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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dead Men's Bones And Uncleanness

These are the words of Jesus.

These words were not aimed at sinners without, but at hypocrites within.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. - Matthew 23: 27-28


Then as now there are those that misrepresent God by screaming at those outside while ignoring their own faults, or hiding them. And just in case you think this is an ancient issue and not relevant to today - notice it is aimed directly at leaders. In verse 24:
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

It reminds me of a story told of a fire and brimstone style teacher, he was listing and condemning sins within the church that need to be addressed. From the back of the room he was supported by an old guy shouting out encouragement:

We need to deal with gossip (Amen!)
We need to quit drinking in excess and be filled with the Holy Spirit instead (You tell 'em Preacher!)
It is time to tell the truth, the whole truth, without fear (Hallelujah)

The preacher decided to try a test:

We need to be a good example to the kids and quit chewing tobacco (
silence)

The pastor went on with the message and met the old fellow at the exit after the service.

"Hey George, why did you stop with the amens? "

"Pastor you crossed a fine line - you done went from preachin' to meddlin'. "

For a church full of George type parishioners that want to feel superior, all a "leader" has to do is pick a sin that is not represented in the church - and preach against it. That is a political solution - but not a Godly one. State churches are frequently like this - condemning what the majority or government condemns - ignoring what God says.

The local church is as vulnerable to playing politics as the televangelist.

The only political appointee among Christ's disciples was the
Zealot - Judas Iscariot.

A preacher that sells out his Godly commission for a satisfied church will end up displaying a form of godliness but denying the power of God. They have to deny the Holy Spirit, they are not following God's lead - there is no power in their ministry - only show.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. - Matthew 7:3-5


whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness




Father God,

It is hard to swim against the tide. Help us to focus on finding error within ourselves.

I admit to finding it easier to discover other's error than my own, forgive me and help me to gain in understanding and wisdom.

Holy Spirit,

I ask you to lead me in my reading of the Bible, not just that I may grow, but that I might also lose that which is of no eternal value.

Jesus,

You died for us, help us to not cheapen your sacrifice by preaching an acceptable gospel.

The focus is on you lord Jesus, knowing your love for us, we want your will - not ours.

Father, we come to you with this prayer - that we please you and not men. In Jesus name accept us into your presence , we come to converse with you now ---

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