Complete Sermon Notes

A Wicked Generation Seeks After A Sign

{Skip: Matthew 15:29 – Jesus Heals Great Multitudes; 32 – Feeding the Four Thousand}

The Pharisees and Sadducees Seek a Sign – Matthew 16 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

CONTEXT: Came testing Him – WRONG HEART.

  • Apparently, the signs and wonders they saw weren’t enough –

  • WICKED is the evil heart and actions; ADULTEROUS is spiritual adultery. . . “Seeking after a sign” provided an excuse to continue in their sin…

Epizeteo [e-peze-toe] – “Ask for, look for, or demand something…”

  • Do it right now! Many angrily, sarcastically say, “God, if you’re …”

This is different than: “Lord, show me…confirm Your will.”

  • This isn’t testing God; it’s testing me…my heart; my motives.

Hypocrite – “There are a lot of hypocrites in the church”… not true

     a] “A person who pretends to have virtues, morals, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess.” This is different from someone who STRUGGLES.

BACK TO: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign”

I have seen many Christians, including pastors, get caught up in false manifestations and it never turns out good​. Instead, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will fall in place (cf. Matthew 6:33).

The “signs and wonders” gospel is not the real gospel, nor is the “prosperity gospel” the real gospel – BECAUSE YOU’RE SEEKING THE WRONG THING. God may prosper us, and miracles do happen, but these are secondary—Christ is primary: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.”

  • They saw natural signs but not spiritual ones. Happening today – secular media outlets are using terms like Apocalypse & Armageddon

The best way to “seek” the right way: STAY, PRAY, OBEY

  • Its not just about Principles to follow, but it literally changes your mind [renews it].

  • Keep the heart pliable, humble, & broken before the Lord – Ps. 51:17

STAY “USABLE”: By Joe McKeever – Bruce McIver, longtime pastor of Dallas’ Wilshire Baptist Church, used to tell of a man in a former church who was without any evidence of human giftedness. This man could not stand before a group and say a word. His attempts in the business world all came to nothing. His family life was in shambles. And yet, he was faithful in his church attendance.

One day, Bruce and the man found themselves in a car alone traveling to a funeral. That’s when the man decided to open up to his pastor and ended up giving him a lesson he never forgot. The man said, “Pastor, I want to tell you something that I have never shared with anyone before. You are going to find this hard to believe, but when I graduated from high school, I was named most likely to succeed. At commencement, I won the orator’s medal. People used to come up to me on the street and say, ‘You are going to make your mark in the world; you are destined for great things.’

“As a young adult, I got the definite impression that God wanted me to devote all those gifts to the Christian ministry, but I resisted that call. I had other things to do, more important things, I thought. “For twenty years, every time I set foot in the church, that beckoning appeared. It was constant. But I continued to deny it.

“That was long ago and you see what has happened. “All my native giftedness has atrophied [wasted away] from disuse. My business ventures have failed. Even my family life is a grief. I really have missed it. “I’m telling you all this so that perhaps you can use it. Sometimes when you are speaking before young people who have their lives before them, I wish you would tell them about me. And then say , ‘It may cost a lot to say Yes to God, but it costs even more to say No.’” *Read more:

  • Disobedience brings spiritual death –

This is why so much of my focus in on the HEART – without a right heart, nothing else matters.

  1. You can have sound doctrine…The Pharisees Did

  2. You can do good things…The Pharisees Did

  3. You can give money…The Pharisees Did

  4. You can think that you’re a good person…The Pharisees Did

  5. You can come to church…The Pharisees Did


5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart by Leslie Vernick

  1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention. They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13; 16:20; 16:27, 28.)

  1. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4; 59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

THE PURPOSE OF ME READING THIS is for repentance to take place. We Struggle.

  1. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference. They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22;54:5,6; 73:6–9; Proverbs 21:24).

  1. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

  1. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10;21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30).

Leslie Vernick continues, “If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.”

CLOSING: The Sign of Jonah – He actually gave them the most powerful sign of all – The Resurrection

  1. It validates all of Christ’s claims.

  2. Hell, death, and the grave were conquered.

  3. Sin was atoned for…no purgatory or penalties.

  4. It provides access to the Father – “I am the way, the truth, and the life”  …  we go only through Christ; He is our mediator.

“Strive to enter by the narrow gate, for many will ‘seek’…” (cf. Lk. 13:24).

STRIVE: Transliteration: agónizomai Definition: struggling, striving (as in an athletic contest or warfare); to contend, as with an adversary.

SEEK: Means to “ponder” and “contemplate” without coming to solid agreement.

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