The hard part of using political examples in one’s sermon is that the goal is to be as apolitical as possible. I am by no means pro-Trump (in fact, I am purposely not registered with any political party so as to remain as unaffiliated as possible). Yet the irrational, illogical views and attacks against him coupled with the excessive hatred are baffling. It’s also notable that when anyone (even a liberal Democrat) says anything positive about him, he or she gets marked and ostracized by the rest of the “anti-Trumpers”.
But again, as I mentioned yesterday, Trump and Jesus are not on the same level. My goal was to merely use a present-day example to demonstrate how the Jewish leaders attacked Jesus. To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel: He was slandered, libeled, He heard words He never heard in the Bible. The attacks were continual when the religious leaders were near, and they spent inordinate amounts of time trying to trap Him, trying to set Him up, and trying to dispose of Him. The difference between Jesus and Trump is really the difference between God and man, but the same sin nature runs through us today that ran through the religious leaders 2,000 years ago.
- Psalm 101:5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.
- Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.
- Proverbs 21:24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride.
The Jewish religious leaders were like those in our government today. They had power and position. People looked up to them. They were respected and praised. They feasted on all that they received from their status and they lusted for more.
But, deep down inside we’re all just like they were. We are like Stuart from MadTV who, in their TV skits, would continually do what he wanted, and constantly looked for attention (you can YouTube some of their skits and you’ll see what I mean). We are like those in the Book of Judges who did what was right in their own eyes.
- Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Notice what God hates (and that is not “tolerates”, or “dislikes”, but hates!), and how these were the traits of the religious leaders and are often our own traits as well:
- Proud looks. Matthew 6:5 & 23:5 tells us of the religious hypocrites who did their good deeds so that they could be seen. But, many of us can be prideful over our vehicles (look what I drive!), where we live (I live in Waikoloa! Or, I have a large house!). Maybe we’re proud about our jobs, or how our kids are perpetual successes in anything they set out to do. We can be proud about our church size, how great our worship music is, you name it. And then we put on this image of smugness or condescension towards others. You’ve seen proud people and how they show off. And guess what? God hates it!
- Lying is a sin and God hates all forms of it. Believe it or not there’s some bizarre belief running around Christendom today that says white lies are okay. Yep, they’re okay if you want God to hate what you’re doing because He hates lies. Now, you are a liar, so face it. How do I know that? Because Psalm 116:11 says we all lie. That doesn’t mean we just accept it. We must all work extra hard to be fully truthful at all times.
- Murder is probably not in your portfolio, though I. John 3:15 says that if you hate your brother you are a murderer in your heart. But nevertheless, the Pharisees thought they had won the day when they sent Jesus to the cross. He was innocent and they were the guilty ones, but He suffered a criminal’s death.
- When you create plans in your mind on how to trap someone, or how to do evil against another, or to steal, to manipulate things for your own advancement, then that is evil. There are oh so many ways we create evil in our hearts, which only proves that we are great at seeking first the kingdom of ____(Fill_in_your_own_name)___, and fighting to keep that kingdom intact.
- Christians should run away from evil (I. Corinthians 6:18, 10:14; I. Timothy 6:11; II. Timothy 2:22). Yet, too many of us run towards it, either supporting things we shouldn’t (like the “right” to choose abortion (murder), pro-LGBTQ, racism, gossip, etc.), or not being discerning and mature in what we do and with whom we do it with.
- A false witness who utters lies is one who is particularly testifying against another person with intentional untruths. This was what the conspiring religious leaders used against Jesus.
- Lastly, while truth should divide people into two camps (one camp that loves truth and thus loves Jesus, and the other camp that hates truth and thus hates Jesus), the church family should not have divisions along any other lines. We have divisions in churches over personality dislikes, over petty issues such as the carpet color in the church or the music style. We have people dividing over their preferences and assumptions. Yet, I’ve seen too many churches tolerate unbiblical beliefs, practices, and doctrine in the name of unity but who will fight and even drive off those who they don’t get along with.
So, today’s Pharisaical trait that we want to fight against is pride. Pride is the source of people wanting to earn their salvation, or at least feel like they had the intelligence and clarity to choose Jesus as their Savior. Pride sometimes grows when we think about how blessed and graced we are that we are going to Heaven (when in fact it should grow our humility). Pride is why the Pharisees wanted to eliminate Jesus, and blinded them to the truth of Who He Was.
- What areas of your life are pride-filled (whether overtly or covertly)? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Knowing that God hates your pride, take some time now and confess these to Him and ask Him to develop godly humility within you instead.
- Self-centered religious people kill me. I’m not talking about how each of us has sinful overtones that we must fight against, but those who by their actions and mannerisms seem to point to themselves way more often that to Jesus (they want people to think they have their spiritual wisdom and walk all together).
- While you can probably picture people like this, more importantly, how can you guard yourself against exhibiting these prideful characteristics so you don’t become one of them? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Are there any close friends or family members in your life who you could ask to honestly and objectively evaluate you to help identify any weaknesses in this area? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- If so, ask them to do so and then be humble enough to accept their insights.
- What do you do to support your church family against discord, division, and false teachings? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Our operating design for Waikoloa Baptist is focused on the Primacy of Jesus followed by the Community Fellowship of the church, and then by the Empowered Leadership that each of you has to obey the Great Commission, to use your spiritual gifts, and to serve each other and our church. One of the first things each of us needs to do to exalt Jesus and promote that High View of God we talked about Sunday is to kill our pride.
- “Self is the worst enemy a Christian has”—Charles Spurgeon
Praise Him! Praise Him! Hymn by Fanny J. Crosby
1 Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O earth his wonderful love proclaim!
Hail him! hail him! highest archangels in glory,
Strength and honor give to his holy name!
Like a shepherd Jesus will guard his children —
In his arms he carries them all day long:
Praise him! praise him! tell of his excellent greatness!
Praise him! praise him! ever in joyful song!
2 Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
For our sins he suffered and bled and died;
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail him! hail him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound his praises — Jesus who bore our sorrows —
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong:
3 Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth for ever and ever,
Crown him! crown him! Prophet and Priest and King!
Christ is coming, over the world victorious —
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong: