Jesus Preached Judgment, Pt. 1

Mar 20, 2022

Jesus Preached Judgment, Pt. 1

Passage: Matthew 11:16-21

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: Matthew: We Need a King

Category: Sunday Morning


It is odd that the very message our generation needs to hear the most is what is most offensive for our generation to hear.

In verse 16 Jesus addresses “…this generation” (his generation) which I will compare to “Our generation!”

  • Specifically, our younger generation is harsh toward anyone perceived as judgmental.

Preacher/Apologist, Voddie Baucham says, “There is now an 11th commandment:

‘Thou shalt be nice’.”

  • Rendering any rebuke, “Ichabod!” [without glory!]
    • Culture’s [novel and vogue] inbuilt defense mechanism.
    • Saying, “You are being judgmental! And you have no right to judge me.”


  • Appearing softhearted, when in fact it is hardhearted.
    • The woke agenda
      • Self-pronounced as having the “take” on the way things are, and ought to be.
      • The “take” on what is right and wrong and why things are the way that they are.


  • Society, increasingly hard-hearted day by day.
    • Anti-God agendas lodging deeper.
      • Exponentially drinking, proverbial anti-God cool-aide.
      • Not witnessed in my lifetime.


  • I am sure all kinds of historical and current, cultural, and political variables pushing this exponential downgrade.
    • Fossil fuel for new day is one single thing: Sin!
      • Rooted first sin, by Adam, irrefutable.
      • Fallen condition of humankind, from the injection of sin into society’s bloodstream.


  • What creates a moral system shutdown, hardening of conscience, and what amounts to the self-destruction of God’s three institutions: Government, Family, and the Church.
    • Each preserved in ultimate sense, each corrupted by sin.
      • Government, no moral compass.
      • Appear to always choose wrong.


  • Family assaulted blurring birth identity.


  • The church now assigning guilt for everything by CRT.


  • Calling for penance of being oppressive to make things right by “Do-Gooding.”
  • Penance not repentance.


  • Locked inside a debtor’s cage, an unfulfillable deficit.


  • You are the oppressor.

Matthew 10, Jesus commissioned his 12 Apostles to go on their mission. To preach a hard message to the lost sheep of Israel (cf. Matt. 10:6).

  • Unprecedented confrontation and would not be ignored.
    • Understand Jesus, like any good war general not only sends his men into hostile territory.
    • He, likewise, leads the charge.
      • Willing to do whatever he asks anyone else to do.
      • What this gives to us is the content of his sermon.
        • Our livestream or YouTube.
        • Front row seat on Jesus “doing what he told his friends to do!”


  • Tone, tenor, and content of Jesus’ preaching.

“How did Jesus reach and serve his city? He preached judgment.”

  • Like all the prophets before, he exposed the generation’s sin and called for repentance.
    • Preaching judgment was only hope for those cities.
      • For that generation and likewise for our generation.
      • We need to preach judgment.


Prop: “Why preach judgement?”

  1. Our generation acts like children


  1. Ignoring the Lord (vv. 16-17)

Judgment preaching, addresses the sin of “Indifference.”

  • Children using a smokescreen of banter -- being “indifferent” to God.
    • To get what they want.
    • To be left to themselves.

“What does Jesus compare his generation to?” (v. 16). Children.

  • Jesus uses children to identify good and bad qualities about people.
    • Believers are like children in humility.
    • Children approach others with humble dependence.


  • Children by nature are vulnerable and needy; what makes them precious.

This is not the way Jesus is using the identification of children.

  • If around children enough, you realize invisible line crossed from precious to being not precious.
    • These are those.
    • From preschool to elementary to middle school.

Older children, pre-teen, middle schoolers, out in the “marketplaces” (v. 16).

  • Paul told the Corinthians to not act like children and children are tossed to-and-fro by every wind of doctrine.

ESV  1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

ESV  1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers, ado not be children in your thinking. bBe infants in evil, but in your thinking be cmature.

ESV  Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, atossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in bdeceitful schemes.

  • Middle schoolers outside on playground with “playmates.”
    • Calling out to each other.
    • Chanting with singsong voices.


  • Tossing phrases back and forth, to mock about being “indifferent.”
    • What people do when know they are caught in sin.
    • They mock sin, to make the pain of guilt subside.


  • Polarized events – wedding and funeral.
    • One happy, one sad.
    • Extreme circumstances.
      • Opposite responses.
        • Neither being very high.
        • Nor very low.


  • Artificial, like professional mourners described in the NT.

[Spurgeon] Therefore the Lord likens them to ‘children sitting in the markets’, where they were asked to play by their fellows, but they could never agree upon the game. If certain of the children would imitate a wedding, and began to pipe, the others would dance, and when they proposed a funeral, and began to mourn, the others would not lament. They were disagreeable, sullen, and captiously resolved to reject every offer.

The song sung ironically was/is social commentary on what is wrong with the world around us.

  • The world then and now is desensitized to The Lord.
    • Numb to reality.
    • Sin clouds moral sensitivity.
      • Unable to respond healthfully to the normal events of life as a picture of “indifference” to God!

Society clouded by sin does not “dance” with joy when supposed to nor does it “mourn” when it is supposed to. It is off.

  • This is self-condemnation and a personal indictment.


Christ is stating the reality that when it comes to God, our world is asleep.

  • They asleep to his presence.
    • Sin puts people in a spiritual deficit.
      • Unless they wake up, they eventually harden up.
      • Because the Lord cannot be ignored forever.

