Matthew 23:37 What God Did Not Get This is one of those "tough passages" of the Bible. It is not "tough" in that it contains sayings or events that we do not understand but "tough" in that it contains sayings and events which we sometimes do not like. These are chapters of strong condemnation from God to man. People like to think that God is nothing but love. If they would read their Bibles, they would know better. \\#Matt 23:1-33\\ Jesus had just condemned the scribes and Pharisees by pronouncing a series of woes (8x) against them. He called them hypocrites (7x), blind (5x), and fools (2x). At the same time, He declared they were serpents, vipers, whited sepulchres, and dirty plates. \\#Matt 23:34-36\\ Jesus warned that He was about to send more prophets for that generation to ignore and to kill so that the judgment due for the mistreatment of all the prophets might fall upon them. In addition, He is about to prophesy the destruction of the temple \\#Matt 24:1-2\\, the persecution of the church \\#Matt 24:3-14\\, the seven years of tribulation \\#Matt 24:15-28\\, and the judgment of the nation’s \\#Matt 24:29-31\\. This is surely a difficult section of Scripture, but as Jesus began this tough message, He repeated a tearful cry that He had made just a few days earlier while coming across the Mount of Olives to enter Jerusalem. The text does not tell us Jesus did so here, but when He first made the statement, Jesus wept as He made it. Although judgment was soon to fall upon Jerusalem, this statement makes it clear that our Lord was not pleased with what would soon happen to the people. It is not what He wanted. God did not get what He wanted. The time for all of this is the Passion week. A note I had made on this text from years ago says it was probably the Tuesday before Jesus was crucified, although the note did not record the reason why I wrote it. It was definitively the last hours of Jesus’ life. I give you all of this background in an effort to help you hear the inflexion in Jesus’ voice. These words not only have substance. They also have emotion. Jesus, having now been rejected by His own, knowing that His death will seal their destruction, looks at the city and cries, "I would have gathered you to myself, but you would not!" God is definitely not getting what He wanted. I do not want to destroy the tone of this message but there is a theological point that needs to be raised. 1. God obviously had a will to which the people did not comply. 2. Some teach that God’s will is absolute, that is, man has no choice in the matter. This belief is called Calvinism. 3. There are some things about which God’s will is absolute; but here, God wanted something that He did not get. He wanted Jerusalem to come to Him but they did not. 4. Was God disappointed? Yes. But God gave the people a choice and then God let the people choose. 5. I wonder how many times God is disappointed with our choices? 6. Even more, I wonder what things God might want and will not get. I. Jesus wants to save but some will not. A. In our text, Jesus cried that He wanted Jerusalem to come to Him, but they would not. 1. Certainly, this implies that Jesus wanted to save Jerusalem. 2. Yet they refused. B. The Bible confirms this has happened in many places. 1. The entire Jewish nation rejected Jesus. John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Acts 3:26 (Peter to the Jews said) Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. 2. But the Bible makes it clear that God wants every person to be saved. 1Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 3. But far and away, most people will NOT accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. C. Consider: 1. God desires to save every human being that has ever lived. a. The idea that God would choose to send someone to hell must be news to God. b. If God were to arbitrarily force His will on the human race, the Scripture makes it clear that it would be to save all and condemn none. c. Mind you, that is NOT what is going to happen because God does not always get what He wants but if God did always get what He wanted, that is what would happen! 2. Even so, the fact that God desires to save all means: a. God must have made provision for all souls to be saved. (The blood of Jesus Christ is abundant enough, powerful enough, and available enough to cover all sinners—including you!) b. No soul is so wicked that it cannot be saved. 3. Yet, God must have the consent of the sinner to save him. 4. For years, our church took young people to Living Waters Youth Camp. Before we would leave, every parent was required to sign permission slips and medical consent forms. a. Permission slips give the young people permission to take part in some of the riskier activities, such as swimming. Suppose a mother and father had forgotten to write a YES into that slot. How sad it would be to have a swimming pool in 100 degree weather and not be able to use it because we lacked the consent of the parent. b. Even worse, suppose there was an automobile accident? What if a simple procedure could be performed by a doctor to take away the pain of an injured child, but the medical form was left unsigned and the doctor refused to do anything until the parent gave their permission? How horrible! c. How much worse it not to be able to be saved from the flames of hell but to have to go hell because you did not give your consent while there was time! 5. So Jesus, with tears, weeps and calls out to a refusing city, "I would have saved you but you would not!" D. Of all the gifts that God has given to mankind, it is the greatest gift that will cause some to be damned forever. 1. What is the greatest gift? 2. It is choice. 3. God has given to every human being a free will and a choice. 4. God wants to save you, will you give Him what He wants? II. Jesus wants to dwell with us but some will not. A. Again, if Jerusalem had gathered to Jesus, He would have dwelt with them. B. I believe that things would have been different if Israel had accepted Jesus instead of rejecting Him. 1. I know Jesus had to die, but I also know that Jesus was offering Himself to Israel as their King. 2. What might have happened if they accepted? a. For one thing, I believe Jesus would have physically dwelt with Israel. (1) Perhaps the crucifixion would have been delayed. (2) Perhaps the world would have gone into the millennium. (3) Perhaps Jesus would have set up the Davidic rule. b. Certainly, somehow things would have been different for Israel: (1) The temple would not have been destroyed and the city ransacked in 70 AD. (2) The Jews would not have been homeless for 1900 years. (3) Maybe there would have never been a Middle- East problem. (Maybe gas would never have been $3.50 to $4 per gallon as it was just a few years ago.) C. As things would have been different for the Jerusalem if they had allowed Jesus to dwell with them, so things would be different for you if you would allow Jesus to dwell with you. 1. I am speaking to Christians not the lost. 2. We all know that God and Jesus dwell inside every believer through the person of the Holy Ghost. 1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 2Corinthians 13:5 …Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 3. Yet, there is a difference in Jesus being in us and the two of us truly dwelling together. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? a. There is much disagreement between Christians and Christ! (1) Some Christians are not in agreement that Christ is their Lord. (2) Some Christians are not in agreement with Christ over what right and wrong is. (3) Some Christians are not in agreement with Christ over acceptable and unacceptable lifestyles. (4) Some Christians are not even in agreement with Christ over going to church, reading their Bibles, speaking with profanity, lusting after others. b. If there is no agreement, how can the two dwell together? 4. Listen to Paul’s prayer for the CHRISTIAN! Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…. a. It sounds like Paul was saying, Christ wants to dwell with you, but you are not letting Him! b. Such a dwelling together… (1) Strengthens us. (2) Enriches us. (3) Plants us in His love. c. But then again, we have a choice. d. In that choice, God is not getting what He wants. III. Jesus wants to give us the good things, but some would not. A. In math, we learned an important concept. 1. It is the concept of rounding off numbers. 2. If the number ends in a 5 or greater, you round up. 3. If the numbers ends in a 4 or less, you leave it alone. 4. In Christ, God always rounds up. 5. God always wants to give us His best. B. God wants to give to you such great things that you cannot begin to comprehend them. Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. De 28:8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) C. But there again, we have a choice. 1. Someone has said that just before God’s offers His best, Satan will offer his. 2. Many Christians don’t even seem to be waiting for Satan’s best. They are taking any old thing the world and the devil will throw at them. 3. Jesus stood, with a broken heart having something better to give the people, but they would not. a. God has a better walk with Him to give you. b. God has a better heart to give to you. c. God has a better marriage to give you. d. God has a better career to give you. e. God has better health to give you. f. God even has better fun to give you. 4. You need to quit short changing yourself and God! Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
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