The Frustrations of a Religious Man

Next Time You Get Frustrated, See Which Side of the Cross You Are On

Matthew 21:23-32

I.         Introduction (Mt 21:44)


A.      I believe everyone in this room knows what it means to be frustrated.


1.        Frustrate means to be prevented from achieving a purpose - disappointed

2.        Frustrated at school because never able to consistently make good grades

3.        Frustrated at work because never able to earn the appreciation of the boss

4.        Frustrated at home because your mate never understands you

5.        Frustrated in soul-winning because you always "say the wrong things" or are nervous, or never get very far in the conversation, and end up quitting

6.        We all either are frustrated, or get frustrated on a regular basis


B.       But I believe there is a type of frustration that is deadly - I mean devastating


1.        It is called religious frustration

2.        It is when you are working so hard, to have your life just so, and going to church just like you think you should be, and along comes somebody with a Bible and blows you away

3.        They seem to have answers, and know where they are going when they die - the audacity! And to say it has nothing to do with good works!


C.       Jesus dealt with these guys all the time. It still needs to be dealt with today


1.        You see, the problem is not our feeling of frustration - it is what is the source of our frustration


a.       We could always point to some person as Adam did - his wife

b.       We could always point to some event that ruined us

c.       We could always point to enemy that hurt us


2.        But Jesus came to show us it is not a person, or an event, but our standing


a.       Either on this side of the cross, or that side!

b.       Either on the side of the Bible rejecting religious skeptic

c.       Or on the side of the Bible believing sinner


D.      To help you decide which side you are on, Jesus gives us some help in a confrontation one day He had with a bunch of chief priests - the top dogs - who approached Him on Monday of His last week - passion week.


II.       Message - The Frustrations of a Religious Man (Matthew 21:23-32)


A.      Can't Stand Jesus as He Really Is (Mt 21:23) - they hate Him - pure hatred!


1.        Jesus is Not like anybody they know


a.       So many have a God that has been moulded and fashioned in their own image. That's why music and rock stars are so popular - because they are LIKE the crowds of people watching them. Have you noticed who watches the Spice Girls???

b.       Religious bigotry is in all of us! But it begins with our approach towards God!!! We don't like what we see in HIM!


2.        Jesus just goes ahead and does things without warning - or consultation

3.        Jesus never seems to make a mistake - oh how people hate perfect people. Even Jesus' half-brothers had this problem!

4.        Jesus put every religious zealot to shame


a.       People talk about Mother Theresa, and Pope John Paul, and Pope Pius XII and St. Francis of Assissi, and so on ad infid item!

b.       NONE of them could hold a candle to the life and giving nature of Jesus Christ!

c.       You see, even His very life hurts people who are only trying to set themselves up as gods, and get into heaven their own way!!!


5.        And so, the whole world, in its religiousness, will go to the furthest extreme to try and discredit Him in front of the people! And they spent a majority of their time attacking Him to try and bring Him down!


a.       People can't stand the Bible as it really is - so they change it constantly

b.       People can't stand the facts as they are, and so they write make-believe stories and label them evolution, and then call it all science

c.       People can't stand themselves, so they do everything possible to be someone different than who they really are!

d.       Isn't that all amazing?


B.       Can't Accept His Authority (Mt 21:23)


1.        Since it didn't come from THEM!

2.        Jesus could have answered them (See Jn 10:25,38)

3.        But He had to teach His disciples, and all the people around some things

4.        His authority for doing some pretty incredible things was on the line:


a.       Him entering into Jerusalem as the Messiah - just as prophesied

b.       Him withering the fig tree - judging Israel in a bad way - just as prophesied

c.       Him healing the lame and blind - just as prophesied

d.       Him attracting tens of thousands of followers

e.       Him being able to quote and refer to the Scriptures as if He had written them Himself (which he did)!


5.        They didn't accept the authority that they claim to believe (Jn 5:46,47)

6.        You see, these muckety-mucks believed that THEY were the one-true church from whom all authority descended. They believed that if someone was going to be doing anything religious, it should be through THEM!


a.       These guys were always says, "Well such and such says…" or "The most reverend doctor tells us…" or "We have always believed such and such because so and so so eloquently expressed it such a way…"

b.       Their authority was among themselves

c.       But Jesus had appeared, and seemed to have authority above themselves - He was going against hundreds of years of religious effort!


