Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

Free Grace Media

Of Princeton, New Jersey


AuthorClay Curtis
TitleThe Only Issue!
Bible TextMatthew 22:41-42
Synopsis Christ is the only issue to preach and believe! Listen.
Article Type Sermon Notes
PDF Format pdf
Word Format doc
Audio HI-FI Listen: The Only Issue! (32 kbps)
Audio CD Quality Listen: The Only Issue! (128 kbps)
Length 37 min.

Series: Questions

Text: Mt 22: 42
Date: September 17, 2017
Place: SGBC, New Jersey


Vainly religious men came to Christ after he healed a man on the sabbath day, asking, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.” (Mt 6: 10) On another occasion they made the issue to be whether or not men wash their hands before they eat, asking Christ, “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” (Mt 15: 2)  Then “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Mt 19: 3)  They made the issue to be what school of theology Christ went to in order to receive his authority to preach, “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” (Mt 21: 23)  Yet, on another occasion, they made the issue to be whether a believer should pay his taxes, “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” (Mt 22: 17) They made up absurd scenarios such as a woman being married to seven different brothers then asked, “Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven?” (Mt 22: 28)


Thankfully, our Lord Jesus Christ declared to them the only issue when he asked them this question: “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42: Saying, What think ye of Christ?” (Mt 22: 41, 42) 


This is the only issue.  That is our subject: THE ONLY ISSUE!




What do you think of Christ? The question is not what others think but what do you think of Christ? It is not what your spouse thinks, not what your children think, not what your mother and father thinks, and not what you have read from a commentary. What do you think of Christ?


There is a way to tell what a man thinks of Christ for the scripture says “as a man thinketh with his heart so he is.” (Pro 23: 7)  Christ made these two statements,


Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


Matthew 12: 34…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35: A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.


Did you notice the men with vain questions, all had one thing in common, they had no need of Christ.  The issue to them was a system of doctrine, a day, religious works, vain questions about subjects which do not profit.  In all that they asked there was no Christ! Or their subject was to turn the focus from Christ to their vain arguments.


Men love religious debate. It is not unusual to find vainly religious men fighting and striving with others as they raise vain religious questions. But only a very small remnant are brought by God, to believe that the only issue is Christ himself!  Paul told the young preacher Timothy,


1 Timothy 1: 3: I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went to Macedonia, that thou mightiest charge some that they teach NO OTHER DOCTRINE. 4: Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.


1 Timothy 6: 3: If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, EVEN THE WORD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH IS ACCORDING TO GODLINESS, 4: He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, : Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.


Paul did not say we are to continue receiving such men.  He said “from such withdraw thyself.” 


I have seen men separate themselves by using another gospel.  When men purpose to make disciples after themselves they always make another banner to rally under other than Christ our Banner.  I have yet to see one do it graciously or lovingly. It is always in proud, arrogance, as they rebuke faithful, experienced elders with four times their experience. 


They wonder why faithful men do not answer them.  Anyone mature enough to have children knows you do not answer a baby when he’s throwing a temper tantrum!  That’s all they are—babies throwing a proud, arrogant temper tantrum!


God says it is even worse. Their spirit is of the devil.


James 3: 13: Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14: But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15: This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16: For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18: And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.



2 Timothy 2: 15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16: But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.


How do you know they are vain? When men’s motive is to make you merely believe a point of doctrine it is vain.  They may say it is about Christ and God’s glory. But when their motive is to bring you to believe some meaningless doctrine it is vanity. 


When men have a pet doctrine in which they are trying to build a movement their pet doctrine is all they see in scripture and all they preach. Pretorists only look for scripture that says Christ has returned already.  Cambellites preach baptismal regeneration. Pentecostals preach speaking in tongues.  Their pet doctrine becomes the issue rather than Christ! “From such withdraw thyself!”  Here is the reason God gives to do so:


2 Timothy 2: 17: And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18: Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19: Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20: But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21: If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.


That is why you do not support vain men with their vain doctrines. You shun them and their strange doctrines!


2 Timothy 2: 22: Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23: But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24: And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25: In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26: And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will


Very few in this world really need only Christ. Very few! What think ye of Christ?  Job said he needed Christ more than bread on his table, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23: 12)  As multitudes walked away from Christ he turned to his true disciples with a question and listen how they answered,


John 6: 67: Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68: Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69: And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.


