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During Jesus’s short ministry, he was hounded by the Pharisee’s and Scribes on his basis for teaching.  On a particular occasion, they were attempting to “cross him up” by repeatedly asking him questions.  His rebuke, devestating across the millinea, hold’s true today.  While reading the  following, search your heart about the state of religion today.  Ask yourself the following questions:

a.  Does the “church” today do their “works” to be seen of men, or of God?  If they are advertising their “missions” and “charity” who are they advertising it to?

b.  Do the “elders” and “priests” appear as verses 5-7? ” But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, {23:6} And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, {23:7} And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.”

c.  How many “father’s” do you have, according to this chapter?  Do you call any man outside of your natural-born parent “father”? (verse 9)

d.  Verse 8 – “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master (Leader or teacher), even Christ; and all ye are bretheren.  I would challenge ANYONE to find ANY church that follows this.

e.  Verse 10 – “Neither be ye called masters (teachers or leaders):  For one is your Master (teacher or leader), even Christ.

f.  Verse 11 – “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant”.  Not much chance of seeing this in church today…

g.  Verse 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.”  How many “church’s” are really just extensions of your society and clique, which have lost all memory of mercy and faith?  For example, how many church’s will speak out against the horror of the war’s in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the torture we have performed so diligently these 10 years?  As a Christian, we follow ONE, and party-affiliation, denomination, etc, have nothing to do with what we believe…when it goes against Christ’s teachings, we should reject it.

h.  Verse 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.”  Our society (thus our reflection of society, the church) are exactly this…all clean and proper on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones on the inside…

i.  Verse 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.”  This one is so true today that it is as if Jesus were speaking directly to us.  Every time I hear someone on the new’s say they are a “(c)hristian” and then go on to say all kinds of abominable things that are a direct slap in the face of the true object of Christianity, it brings me straight back to this verse.

j.  Verse 38 – “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate”.  The final judgement of every church that purports to represent Jesus Christ on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones.

The Lord then spoke thus:

{23:1} Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
{23:2} Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: {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. {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. {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, {23:6} And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the
chief seats in the synagogues, {23:7} And greetings in the markets, and
to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. {23:8} But be not ye called Rabbi:
for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren. {23:9}
And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father,
which is in heaven. {23:10} Neither be ye called masters: for one is
your Master, [even] Christ. {23:11} But he that is greatest among you
shall be your servant. {23:12} And whosoever shall exalt himself shall
be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

{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.
{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. {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. {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! {23:17} [Ye]
fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that
sanctifieth the gold? {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. {23:19} [Ye] fools and blind: for whether [is] greater, the
gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? {23:20} Whoso therefore
shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
{23:21} And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him
that dwelleth therein. {23:22} And he that shall swear by heaven,
sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. {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. {23:24} [Ye] blind guides, which strain
at a gnat, and swallow a camel. {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. {23:26}
[Thou] blind Pharisee, cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and
platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. {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. {23:28} Even so ye also
outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of
hypocrisy and iniquity. {23:29} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the
sepulchres of the righteous, {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. {23:31} Wherefore ye be witnesses unto
yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
{23:32} Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. {23:33} [Ye]
serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of
hell?

{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: {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. {23:36} Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon
this generation. {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! {23:38} Behold, your
house is left unto you desolate. {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.

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