Clean Outside, Not Inside

Matthew 23:14-15,25-28,34-35 ESV

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth..”

I believe the Lord Jesus would have me parallel this over to our present situation in the church here in America, so this is what I will be writing about this morning. So, what we have in the gatherings of what is called “church” here in America today are people in positions of leadership and authority within these gatherings who have powerful influence over the people, and over the minds of the people, and who can kick people to the curb they don’t want in their gatherings, while they draw in those they do want.

Now, this is not describing everyone in such positions within the gatherings of what is called “church,” but it does appear as though the large majority of them are now following the ways of man, and so they are marketing their “churches” (businesses) to the people of the world. But they are also diluting the truth of the gospel in order to draw in these large crowds of people from the world. And they are making the gospel message less offensive and more acceptable to human flesh, so they are lying to the people. And they are also altering the character of God/Christ to make them more acceptable.

So, they are indeed shutting the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces because so many of them today are refusing to teach the truth of the gospel, but they are teaching lies, instead, which tickle itching ears. For so many of them are reducing faith in Jesus Christ to a mere once in your life profession of faith in Christ which assures you forgiveness of all sins and heaven as your eternal destiny, but which does not require death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. And this is what they are pouring into the minds of the people of this earth.

So, in essence, they are making disciples after themselves who they are making twice as much children of hell as they are. For most are not teaching that faith in Jesus Christ involves dying with Christ to sin and being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. And they are not telling them that if they continue in deliberate and habitual sin, and if they do not obey the Lord in practice, that they will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what faith they professed with their lips.

So, what we have here are many people professing faith in Jesus Christ, convinced that all their sins are forgiven and that they are on their way to heaven, but who have not been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and so they have not been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So, on the outside they may look like people who believe in Jesus, but they are still walking in sin, in practice, and not in obedience to the Lord. And so they need to die to sin that they might live to God and to his righteousness.

And there are those of us who are burdened over this situation, for so many people are being lied to, and are being fed a false gospel, and are being promised forgiveness of sins and heaven as their eternal home, but it is a con job. What they are doing to these people who trust them, and who believe them, is immoral, dishonest, and corrupt. And they use cunning and craftiness in deceitful scheming in the lies that they tell the people, which are disguised as truth, for their words are usually a blend of lies and truth to make the lies appear as though they are truth.

So, the Lord is calling people to be his witnesses to expose the lies for what they are and to proclaim the truth of the gospel to the people. But we are being opposed by many of these “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” and by their followers, some of whom also use trickery and wicked schemes to try to trip up the Lord’s servants with their words in hopes to discredit them, just like they did with Jesus. And some of these messengers of God they are literally putting to death, while others are being silenced or falsely accused of wrongdoing. For the opposition is strong against those who tell the truth.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.
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