The spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well today. The expectations. The hypocrisy. And, how God feels about it has not changed.
Think about it. What did Jesus say?
Matthew 15:1-3 (NKJV)
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
We must always remember which of our beloved and expected traditions and symbols are of God and which are of man.
We must remember that it’s not fair to judge what’s in someone’s heart because they don’t have the same affinity to a tradition, symbol or person as someone else feels they should.
And, that no matter how long they may have endured, devotion to the tradition…the symbol…the person should never be so dear that it becomes worship.
I have a few honest questions that I would like for you as a Christian to answer to yourself from a purely spiritual perspective. Not political. Not social. Not racial. From God’s perspective with the bible as the standard.
How many fraternities? Sororities? Organizations? Have forced or pressured people to engage in sinful behavior to become members? How much of this behavior has become a tradition?
How many people blindly support what their parents, leaders, ancestors, pastor, coach did or does and seeks to excuse it whether it’s right or wrong?
Is standing and placing your hand on your heart actually an act of worship?
How many people have allowed their devotion to symbols to become worship. Statues (graven images). Flags. Crosses. Pictures. Logos.
How many people have sworn in court on a bible in which God forbids swearing?
How many people have taken an oath of office on a bible in which God forbids taking oaths?
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
James 5:12 (NKJV)
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.[a]
Yes, Romans 13 tells us to be subject to the established authorities because they are ordained by God, but we must read that in context of what Peter said when confronted with not complying with the officials. I’m just going to post it below for context…
Acts 5:22-29 (NKJV)
22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside[a] before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest,[b] the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying,[c] “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
Now, if that were today. Would they be criticized?
God’s word supersedes any and every tradition that we have established.
Don’t let your devotion, dedication, loyalty and respect doesn’t subtly turn into worship…
Before you judge what I have said, first ask yourself. Did God establish what is so dear to me? Or did man or woman?
Ask yourself would I have been one of those Pharisees confronting Jesus over not honoring the traditions…even the law of Moses…
Matthew 19:8-9 (NKJV)
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,[d] and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Many people point a self-righteous finger and say “Shame” when they read or hear a sermon about the Pharisees, but you prove by your behavior to parallel situations today how you would have reacted had you lived back then.
What is your reaction when someone doesn’t honor, respect or submit to something the way you feel they should?
I would love to hear your respectful responses.