Matt 11:20                This Generation Repents Not                              5/20/2018      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Generation of Unbelieving Sons of Jacob (Matt 11:16-19, 12:41-42, 23:35-36)

 

 

 

 

·      First Christ Must Be Rejected of This Generation (Luke 17:25, 21:32, 2Thes 2:8, Matt 24:34)

 

 

 

 

#2.       Then Began He to Upbraid the Cities (Matt 11:20-24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Do We Know Both the Father and the Son? (Matt 11:27, John 17:3, Isa 45:7,20-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 11:10 (2X). We are continuing our series in the Gospel According to Matthew, one chapter each week, and we are seeing that right from the beginning of the NT God started a new set of rules in His program for the salvation of man. No longer does God operate only among the children of Jacob, but from the beginning of the NT God reaches out to all the nations of the world. And then, when we look carefully at the OT, we see that in actuality God was already reaching out to both Jews and Gentiles all the way through the OT. In Matt chapter 8 we saw that the dominant theme throughout that chapter is, “Who really are the children of the Kingdom?” Not the Jews, but the remnant chosen by grace of both Jews and Gentiles are really the children of the Kingdom of God. Then in Matt chapter 9 we saw that the dominant theme through-out that chapter is, “Only by grace alone do we become children of the Kingdom”. The Lord Jesus illustrated this principle with two parables about an old and a new garment, and about an old bottle and a new bottle. The Lord hereby emphasized the principle that you must be born from above, not by birth from good Jewish stock, and not by your own free will, and not by the will of your father who had you be baptized, but you must be born of God through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Only then can you become a child of the Kingdom of God. Then in chapter 10 we saw that the dominant theme throughout that chapter is, “The Church Militant”, or in other words, “The Kingdom of Heaven must be preached, and who will He send?” The Lord Jesus thereby emphasized the principle, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”. And today, in Matt chapter 11, we are going to see that the dominant theme throughout the chapter is, “This generation of unbelieving sons of Jacob will not repent and believe on the Lord Jesus as their Messiah”. Therefore the title of this sermon is, This Generation Repents Not (2X). Let us begin to pick up this theme in Matt 11:10 (2X,

The Lord Jesus answered the messengers which John the Baptist sent to ask Jesus if He is the promised Messiah. And when they left, the Lord addressed the identity of John the Baptist. He said in

Mt 11:10  For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (This is a quotation from Malachi. Then we should look this up.)

Put a sticker here in Matt 11, and please turn to the Prophecy of Malachi, Mal 3:1 (2X). You find Malachi just before the Gospel According to Matthew. This prophecy was given to Malachi at least 300 years before the Lord Jesus and John the Baptist came on the scene. During those 300 years the Jews bemoaned their subjection to the Medo-Persian Empire, and then to the Greek Empire left by Alexander the Great, and then to the Roman Empire. They were looking for an earthly Messiah who would deliver them from these heathen kings. Two times does God speak of John the Baptist in the Prophecy of Malachi; once in chapter 3 and once in chapter 4. God says in Mal 3:1 (2X),

Mal 3:1 ¶  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord,  whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom

 ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

The first time the word “messenger” is mentioned in this verse it is referring to John the Baptist. That is what the Lord Jesus said in Matt 11:10. But then God adds these words, “And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple”. This refers to the Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah, for whom they waited many centuries, He shall suddenly, meaning unexpectedly, come to His temple. And so it was that, when the Lord Jesus appeared on the scene, no one expected Him, and no one believed that He was Messiah who was to come. Only a few people around Him, to whom He chose to make Himself known, believed and followed Him to the end. He came unexpectedly, because those who were in charge to interpret the Bible interpreted it only in the historical sense. And that is wrong. And when He comes again to judge the world, He comes again unexpectedly, because those who are in charge of interpreting the Bible will interpret it only in the historical sense, and that is wrong. But those who expect Christ to come in the year 2011 will also be proven wrong, for the Lord Jesus will come unexpectedly, for no one knows the day or the hour of His coming. Then we see in Mal 3:1 that the Lord Jesus is called, “The Messenger of the Covenant”, and this time the word “Messenger” refers not to John the Baptist, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the names God attaches to the Lord Jesus is that He is “The Messenger of the Covenant”. He delivered the message that God has written before the foundation of the world His Last Will and Testament, which is also known as the “Covenant of Grace”. This is the Covenant that God mentioned in Gen 6:18, and from thereon God repeated this concept of the Covenant more than 250 times through the Bible. Therefore we are obligated to study and understand this concept of the Covenant of grace, or else we are bound to arrive at error or heresy. Please turn again to Matt 11:11 (2X), and let us finish this thought about John the Baptist. The Lord Jesus said in verses 11 through 15,

