Summary: Jesus gives us a challenge He gave about the Pharisees. He wants us to show mercy and love to those who need salvation, not just go through the motions of our own religious beliefs

How to Separate Ourselves From the Sins of the Pharisees

Jesus said to them, "Be careful and on your guard against the leaven (teaching, corruption, hypocrisy) of the Pharisees and Saducees." (Matthew 16:6)

Jesus said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the eyes of men. But God knows your heart. For that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God." (Luke 16:15)

Illustration: One day I received a telephone call from a friend. He was working for his doctorate in one of the most prestigious theological seminaries in

America. He asked if I would go with him to call on the head of the seminary, who was also his professor. He explained to me that his professor was a good man, a wonderful person and a brilliant scholar, but that he denied the deity of Christ.

This professor was one of the great church historians of this century. He was a famous theologian who had helped to train many thousands of young men to become pastors and other Christian leaders.

When we arrived and I was introduced, his immediate response was: "Mr.Bright, when you talk to college students about becoming a Christian,what do you tell them?" I was skeptical of his sincerity and weighed my

words carefully.

He then asked a second question, "Better still, what would you tell me? I would like to become a Christian?"

He added that his father was a great scholar who had greatly influenced his own views. The father did not believe in the deity of Christ. He believed Jesus was a good man who had a profound influence upon the

world, but was not God.

The professor continued, "About five years ago I began to reevaluate my personal beliefs and I began to study in earnest the writings of the church fathers and the original manuscripts concerning Jesus. The more

I studied, the more convinced I became that Jesus is the Son of God." And when he asked, "Will you help me" (and I shall never forget this phrase) "know Him as my personal Savior?" I was deeply moved.

He also made a profound statement: "As a result of my research," he said, "I am now convinced that no honest person who is willing to consider the overwhelming evidence proving the deity of Christ can deny

that He is the Son of God." Then he said, "Now, will you pray for me? I want to know Jesus as my personal Savior?"

I prayed for him, my friend prayed, and he prayed. And that day a great scholar met the living Christ in the spirit of a little child.

Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission

each year until our Lord returns,

Bill Bright

Illustration: A man left his house for church one Sunday just as his neighbor was loading his golf clubs into his car. "Henry," the neighbor called, "come play golf with me today." Henry answered firmly, "I always go to church on the Lord’s Day."

After a pause the golfer said, "You know, Henry, I’ve often wondered about your church and I really admire your faithfulness. But I’ve invited you to play golf with me seven or eight times, and you’ve never once invited me to go to church with you."

What an eye-opener! To all the "Henrys" in today’s church, Jesus gives the same challenge He gave to the Pharisees: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice" (Mt. 9:13). In other words, He wants us to show mercy and love to those who need salvation, not just go through the motions of our own religious beliefs. Jesus further explained His mercy by saying, "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (v.13).

Consider the destiny of people without Christ. Let this stir you to a compassion greater than your comfortable routine or your fear of rejection. Pray for several people or families near you and ask God to love them through you. And, without nagging, invite them to church. (Our Daily Bread)

Pharisaical Values

1. Religious leaders rejected Christ as their forefathers rejected the prophets who were before Him. They failed to recognize God’s approved people.

2. The Pharisees held men of power in high esteem - even if they were politicians, financial men, or religious authorities.

3. The scribes and the Pharisees became experts as using the law to instill fear and intimidate people.

4. The Pharisees used religious threats as a club to manipulate people

5. The Pharisees attempts to become holy and righteous through external observances of the law were legendary, but all in vain.

6. The religious leaders tried to satisfy their conscience through the keeping of the law. They believed that they deserved to go to heaven because their religiosity had met the law’s demands. They tried to reduce God to a set of rules, regulations and policies.

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