C.       Can't Make up Their Mind (21:24-27)


1.        They believed they have put Jesus in a corner, and hoped that the whole crowd will see that Jesus is doing everything without THEIR "God-given" authority. Yet it was THESE who were nothing but rebellious and stiff-necked, and here they were worried about rebellion? Right!

2.        But up pops a question out of Jesus' mouth that floors the priests - What about John?


a.       Where did HE get his authority?

b.       Oh baby! If there was a more deadly question that could be asked, I would like to see it!


3.        And into a huddle these religious theologians go


a.       If we shall say of heaven (which some of them believed, but didn't dare act like they believed), they knew He would ask why they didn't get baptized, and believe Jesus is the Messiah just as John preached He was - uh oh - here they were at the answer!

b.       If we shall say, of mere mortal men - a whim of self-delusion - we know that we will be mobbed because everybody believes John to have been a prophet sent from God

c.       So what are we going to do - whisper, whisper…


4.        Out they come and with half-smiles and say, "It may have been from heaven, and then again, it may not have been. We can't decide."

5.        Can you imagine how it must have sounded to everybody around? Especially in contrast to the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ! The people had put up with this kind of religious flip-flop and waffling, and uncertainty for far too long. And here, out of their own mouths, they end up turning more people to the Lord Jesus! Talk about frustrating!!!!


D.      Can't Handle Defeat (Mt 21:27) - the whole gist of getting saved (Cf Mt 21:42-46)


1.        Most of us can't handle defeat - don't like to lose!

2.        But these guys here have failed to discredit Jesus - how do you think they feel? All the people around them have just gotten more convinced about the authority of Jesus than before - and it was their doing that did it! How humiliating!!!

3.        And then Jesus strikes the final blow, "Neither do I tell you by what authority…" - they end up not getting their original question answered.

4.        The frustration level of these guys is at the boiling point

5.        Everybody who ever came to Jesus with sincere questions, and needs, always had their questions answered, and their needs met - always went away satisfied!

6.        Everybody who ever came to Jesus with their skepticism, and asked questions just to justify THEMSELVES, always went away dumb-founded, and empty-handed!


E.       Can't Handle the Truth (Mt 21:28-32, 45,46)


1.        So Jesus tries a story. About two boys. Every parent has experienced what Jesus describes


a.       One child rejects his dad's command, and then repents, and obeys

b.       The other child acts so sweet and obedient at first, but then never does what his dad told him to do

c.       Jesus simply asks, "Which child did the will of his father?"

d.       The answer is given by the priests and Pharisees - Jesus is now controlling the conversation!!! Jesus is attempting to teach the teachers! (Like a little child teaching a college science professor about how we all got here)


2.        Then Jesus makes it clear and plain


a.       The publicans, and sinners, and adulterers, and murderers, and liars, and thieves, and harlots, and just all the bad people, who had rejected God's commands originally, all were now getting saved!

b.       Yet these sweet, and wonderful, and most reverend religious folks are lost - as religious, devout, and dedicated, and committed as they are!

c.       Everyone else is getting into heaven, but them!


3.        John WAS who he claimed to be - the forerunner of the Messiah

4.        Jesus IS who He claimed to be - the SAVIOUR of all sinners!

5.        And you have seen it - you know it to be true - and yet won't repent, and get saved! Talk about a frustrated life! I'm glad I am not "religious" anymore - I mean, focused on the religion, and all the religious effort I thought I had to be doing. I'm glad to have fallen on the Rock!!!


III.     Conclusion - Which side of the cross are YOU on?


A.      Can't stand Jesus as He really is? Or do you love Him, and Know Him as Saviour

B.       Can't Accept His Authority? Or have you discovered He is God?

C.       Can't Make up Your Mind? Or can you finally be honest about the facts - Jesus is proven to be the Saviour - God come in the flesh to die in YOUR place

D.      Can't Handle Defeat? (that's bad) - you will never be saved then! - Or, have you found victory in Jesus - losing yourself in Him!

E.       Can't Handle the Truth (too much for you)? Or can you, like the harlots, and sinners, and dregs of society, find refuge from YOUR sins in Jesus Christ?