Words of Jesus Part 20


  • Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
  • Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
  • Mat 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

They still taught the law correctly but  works were not an example to follow.

We can do that also. We can teach one thing in church or I could even write good things in my bible comments but that doesn't mean that my life is what it should be. I hope it is though. We can easily tell someone what is right but not live right ourselves. That is why we must follow after Christ and not after those preaching Christ if they stray from their own teachings. It is safer to just keep our eyes on the Lord at all times, studying the word diligently.

  • Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

If we sometimes encourage others to go out among the poor and work among them preaching the gospel and do not do any of the labor ourselves, we could fall into this category. A good pastor will not ask any of his congregation to do anything that he is not willing to do himself. Also many pastors try to do it all themselves and the load gets very heavy.

  • Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
  • Mat 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
  • Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

There is a temptation for all who work in the ministry to get exalted and bask in the praises of men. We must avoid this and remember always that we have nothing that we did not receive.

  • Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
  • Mat 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
  • Mat 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

Jesus tells us over and over again to stop exalting one over the other. This has been the problem in practically every church organization for centuries. We are not to have a high and mighty church leader who lords over the rest of the flock. We have to have elders and leaders but they must be as servants ministering in humility, not as lords and masters. They are not to be exalted by wearing special clothing to show them as being in a higher position than other people.

I know there are wonderful people that wear a collar and clothes that cause people to know who they are and what they represent and their hearts may be humble. They may just be following tradition so I'm not being judgmental and placing them all in one box, but it does turn some off and  Jesus did forbid the exalting of one above another.

In the Old Testament we see that the priests and Levites dressed differently and it was ordained and instructed by God. That was before Jesus fulfilled the way of salvation which opened up the gifts of the Spirit and power to be given to all who believe, not just those in authority. We still have authority and leaders to keep the wolves out and protect those still learning the word but its a different type of leadership than under the old law. When we teach it should be that all the gifts and calling of God is for all who have come to Christ and received the Holy Spirit.

  • Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
  • Mat 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
  • Mat 23:13 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.

We can get so bogged down with commandments of men, activities, even good things, that we miss the message of the gospel. We can be so strict with outward religious acts and miss the gospel that saves the soul.

The message that Jesus taught Nicodemus was, "You must be born again." If we are not "born again" by the Holy Spirit of God, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. When we recognize that we are sinners that need God's salvation, when we are willing to forsake that sin and allow Jesus to come into our lives cleansing us from that sin, the Holy Spirit comes to us and we are "born again".

We are changed and a new life in Christ begins. Something happens. It is not just a religion. As we continue to walk in Jesus Christ, we lose our desire for our old sins, we become sanctified and filled with God's Holy Spirit. This may happen all at once or it make take a while as we yield ourselves to God by the study of His word and prayer; but it will happen if one seeks the Lord. We must not get sidetracked by other things. The parable of the seed is a good one to read to understand why not all bring forth the fruits after they come to Christ. All these things doesn't make us more saved. We are not earning our salvation. We are already saved by first coming to Christ but we then start obeying the word and seeking the Lord to be used of Him to reach and teach others in this good way.

We must not be so busy doing religious things that we miss the message of the gospel to the lost world around us. "Ye must be born again." If the Lord said it, we must say it. We can't leave the repentance out. Repentance means to change, turn around and do different. Once we were lost and without Christ, guilty of sin and on our way to hell. Then we heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. We listened we obeyed and we became, "Born Again." The whole world needs to hear this message. Not just feel good sermons and happy worship services but the message, "Ye must be born again."

  • Matthew 23:14 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.

Let us be very careful not to fall into this. We condemn the Pharisees for this but we must make sure not to do this ourselves. God help us. The ministry must cleanse itself from fleecing the flock of God. I know it takes money to spread the gospel but we are going wild with this stuff. There are some that are selling preaching on the Internet. You can download their sermons if you pay a fee.
Didn't Jesus say, freely you have received, freely give? I'm not criticizing all fund raising in churches but we need to be very careful here that we don't make merchandise of the gospel that was freely given to us.

Recently we had a special benefit dinner to help a family with expenses following a medical procedure. In this case it was badly needed for the family. Instead of charging a set fee, they made it donations and everyone was invited to eat. That way the poor could partake as well as those that had money. I believe they received more than if they would have charged a set fee. A restaurant in the area donated all the food. My eyes are even tearing up as I write this. We hear so much evil that to see someone do good brings tears to my eyes.

  • Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

If all we are doing is making converts to a particular religion and no one is being saved from sin, we are wasting our time.

If all we do is add numbers to our churches with feel good about yourself messages of positive thinking and no one is "born again" by God's spirit, then we are wasting our time.

If all we do is build a big mega church hoping a little of the gospel will rub off on people without actually telling them that they need to repent of sin and be "born again" by the spirit of God. changed from our own ways and clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, then we are wasting our time.

