Sermon # 40                                                 Series: Matthew


            Title:             SHOW US A SIGN”
            Text:             Matthew 16:1-12
            Subject:        Warnings from Christ About The Doctrine of The Pharisees and Sadducees

            Readings:  Office: Bobbie Estes – Aud. Bob Poncer

            Date:            Tuesday Evening – April 18, 1995
            Tape:            R-26




            Since the beginning of time, unbelieving men and women have always demanded signs to corroborate the Word of God. Before he will believe God, the unregenerate, unbelieving man wants signs and evidences to convince him that what God says in his Word is true. Old Dives in hell foolishly imagined that if his brothers could hear a preacher who was risen from the dead they would believe God. But God says, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).


            God often confirms his Word to those who believe him by special providential occurrences, even as he once confirmed it to his people by special miracles.


1.       The Rainbow Given to Noah!

2.       Gideon’s Fleece!

3.       Elijah on Mt. Carmel!

4.       The Miracles of Christ and His Apostles!


By any faith that is built upon signs, miracles, and evidences is a false faith.


·        John 2:23


Proposition: Our faith must be based upon the Word of God alone.


·        Not Signs and Miracles!

·        Not Scientific Evidence!

·        Not Human Reason and Learning!

·        Not Emotions and Experiences!


“Feelings come, and feelings go,

And feelings are deceiving.

I trust the Word of God alone;

Naught else is worth believing!” – Luther


            Lost religionists as well as scoffing blasphemers have always demanded what God will never give them, a convincing sign from heaven, a carnal sign to convince their carnal minds that his word is true. That is exactly what we have before us in our text tonight – Matthew 16:1-12.


            If you want to take notes, the title of my message is, “Show Us A Sign.”


Divisions:  As we look at these twelve verses, I want you to see four things that demand our attention.


1.       An Alliance of Wickedness (v. 1).

2.       An Answer of Wisdom (vv. 2-4).

3.       An Admonition of Warning (vv. 6, 12).

4.       An Assumption of Weakness (vv. 5-12).


I.  First, Matthew describes and sets before us An Alliance of Wickedness (v. 1).


            The Pharisees and Sadducees hated each other. Normally, they would have nothing to do with one another. The Pharisees were conservatives, fundamentalists, who would never consider working with the Sadducees, free-thinking liberals. And the Sadducees were just as adamant in their hatred of the Pharisees.


            But both the Pharisees and Sadducees so thoroughly despised Christ and the gospel of God’s free grace in him that in order to oppose and persecute him, they laid aside their differences and formed the unholy alliance Matthew describes.


            How often we see the exact same thing happening in our day. Men and women who despise each other, who have nothing to do with each other, will unite and work feverishly together to oppose the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ.


·        Church Members Against God’s Messenger.

·        Religious People Against A Faithful Witness.

·        Churches Against The Church of Christ.


As it is written, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccles. 1:9).


Notice the method employed by these pompous, religious, hypocritical friends of hell – “Tempting desired him.” Those words mean that these men came to Christ “scrutinizing and testing him with questions.” It is always the method of heretics to ask leading questions with the hope of entrapping you. God’s servants are not of the mold. The heretic tries to trap you. God’s servant simply, forthrightly declares the truth to you.


            Zaccheus said, with regard to the heretic Socinus – “He was a learned man, and of unblameable behavior, but full of heresies, which he never propounded to me otherwise than by way of question, as seeming desirous to be better informed. By this subtle means, he drew away many.”


            “Foolish and unlearned questions avoid!”


            These Pharisees and Sadducees came asking the Lord Jesus to “show them a sign from heaven.” They could not deny the miracles he had performed before so many. So they pretentiously acted as if they would believe him if he would prove himself to them by a sign from heaven.


·        Like the Rainbow.

·        Like Manna.

·        Like the Sun an Moon Standing Still.


II.  Secondly, in verses 2-4 our Savior gives An Answer of Wisdom.


            He who is the Wisdom of God and Wisdom incarnate here gives us a great display of his great wisdom. Notice how he dealt with these people.


A.  First, He Exposed Their Spiritual Ignorance – (vv. 2-3).


            They could predict the weather with a fair measure of ease and accuracy by observing the sky. But they were so blinded by religious tradition that they could not see the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets when he stood square in their face.


·        I Corinthians 2:14-16


NOTE: Faith in Christ is a matter of Divine Revelations. (Matt. 16:18).


