Thursday, May 23, 2013
Scribes and Pharisees in the Christian Church: Confronting Hypocrisy
Does anybody ever have one of those Garden of Gethsemane days in which you feel like all the world is crashing down around you and you feel like a skyscraper is about to fall on top of you? I've had one of those days today. I've just been dealing with a lot of spiritual warfare. I just ask for your prayers that God will bring me out of this situation, because through Jesus Christ we are more than overcomers.
There's times when I feel like punching a hole in the wall because I get so frustrated. I'm not doubting God, I am doubting myself in certain areas. But I am glad to know that God is a deliverer that we can rely on. I thank God for the cross!
Many times I just feel so alone and to my own shame I will cry out, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?". My saying that is disgraceful and shows how foolish I can be. But I know that God calls the fools (like me) to be wise. I pray 100s of times per day (majority of the time they are very short prayers). I love my Lord Jesus Christ and the friends that He has placed in my life.
I am honored to know many great men and women of the Most High God Jesus Christ. God manifests His glory through their works in their churches and I praise God for them. I desire to be used by God but I am battling with some sins that I have been stuck with ever since I have been saved. I am still not completely out of my flesh.
Sometimes I wonder if I have lost my salvation but then I ask myself why Satan is still attacking me so much if I am no longer a born-again Christian? I am just a struggling Christian. For a long time now I have been in and out of my own personal Hell, and during camp meetings and revivals I experience a great wave of peace but as soon as I leave I am immediately under attack again.
I spend a lot of time in a raging sea. But didn't Jesus calm a physical raging sea? What would stop Him from calming one in my mind? Nothing but myself. I feel like sometimes I delay the move of God in my own life involuntarily. He walked on a stormy sea too! I believe that soon my Jesus will come walking out to save me but I'm gonna have to walk back to shore with Him. Could I handle that any better than Peter? I certainly hope so!
As CS Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun is risen." I love the Lord for what He has done in the past, what He has done for me, and also for what He's done TO me. I've felt His very presence and I know that it wasn't my imagination. The imagination is in the brain, but God is in my heart! During the Mercy Me concert, during the last song I felt just like heat was being released from me. I felt like chains were being broken off of me. I think I felt the very love of God!
But being the flesh that I am, I foolishly went home and sinned again. Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? I am a man of struggles...I have gotten to know the devil well during my year as a Christian but I have also gotten pretty tight to the God who cast him out of Heaven!
Who am I? Who am I that the Lord of all the Earth would care to know my name? Who am I that He would care to feel my hurt? I am a flower quickly fading! I am here today, but I could be gone tomorrow. I long to go home. I hate this world, but I am not willing to kill myself to get to Hell! I am willing to live through this world of tribulation in order to make it to the very dwelling place of the Great I AM!
I want to works of God to be made manifest in me. James said that faith without works is dead! I want to work the works of Him that saved me! Jesus rescues me! I want Him to use me in miracles, in counseling in times of trouble, in casting out of demons, in prophecy, and most of all in the ministry. When I am judged, I want Jesus to tell me, "Welcome home, My child! Come and dine!"
What is greater than the praise of the Lord? The Pharisees desired the praise of man. They had not the love of God in their hearts. They were not the only ones to crucify the Messiah though, we all crucified the Son of God! We have His blood on our hands! We are all deserving of death for this travesty! We scourged the Lord, we beat Him, we spit on Him, we mocked Him, we rejected Him, we put the crown of thorns on His head, we put the nails in His hands, and we pierced His side but yet He still loved us! He prayed for us saying, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
Jesus was not defeated on the cross, He won! One of His last words were this, "It is finished." Those in the crowd that day probably thought He was declaring defeat, but they couldn't be further from the truth. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was declaring victory! It is finished, the battle is over and won! No more sickness, no more death, no more sin for God's children! We were the prize the Lord God Almighty Jesus Christ won that day at Calvary!
Years I spent in vanity and pride knowing not my Lord was crucified. Knowing not it was for me He died at Calvary. Mercy there was great, and grace was free. Pardon there was multiplied to me and then my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary. If the Son has set you free, then you are free indeed. Through Christ Jesus we may have life and have it more abundantly!
For 2,000 years human history has been fascinated with this man known by worldly history as Jesus of Nazareth, a preacher from Nazareth. But we, Christians, know who this "man" really was. He was not just a man, He was the Father incarnate! Truly, this righteous man was the Son of God!
