x469......Pharisees--Have made the form of the church we function in today

1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
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.
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.
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,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
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.
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.
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.
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!
17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
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.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
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.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
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.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
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.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
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:
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.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
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!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
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
.
(Matthew 23:1-39, KJV).


We read Jesus' description of what the Pharisees were like--and what they had done to the ministry of Israel. They were by the law the right and correct rulers--they were the ministers--the delegated designated authority who had the right to rule under the OT law--they "sat in the seat of Moses"--But they had corrupted that seat--in certain specific ways--let's look at some of them--

1. they gave others word to do--and thought his to be the right way to lead

2. they did their ministry to be seen of others

3. they dressed to be seen and recognized by others

4. they sit in places to be seen by others and be recognized

5. they turn ministry into a title rather than a function

6. they pay tithe and omit truth

7. they want to appear righteous


Problem:

When we study the history of the organized church, we see that the church was exactly all of these things! We see that the tradition which was established (in a time when the word of God was basically "hidden" from the common man) for 1,000 years by the church which came up out of the Roman government, had made ministry and the operation of the church into exactly all of these things.

during the Dark ages the church was--

1. a place of rulership and authority over the common people

2. the church created huge cathedrals and monuments--to be seen of others and to represent their authority

3. the "clergy" took on special types of dress to signify their "office" of ministry

4. the seats of church leadership were of course at the front of the church and became thrones of rulership

5. ministry was absolutely a title--in fact these titles were bought and sold commonly (simony)

6. tithing was preached as a rule--and salvation through the name of Jesus was lost and ignored

7. church leaders did everything to appear to be righteous on the outside----many were simply shrewd and ruthless politicians--who stopped at nothing to get what they wanted--including torture--false accusations of people--instigating wars and seeking total control over people for themselves--all supposedly in the name of God!

The description that Jesus gives of the Pharisees is exactly what the church became through tradition and under the authority of the Roman form of government. And many of these concepts are firmly ingrained in our idea of what "church" is. We have the expectation of many of these things--especially with regard to ministry within the church. We expect that "ministry" is a titled office-holder who rules over us with authority--instead of what Jesus tells us ministry is--

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
(Matthew 23:8-12, KJV).

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:42-45, KJV).



Nowadays, many good, genuinely saved, Spirit-filled people, who desire to serve God, are forced by these concepts and these "pharisitical spirits" to play out their "ministry" along these lines. Many good Christians have to "act out" the roles of a pharisee because that is what is expected of them by church tradition. We conform to all of these rules--a dress code--ministry as a title--tithing--ministry as rulership and authority over others--ministry as something which should be "respected" by others--rather than the simple and direct and effective "service" which Jesus describes as true ministry.

This system is so firmly in place that the only way to become a "recognized minister" is to conform to these rules in some form or fashion. In our day and age, the most effective ministers do not conform to all these guidelines (thank God)--yet even they are convinced that they must "pay homage" to these rules of authority and title and rulership within the church (it is the only way they can be accepted by the church in order to do their ministry).

So, tradition, which came to us from the form and function of the Roman government (specifically the government which Jesus states NOT to have in the church) and sat in place for over 1,000 years through the dark ages--invited the pharisees way of operating into the church. The "church" became specifically what Jesus abhorred and spoke against in His day and age. He spoke against it in Israel at that time--and we must speak against it in this time. It is a spirit which waits and consumes so many of our best people, and effectively "holds" the majority of us --and prevents revival from happening. This spirit turns our churches into prisons.

(the devil was always trying to put the apostles in prison--and he has succeeded in doing this, by turning our churches into prisons. By inverting what a pastor is--the pastoral anointing in the Bible was to release others to ministry--but tradition believes it is the office of rulership and authority over other within the church--and effectively holds the majority of Christians from believing in or understanding their own ministry--which denies the apostolic relase which Jesus gives all of us and most certainly from operating in the apostleship that He and the church in the Bible demonstrated.)

Jesus words are shocking to us today

When Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, spoke these words to the leaders of Israel, they certainly were shocked-they were upset. He was telling them about a bunch of things which they thought were right and correct. He was exposing their tradition--He was speaking to them about things which they believed were right and correct in their operating and functioning--things that they thought were right scipturally.

Question: are these same things shocking and upsetting to us today? Do we really see ourselves and our ideas about what "church" ought to be and look like and operate by? Can we discern the things which have crept into the church during the many many years when the church operated literally without the word of God? Can we see the incorrect ideas about the functioning of the church, most of which come to us from old testament ideas--can we see that our ideas of what "ministry" really is come to us mostly from corrupted OT ideas and concepts---ideas which Jesus and the new testament specifically decried?