Summary: If one is not careful, one's heart can drift so far away from God that we end up with no heart.
• SLIDE #1
• Today we are going to examine a unique group of people as we continue with our A Drifting Heart series.
• Today we will see how the scribes and Pharisees ended up with the worst-case scenario when it comes to a drifting heart, a heart that drifts so far from God that one ends up with no heart.
• Somewhere along the line, these men had drifted so far from God that they ended up with no heart for God.
• They were so far from God that they were plotting to kill Jesus.
• How could this happen, these men were supposed to be the cream of the crop when it came to being religious.
• They were the ones that people were to look to in order to see what it meant to serve and follow God.
• These men follow the law to the letter, but yet here they are, so far from God they could not recognize Him if He were standing right in front of them, WHICH HE WAS!
• Are the scribes and Pharisees so unique that what happened to them could only happen to them?
• Is it possible for me to drift so far from God, that I would no longer have a heart for Him?
• Wait, nothing can separate us from the love of God, no one can snatch us out of His hand, is that not what the Bible tells us?
• It sure does, BUT, we are a free-will being who can walk away from God anytime we choose.
• The context of the message today is that Jesus is confronting the scribes and Pharisees.
• Jesus will proclaim eight WOES against these leaders, chastising them in eight blind spots in their lives that was driving them from God.
• Not only were they drifting away from God, but they were also leading others to do the same thing.
• You know what is scary, how can folks who are so religious be so far from God?
• Let that thought bounce around in your mind, we will come back to that question later!
• Today we are going to look at three of the eight woes so that we can see how to protect ourselves from letting our heart drift so far away from God that we lose heart.
• Let’s turn to Matthew 23, we will be in verses 23-28, let’s start with verses 23-24
• SLIDE #2
• Matthew 23:23–24 (CSB) — 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel!
• SLIDE #3
Our heart will drift from God when we…
I. Major in minors.
• Jesus begins this fifth WOE by reminding the leaders they were hypocrites and, once again, He will let them know why He concluded this.
• This WOE focuses on the act of tithing, which means to give 1/10 of one’s income back to God.
• It is meant to show God that one recognizes that God is the source of one’s blessings and it shows God we trust Him in this area of our life.
• In Leviticus 27:30-33 we find that God commanded that 1/10 of the produce from one's land, as well as a 1/10 of the herds, belongs to God.
• The religious leaders determined, rightly or wrongly that this included their seeds.
• These leaders would spend a great deal of time counting out these tiny seeds to present to God.
• One would think that God would be impressed by this show of religious devotion, this attention to detail.
• Yet here is Jesus calling them hypocrites? Why?
• Jesus was not condemning tithing, far from it, but what He was condemning was the practice of putting the little things over the more significant things.
• The Pharisees were not treating the essential duties (how to treat people in a way that honors God) with the same sense of urgency as they were counting seeds.
• That would be like seeing your loved one with their arm almost cut off, and bleeding profusely, then you would get on them because their shirt does not match their pants. ?
• Jesus offers what God sees as weightier issues, justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
• Justice is making sure we give all their just due. Treating everyone evenhanded, in a fair way.
• Mercy is displaying compassion and kindness to the poor and miserable, displaying loving-kindness in one’s conduct toward others.
• Faithfulness is a commitment to one's promise and/or belief in God.