Sermon Notes    November 29, 2015 FBCam

When you love someone deeply, you give them warnings that keep them from danger.  The stronger the bond of love, the more seriously we should take those warnings.

TODAY we come to the final series of commands given by Christ.  These commands contain warnings to his followers.  As we consider these warnings, remember that no one ever loved you more than Jesus.  Obeying his warnings will save you from great trouble.

What Are These Warnings?
Let’s begin this overview in Matthew’s gospel.  The first four warnings can be found in the Sermon on the Mount. These warnings are outlined in Tom Blackaby’s book, “The Commands of Christ.”
Warning #1.  Guard Against False Piety.  Matthew 6:1  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
Human religion easily turns into Self-righteousness.
Jesus would agree with those who condemn religious hypocrisy.
Consider the extent of the development and complexity of Judaism at the time of Christ.  Judaism had influenced the entire world.   As an example of the extent of Israel’s influence on its neighbors, there are Shinto shrines in Japan today that bear remarkable resemblance in their layout and even in liturgical words used in these places of worship.  Travelers during the time of Solomon’s reign made their to Japan and brought with them concepts from Israel’s Temple.
But all of the greatness of JUDAISM became corrupted by the time of Christ, as the religious leaders of Israel were also the greatest example of false piety.  In Matthew 23, Jesus announces 7 WOES to religious Israel.  He was deeply distressed at the arrogance of these religious leaders.
It is natural for those who place their emphasis on religious ritual to become arrogant and look down on others.

Christ had just given the Beatitudes, which emphasize a change in our heart.  Immediately after, he warns his followers not to allow this relationship with God to turn into religious formality.  The same is true for us today.  We must follow God with pure hearts, not to impress others or judge them, but to serve God with purity.

Warning #2  Don’t Be Anxious.   Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
There will always be trouble in this world.
(John 16:33, ESV) “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Worry indicates that we are focused on difficulties and not on God
When God is big, problems are small.

Warning #3.  Handle Holy Things with Care.  Matthew 7:6  “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
This involves discernment.  It may mean the following:
Not sharing Scripture with an angry scoffer
Not offering money that an addict will use on drugs/ booze
Not allowing manipulative people to dictate how you should live
Ending your witnessing conversation when someone who hates God
Some of us have family members who vehemently reject Christ.  We realize that we should not continue to allow the gospel to be trampled on.  While we pray for their salvation, we should not engage in arguments with them about spiritual matters.  While praying, we should seek opportunities when we sense that the Lord is softening their hearts.

This takes strength
The emphasis of this command is not for you to condemn someone and call them swine!
This should not offend, because it is a warning to the CHRISTIAN, not an insult to the UNBELIEVER.

Warning #4.  Beware of False Prophets.  Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Satan desires to steal us away from God
(John 10:10, ESV) “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Warning #5.  Don’t be Afraid of Persecution.  Matthew 10:28  “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Christ’s followers will be persecuted
(John 15:18, ESV)  “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

Warning #6.  Give God what belongs to Him.  Matthew 22:21   “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Giving reminds us that everything belongs to God
Giving cures us of selfishness
Giving allows us to worship God

Warning #7.  Do not be Deceived.  Matthew 24:4-5  “And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”
(Revelation 12:9, ESV) “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
Satan called deceiver 7x in Revelation
Our worship is to CHRIST
Our allegiance is to CHRIST
Admire others who follow Christ, but do not follow anyone unconditionally

Warning #8.  Do not Fear.
The angel told ZACHARIAS, “fear not”
The angel told MARY “fear not”
Jesus told the disciples, Fear not”
John 14:27   “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.”

Warning #9.  Do not be afraid of Suffering.  Revelation 2:10  “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
All will face trials.
Some will suffer
Some will die for Jesus
As suffering and persecution increases in the world, we must not fear!

Warning #10.  Strengthen What is Left, Hold On to What you Have.  Rev 3:2-3  “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.” Rev. 3:11    “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
As the end draws closer, more will fall away
This is an important message for Christians today
We can’t bring back the past.  We shouldn’t even try to.  We must focus on strengthening the things that we still have and holding on to the faith.  There are amazing opportunities for the gospel today, but we will miss them if we are focused on trying to re-live the past.

Why should we pay attention to Christ’s warnings?
1.    Because he wants the best for us.  “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11, ESV)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

2.     Because the Devil is out to destroy.

3.      Because listening to his warnings more pleasant than the consequences of sin.  (1 John 5:3, ESV)  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

4.    This is life!  Jesus is teaching us how to live in this world.  Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,”

The more someone loves you, the more you should listen to their warnings
No one ever loved you as much as Jesus

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46, ESV)

6 categories of warnings:
Coming to Christ
Christ as Lord
Loving Others
Preaching the Gospel

Pay Attention to the Commands of Christ when you read them in Scripture
Follow Jesus according to what HE said