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A Great Question

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
January 8, 2023 6:00 pm

A Great Question

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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January 8, 2023 6:00 pm

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If you have your Bibles with you today, turn with me, if you would, to Mark chapter 12, and we're looking at verses 34 through 40. And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God.

And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, How can the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? David himself and the Holy Spirit declared, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet. David himself calls him Lord.

So how is he his son? And the great throng heard him gladly. And in his teaching, he said, Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces, have the best seats in the synagogues, the places of honor at feast, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers.

They will receive the greater condemnation. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we have many that are in desperate need of prayer this morning and need your touch. Pray for John Henson's family that you would comfort them and be with them and help them to to deal with the grief of losing a loved one. Pray for Jeremy Carriker, Lord, as he has had a stroke and is just struggling right now. We pray that you would have mercy on Jeremy and touch him and help his body to respond correctly to your touch that he might be made well. We pray for Jim Belt that you'd continue to be with him and Kitty Clay. Pray for continuing continuous healing for Bruce Nothruff as he has had the replacement of a hip.

I pray for my brother Eugene Oldham as he, in just a couple of weeks, is going himself for a hip replacement and pray that that replacement would go well. Heavenly Father, today we have the privilege of studying a question that Jesus posed to the Sadducees. It was a question that forced these religious leaders to deal with Jesus's identity. They had viewed him as being beneath them. He was not educated in their schools. He was not wealthy like they were.

He didn't wear decorative outfits like they did. That pointed to their religiosity. Jesus had just destroyed their arguments for rejecting the resurrection. He answered their question with such wisdom that they shut their mouths in bewilderment. Then, Jesus, you made them more silent by forcing them to scripturally understand your deity. Lord, help us to be also awed that you're fully man and fully God. Fill our hearts with wonder and amazement and help us to rejoice over your identity. You are God and there's none like you. You are God and there is no other. It is in the holy, wonderful, and precious name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. When I get to heaven, after spending the first 10,000 years worshiping Jesus, I have the idea that I'd like to go and get the writers of the gospel together, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And I would like to ask them how they went about putting their gospels together. I think surely they would say to me, well, Doug, you know that every word, every statement, every jot, and every tittle of the word of God is wholly inspired, infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit.

So also you need to look at this, though. We put the gospels together by people that came to Jesus and asked Jesus questions and how Jesus answered those questions will show us in the gospels who Jesus really is. So I'd like for us to think about that for just a moment and I want to prime the pump by just sharing with you some questions that were asked to Jesus as we go through the gospels. Who can forgive sin but God alone? Why do you eat with tax collectors and sinners?

Who is my neighbor? Why do you break God's law by healing on the Sabbath? What shall I do to inherit eternal life? When will your kingdom come? Who made you a priest?

Do we have to pay taxes to Caesar or not? A woman is married. She is married to a man who has six brothers and all the brothers married her after one died, after another, after another. Whose wife will she be in the resurrection? And then what is truth? Tough questions but not for Jesus. Jesus answered all those questions and those questions, the answers that he gave us tell us who he really is.

Those questions could not be answered by anybody but God himself and that tells us who Jesus is. With that in mind, I want to share three points with you today. As Jesus becomes the one who is asking the question, I call this the great question.

I got three points. Point one is the Sadducees silenced. Look at verse 34. When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, you are not far from the kingdom. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. You remember from a few weeks ago that the Sadducees who are the party of privilege, the ruling elite, the priestly aristocracy, came strutting over to Jesus like cocky peacocks. And they came right to him and they asked him a question to try to make him look like an ignorant country bumpkin. And there was a question that was asked to legitimize their denial of the resurrection of the dead.

They said, Jesus, here's the deal. There is a man who's married to a woman and this man has six younger brothers. The man died. So the next older brother comes up and he marries the woman in order to keep the Levirite marriage law in Deuteronomy chapter 25 and then he dies. And so the next brother comes and marries her. He dies. And it goes all the way down the list until all of the brothers have died and then finally the woman dies.

Says, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? They were so proud of themselves. They had outfoxed Jesus and proved him wrong, they thought.

