Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Jesus Exposes the Lack of Integrity of the Pharisees

We often say we don't appreciate preachers who tell us that we are going to Hell if we don't stop our sinning. Yet, even Jesus took an occasion to condemn those who were guilty of sin. His messages weren't always positive and uplifting. There are occasions where it is necessary to tell sinners that they are doing wrong in order to lead them to repent.

In Matthew 23:15-39, Jesus continues confronting the Lawyers and Pharisees with their hypocrisy and lack of integrity before He is to be crucified for our sins. He gives a seven (eight, depending on how it is broken up) part warning against the practices of the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. They don't do what they teach. He us attacking their lack of integrity!

Integrity in Truthfulness - Matthew 23:15
Jesus accuses the Lawyers and Pharisees of working hard at evangelizing, but making their more perverted than they were before their conversion. They will win someone to their interpretation of the Jewish Law without regard that it is what the Mosaical Law actually teaches or whether what they are teaching is true. Protecting their way of doing things is more important to them than telling the truth and maintaining their integrity. Such an attitude is living a lie and a compromise of their integrity.
As Christians, we are witness for Jesus Christ. When we are more concerned about trying to make someone a believer in our denomination instead of simply believing in Jesus as their Lord, we are just as guilty as the Pharisees. Each denomination is man's attempt to be right with God. These are well intended, but they are man-made, not God-made. Salvation is not found in one Christian denomination and not another. Salvation is found only in the truth of what Jesus did on the cross! Our integrity demands that we seek to discover the truth, not insist that our way is the truth. It is far better to change your beliefs to the truth than to defend a lie.

Integrity in Promises - Matthew 23:16-22
Next, Jesus upbraids the Pharisees because they think they can swear (make a promise) by the Temple without consequence, but if they swear by the gold in it, they are bound by their oath. Therefore, they have easy excuses to pretend to keep their word and then get out of doing it via this technicality. There are times when it is appropriate for us to promise to do something. Our integrity demands that we keep our word. It does not matter whether we swear by anyone or anything. If you say you are going to do it, do it! Your integrity depends on it.

Integrity in Caring for Others - Matthew 23:23-24
The Pharisees are careful to give God 10% of everything, yet they have neglected the law and compromised their integrity in not showing justice, mercy and faithfulness in their dealings with others. God would rather that they care more about helping other people and than they do about the legalistic tithing.

People and worshipping God in their heart is more important than how much money they give. When we start to think we are more important than others and they don't matter, we don't reflect the life or love of Christ. We are here to love God and serve others. Our integrity and witness is exemplified in how we care for other people. Giving is an expression of worship, but if it isn't done with love for God and your fellow man, the giver is a hypocrite. People will not remember you for the money you gave if they don't see how much you really cared about people.

Integrity in their Hearts - Matthew 23:25-26
Woe to the Pharisees and Lawyers because they think that being clean in their outward behavior makes them clean on the inside also. Jesus tells them that it is what is inside us that matters. It is their hearets and attitudes that exemplify or disparage their integrity. Their greed and selfishness does not reflect positively on their relationship with God. To them, money matters more than integrity.

Our outward appearance may be what people see first, but it is our inward character, our integrity, that they are going to really remember us by. Does your life reflect Jesus' presence or are you just putting on an outward behavior and hiding the sinful person that you are when you think no one is looking? If you more concerned about how you look to others than you are about their needs, then your integrity needs some serious overhauling. If you genuinely love God and care about others, they will not care about what you look like.

Integrity in Personal Behavior - Matthew 23:27-28
Jesus accuses the Pharisees and Lawyers as presenting themselves to be pure and holy on the outside when they are unclean sinners inside. A hypocrite is one who pretends to be something in hopes of impressing the people around him. They define themselves of integrity, but their character doesn't reflect that standard. They are being two faced - hypocrites.

If people could see inside your soul, would they see someone who truly loves God and cares about others or would they see a cheap fa├žade on an inwardly empty shell? Does your daily life and integrity reflect Jesus inside you?

Integrity in Religious Convictions - Matthew 23:29-35
The Pharisees and Lawyers build graves to the prophets that were killed by their forefathers. This is a testimony against them because they are also guilty in the deaths of those sent by God to warn them. They will continue to do the same in killing Jesus and those who come after Him. Their integrity is seriously flawed.

How can we continue doing things against God when we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ? What are we when we go to church every SONday, but sin like the devil Monday through Friday? Does your integrity during the week reflect in your worship on SONdays?

God Longs for Our Integrity - Matthew 23:36-39
Jesus concludes this diatribe with a lament over the city of Jerusalem. For hundreds, even thousands of years, God has sought a relationship with His people only to be rejected time and again. When I look at the state of some of our churches, I can only imagine how God must hurt because of the lack of respect for God and others in their integrity. God wants to have a relationship with you. Do you love Him?

God bless you and have a great week!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1385955

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