There is a fundamental principle of life that goes something like this: What we believe determines what we do and what we do determines what we get.
This is true in all areas of our lives. When it comes to our spiritual lives, we all have certain beliefs about God and how we are to interact with God. Those beliefs significantly determine how we live. If we don’t think God cares about us or is active in our lives, then when or what He asks us to do will not seem very important or urgent.
Most of us have a practical theology, how what we believe translates into what we do. For many, that practical theology is both vague and harmlessly accommodating to our desires. Meaning, what we believe typically doesn’t challenge us or motivate us to be any different than we already are. Because of that, we miss out on the fullness of God’s grace and power to impact a life.
In Sunday’s text, Matthew 22:23-33, the Sadducees confront Jesus. They were a wing of Judaism, the Levitical priesthood, that ran the operations in the temple. Regarding the Bible, they were strict constitutionalists. They believed that only the Torah, the first five books of Moses, were the holy writings of God. Since the Torah doesn’t directly speak to the resurrection, the Sadducees taught that, when we die, we return to the dust out of which we came.
The Sadducees were aristocratic, politically connected with Rome, and academically elite. As I mentioned, they believed that only the Torah, the first five books of Moses, were the holy writings of God. They didn’t study the psalms (create in me a clean heart!) to cry out with and no promises of prophecy (I will replace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh) to hope for.
They believed all we see is all we get. They rejected belief in anything supernatural.
They had religion, they were Jewish, but they didn’t believe in a God that could do anything particularly amazing. So, they didn’t have a considerable amount of hope or faith beyond what they could achieve by themselves in the present. Their big issue with Jesus’ Gospel is not that it promises too little, but that it promises too much, to too many.
We also see from the Sadducees that you can be completely “biblical”
and also be completely wrong.
The Sadducees have taken a position that includes Scripture but isn’t “scriptural”.
You can take your preconceived notions and then find nearly any Scripture and use it to justify your position. Or you can submit to the teaching of Scripture and be exposed to the power of God.
The question is one of authority.
Do you have authority over God’s word, or does God’s word have authority over you?
How you start will impact where you end up. The Sadducees started with a weak view of God, so when they searched the scriptures, they found one.
Jesus wants the Sadducees to be clear how far off they are, not a little, but a lot. This seems harsh, but it is the most loving thing Jesus can do.
He is exposing their ignorance, revealing their distance from God and His power.
That is what Scripture reveals: the power of God!
What you believe about God will determine how you live
and how you live will determine what you get.
If we don’t think God cares about us or is active in our lives,
then that is exactly the way we will behave, and that is exactly what we will get.
This Sunday we will dig deeper
into the Scripture and see what it means for us today.
As always, there is a prayer group that meets every Sunday to specifically pray
for the service and the church.
Feel free to join us when you can.