NOTE: The signs of the times were the signs of the fulfillment of the O.T. They have nothing to do with us today!


B.  Secondly, He Exposed Their Utter Hypocrisy – “O ye hypocrites!”


            When it came to dealing with these deceivers of men’s souls, the Son of God did not mince words. He frankly and publicly declared them to be “a wicked and adulterous generation,” because they not only forsook God, but attempted to justify their unbelief because they lacked sufficient proof!


C.  Thirdly, our Lord Declared that One Solemn, Indisputable Sign would be Fulfilled by Him -  “The Sign of the prophet Jonah.”


1.       Jonah was sacrificed, one man for many, to save all who were in the ship with him from the wrath of God – (John 11:47-52) (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 1:18).

2.       As Jonah was in the belly of the whole for three days and three nights, so the Son of God was buried in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

3.       As Jonah was delivered from the whale’s belly, so the Lord Jesus was raised up from the dead on the third day.

4.       As Jonah declared, so the Son of God declared, in all that he did and suffered for us – ”Salvation is of the Lord!”


D.  Then, at last, “He left them!”


            Oh, what a solemn word. “He left them and departed,” and the people of that place saw him no more!


·        Hosea 4:17

·        Proverbs 1:23-33


III.  Thirdly, Our Lord Jesus gives us An Admonition of Warning (vv. 6, 12).


            If you will read the four gospels carefully, paying attention to what our Savior taught, you cannot miss the fact that he warned us more often against false religion and false prophets than anything else – Nothing else is so dangerous to your soul. – Nothing else is so deadly! So, be wise and hear what the Savior says.


A.   To Whom Is The Warning Given? “Them” – His Disciples! It is a warning given to the apostles themselves! – If these men needed warning, how much more do we need warning! “Take heed and beware!”


·        I Corinthians 10:12


B.  What is The Danger Against Which The Son of God Here Warns Us? “The Doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”


            The Warning goes beyond the spirit of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and ritualism in the Pharisees. It goes beyond the spirit of the free – thinking, compromising, half-infidel intellectualism and rationalism of the Sadducees. Our Lord warns us to take heed and beware of their doctrine.


1.  The Doctrine of The Pharisees was the result of human tradition, the commandments of men, and the inventions of religious leaders being mixed with the Word of God. They taught -


  1. The Freewill of Man!
  2. Justification by Works!
  3. Religious Ritualism!


2.  The Doctrine of The Sadducees was from the same source but ran in another direction. They taught -


  1. There is No Resurrection!
  2. There is No Word of Authority from God!
  3. There is No Future Judgment!


C.   By What Figure Does Our Lord Speak of The Doctrine Of The Pharisees and The Pharisees and Sadducees? – “Leaven!”


            Leaven once admitted, even in the smallest quantity, works secretly, without noise, and gradually changes the whole character of the loaf. So false doctrine and heresy works in the church to corrupt it from “the simplicity that is in Christ’ (II Cor. 11:3).


·        Music!

·        Sunday School Classes!

·        Prayers!

·        Preaching!

·        Literature!


D.  This is A Warning For All Ages!


1.  We must add nothing to the gospel.

2.  We must take nothing from the gospel.   } (Gal. 1:6-8)


IV.  Fourthly, the disciples of our Lord, as we often do, made An Assumption of Weakness – (vv. 5-12).


            That is to say, Because of the weakness of their faith they assumed that the Lord Jesus was talking about their failure to bring food with them and almost missed the lesson he was teaching. How like them we are!


A.  Their reasoning was carnal (v. 7).


B.  They had forgotten their past experiences (vv. 8-10).


            “If it were not for our wretched little faith and our reasoning among ourselves, the memory of our former deliverances would lift us beyond all tendency to mistrust God!” – C.H. Spurgeon.


            What God has done, he will do!


C.  They had a faithful Master and Teacher who graciously caused them to understand his Word.




1.      Do not ever expect to be a part of, or even accepted by the religious world, as long as you follow Christ and believe his doctrine.

2.      Whenever you read and study Holy Scripture, always look for an obvious, personal and spiritual application.

3.      Take heed and beware of the leaven of false religion – Make no room for –

·        Freewillism!

·        Works!

·        Intellectualism!

·        Legalism!


4.      Keep in memory the wondrous works of God on your behalf, and review them often, so that you may learn to trust him implicitly.