And then Jesus pointed to them. He said, no, no, no. You are wrong. Let me tell you why you're wrong. You don't know the scripture and you don't know the power of God.

There is no marriage in heaven. So your question was based on a false premise. These Sadducees who believed that they were the greatest theologians to ever live, they were silenced. Their mouths were shut. They were shocked. They had no rebuttal.

They had no comeback, nothing else to say. So they looked down at their feet and they said, teacher, you have answered well. And Luke said, if they dared not ask them, ask him any more questions. Is it wise just to keep silent? I think sometimes keeping silent is the most godly thing you can do.

I think of Jesus when he was at his trial. And at his trial, the false witnesses came. They gave false witness against him.

What did he do? He remained absolutely silent. The scripture said he was led as a sheep to the slaughter and he opened not his mouth. That was a very godly silence. If you go through the Proverbs, you'll see a lot of wisdom there about keeping silent and how sometimes keeping silent is a very godly thing.

Let me share four of those with you. Proverbs 13, three, whoever guards his mouth preserves his life. He who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. Proverbs 21, 23, he who shuts his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 26, four, answer not a fool according to his folly lest you be like him yourself. Proverbs 17, 28, even a fool he keeps silent is considered wise. Whereas Abraham Lincoln said it's better to let people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. With a silence that is golden, it is a silence that acknowledges that God's word is truth. In Romans chapter three and verse 19, scripture tells us that the time is coming when we will stand before the Lord and every tongue will be silenced. I love what Martin Lord Jones said here.

He hit the nail on the head. He said this, you are not a Christian unless you have been made speechless. How do you know whether you're a Christian or not? It is that you stop talking. The trouble with the non-Christian is that he goes on talking. People need to have their mouths shut, stopped.

They are forever talking about God, criticizing God, pontificating about what God should do or not do and asking, why does God allow this and that? You do not begin to be a Christian until your mouth is shut, is stopped, and you are speechless and have nothing to say. Jesus always welcomes sincere questions from people who are seeking to really know and understand the truth.

But if we are asking questions in order that we might justify ourselves, in order that we might prove that our sin is not really all that bad, it's not really all that vile, or if we are telling God that he is wrong, it is much, much better for us just to keep our mouth shut completely. I think about Job. Job went through an unbelievably tough time. He went through much suffering. He went through the death of all of his children. He was going through horrible physical pain. He went through a world of horrible, terrible depression, and he didn't understand it, and he didn't like it, and he starts crying out to God, God, why are you letting these things happen? What is the purpose in this? God, I've got to know.

Give me some answers. And God finally spoke back to Job, but God did not give Job the answers that he was looking for. Instead, God began to ask questions of Job. He said, Job, were you with me when I created this earth? Were you there to help me to know how to tell the ocean you can go so far and no further? Job, are you so strong that you could put a hook in a dinosaur's nose and walk him around? Are you so strong, Job, that you could put a fish hook out in the water, catch a leviathan and haul him on in? Job each time says, no, sir, no, sir, no, sir. Shall a fault finder contend with the Almighty?

No, sir. Questions that no mortal man could answer. Finally, Job realized that what he was up against, and the scripture says that he put his hand over his mouth, and he cried out, and he said this, I've heard of you, Lord, by the hearing of my ear, but now my eyes have seen you, and I repent in dust and ashes. Job realized that he really did not know what he was talking about, and the best thing for him, which for him to be just to shut his mouth and to quit talking. When a person gets saved, he quits talking about all the good things that he's done because he realizes what a horrible sinner he is. He quits talking about the vileness of his sin because he wants people to think that he is good and that he is right and that he's walking with the Lord, but when he comes to know Jesus, something happens.

His whole life turns around. He begins to say, Lord, Jesus, save me or I'll perish, and his mouth is shut. Now, the Sadducees were silenced. Jesus had answered with such wisdom that they knew that they couldn't defeat him. Was this a silence unto salvation?

I don't think so with many of them. They shut up, I think, just to avoid further embarrassment, but with some of them, something just clicked. From the book of Acts, we are told that many of the priests came to a saving knowledge of Christ.

