Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I do hope you are following up from yesterday, if not – go back a page and read about Matthew 23:5. Then we can move on to discuss hypocrites and what to do about them. In fact, go ahead and read the entire 23rd chapter. Some people have and determined that all church leaders, and most of the members, are hypocrites and it would be better not to be around them. Some do see Pharisees from this chapter in all churches today. Sorry, that is an invalid perception.
Let’s back up to the first of this chapter.
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)
The first part of this is positive – listen to what the Pharisees tell you to observe, observe and do it. That’s a positive. If they tell us to spend time in prayer and studying God’s word, we should be doing it. If they give us examples from God’s word as to how best live our lives, let us be doing it.
Just be careful that what we are doing is from God’s word and not from a person intent on self-aggrandizing. You know, the people intent on increasing their power, their status, their reputation. In this same chapter, Jesus tells us what leadership truly is:
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12 KJV)
For all that Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees in this chapter, we must focus on what the people were told. In spite of the Pharisees’ desire to be the focus of attention, the center of worship, the people (and we, too) were told to do as they said – just don’t do it they way the Pharisees did. Don’t be the show off at worship. Don’t look to be seen pious by others. Don’t wear your religion on the exterior – it is to come from the heart.
The scribes and Pharisees met the tiniest of laws – but didn’t keep the spirit of the Law:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23 KJV)
They were doing the little things right, things that would be seen – but they omitted the important things that are seen by God. Judgment, mercy and faith. Those need to be done the same as the others. None are to be left undone.
So – what does that mean to us? Basically, to me, it is to ignore the hypocrisy and those who practice it.
Continue to keep God’s commandments from our hearts, our own desire to please Him. Some will that we are too pious, that we do wear our own type of phylacteries. Not my concern.
My concern is to have the heart that serves God. To do that requires His input:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (Psalms 51:10-13 KJV)
Isn’t that what we’re after?