Message: In Matthew 12 there is SO much going on! Jesus was speaking to the crowds and being watched and challenged by the Pharisees at every move and every angle. At the beginning of chapter 12 the Pharisees called out the disciples for picking heads of wheat to eat them when they were hungry. It was considered “work” and that was unlawful on the sabbath. Jesus healed a man’s withered hand on the sabbath and that was also considered unlawful work. Clearly, they were missing the point of the law entirely and had turned it into something it was never intended to be. Jesus made it very clear, as the chapter went on that we are either a good tree that produces good fruit or an evil tree that produces evil fruit. It really doesn’t matter what things we say, what we believe or what rules we abide by if our hearts have missed the point and are full of evil. We can try to save the physical lives of all the babies in the nation by demanding abortion laws, but why do we think our hands are clean when our hearts are full of contempt and hatred toward lost people in the world who don’t respect their value? Do their spiritual souls not have a price just as precious as each of these babies? I have heard the phrase “Love the sinner, hate the sin” said so many times by people who want to convince everyone that they are not full of disgust and contempt toward lost people. Our job has never been to hold the lost world accountable for the godliness of this country. The bible tells us that judgment begins in the house of God, so our job is to hold the CHURCH accountable for godliness while sharing the GOOD news of the gospel to the lost world. We will never evangelize our nation by forcing biblical rules on those who have no conscience of sin or relationship with God. In fact, as Christians, we do a pretty bad job about submitting ourselves fully to God. We like to claim we are submitted to God while still trying to call the shots of our own lives and of our country because we are full of pride and arrogance and believe that our plans are God’s plans. When Jesus came to die for us, he discipled twelve men. They were following him intimately but when Jesus told them his plan was to die Peter objected! It didn’t seem right to him because although he was intimately in relationship with Jesus, he didn’t know or understand the plan of God. Prophesies had been spoken for generations about the Messiah coming to rule and reign so the idea of Jesus dying didn’t fit the plan they had in mind for their strong Messiah to come in and take over the crooked Roman government. The Pharisees thought they were fighting for godliness but they were on the wrong side of things because their hearts were full of contempt. They weren’t godly, they were religious. What seems right or more right to us is not always the case. We just might find ourselves fighting against the plans of God. As Americans we are obsessed with our rights and we think our rebellion to ungodly government is taking a stand for Christ. As Christians we are supposed to be following after Christ. Jesus gave up his godly rights when he walked this earth and sacrificed himself for our salvation. What if we actually gave up our rights and our victim mentality for the sake of the gospel so people could actually see Jesus and not our Pharisee contempt? If we want to win people to Christ we have to act like Christ and stop demanding our own way so we can lead people to freedom by our example. People change from the inside out when they have a real and true encounter with God. Why in the world do we think we will have a godly nation by forcing lost people to conform to our godly convictions before they have even met the one who loves them so deeply that their lives are transformed?