TEXT: Matthew 11:20-24
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
21 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.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
23 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.
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
David Platt said, “For every Christian in every culture, repentance is necessary. This doesn’t mean that when people become Christians, they suddenly become perfect and never have any struggles with sin again. But this does mean that when we become followers of Jesus, we make a decided break with an old way of living and take a decisive turn to a new life. We literally die to our sin and to ourselves – our self-centeredness, self-consumption, self-righteousness, self-indulgence, self-effort, and self-exaltation. In the words of Paul, we “have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.”
C.H. Spurgeon said, ”If there be a man before me who says that the wrath of God is too heavy a punishment for his little sin, I ask him, if the sin be little, why does he not give it up?”
In our last message we began looking at how Jesus warns of coming punishment for those who do not repent. Now we see that Jesus warns of different levels of punishment.
Notice that Jesus warns of different levels of punishment. He says it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for Korazin and Bethsaida. He says it will be more bearable for the people of Sodom on the day of judgment than for the people of Capernaum.
What is Jesus saying here? Jesus warns of different levels of punishment. Those with greater opportunities to hear about Jesus and respond to Jesus will be judged more severely than those with less opportunity.
We find this same truth taught in other portions of Scripture. For example, we read in Romans 2:12: “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;” There is a different standard of judgment for those who know God’s law and those who don’t. Jesus says something similar in Luke 12:47-48: “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
What does this mean for us today? We have a strong gospel witness in our nation. That means people in America who do not repent and believe in Jesus Christ will be judged more strictly than those in other lands who have never heard about Jesus. It also means that every person here in this congregation today who does not repent and believe in Jesus will be judged more strictly than those who have never heard about Jesus.
The people of Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum knew Jesus better than the people of Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, and therefore they would receive a greater punishment because they did not repent. Guess what? We know Jesus better than the people of Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum did. Why? Because we know about the cross and the resurrection. We have the rest of the New Testament explaining to us who Jesus is and what he did for us. With knowledge comes responsibility, and so we will receive a far greater punishment than even Korazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum if we do not repent and believe.
Ray Palmer wrote:
We stand in deep repentance,
Before Thy throne of love;
O God of grace, forgive us;
The stain of guilt remove;
Behold us while with weeping
We lift our eyes to Thee,
And, all our sins subduing,
Our Father, set us free.
O shouldst Thou from us sinners
Withhold Thy grace to guide,
Forever we should wander
From Thee, and peace, aside;
But Thou to spirits contrite
Dost light and life impart,
That man may learn to serve Thee
With thankful, joyous heart.
Our souls—on Thee we cast them,
Our only refuge Thou!
Thy cheering words revive us,
When pressed with grief we bow;
Thou bear’st the trusting spirit
Upon Thy loving breast,
And givest all The ransomed
A sweet, unending rest.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 18:8: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.