Characteristics of the Pharisees(3).!!!
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness .“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,  that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
In our previous studies, We have been considering the Characteristics of the Pharisees. And last time, we saw how the Pharisees were so careful to be exact in their tithes while they ignore the weightier matters in the Law. Here we shall see more characters of the Pharisees and how Jesus wept for the terrible condition of Jerusalem. 
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! : A gnat is a small insect while a Carmel is a huge animal. This Pharisees are so careful about the Little matters of the Laws and they disobey the big ones. They are so meticulous about small little things like tithe and on the other side, they are hard on people, they are unfaithful and refuse to show Justice. Indeed they are blind guides who are straining at a gnat. Let us therefore be careful not to end up like that ourselves because there is a tendency to become like that in our flesh. To appear Holy before Men by straining at little thing, speaking about small little thing. Let me emphasize what Jesus said, “It is not that these small things are not important. You don’t have to ignore the little small things but you must do the weightier things first”. In other words, Jesus was not against Your straining at a gant, what He said was that you should first take care of the Carmel before the gnat. The Carmel are more dangerous than the little gnats. So there is no use getting rid of the gnat if you are swallowing Carmel. That is the point!!! Mercy, Love, goodness, Humility, Righteousness, Justice, these are more important than whether you pay or tithes exactly. But like I said earlier, in the New testament, there is no command to pay tithes. But here, the New testament has not been established until the day of Pentecost. So Jesus was speaking to those still under the Old Covenant. Today it is the Quality of our giving that Matters not the Quantity. God Loves a cheerful giver. Whether it is 1%, 20% or 50% the important thing is it must be done cheerfully. 
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.:  Another Characteristic of the Pharisees is that they are only concern with the outside of the Cup. In other words, they are only concern with what men thought about them. “What do other people see on the outside?” This is the only thing they were concern about. But internally, they were robbing God of what He wanted in their inner life. They were self centered thinking only about themselves. Their whole life is centered around themselves and their families. Notice that Jesus says, “First Clean the inside of the Cup”. He did not say you should clean the Outside. He said, “When You clean the inside, the outside will automatically be clean”. For example, here is an outside Commandment, “Do not commit Adultery”. Here is the inside Commandment, “You Must not Lust after a woman even in your heart”. So if you stop Lusting after a Woman in your heart, the outside is automatically taken care of. You will never commit fornication or Adultery on the Outside. You cannot commit Murder(outside command), if you stop getting Angry(Inside command). If you take care of the inner Life, the Outward Life will automatically be Made Clean. In the old Covenant, You could only clean the outside of your life, you could not clean the inside. There were Ten Commandments, The First Nine related to the External Life(Exodus 20). Only the Last one, “Thou shall not Covet(Lust or desire) refers to the Inner life and God intentionally puts it there to teach the people of Israel that, You will always fall short of My standards. Not even Apostle Paul could keep it. In Romans 7:7, that when it comes to coveting, He said, “I found every form of Coveting in my heart. I found that I was disobeying the Tenth Commandments always. And He was Honest about it, He cried out, ‘ O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul became free when He started Walking in the Law of the Spirit. And this is how we can be free from corruption in our inner life also. We must never be satisfied until our inner life corresponds with our outer life. 
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness: A tomb looks very nice on the outside, polished granites, but inside is full of dead men’s bones. Look at the illustration the Lord uses, “Dead inside” but beautiful decoration outside. A perfect description of many many Christians. One who looks so nice on the outside with their preaching, Singing, dressing and other external impression they give of Christianity in their grand church building but their inner life is corrupt. Like the Lord told the Leader of the Church in Sardis saying, “You have a name that You are alive, but You are Dead(Rev 3:1)” Do you think we are in Danger of that also? The one who realizes it is the one likely to escape that Danger. Let Him who thinks He is alive take heed lest He becomes Dead!!! 