We might have a large crowd but if they are not saved, we are deceiving them into thinking they are going to heaven just by being good and attending church without being truly born again. Jesus said these things, I didn't. Except we humble ourselves as little children, we shall not enter the kingdom of God. We must see ourselves as sinners in need of God before we can be saved. If we teach and tell people to be happy, accept yourself as you are and that God loves them yet fail to warn them that sin will take them to hell if it is not forsaken and repented of, then we are not giving them the message of salvation that Jesus taught.

  • Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Not just believe a man called Jesus lived 2000 years ago. To believe in something is to act upon, embrace, partake of. 

  • Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

We have this message of repentance recorded by Luke in more than one book of the bible.

  • Act 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Although Luke and Acts were written by Luke, in Acts he was quoting Peter so there was another witness. Below is Luke quoting the message of Paul. Paul didn't walk with Christ as the other apostles but he heard from him on the road to Damascus at his conversion.

  • Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
  • Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
  • Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

If we don't tell people that they need to repent when they come to Christ, we are leaving out the part that changes their lives and makes them new creatures in Christ. So many now are calling evil good and good evil. In order to get victory over sin including sexual sin and other sins God speaks of in His word, we have to repent, be willing to allow God to change us from within.

We don't have to preach positive thinking messages. If they truly repent and become born again, God will give them the thinking they need to have. His Holy Spirit will give them confidence in the Lord. We teach the word and the word will change their lives. We must move away from watered down messages that tickle the ears and pleases the crowds. 

  • Matthew 23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
  • Mat 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
  • Mat 23:18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
  • Mat 23:19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
  • Mat 23:20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
  • Mat 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
  • Mat 23:22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

They were bound to keep an oath if they swear by these things. Jesus instructed us not to swear.

  • Matthew 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
  • Mat 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
  • Mat 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
  • Mat 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
  • Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

It is better to be safe and not be quick to make oaths and promises that we in the flesh may not be able to keep. We must commit ourselves to the Lord with a heart that says, "If the Lord wills, I will do such and such."

  • Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

We should give, worship and do certain things pertaining to the temple, church or places of worship but not omit sound judgment, mercy and faith.

That is how the message of the gospel can be hidden even in our church services. We can be so busy doing good things but neglect the preaching and teaching of the word that saves souls and changes the lives of the hearers. Once a person receives Jesus Christ, they need to study the word and grow in the things they receive.

I see this badly neglected in today's churches. We have great praise and worship that makes us feel great and worship God but when the singing stops and we are not around good music, we will need the word to sustain us. It is the word that brings the gospel message. It is the word that is hidden in the heart so that we will not desire to sin. It is the word that is badly needed. Many are using drama to present the gospel. We must be very careful not to neglect the deep truths of the word of God if one chooses to go that route. We can't just build big churches and hope people somehow make heaven as they are influenced by the church, we must make sure they hear the word so they know what it is to be born again and make heaven their future home.

If they don't receive the word, then when they leave our church buildings and the praise and worship stops, they will not have something inside that will keep them from evil. They need the Holy Spirit and the Word of God continually. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We must not neglect the word.

Jesus taught all the time and when he wasn't teaching, we was praying. He is our example.

  • Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Here is religion again. They worried more about outward observances and not about the condition of the souls or the plight of the needy.

  • Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
  • Mat 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

The inner man needs changed by the word of God rather than have outward religious rituals which do nothing for the condition of the soul and spirit of mankind.

  • Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Let us pray that our religious institutions are not only outward shows without changing lives.

  • Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
  • Mat 23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

They honored Moses, Isaiah and Elijah but did not live what Moses Isaiah and Elijah lived.

  • Matthew 23:30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

Yet these same Pharisees condemned Christ to death only a few weeks later.

  • Matthew 23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
  • Mat 23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
  • Mat 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
  • Mat 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
  • Mat 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
  • Mat 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

They rejected the one sent from God to bring the only message of salvation that mankind needed to hear. They had the same spirit in them that caused the previous persecution of the prophets before them who rejected correction, change and repentance. We can't even now receive the gospel and claim to know Jesus Christ and turn around and live how we want to live without any change. How can we say we love God and never live by His word.

Can one marry a husband or wife and then neglect to hear anything they have to say and have a marriage? Would you say that your wife loves you or your husband loves you and they never spend any time with you or listen to anything you had to say? What kind of love is that?

Yet that is how many of us treat the Lord of our salvation.

Some of the churches that arose up after Constantine forced Christianity upon all people, did these very things the Pharisees did. When some tried to warn against departing from the truth of the word and substituting doctrines of men, they were killed, persecuted and jailed. Even after the Protestant Reformation, some of them also began to persecute those who pointed our error. I realize that a few people arose that were truly heretics but even then they must not be killed, persecuted or harmed by the church. The church can warn against false doctrine but never harm anyone. Jesus said to be wise as serpents and harmless as dove. 

  • Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

He offered them peace, love, joy, eternal life, victory over sin, and the infilling of God's Holy Spirit and they refused.

  • Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
  • Mat 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Second coming prophesied. Those that rejected Christ now will have ancestors that will say, "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord."

Spoken of in the Psalms

  • Psalm 118:26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

Words of Jesus Part 21

Words of Jesus Index


Dorna's Lighthouse
Oldpath Lighthouse