Mat 16:4 How did Jesus answer the request of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Considering that Jesus did many signs in order that people might believe (see Joh 20:30-31), indeed, so many as to fill the whole world with books (Joh 21:25), what does his response indicate about the way that God answers those whose hearts are not pure and whose motives to serve Him are not sincere? See Psa 18:25-26. In what way did He then give them what they were truly looking for? Cf. 2Th 2:10-12. What does this teach us about why so many people never see a miraculous sign, and why a person’s request for a sign from God may go unanswered? What did Jesus call those who seek after a miraculous sign under the false pretense of prospective belief?
Consider that different generations tend to be characterized by different assumptions and beliefs; for example: how do the assumptions and beliefs that characterize today’s generation differ from previous generations? What does “evil” and “adulterous” indicate about the assumptions and beliefs of the “generation” He has in mind, and in what regard did it describe even the religious leaders of that day? See Hos 3:1, Jam 4:4, Rev 2:2-4. Was it just the religious leaders to whom He was speaking at the time, or do you think He had in mind a much larger group of people who had collectively come to accept certain assumptions and beliefs that characterized their way of life, and that was epitomized by the Pharisees and Sadducees? Is the generation to which He refers then to be understood temporally and linearly in the way we think of the generations of “depression-era”, “baby boomers”, “x-ers”, and “millenials”? In what ways does “evil” and “adulterous” describe all generations of mankind, including our own? What insight does this give us into Jesus’ words in Mat 24:34? What warning does it give us from His words in Luk 11:29-32, 49-51?
In contrast to the generations of mankind that are described as evil and adulterous, what terms does Scripture use to describe those whom Jesus redeems to become a part of His own generation? See 1Cor 1:2, 2Co 1:1, Eph 2:19, Col 1:12-14, Mat 16:18. By what means only is one able to escape the generations of this world to become a part of His generation and have a share in the inheritance of the saints in His kingdom of light? See Joh 3:3, 1Pe 1:3-4,23. Does “evil and adulterous” best describe the generation to which we personally belong, or have we been “born again” into His “generation” to be salt and light in the midst of this “crooked and perverse generation” (Phil 2:14-15)? How much are we like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day by saying, “If only we had a sign to know for sure…” and so hedge our bets by keeping one foot in the world while seeking to serve God? Why is it consistent with an adulterous generation to literally crave and even clamor for or demand a sign? Think: what does such indicate about an outward appearance of religion? What was the only sign Jesus said would be given to such people, and what did He mean by it? Cf. Mat 12:39-40. Jesus’ death and resurrection, like Jonah’s experience, was an incredible sign that clearly validated the truth He proclaimed; why is it unnecessary and even fruitless for any other sign to be given to those who are a part of an evil and adulterous generation? See Luk 16:31. What action did Jesus take after telling the religious leaders that no sign would be given them? See Mat 16:4. What does it teach us about the great danger to our souls of seeking the Lord with impure motives? Do you think He might even today also leave and go away from those who are only religious on the outside and who seek Him only in pretense, but in fact belong to an evil and adulterous generation? What would a congregation full of such people look like, both as man sees them from the outside and as God sees them from the heart? See Rev 2:9, 17:1,5,18:2-3, Pro 2:16-19, 9:13-18, Ecc 7:26, Isa 1:21, Jer 3:1-5, Eze 16:26-30. What is the great danger to one with a pure heart of joining himself to such a congregation? See 1Co 6:15-16. What then is God’s command to His people who are a part of such a congregation, and why? See Rev 18:4-7, Jer 51:6-7.