Sunday, January 13, 2008

Practice What You Preach

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you — but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice."

Jesus is once again speaking about the Pharisees, and here he tells those listening to Him that the Pharisees, who were their teachers, were not to be looked to as examples because they didn't practice what they taught. Notice in this verse that Jesus did not tell the people that they should not listen to the Pharisees; He actually told them to observe, or to do, whatever they told them to do. This means that what the Pharisees were teaching the people was correct and accurate, the problem was not with their doctrine, it was with the application in their own lives. In other words, do what the tell you, but don't follow their example, because they don't listen to their own teaching and follow it themselves.

Are we guilty of the same thing today? How many times do we tell someone else how they should live but not live that way ourselves? How many time have we tried to remove a splinter from our brothers eye while ignoring the plank in our own? Jesus says that the Pharisees do everything to be observed by others. They do things to show everyone how religious they are, they love to be honored for their piety, they love to receive honors and have dinners called in their name. They love to show you how much knowledge they possess, they love to be called "Pastor" and "Dr." and "Teacher", but they are hypocrites when it comes to following their own advise. They expect others to live by rules and regulations that they are not willing to live by themselves.

Does this sound like anybody you know? Does it sound like you? I think there is a little bit of this in each of us. It is so easy to see what everyone else is doing wrong, but it is so hard to admit it in our own lives. We all like to receive the praise of men; we all like to be honored for our achievements, but what Jesus is telling us here is that it is much more important to be right before God than it is to be praised by men.

Jesus then says in verse 12, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled , and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." So, the question we must ask ourselves is this: would I rather be exalted here on earth by men, or exalted in heaven by God? The choice is yours and Jesus has told us how.
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Anonymous said...

I love this post because it's a great reminder, Chris.

I'm guilty as charged for being a Pharisee sometimes.

It also brings to mind that whoever does this will have his rewards in full on earth, but we should work towards the eternal rewards that await us when we enter into glory with the Lord.

Shalom Aleichem.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I missed your poll. :( But judging from the response so far, I'd throw in my vote with Romans too, which also happens to be one of my favorite epistles.

God bless!

Chris said...


Thank you so much for praying! I have a few more posts to do to finish up Matthew and then I will be starting on Romans.

I just read your post about your toothache; what a great us of a painful situation. I will be praying for you.

Peace brother.

Deborah said...

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled , and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." ... Agh...! Don't I know this?!

Ooo, no doubt, whenever I start thinking too highly of myself and am taking a wee bit too much pride in my achievements, WHAM!
...Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I'm just so thankful that upon our sincere repentance, God is so kind and loving in restoring us to the position He intended for us, which is always far better than the position we were striving for ourselves. Why do we do we get so full of ourselves sometimes, doubting Him and His good intentions???? :)

God bless!