Mt 11:11  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Mt 11:12  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.   For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.   And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There are many more things I could say about these verses, but today we must move on to:

#1.       The Generation of Unbelieving Sons of Jacob (Matt 11:16-19, 12:41-42, 23:35-36)

Mt 11:16-17  But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,           And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

Mt 11:18  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

Mt 11:19  The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

What does the Lord mean when He said, “But wisdom is justified of her children”? First of all, when we read the word “wisdom” in the Bible, it usually refers to the wisdom that God gives to man, and especially it is the wisdom of knowing God, or the wisdom of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and thus it is the wisdom that leads us unto salvation. And how is this wisdom justified of her children? When we recognize the salvation that has come into our soul and that God has given us this wisdom by grace, and we also recognize the wonderful work God has done in the souls of many other saints and has given them wisdom by grace, we can see that this gift of wisdom from God has produced many sons of God. Therefore this wisdom of knowing God, and knowing Christ, is justified by the children she has produced. These are all gifts from God by grace.

But now we want to focus our attention to Matt 11:16. The Lord speaks about “This Generation”, who remains in unbelief. They did not believe John the Baptist when He preached, and they did not believe the Lord Jesus when He proclaimed the Gospel, and they did not believe the signs which He did to prove that He was God. But the Lord used the expression, “This Generation”, which is a very remarkable expression in the Bible. In fact the words, “this generation” appears 19 times throughout the Bible, 4 times in the OT and 15 times in the NT, and in all cases, in all 19 times, the words, “this generation” refers to those of the nation of Israel who remain in unbelief. For example, please turn to chapter 12 in this Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 12:41 (2X). The theme of this chapter is that the Jews seek for an acceptable sign from the Lord Jesus, for all the signs that He did were not good enough to them. This is how far their unbelief went. But those who were of the remnant chosen by grace, referring to a remnant from the Jews as well as a remnant from the Gentiles, were amazed and said, “Is not this the Son of David?” Then the Lord answered them who asked from Him a sign, and He said in Matt 12:39, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign”. Did you catch that? He called their generation an evil and adulterous generation. The Lord did not include every one of the Jews living in those days, for certainly 11 of His disciples were not included in that evil and adulterous generation. But those who remained unsaved were the same ones who were asking for a sign, and the Lord called them an evil and adulterous generation. Let us read Matt 12:41-42,

Mt 12:41  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Mt 12:42  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Can you see that the words “this generation” refers to those who fall under condemnation? When the Lord uses the words, “this generation”, He is not using it in the sense of our usage of it in our days but the Lord uses it specifically to identify those of the nation of Israel who remain unsaved, and that refers to most of the nation of Israel. And they remain unsaved unto this day. And thus the words “this generation” also applies to the Jews of our days. Please turn to chapter 23 in this Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 23:35 (2X). As you know, this is a chapter filled with condemnations heaped upon the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ days, because they preached a false gospel; they preached a gospel of works rather than grace. This is the chapter of 8 Woes upon the scribes and Pharisees. But let us be fair. The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ days were not the only ones who taught the people a false gospel. Today there are many false teachers who preach a gospel of grace plus works. It is to them also that the Lord Jesus utters these condemnations. We must remember that. We read in

Mt 23:35-36  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.   Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Why was this generation held responsible for the blood of righteous Abel? It is so because all the blood of the martyrs was shed mainly by the people of their own church. We saw it in the case of Cain and Abel. Those two brothers attended the same church, for they went to the same place to offer their burnt offerings to the same God. And so, “this generation” refers to those of the nation of the Jews who remain unsaved. But before God’s condemnation falls on them, something must come to pass.

