Friday, December 19, 2014

TOUGH LOVE #4 - YOU CORRUPT OTHERS WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT



 Luke 11:44 "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it."



Touching a grave made a person ceremonially defiled (Num. 19:16), so graves were whitewashed to warn people. An unmarked grave was a hidden source of ritual impurity.[i]

To come in contact with the religious leaders was to be defiled by something dead.  The fraud was that the graves were unmarked.  You could not tell by looking at them that they were spiritually dead.  So the deadly influence of the religious leaders went undetected.

They had a defiling, negative influence on people but it was masked by their righteous image.  Sometimes people look as if they are spiritual and godly, but they can defile you without you knowing it. 





[i] Reformation Study Bible

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TOUGH LOVE #3 - YOU THINK YOU ARE A BIG DEAL



Luke 11:
 43 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.




The best seats at the synagogue were front row.  You could see and hear better and were the first to greet the important rabbis when they visited.  People of less distinction and honor sat further back.

The Pharisees also would walk through the market in their robes to be seen and greeted by the merchants and common folk. They were like ‘glad-handing politicians’ making an appearance.  They wanted everyone to know who they were and give them respect.  They were ‘prima donnas’ who needed their ego stroked.

I am always leery of people who try and make a show of their credentials.  If someone spends most of the conversation promoting themselves and reasons for me to respect them, I get fidgety. 

The Pharisees made a big show of their ministry in contrast to Moses their leader, who walked in humility and servitude.  There’s a world of difference between announcing your mission and trying to gain notoriety. 

When Jesus healed, he often told people to keep it quiet and go home.  The important Kingdom work was the healing or deliverance, not the self-promotion of Christ as Messiah.

When the scripture says that every knee will bow and every tongue confess Christ is Lord, I think it will be the universal awareness of who this humble King is. It won’t be because of his robes or to fulfill a need in His ego.  We will simply be declaring the truth of what we know about Jesus.  Even the non-Christians will have to admit the truth about Him. They won’t have a sword over them forcing them to declare His authority.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

TOUGH LOVE #2 - YOU PAT THE POOR ON THE HEAD



Luke 11:
 42 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.


What does ‘woe’ mean?  It means ‘warning’.  It’s not unlike the word we use to stop a horse – whoa!  Whoa means stop. Jesus wants the neglect of the poor to stop. The poor need more than a pat on the head.

The Pharisees’ gifts were based on performing religious duty to a prescribed amount.  The reason God instituted tithing in the first place was to teach the importance of caring for others.  Tithing was instituted by God in Israel as a means of showing one's love for him by supporting the Levites and priests who carried out the services in the temple, as well as by having money and means available for the aliens, strangers, widows, and fatherless. (Deuteronomy 14:29.) 

Here’s the fraud – they put money in the plate to see God’s work be done, but they had no personal interest in being just towards the needy.  They gave out of political correctness instead of a loving heart towards God and the community.

Giving is always a two-sided coin.  One side is to God, the other to bring justice (fair treatment) to people who need help.



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