Summary: We are going to look at the "Pharisee Syndrome"
INTRO: A while back I was watching a show on the greenback (American dollar) and how it has endured over the years. In the last couple of years there has been a huge push to modernize the greenback because there is so much counterfeiting going on. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost each year due to counterfeiting. It was an interesting fact that Iran tried to mass produce the greenback to ruin the American economy.
When we think of counterfeiting we think of it in the human world, but we see in nature when animals counterfeit or disguise themselves in order to attain their goals of food and protection. We also see it in the spiritual world where the enemy of our soul produces a counterfeit of Christianity called religion that leads many people to Hell.
Today: We are going to look at the "Pharisee Syndrome."
TITLE: What Every Christian Should Know
TEXT: Matthew 16:5-6
I. Introduction of the Pharisee
A. One group within the religious leaders was known as the Pharisees. They were zealous followers of the Law and traced their origins and claims for authority back to Ezra.
1.In Jesus’ day they were the respected leaders of the law and keepers of the truth.
-They wanted the people to obey God in the light of his revelation in the first five books of the Bible written by Moses.
2.I find it so amazing that the very one (God) whom the Pharisees thought they well represented with their traditions and teachings, was rejected by them when he came on the scene.
B. Their problem wasn’t in the correctness of their doctrine. Their doctrine was more correct – in light of the New Testament teaching of Christ and the apostles – than any other group in Judaism of their day, according to Dr. David Nichols.
1.Their problem was a heart problem. In the simplest way they went by the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law.
2.The tragedy of their whole way of life and teaching was its end of destruction. -Souls are lost to eternal damnation through this way.
II. The Lord’s warning.
A. Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees.
1. The nature of yeast is that it expands the dough and makes it rise, changing its character.
Illustrate: It’s the difference between a cracker and a bagel. The bagel is much larger because of the yeast.
-The Pharisees would tell you you’re eating a cracker when in reality it is a bagel.
Point: This expansion is exactly the problem in the teaching and practice of the Pharisees. They expanded the simple teaching of the Old Testament by leavening it, diluting it and expanding it, so that the truth of God had no impact on the hearts of the people.
B. Let’s understand something about the word of God.
1.Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
-God’s word will stand through the end of time.
2.We also need to realize the strength and power of God’s word.
-The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-The psalmist (119:19) tells us that keeping our way pure is by living according to his word. -It is also a lamp unto our feet (119:105), showing us the direction we need to go.
Summary: The word of God will stand to the end of time; it has the power to divide soul and spirit, judging thoughts and attitudes of the heart; it has the ability to keep one pure if it is obeyed. It’s like a lamp to guide the way.
-The Bible also tells us it will set us free.
3.In fact, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he used the word of God to defeat him.
Point: Satan has no defense against the word of God so he has to find ways to diffuse the word of God—to filter it and to weaken it.
4.The serpent did this in the garden with Adam and Eve. He got them to question God’s character and nature. The word is a reflection of who God is, his character and nature.
-In Jesus’ day the Pharisees were supposed to be showing the way to God, but instead they were showing the way to destruction.
Thought: That’s why Jesus was warning his disciples to be on their guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – their teaching, their ways of following God.
-They are counterfeit and it will only lead to destruction.
TS:Just as the disciples were warned about this counterfeit way, we need to understand it and watch for its effect on our lives. If you are a Christian (follower of Christ), you will have to deal with it. Let’s look at some characteristics of a Pharisee so we will be able to recognize this counterfeit way.