Jesus was saddened by the sheer perversity of human nature. To him men seemed to be like children playing in the village square. One group said to the other: "Come on and let's play at weddings," and the others said, "We don't feel like being happy today." Then the first group said, "All right; come on and let's play at funerals," and the others said, "We don't feel like being sad today." They were what the Scots call contrary. No matter what was suggested, they did not want to do it; and no matter what was offered, they found a fault in it.

The plain fact is that when people do not want to listen to the truth, they will easily enough find an excuse for not listening to it. They do not even try to be consistent in their criticisms; they will criticize the same person, and the same institution, from quite opposite grounds.
If people are determined to make no response they will remain stubbornly unresponsive no matter what invitation is made to them. Grown men and women can be very like spoiled children who refuse to play no matter what the game is.

– Barclay

They want it both ways.

What is amazing is that this is an old quote from a man long dead.

  • It is as if he is addressing the moral ills of today - nothing novel or new about these issues.

Oleg said the woke movement under different names happened in Russia 50 years ago.

  • Proletariat pushing back on the oligarchy.


Whether Barclay or Jesus? From Barclay to Matthew to Jesus, there is nothing new because the sins of the heart transfer culture to culture, from generation to generation.

  • Remedy same - Preaching judgment.
    • Problem is not just in our woke world.
    • Problem is also within the church.


  • Hearts of the world are hearts in the church.


  • Indictments and indifference need to face Jesus.

Jesus issues a strong rebuke.


  1. Mocking the Lord (vv. 18-19)

What they are doing is rejecting holiness; rejecting grace.

  • Jesus referencing John is referencing his ministry.
    • John promotes Messiah.
    • Mocking John mission, mocks the Lord.

Discredit Jesus by discrediting his messenger.

  • John took Nazarite vow.
    • Left his hair.
    • Abstained from wine.


  • Was too “Spartan” too rigid.
    • Abstaining from “eating nor drinking” meant he was an ascetic.
    • No fine foods and wine.


  • So much so, labeled a demoniac. Crazy.
    • “A demon.”
    • Dangerous label for Jesus’ messenger.

What Pharisees said of Jesus, “He delivers demons but the power of Satan.” Jesus said this was committing blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and that all other sins would be forgiven except this one.

Sin is dangerously close to what the Pharisees were committing.

  • Verses 18 and 19 make a two-sided coin.
    • John is on one side Jesus on other.
      • John mocked for his abstinence.
      • Jesus mocked for partaking.

Jesus calls himself “The Son of Man” (v. 19).

  • He “came eating and drinking” (v. 19).
    • He participated with others in the cultural norms of engagement.
    • Caricatured as sinful abuses being “A glutton and a drunkard” (v. 19).
      • Jesus met others with grace.
      • Sinlessly so.

 “Jesus ate too much and drank too much.”

  • Jesus was out of control.
  • “friends of tax collectors and sinners!” (v. 19).

Accusers faulting John as a separatist, in next breath, faulting Jesus for engaging sinners (v. 19).

Dual mockery, locking both the front door and backdoor of your heart.

  • Holiness is demonic and evangelism is compromise.
    • Both, acts of godliness, both righteous.
    • What rejecting the Lord does.


  • Hardheartedness is dangerous, leaving only one remedy.

This is the massive cultural contradiction where there is the call to quarantine because we need to love your neighbor while at the same time culture celebrated massive BLM rallies in the name of love your neighbor. 

Our generation, then and now, is like recalcitrant children, forcing their agenda.

Jesus cites Proverb’s wisdom saying, “Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds” (v. 19).

  • Like Proverbs, Jesus personifies wisdom.
    • You can accuse anyone for anything.
      • Person, by his sacrifice must be demonic.
      • Person, must be worldly because of his worldly associations.


  • Jesus governs accusations with wisdom.
    • Test me with Scripture.
    • Abstaining or engaging.
      • In the context of “wisdom” will be “justified by her deeds” (v. 19).
      • Fruit of wise acts of the Messiah.

Nothing will please these children because they are childish.


  1. Acting in presumption (vv. 20-24)


  1. Refusing to repent (v. 20)

“What did Jesus do with the cities?”

  • “What do we think about cities?”


  • “Should there be this romance see in the church over cities?”

Recently at ShepCon, John MacArthur asked the question, “What do the urban cities need most of all?” His answer, “Preaching judgment.”

This is counterintuitive to all the relief efforts espoused in today’s Christian culture. The godliest, gospel thing we can do is to perform acts of social justice.

  • When the church slips “works” into the Gospel, as part of how you come to know grace, then you lose the Gospel.
    • The Gospel becomes “do-gooding” effort, the subtle trap church subscribes to today.
      • Social gospel, a smokescreen for the real problem.
        • Hardhearted, unrepentance.
        • Soft preaching makes hard hearts; hard preaching makes for soft hearts.


  • The church promotes soft preaching rather than Jesus’ preaching.

Jesus begins in verse 20 with a denunciation of “the cities where most of his mighty works had been done” (v. 20).

  • The verb, “denounce” conveys strong indignation which can include insults or a “justifiable reproach” [Expositor’s Bible Commentary].


  • Denouncing anyone for anything begs for immediate criticism, but this was Jesus’ approach.

Jesus sent out Twelve to preach and was preaching in cities surrounding Galilee.

  • He denounced them! Condemned them!


  • Why? The sin of presumption!


  • Why? Given more than enough revelation and yet they would not repent.

[Appl] Always the fear I have with how much exposure to God’s Word I have been under over my entire life and increasingly so over the last 30 years. The more exposure to the power of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the more accountable I am to believe, embrace, yield to, submit to, obey, and be transformed by…!

  • My sin has become increasingly terrifying to me, as I draw nearer to Christ!

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