John T. Willis

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Majoring in Minors--V

Jesus spent much time dealing with would-be religious people majoring in minors. One great text that emphasizes this truth is Matthew 23. Here we focus on Matthew 23:23-28:
    "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
      For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglect the weightier matters of the law:
                                  justice and mercy and faith.
      It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.
      You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
      Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
      For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate,
      but on the inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
      You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
      Woe to you, scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites!
      For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful,
      but on the inside they are fully of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.
      So you also on the outside look righteous to others,
      but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

I. It is clear that God is concerned about the heart, and not about external religious acts or practices. If we can ever examine and change our hearts, we will naturally serve God in our singing, preaching, deeds, and everything else.

II. The louder a religious person shouts, the clearer it is that that person has a very deep person which he or she is trying to hide. There are many stories about this hypocrisy. Religious people often seek attention and praise and approval. This attitude is radically opposed to God's will. Greed and self- interest and self-indulgence drive many people.

III. A major concern for many people and many churches is the way they look to other people. We all want to appear to be righteous. If anyone has to PROVE that he or she is righteous, that person is self- centered and needs lengthy counseling and deep repentance.

IV. The true focus of true godly people is on God, not on oneself, not on the church, not on the nation, not on anything or anyone else, but on God. Paul strongly declares in Colossians 3:1-3:

   "So if you have been raise with Christ, seek the things that are above,
     where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
     Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,
     for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

Share YOUR temptations and feelings and successes and failure and doubts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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