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Yan Kislitsa
Matthew 23:5-12
GCS Sermons 2017
50 mins 41 secs
Views: 38

Chapter 23 is the fourth discourse of Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew. This discourse clearly consists of three parts:

1. 23:1-12 Warning Against the False Teachers.

2. 23:13-16 Woes to False Teachers.

3. 23:37-39 Weeping Over the Deceived Nation.

Knowing that His time of crucifixion is near, Jesus is using the most graphic and severe language to expose false religion and its false leaders. Here in our text, Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus, although in front of many people and religious leaders, is primarily addressing his disciples in order to warn them against the damning sin of hypocrisy. He does it in two ways.

First, Jesus Exposes the nature of a False Devotion, by using Pharisees and Scribes as an example of pretense devotion, who were busy parading themselves before men. Respected by all people for their knowledge of the Scripture and their devotion to God, Pharisees were darlings of the masses. Jesus, however, knowing their true nature, exposes Pharisees in their prideful motives (23:5/a), their flashy actions (23:5/b), and their selfish love (23:6-7), leaving them naked in the eyes of all people. Jesus is saying here, that any religion, which produces pride in the heart and flashiness in action, is a false religion. Religion that is based on human achievements rejects the need of Grace that flows from the cross and thus determined to be condemned by God.

Secondly, Jesus Exhorts the nature of a True Devotion. The nature of a true disciple of Christ can be denoted in two aspects: Seeking the glory of God in all he does and Seeking the glory from God, while humbly serving men. By ascribing glory to God the disciple acknowledges his lowliness before Him, and by serving men he shows his humility before men. In contrast to Pharisees and Scribes, who were moved by pride and fed by self-exhortation, Jesus exhorts his Disciples not to demand the respect from men and never to expect honor, because such attitude comes as a result of pride. But instead, Christ’s followers must parade the achievements of God. God is our Lawgiver, thus He is the only true Teacher (23:8). God is our Life-Giver, thus He is the only true Father (23:9). Christ is our Leader, thus He is our true Shepherd. By giving God the glory He truly deserves and by obediently serving His children, we are proving to be genuine Disciples of Christ, thus proclaiming a true devotion to God.

True devotion to God can be seen in humble service to men