Summary: Jesus gives us insite in Matthew 23 as how not to conduct ourselves. This messages explores how we can make Christianity a burden instead of a blessing.
• OPEN WITH VIDEO
• SLIDE #1
• That guy had gone a little off course didn’t he? I hope that we do not become “Fat Christian” as we saw in our video!
• If we are not cautious, we can gradually slip away from what God wants us to do with our lives.
• Many times we subtly slip into problems in our walk.
• How would you like to be able to stop that gradual slip before it starts?
• How many times in life do you wish you had a do over?
• We are going to shift gears for the next 8 weeks and look at a series that that can help keeps us from some of the snares that Satan puts out for us.
• I want to take us through a series of messages on how to be a bad Christian.
• Obviously we do not want to be bad Christians.
• It is my hope that as we journey through this series together that we will be able to recognize some potential pitfalls so that we can avoid them before we fall into them.
• As we begin our 8 week trek, let us look at the context of Matthew 23 which will be the basis for our journey.
• It was Tuesday of the last week of Jesus ministry. It has been called the Great Day of Questions. The religious leaders were peppering Jesus with questions beginning in Matthew 21.
• He has his disciples around Him along with some of the religious leaders with other religious leaders on the fringe within earshot.
• The religious leaders did a good job making a relationship with God a very difficult thing. This did not please Jesus.
• Today in the first message in our series, we will begin by seeing that we will become a bad Christian by making Christianity a burden to others.
• Let’s turn to Matthew 23:1-4
• SLIDE #2
• Matthew 23:1-4 (ESV) 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
• The first way we can make Christianity a burden is by:
• SLIDE #3
We can make Christianity a burden on others when we:
I. LACK TRUE AUTHORITY (V2)
• The religious leaders of Jesus of Jesus day had a monopoly on perceived authority.
• An ancient Jewish saying held that God gave the law to angels, angels gave it to Moses, Moses gave it to Joshua, Joshua gave it to the elders, the elders gave it to the prophets, and the prophets gave it to the men of the synagogue who were later called scribes.
• Over the course of the years, those synagogue scribes became responsible not only for copying and preserving but also for teaching and interpreting God’s law.
• There were no more prophets after the Exile, and the scribes inherited the primary role of spiritual leadership in Israel. In Jesus’ day scribes were found among both the Pharisees and Sadducees but were more commonly associated with the Pharisees.
• Not all the leaders were bad, but as a whole, Jesus did not have a whole lot good to say about them.
• We are told in verse 2 that these people sat in the Moses seat.
• Here is a picture of a “Moses Seat”.
• SLIDE #4
• It does not look like much and it does not look comfortable, but it was the place to sit if you wanted people to listen to you.
• The key to our Lord’s point is the fact that the scribes and Pharisees had seated themselves. They were not appointed by God to sit in the chair of Moses and had not even been elected by the people. They had simply arrogated to themselves that position of authority which was therefore spurious.
• Look at the verse 2 in the NASB.
• SLIDE #5
• “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses;
• This seems to be the literal reading of the passage.
• Therefore to sit in the chair of Moses was tantamount to being God’s authoritative spokesman, and it was that very claim that many of the scribes and Pharisees made for themselves.
• John MacAthur Jr. states in his commentary on the passage.
• The key to our Lord’s point is the fact that the scribes and Pharisees had seated themselves. They were not appointed by God to sit in the chair of Moses and had not even been elected by the people. They had simply arrogated to themselves that position of authority which was therefore spurious. (FAKE)