Summary: There are seven woes in this text. Let’s consider only a few of these to see how they apply to us.
INTRO.- ILL.- A rather pompous-looking deacon was trying to impress a class of boys with the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one youngster said, "Maybe it’s because they don’t know you."
ILL.- During one of his political campaigns, a delegation called on Theodore Roosevelt at his home in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The President met them with his coat off and his sleeves rolled up. "Ah, gentlemen," he said, "come down to the barn and we will talk while I do some work."
At the barn, Roosevelt picked up a pitchfork and looked around for the hay. Then he called out, "John, where’s all the hay?" "Sorry, sir," John called down from the hayloft. "I ain’t had time to toss it back down again after you pitched it up while the Iowa folks were here."
Apparently, his so-called work was nothing but a put on, a big front, a big joke.
ILL.- Robert Redford was walking one day through a hotel lobby. A woman saw him and followed him to the elevator.
"Are you the real Robert Redford?" she asked him with great excitement. As the doors of the elevator closed, he replied, "Only when I am alone!"
I would say this is true for us all. The real you is when you are alone. The real you is what you are when you are all alone. What do you do when you are all alone? I really like myself a lot better when I am singing gospel hymns than when I’m watching some TV program. But what is the real me? What is the real you?
ILL.- Mark Twain said, “We’re all like the moon, we have a dark side we don’t want anyone to see.” So true.
ILL.- There was a preacher who was interviewing with a church search committee. An English teacher headed the committee, and was very concerned that the future pastor spoke properly. "When the hen is on the nest, does she sit or set?" he asked the candidate. The hopeful preacher was frustrated. He didn’t know what to say, and his career was on the line. Finally he replied, "It really doesn’t matter if she’s sitting or setting. What I want to know is this: when she cackles is she laying or lying?"
It really wasn’t important whether that preacher knew good grammar or not. The important issue should have been, did he live his faith?
Matt. 23:1-3 “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So 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.”
The Pharisees were first class hypocrites. Good at preaching, poor at practicing. They put on a big show. They loved being greeted “Rabbi.” It might like a preacher wanting to be called “Reverend” today or perhaps “The Right Reverend,” etc. And I’ve known a few like that in my time.
Jesus said even worse things about the Pharisees in this text, some of which could partially be applied to us.
PROP.- There are seven woes in this text. Let’s consider only a few of these to see how they apply to us.
1- Woe to you for shutting the kingdom in men’s faces.
2- Woe to you for neglecting the more important matters of the law.
3- Woe to you for looking good only on the outside.
I. WOE TO YOU FOR SHUTTING THE KINGDOM IN MEN’S FACES
Matt. 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
I can’t imagine anyone wanting to keep anybody from enjoying something good in life, and especially, the Lord’s kingdom. Have you kept anybody out of the kingdom? Have you kept anybody out of the church? How would you do such a thing? Perhaps by bad behavior, hypocrisy, etc.
ILL.- On Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 24th, we had our big snow in Jonesboro. It pretty well piled up the traffic that evening. I believe the paper said there were 94 car wrecks and 17 cars in ditches from Wednesday afternoon until 7 a.m. Thursday.
I came to work early that Thursday around 5:30. Not many cars out and not much stirring. As I was sitting in my office working, about 7 a.m. I heard someone having the time of their life spinning circles in our parking lot. I jumped up and went out the front door. There was a guy spinning around in the parking lot in his older model pickup. I motioned for him to leave the lot. But that’s not what he did.