Honoring Jesus with lips, not hearts

As I’m finishing tomorrow’s message talking about the “Posers, Fakes, and Wannabes” Ananias and Sapphira, a verse from Matthew 15 came to me.  Jesus is approached by Pharisees and scribes and they ask Him why His disciples break their tradition of washing their hands before they eat.  The scribes and Pharisees have a rule that they wash their hands before they eat.  It’s really a good idea.  But they are upset that Jesus’ disciples don’t follow their rules and wash theirs.

And Jesus asks them about something they do that breaks God’s command.  You see, Jesus’ disciples were breaking their human rules, but the Pharisees and scribes were breaking God’s rules.  Jesus quotes Isaiah when Isaiah writes, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.”  Then in a few more lines we read, “Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”  Jesus basically said, “Ignore them.  God will give them what’s coming to them.  They are like the blind leading the blind and when that happens they both fall into a pit.”

The point that goes with the sermon is that they honor God with their lips, but not their hearts.  And Jesus says they even honor Him with some of their ACTIONS!  In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus tells that in the end, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me…”

He wants your heart.  When He captivates your heart, you see things differently.  It changes your motives.  You aren’t so interested in impressing others.  You don’t worry if others aren’t following your own many man-made rules.  You follow God’s rules and especially the one that Jesus gave us: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.”

And as a post script to this:  The gist of the New Testament says we should especially love those who are lost and society looks down upon.  The irony is the Pharisees were lost, but society looked up to them.  Jesus acted as if they were a hopeless cause.  This is apparently a case when you ‘shake the dust from your feet and move on‘.

 

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