Summary: 3 More things Jesus Condemned the Pharisees for.
“Woe, Woe, Woe - Part 2 – Luke 11:37-55”
Gladstone Baptist Church – 12/11/06 am
S1 - We love to condemn the Pharisees. OOPS
I lived in Tasmania for 3 years before coming to Gladstone and I loved our time there. I’d go back any time. But you know what I’ve noticed … we love to pick on Tasmanians. Now I did too when I was living there. I’ve got a Tasmanian Joke for you …
A Tasmanian walks into a hardware store and asks for a chain saw that will cut 6 trees in one hour. The salesman recommends the top of the line model. The Tasmanian is suitably impressed, and buys it.
The next day he brings it back and says, "This chainsaw is defective. It would only cut down 1 tree and it took ALL DAY!"
The salesman takes the chain saw, starts it up to see what’s wrong, and the Tasmanian says, "What’s that noise?"
We love to pick on Tasmanians don’t we. Actually, there are many different groups we love to pick on. Blondes … Irishmen … Politicians … Footballers … Boilermakers. The list could go on and on. In Christian circles, though, the group we love to pick on are the Pharisees. They were the group that Jesus seemed to always be giving a hard time.
But the truth is, that there is a bit of a Pharisee in all of us. This is what we saw last week anyway when we read about how Jesus expressed some deep regrets about how the Pharisees were living and responding to Him.
Jesus was there – a light shining for all to see. His miracles were proof that he was God’s Son. His ultimate miracle – the resurrection could leave no doubt. His words were also proof that he was God’s anointed one. His light, His witness, was greater than Jonah and greater than Solomon, But still people somehow were blind to it. They couldn’t or they wouldn’t see who he was. They couldn’t or wouldn’t hear his teaching. Some people basically point blank refused to obey Him.
And last week, we saw that the Pharisees were in the firing line of Jesus. They were blind to it and He dressed them down over 3 areas of behaviour. “Woe, Woe, Woe” he said as he noted 3 areas of their lives that he was disappointed in. What were their three failings …
1) They majored on the minor things. Tithing was the example given by Jesus. They were so consumed about not cheating God, that they neglected to care for others around them. They didn’t have love, they didn’t show justice. Some of us are like that. We have hobby horse issues that we are consumed by. They are important, but often they distract us from what is the major thing for us – to care for those around us.
2) They sought fame and public applause. They were proud people – just like many of us here. Jesus would have preferred they sought his glory, than their own and he challenged them to live lives of humility.
3) They hindered people from approaching God. People looked at them and were turned off God. People in our church today, I fear are doing more to hinder non-believers coming to Christ than they are to bring people to Christ.
I said last week that there is a little bit of Pharisee in each of us. I can relate to a lot of this and I’m sure most of you can too. So when we pick on the Pharisees, we are really picking on ourselves.
S2 – The Scribes claimed they weren’t Pharisees, but Jesus still said Woe, Woe, Woe. (vs 45) UGH
“Hang on a minute. Speak for yourself.” Some of you are saying. “I am not a Pharisee – I don’t major on the minor things, I don’t have an issue with pride and I don’t believe I hinder people from coming to God. I resent the implication that you are making about me.” I hear some of you whisper that under your breath.
Some of you are thinking this way right now – I know. You have been quick to label some of your brothers & sisters sitting beside you today as Pharisees. But you are not willing to take that label on for yourself.
You know, this is exactly what the Scribes said who were gathered around. Open up your bibles to Luke 11:37-55. We have two groups of people in this passage. First there are the Pharisees who we talked about last week. The Pharisees were a religious sect. They were a subset of the Jewish religion. Not dominant in terms of number, but definitely very vocal and sometimes quite powerful in the Jewish leadership. They were very vocal about what how things should be done. They were sticklers for the rules.