Summary: This sermon focuses on what NOT to do as Christians, looks at comparing ourselves to the Pharisees.

Matthew 23:15

15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“You Might Be a Pharisee”

It’s hard for us to fully realize… just how cool the Pharisees were in their day. The equivalent to rock stars or movie stars… they were the envy of everyone in Judea. Everyone was envious of the Pharisees… the power… the money… the celebrity. It all seemed so glamorous, such a charmed lifestyle.

However… one man saw through their act and called them out for the hypocrites they were. So much so… that when we hear Pharisee today… we don’t think “cool,” we think strict… we think rigid… conceited… hypocritical… two faced. Being called a Pharisee today… would be anything but a compliment. They weren’t the perfect role models that they would have you believe they were. In fact… it would be wise… to take everything the Pharisees did… and do the exact opposite. Anything in your life that would make people even think you might be a Pharisee would be worth changing just to avoid the horrible stereotype.

So… my friends… in an effort to educate ourselves in how NOT to be a Pharisee… I give you a “Top Ten” list called “You Might Be a Pharisee”

Top Ten: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You might be a Pharisee

1. If you’ve ever invited someone to church, but then can’t remember where the church is at…

2. If your attendance at church depends on what time your kids wake you up…

3. If you’ve never seen a church without a casket upfront…

4. If the only bible you own is as big as your coffee table… and it only comes out when the pastor visits…

5. If you’ve ever made change in the offering plate…

6. If you think of Communion wine as “hair off the dog that bit ya”…

7. If the only reason you go to church on Sunday is to make fun of the people who were out on Saturday…

8. If you think a Tithe is something you wear around your neck…

9. If you consider the sermon “nap time”…

10. If you’ve ever skipped church because you were afraid you’d miss kickoff…

While these may indeed be funny… it is also scary how many people can fit into one of these categories. For a lot of people being a Christian is more about the image and what people see than about who we really are.

For the Pharisees… it was all about following the law; obey the laws and offer the right sacrifice at the right time and they “were good.”

In some ways, we have begun to act the same way as Christians, follow a set of rules and you’re good. Do the right thing, and you’re good. Tell me if these concepts sound familiar?

1. Sit through a boring church service at Christmas and Easter, and you’re good.

2. Do the sign of the cross, Go to confessional, say the Hail Mary, take communion

and you’re good

3. Serve food at a local shelter or build a habitat house, and you’re good

4. If you can’t do any of that… just give a big offering and you’re good

5. Finally… get your kids “done” and they are good (Probably the scariest thing… you probably all know what I mean by getting your kids “done.”)

We think if we walk through the right set of hoops in life, it is like slipping God a hundred dollar bill for a special seat at the heavenly table. But Christianity simply does not work that way, and that is exactly what Jesus was telling the Pharisees. A set of rules don’t cut it. A set of hoops don’t get you into heaven.

Now Jesus brought out the big guns in this verse when he was condemning the Pharisees… I wonder if you caught it. At the end of verse 15 he declares, “you make the new convert twice a child of hell as you are.” That’s a bit rough isn’t it? I mean… they were just trying to do the right thing. We have to give them some credit for at least rebelling against the world’s ways and following God’s ways… right?

Yet… Jesus doesn’t cut them any slack. Good intentions are not enough. What they were trying to do… was in fact getting in the way of their relationship with God. They were so worried about following the law that they missed the obvious. They would walk past a man beaten half to death on the road because touching him would make them unclean. (the Good Samaritan)

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