7695 - Pharisees


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May God shine the light of His Word upon our path today.

In Luke 16 Jesus is talking to his disciples; however, some Pharisees were listening to the conversation.

Jesus had been teaching that no one can serve both God and money.

Listen to Luke 16: verses 14-18:
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourself in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight. "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Here we learn that the Pharisees were people who loved money. Loving money means they sought security in wealth. They laid up their treasures on earth.

They thought having money would set them above the common folk. The Pharisees were extremely proud people. Their visible good deeds were meant to get praise from other people.

Here, in this scene, the Pharisees were sneering at the emphasis by Jesus on stewardship.

Jesus addresses these proud people as those who sought to justify themselves in the eyes of men. This hit hard at their mental attitudes. Much of what the Pharisees did within view of people was to impress upon others their piousness, to gain praise from people.

However, in private the Pharisees did not keep the law. They lived an egotistical, hypocritical lifestyle.

Jesus went to the core of the problem when he said: “God knows your heart.” Even today many people live a pharisaical lifestyle. They try to impress people, but God knows their hearts; and it is the heart where good and evil is spawned in the life of an individual. If the heart is corrupt, then words and actions will reveal the condition to others in many ways.

Jesus gives a penetrating truth when he said: “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” This is another way of saying that the values of this world and the society of the world system, is in contrast to the values of the Heavenly Kingdom. The two never coincide. So the lust for power, pleasure, recognition and wealth is detestable in the eyes of God.

Jesus did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. The kingdom which opened up by the death and resurrection of Jesus was in fulfillment of prophesy. Galatians (3:24) tells us the law was meant to lead all people to Christ so that we might be justified by faith.

The mind of God did not change. He continues to desire people to love him and obey him. In fact, through Jesus, God introduced into people the power to live a life pleasing to God that was not possible under law.

The grace of God brought the presence of the triune God to live in and through each person who evidenced faith in Jesus Christ. The power of God working in the life of a believer is the only way anyone will be able to live a life pleasing to the Lord, a life of obedience and love. This is the lifestyle, which will be fulfilling to both God and his child.

But when we are selfish and independent, we grieve the Holy Spirit and restrict his power from full authority. Thus, we sin; and we stumble and fail in living a life worthy of the Lord. In this state we often do things contrary to God’s desire. We must repent and return to trust in the Lord before we will be victorious in life.

Oh friend, let us walk in the Spirit, then we will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Gal. 5:16), and imitate the life of a Pharisee.