·      First Christ Must Be Rejected of This Generation (Luke 17:25, 21:32, 2Thes 2:8, Matt 24:34)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Luke, Luke 17:25 (2X). In this chapter, from verse 22 to the end of the chapter, the Lord Jesus speaks of His second coming. For example, He says in verse 24, “For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day”. And then He says in V. 25,

Lu 17:25  But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

Why did the Lord insert this statement here in this place? Clearly it is an insertion, since before verse 25 Christ speaks of His second coming and after verse 25 Christ again speaks of His second coming. The fact that the Lord Jesus must suffer and be crucified is mentioned 9 other times in the four Gospels. Why was it necessary that the Lord inserted it here also in the midst of His teachings about His second coming? The reason is clear: He is using the words “this generation”. Not only would the Lord Jesus have to be crucified by the generation living 2000 years ago, but He will also be rejected by this generation of the nation of the Jews who will be living near the end of time, when the Lord Jesus comes again. Please turn to chapter 21 of this Gospel According to Luke, Luke 21:32 (2X) This is the second time in this Gospel According to Luke that the Lord Jesus addressed His second coming. And here again we see the words “this generation”. We read in Luke 21:32 (2X),

Lu 21:32  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

This has always been a puzzling verse to me. Could it mean that those who live during the FTP, and who read and believe this verse, would not die but will continue to live until the Lord raptures us up to be with Him forever? No! It cannot mean that, for the saints live and die all the time. There is not a period of time when the saints will not die in their bodies. But now that we know the meaning of the expression “this generation”, we can more accurately understand this verse. This generation of evil and unbelieving Jews shall not pass away till Christ comes again. The nation of the Jews will for the most part remain unbelievers until everything will be fulfilled and Christ is coming on the clouds of heaven “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thes 2:8). Exactly the same interpretation applies to Matt 24:34, which says exactly the same thing as Luke 21:32. We read in Matt 24:34,

Mt 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

And once we have arrived at the meaning of “this generation” for all the 19 places in the Bible where this expression occurs, we can clearly see that the Premillennial scheme of the end of time cannot fit the Biblical record. Then we know for sure that this is a man-made eschatological scheme. For if this generation of unbelieving Jews continues to exist till the end of time, then the notion that the Jews will turn to Christ as a whole nation for a period of 1000 years cannot be true. It is a man-made gospel. Let us now return to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 11:20 (2X). What have we seen so far? The Jews listened to John the Baptist, but they believed him not. Then they listened to the Lord Jesus, and they saw the miracles that He did, but they still did not believe Him.

#2.       Then Began He to Upbraid the Cities (Matt 11:20-24)

Mt 11:20  Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

We can see that actually this verse is reflecting the dominant theme of this chapter. The Lord sent prophets to OT Israel, but they were not received. Instead the prophets were mistreated and many of them were killed. Then the Lord sent His Son, but the nation of Israel did not receive Him either, and they killed Him by crucifixion. They accepted Herod, a descendant of Esau, as king over them, but Christ as a descendant of David they did not want to rule over them. The Lord Jesus, who did mighty signs and wonders in the midst of them, and who did not hurt even one of them, they did not receive. And why not? Because the religious leaders out of envy instigated the masses to reject Jesus, and to label Him a heretic and a blasphemer. And the nation of the Jews believed them. We read in Mt 11:21

Mt 11:21-24  Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.          But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.                 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

