This is our eighteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
The Pharisees lived as if external appearances were more important than what was inside of the life. They cared more about appearances than about the heart. They cared more about the body than the soul. Of course, they cared nothing about the soul because they were not converted; they had no spiritual life in them. All they knew to do was to clean up what they could see and what other could see. They were blind to God. They had no spiritual eyes.
If we want to be pure and holy for the Lord we must start with the inside of the live. First, give yourself to God and His son. Believe in Him. Then use His word to clean up your heart and soul, and your mind and thoughts. And pray regularly. As you do this you will find that your body will be healthier too.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
This verse (and the following few verses) follows directly after where Jesus spoke on entering by the narrow gate and walking along the narrow way (v. 13-14). Hence, what Jesus is suggesting here is that we beware of those who will try to persuade us not to enter at the narrow gate and walk in the narrow way. These are false prophets.
We will now take a closer look at these false prophets, according to what D. Martyn Lloyd Jones has preached on in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In my reading and note taking, I have come up with ten descriptions of the false prophet.
1. They will appear as Christians. They will come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they will be ravenous wolves. Therefore, they will look like good people and no one will suspect anything false from them. They will be nice and pleasant and appear to be Christians. They will use Christian terms and talk about God, and Jesus, and about the cross, and about the love of God, etc.
2. We will know them by their fruit. When we really get to know them, we will discover that their teaching is wrong and also their life (their conduct).
3. We may recognize them by what they do not teach. As far as recognizing the falseness, it is not so much recognized by what they say, but rather by what they do not say. They will tend to leave out or pass over certain important biblical teachings. And they do this in order to not offend you or to be more popular.
4. His teaching is absent from doctrine. His preaching is almost entirely absent from doctrine. He does not like doctrinal preaching, and when he does preach doctrine, it is vague and in error.
5. He does not speak on holiness. The false prophet rarely speaks about holiness and righteousness and justice and the wrath of God. He will not say that he does not believe these things, yet he says next to nothing about them.
6. He leaves out bible prophecy. The false prophet fails to talk about bible prophecy and future things. This is true of most preachers these days. But I have a remedy for them. If they would just preach through the bible one verse at a time, they would be forced to preach on bible prophecy, since almost one-third of the bible is prophetical.
7. He fails to preach on sin. He will not emphasis the doctrine of sin and the sinfulness of sin.
8. He will not preach on what Jesus did for us on the cross. He will talk about the cross and about the death of Christ, but he will fail to preach on what Jesus’ death did for us—that God made Him to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) and that He paid the penalty for our sins.
9. He dislikes self-examination. He will not emphasize the necessity of entering the narrow gate or walking in the narrow way. He is not interested in true holiness; thus, he dislikes the process of self-examination and the mortification of sin as taught by the Puritans.
10. They reject the idea of being a Christian warrior. They reject talk about fighting the good fight of faith, and they do not see the need for putting on the armor of God. They would rather practice easy salvation and living an easy and prosperous Christian life.
Pleasing God is the element in abiding that we will consider here. I have called it holiness because that is exactly how we please Him—by our holiness.
In 1 John 3:22 we find that the promise of answered prayer comes to us when we keep His commandments and do those things that please Him: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Notice that the requirement of pleasing God is not by itself; it is coupled with the requirement of keeping His commandments—the chief of which is to love God and others. This tells us that the two go together and that they cannot be separated. We cannot please God without obeying Him and we cannot truly obey Him without pleasing Him.
But the fact that the two requirements are separated tells us also that…