Jesus Preached Judgment, Pt. 2

Mar 27, 2022

Jesus Preached Judgment, Pt. 2

Passage: Matthew 11:20-24

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: Matthew: We Need a King

Category: Sunday Morning


ii. Rejecting ample revelation (vv. 21-24)

The point of this section is on Jesus performing miracles where whole cities reject God’s revelation.

Miracles credential revelation.

  • False miracles mean false teachers.

In Matthew, most miracles were done in three cities.

  • Two of the three cities are rarely mentioned!
  • Most mentioned in Capernaum.
  • Chorazin is never mentioned elsewhere.


 Rejecting Jesus’ miracles meant rejecting Jesus’ message. Privilege is being spurned.

ESV  Genesis 39:7-9 And after a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, "Lie with me."8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and ahe has put everything that he has in my charge.9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and asin against God?"

 [Josiah, 18 years old, during the renovation of Jerusalem Temple, found the Torah!]

ESV  2 Kings 22:13 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is athe wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us."

ESV  Luke 17:26 aJust as it was in the days of bNoah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.27 aThey were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of aLot--they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,29 abut on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all--30 so will it be aon the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

 ESV  James 3:1 aNot many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

How dangerous it is to be indifferent to Christ.

When John came to the end of his gospel, he wrote a sentence in which he indicated how impossible it was ever to write a complete account of the life of Jesus: "But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were everyone of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (Jn.21:25). This passage of Matthew is one of the proofs of that saying.

Chorazin was probably a town an hour's journey north of Capernaum; Bethsaida was a fishing village on the west bank of jordan, just as the river entered the northern end of the lake. Clearly the most tremendous things happened in these towns, and yet we have no account of them whatever. There is no record in the gospels of the work that Jesus did, and of the wonders he performed in these places, and yet they must have been amongst his greatest. A passage like this shows us how little we know of Jesus; it shows us--and we must always remember it--that in the gospels we have only the barest selection of Jesus' works. The things we do not know about Jesus far outnumber the things we do know.

(ii) It was the sin of indifference. These cities did not attack Jesus Christ; they did not drive him from their gates; they did not seek to crucify him; they simply disregarded him. Neglect can kill as much as persecution can. An author writes a book; it is sent out for review; some reviewers may praise it, others may damn it; it does not matter so long as it is noticed; the one thing which will kill a book stone dead is if it is never noticed at all for either praise or blame.

Word is a lethal sin!

  • You are more accountable post this teaching time, than you were before. 
  • Jesus called them and now calls you to reject being this kind of child (v. 16). 
  • Indifference in the world creeps in the church as indifference in the church. 
  • A middle schooler or like another kind of child (v. 25). 

Jesus’ judgments are only taken seriously when understood in view of Hell.

  • The very reason for acting in presumption has to do with people believing they have all the time in the world.
    • Most at the end of their lives live with a degree of regret.
      • “I just wish I would have spent more time with my family.”
      • “I wish I would have had this conversation or that conversation.”
      • “I wish I would not have worked so hard.”


  • Which, to a certain degree is understandable but at the same time these comments are viewed considering this life being all there is.


  • Living within false guilt of this life, is a deadly trap.
    • Common temptation – akin to mere laziness!
      • “If you don’t work you don’t eat.”
      • “He who does not take care of his own is worse than an unbeliever.”


  • Eternity in view or spending time and money in church is a mere façade.
  • A waste!

Judgment needs to be viewed considering eternity.

  • Eternal judgment is the only thing terrifying enough to curb the gravitational pull of sin.
    • Sin drags people down into inescapable Hell.
      • Judgment is a warning.


  • Two overarching principles of Hell.
    • It is forever.
    • Its punishments are felt in degrees - based on exposure to God’s Revelation.

Two sources of revelation.

  • Both, when rejected will send anyone to Hell.
    • First kind of revelation is general revelation.
      • Everything God has made in general creation.
      • Which says, “There is a Creator and you are accountable to Him!”
        • Everything in the order of creation, mountains, animals, insects, planets, and yes of course, people all by their existence scream a message.
        • “They were created by divine design, meaning, there is a Designer” (cf. Ps. 19).


  • Whatever created by this Creator is accountable by reason that it was made by this Creator in the first place.

“What is the creation accountable to? Simply put, “Glory.”

  • Sin deranged “creation’s goal” – glory.
  • Sin puts all of creation on a trajectory toward judgment.
    • “The creation will be judged?” Yes.


  • Remember the flood, where the world was destroyed?
    • Flood first, fire second.
    • Then the redemption of creation comes in the New Heavens and the New Earth.

Romans 1 makes a clear distinction between the creature and Creator (cf. Rom. 9 – The Potter and Clay).

  • God’s invisible attributes pour out through creation rendering everyone who rejects this revelation accountable to judgment.
    • Man, made in the image of God has a conscience (cf. Rom. 2:15-16) and when someone sees God as Creator, he will in turn be stirred to believe the Gospel. 
  • The second source of revelation is called special revelation which is when God reveals himself through his Word (cf. Ps. 19:7-14). 
  • When Jesus was on earth, he revealed the Kingdom of God through miracles and through teaching and preaching.
    • People must have ears to hear Christ’s message to embrace it by faith (cf. 1 Cor. 2).

ESV  1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are afolly to him, and bhe is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

  • Why Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (cf. Rom 10, “faith comes by hearing”).

ESV  Romans 10:17 So afaith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

  •  When people see the truth, they see Jesus for who he really is. 
  • To reject special revelation, this is dangerous and the reason Jesus condemns these cities.

People corrupt general and special revelation believing they have faith in God when the do not.

  • General revelation refashioned into naturalism.
  • Special revelation refashioned into supernaturalism.
    • Both are forms of false spirituality.
      • Worshipping nature or Worshipping experience.
      • Both are idols. 
  • Both miss God and will send you into His eternal judgment.

[Albert Einstein] My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”

He was not far from the kingdom but needed to believe on the special revelation of the gospel. Raised in Germany by Jewish parents. Attended Catholic school as a child, was known to be pantheistic.

One of the greatest things that ever happened to our country is the nationwide spread of the gospel.

  • Privilege our country experienced with God’s Word revered and preached throughout early history meant people grew up knowing there was a God!
    • What appears as sudden has been a slow drift.
      • Now we know nothing of the true God.
      • The Bible, Jesus Christ, or anything related to being a true believer has been erased. 
  • On the cusp of losing Christian moorings.
    • Deconstructionists ripping down war statues in the name of political correctness makes for coming erasures of American church history.
    • The first and second great awakenings will have never happened, forgotten with no bearing on current thought. 
  • Redaction history wiping away America’s puritan history.
    • One generation from Christianity being gone.
    • Losing our country is sad.
    • Worse, losing your soul.

Judgment is rejecting God’s Word by presuming on God’s Word always being around.

  • Lost most of all, is the finality of eternity.
    • The implication of a real God who will judge whether you spend eternity in heaven or hell.
    • God who determines the degree of joy or suffering experienced in either realm, forever.   

Verse 20 is anchored in the word, “denounce” - a strong verb, conveying indignation.

“Mighty works” points to the sheer volume of miraculous events in the cities.

  • Rejecting a high privilege.
    • Jesus did not denounce them because of opposition but indifference.
      • Presumption on a concentration of miracles.
      • Why there is judgment. 
  • Terrifying comparison to privilege our country has experienced.

Romans 1 teaches the digression of culture that moves from:

“lusts of their hearts” (Rm. 1:24)

to “dishonorable passions” (v. 26)

to God giving the whole culture up “to a debased mind” (v. 28).

  • Where our country is now…under judgment.
    • Depth of responsibility for having more light, more revelation, more Sunday school, more preaching over long period of time.
    • GCS!

This is acting in Presumption:

Refusing to repent (v. 20) and Rejecting ample revelation (vv. 21-24). 

Three cities: Chorizin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.