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets:It is very easy to admire the Saints who lived in time past. But in their days, they were called Heretic, False Prophets, Religious Fanatic etc. But now that they are dead and gone, people sing of their Praises. So it is even today, Living Prophets are treated badly and called all sorts of names. Wait until the Prophet dies, then the People will start to acknowledge Him as being a great Man of God. it is very easy to think that “if I was in that circumstances, I would not do that”. If you were living in the days of Martin Luther, would you have stood up against the Corrupt Christianity of His days for the Truth of Justification by Faith? If you are a compromiser today, it means even if you were living in those days, you would be a compromiser. It is very easy today to say, “I believe in Justification by Faith and stand for God like Martin Luther or Like John Wesley or like any one else” This point is not what You would have done when You were in a generation but what are you doing today. Are you compromising today. It is very easy to criticize somebody else who lived in another generation. The question is are you living in the lights God has given in our generation. Martin Luther lived over 400 years ago and the Light of God’s word was not as clear as it is today. It is pointless comparing yourself with Him. He was faithful in His generation, today are you faithful in Yours? It is easy to judge people in the circumstances they are in but the question is are you faithful in the one you are in? It is easy to criticize a Brother in ministry who has made a mistake here or there but You have not done anything. You sit doing nothing for the Glory of God yet You sit to criticize those who made mistakes in what they are doing for God. Be careful to avoid spending your life criticizing others saying, “I would not have done that, if I was in that circumstances” Don’t criticize others on how they are bringing up their children, be concern with how you are bringing up your own Children. Don’t judge a Man on how He is treating his wife, the question is, “How are you treating your own?” Let us judge ourselves and leave others!!! Pharisees always think they would have done better if they were in another person’s situation. But the truth is that, If you are not faithful where You are, you will never be faithful if you were in the other person situation. 
 Fill up, then, the measure of your Fathers’ guilty. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?: If You are against a True Servant of God today, you are exactly filling up the guilty of those who murdered the ancient Men of God. If you reject a Real Prophet of that that was sent to Your Generation, you are exactly guilty like those who Crucified Jesus. Jesus used the strongest word ever for the Pharisees and Hypocrites. Even the Woman caught in Adultery never got such strong words. This is to teach us that Hypocrisy and Spiritual pride is a very serious Sin. All other Sins comes after Hypocrisy and Spiritual pride. A Christ-like person is the one who behaves and talks like Christ. What would you say about a Preacher who turned and looks at people and say, “You Serpent!! Generation of Vipers! How will you escape from Hell?” would you ever think such Person is Christ-like? He may be the Most godly Man on Earth in His generation just as Jesus was. But because of your faulty understanding of what Christ-Likeness is, You may say He lacks Grace. We need to have a balance understanding of what is Christ-Likeness. 
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,  that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.: This is the lot of every true prophet of God. When the Lord sends to a Nation a Man who is to cause a Revival and show them Truths of God’s word, some they Kill, scourge, crucify, catch them from one city to another, calling them all sorts of name. And because of that, All the guilts of those who Persecuted the Old Prophets comes upon you. He told the Pharisees, you are in the footsteps of Cain, way back in the beginning, there were two ways, namely the Way of Cain and the Way of Abel. The way of Abel is the Way of Spirituality but the Way of Abel is the Way of Religiosity. And from that time, there had been people who have gone in either of the Two ways. 
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”: Behold the tender Heart of Christ. After He has rebuked them, after He has called them brood of Vipers!!! Yet He longs to gather them together and save them. He longs to gather them out of this hypocrisy to salvation, but but they were unwilling. And the implication of their rejection was that, the place that was once the Father’s house is now Your House. You can use it as you like. It is now desolate. A time comes when the patience of the Lord comes to an end. The Lord waited 3 and Half years hoping that the people of Jerusalem would respond to Him. But they rejected Him again and again. It is a sad thing if the Lord turns to a Church and say, “This was my church but now it is yours go and do what you like With it. Do you know the Lord has said that to many churches? And if you are not careful, Your church can become like that and the Lord will have to say, ” I send you prophet to seek the word, and the Word of Prophets are words that are hard and exposes Sins and if you keep rejecting it, one day God’s patience will come to an end, and He says,” From now, you will see me no more till I return in Glory”. It is a tremendous tragedy when a generation of religious leaders rejects the Word of God. It affects all those who followed them. Every one of us who has responsibilities for others must take heed seriously not to reject God’s word that would lead the people to a Godly Life in Christ Jesus. 
Dear Friend, If you think You are not in Danger of becoming a Pharisee, then maybe You are already one. It is good to always judge ourselves once we begin to see any of the Characters of Pharisees in us. Let Him who thinks He stands take heed lest He falls. May the Lord give us Light on our true Spiritual condition and give us Grace to Cleanse ourselves till no attributes of the Pharisees is found in us(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day. 
#Everyday with Jesus.

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