October 11: Discerning Genuine Faith (Matthew 21:23-32)
This Sunday Josh C. will continue the Christians and Culture series addressing the background of this nation's current moral revolution at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project.
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. (ESV)
This passage comes in the midst of the final week of Jesus’ ministry as the cross stands before him. On the first day of his last week, he disclosed his Messiahship by entering Jerusalem as a humble king and riding on a donkey. He then exercised his royal responsibility by restoring the temple to true worship. Jesus' next move was to curse an unfruitful fig tree as a picture of judgment on the Jewish leadership because of their fruitlessness. After this he returns to the temple, to teach and preach the gospel as if it were his own house. This as you can imagine stirred up no small amount of conflict. This was intentional as Jesus as Messiah not only challenges the authority of the religious leadership but reveals the nature of faith that actually saves and comforts versus a religion that provides no lasting confidence.
Review and Apply
1. What has been your experience with authority, either in the home, church, school or workplace?
2. How do you react to the phrase, "Question Authority."
3. How does the Bible talk about Jesus' authority?
4. How is Jesus' authority demonstrated in your life?
5. What is the relationship between faith and obedience?
6. Explain the expression, "Faith alone saves but faith that saves is never alone."
7. What areas of your life are still under your authority rather than his?
8. What evidence in your life demonstrates active faith?
9. Why is repentance to be practiced with sincerity?