Look at how we have demeaned the Lord. We have mocked Him in TV shows like South Park and Family Guy. We have tried to scandalize Him by saying He was married to Mary Magdalene! Why would any Christian watch that kind of stuff? You are partaking in the blasphemy yourself if you don't stop watching that crap.
We have done everything worthy of being destroyed as a race. We have killed children in the womb, we have allowed same-sex marriage and supported homosexuality, we have murdered each other, we have mocked one another for our beliefs, we have taught atheistic lies in school. What a great Christian nation the United States of America is!
We have polluted the church with false doctrine. We have ordained homosexual ministers, we have endorsed liberal politics, we have not stood up to persecution, we have taught people the Gospel just for money. We have taken the Father's house and made it a den of thieves!
But God is love and life. The devil is hate and death. Most of the world is unwittingly (sometimes consciously) following the god of this world Satan. Turn your hearts to Jesus Christ and He will renew a right spirit within you, even the Holy Spirit!
Why do so many Christians support pro-choice? It is unconstitutional (each man is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights: LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). I know a few of you are going to hate me for this but repent! Stop electing any politician that supports this! Whether or not the child is born, it still has life. Life is God's to take away, not man's!
Remember Jesus' preaching to the Scribes and Pharisees? I will give some quotes that make me think of the state of the Lord's church and America, which is supposed to be a Christian nation. "But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation...Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel... Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whitened sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleaness. (Matthew 23)"
I am not chastising only the people reading this. I, who am writing this, am chastising myself for the sin that I am battling with. My basic point is to stop making the Father's house a house of merchandise! We have earned a reputation of being intolerant. We hate people who disagree with us instead of witnessing to them and praying for them. What kind of Christians are we? We can sometimes be as much of hypocrites as the scribes and Pharisees! Woe unto us! We have taken the Father's house and have made it a den of thieves!
Why do we suppress the Holy Ghost's power in our church's? Why have we left our first love? God will judge us for this when He returns! Jesus, our great God and Savior is coming back soon and the majority of us have failed Him! I am a failure myself in many areas! I am not bold enough, I am not as good as I should be, I could never hold as much of a paper cup to the face of the Lord Jesus! I am not worthy to set foot on the ground He walked on! I am not worthy to set foot in His church or to claim His name!
I am not sure if what I am doing is actual preaching or not. I don't know if I am called to preach. I am only doing what I feel led to do! I am surprised at the words I have wrote tonight but I am not ashamed of them, nor do I repent of them. Hate me if you want, I'm going on with Jesus even if I have to go alone! I intend to follow Him until He takes me home! Here in the love of Christ I stand!
God loves us all. He loves us all so much! He humbled Himself even to death on the cross for our redemption! He chooses unlikely people to carry out His work on Earth. Abraham had a lack of faith, Noah was a drunk, Peter denied Him three times, and Paul persecuted the church. Jesus still chooses unlikely people to do the work of Christ, He calls drug-addicts, drunks, murderers even to do spread the Gospel! What a mighty God we serve!
I can't believe that there are so many people in my own area that believe that Jesus Christ is just man, which is blatantly contrary to the scriptures. Jesus didn't claim to be just a prophet, He claimed to be God the Father in the flesh. He was crucified for what the Jews thought was blasphemy. But even on the cross, He received the glory that the only begotten Son of the Father deserves. Jesus is the only begotten of the Father, Jesus is the Son of God, in being the Son of God Jesus is the one true God incarnated in the flesh.
I can't believe that the Muslims think that Mohammad, a bandit, rapist, misogynist, wife-stealing murderer is a better person that Jesus. Jesus committed no sin and He is the one who judged this false prophet. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not the first son of Joseph, He was only the Son of God.
Isn't it a wonder though? God manifested Himself in the flesh as Jesus Christ. He emptied Himself and made Himself of no reputation, He took on the form of a servant. That One that looked like a servant was actually a king! What a wonder is this!
Jesus endured the following sufferings: denial by His own hometown and brothers and sisters, denial by the Jews He had come for, He was mocked, He was betrayed by one of His disciples, He was whipped and crucified for crimes He didn't do. But yet Jesus still won. There in the ground, His body lain. Light of the world by darkness slain. Then bursting forth in glorious day, out from the grave He rose again. And as He stands in victory sin's curse has lost it's grip on me. For I am His, and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!
