Summary: HAVE YOU EVER RAN ACROSS PEOPLE WHO SAY ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER. OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO SAYS DON’T DO AS I DO, DO AS I SAY. LET’S GET PERSONAL OR HAVE YOU SAID ONE THING AND DONE ANOTHER. THAT IS SO MESSY. JESUS HAS GIVEN US A SOLUTION HOW NOT TO BE
STIRRING TIME COMING
MINISTER KERMIT REAVES
HAVE YOU EVER RAN ACROSS PEOPLE WHO SAY ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER. OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO SAYS DON’T DO AS I DO, DO AS I SAY. LET’S GET PERSONAL OR HAVE YOU SAID ONE THING AND DONE ANOTHER. THAT IS SO MESSY. JESUS HAS GIVEN US A SOLUTION HOW NOT TO BE LIKE THIS A HYPOCRITE IF YOU WILL TURN WITH ME IN YOUR BIBLE TO THE 23RD CHAPTER OF MATTHEW GOD WOULD WANT US TO FOCUS ON THESE TWO VERSES
IN THIS TEXT MATTHEW RECORDS THE FIFTH OF SEVEN WOES JESUS PRONOUNCED AGAINST THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES WHO WERE RELIGIOUS LEADERS/TEACHERS OF THAT DAY. THE PROBLEM WAS JESUS SAYS EARLY IN THIS CHAPTER IN VS 3 “THEY DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH”. HE SAYS THIS BECAUSE THESE RELIGIOUS LEADERS/TEACHERS BEHAVOIR WAS INCONSISTENT WITH THEIR TEACHING. HAVING WARNED AGAINST IMITATING THE INCONSISTENCY BETWEEN THE PHARISEES AND SCRIBES TEACHINGS AND THEIR PRACTICES, JESUS NOW IN THIS TEXT GIVES A WOE AGAINST LETTING EXTERNAL CLEANNESS HIDE THE NEED FOR INNER CLEANNESS. SINCE THE ROOT CAUSE OF UNRIGHTEOUNESS IS INTERNAL IT IS USELESS TO BE OVERLY CONCERNED WITH EXTERNAL CLEANNESS. THIS WAS YET ANOTHER WEAKNESS THAT CHARACTERIZED THE PHARISEES THEIR CONCERN FOR OUTWARD CLEANNESS AT THE EXPENSE OF EQUAL ATTENTION TO THEIR INNER CLEANNESS. PEOPLE OFTEN HAVE A TENDENCY TO FOCUS ON THEIR OUTWARD APPEARANCE AND NEGLECT THEIR NEED FOR INTERNAL APPEARANCES
Christ’s fifth woe confirms that many of the scribes and Pharisees have put their efforts of godliness in the wrong place (Matt. 23:25–26). All Jewish sects in His day agree on the need to wash their dishes in order to maintain their ceremonial cleanness, and they certainly also agree that it is pointless to cleanse the outside of a cup and leave the inside filthy. Yet this is precisely what the piety of our Lord’s opponents has achieved. Outward behavior is important, but many scribes and Pharisees have not worked also on their souls. Thinking that external conformity to the Law is enough, they have not seen that evil is ultimately a matter of the heart, for all wickedness originates there (Matt. 5:21–30). Those concerned solely with what others see, not the darkness within, are like a cup whose handle is sparkling but has the coffee from three weeks ago inside. No matter how much you polish that handle, the cup is still dirty.
The Law does not deal merely with externals; its goal is purity of heart Repeated washings should remind the washer of his perpetual dirtiness and help him long for a clean heart. The Pharisees have missed this, failing to see that outer cleanliness depends upon inner purity, (Matt. 23:26).“If renewing, sanctifying grace make clean the inside, that will have an influence on the outside, for the commanding principle is within. “those sins must be conscientiously abstained from, which the eye of God only is a witness to, who searches the heart.” We can easily think we are being obedient if we do many good deeds, however, doing such things while harboring hatred, jealousy, and other such inward sins is to act as a hypocrite. We are hypocrites if we fail to mortify those things only God can see. What inner thoughts and feelings must you put to death?
1. THE JEWS BECAME MORE CONCERNED WITH OUTWARD PURITY THAN INNER PURITY
Through the centuries, these purity regulations gradually degenerated into empty rituals that became substitutes for a personal relationship with God. By the time Jesus was ministering in Israel, these clean and unclean laws expanded to include trivial details that became ridiculous.
In Mark 7, Jesus and His disciples collide with these purity rules. (Mark 7:1-4) The Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with "unclean" hands.
Kids, when your mother tells you to wash your hands before you come to the table, don’t you dare say, "Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate, why do I have to?" Kids and dirt just seem to be attracted to each other–especially little boys. I used to hate it when my mother licked her hand or a handkerchief to wipe dirt off my face!
Today, we know there are invisible germs, so it’s important to wash your hands before you eat because you don’t want to get germs on your food and into your mouth. Jesus’ disciples’ hands weren’t dirty; they just didn’t observe the "tradition" of washing their hands in a ceremonial fashion, so the religious leaders were appalled. Notice:
God taught the Jews that cleanliness was a means to holiness and godliness. But the Jews took it to the extreme until these regulations became the end of godliness instead of one of the ways to holiness. They didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water; they climbed in the bath and kicked the baby out! They mistook physical cleanliness with holiness. To them cleanliness was not next to godliness–it was godliness!