Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:25-26

This is our eighteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Matthew 23:25-26

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.

Observations

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.

Application

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.

My Singleness: A Gift from God

After my devastating divorce, I soon began to consider dating. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Maybe just filling a lonely gap, or maybe I was seeking the thrill of meeting someone, or being with a woman in a romantic way. It’s been thirty years, but I sort of remember going on line. Yes, it was a Christian dating site, and they had you answer all kinds of questions to match you up with someone. I remember getting 3 or 4 dates out of it. But I didn’t date anyone more than a couple times. Truthfully, I wasn’t interested in getting married; I just wanted a fun date—or whatever. I always tried to be honest with my date, and when I would tell them that I had no interest in marriage, that seemed to turn them off. And I can understand why. They were seeking a mate, and I wasn’t. Part of me thought that maybe if I found the right one, I would change my mind about marriage. But there was a stronger pull that was telling me NO.  I gradually came to the conclusion that God was telling me to remain single. But I think He was letting me date for a while to show me, in the way He was speaking to me, that I shouldn’t pursue marriage, that it would not be His will.

Settling into Singleness

So God won, and I decided to settle into singleness. I think the dating phase lasted only about 3 years. And since then, for about 26 years now, I have been resolved to singleness and being date free. And you know, God has been good. He has blessed me. He has cared for me and has shown me that I can be content living by myself. For a few years I had a male roommate. That had its good points and bad points. But I actually think it’s better for me to live alone. Overall, life has been good. God is good.

God Approves of Singleness

Though in Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, God also has gifted many of us to be single—to remain unmarried and chaste. 1 Corinthians 7 lays it out for us. Paul was unmarried and he wrote, “I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God” (v. 7). God gives some the gift of marriage with a mate, and others the gift of singleness. Paul wrote, “I say to the unmarried and to the widows: “It is good for them if they remain even as I am” (v. 8). Later in the chapter he wrote, “Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife” (v. 27). Again, he wrote, “I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife” (vv. 32-33).

I don’t want to be harsh toward married people, but what Paul says here is true. Since I am no longer married, I have found it much easier to serve the Lord. But at the same time, I know that that doesn’t mean I am free of responsibilities. I still have household duties and bills to pay, etc.

Singleness Can Be More Challenging

In some ways being single is harder to live a holy life, especially if you are not a responsible person, if you are lazy, and if you are not self-controlled. Such a person must pray more, be in the word more, and take hold of himself—or the devil and the flesh will take advantage of him. That person must always on his guard.