Jason Helopoulos / Feb 16, 2020 / Matthew 14:1-12
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
We’ve seen in the book of Matthew that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is in direct conflict with the kingdom of the world. From this passage – Matthew 14:1-12 – Jason showed us four truths…
1 That Jesus’ fame was not enough. Jesus had been teaching with authority, and his fame had reached Herod. The Herod family were hedonists — proud, rich, and cruel. They were a picture of worldliness. Hearing of what Jesus was doing, Herod responds out of a pang of conscience. It’s John the Baptist! he thinks. But that is as far as he goes. There is no repentance.
2 The danger of a sin-inhibited conscience. John had courage to speak into a mess of incestuous sin. He tells the king, “it is not lawful” to have his brother’s wife. But Herod is a man of the world. He will not repent, and his fear of Herodias, his wife, is greater than any fear of God. And because weak men are afraid of seeming weak, he makes another bad decision. His sin-inhibited conscience allows him the lustful experience of Siloam’s dancing, which leads to a rash vow. His conscience was at work, and he knew its message, and yet he preferred John’s murder to seeming weak before his guests.
Why do we find it so hard to listen to our consciences? Here are four reasons: 1) the fear of man; 2) the fear of loss; 3) the fear of missing out; and 4) the fear of losing control.
3 The destruction of a sin-seared conscience. Herodias has a dead conscience. She would partake in murder, and at a birthday party. Her conscience is calloused from the long entertainment of sin. Destruction is the result, both her own and others’.
4 An encouragement. John had been saying to Herod that his marriage was “not lawful.” But by whose law? It did not break King Herod’s law. John knew God’s word, and so he could say confidently that the marriage broke God’s law. And God’s law was explicit. It applied to Herod as it does to every person. We also must obey God’s law rather than man’s, even if the man is us. God must govern our conscience. Was John required to preach to Herod? The disciples and Jesus did not, but John’s conscience, governed by God, must have said yes.
Christians are called to know God’s word, to obey it, and to stand on it. That is how God governs our consciences and how we can speak confidently into a sinful world.