King of the Mountain (Part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 29, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 22:15-22.  This message was part 2 in the “King of the Mountain” series.  See below for questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 22:15-22
  3. Why do you think conversations related to religion and/or politics are so prone to division?
  4. The Pharisees and the Herodians ask Jesus a politically and theologically charged question in these verses.  What evidence do you see in these verses that their question was “insincere”?  In other words, were they really seeking wisdom or something else?
  5. Jesus answer about paying taxes has two facets.  As it relates to taxes, He remarks that they should “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” thus legitimizing taxes paid to this pagan leader.  This was because God had established the authority of the Roman Empire to serve people for a purpose, and we talked about some of the blessings those tax dollars paid for.  What are some of the ways your taxes are used by the government to provide blessings for you today?
  6. The New Testament encourages Christians to be great citizens by paying taxes, obeying the law, respecting our leaders, and praying for them.  Do you struggle to apply consistently any one of these commands?
  7. Though we pay taxes to Caesar, there is only One we worship.  What does it look like for you to “render unto God what is God’s”?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?


To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

King of the Mountain (part 2) Sermon Preview

One day, near the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus’ cousin (John the Baptist) saw Jesus walking towards him, and made a spectacular declaration, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)  What John was saying was remarkable . . . Jesus would be the One who would offer His life as a sacrifice to pay the penalty that our sins require.

Jesus would later authenticate this as one of the central purposes of His presence in the world when He says, “For even the Son of Man (a title Jesus used of Himself) came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)   Jesus came to serve us by showing us what God was like in His teaching and healing ministries.  But He also came to willingly and lovingly give up His life on the cross as a payment for our sins.

The idea of Jesus as the Lamb of God has its roots in the Old Testament sacrificial system, where a Passover Lamb was offered for sacrifice each year by a family.  But before the sacrificial lamb was accepted by the priest for sacrifice, it must first be examined to show that it was without spot or blemish. 

Thinking along this line, Warren Wiersbe has observed, “Jesus was going to die as the Lamb of God, and it was necessary for the Lamb to be examined before Passover (Ex. 12:3-6). If any blemish whatsoever was found on the Lamb, it could not be sacrificed. Jesus was examined publicly by His enemies, and they could find no fault in Him.”

This examination of Jesus takes place in Matthew 21-23 as Jesus is grilled with questions by the chief priests and elders, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Herodians.  These Jewish national leaders at the time, ask Jesus question after question trying to knock Him off the mountain top, but Jesus passes all tests and shows that He is truly “King of the (Temple) Mountain.”

This Sunday, September 29, at Wildwood, we will be in week 2 of our “King of the Mountain” series looking at a question posed to Jesus from the Pharisees and the Herodians, “should we pay our taxes?”  We will see how Jesus responds to this question and what it means for us today as we look at Matthew 22:15-22.  See you then!

Two more . . . from 9/22/19

A few more thoughts from this morning’s message (part 1 of “King of the Mountain” focusing on Matthew 21:23-27; 22:41-46):

I thought we just completed a series on Matthew 21-23?”  If you had this thought . . . you are correct!  In fact, this is our third series of messages from these 3 chapters.  In June 2019, we had the “Father Heart of God” series that included 3 messages from Matthew 21-23, and then in August/September 2019, we stayed in these chapters for 5 more sermons in the “Authentic” series.  Rather than organizing these 3 chapters exactly as they were written, our study has tackled them thematically.  The “Father Heart of God” series showed God’s heart for the religious leaders to be saved.  The “Authentic” series showed us Jesus’ rejection of the imitation faith of the Pharisees.  Now in this series, we see Jesus fielding questions from a number of different groups in the Temple Mount area just 48-72 hours before His crucifixion.

SIDE NOTE:  I have been preaching through Matthew’s Gospel now for nearly 3 years.  Though we have organized this Gospel into many different series, we have still walked through this book verse-by-verse.  After this current series, is done, we will only lack 2 more series before completing the entire book.  For those keeping track, the message series from Matthew are:

“David, in the Spirit . . .” (22:43) – I had a question asked after the sermon about what was meant by the statement “David, in the Spirit. . .”  The phrase “in the Spirit” is used by Jesus to indicate that what was to follow was not just David’s opinion, but an inerrant, inspired declaration from God.  In 2 Peter 1:21, Peter says of the writers of the Old Testament, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”  The wording “carried along” is used elsewhere in the New Testament to describe the effect of a wind filling a sail.  The idea is that the writers of the Old Testament (and New Testament for that matter) were not simply sharing their opinions, but sharing what God was moving them along to say.  This adds authority to the text of Scripture, and is why Jesus references it here.  Certainly the Pharisees would have had respect for King David . . . but they should have an even GREATER respect for the portions of the Scripture that David wrote, including Psalm 110 which Jesus quotes in Matthew 22:43-45.

