Lessons Of A Lifetime

Esteemed Among Men
An Abomination Before God
Sunday Jan. 23, 2022

Scripture To Consider:
“Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Jesus. And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’”

“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.”     Luke 16.14-18

Something To Consider:
Jesus had just finished teaching a parable featuring a prodigal son who wasted his financial inheritance. He also told a parable about a steward who squandered his master’s goods. And during the telling of these parables, Jesus may have been looking in the direction of these Pharisees when He proclaimed, “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Therefore, Luke introduces us to our text today, by saying; “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.” That is, they laughed at Jesus with contempt. In other words, message delivered, message received. Jesus got His point across with conviction!

The mystery writer of Hebrews 10.22 acknowledged; “Let us draw near [to God] with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water [the water of the Word of God].” But these Pharisees were lovers of money more so than lovers of the Word of God or the Word of Jesus!

Therefore, they were convicted in their hearts and yet, they rejected His Word, His teaching, and His warning them of their various sins, such as their so-called hidden sin of envy, or their refusal to forgive and to rejoice, or of their cooking or wrongly misrepresenting the books of the Old Testament.

And in all these things and more, they became guilty of esteeming themselves more important than other men. They became an abomination before God, according to Jesus! Would it be right at this time to ask how the average religious leader is seen by God in this 21st century generation? And yet, there is still time to repent if repentance is called for and required!

Something Else To Consider:
The Pharisees understood Jesus to be speaking to them. For within Jewish circles of religious leadership, riches, wealth, and prosperity were esteemed as determining signs of spiritual blessings bestowed upon the good and righteous individual. But, according to Jesus and the Word of God, that was not true then, and it is not true now!

But just in case any of these Pharisees missed the message, Jesus followed up by declaring; “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” They had attempted to justify themselves and one another by their thickly white washed self-righteousness and their unrighteous accumulated riches.

What would God say concerning the unrighteous false messages that depict the health, wealth, and prosperity so-called religious movement? What could God declare pertaining to the giving to get more wicked religious messages being proclaimed within America and now encouraged around the world falsely in the name of Christianity?

And yet, these ear tickling error-filled messages are extremely popular among the less than truly Spirit-filled religious establishments of this 21st century. Could that be why Jesus admitted in Luke 18.8; “When the Son of Man comes [when He returns], will He really find faith on the earth?” When Jesus returns to destroy the Antichrist and to establish His kingdom, will He be able to find true faith in its simplest and purest biblical form? How sad that Jesus had to ask!

Something More To Consider:
The tax collectors, sinners of all sorts, the poor, the sick, and the many dysfunctional, justified themselves by pressing into the kingdom of God after listening to the preaching and teaching of Jesus. And yet, Jesus pressed the fact that it was and still is easier for all of heaven and earth to pass away from the law than for one tittle, a small grammatical mark such as a dotting of an i or the crossing of a t to fail or to not come to pass!

And to reinforce that thought, Jesus brought up the subject of divorce, which we will cover in a few weeks in more depth from Mark chapter 10. But the point Jesus could have been making was that these Pharisees also attempted to justify themselves as it pertained to divorce, by their adding foolish escape clauses to the already long laundry list of rules and religious regulations. But for now, to be esteemed falsely among men, according to Jesus, is an abomination in the sight of God.

A Few Final Words:
The prophet Isaiah affirmed in chapter 53 and in verse 11, by proclaiming; “By His knowledge [by the knowledge of the Son of Man, Jesus] My righteous servant [Jesus] shall justify many, for He [Jesus] shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah followed up by also declaring of this coming Messiah, “Because He [Jesus] poured out His soul unto death.”

In other words, Jesus endured unto the end, He endured unto His suffering and death upon an old rugged cross. He did so that we might follow in His footsteps. There is coming a flood of further end time evil as we approach the end of this age. Will we be found by Jesus, by our heavenly Father, faithfully enduring to the end? Or will we be found without true faith, going along to get along?

Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 54.17; “No weapon formed against you [no weapon formed against the righteous] shall prosper, and every tongue which rises up against you [falsely] in judgment You [God] shall condemn. This is the heritage [or the inheritance] of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me. Says the LORD.”

Spiritual leaders must not seek to justify themselves through being esteemed by others. For justification comes only through belief in Jesus and His blood which washes away all abominations. “And Jesus said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’

Our Father in heaven, give us hearts that are pure, that we may not be ashamed of Your searching them at any time or for any reason. Therefore, make us more into the image of Jesus in these evil days in which we live. In Him Always, Amen!

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