Can't nobody do me like Jesus! I've used lyrics from countless songs in this LOL. The praise of God is a great way to show His glory. Thank you, Jesus for Your word and your great sacrifice! There is none greater than You, Father! Our hope is in Jesus.
I am telling you the truth, God is a miracle-worker. He still works as great miracles as He worked in the biblical times. If it be the will of the Lord Jesus, this nation will turn from it's wicked ways but right now I think the Tribulation is coming and we must be ready. Contrary to the popular belief, I believe we will not be hoisted out of here and miss the Antichrist's reign. I think we are going to be here until the end. This will be the ultimate test of faith. Can you handle it? With the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, you can overcome. Jesus said to His disciples, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)" and John wrote later, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4)"
I think Paul gives us a good idea of how the end of life should be for a Christian in II Timothy 4:6-7, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..." This was Paul's last letter before being beheaded under Nero. Paul was ready meet Jesus again! We should be ready also. For me, the pain of my own death is worth the peace I will feel Heaven!
Gosh, I'm not done yet. I hope you all don't think I'm evil for some of the things I've said in here but at the same time I don't really give a crap. I beat myself up too sometimes. I was told by a friend that the book of Proverbs tells us that stripes are for a fools back, and he said that he didn't take me for a fool so I should stop hitting myself LOL. I feel like a fool, I am not a man fool of wisdom. I'm just an instrument of God. I am an unworthy vessel. I am just a sinner saved by grace.
Jesus didn't come to start a religion. He came here to become the world's Savior. We have all failed Him in more ways than are countable. But I know you love the Lord Jesus. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)" Do you love Jesus? Well, we must obey Him in order to show our love for Him. Just try to obey His commandments and the Lord will appreciate that. But you can't just give a little, you have to give your whole being to Jesus Christ.
I feel like this is the most important thing I've spoken on here. The church needs to get away from religion. The veil that was torn was religion. Now we can enter into the Holy of Holies. All you all must to do is submit. Jesus made an open door for us who are saved and for us who are not saved, He is knocking on your door and waiting to sup with you and you with Him.
I am not finished with my message yet. I am going to continue with the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11: "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned, but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, he lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even to unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
This event seems to connect with another saying of Jesus that is recorded in Matthew 7:1-5: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
What makes us think we're so holy? Well, we are called to be holy. Be ye holy, for Jesus is holy. It is written, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)" But to be like Jesus and to truly be holy, we must also be humble. For Christ Jesus was also humble. You must be compassionate, not cold-hearted. Christ has a warm and empathetic heart, be the same way. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5-6, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God..."
I think I have inherited a long-winded gene from my father. Wow! I just think this is awesome. I'm enjoying this, aren't you? I am only speaking some hard sayings because it must be said. Believe me, if there was any other way for me to articulate it, I would. But I must speak the Word of God. Did Jesus not also have hard sayings? When Jesus claimed to be the bread of life and that whoever did not eat His flesh or drink His blood would not have eternal life, they thought He was teaching cannibalism. They had no understanding or revelation. But you all have the revelation to understand the sayings of Christ and His servants. Hearken unto the words that proceed from the Bible
The basic points of this speech of mine are this:
1. Are model must be Jesus Christ and not our pastor, or fellow church goers. Don't allow another Christian to be a distraction, but only compare yourself to Jesus. Become as Christ-like as possible.
2. Get religion out of the church of Jesus Christ. Christianity should not be viewed as a religion, but as a relationship between you and God. Christianity is a lifestyle, a journey, in which you get to know your Heavenly Father.
3. Stop treating church as a social club, it is the house of God.
4. Stop voting for deeds that are sinful in your politics. Stop voting in favor of politicians that support gay marriage and abortion. Both are sins and abominations in the sight of the Lord and they should also be seen the same way be His people.
5. Don't be a hypocrite. Don't criticize someone for committing a sin that you are engaging in, yourself. If you are trying to stop the sin, I understand but I say to have compassion and don't act like the Pharisees. Don't have that "holier than thou" attitude. Jesus was humble, be ye humble also.
6. Don't limit the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. You will need it during the Great Tribulation that is to befall the world in the very near future.
7. Stand tall for Jesus, no matter what.
8. Don't give up on the Lord, because He will never give up on you. Where else will you go? Jesus is the Holy One that has the words which give eternal life.
I don't mean to sound arrogant but I feel like more people need to be looking at this than the TD Jakes quote ["I hear you knocking, devil. But I'm not letting you in!"] ! That is a good quote but I think this is better!