Thursday, February 11, 2021

Matthew 23 - Part 5


Read Matthew 23

The fourth of the woes—you hypocrites.

This section has one of my favorites chastising phrases of our Lord: You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

You live the letter of the law while embalming the heart of the law.

Do these words sound familiar?  Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.

The Pharisees and other religious hypocrites would give a tenth of what they received as their income, but kept their distance from mercy and humility.

Jesus didn’t say that they had to choose.  They should do both—tithe (tithe means tenth) and practice love and mercy and humility.

They nitpicked the details while missing the big picture.  You strain out a gnat while swallowing a camel.

Again, we must seek the full biblical witness if we want more than just chastisement of the Pharisees.

Should we tithe?  Absolutely, but not out of compulsion. 

Should we gather in the assembly and worship the Lord?  Absolutely, but not because we have to.  Our hearts should compel us to gather for worship.

Should we share the gospel?  Are you kidding me?  We should share it like it was the best news ever, mainly because it is.  We are commissioned to share the gospel but our hearts compel us to bring good news to the world.

We should study God’s word with great passion, focusing on every detail, but not to the exclusion of the divine heart that inspired every word. 

We should internalize God’s words so that we can serve as a certified workman for the kingdom of God, but must not work solely by regulation and checklists when God has loved us with an everlasting love and commanded us to love one another.

God’s directives have been given for our own good.  Obedience to God’s directives does not restrict living by love and we should never interpret them to do so.

Let’s not be people who strain out a gnat and then swallow camels.  Let’s be people of love.


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