What messages is the Lord Jesus bringing in these words? I see at least two important doctrines

flowing out of these words. First of all, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum are representatives of the nation of Israel who heard the true Gospel from the most perfect preacher of all times for 3½ years, they witnessed the most spectacular miracles ever done in the history of mankind, and yet they remained unsaved, they remained unbelievers. Just like the children of Israel, who were miraculously delivered out of slavery in Egypt, who walked through the Red Sea and saw the Sea as a wall of water on their left, and a wall of water on their right, and yet they remained unsaved, they remained unbelievers, as we read in Heb 3. They saw that Pharaoh and all his army was drowned in the Red Sea, they saw the presence of God as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night for 40 years, they ate the manna from heaven for 40 years, their shoes and their clothes did not wear out for 40 years, they saw water gushing out of a rock, they saw their enemies thoroughly defeated, and yet they remained unsaved, they remained unbelievers, as we read in Heb 3. Can you see the incredible wickedness of the unsaved natural man? Can you see the unbelievable ingratitude of these people? Can you see that God is very angry about this kind of response to His great gifts? And yet, did you know that each one of us would react the same way, or worse, if it was not for the gift of God who did a miraculous work in our soul and gave us the grace to believe the Gospel? And so, here is the first principle that flows out of these verses: If people are under the hearing of the Gospel for a certain length of time, and remain unsaved, their judgment is far greater than for people who have never heard the Gospel and die unsaved. Let me now apply this a little closer to home. Children listen to this principle that the Lord Jesus told us today: If you attend church for 10 years and if you hear the true Gospel preached for 10 years, and if you then still do not have a clue what it is all about, then the words of the Lord Jesus must ring loud and clear in your ears: “It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you”. I know that this sounds very harsh and uncomfortable, but it is not my job to make you feel comfortable. My job is to preach to you what the Bible says, and this truly is the message that the Lord Jesus proclaims to us here on this page of the Bible.

The second principle that flows out of this passage has to do with:

God arranged the Gospel to be preached to the Jews in Chorazin, in Bethsaida, in Capernaum, knowing full well that they would remain in unbelief. And God did not arrange to bring the Gospel in Tyre, in Sidon, and in Sodom. To those who would believe He brought not the Gospel. Why? We do not know. All we know is that God, in His wisdom, arranged it this way, and if God’s wisdom designed it this way we must believe that it was the best way. God is sovereign, which means that God does things according to His good pleasure. We do not question God’s decisions. We read in Matt 11:25,

Mt 11:25-26  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.                     Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Who were considered the wise and prudent? From the context we gather that the unbelieving Jews, this wicked generation, were in the eyes of men considered the wise and prudent. But in the eyes of God they were considered stubborn and stupid, for they chose a salvation by works over a salvation by grace. They chose to cling to Moses instead of clinging to Christ. And that was because God has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven from these “wise men”. And God has revealed these things to babes. Who are the babes in this context? The multitudes from Judea and from Galilee, and from Syria, and from Decapolis, and from Perea, both Jews and Gentiles who followed Jesus, and gladly heard Him speak, and were healed by Him in body and in soul, these were the babes to whom God has revealed that Jesus was their Savior. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 43:10 (2X). Can you see the election of God in all of this? God chose to hide the true Gospel from those who were wise in their own eyes, and God revealed the true Gospel to those who saw themselves as knowing nothing, who were humble in spirit. We read in Isa 43:10-15,

Is 43:10-11 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.                       I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

Isa 43:12-13  I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.          Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

Isa 43:14  Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.

Isa 43:15  I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

This passage is part of the 4th servant song in the Prophecy of Isaiah. This 4th servant song refers to the church as the servant of Jehovah. God speaks to us when He said, “Ye are My witnesses”. God speaks to us when He says, “Ye are My servant whom I have chosen”. And then the Lord identified Himself in verse 11, where God says, “I, even I, am Jehovah, and beside Me there is no Savior”. We know that the only Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, for we read in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”. And thus we understand that the Lord Jesus is Jehovah. We also know that the Father is Jehovah, and we also know that the Holy Spirit is Jehovah. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. And yet there is only one God. The question now at hand is this:

#3.       Do We Know Both the Father and the Son? (Matt 11:27, John 17:3, Isa 45:7,20-25)

Put a sticker here in Isa 43 and please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 11:27 (2X). Do we know the person of the Lord Jesus Christ? If we are thinking of the Lord Jesus as just a person who has His lovely arms stretched out, and who loves everyone of mankind, then we have created an idol, but he is not at all like Jesus from the Bible. The Lord Jesus who is described in the Bible does not let Himself be a doormat, or an impotent whimpering idol. We read in Matt 11:27 (2X),

