Fast Track to Executive Pharisee

Want to become a Pharisee in record time?

Here’s how:

  • Make up a lot of rules outside of those in Scripture.
  • Push yourself very hard to keep the rules you made up.
  • Ridicule yourself when you don’t keep your rules.
  • Become proud when you do keep your rules.
  • Impose the rules you have invented on others – do this often.
  • Shame and manipulate others into keeping your rules.
  • Make fun of those who fail to keep your rules.
  • Develop the right method of serving God.
  • Rebuke others who do not use your method of serving God.
  • Appoint yourself judge over other people in every area of their lives.
  • Use your judgeship to pronounce sentence on others for failure to keep your rules or use your methods.
  • Get angry with people who have different rules than yours.
  • Exclude people with different rules from being part of your posse (or serving in your ministry or church).
  • Make the rule breakers feel guilty every chance you get.
  • Pat yourself on the back for policing and enforcing the rules.
  • And finally:

    Fool yourself into believing you are doing all of the above ‘for the sake of the purity of the church’.

    And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

    Covered and Protected

    Charles Spurgeon is today’s guest post author. In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times each week at different places. Spurgeon was a British Particular Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers”. He was born June 19, 1834 and died January 31, 1892. Thousands of his sermons and devotional writings are still in print today.

    “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4).

    A condescending simile indeed! Just as a hen protects her brood and allows them to nestle under her wings, so will the LORD defend His people and permit them to hide away in Him. Have we not seen the little chicks peeping out from under the mother’s feathers? Have we not heard their little cry of contented joy? In this way let us shelter ourselves in our God and feel overflowing peace in knowing that He is guarding us.

    While the LORD covers us, we trust. It would be strange if we did not. How can we distrust when Jehovah Himself becomes house and home, refuge and rest to us?

    This done, we go out to war in His name and enjoy the same guardian care. We need shield and buckler, and when we implicitly trust God, even as the chick trusts the hen, we find His truth arming us from head to foot. The LORD cannot lie; He must be faithful to His people; His promise must stand. This sure truth is all the shield we need. Behind it we defy the fiery darts of the enemy. Come, my soul, hide under those great wings, lose thyself among those soft feathers! How happy thou art!

    Hope for Recovering Pharisees

    Colossians 2:16-23

    So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ.

    Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.

    So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.

    Ok To Judge? It Depends…

    Matthew 7 begins with a stern warning from Jesus about making judgements.

    It reads:

    “Judge not that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matt 7:1-2)

    Now on face value this appears to be a commandment forbidding all judgment of others. I know in my own experience countless people have thrown this text up at me whenever I have made a judgment about the behavior of another person. It seems to me to be a universally used text against even forming an opinion about whether something or someone is good or evil.

    But is this really what Jesus had in mind?

    I think not.

    Consider Matthew 18:15-20 where Jesus lays down the method for Church Discipline. He says that when your brother sins against you, confront that person. Well, how can you confront someone unless you’ve made a judgment about what they’ve done? You can’t confront sin without identifying it and to identify it, you must make a judgment.

    So, since Jesus is implying the need to make judgments in Matthew 18, then is it really wrong to judge? Jesus would not instruct us against making judgments in Matthew 7 and then say it is ok to do so in Matthew 18. Right?

    So what is Jesus really saying here in Matthew 7?

    Well, the passage is not making a case against judgment per se. It is, rather, making a case against judgment which is condemning.

    Keep in mind that Jesus was addressing a crowd which contained many Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day. These religious leaders did little else but condemn the behavior of others.

    Note also, the passage speaks about being hypocritical (v. 5) and about being cognizant of your own faults first (vv. 3-4).

    Rather than a command not to judge, Jesus is merely saying that we should always do so in a way that:

    • recognizes our own sin and
    • is restorative rather than destructive.

    In other words, we should remember what Paul told the Galatians when we judge others:

    “Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted.” (Gal. 6:1)