1. Corizin and Bethsaida. 
a. If, then in view of Tyre and Sidon (v. 21)

Chorazin was probably a town an hour's journey north of Capernaum; Bethsaida was a fishing village on the west bank of jordan, just as the river entered the northern end of the lake. [Barclay]

The judgment is “Woe to you” – meaning a mixture of doom and pity mingled together.

Note the accent in Jesus' voice as he said this. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!" The Greek word for woe which we have translated "alas" is ouai (GSN3759); and ouai expresses sorrowful pity at least as much as it does anger.

This is not the accent of one who is in a temper because his self-esteem has been touched; it is not the accent of one who is blazingly angry because he has been insulted. It is the accent of sorrow, the accent of one who offered men the most precious thing in the world and saw it disregarded. Jesus' condemnation of sin is holy anger, but the anger comes, not from outraged pride, but from a broken heart.

  • Chorizon (cf. Luke 10:13), northwest of Capernaum. 
  • “Bethsaida” was home of Andrew, Peter, and Philip (cf. Jn. 1:44; 12:21) on west side of Galilee. 
  • “Tyre” and “Sidon” were large Phoenician cities on Mediterranean, not far from there, likewise denounced by OT prophets for Baal worship (cf. Ez 26-28).

 “Sackcloth” is rough fabric made from short hairs of camels worn next to skin to express grief and sorry.

  • Ashes added picture of deep emotion (like running mascara), also worn on head, sat in, or laid on top of, or even rolled in. 
b. If, then in view of Hell (v. 22)

“But I tell you” (v. 22).

  • Understood with authoritative force.
    • Things go worse for cities had more light.
    • Than for pagan cities filled with sin.

 “Tyre and Sidon” epitomized pagan, Gentile corruption.

  • Descendants of ancient Phoenicians, seafaring merchants, colonizers of the Mediterranean.
    • Seaports, typical for immorality, involved in Baal worship.
    • A certain king of Tyre was so proud that Ezekiel used to picture Satan.

ESV  Ezekiel 28:11-15 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me: 12 a"Son of man, braise a lamentation over cthe king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the signet of perfection,1 dfull of wisdom and eperfect in beauty.13 You were in aEden, the garden of God; bevery precious stone was your covering, csardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,1 demerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings.2 eOn the day that you were created they were prepared.14 You were an anointed aguardian cherub. I placed you;1 you were on bthe holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.15 You were blameless in your ways afrom the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 

  • Violence and profanity, pride injustice so excessive, Lord destroyed it! (Ez. 28:16-19; cf. Jer. 25:22; 47:4). 
  • Sold God’s people into slavery (Amos 1:9).

There are three things of note from verse 21.

  • First, is that God as Judge has contingent knowledge: He knew what Tyre and Sidon would have done under such-and-such or like circumstances. 
  • Second, God does not owe revelation to anyone, or else there is injustice in withholding it. 
  • Third, punishment on the day of judgment considers someone’s opportunity to believe.

Verse 23 introduces the reality of degrees both of pleasure in heaven and degrees of torment in hell.

  • 12:41; 23:13; cf. Lk. 12:47-48 “severe beating…light beating”.
  • Paul understood this in his argument (Rm. 1:20-2:16).

Sobering to consider in view of the Gospel coming to the Western, English-speaking Christian-influenced society.   

Brings up sovereign will of God and human responsibility of man.

  • Not taking time to treat how God is working dynamically within time and space.
    • Just to say, God is truly involved in our lives and treats us in view of our choices.
      • Understand, God judges sins committed in your lifetime that carry into your next lifetime.
        • Your eternal lifetime.
        • God is completely sovereign over your existence. 
  • He transcends you, by the nature of who he is as God.
    • God, for his purposes, chooses to deal with you as what you are.
    • His creation.
      • He is the potter, and you are his clay.
      • He brings blessing or cursing according to responses whether good or evil. 
  • His ultimate measuring stick to your responses to revelation.
    • Specifically, special revelation.
    • He offers himself to you through truth and you either accept it or reject it.
      • No middle ground.
      • There are always consequences.  
2. Capernaum 
a. If, then in view of Sodom (v. 23)

Jesus asks a rhetorical question to another city. Capernaum.