I believe that that started right there. All right, second point, the Savior speaks, verse 35 through 37. And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, how can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself in the Holy Spirit declared, the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet. David himself calls him Lord, so how is he his son?

And the great throng heard him gladly. The Sadducees had finished asking questions, but Jesus hadn't. He gave them a question that we might call a biblical riddle.

Now, let's get the setting right. The Sadducees had just been taken to school by Jesus. All the air had been let out of their balloons, so to speak. In a period of about 60 seconds, they had gone from scorning and mocking Jesus to all of a sudden now, they are apologizing to Jesus and they are standing in absolute awe of his wisdom. So while they're standing there gawking at Jesus, not saying a word, Jesus says this.

Explain this one to me, he says. In Psalm 110, verse 1, which is a messianic Psalm, the Scripture said through David this, the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. How can David call the Messiah Lord? If the Messiah is to be his son, or that's a good word for descendant, if he's going to be his descendant and he's not even born yet, how could David say that? Now Jesus didn't ask this riddle just to stump the Sadducees. He asked this question because the right answer leads to eternal life.

So how do you answer it? Well, all Israel knew that messianic truth that the Messiah would be a blood descendant of David, that David was the greatest king that Israel had ever had. And the Scriptures prophesied that the Christ would come through David's lineage. In 2 Samuel chapter 7, the Scripture says this, as God said to David himself, I will raise up your offspring after you who shall come from your body and I will establish his kingdom and your house and your kingdom shall be established forever. We read the same kind of thing in Isaiah chapter 9, for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, on the throne of David shall be his kingdom.

Nobody from Israel doubted that and Jesus met that criterion perfectly. For Jesus was a direct blood descendant of David. Mary was a blood descendant of David. David's blood coursed through Mary's veins and so David's blood coursed through Jesus' veins as well. Not only that, but David had an adopted father, not his biological father, that was God, but his adopted father was Joseph. Joseph was also a blood descendant of David. So that made Jesus a legal heir as well as a blood descendant of David. The angel Gabriel said to Mary that God would give her child the throne of his father, David.

Okay, so far so good. Everybody believed that, but here's the kicker. How could Christ be David's descendant and at the same time be David's Lord? David, David reigned a thousand years before Jesus Christ was even born. Let's go back to Psalm 110 one again. I want to quote something Edward Reynolds, great Puritan, had to say about Psalm 110. He said, this Psalm is one of the fullest and most powerful prophecies of the person in the office of Christ in the whole Old Testament.

The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. If you were reading this in the Hebrew, the first word for Lord there is the word Yahweh. It means I am, the great I am, the almighty God. He is the one that is making this statement. The Lord said to my Lord, the second word for Lord is the Hebrew word Adonai, and specifically in this passage, the word Adonai is pointing to the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, the anointed one. It could be written this way. The Lord God says to my Lord, the Messiah, sit on my throne to rule the universe.

All right, let me share what Philip Ryken had to say here. What is puzzling about this is that David regards the Christ as superior to himself, calling him my Lord, yet David never called anyone Lord except the Lord God himself and maybe his father or perhaps Saul who was king of Israel before him. David certainly did not call anyone Lord once he had become the king in his own right, yet here's a person so great that even David calls him Lord. This is puzzling because the Messiah was supposed to be David's son and in that culture, fathers did not call their sons Lord.

This is something that no patriarch would ever do, least of all a man who was a monarch. The son is to honor the father, not the other way around. So when the Messiah came, surely he would pay homage to David as his great father, yet here David is the one who gives homage, acknowledging the superiority of his son. The Messiah would be David's son, yet David calls him Lord. Furthermore, the second person in Psalm 110, the one whom David calls his Lord, will receive the kingdom. He will sit at the right hand of God until every last one of the enemies is defeated. The right hand of God represents God's own rule and authority.

To be exalted is to sit in an awesome place, to reign in glory and to share in the royal majesty of God. Who is this mighty king? Who is this ruler so great that David calls him Lord? You see what Jesus is doing? He's proving the doctrine of the deity of Christ. He is claiming to be both human and divine, fully God and fully man. David could call his descendant Jesus Lord because Jesus did not get his start in Bethlehem when he was born.

