“Quiet Confidence in a Sure Savior” Matthew 22:41-46

Introduction:  put yourself in the disciples’ shoes for a second

  • Palm Sunday was yesterday—you followed Jesus in to a crowd cheering for him and praising God for him
  • Then he overturned the money-changing tables in the temple
  • This morning began with Jesus going back to the temple
    • Where they asked “how dare you?”
    •  21:23 “the chief priests and elders, ‘by what authority are you doing these things, who gave you this authority?”
    • If what he did yesterday with the money changers didn’t make you a little nervous, the chief priests and elders’ questions probably did…
    • It’s one thing to follow a teacher around, learning, serving and growing—but to disrupt the temple like he did is a whole different story

Matthew doesn’t mention anything about how the disciples’ felt, or what they did, or said—Matthew’s entire focus is on Jesus

  • Reminds me of M’Cheyne’s words about self-examination, “for every thought we put on ourselves we must put ten upon Christ”.
    • We absolutely should take time to examine ourselves, but being overly sensitive to ourselves can easily take us away from the goal—which is Christ
    • Christ yields holiness, not the other way around, we get that backwards so often
      • Thinking that my holiness==whether in obedience or in abstinence from sin will bring me closer to Christ
      • When the Bible teaches that as we abide in him we become more holy as he is holy
  • In this passage, Matthew teaches us to have confidence in our savior, let him conquer our anxiety
    • He does it by showing us Jesus who answered every one of his opponents’ questions
      • church and state
      • Life after death
      • Which law is best?
    • Each time their response to his answers:
      • They marveled v. 22
      • They were astonished v.33
  • And in v. 41, Jesus doesn’t let them think—he moves on the offensive
    • Spurgeon, “The King now carried the war into the enemy’s country. He had answered all the questions put to him; it was his turn to propound some to those who had come to examine him. Jesus asked them, saying, “What think ye of Christ?” Having wisely answered all their questions, he pressed home upon them the question of questions: “What think ye of Christ?” They had tried to puzzle him with their enquiries about Church and State, the future life, and the relative value of the commandments; but he put to them the much more vital question, “What think ye of Christ?”[1]
    • It was the question of questions—one that dealt directly with their hearts. 
    • Like his question to Peter and the disciples in ch. 16—“who do you say that I am?”
      • The answer to this question will be the ground of everything you believe and the foundation for your life.
  • What we hear is that not only does Jesus answer each question, but that ultimately He is the answer.
    • Jesus, God who was born to a woman, is both David’s son and David’s Lord
    • Jesus is the answer—sometimes the Sunday School answer is best!

Do you believe that Jesus is the answer for every question, every problem?  The disciples were learning from Jesus and learning to trust him—later this week, on the night before he was to die Jesus would tell his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  For us to experience that peace, we have to believe it’s true.

We’re looking at faith today—it’s what the disciples had and what the Pharisees lacked, which is why they couldn’t answer Jesus’ question.  Understanding the messiah was only possible through faith.

The necessity of faith:  1. Faith is an instrument;  2. Christ, The ground of Faith;  3.  The Truth of Grace; 4.  Christ the antidote for anxious hearts

