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Matthew 23 vs 16-39 - Matt Korniotes

Matthew 23:16-39

Matthew Chapter 23 Verse 13

  • If this is something that enrages Jesus, something that He pronounces woe upon, that means that His desire, (and this is SO GOOD), God’s desire is for the kingdom of heaven to be OPEN to all men and for all men to go right in! I love that! It’s a Biblical truth of God that we read in 1 Timothy 2:4, “God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth!”
  • Man, through Jesus God has swung wide the doors of the kingdom! How is that!? How does that happen right now!! He drops His kingdom right into your heart! His promise, His gift, His guarantee…God Himself, (the third Person of the Trinity), the Holy Spirit Himself makes His way into your heart of hearts when you place your faith in Jesus Christ and therefore, the kingdom enters YOU! And Jesus says to the religious elite, YOU stop folks from My very will. For freedom. Liberation of their heart, soul, mind and strength (I love that! Through God’s Spirit, we are unlocked and unleashed!)
  • Now this perfectly contrasts with the first of the eight beatitudes given by Jesus in Matthew Chapter 5. There He detailed the beatitudes…the character of kingdom citizens, and here in Matthew 23 He is giving the Don’t-Be-Attitudes! HA! And so check this out…Matthew Chapter 5 verse 3…, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs IS the kingdom of heaven!”
  • You religious leaders filled with self piety and high-and-mightiness…you’ve lost that loving feeling (Peter leans over to Jesus, “I hate it when they do that!” HA!) To be poor in spirit is to live in reality, man! To come to the realization that we are all a mess! Broken folks, sinful, without moral virtues and any adequacy towards a holy, pure and perfect God! It’s ONLY then that we knock knock knock on heaven’s door, and we go in RIGHT NOW…we turn to Him for sustenance, righteousness, help, and salvation…adequacy and purpose, man!
  • But these have turned to themselves and to works and to making themselves good enough for God…God says, “He who seeks to gain his life will lose it but whoever loses His life for My sake,” (places His entire trust in Me), “he will gain it!”
  • And that, friends, harkens back to the first of the Biblical covenants! You see there are 8 woes pronounced in Chapter 23. 8 ways in which you will kill your own soul, waste your life and the lives of those around you…and there are 8 beatitudes pronounced in Matthew Chapter 5. 8 ways in which you will find life and life abundant and infect people around you with that same vigorous, spirit-filled and spirit-freed life! And…there are 8 covenants of God in the Bible from the Garden of Eden to the New Covenant…and man, God has given us a pattern of alignment.
  • The first of the eight covenants is the Edenic covenant and it is given to us in Genesis Chapter 1 Verses 28 – 30 where God said to His newly formed perfect creation, “Everything is yours! Be fruitful, multiply, subdue the earth…it’s all yours!” The Edenic Covenant was what’s called a conditional covenant because God gave a condition. He said, “Of all of the fruit of the trees you may eat except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for in the day you eat of it surely you will die…” But the Edenic Covenant itselfeverything My child, everything I have made, I give to you!
  • Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…those that come to and trust in God…for theirs is the kingdom!” And then He says here in Matthew 23, “You have robbed both yourselves and the others of the kingdom of God!” And so how do we get back? Choose blessed…reject woe! (ONLY YOU CAN DO THAT FOR YOURSELF) Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your decedents may live!”


  • So the application? The Edenic Covenant is yet for you and for me…to be fruitful, to subdue this place, to be given and entrusted with all that is of the Father…and yet the condition is still there…do you trust God or do you trust yourself? Are you ok with being a mess, undone and broken in the sight of God, transparent and not hidden…or do you shut up the kingdom to both yourself and those around you by your self-piety and high holy self righteousness – self trust? Blessed or woe…YOUR choice.

Matthew Chapter 23 Verse 14

  • The idea here is that they used manipulation, cleverness, and even guilt trips to literally pull folks livelihood from them and their prayers were for their own benefit, self-serving and not God-honoring! Both of those things produces in the heart of man a pit that cannot be filled by anything…and so eventually, completely, woe will set in! But Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” A Christian, one who loves God and follows God, does not take advantage of the loss of others but rather if one member suffers, all the members suffer with them (1 Cor 12:26).
  • Our prayers should not be pretentious…attempting to impress someone or attempting to appear important or smart or godly or whatever…those are pretend prayers! But man, blessed are you when you love others as yourself…aligning your own heart to God’s!
  • And the second covenant of the scriptures is what is called the Adamic Covenant…which pronounced the curse of sin upon mankind but also brought with it the grace of God in that God made provision for that sin! Genesis Chapter 3 and specifically Genesis 3:15…the grace of God being upon His own provision in that God will bring forth the seed of the woman to crush the head of the serpent…when woman has no seed and therefore speaking of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ…the Savior! And so aligning with the blessed and with the woe, within this covenant is a surety of condemnation through sin but a promise of grace through heart-alignment with God! That’s where the blessed is, man…seek His heart and see whatever and whomever through His eyes…! Or Woe, man…your choice…
  • Now Jesus said in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth…,” but to the scribes and Pharisees He says…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verse 15

  • This has a habit of happening…when someone has some sort of religious trip…oh man the way to God is to repeat this prayer every day or this ritualistic service every week and they go and make a convert, that convert will be often times more enthusiastic, more passionate and zealous about that trip! And Jesus man breaks through with a huge statement here…that the words said sound godly and holy and righteous and ring with the lingo of truth but the result is a son of hellstaggering. There are many groups on the scene today offering a way of belief and using similar or even the same language as Christianity but they are leading people not to the light but to darkness.