Jesus took on human flesh. He was born of a virgin, but he in fact had been living forever. He is the pre-incarnate, self-existent, eternal God. Jesus has been here forever.

He has no beginning. There's never been a time when Jesus was not. It's a matter of, we ought to see that as we look at the New Testament.

The disciples surely should have understood this. I think about his baptism. Jesus is baptized and the Father speaks from heaven and says, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well.

Please listen to him. And then I think of the transfiguration. Jesus is up on the mount.

There's three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John, that are there. Jesus turns dazzling, gloriously white, and then there's the voice that speaks from heaven, this is my beloved Son, hear him. I think of the Gospel of John and how the miracles in the Gospel of John were done in order to prove the deity of Christ. And it was a beautiful, glorious thing.

We call these things the I am passages. And what did Jesus do? Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. And then he said, I am the bread of life. And then what did Jesus do? Jesus gave sight to a man who was totally blind and he says, I am the light of the world. And then Jesus preaches and ministers to thousands and thousands of people and says, I am the good shepherd. And then Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and says, I am the resurrection and the life.

The Hebrew word for I am is Yahweh. And folks, Jesus is not just claiming to be a miracle worker. He is claiming to be Yahweh.

He is claiming to be the great I am. How important is the doctrine of the Trinity? It is heresy to deny it. I like what John Calvin said about it. He said, if you don't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, you'll lose your soul. But if you try to figure it out, you'll lose your mind.

I think he was right there. So what does this doctrine of the Trinity teach? It teaches that there's one Godhead, that there are three persons in the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

They are different in office and in function, but they are the same in substance and in essence. Jesus said, I and the Father are one. The Trinity has never been at odds with each other. The Trinity is always in perfect agreement.

They are never at cross purposes with each other. In Israel's national verse that we call the Shema, in that national verse, the key to understanding the Trinity is right there in that verse. But the religious leaders were so spiritually blind that they just didn't see it. What is that verse? Deuteronomy chapter six, verse four, we call it the Shema.

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one, and thou shalt worship the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. I shared with you last week that one of the keys in that verse to understand the Trinity is found in the word one. The word one is not the normal word for one.

It is a word that is ekkad. It means one as in a cluster. So you've got a cluster of grapes. It's one cluster, but in the cluster, there are many, many separate grapes, but they are all of the very same substance and essence in the Godhead. We have three distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

They are different in function and in office, but the same in substance and in essence. This is the truth that Jesus is pounding the Sadducees with. Your Messiah is not just a conqueror. He's not just a deliverer. He's not just a savior. He is in fact God.

He is in fact God. Now, Jesus has quoted from Psalm 110, the Lord says to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. Jesus uses this to point to His soon coming crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, and when He goes back to heaven, He will be ruling over all of His creation, but the day is coming when Jesus is coming back, and there will be a time of judgment, and every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. What Jesus said here not only baffled the Sadducees, but it pumped up the disciples. Now, how do we know that it pumped up the disciples? Because Psalm 110 is the most quoted Psalm in the entire New Testament.

It's quoted over and over again, 20 different times. When Peter was preaching on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 people were saved. He used in that passage that he preached on Psalm 110, and 1st Corinthians chapter 15, the Apostle Paul told us about the raising of Jesus from the dead and Jesus' defeat over His enemies, and he used Psalm 110 to do that, and the book of Hebrews quotes Psalm 110 to prove to us Jesus' superiority over the angels, a riddle that not only silenced bad theology, but leads us to eternal life. It answers the question, who is Jesus?

Son of God, son of David, son of man, not half man, half God, but fully man and fully God. All right, point three, the Sadducees exposed, verse 38 through 40. And in his teaching, he said, beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feast, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. The Sadducees had tried desperately to destroy Jesus with a question that they were just certain that there was going to trick Jesus and make Him look like a bumpkin. When Jesus did answer it with amazing skill and great knowledge, they were absolutely shocked, but He didn't stop there with just answering their question. He went on to bowl them over with a riddle that left them with no recourse but to acknowledge the deity of Christ.

