Lessons Of A Lifetime

Woe To Pretenders
Repent Of Pretending
Sunday August 28, 2022

Scripture To Consider:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to preform is.’ Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?”

“Therefore, he who swears by the altar, swears by it and all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.” Matthew 23.13-22

Something To Consider:
Today and next week’s text will deal with the warnings and woes announced upon pretending religious leaders by Jesus. These warnings and woes extend all the way to this present generation and beyond. Therefore, these strong admonitions of Jesus should be taken seriously by all who are in any spiritual leadership capacity.

We should take heed to the words of Jesus, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” These were the religious leaders of the day. But it matters not what title a person might possess, Pastor, Priest, Pope, Reverend, Rabbi, Bishop, Elder, or Deacon, the severity of the warning remains the same.

These religious leaders were misrepresenting God and God’s Word. They were also misinterpreting God’s Word for their own gain and benefit. And worse, according to Jesus, in their mishandling of the Word of God, they had actually closed the door to the kingdom of heaven for themselves and for others. How sad!

And what was wrong with the scenario then, is still wrong in this 21st century. The religious pretenders of every generation will receive a greater condemnation in the end, according to Jesus! Let us, therefore, be warned and not be deceived while enduring to the end of the age or to the end of our earthly lives!

Something Else To Consider:
Jesus spoke to the heart of their pretending by cautioning them over and over, by saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” The word hypocrite means actor or pretender. The word hypocrite speaks to a person demonstrating an outward observance of good that is in opposition to the inward evil intentions.

Hypocrites pretend to be upstanding citizens while taking advantage of desperate widows and the less fortunate, in the name of business or religion, and while praying long public prayers. But according to Jesus, the eternal reward for all pretenders will; be a greater eternal condemnation. In other words, there will be various degrees of punishment in eternity, according to Jesus.

Now, why do we not hear that biblical concept preached form many pulpits? Why is it that Jesus’ initiated message of greater condemnation is not promoted by Pastors, Preachers, and Popes? Could it be that after such a message was delivered that many Pastors, Preachers, or Popes, would leave the pulpit with their own finger of guilt pointing in their direction. Woe to pretenders!

Something More To Consider:
Hypocritical pretenders become blind guides who travel great distances and at tremendous financial expense to win one convert, a proselyte of their own pretending. And to add more shame to their evil act, they create twice a hypocritical son or daughter of hell than themselves in the process, according to Jesus.

Religious pretenders create a viscous cycle that can only be broken by the brokenness of prayer and repentance. Without repentance it is woe to pretenders of all ages, race, and religion in every generation. And according to Ezekiel 18.30; “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity [sin] shall not be your ruin.”

Ezekiel, an Old Testament prophet of God, speaking for God, continued in verse 31 by stating; “Cast away from you all the transgressions [sin] which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel [or church of God]?”

Therefore, God declared in verse 32 of Ezekiel chapter 18; “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore, turn and live!” And according to Jesus in Luke 13.3, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” What eternal value is it if we die in our sins? What earthly substance could be more eternally important than eternal life through the repentance of our sin? And that is something more to consider!

A Few Final Words:
But repentance from sin, is not a topic much preached in this 21st century Your OK, I’m OK, We’re all OK generation. And that is not OK according to the written and preserved Word of God. But why is repentance not preached more often as is needed? For without repentance from our sin, according to Jesus and the whole of Scripture, we run the risk of eternal punishment and the judgment of an Almighty God!

It is somewhat understandable that the average individual may lose sight of eternity and the biblical requirement for repentance in the midst of an everyday earthly struggle to survive. But how can so-called religious leaders, charged with the spiritual responsibility of people’s souls not be more eternally concerned?

Woe to all religious pretending leaders, for according to Jesus Christ and the Word of God, greater condemnation awaits all those who refuse to repent. And greater condemnation also awaits all pretending so-called preachers who neglect the biblical message of repentance.

For according to Jesus, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees [pastors, preachers and popes], hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses [for your unbiblical but man required weekly tithe], and for a pretense make long prayers [to be seen by men, women, and young people as religious but not truly spiritual]. Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation [in eternity].”

Our Father in heaven, please remove all hypocritical pretending tendencies from Your people, and lead us to repentance when needed. Help us in heeding the warning and woes of the Word of God and especially the written and preserved words of Jesus. In Him Always, Amen!

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