Have a right attitude when you ask Jesus a question.

 

Matthew 19:16

 

Asking questions:

Kids ask some crazy questions; sometimes embarrassing questions and difficult questions.  At a certain age kids ask questions non-stop.

Why is the sky blue?  When are we going to get there?  Why can’t I have it?  Where do babies come from?  Why? Why?   Why can’t I see my eyes?  Why don’t we have tails like animals?

Is Daddy having a baby too?

 

What questions do you have? It is good to be curious and it is important to go to a reliable source for answers.

Sometimes there are no easy answers to your questions.  Sometimes when you hear the answer you can’t believe it was so obvious.

 

As we will see today people asked Jesus a lot of questions and Jesus asked questions as well.

The Pharisees and Sadducees asked questions to trap Jesus; others asked questions to justify themselves.  The disciples asked questions to understand and Jesus asked questions to convict.

 

We are in the third year of Jesus’ ministry when his popularity was high which causes the religious leaders to oppose Him and question Him. Just like during a presidential election – the frontrunner is the one who gets the toughest questions and the most accusations thrown at them; no one else is a threat.

 

Jesus was becoming a threat to the stability of the status quo; He was a threat to their power structure, He was winning the crowds over with His teaching. The religious leaders felt they had to stop Him.  The opposition will heat up even more as the time of Passover approaches; the intensity of the last week before they cry out “Crucify Him” becomes deafening.

 

The Pharisees and Sadducees asked questions to trap Jesus.

Matthew 15:1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2  “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

 

Jesus answered their question with a question.

Matthew 15:3  Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

 

They wanted to trip Jesus up and show His hypocrisy, what kind of Rabbi was He if His disciples did not keep the tradition of the elders. There was no Old Testament command for ceremonial handwashing before everyday meals; but the tradition taught that everyone must follow the priestly regulations to remain pure.  They were adding to the word of God and making it binding.

Do you ever do that?  What commands are you adding to God’s word?

There are many areas of our life that we choose to do or not do something, that is personal conviction. But when we make others live by standards we are making a tradition and becoming like the Pharisees.

I am not talking about deciding what commands of Jesus you want to follow.

You must be immersed for the forgiveness of your sins to receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit.

You must forgive or God wont forgive you. You must live by the fruit of the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh.

 

A Pharisee tradition would be like me saying you are sinner if you carve a pumpkin for Halloween or if you get a tattoo or if you call Resurrection Sunday Easter.

I personally choose not to do these things but I am not condemning you if you do.  Of course I have been accused of condemning but it is not true.

My saying has always been: “Some may but I cannot.”

 

One more interesting point from this passage.

Matthew 15:12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

Jesus offended the Pharisees with His answer. First, after 2 plus years of being with Jesus the disciples still did not understand that Jesus knew what other people were thinking. Second, Jesus offended someone?

Good Christians are not supposed to offend anyone when they answer a question with the truth. I am a Christian; I am Christ like.  So when I tell the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) others may be offended.

 

The religious leaders hated Jesus, they knew and the people knew that He taught with authority. The best way to challenge someone is to ask them a tough question.

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

 

Matthew 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

 

Well what about _______? The attitude of the questionnaire is vital. Nothing you tell them will satisfy them unless they have an open mind. That applies to each of us also.  If we think we know the answer there is no reason to even ask the question.  When we ask Jesus a question then we better have an open mind to listen to His answer not try to trip Him up or justify ourselves.

I have talked to a lot of people over the years who ask a question and really do not want to hear the answer.  I will give them an answer or several suggestions and they say, “I already did that.”

What they want is for me to agree with them or not give them a suggestion that may be a little challenging to accomplish. Jesus did not get frustrated with people like I have.

 

Matthew 19:16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17  “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” 18  “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19  honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'” 20  “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

 

This young man already knew he needed to obey the commandments of God, he believed he had kept them all. So why is he asking Jesus?  He wanted to justify himself before the good teacher, Jesus and everyone else who was around.

Young man’s attitude was, “Jesus I am perfect, I am good, I have done all of that.  What else?  I have done that too.”  Jesus is about to point out how he had not fulfilled one of the commands he thought he had.

 

Matthew19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

 

The rich man had not loved his neighbor like himself because he was unwilling to help the poor.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to give all we have to the poor but He did to this young bragging, think he is better than everyone else young man. Jesus knew this young man had a heart issue.  He wasn’t going to die from a heart attack, he was going to die from a hard heart.  How is your heart?  Do you need a heart transplant?

 

When we are willing to repent like the children of Israel God will give us a new heart.

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

 

The rich young man walked away from Jesus because he refused to follow Jesus’ answer to his question.

Why have you walked away from Jesus? What areas of your live are you refusing to give over to Jesus?

Are you sad about your hard heart or have you refused Jesus so long you don’t even think it is a problem anymore?

We need to have an attitude like King David after he sinned.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

 

One more point about what Jesus said to the disciples after the rich young man walked away.

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Amen! The rich really have issues surrendering to God.

You are the rich man. You are richer than 90% of the world.  Wealth and comfort get in our way from following Jesus.  Jesus asked the rich man to give Him 100%.  We teach that you should give at least 10% because of the Old Testament command.  The New Testament rule is to give generously.  What is generous, at a restaurant that is at least 15% or 20%.

Let me break that down for you, rich man. Even if you only made minimum wage or were on Social Security you should be giving God at least $30 a week ($120 a month), $1,600 a year.  If you make the median income in Franklin county that would become $86 a week, ($350 a month) $ 4,500 a year.   That is at 10%, what if you were generous?

Those numbers would be come $45 to $130 a week ($180 to $520 a month) and if you were really generous it would be $60 to $170 a week ($240 to $680 a month).

What are you thinking – Jim has gone from preaching to meddling.  I have spoken the truth in love and you don’t want to hear it because you are not generous.  You will walk away sad because you are unwilling to give generously to God. You have bills to pay and kids to raise.  Could you cut back so you could give generously to God?

 

Jesus didn’t want the man’s money, He wanted his heart.  I not talking about your money I am talking about your heart. Will you surrender to Jesus or walk away sad with all your money unwilling to give to the poor?

 

Don’t walk away sad or mad – walk away more committed to Jesus in every aspect of your life.

When we are really living for Jesus people are going to ask us questions and we need to be prepared to answer.

 

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

 

If you are not living for Jesus people will not ask you about Jesus. If no one is asking, then maybe you need to evaluate how you are living.  You may be hiding your light under a bushel.  Let your light shine and then be ready for the questions to role in.  Be prepared to say why you have hope.  Be respectful so even if they slander you they will be ashamed.

 

So we have to live out our faith but we also need to know our faith. We must know God’s word.

 

2 Timothy 2:15  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

 

 

 

The disciples were trying to understand Jesus’ words but didn’t get it.

 

Matthew 15:15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16  “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.

 

Peter use the brain I gave you. The Greek word is unintelligent – without understanding. God’s word can be understood if we will listen and study.  Quit being so dull.  You don’t understand because you are too lazy to learn.  Please don’t let that be true about you.

 

I want us to look at more question Jesus asked His disciples.

 

Matthew 16:13  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

 

Who do you say I am?

In the midst of a crisis you will show if you are a Christian or an Atheist.

 

It was easy for Peter to say Jesus was the Christ around the other disciples. What did he say about Jesus when he was around the fire during Jesus’ trail?  I never knew Him.

 

What does your life say when you’re not at church? Do you deny Him?

What will you say about Jesus right now?

Will you confess He is the Christ, the son of the Living God?

Will you repent of your sins and be immersed so your sins will be washed away?

Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?”