Most of these Sadducees were not corrected or convicted by this. They were just mad. I mean, they were angry at what Jesus had done. Jesus had turned the tables on them. They have been exposed. They have been shown to be hypocrites. They are not as smart as they try to get people to believe that they were and they are not godly.

They're in fact very, very wicked. Jesus knows what happens when you back a wounded dog into a corner. You may be trying to help that wounded dog.

He doesn't know it and He very well may bite you. That's what's going on here. The majority of these Sadducees are ready to fight. I'm telling you, there is shooting out of their nostrils fire. Shooting out of their eyes, there's daggers toward Jesus. So Jesus speaks to His disciples, but He raises up His voice so that the whole crowd can hear what He's saying and He warns them to watch out for the scribes, for they are these so-called religious leaders and Jesus describes what they do. Like what Leon Morris said here, he said, Jesus mainly criticized these men for their ostentatious lifestyle. With pious pomposity, they paraded around in public wearing fancy attire. Their long robes were a sign of distinction and Martha wears as gentlemen of leisure. These men like to show how successful they were with the implication that somehow their financial success proved that God was pleased with the way they lived.

Sadly, some prosperity preachers do the same thing today, wearing fancy clothes, driving fine automobiles in order to prove that what they teach will make people rich. Also in Numbers 15, there's a command that the people of God were to wear a garment called a talith when they prayed and that they were to take a tassel, a little ribbon, and it was to be royal blue, that they were to tie it in the hem of that garment and they were to take that hem of that garment or that tassel and in that little string, that little ribbon, they were to tie four knots in it. What did those knots represent? The consonants of the name Yahweh.

We call that the tetragrammaton, YHWH. Then when they would pray, they would take that prayer shawl, they'd drape it over their head, they would reach over, they would grab the tassel in the hem of the garment and that would be a remembrance to them to remind them that their dependence needed to be totally and completely on Yahweh. Started out as a very good thing, but over the years, it morphed into a problem. The religious leaders started making their prayer shawls more lengthy and more decorative and the longer it was, the more decorative it was, the more that said, this is a godly person. This is a person that you need to be looking up to. This is a person who God admires. Then Jesus pointed out their ambitious social climbing. They expected and they demanded adulation. They loved it when people would say, oh, there's the esteemed and much renowned Dr. So-and-so or Rabbi So-and-so.

Nobody called them by their first name. They liked that reverend in front of their name or rabbi in front of their name or doctor or father in front of their name. When they went to the local synagogue, they insisted on sitting in the best seat in the synagogue. They went to a formal dinner or if they went to a wedding, they wanted to be right there at the head table. These people loved and craved recognition and honor.

So Jesus says to the crowd and us, beware of their actions and attitudes of the scribes. Now, why does he have to tell us that? Because we have a tendency, just like they did, to desire the praise of men. Why do men want to drive the flashiest cars? Why do men want to wear Armani suits? Why do men want the courtside tickets, seats at the basketball game status? That's what we want. These attitudes are deadly for the Christian.

Why? Because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. And as James said, friendship with the world is enmity against God. The goal of the Sadducees was the praise of men. The goal of God's people should be the praise of God. Last thing Jesus mentioned was pretentious praying. They prayed not to seek God, they prayed to impress people. The bottom line was this, they were phony hypocrites. They didn't love God, they didn't love others, they just loved themselves. This event took place only days before some of these same men did everything they could to send Jesus Christ to the cross, where they nailed him to that cross, where he shed his blood, where he died for his people. Folks, don't be like them, for they will receive the greater condemnation.

Why? Because they knew the truth and they rejected it. Let me ask you something. Do you know God's truth? What are you doing with God's truth? Are you ignoring his truth? Are you rejecting his truth or are you embracing his truth and living in obedience to him? That's where he wants us, that's where our goal should be, that's where we should be headed. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, this passage is history but it's more than that, it is a true story.

It is didactic. You placed it in your Word not just to show us the wickedness of religious pride but to help us to fight religious pride with all of our heart. Lord, we need you, we love you. Please help us not to trust in self, to put all of our trust in you and you alone. For it is in the holy and precious name of Jesus that we pray, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-08 17:08:29 / 2023-01-08 17:20:49 / 12

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