Summary: So you want to be a Pharisee and be in contradiction to the teachings and example set by Jesus? Watch out Jesus is going to humble you!

So you want to be a Pharisee!

Thesis: So you want to be a Pharisee and be in contradiction to the teachings and example set by Jesus? Watch out Jesus is going to humble you!


Matthew 5:20 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 23:1-12 1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5“Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries£ wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’

8“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.£ 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


Jesus reveals to us in chapter 23 that the leaders of the church of Israel where suffering from the common head trip called “The top down attitude!” The result of this mindset has caused them to miss the mark of righteousness. Hans Finzel addresses this mindset in his book “The Top ten Mistakes Leaders Make.”

The top down attitude is revealed in our text as:

Abusive authority

Deplorable Delegation

Lack of listening

Dictatorship in decision making

Lack of letting go

Egocentric manners

The Pharisee’s followed these same actions. Jesus addresses these distorted mindsets with leadership 101 from above in Matthew 23:1-12.

I. The top down leadership catastrophe in Israel’s leaders exposed by Jesus.

a. Jesus told the crowd and his disciples that this leadership style is not of God.

i. The leaders of Israel did sit in a divinely appointed position created by God. Therefore the people needed to listen to what they said.

1. Apparently they said the right things but did the opposite of they taught and knew to be true.

2. It tells us to make sure that you obey the teachings of God whether the person teaching them lives them or not.

3. The Teachers and Pharisee’s were good about telling and teaching people how to be holy and the importance of living holy lives.

a. But they did add to the truth man made rules and regulations.

b. The Historical Background on the leadership of Israel’s religious leaders.

i. See sermon notes from Doug Heck, Grace Bible Church on the Scribes and Pharisee’s.

4. They learned the importance of how to live for the Lord.

ii. BUT – now rings out in our message- It still rings all across the nation of Israel, across the world and through out time for all to pay attention to.

1. “Don’t do what they do!” – The direction from God is obey what they say because they are teaching the truth but don’t act like them.

a. Don’t follow their example because they do not practice what they preach. They where hypocrites:

b. 21 Characteristics of hypocrites by Curtis Kittrell:

Twenty-one Characteristics of Hypocrites

1. They demand respect as teachers (Matthew 23:2).

2. They teach, but do not practice (Matthew 23:3).

3. They demand service; not give it (Matthew 23:4).

4. They seek praise of men (Matthew 23:5).

5. They parade their religion (Matthew 23:5).

6. They seek chief banquet places (Matthew 23:6).

7. They seek chief places in church (Matthew 23:6).

8. They glory in personal attention (Matthew 23:7).

9. They glory in titles (Matthew 23:7).

10. They rob men of truth and life (Matthew 23:13).

11. They reject truth and life (Matthew 23:13).

12. They take advantage of widows (Matthew 23:14).

13. They exhibit long prayers (Matthew 23:14).

14. They are zealous to win men to their sect, but not to God (Matthew 23:15).

15. They root and ground converts in hypocrisy, but not to God (Matthew 23:15).

16. They profess to be the only guide in religion, but are blind to truth and practical Christianity (Matthew 23:16-22).

17. They propagate those parts of religion from which they receive most personal gain and honor (Matthew 23:16-22).

18. They strain at gnats and swallow camels; stress minor details and omit the fundamentals of religion (Matthew 23:23-24).

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