The Religion of the Pharisees and Christianized Religion...Is there a DIFFERENCE?

Matthew 23 is one of a most  enlightening passages of Scripture in the Bible which many enlightened religionists are blinded to. One writer said of Matthew 23: “Jesus’ words in this passage fly from His lips like claps of thunder and spears of lightning. Out of His mouth on this occasion [come] the most fearful and dreadful statements that Jesus [ever] uttered on earth.” In this text, Jesus addresses the scribes and the Pharisees, and He calls them hypocrites, sons of hell, blind guides, fools, robbers, self-indulgent, whitewashed tombs, snakes, vipers, persecutors, and murderers." These admonitions were not made to the sinners...but...to the religionists of His day!

These scribes and Pharisees were not considered sinners, they were the most highly regarded religious leaders of their day. They were well-respected and loved their status and self-respectiveness. They were devout and very sincere. They believed what they were doing was right, good and godly. And so did the the people they were positioned over.

I am convinced that religions of today are patterned after the same system that Jesus refuted  and warned the scribes and Pharisees about. The truth that the religious denominated world needs to accept is that it is possible to genuinely believe that we are doing God’s work, obeying God’s Word, and accomplishing God’s will, yet to be in deception and in opposition to the work of God in the Community of Humanity. That’s what I think this passage is all about. It’s about people who genuinely believed that they were doing God’s work, obeying God’s Word, and accomplishing God’s will, yet they were deceived and they experienced the most severe severe pronouncements by Christ. YES Mr. and Mrs. Religionists Jesus said it to people who believed that what they were doing the work of God and were bringing honor to God.

Friend this is very thought provoking passage. Just think about it: This is at the foundation of most religions all around the world. Muslims believe that they are doing God’s work, obeying God’s word, and accomplishing God’s will...devout Jewish men and women today genuinely believe that they are doing God’s work, obeying God’s word, and accomplishing God’s will...Christians in the Christian religion believe they are doing the will and work of God...as do all religions, yet, they are in deep deception and don't know it.

I can hear the devout Christians refutations against such preposterous blasphemy with all that is in them..."who do this guy think he is, trying to tell us that we are deceived into believing that what we do FOR GOD is not of God"!  Yes, I am saying that it is possible for you and I to genuinely believe that we are doing God’s work, obeying God’s Word, and accomplishing God’s will...you and I...yet for us to be deceived in the process. There are all kinds of people in the world who under the banner of Christianity, claiming to be Christian, are deceiving and being deceived. Whether it’s Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox churches or denominated Christianity, this is happening all over the world. And for us as Christians to believe that it can't happen to us is the folly of fools.


So as we read this text, let's not read it as if it’s just about a couple of groups of people that Jesus was speaking to two thousand years ago and think, “Man, they had missed it” and think we are immune to missing the depth of its meaning. Instead we should be asking ourselves: “Have we missed it? Where are we missing the point? Where are we deceived?”

 These are the kind of questions that when we ask them, pride in us will rise up and say: “Well, of course, that’s not us, after all Christ founded Christianity"...Oh! Did He really?” But we need to ask, “Really, is this where we are in Christianity? My prayer is that God would reveal our blind spots, that He might expose areas of our lives and our faith and our denomination that we don’t see and that need correcting. Would that God may uncover our hearts. That God might help us see everything that is there honestly. And ultimately, that God would save us from ourselves, that God would save us from our tendency to be sincere in religion yet miss His Gospel altogether, because religion is a dangerous temptation for every believer.

 Somebody said...“We should pursue profound honesty before God, for he knows everything. We need to admit our inner spiritual sins (even the ‘really bad’ sins) and ask for his help. We must reject worldly rationalizing and moralizing, for in these ways the sickness and impotence of the Church is perpetuated. Furthermore, we need to pray specifically and honestly for deliverance and grace.”

Father, I pray today that you would take these words from the mouth of Jesus and apply them to our hearts as believers. We don’t want to miss the point, and we confess that we are prone to being deceived and to be deceive. We live in a world full of sincere religion that ultimately leads a spiritual no-mans-land prevent us from being effective. Help us, I pray, to read your word through the lens of Jesus, with open hearts, and to evaluate our lives honestly, so that we will understand you will and plan for the Community of the Redeemed in the Community of Humanity. To you be the glory, honor and praise.

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