Observe And Do

Observe And Do By Kirk Hunt

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.”

Matthew 23:1–3 NKJV

Jesus observed and commented. He clearly and plainly told the majority of folk that their religious scholars and leaders preached one thing but clearly practiced a different thing. How is it possible to mess up, “Observe and do the right things”?

Was Jesus critiquing pagan Romans? No. Was Jesus rebuking Roman collaborators or prostitutes? No. Jesus criticized the very people who should have known better than anyone else.

The Pharisees preached righteousness and adherence to the law, but their motivations however were corrupt or self-serving (Matthew 23:5). Of course, these high minded religious experts were not above exploiting the poor or vulnerable in the name of profit (Matthew 23:14). In general, the Pharisees did the easy part of looking sanctimonious, but did not do the hard part of living righteously (Matthew 23:23).

Living righteously before God and man is easier said than done. That is why the Holy Spirit helps those men and women who seek Him. Religious law can only help you realize how sinful you are. It takes God’s spirit and grace to fulfill the law by living a sanctified life.

Take a good look at how you actually live. Does your life match what you preach (or say you believe)? Seek the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you live out what you say.

Think: Observe yourself. Are you really doing the hard work of living righteously?

Pray: “Lord, help me to live righteously, no matter the difficulty.”

 

Copyright © October 2018, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Are You A Brood Of Vipers?

Are You A Brood Of Vipers? By Kirk Hunt

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 3:7 NKJV

The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious leaders and Scriptural (Torah) scholars of the era. John the Baptist, as the son of the Temple Priest, Zacharias, likely knew many of them personally. One must wonder why John deliberately called the religious elite “vipers.”

It is easy to criticize leaders, right or wrong. In too many cases, the revelation of bad behavior and villainous schemes of leaders is the source of the criticism. In too many other cases, the mismatch between the words spoken from the lectern, and the lives led in the streets, is the reason for disdain.

Consider the moneychangers (merchants) in the Temple. The violation of the Mosaic law, and the sanctity of that holy place, was tolerated because the High Priest and other Temple officials were being paid. A clear violation of the letter and spirit of the Law they claimed to love so much.

We associate snakes with sin, evil and deception. By calling them Vipers, John deliberately references the poison that some snake breeds use to better devour their prey. There is no subtleness in John’s message.

Consider the Christian life you live. Does it match the Christian Gospel you preach? I pray that men and women see you as a child of God and not as a walking snake.

Think: Does my life match the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Why or why not?

Pray: “Lord, help me to live in obedience to Your Word and Spirit.”

 

Copyright © October 2018, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Modern Pharisees

Modern Pharisees By Kirk Hunt

 

But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”

Acts 15:5 NKJV

 

The Gospels clearly record how this ancient Jewish sect opposed Jesus and His message of grace and forgiveness. At best, the Pharisees were judgmental, harsh, unforgiving, graceless and snobbish. Except for the fact they accepted salvation from Jesus, I pray you are not like them.

 

After the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles, the converted Pharisees wanted to impose the Mosaic Law (and probably all of the rabbinical commentary and regulations) on these new Christians. Instead of embracing and promoting the new freedom and fresh grace of Christianity, they sought to impose old thinking and older rules. Thankfully, Paul, Peter and the Apostles blocked their attempt to weigh down the Gospel with inflexible directives and man-made regulations.

 

Unfortunately, the Pharisee way of thinking did not die out before 100 AD. A rules-laden, suffocating approach to the life-giving Gospel of Jesus is still with us and operating in the modern Church. Opposition to the modern Church can largely be linked to Pharisee-like thinking and practices. That should not be a surprise to saint or sinner.

 

Anytime non-Biblical rules, regulations or interpretation trumps the Gospel itself, you have a Pharisee-like problem on your hands. Living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ is difficult enough. Do not let anyone, including you, write-in additional rules and regulations.

 

Think: Disciples are made using grace and truth, not rules and regulations.

 

Pray: “Lord, help me to disciple people of all nations with grace and truth.”

 

 

Copyright © March 2016, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is a ministry of http://devotionals.cadremenpress.com.