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The Facts on Pharisees

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The Facts on Pharisees

Post  Admin on Tue 31 Aug 2010, 11:57 am

Gretchen
{Acts1711} The Facts on Pharisees

"I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done." Paul, in Philippians 3
Paul was once a Pharisee, who persecuted Jesus. Paul attempted to silence the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul WAS all those things Jesus rebuked in Pharisees. He met Jesus and that relationship changed him. He no longer was a Pharisee.
Jesus lists the traits of a Pharisee in Matthew 23, also in Luke 11.
Here are a few:
Are demanding, all is done for show, seek favoritism, prestige, titles, are not servants, are very proud (even arrogant, defiant pride), are materialistic, big on money, legalistic (rule oriented), ignore mercy and faith (trust in God), non emotional (cold hearts - no compassion or mercy), utterly self absorbed, very critical of others but ignore self (log/speck, Matthew 7), greedy, self indulgent, act religious, liars at heart, unscrupulous/unethical, symbolically responsible for killing godly people, silence the Gospel. They favor traditions of man instead of the commands of Jesus.
Wicked, miserly (don't share with poor), ignore justice and love of God, pretend to honor the Godly but in reality despise them, don't let people have Truth, sinful lifestyles keep them from Godly living and resultingly they keep others from it too.
Jesus said: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’� Matthew 15, Isaiah 29
Jesus said, "But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you." Matthew 15

What is a 'pharisee'? In the New Testament, they were the religious leaders, who taught the Scriptures (then the Old Testament only) in the
synagogues/temples on the Sabbath. They were in competition (jealousy) with Jesus, and would kick out of the synagogue those who believed Jesus.
Pharisees received very little of Jesus' time & attention because He knew their hard hearts. They were stubborn, proud, insolent, rebellious, defiant, promoted themselves, paraded themselves, elevated themselves, wore a veneer (or mask) of perfection but in reality were hypocrites, aka liars. They sneered at those with 'less faith' than they had. They demanded miracles or signs from Heaven. They were hateful towards people not of their class or group. They used (even manipulated) the Scriptures to get what they wanted, such as power, prestige, and/or stuff. This instead of adjusting themselves to God.
They were proud and wanted to elevate themselves above those they considered less than they, so used titles though Jesus said not to do so, Matthew 23:8.
Read Matthew 23. In this chapter, Jesus warns His disciples to NOT be like the Pharisees and Jesus gives valid reasons. See also Luke 11. Reading through these passages is a harsh wake-up call to how much we've become like pharisees in our 'churches'.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=NLT
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+11&version=NLT

The most important reason Jesus gives in warning is
the fact that the hearts of Pharisees or pharisee types were cold, hard as stone, and impenetrable by Jesus' sermons and heart. They were unteachable and quite disobedient to Jesus.

The modern American church is full of pharisees, from
leaders to lay people. They can easily be identified by how they respond
to sinners, the poor or imprisoned, measures of faith, the commands of Jesus, and their response in lifestyle to
Jesus Christ. They are big on money and building kingdoms, often with
their own name attached to it.
The thing about modern day Pharisees is that they wear a mask of perfection though in their hearts one would never guess that they were Christian. They are full of 'dead mens bones', as Jesus called. How accurate He was, and is! They don't deal with emotions but focus on appearances.
They do not promote healthy relationships between humans and God, or between humans. Communication involving a 'pharisee' is similar to an alcoholic/codependent system -- it's a black hole where communication starts but doesn't rightly get passed on properly to others.
They appear to be perfect Christians, but in reality they lie, day in and day out. They are hypocrites. Their hearts (thoughts, attitudes) and related lifestyles are anything but Christ-like.
Their hearts of full of arrogance, bitterness, pride, resentment, envy, jealousy, contempt, insensitivity, condescension, self-centeredness, maintaining appearances, etc. They hide their sins well so few know of them. Alcoholism, pornography, adultery are some of the activities in which they secretly participate. They create bureaucracies, using titles to elevate/promote themselves above the regular people.

Why is it important to
understand the facts on Pharisees?
It is important because many American church assemblies are full of them, evidenced by sermons where sin is rarely preached, and calls to repentance to God and/or to recommit one's life to God don't happen much, if at all, either. Luke 11:52
What happens is worship of self, of one's own needs, getting what one wants. This doesn't bring glory to God as a true worship service will. Many modern services bring glory to the leaders or the people. Such are the Pharisees.
Jesus said that their 'yeast' or poison ruined many. See Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 12, and also Hebrews 12.
I remember one church in the peninsula, so proud and perfect that one wouldn't allow any imperfection through the doors. When a homeless person came in to worship, she was removed as being unsightly. When one who truly was serving God was a part of that group over time, they'd become pharasaical themselves, gradually becoming poisoned by the
Pharisees' hidden sin, specifically bitter envy/jealousy (or sarcasm). This is a graphic example of how the hidden 'bitter root', Hebrews 12, wreaks havoc. It is hidden under the surface (in the heart) but its poison affects many.

There is a HUGE difference between being a
Pharisee and being a true Christian. One is knowledge based, whereas the other is Person (Jesus Christ) based in a living relationship.

And that's the crux of the matter --- Pharisees do not obey Jesus, Matthew 21. Additionally, they teach others to do (or not do) the same. They are deceptive teachers, Jesus said in Matthew 16. They have evil motives, Matthew 22. They think that they are righteous and condemn (look down on) sinners, Mark 2. They are in favor of appearing to be Christian to get whatever it is they want.
Again, it comes down to this: they refuse to believe Jesus and repent from their sin.

What can be done so that the 'curse' of the Pharisees can be broken, and the Body of Christ can truly show its trust in, obedience of, Him? So that The Church in the USA can be hot, Revelation 3?
Simple.
Repent. Everyone, leaders and laity, in their worship services, on their knees, begging for God's mercy from hearts broken in grief over their own sin. Reading Daniel's prayer, chapter 9, substituting the USA for the Israelites is a good start. Emulating the tax collector in Luke 18 is also a good practice to start, in worship services. Why? Humility and awareness/regret of sin before holy God.
Worship services are only about God, not about anything else. When other things are promoted, it
is sin.
Can you imagine entering a place of worship with the concept of it being 'holy ground'? No eating/drinking, talking, moneychanging (commercialism, fund raising, media selling, coffee shops)?! But instead total focus and respect for God.
That's a place where Pharisees don't rule, but God is honored. And what our assemblies ought to be. A place where God is front and center, and we honor Him with our hearts, soul, minds and bodies. Obeying the Greatest Commandment as Jesus said to do. Teaching new believers to obey Jesus as Jesus commanded, Matthew 28.
May God help us repent for our sin, and may we put God back in the center of our worship, individually and corporately. May we see, and repent in great grief and sorrow for our wickedness, that we have kicked Jesus out of our worship services, Revelation 3.

Copyright 2010 Gretchen Offord, Acts1711 Ministries. All rights reserved however permission to forward this article electronically allowed only if no changes are made.

--The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him. Jeremiah 29:13 --"This is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth." John 17:3
Acts 1711 Ministries ~ Searching The Scriptures to Know
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