Summary: In this sermon I wish to encourage people to be real for God and to seek a relationship with Jesus Christ which is what everyone needs. We need to be careful about how we as believers treat those outside of the faith and those new to the faith.
Sermon March 11,2007
‘How to be a bad Christian’
Years ago ,a British missionary asked the former Prime Minister of India Dr. Gandhi If he would consider becoming a Christian.
Gandhi said no
The missionary said why
Ghandi had seen how the so called Christians in South Africa had treated non whites .
Gandhi the English educated man of non violence had experienced first hand ,ridicule,scorn and mistreatment at the hands of those who went to church on Sunday and claimed to be Christians.
Gandhi said ‘I like your Jesus ,I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Jesus.’
wasn’t That was a shame?
Imagine that ,
bad Christians who, because of their behavior, Gandhi did not come to embrace Christianity.
How many people have been offended and turned off by bad Christians so that they rejected new life in Christ.
Jesus told his disciples “Ye shall be my witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth.
It is one thing to preach and tell people about Jesus but what people need is to see Jesus in us not just hear about him.
More damage has been done by badly behaving Christians than anything else.
It is said that the Body of Christ is the only army that shoots it’s wounded.
In Jesus day he confronted Jews behaving badly.
Jesus confronted those who considered themselves to be holy men and keepers of the very words of god.
Jesus was faced with a belief system that had become riddled with dead traditions and misunderstandings and was depleted of mercy.
A faith that had lost it’s way.
A belief system without any milk of human kindness.
Can you see the sadness that must have been in Jesus eyes as he rebuked the Pharisees?
Jesus was grieved at their hypocrisy.
Jesus was deeply saddened by their behavior.
Jesus words were carefully written by Matthew so that we here in the 21st century can see what the church is supposed to look like and what the church is not to look like.
Jesus calls you and I to be like him .
In verse 1-4
Jesus exposes the Pharisees for ’tying up heavy loads and putting them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.’
The principle here is If you want to be a bad Christian make Christianity a burden on others.
Tell people seeking salvation that they have to do this and that and all kinds of works before they can be saved.
You know, we need to be careful.
Some people weighed down by guilt will do anything we tell them to get saved.
In verse 5-12 Jesus exposes the Pharisees “everything is done for men to see---you make wide your phylacteries.”
Pharisees wore hoods and on the forehead they had slates with scripture.
These were called phylacteries.
In order to impress people some would pay to have wider ones made so they would look impressive.
Imagine Pharisee Fasion wars who had the widest!!
The principle here is obvious.
If you want to be a bad Christian
Serve in order to be seen and admired.
In verse 13
Jesus exposes the Pharisees for something that must have really broke his heart.
“You shut up the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces you yourselves do not enter nor will you let those enter who are trying.”
The principle here is If you want to be a bad Christian shut the door on people seeking God’s grace.
There was this homeless man who managed to muster up enough courage to go to church.
He hadn’t had a bath in a long time.His clothes were grubby .He walked with a limp from a mini-stroke he had while living in the streets.
He limped into the church just as they were singing the doxology.
He limped in and made his way up to the front ,right to the altar ,he looked up and bravely faced the pastor.He was about to ask for prayer.
Some people covered the eyes of their children so they wouldn’t have to look at this man.
Many avoided his gaze and some glared at him.
The ushers grabbed him and escorted him outside onto the steps of the church.
The homeless man sat on the steps ,rejected,confused and so he began to cry.
Jesus Christ our lord walked up to him and told him”Don’t feel bad they kicked me out years ago.”
Jesus exposed the Pharisees in verse 23-24 by saying.
“you have neglected the more important matters of the law justice,mercy and faithfulness”
Then Jesus said something kind of humorous”You strain at a gnat and swallow a camel!”
Now the principle here is If you want to be a bad Christian make big deals out of small matters and ignore important matters of faith.