Good afternoon y’all. Welcome to April 🙂 .
Thank God for seeing us through the 1st quarter of 2015; and as we start the 2nd quarter, I pray we will know Him more and see His goodness in our lives, in Jesus’ Name . Amen
Today we are studying Matthew 23.
Holy Spirit we ask you open our eyes to see, our ears to hear and our hearts to perceive the truth in the word today. Without You we can’t understand what we are reading so we ask for your help. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Be blessed 🙂
“Now Jesus turned to address His disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them . They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer”. (Matthew 23:1-3 MSG)
1) As Christians, our lives should match what we preach and teach. We shouldn’t say one thing and do another. Doing that will make us a hypocrite and bad witness for Jesus.
2) We should allow the word of God have its place in our lives. It should fall on the fertile part of our hearts and transform us from the inside out. The religious leaders, in our text today, didn’t allow God’s word to have its effect in their lives. They were too busy with their outward show of righteousness.
3) We shouldn’t follow our leaders blindly rather we should imitate the good that we see in them and not the evil. People think its okay to do wrong because the leader or someone you place in high esteem is doing it. Just because they are, doesn’t make it right. Remember, we are all going to stand (individually) in front of God on judgement day. Saying, ‘… my pastor did it and that’s why I also did it’, just won’t cut it on that day. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:11 said “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” That’s how it should be.
“Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels for everyone to see. They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers”. (Matthew 23:5-7 CEVUS06)
4) We have to be careful that we are living our lives for God’s glory and not for the praise of men. It’s a very dangerous thing to live for the praise of men. Jesus says in Matthew 6:1, that those who act in that manner have no reward from God.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven”. (Matthew 6:1 ESV)
The religious leaders in today’s chapter, were all about the outward show (v 5-6). Their hearts were far from God. Let’s examine ourselves today to make sure we are not living for the praise of men.
5) Are we looking for respect and praise from men? Some religious leaders today get offended if you don’t call them with the right title. “The right most reverend apostle bishop man of God….” what is that???? Jesus is telling us not be concerned with those titles. If we humble ourselves, God himself will exalt us (verse 12).
“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and He’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10 MSG)
6) Let’s not exalt our leaders above God. They shouldn’t be our standard: God should be our standard. This is why it is crucial we know God for ourselves. Message version says “Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; Let him tell you what to do”. Some people believe it is only when they have spoken to their pastor will they get answers to their problems. Their reliance is no longer on God but on their pastor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to learn from our pastors but we also need to go back to the Source (God) to confirm what we have been taught is in agreement with Him.
Whose voice gets priority in our life? God or our spiritual leaders? Are they our first point of call or is it God? We have to be honest with ourselves and make the necessary changes. Sometimes we have made those leaders into idols without us even realising it.
It’s not too late to give God His rightful place in our lives. Let’s be humble and sincere in our pursuit of Him. John 4:23 -24 tells us we are to worship God in spirit and in truth
“But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:23-24 MSG)
Thanks for joining today.
Have a blessed day 🙂
***With God all things are possible***