- Sermon Notes
Death and Taxes
1.In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter and said, “Our new constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
2.Many years later, Will Rogers joked, “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”
3.Death and Taxes. Tonight, in Matthew 22:15-33, we will learn what Jesus said about both and, along the way, discover important principles from God’s Word which, when personally applied, bring purpose and blessing to our lives!
1.Last week we noted that the day after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus returned to Jerusalem, immediately entered the Temple, and began to teach the people. (21:23)
2.The chief priests and elders saw Him and challenged Him, asking, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” (21:23)
3.Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” (21:24-25)
4.After reasoning together, they lied and said, “We do not know” because they feared the people for they all regarded “John as a prophet”. (21:26)
5.So, Jesus told them three parables which were like mirrors that revealed the condition of their hearts; “The Parable of the Two Sons”, “The Parable of the Landowner”, and “The Parable of the Marriage Feast”.
6.Next, the Apostle Matthew recorded three challenges from religious and political leaders, each an attempt to trap Jesus into a making a misstep so that they had grounds to accuse and reject Him.
7.But Jesus, the Son of God, knew what they were up to and gave them answers which, once again, revealed the hardness of their hearts and the wisdom of our Savior.
8.Tonight, we will study the first two challenges.
Transition – Let’s deal with taxes first…
I. Christians have a Dual Citizenship (15-22)
- When we come to this section of Matthew 22, we find the Pharisees counseling together on how they might trap Jesus in what He said.
- They came up with a devious plan and, likely, they approached Jesus with an air of superiority because they thought their plan was foolproof.
- Their plan was to find some way to get Jesus to say something against the Romans so that the Romans would come and silence Him.
- But, if Jesus said something in support of Rome, then He would lose the support of the people for He would be suspected of colluding with Rome.
- Keep in mind that the Pharisees were the purists of the nation of Israel and they opposed all attempts by Rome to intrude on their Jewish way of life. But their hatred of Jesus led them to partner with their enemy, the Herodians.
- The Herodians were supporters of Herod. They supported Roman rule because Herod’s ruling authority was given to him by Rome. As a result, they were opposed to the Pharisees. But the Herodians hated Jesus more and they wanted Him dead.
- In Mark 3, we’re told that after Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, the two groups formed an alliance and were committed to destroying Jesus.
Mark 3:6, The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
- Their trap involved a question about the Roman poll tax. At that time, Roman citizens were exempt from paying a poll tax, so the tax burden fell upon those living in the provinces of the Roman Empire.
- As a result, Israel was included, and each Jewish male was required to pay the dreaded poll tax.
- Their question was simple, “Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” (17)
- Jesus’ answer shows that the true child of God has obligations both to God and to his country.
A. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s
1.They tried to set the trap by trying to get Jesus to relax His defenses by giving Him compliments. (16)
2.But Jesus “perceived their malice” and showed them their hearts like a mirror, asking, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?” (18)
APPL – God knows everything. He sees through the lies and scoffs at those who attempt to trap Him.
Psalm 2:1-4, Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.
3.Jesus asked for a coin used for the poll tax, and they brought Him a denarius, the equivalent of a day’s wage.
4.He asked, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” (20)
5.They said, “Caesar’s”. And He said, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…” (21)
6.As we look as Christ’s words, there is much for us to learn so that we may understand and apply it to our lives.
APPL – First, let’s all agree that no one likes to pay taxes! It was true then and it is still true today.
ILLUS – Taxation comparison
ILLUS - $1,000 Fitness Challenge
APPL – Second, Christians must honor, obey, and pray for those in authority.
Romans 13:1, 7, Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God… Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
1 Timothy 2:1-4, First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- Warren Wiersbe wrote, “The best citizen is a Christian citizen.”
B.Render to God the things that are God’s
1. Jesus didn’t just answer the question about the Roman poll tax; He also challenged them to consider their relationship with God.