Christ said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me!” “And a stranger they will not follow.” (Jn 10: 4-5;  26)


Luke 10: 39: [Mary] sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word….41: [most are] careful and troubled about many things: 42: But one thing is needful:


John 15:5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.


When you meet Christ, you never grow beyond Christ. “Christ is all!” (Col 3: 11) Is Christ all to you? What think ye of Christ?




Christ said,


John 17:3: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.


The apostle Paul, being a faithful preacher of Christ, was more fearful of one thing above all others.  This is the greatest fear of every true preacher Christ has sent.  He was afraid the brethren would bear with vain preachers preaching lies and be turned away from the only issue, Christ Jesus.


2 Corinthians 11: 2: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4: For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.


There is “another jesus”, “another spirit”, and “another gospel”—which is not another!  God sets the heart of his child on the “simplicity of Christ” which is the single person of Christ! Paul said, “I was determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified!”


There are so many comforting things to preach concerning Christ that it is difficult for a believer to imagine how anyone could turn from the one subject of Christ and him crucified to preach meaningless, vain, unprofitable doctrine.


One, Christ’s preacher never grows weary of preaching who Christ is. He is God in human flesh, Immanuel God with us.


Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel


God was in Christ reconciling the world of his elect unto himself.  Only God in human flesh could obtain eternal redemption for us.  Jesus Christ is the GodMan. He is absolutely sovereign God who rules all in heaven and earth and absolutely bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh who could bare our sin and die in our place.  How could anyone grow tired of preaching who Christ is?


Two, Christ’s true preacher never grows weary of preaching why Christ came. To preach Christ’s name is to preach why he came because His very name declares why he came. 


Matthew 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


Christ came to save an elect people given him by God from eternity. He came to save his people from their sins. Christ did not lay down his life for everyone. He laid down his life for the sheep. Christ came to declare the righteousness of God. He manifests how man can be just with God and God yet remain just. He declared how God can by no means clear his guilty people and yet show us mercy. It is only by Christ bearing our sin as our Substitute!  How could men grow tired of preaching Christ our Substitute! 


Three, God sent preachers never grow weary of preaching what Christ accomplished.


Hebrews 10: 12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13: From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14: For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.


Christ purged our sins by himself. He obtained eternal redemption for us himself. By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. How could men grow weary of exalting Christ in his accomplished work of salvation?


Four, Christ’s true preacher never grows weary of preaching where Christ is now.


Ephesians 1: 20:…he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. 2: 1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;


Five, the true preacher sent by our Lord never grows weary of preaching what Christ is doing now.


Ephesians 4: 11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


Right now, from heavens glory, Christ is adding to the church daily such as should be saved. He is teaching us his gospel through his minister.  He is growing us—from whom the whole body—according to the effectual working in every part—he makes increase of the body.  Christ is in his church in Spirit as real and as powerful as he was when he walked this earth in bodily form. He will continue this work till he brings every last, lost redeemed child to faith in Christ and not one will be lost.  And thankfully, our all-powerful Head is putting down all false preachers who turn from him to this earth!  How could any preacher grow weary of such a magnificent subject as what Christ is doing now!


Sixthly, Christ’s true preacher never grows weary of preaching what Christ shall yet do. He is coming again!


Hebrews 9: 28: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.


God’s true preacher and people never grow weary of preaching and hearing that Christ is All and in All to his true people! Christ is the whole counsel of God. Christ is the subject of all Scripture. Christ is the Bishop of our souls. Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Christ is the Bread of life. Christ is the Captain of salvation. Christ is the Foundation, the Corner-stone, the Door, the Mediator, the Prince of life, the Rock, and the Shepherd. Christ is the Sun of Righteousness, the Light of the world, the Light of men, the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Christ is the Foundation of the church and of this world! It is not some literal ice foundation that holds this world in place. It is Christ! Everything thing made was made for him and glorifies him! Christ is Christianity. Christ is Salvation!  What think ye of Christ! Believers want to know more of him.  The more I see him, the more I see God’s glory, my sin, my need of him, my salvation accomplished. Heaven will be Christ! He is our exceeding great reward!


Never move away from Christ!  If we are God’s saints we never will by his sovereign, keeping grace!