Matthew 22:15-22 (Tribute to Caesar 3: True But not Truthful)

How did the disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians preface their question to Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar?  See Mat 22:16.  For what purpose were they flattering Him?  Cf. Jude 1:16.  Was what they said true?  What do their words indicate about the popular opinion of Jesus that resonated with the masses?  Why do such qualities resonate with people?  I.e., what is it within people that instinctively knows the righteousness of such qualities for how men ought to conduct themselves and how the world would be a better place if only they did?  See Rom 2:14-15.  What do their words indicate about the manner in which the religious teachers of that day typically conducted themselves, in spite of what they instinctively knew to the contrary, that made Jesus stand out as so exemplary among them?  Think: were they always truthful and did they always teach the way of God in truth without being partial to anyone?  Should we suppose it is much different today?  Cf. 2Ti 4:3-4, 2Pe 2:3, Jude 1:17-19.

Although the words of those who were questioning Jesus were true, were they truthful?  See Mat 22:18.  What does this remind us about the subtle nature of deception that may have an appearance of truth but can easily ensnare us if we are not careful?  To what part of man’s fallen nature were those confronting Jesus hoping their flattery would appeal so as to entice Him to take their bait?  Cf. Pro 16:18, 1Ti 3:6.  To what other parts of man’s fallen nature does the world often appeal with an appearance of truth so as to entice us to take its bait?  See 1Jo 2:16, Gen 3:6.  Again, what does this remind us about the nature of temptation that seeks to ensnare us?  What is our only way to guard against such enticements and so preserve our souls from being caught in a trap?  See 1Jo 2:15, 5:4-5, Luk 21:34-35, Rom 12:2, Gal 1:10, Col 3:1-2.

Consider again that although the Pharisees’ disciples spoke words of truth to Jesus, they were not being truthful; is it possible that we could be like that?  For true salvation, is it enough for one to just say, or even believe, what is true?  Cf. Jam 2:19.  What is it that makes us truthful in regard to anything we might say or believe that is true?  See Psa 15:2, 51:6, and contrast Luk 11:39.  What critically important application does this have for our walk with God if we are ever to obtain true salvation?  See 1Ti 1:5 and think: when we say that we seek to know God, is that really the innermost desire of our heart?  Cf. Deut 4:29.  When we say that we want to understand God’s ways, is that really our heart’s desire so that we are moved to study and show ourselves approved as workmen who rightly divide the word of truth and have no need to be ashamed (2Ti 2:15)?  When we say that we want to be the holy people of God, is that really the sincere desire of our heart so that our feet are set in motion to turn from sin, come out of the world and walk along the narrow path of righteousness?  Cf. Luk 13:24.  When we pray for salvation from our sins, is it really our heart’s desire to be free from sin, or do our hearts in fact cling to it?  What does this help us to understand about why the prayers of so many people so often go unanswered?  Cf. Psa 66:18.

What is it then that Scripture repeatedly warns us against that causes people to say what is true even when they are not being truthful?  I.e., what was it that so deceived the religious leaders and their disciples to say what they knew to be true, but with complete insincerity and only that they might trap Jesus?  See Psa 95:7-9, Heb 3:8,15, 4:7.  What is another name for a hardened heart?  See 1Ti 4:2.  What does this teach us about the importance of a pure heart and a good conscience to our walk of faith?  Cf. 1Ti 1:19, 3:9, 2Ti 1:3, Act 23:1, 24:16.  What does this also help us to understand about the nature of true salvation?  See Heb 9:14, 10:22; contrast Tit 1:15.  What does it also remind us about the great danger of sinning on our knees—saying words of truth, praying for things our hearts are really not in agreement with?  See Joh 12:39-40; cf. Psa 18:25-26, 2Th 2:11-12.

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