Mt 11:27  All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Watch those last 9 words, “And he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him”. In other words, the Lord chooses to whom He will reveal Himself. And what benefit is it to us if we get to know Him? We read in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”. To know God and to know Jesus Christ is equivalent to salvation. And thus those last 9 words in Matt 11:27 really indicate the sovereignty of God in extending salvation to whosoever the Lord Jesus wants to reveal Himself. Not our will, not the will of man, but God’s will determines who will be saved. That is the total sovereignty of God in salvation and in reprobation. It is of His good pleasure to save whom He will, and to pass by those whom He does not intend to save. Do we know this God? Do we know and can we love such a Savior? Please turn to and let us read about this Savior in the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 45:20 (2X). We have here a chapter that breathes sovereignty throughout the whole chapter. For example we read in Isa 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things”. Do we know this God? Would we still feel comfortable in the presence of this almighty God? We read in Isa 45:20-25,

Is 45:20-22  Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.              Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.            Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Isa 45:23  I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Isa 45:24  Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Isa 45:25  In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

God addresses in verse 20 all those that are escaped of the nations. What have we escaped? We have escaped the destiny that all the unsaved people of the heathen nations are heading toward. They are on a slippery slide into Hell. They pray unto a god that cannot save. In fact they prefer to pray to such a god who is like them, rather than to the God of the Bible, for the God of the Bible frightens them. And then in verse 21 God says, “Tell ye, and bring them near”. Tell the true Gospel too those who want to hear. Tell them without fear of going over their head. Tell them those things that many other churches find hard to understand. Tell them and bring them near to the God of the Bible, for He alone can save. And toward the end of verse 21 God says that He is “a just God and a Savior”. We should not get nervous, for He is a just judge, and He is a Savior. His salvation is free, and it is given to all who believe. But who will believe? Even the children of Israel who came out of Egypt did not believe. Only those to whom God gives faith will believe the Good News that salvation is free. Let me drop down to verse 25. There God says, “In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified”. We should not interpret this as if all the blood descendants of Jacob will be justified. This will contradict God’s statements in John 1:13, and Rom 9:3, and many other passages. Instead we should remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and that one of the names for Christ is Israel. And thus Isa 45:25 must be read as follows: “In Christ shall all the seed of Christ be justified”.

Let us now return to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 11:28 (2X).

Does anyone of you find the Christian life difficult and quite burdensome? If that is so, then what do you do with these verses here at the end of Mat 11? The Lord Jesus is not a liar. Perhaps we have not understood what He expects from us. We read in Matt 11:28-30,

Mt 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mt 11:29-30  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Who are those who labor and are heavy laden? Labor refers to work, and this is pointing to a works gospel. If we have a plan of salvation whereby our performance in this life is contributing to our salvation, then we have a gospel of grace plus works. According to Rom 11 we then have a works gospel. And to be heavy laden refers to a heavy burden brought on by a works gospel. Do we feel oppressed by having to live a life filled with good works? Then perhaps we have not been saved. You see, in the salvation designed by God we must be born from above, or else we will never see or enter into the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit will only make someone born from above if that person’s sins were paid in full at the time that the Lord Jesus suffered and died on the cross. And the Lord Jesus would only have suffered and died for the sins of all the people whose names were in Christ from before the foundation of the world. And thus, when the Holy Spirit makes us born from above, He also gives us a new nature, with new desires that are pleasing to God. And so, doing good works becomes an integral part of our new nature. For example, forgiving others is no longer a burden, but is part of our new nature. And so, when we are liberated from the things that we are commanded to do, and we are liberated from a long list of things that we must obey and do, and instead we begin to do those things that are pleasing in the sight of God and we do those things of our own free will, then our burden is light. Even though our work load may be greater, our burden is light, for we do it all in the service of the Lord Jesus whom we love. And if we truly love Him, we want to get busy doing those things that are pleasing in His sight.             AMEN.            Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.