Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who? Me? Pharisee?

Standing before God in the temple, he was quite pleased with himself. In fact, Luke states:

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. (Luke 18:11 KJV)

Didya catch that?  “… prayed thus with himself …” Now, there’s a one-sided conversation. He knew what he wasn’t, based on the list of items where he had not sinned.  No acknowledgement of ignoring God. Along with his list of non-sins, he bragged about being better than another.

I’ve spent some time recently thinking about Pharisees. That came from reading Bro. Brad’s Blog. He completed a series of posts here at the end of September that look at Matthew 23, not simply learning about Christ’s view on scribes and Pharisees, but applying attitudes that are alive and well in congregations today. Not only in the pulpit, either. We members are very adept at thinking we are better than someone else – it eases part of our own guilt.

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (Matthew 23:1-3 KJV)

Jesus didn’t keep His views on this within the disciples – this is spoken before the multitude. Jesus spoke to the scribes and Pharisees about the woes they would face because they would "... say, and do not":

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13 KJV)

That is a scary thought, isn’t it? Especially when we remember:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 KJV)

By their actions, Pharisees were keeping men out of the kingdom of heaven. They should be considering the effects of millstones and sea depth!

Now, please do not feel complacent that this applies only to leadership – all of us are leaders, examples to others. Witnesses with specific testimony that we live in our daily lives, often unaware of who is listening. We need to be aware of ourselves, the heart and mind we control – taking care of beams before looking for motes.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 KJV)

Become aware of the beams before they change the view! Cast out beams, see clearly for there are motes.

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