Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Matthew 23: The emptiness of false religion

Hello friends, and a very happy April to you! I hope you are well and have either escaped this awful flu that's going around or are recovering from it if you were smitten. It's definitely making the rounds and it is not pleasant.

So, Matthew 23. My first thought when I read this chapter was "WOW!"; the Lord Jesus Christ was not one bit happy about the scribes and Pharisees, and He let them know what He thought. Can you imagine how they felt when all of their false hypocrisy was exposed before all the people? The Lord Jesus was righteously angry with them because they were leading people into a lost eternity. They taught the people that they had to follow this custom and carry out this tradition and then they would get to heaven. Although they were highly religious men, they knew nothing of truth, love and real holiness. Everything they did was for show and for their own glory. They had no thought for God. They demanded that the people follow all of their ideas, traditions and outward ceremonies but they refused to accept the mercy and grace of God in their lives - and the worst thing was that in doing so, they prevented others from entering into heaven by faith and grace. Unfortunately in our land today, there are still false preachers and teachers like this. Men who wear the outward cloak of religion but within, their hearts are far from God. They are the blind leading the blind. They know nothing of saving grace and they don't want others to know it either. They teach that, as long as people give money into the church and do good to their neighbours, that will be enough to get them a place in heaven. But this is not what the Bible teaches. God tells us in his Word that we are all sinners who need to have our sins washed away in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ when we repent of our sin. This is the ONE AND ONLY way to heaven.
The Lord Jesus was also very sad about the hardness of heart that the nation of Israel had against Him and his teachings (v 37). They refused to accept his offer of love and mercy and as a result they were condemning themselves to judgement.  We need to make sure that our religion is not false, empty or just for show, while inside our hearts are as wicked as a murderer's or an atheist's. The scribes and Pharisees were full of pride - a terrible sin that prevents us from seeing ourselves as we really are - sinners in need of redemption. 

Prayer matters:
  • Ask the Lord to help you as you live your daily life (which others are watching) not to be a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing something completely the opposite, talking the talk of a Christian but living a life of sin.
  • Ask Him to help you to witness honestly and compassionately to the unsaved, teaching them the true way of salvation and not leading them the wrong way
Hugs, Karen x

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