  • Jesus’ base of operations for his work in Galilee.
    • Performed miracles with a powerful presence in teaching.
      • “What Capernaum was known for?”
      • No! Should have been!

 “…will you be exalted to heaven?” Or, “…you will be brought down?”

  • Jesus’ language is taken from, Isaiah 14.
    • Israel’s remnant taunts Babylon.
    • Using same phrase.

In Isaiah 14:12, the prophet asks:

ESV  Isaiah 14:12-16 "How ayou are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, bson of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, a'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God bI will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;114 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'

15 aBut you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.16 Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: 'Is this athe man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms 

  • Known as an allusion to Satan’s fall (which I think it is).
    • Also, an immediate reference to Babylon’s fall.
      • Used by Jesus to reference Capernaum’s fall by parallel.
        • Capernaum is lumped together with Babylon.
        • Babylon, for the Jews, is the epitome of evil (cf. Rev. 17:5). 

ESV  Revelation 17:5 And on her forehead was written a name of amystery: b"Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations." 

  • Heaven is contrasted with Hades as a metaphor for the ultimate exaltation-humiliation contrast. 
  • Jesus completes his judgment speech by making another if/then comparison, this time to Sodom.
    • All the sins of Sodom ring as the pinnacle of a degraded society.
      • A city (“the land of Sodom” representing several cities involved in sin and destruction”).
      • Given to a debased mind and yet Jesus says again, “…if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day” (v. 23). 

If God had given like revelation to Sodom, God would not have had to wipe it off the planet with fire and brimstone. This city would still be here. 

 b. If, then in view of Hell (v. 24)

Verse 24 concludes with the same warning of degrees of punishment in hell.

  • “…it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you” (v. 24).
    • “Presumption” is seditious and acts in total stealth.
      • The shocking reality - sin committed by Capernaum is the sin committed inside the church.
        • We hear the most truth and remain unmoved, untouched, in passive resistance.
        • We are not willing to move on anything the Lord requires us to do and instead simply smile and wave. 
  • We need to hear and receive this warning to our souls.
    • Will you hear the call of God to your hearts this day?
      • Because Jesus is coming.
      • He is coming with judgement and a judgment not merely for Vladimir Putin and his overt evil but a judgment for those who hear the truth and walk away happy as if all they heard was “Go, be blessed and forget about everything you just witnessed.” 
  • Satan wants you to stay in practical agnosticism.
    • Better, please stay a practical atheist, but stay in the church.
      • No, instead, yield yourself to Christ.
      • Yield yourself to him.

ESV  Luke 17:26-30 aJust as it was in the days of bNoah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.

27 aThey were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of aLot--they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,29 abut on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all--30 so will it be aon the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 

Our country is the proverbial frog in the kettle. Worrying about the Frog in the Kettle.

In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters:

The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it many produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop. Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans round this little corner...You see the little rift? Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason. That’s the game.

I was reading Genesis 6 to my boys:

ESV  Genesis 6:5-7 aThe LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every bintention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And athe LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it bgrieved him to his heart.7 So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." 

  • This is the Romans 1 of the OT.
    • Society sleeps while is goes deeper and deeper into its own perversions.
    • All the while, Jesus will return with judgment. 

I asked Oleg and Amanda to put together some prayer requests for the Ukraine, so we can be in pray for their family, the country, and missionary friends. 

  • Oleg previewing this sermon, made the connection that when he left Ukraine in the providence of God. 
  • Putin one year later began to impose pressure on Crimea, to which he easily took back. 
  • This for Oleg became a warning in 2014 that the threat of Putin toward Ukraine loomed large. 
  • Considering that, Oleg brought his son here who attended and graduated from GCS. 
  • Ukrainians were comfortable when they should have been on alert and when the bombs began to fall, they have fled in terror. 

Flee the wrath to come, while things remain quiet. 

  • Judgment is mounting.
  • The threat of unrepentant – indifference – to God’s Word.
  • Looms Large!

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