Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 15-17; Matthew 23
In Matthew 23 Jesus addresses the issue of false teachers, specifically the heresy taught by the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus described it as binding heavy burdens that were difficult for the Jews to carry. It wasn’t enough for them to bind them with religious rules and regulations, but when they failed to keep the rules, they were rebuked which added guilt to the burden. Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for putting these regulations on the Jews, but being unwilling to lift one finger to help them. Jesus said of them, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (vs. 5-7) Jesus was rebuking their arrogance and pride. They were hypocrites! They wanted people to think they were servants of God, striving to help people be obedient to Him, while the truth was they had no desire to serve the Lord. They were only concerned with serving themselves. They were obsessed with position, prestige, and power. God rebukes their pride and says, “but he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (vs. 11-12) In the following verses, Jesus holds nothing back, but addresses every area of their hypocrisy and pride. He reveals how hurtful they have been to the Jews, and how wrong their teaching and example has been. Oh how God hates pride! James teaches us that God gives grace unto the humble, but the proud He will abase. In this passage, God shows the reality of the James’ teaching. There is nothing hid from God, for He sees everything completely. People may fool other people, but no one ever fools God. He knows our true appetite for truth, and He knows the reason for our worship. He correctly analyzes our service for Him. Does God see a heart that truly loves Him? When we get to judgment day, the only reward will be for things done for God out of love for Him, in faith believing Him, and for His ultimate glory. Everything else will burn up and those who served selfishly will suffer loss. Those who never trusted Christ for salvation, like the scribes and Pharisees, will go straight to hell. We have such a responsibility to yield ourselves to be servants of righteousness by submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees were teaching works without faith. This was burdening the Jews for no one can live the Christian life without first coming to God in faith. Just as it was necessary to have faith in what God said for our salvation; it is equally necessary to exercise that same faith in God for serving Him each day. May we be genuine examples of true servants for God.
• Lord, please help me to grow to love you more every day. I desire that people would see your love and holiness and desire to trust you as their Savior.
• Lord, please help me to hate pride like you do. Please help me to be honest with my own heart and live a life of humility in my service to you.
• Lord, please help me to humble yet honest with those who are teaching falsely. Help me to have the courage to confront sin and hypocrisy with grace, knowing how weak I can be.