Matthew 15:10-20 (On Offending Tares)

What concern seems to be behind the disciples’ question to Jesus in Mat 15:12?  See again Mat 15:1 and think: if the power brokers of our own day went out of their way to meet with us, would we consider it in our best interests to say something that we knew might offend them even if it was the truth, or would we be more likely to smooth over our differences, bring them along, and be careful to not say anything they might find offensive?  What does Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees indicate about His greater concern: not offending somebody in matters of importance even if it is the truth, or speaking the truth on matters of importance, even if somebody important is offended?  Should we ever conceal or water down the truth in order to please men, even if they are men of importance in the eyes of the world?  In what ways are many churches today guilty of this very thing?  Cf. Isa 1:21-22, 2Co 2:17.  If we are painfully honest with ourselves, for what ultimate reason are we afraid to boldly proclaim the truth for fear of offending others, especially those who are influential in the world, and what is God’s remedy for such fear?  See 1Jo 2:15, Jam 4:4, Rom 12:2 and contrast the examples of John the Baptist, the prophets of old, as well as Jesus’ own example.

What was Jesus’ response when the disciples told him the Pharisees were offended by His statement that it wasn’t what enters into a man that defiles him, but what proceeds out of a man?  See Mat 15:13-14.  Was He concerned that the truth had offended them?  Did He have any of the same notions that the disciples had or that we have that by being careful to not offend anyone with the truth we can bring them along and eventually be able to reach them?  Cf. Joh 6:60-61,65-66.  If one is a true planting of the Lord in which the seed of truth has taken root and is growing up, will the truth offend and drive him away, or challenge and strengthen and perfect him in the faith?  If one is not a true planting of the Lord because he loves the world and loves not the truth so that God’s word has no place in him, will glossing over the truth so he is not offended awaken him from his deceived state so that he comes to love the truth more, or will it only confirm him in his rebellion and give him a false security that he is not such a bad person after all?

What does Jesus say will be the end of those who are not born again of the truth to become a planting of the Father?  Cf. Mat 13:30,41-42, Joh 15:2,6.  Is being “uprooted” a good thing?  In what way is a tree or plant being uprooted more final, permanent and severe than it simply being cut down or broken off?  See Dan 4:13-15,26, Rom 11:17-24.  If a gardener takes care to not disturb a weed but nurtures and cares for it, will it eventually reward him with the sort of fruit for which he can give thanks?  Should we as farmers of God’s field be deceived that by not offending the tares we can bring them along and they will eventually bear fruit that is beneficial to God’s kingdom?  If we nurture the tares and try to bring them along with the rest of the wheat, what will the result be as their fruit matures and is sown throughout the field?  Cf. Deut 22:9.  In what way has this happened in much of what is called the Church today?  If a land is overrun with weeds so that its crop is defiled with thorns and thistles, what is the only remedy?  See Heb 6:7-8, cf. Mat 5:13.

Did Jesus respond to His disciples that they should go apologize on His behalf to the Pharisees for offending them and smooth over their differences so as to make up with them?  What did Jesus say in Mat 15:14 we should do with those who are offended by the truth?  For what reason did He say in Mat 15:14 that they should just “let them alone” or “leave them”?  What is the nature of a blind guide?  Cf. Rom 2:17-21, 1Ti 1:5-7, 2Ti 3:5,13.  Does a deceived person know he is deceived?  What makes it so appealing for those who are blind to follow the blind?  See 2Pe 2:18-19.  What does Jesus say is the great danger to those who are just barely escaping from the ones who live in error in following a deceived, blind guide?  Is a pit a good thing?  See Isa 24:17-22.  Are there just a few who are so deceived as to follow a blind guide?  See Mat 7:13-15, Luk 13:23-24.  Why is that?  See Jer 5:31, 2Ti 4:3-4.  What does this teach us about the central importance for those who would enter eternal life of having a sincere love for the truth and seeking out that truth for themselves and not just relying on the persuasion of others?  Cf. 2Th 2:9-12, Joh 9:39-41.  What warning does this offer today’s evangelical Christians who like the Pharisees suppose that they see so clearly and are a guide to the blind and a light to those who are in darkness (Rom 2:19)?  How should we guard against such?  See Rev 3:17-19.

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