Sparta Baptist Church

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The Final Road - Week 3

The Final Road - Week 3

Series: The Final Road

Key Passage: Matthew 13:23

Reading scripture can be confusing sometimes. Like a text message or a social media
post, the Bible doesn’t have any tone. It’s, in a way, just words on a page. Any tone that
we read into it is put there by us. Discuss how our past experiences can impact the tone
in which we hear God. Could God sound like an angry parent? How do damaged church
relationships affect the tone of God’s voice?

Discuss a few barriers to God that you have encountered. Rules about Sunday behavior?
Church dress code? Approved or disapproved entertainment choices? Can the tone that
we read scripture in be a barrier to coming to God?

Read Matthew 23:13. These are some of Jesus harshest words. Who are they directed
at? Discuss what it looks like to “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven” on someone.

Jesus uses the word “woe” 7 times in Matthew 23. Woe does not mean “curse”. Jesus is
not cursing the Pharisees. “Woe” is an expression of grief. Similar to “how sad”, “how
horrible” or “I’m so sorry.” Discuss the “tone” of Matthew 23:13 again, in light of that


A Pharisee rebuilds and replaces the barriers that God has removed at the Cross. It’s
called it legalism when a Pharisee makes it hard for other people to come to God. Is it
possible to be legalistic to ourselves? An Inward Pharisees makes it hard on themselves
to come to God. Do I put barriers between myself and God? Is it possible that tone, past
experiences and a misunderstanding of God’s intentions can cause barriers to be placed
when God never intended them to be?

“I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32.) Our
series is called The Final Road, we are looking at snapshots of the last few days before
the cross. The purpose of the cross was to draw people to God, not keep them away.
Knowing this, how could that change the tone of Jesus’ message to us?