Monday, July 19, 2010

Phariseeism, Priorities, and Structure, II

In the previous posts I gave scriptures from Matthew and Jeremiah dealing with a serious issue I see within the Body of Christ. I see a preoccupation with the outward form to the neglect of the heart and concerning the things of the heart, including both the heart of God and the heart of men (human beings).

I call it priority and structure issues because I see that this is where the problem lies. Just as the Pharisees of old neglected some part of God's law and over emphasized other parts, so I see this happening today. It is causing off-balanced teaching that is wreaking havoc on individual Christians and Christian families. I will get into this in a later post, but for now want to focus on the verses in Matthew and Jeremiah and the issues of priority and structure.

The Pharisees had their priorities all out of whack. They were so concerned with certain rules and the outward form of godliness that they neglected the God of the rules and the issues of their hearts. In Matthew 23:25 quoted in the post below Jesus nails these religious leaders for their greed and self-indulgence. Jesus warns the people of these men, focused on keeping up appearances to the neglect of their own hearts and the destruction of other people.

Luke 20:46"Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."

These men are proud and greedy, taking away from others to indulge themselves rather than giving.

Their priorities are all out of kilter. Their structure is completely faulty. As Jesus said in Matthew 23:26 they needed to focus on the inner rather than the outer. They needed to see to it that the inside of their dish was clean, then the natural flow, what comes out of the man, would make the outside of the man clean. Then they wouldn't have to rely on false righteousness and hypocrisy to keep the outer delusion going.

They needed to build their righteousness on the inner workings of the heart. They needed to circumcise their hearts and allow God to place His laws within their hearts rather than try to obey God's rules without knowing the heart of the God who made the rules.

As a mammal has its skeletal structure on the inside rather than the outside, Christians also need their structure on the inside. But instead, they walk around like a crab or a lobster with their structure outside of them, rather than inside.

And walking around as a lobster/crab, with this outside structure is turning many Christians into blind guides leading the blind, robbers who steal from other Christians their divine birth right, trampling over the boundaries of still others in order to indulge themselves, and reserving the best parts of the gospel message for themselves, denying full access to others.

And THIS is what is turning people away from the gospel. Not Feminism, but thievery done in the name of God. It is a crime, this devouring of the gifts and freedoms of fellow Christians, this trampling of the innocents. These are crimes every bit as bad as devouring widow's houses.

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