So, I do not know how else to approach this topic other than just to say what is on my mind. I want to talk to you today about pharisees. You may be thinking, "What, are you talking about? The Pharisees were those dudes in the Bible with bells on their robes that Jesus was always going on about." Well, you would be right, in a sense. However, there are plenty of pharisees roaming the halls in our places of assembly today (Remember, the church is not a building; we are the church).
"Shock and horror. Whatever do you mean by saying there are pharisees in our places of worship?" Think about it. The Pharisees were the religious elite who tried to live for God by fulfilling the letter of the law. Which, if they had been paying attention, they would have realized was impossible.
I have witnessed much of this same approach in other believers today. They believe that by discovering every "rule" in scripture and following it to the letter, they can be holy. What they fail to recognize is that their goal is an impossible one to reach. However, they continue on in a vain effort to attain their brand of righteousness. In the process, they drag many other poor, unsuspecting souls into their dead-end pursuit.
As I have said before, the law was a tool to show us that we are incapable of righteousness without Jesus. As a result, the Pharisees of the Bible and the pharisees today have something in common. They live one life in public and another in private.
There is an amazing passage of scripture in Luke (it is repeated in Matthew 10:26-33) where Jesus talks to the disciples about the Pharisees. Let's look together at Luke 12:1-7
1In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.In other words, Jesus is saying that we should not be pulled into this trap of hypocrisy. We should live our lives openly and honestly. The pharisees that we encounter have no lasting power over our lives. Father's is the only opinion with which we should be concerned because His is the only one that truly matters. Besides, as the scripture says, He loves us so much that He's numbered every hair on our heads. Shouldn't we be seeking Him instead of seeking perfection through rules?
4"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God 7Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."
So, you see, it really is simple to live for God as long as we don't complicate matters. What Papa wants from us is relationship. He wants living, breathing sons and daughters adopted into His family, not rule-quoting automatons trying to achieve superiority over everyone else with their perfection. Rules bring condemnation and death; relationship brings grace and life. Do not cling to a quantifiable existence in the law; release your inhibitions regarding how close you can draw to our Father. You will find that you can be much more alive in Him than you ever dreamed.
If we stop trying to be religious and start trying to have a relationship with Father, we will find that we are no longer living a life of rules but a life of love and grace. And when those pharisees do stick their noses up in the air at our living relationship, we will not be concerned about their opinions anymore.
Tune in next time to find out how to know if You are a Pharisee.