(We were unable to get audio recorded today due to a technical fault.)
Text: Matthew 23
Title: Don't Sin Like a Pharisee
ill. In Catholicism - you have the Pope - whom they believe can speak "Ex-Cathedra" infallibly and whom they call, "Holy Father." There are also cardinals, bishops, priests and these are also called "Father."
These religious leaders are very similar to the Pharisees of Jesus day....
1) They are works based religions.
2) The religious leaders have much political and religious power.
3) They are regarded by the world as truly religious people.
4) ALTHOUGH THEY MAY NOT SAY IT AS PLAINLY AS THE PHARISEES - They stand in opposition to the message of salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus in Matthew 23 warns us not to be like them.
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works:
exp. They taught God's law - which Moses wrote. Good! Observe their teaching but do not follow what they do!
Jesus was saying to the multitude "Don't Sin Like a Pharisee!" We are going to take up His command today and listen to His description of the Pharisees falsehood.
What does Jesus say are the sins of the Pharisees?
I. Don't teach what you will not do.
...for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
ill. Watching online as some men loaded a pack animal carefully balancing the load for the sake of the animal.
exp. The Pharisees would even take that kind of care with people as they heaped heavy burdens on their listeners.
Barne's Notes - The Pharisees were rigid in requiring that all the people should pay the taxes, give of their property, comply with every part of the law with the utmost rigor, yet they indulged themselves, and bore as little of the expense and trouble as possible; so that, where they could avoid it, they would not lend the least aid to the people in the toils and expense of their religious rites.
app. We've got enough to do as a church without adding to God's law. A pharisee would say, "Pastor, we really need to do this" adding to the pastor's burden and expect it to get done without doing anything to help get it done.
1.) Do you teach that soul winning is God's plan? Are you helping the church with that burden.
2.) Do you believe God wants us to have extra ministires? Are you putting your shoulder to that burden?
3.) Do you believe that we should have a full scheduled? Are you disciplined to be faithful to support that schedule?
II. Don't seek to be great in the eyes of men.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
exp. Phylacteries - tassels
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
exp. Place of honor.
ill. Jesus taught against this pride.
8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
ill. Have you ever seen children do the opposite - (because they are children) they run to get the best place. I could see one chubby pharisee getting stuck trying to hurry around the table while one from the other side quickly gets into that place. THEY WERE LIKE FOOLISH CHILDREN IN THEIR PRIDE AND POMP.
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
exp. In a Baptist church the pastor is called pastor. It is a position within the church of overseer which God's Word clearly distinguishes. But, we don't call the pastor "Father" or "Master." Whether someone is a pastor or not - we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Our responsabilites are different but our status before God is the same.
ill. Speaking with a former LT CO who was put over the Royal Household. He also served several prime ministers. He spoke with Archbishops. The archbishop is the figurehead over the anglican church worldwide. I noticed online as I looked it up that when he is appointed it is called an "enthronement."
exp. Thankfully when the Scottish reformation took place - we didn't just separate from Rome - we got rid of more of the trappings - one of which was the title of "Bishops."
note: My guess is that this man got more from his 45 minute conversation with this Baptist preacher than he ever got from a conversation with an archbishop (although I could hope I was wrong.)
app. God isn't looking for great RELIGIOUS LEADERS he is looking for humble servants.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
What you do or won't do for Jesus will answer whether or not you have take those Scriptures to heart. (Don't seek to be great in the eyes of men.)
III. Don't let your error effect others.
13 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.
exp. There are some proud unbelievers in Jesus in our day who have slammed the door of God's grace shut in their lives. I pity them. But, more so, I pity their children.
ill. Watching parents pull their children away when we do our outreach on Gala Day.
ill. Watching our world pump unbelief into the tender hearts of children. "There is no God so stop worrying and enjoy life."
ill. 2015 the British Humanist Association (BHA) is sending a free copy of The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life without God to every secondary school in Scotland.
app. Warning - it is one thing for YOU TO BE WRONG in your posture against the living God. It is worse when you stop others from persuing God as well.
IV. Don't cover your sin with religion.
14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
exp. Widows were to be given special favor by the church. Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
exp. Jesus said that hell is worse for those who hide their sin with a spiritual cover.
ill. No religion has been so guilty of this sin than the Catholic church.
White Flowers Alba is a peer-driven support and advocacy group which has grown to include men who were abused as children i Ayrshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshier, Hgihglands and the Lothians....
(A handful of them, representing abuse survivors' groups from all over Scotland, have been granted an audiense this past Thursday with Angela Constance, the Education secreatary.)
Thus far they have received no funding from the Catholic Church or the Government.
Instead, he has been treated appallingly, as though somehow the abuse he endured when he was at his most vulnerable was somehow his fault. This mirrors the experiences of other survivors of child sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests; they are made to feel like bad people for even daring to raise the subject.
exp. The Catholic church has tried to hide her sins with religious robes - but they have been discovered - and yet the charade continues. They may get away with it - in life - but they will not get away with it in Hell. GOD WARNS MEN NOT TO HIDE SIN UNDER RELIGION.
app. Careful believer - sin - to whatever degree - ought not to be hidden under the cloak of religion.
V. Don't become a dedicated teacher of falsehood.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
exp. Jesus also described the Pharisees of blind leaders of the blind. They were hell bound - but the binding was twice as strong upon their followers. They were very devoted in their pursuit of followers.
ill. Cults - Mormons - 18-24 month, self funded, little contact with family - letters, occassional phone calls on special days, no entertainment - 6:30-10:30pm everyday prosylitizing.
ill. All those baptised as Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to proselytise, logging the number of hours spent in doorstep and city centre evangelism in a monthly “field service report”. A standard commitment to ministry work is 840 hours a year – more than 16 hours a week. “This is not the kind of movement where you can tag along for a free ride,” says Andrew Holden, author of Jehovah’s Witnesses: Portrait of a Contemporary Religious Movement.
app. I know that our church isn't going to go out and teach falsehood with zeal - but Jesus was not saying - DO NOT ENGAGE IN DILIGENT EVANGELISM. He was pointing that that the cults were very zealous of converts.
VI. Don't change God's law for your convenience. (crossing your fingers)
16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
ill. Like little boys making promises while crossing their fingers behind their backs - they were seeking to nullify their vows/promises.
exp. God takes our promises very seriously.
Ecc 5:4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
ill. Mrs. Wantz - son Matthew was killed while working in a bicycle repairshop. I remember Mrs. Wantz telling me that Matthew and another boy had surrendered their lives to the Lord - but that neither one had gone on for the Lord. They had both died.
app. Some people get into a tight place and promise God - things will change if you get me out of this, or I will do this if you only.... - You had better hold up your side of the bargain and do what you have promised God.
VII. Don't look through a microscope and miss the big picture.
23 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.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
exp. They tithed off of their obscure herbs - but missed the big doctrines of God's Word on being just, giving mercy and trusting God.
exp. Jesus used a fun word picture - They strained their tea to keep from swallowing a gnat - but instead sucked down a camel.
exp. Some people are overly intelligent and can master Bible trivia - but they have no concept of a basic walk with God.
app. It's good to know your Bible - but it is better to live it. Are you aware of the little issues surrounding God's Word - fine - if you are in a very close and obedient walk with the Lord.
VIII. Don't clean the outside thinking it cleans the inside.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
exp. The Believer's Bible Commentary pointed out that tombs were whitewashed to keep Jews from accidently bumping into them and contaminating themselves.
note: Jesus was pointing out that they were beautifully clean - but they were grossly contaminated.
ill. "I can pray anywhere. I don't need to go to church to get to God." Ok, I said, "How do you get rid of your sin?" She felt like a good "ourward" person - but God cares first about the inside.
app. Are you good before God - ON THE INSIDE?
IX. Don't think you are above the sins of your fathers.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
exp. They thought - they were above the sins of their fathers - but they were following in their footsteps.
ill. They would kill Jesus - Stephen. Imprison Peter, Paul, Silas....
ill. Paul may have heard this scathing rebuke by Jesus - but he would still go to great lengths fulfilling the words of Jesus - before his conversion.
app. If you have rejected Jesus (your sin put him on the cross) you are no different than these to whom Jesus was preaching. Their sin - is your sin today!
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
It's your choice today - God hates the sin of the Pharisees and Jesus warns us not to do what they do.
Are you teaching what you will not do?
Are you seeking "religious" greatness in the eyes of men?
Is your error (rejecting Jesus) keeping others from Christ?
Are you covering sin with religion?
Are you a dedicated teacher of falsehood?
Have you justified breaking a vow to God?
Are you looking through a microscope and missing the big picture?
Are you scrubbing the outside but neglecting the inside?
Do you think you are above the failures of those who rejected God's prophets?