“nor did they dare ask Him any more questions.” (22:46) – After their interactions with Jesus, Matthew tells us that the Pharisees stopped asking Him questions.  This statement generally describes Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees as a group.  Just a couple of days after this encounter, the Pharisees are a part of the coalition of Jewish leaders who turn Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion – they were done with asking questions, they simply wanted to put an end to Jesus’ life and attempt to snuff out His influence.  While this was true of the Pharisees as a group, it was not true of every individual who was a member of their posse.  Pharisee’s like Joseph of Arimathea were already in the process of believing, and Saul (soon to become Paul) would come to faith a few years later.  These examples remind us that salvation is not about belonging to the right group (attending the right church, being from the right family, etc.) but is truly anchored to how we answer the question of questions – “What do you think about the Christ?” (22:41).  Pharisees were not condemned because they were Pharisees . . . but because they rejected the gracious offer of the Savior of the World.  Pharisees who believed in Jesus, were saved by Jesus.

King of the Mountain (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 22, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 21:23-27 and 22:41-46.  This message was part 1 of the “King of the Mountain” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.


To listen offline, click the link to download the audio:

King of the Mountain #1 9.22.19



To listen online, use the media player below:



To watch the video of the service, click here.


King of the Mountain (part 1) Sermon Questions

This morning, September 22, 2019, at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, OK, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 21:23-27; 22:41-46. This message was part 1 in the “King of the Mountain” series.  Below you will find questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.


Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 21:23-27; 22:41-46
  3. What questions do you have about Jesus, Christianity, or what a life looks like that follows Jesus?
  4. John the Baptist’s Message was to “REPENT.”  If someone recognizes their sinfulness and their need for grace, how does that make them in a better position to find out the truth about Jesus?  Have you seen this to be true in your life?
  5. If you had seen Jesus’ Service (or public record of teaching and healing ministry) what might you have concluded about who Jesus was?  
  6. The Scriptures teach us about who Jesus was (and is).  Look at Matthew 22:43-45 (the quotation and comment from Psalm 110).  What all can you learn about Jesus’ identity from these verses?
  7. In today’s verses, Jesus asks the MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION EVER:  “What do you say about the Christ?”  Who do you say Jesus is?  What difference does that make for your life? 
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?


To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

King of the Mountain (part 1) Sermon Preview

When I was a kid, I spent some time each summer in a swimming pool . . . though I do not like to swim.  I enjoyed my friends and the water would feel awesome on warm summer days, but ACTUALLY SWIMMING has always felt to me more like a way to avoid drowning than a leisure-time activity.  

So what do you do when you enjoy the pool but don’t like to swim?  You play games!  Marco Polo . . . sharks and minnows . . . and gutter ball (to name a few), were some of the games I liked playing at the pool. Another game that  we would sometimes play was “King of the Mountain.”  Have you ever played this game?  It is when one person takes an elevated position (like on a floating raft) and tries to remain afloat while everyone else tries to knock him/her off.  This was a  fun game.  Not that I was ever good at “being the king” but it got me in the water and my mind off drowning!

As I read Matthew 21-23, I see Jesus walking up on the “Mountain” where the Jewish Temple was located.  After He ascends to this height, various groups of people try to knock Him off.  The Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, and others come at Jesus in waves, trying to get Him to make a mistake, stump Him with a tough question, or discredit Him in front of the others.  They all come . . . they all give it their best shot . . . and they all fail miserably.  In the end Jesus is still the “King of the Mount” and no one can take Him down.

We live in a world today where people are still trying to take down the King of Kings.  “He wasn’t REALLY the Son of God,” says the History Channel documentary.  “He was just another Rabbi,” say the University Philosophy instructors.  “His morals are outdated and His teaching is discriminatory,” bemoan the purveyors of “woke” orthodoxy in our culture.  Yet 2,000 years later . . . He still stands tall.  

Over the next four Sundays at Wildwood Community Church (beginning September 22), we will be looking at a number of challenges Jesus received from different groups of people in the last week of His earthly life before going to the cross.  We will see the objections of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians drown as Jesus answers their questions with authority, truth, and grace.  Join us this Sunday for part 1, as we look at Matthew 21:23-27, 22:41-46.