  1. Faith is an instrument
    1. You aren’t saved by faith (strictly speaking)—you’re actually saved by works
      1. Jesus’ works
      1. And Jesus the person—don’t ever separate the two
      1. Faith grabs hold of Jesus
    1. Think of it like this—dead car battery
      1. Jumper cables—instrument
      1. The other car actually supplies the power
    1. So your faith is the instrument to grab hold of Christ
      1. When a believer is regenerated he is given faith to believe
      1. And that faith brings union with Christ, which never changes
        1. It is the union that grants life and heavenly reward
        1. But our communion with Christ changes—it’s the work of the believer to seek Christ daily
          1. Spending time with him
          1. And spending time to understand him, his word, and his world
  2. The Ground of Christ
    1. When we use the word ground in this sense, it means Christ is the fundamental source of salvation.  Salvation in the fullest sense of the word.
      1. Eternal life
      1. Peace with God now and forever with all the gifts of heaven and the rights of a child of God with it
      1. When we say faith gives us strength, what we really mean is that Christ is our strength and by faith we are holding on to him and being strengthened by him
      1. Or when we say “without my faith I couldn’t ever get through this life or these trials”  it’s the same thing
        1. Our faith doesn’t get us through—our Savior does
        1. God does
        1. The Holy Spirit who indwells you as a result of Jesus’ death for you, he gets you through, he strengthens you
    1. That’s what the Bible teaches.  If we look at Biblical faith in scripture:
      1. All eyes on God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
      1. Over and over what we witness in the Bible is God rescuing his people
      1. Gen. 3:21—new clothes
      1. Gen. 12:1-3—new promises
      1. Gen. 22:14—the new reality, “God will provide”
    1. The Pharisees made the instrument of faith the ground of their salvation
      1. So it was their lack of faith in God that caused their blindness to the Biblical truth
        1. They couldn’t answer because they didn’t believe God
        1. The OT gospel was “God will provide” not “Man will perform by faith”….
      1. When you make faith your ground of salvation like the Pharisees did
        1. It always turns into earning your salvation
        1. Because It takes your eyes off God and puts them on you, specifically your performance
          1. The Pharisees performance:
            1. Obedience
            1. Keeping from sins
            1. Acts of piety—prayer, Bible reading, giving to the poor
        1. You still have faith, but it’s not faith in God, it’s faith in you
          1. That faith won’t yield anything other than feeling overwhelmed because
          1. How can you ever do enough for the poor and need?  How can you ever pray enough?  Or obey enough?  Or keep your heart pure enough?
          1. As if you don’t have enough problems already—now your faith has become a source of anxiety instead of peace.
  3. The truth of Grace
    1. “God will provide”—the grace of God in the face of sinful man’s rebellion
    1. Eph. 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
      1. Don’t have a “theology of prepositions”
      1. But here:  by grace and through faith
        1. Grace is the ground
        1. Faith is the instrument
    1. That’s why Jesus has such a cool, calm, demeanor before the Pharisees here—because HE is God’s answer to sin
      1. Remember those disciples and how little we’ve heard from them?  There’s no mention of their fear, or their anxiety, or just plain ol’ getting fretted here, because it’s all they can do to just sit and watch and trust their Master.
      1. Jesus’ question—“How is he David’s son?” and “Who do you say that I am?” Should pierce our hearts because even though we answer it correctly, we don’t believe it correctly, not fully
  4. Christ the Antidote for Anxious Hearts
    1. Like the disciples, David exalts the Messiah and sees His work as the foundation for life and peace  The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth. He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.
    1. Is your heart anxious about something, anything?  I imagine all of us
    1. The answer is to remember that  Jesus is exalted above everything and every power and is ruling there for you
    1. So often anxiety comes from navel gazing—looking inward
      1. Children
      1. Parents aging, parents nagging
      1. Friends
      1. Bills, all types of financial struggles
      1. Health
      1. Work
      1. The list goes on—“what will I do about this?”
    1. The truth is we often come up short and that causes worry and fear. 
      1. It takes our eyes off the Lord who is sitting at the right hand of God, who has everything in his power and control.
      1. Even the bad stuff and all of it is being turned to his good purposes.
      1. Like Haman in the book of Esther—He tried to exalt himself and exterminate the Jews, instead Haman was exterminated, and the Jews were exalted
        1. Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews.
    1. Remember what we saw in these two chapters:  Jesus isn’t just able to answer each of everyone’s questions that were posed to him, but Jesus is the answer, and the only way to see him is by faith.
      1. Look to your answer.
      1. He became flesh to be your savior in everything—by faith you became one with him.
    1. You are united to Christ, believer. 
      1. Your sinful nature died with Jesus
      1.  Your new nature rose with Jesus
      1. Your life is now hidden in Jesus
    1. Our problem is that we know these things but don’t believe them.
      1. Or at least we don’t act like we believe them.
    1. I’m sure none of us really doubt Jesus’ ability to fix our problems or ease our minds, would we?
    1. So, the issue is that, even though God has said you are in Christ, that your identity is Christ, you still think that you are on your own.
      1. That your identity is in what you do.
      1. Or what you think.
      1. Or how good you are at what you do, or what you think, or how responsible you are, or conversely, how you fail at all of the above.
      1. It’s making your faith your savior, instead of making Jesus your savior you hold on to by faith.
      1. Look beyond your faith and grab your Savior by grace through faith and there you will find peace and calm for the anxiety of life.

[1] C. H. Spurgeon, The Gospel of the Kingdom: A Commentary on the Book of Matthew (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1893), 203.