is faith in faith, not faith in God. You do not receive because you believe, you receive because the one you trust in is gracious and gives. If you have faith in Him, you will come to Him and make your request according to what you believe about Him. That includes understanding that all prayer is conditional upon God’s will, not our will. James 4:3 states it clearly from the negative, “You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” 1 John 5:14-15 states it clearly from the positive, “14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
Prayers with this sort of faith are unselfish, based in true knowledge of God and His will, and have an unqualified confidence in God. Prayer with this kind of faith can move a mountain – if God wants the mountain moved.
Mark also points out that godly prayers are going to have a foundation in the humility that seeks and extends forgiveness to others. Jesus has taught this lesson before (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Luke 6:37) and the point is simple but serious. Forgiving others is the mark of someone who has been forgiven. Unforgiveness is characteristic of someone who is still selfish and hard hearted. I shouldn’t be, but I am still amazed by those who have excuses for everything they do and demand that others quickly forgive them without consequences if they did do something wrong, yet they make unreasonable demands of others and will not forgive even minor transgressions. I can think of quite a few people like this and several that have left the church are even nasty about it. One in particular not only refuses to forgive, she is unwilling to even state what the offense is supposed to be. She is nursing her grudge and her bitterness has defiled many by it (Hebrews 12:15). These verses should be very frightening to such individuals, but they will ignore them as they do any other doctrine that is not to their liking.
What sort of faith do you have? Have you grown sufficiently in your understanding and knowledge of God to have an unqualified confidence in Him so that you will be unshaken regardless of your circumstances. I don’t know what the future holds for either myself or this nation. I don’t know what blessings or trials await me. I do not know if God may grant revival or will abandon this nation to the sinful course it has set for itself. The warnings are serious and need to be heeded. If things became difficult for believers with real physical persecution, would your faith stand or fall away? Would you be able to be like those early disciples whose faith did not literally toss mountains into the sea, but it did, according to Acts 17:6, turn the world upside down by their proclamation of Christ.
The starting place in being able to stand firm and being able to grow and mature in faith is in your worship of God. Don’t play church, but come to Him in true humility giving praise to Him while seeking His grace to live according to His will.
Proverbs 14:34 – The decline of our nation traces to the improper / lack of _____________ of the Lord God
False worship, whether in ignorance or intentional, leads to ____________ decline
Romans 1:22f charts the steps of ______________ into depravity
Condemned City – Luke 19:41-44
Jesus is making His way over the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem to the ____________ of the people
Luke 19:41 – Jesus is overcome by sorrow and _________in the midst of this happy throng of excited people
Jesus can see all of Jerusalem and knows what the _______________ holds for Him and the city
Jesus is _________________ even toward His enemies who will be condemned
Jesus’ ___________ reflects Isaiah 48:18 – they would have known peace if they had paid attention to God
Hidden is passive – truth was in plain sight, but they were _____________ by the god of this age – 2 Cor. 4:4
Jesus’ predictions are fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Roman General Titus in ___________
______________ warnings of destruction will also be fulfilled – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem causes people to _________ about His identity – and they were still confused
Mark 11:11 – Jesus was only in the Temple a __________ time before departing for Bethany again
Mark 11:12-14 – It was not the season for figs, but Jesus had a reasonable expectation to find ________fruit
Jesus enters the Temple through the East Gate and enters the Court of the _______________
His senses were assaulted by the sights, sounds and smells of a _____________ bazaar
Money changers enabled people to pay the required Temple tax – for an ________________ fee
The Temple markets were controlled by the ___________________- and nicknamed “the Bazaars of Annas”
This is the ____________ time Jesus cleansed the Temple (See John 2)
Jesus quotes Isaiah 56:7 establishing the Temple’s purpose of ____________ / worship
Jesus quotes Jeremiah 7:11 condemning their corrupt marketing and ________________ of the Temple
They _________ before Jesus – due to fear of Him, the people and God’s intervention
As the crooked merchants fled, the blind and lame _____________ and Jesus healed them – Matthew 21:14
Matthew 21:15-16 – They react to the children giving ______________ to Jesus and want Him to stop them
Jesus quotes from Psalm 8:2 in accepting their praise and ______________ Himself with God
Even seriously diseased trees take ____________ to years to die
The fig tree was symbolic for Israel – the “leaves” were out, but there was __________________
This passage is a _________to individuals and nations – sin & immorality begin with wrong worship of God
America’s downfall will be its _______________ corruption
We should be alarmed and yet trusting God’s ____________to accomplish His will in us despite our society
Jesus ______________His disciples of His authority and what they can accomplish through prayer and faith
Faith must not be in faith itself, but in ___________ to whom you pray
A strong a proper faith does not need to know the ___________, only the God who holds and controls it
Standing firm and maturing in faith is founded on _________________ of the true God
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word Jesus is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents why Jesus wept when He saw Jerusalem.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What do you think is the root cause of the moral decline of the United States? Explain. Examine Romans 1:18-32. What does Paul say is the reason for God’s wrath upon man? What does that passage describe as the steps down into moral depravity? Why was Jesus riding the colt of a donkey to Jerusalem? Why did Jesus start weeping when He saw Jerusalem when everyone around Him was joyful and excited about Him coming to Jerusalem? What did Jesus know would happen to Him in the near future? Why did Jesus predict Jerusalem would be destroyed? When did that happen? How can something be “hidden” when it has been publically demonstrated and proclaimed? What will happen to those that do not obey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-10)? Will they have any legitimate excuse? Why were the crowds questioning who Jesus was? Why was Jesus and His disciples staying in Bethany? Describe the various courts surrounding the Temple and their purpose? What did Jesus find in the Court of the Gentiles? What should Jesus have found in the Court of the Gentiles? What did He find and why did that make Him angry? What did He do to correct the situation? Who came in when the crooked merchants left? What did Jesus do for them? Why were the chief priests and scribes upset about the children were doing? How was Jesus’ response to them a rebuke? What did it imply about Himself? Why didn’t they take action to destroy Jesus as they wanted to do? What was the significance of Jesus cursing the fig tree on Tuesday when He entered Jerusalem? Why is the narrative concerning the cursing and wilting of the fig tree different in Matthew and Mark? When did the disciples see that the fig tree was withered – the day it was cursed or the next morning? How long does it normally take a diseased tree to die? How was the cursing and withering of the fig tree symbolic of the nation of Israel? How does internal corruption and social immorality destroy nations? What is still great about America? What are some things that demonstrate its moral decay? What should the Christian’s attitude be about the state of this nation? Why does Jesus answer the disciples question about the fig tree with a teaching about prayer and faith? Does either Mark 11:24 or Matthew 21:22 support the idea that you can ask God for whatever you want and He must give it to you? What qualifications do to the Scriptures put upon God answering our prayers in the affirmative? What is the nature of your faith? Could you withstand serious persecution for being a Christian? Why or why not? What is the relationship between spiritual strength and the true worship of God?
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