  • The third covenant is the Noahic Covenant…and this one is unconditional…God promised to never destroy the earth again by a flood…giving the rainbow as a sign…folks God has promised that we are free…His disciples, His followers, His children alone and we ought to look only to Him, and His word for the way to go…He has promised through the resurrection of Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven, our chains are gone…pursue only Him!
  • Jesus spoke in the beatitudes, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled!” But to these religious leaders He said…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 16 – 22

  • They had a clever and deceptive way to get out of oaths and really their tool was complication…how complicated was what we just read! But God said citizens of the kingdom keep things simplehunger and thirst after righteousness…the things of this world, money, things, power, position…the list goes on and on…this is me here…cloud me. If I don’t actively fight my own self to keep the Lord first…I quickly find myself rushed, frustrated, irritated, distracted and that list goes on and on too…
  • To hunger and thirst for righteousness, you have to have a hunger…you have to not allow yourself to fill up on the junk food of this world. A beautiful meal can be prepared for you, healthy and scrumptious, but if you’ve been eating junk food for the last hour…you’ll skip it…and just like junk food complicates your physical health, worldly junk complicates your spiritual health…
  • The fourth covenant is the Abrahamic Covenant…In this covenant, many things were promised but probably the one most known is that God promised Abraham that, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed…” Keep it simple, man…that blessing will come through you as well…first to your own family and then to many others…
  • Jesus said in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” but He says of the scribes and Pharisees…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 23 – 24

  • Notice here Jesus says that there are things that come before other things…mercy, justice and faith are weightier…they must come before sacrifice lest your sacrifice be hypocritical and eventually disdained in your own heart! Woe will set it…but mercy…man, mercy requires God in you…doesn’t it? Ever wanna choke someone but you getting right with the Lord!? HA!! That is a work of the Spirit…anyone can brag on their giving…anyone can feel good about themselves because they tithe their time…(which is not a real thing by the way), but to love mercy and seek justice and walk humbly with God…that is the weight of the Law.


  • And the fifth covenant is the Palestinian Covenant found in Deuteronomy 30. This less known covenant basically promised a restored land in obedience but also ensured a scattering due to disobedience…like blowing on spice when it is spilled on the counter…God promised (more like revealed) that walking apart from Him would result in a scattered mess of a heart…woe…
  • And Jesus said in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!” But to these He said…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 25 – 26

  • Outward religion, purity of behavior and ritual, profits nothing but man, a pure heart…you will see God!! Go after the heart, not the habit! The habit can be fixed yet the heart can remain sick…but if the heart is filled with the love and truth of God then man the habits will fix themselves!
  • The next covenant in the Bible is the Mosaic Covenant! Awesome! The law given to Moses that is and was a school master, a pointer to the fact that no man can keep the true standard of righteousness and that each man and woman is in need of a Savior…a heart fixaligns so perfectly!! And I’ll remind you again…woe or blessed. Which will you take? Your choice!


  • Jesus said in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God!” But to these religious jerks (oh I mean zealots) He said…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 27 – 28

  • How do we know this is the case with a man or a woman? That their religious piety is outward alone and on the inside they are as dead as a doornail (whatever that means…)…we know this is the case when they are not peacemakers…wow!
  • And the seventh covenant in the Bible is the Davidic Covenant…in that God promised through David an everlasting kingdom…and the fulfillment of that covenant is and was the coming of the Prince of Peace Himself…aligns so very perfectly! How do we become peacemakers? Learn from the Prince…
  • And finally, Jesus closed the beatitudes by saying, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…” But to these He says…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 31 – 36

  • Aligns perfectly doesn’t it…Jesus said that we won’t fit in this world…that the world will reject truth and true love…pointing people to the One and only God and His Word…but we ought to remember, they hated Him firstwe are in good company and our home is coming…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


  • The final covenant given in the Bible is the New Covenant…in which God takes away the things of the past and makes all things new…He desires to make in us a new creation…outside of this creation…something different, something more, something that fits not with this world but with Him in His kingdom…my how we fight and resist as we grow up in Him, do we not…?
  • And Jesus brings His final public official broadcast to a close by saying…

Matthew Chapter 23 Verses 37 – 39

  • You can hear it in His voice, can’t you? The heart-cry of Jesus in their lives, in my life, in your life is to take nothing from you but our woeto protect you, to care for you, provide for you and even cherish you like a father does his children…This is not the desire of a prophet, or a spirit brother of Lucifer, or an angel…this is only the desire of a Savior…
  • The issue is not God’s willingness to save and do all that you need and require, the issue is my willingness and your willingness to be saved…doesn’t seem to make sense does it…but the world, the flesh and the enemy are all quite formidable opponents…you must win…You cannot lose…woe and blessed…your choice.