2.Caesar’s image was on the denarius, so it belonged to him and should be rendered back to him.3. Likewise, each person is made in God’s image; His inscription is on our lives. God formed Adam out of the dust and then breathed life into him.
Genesis 1:26, Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
4. In Mark 12, Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law?
Mark 12:29-30, Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”
APPL – God is worthy of and deserves our best, our highest, our all.
APPL – After Adam and Eve failed in the Garden of Eden, the image of God was tainted, tarnished.
- But through Jesus Christ, what was tarnished can be restored.
- We can reflect the image of God by putting off the old man, the tarnished ways of the flesh, and put on Christ so that we may love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Colossians 3:9-10, Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him
- When you pay a tax, you give a percentage, but with God, you surrender all.
- We give in response to all that He’s given us.
Transition – Now, let’s talk about death and, while we’re at it, resurrection life!
II. Know God’s Word and God’s Power (23-33)
- After the Pharisees and Herodians went away, shocked by Jesus’ answer, the Sadducees came to question Him, hoping to make Him look foolish.
- The Sadducees were Jewish leaders who only believed in the writings of Moses called the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. The chief priests were Sadducees.
- According to Acts 23:8, they also did not believe in angels or in a resurrection of the dead.
- No doubt they pulled out their standard question they used to make their opponents, those who believed in a resurrection of the dead, look foolish.
ILLUS – Favorite questions non-believers ask to stump Christians
A. The Church is the Bride of Christ
1. Their question came out of Deuteronomy 25 which says that if a man died without leaving a son, the widow shall not remarry outside the family. Rather, her husband’s brother shall take her as his bride. By doing so…
a. The widow will be cared for and not be reduced to begging.
b. Their first son shall be considered the son of the deceased husband so that his name will not be blotted out of Israel and the land will remain in the family and tribe.
2. So, the question was that if a married man died and left his wife to his brother, so also the second, and the third, all the way down to the seventh, whose wife would she be in the resurrection?
3. Remember, their belief in the resurrection had been challenged when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead but instead of repenting of their error, they sought to kill Lazarus.
John 12:10-11, But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus
4.Jesus immediately called out the problem, stating, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (29)
5.The key to avoiding error and living life as God intended is to know the Scriptures and the power of God.
6.Jesus then gave great insight about the resurrection, in other words, eternal life.
7.First, the eternal state is different from our current state of existence.
a.There will be no death in the resurrection for death has been swallowed up in victory according to 1 Corinthians 15:54.
b.Therefore, there will be no need for marriage because one of the purposes of marriage is procreation, to continue the human race.
c.So, we will be like the angels in heaven. Please note that will not become angels.
8.Second, marriage on earth is a shadow, or a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
Ephesians 5:31-32, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
APPL – In heaven, we will still be who we are now, only glorified, perfected, both in body and soul.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44, So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
- We will have relationships and be reunited with those we love who are in Christ.
- We will also have God’s perspective in heaven.
1 Corinthians 13:12, For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
- So, we will be like angels regarding marriage but not angels because the saints will rule with Christ while the angels will continue to serve God.
B. God is the God of the living
1.Regarding the resurrection of the dead, Jesus challenged them, “have you not read that which was spoken to you by God?” (31)
2.Then He quotes the only authority they recognize, Moses, from Exodus 3:6, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” to show them the error of their teaching. (32)
3.Notice that Jesus said, “I am” not “I was”. God is the God of those who have died but are now living in His presence!
4.Actually, everyone will have an eternal existence. The real question is where.John 11:25-26, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
APPL – There are many who are dead, even though they live.
- God formed Adam out of the dust and breathed life into him.
- When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, He breathes new life into us.
- Jesus is the life of heaven and He is offering His life to us even now.
- Heaven is a place prepared by Christ for us.
- As God, He can lay claim to our lives, but He respects our choice.
Take My Life and Let it Be by Frances Havergal
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
- Will you say to the Lord tonight, “Take my life”?
Matthew 22:15-23 NASB