What is a Pharisee?

What is a Pharisee?

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sat on Moses’ seat. All things therefore whatever they tell you to observe, observe and do, but don’t do their works; for they say, and don’t do.”
Matthew 23:1-3 (WEB)

There is much contained in the Words of Jesus. His words are full of truth and that truth pierces to the core of a man’s heart. In this discourse, it is striking to note the audience to whom He spoke.

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples

The word that follows is important to all who call themselves by His Name. His warnings are given to everyone in general “and to His disciples”. It is a word to us, to all generations who desire to walk rightly before Him. There will always be those who ascend to prominent religious positions, speaking good things. Jesus declares what things people should hearken to and DO.

“All things therefore whatever
they tell you to observe, observe and do”

True disciples are to recognize God’s word even if it is spoken by some who may live hypocritically or carelessly. God’s Word is true regardless of its source. The emphasis in this warning from the Lord is found in a very short word… DO. A disciple is one in whom the word of the Lord influences their living. It is not the mental aspect; it is not merely the enlightenment of the mind while leaving one’s conduct unaffected. Doing is the revelation of true discipleship. Many hear, many teach. It is the focus of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the realm of becoming through obedience.

“…but don’t do their works;
for they say and don’t do.”

Jesus considered their lack of works as their works. Their works were to talk of the things of the Lord without doing. Their non-doing became their works; much like not deciding inadvertently becomes a decision. True faith is the agency through which the works of God are born. The essential nature of faith is to reveal the Life and the Works of its Author. James declares:

“But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
James 1:25

The subtlety of Pharisee-ism is a fearful and easy thing into which any disciple can fall. We can become comfortable in our beliefs rather than in our relationship with Him. Disciples follow Him. They participate in the doing of His Will on the earth. They are involved in the works of Christ for He is their Head, and they are His hands, feet, and heart in this world. Because they are of His Body, they move with Him.

May we be warned in our own walk. Let us heed the exhortations of Him to flee the Pharisaical ways of speaking without doing, of teaching without being a demonstration in our own lives. The truth of our words is to be evidenced in our homes, in our workplaces, and in our fellowship with those who are His.

“…but don’t do their works;
for they say and don’t do”

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“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.”
Luke 10:30-33

Ω

“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
James 2:12

See: Words and Deeds A.W. Tozer

Brian Troxel

Discipleship

Discipleship

“My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad”
Proverbs 23:15

The wise in heart ponder their ways before the Lord. With the passage of time, for the true disciple, there is a discretion that develops within those who hold to His leadings. This discretion is the fruit of experience and God’s correction. That which is lawful and permitted may not always be the wise choice. Wisdom guides and girds the heart for those who are determined to please God.

“All things are permissible but not all things are profitable or expedient. All things are permissible, but not all things promote growth in Christian character”
1 Corinthians 10:23 (Wuest)

The world, both religious and secular, offers many things; broad paths, amusements and temporal diversions. Yet the wise walk with hearts fixed upon pleasing Him who has called them unto Himself. To true disciples of Christ this is not a religious law or teaching; it is the joy of His Life beating within. There is little desire to appear spiritual to others, for those who seek the approval of men already have their reward. Wisdom is the pure fruit of the fear of the Lord. It is the fragrance of a life which seeks to honor Him. In its way men and women find great treasures; hidden treasures which more than compensate for His correction and discipline. Paul, in setting forth the true way of the Lord to his “son” Timothy, declared:

“No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life, so that he might please the one having enlisted him”
2 Timothy 2:4

Purity of heart in a young recruit could best be described as having a single purpose. The great Shepherd of our souls directs us into a purity where we become free from our own agendas; we intuitively choose the things which please Him because we have learned and are being instructed in the Way of Righteousness.

“And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him
John 8:29

True Discipleship is the fruit of Love. Christ’s hold upon any life are determined by the tenacity of the bonds of His Love upon the human heart. Many may be devoted to a teacher, a prophet, an organization, a great cause or doctrine, but genuine disciples hold within their hearts a devotion borne and sustained by the sheer power of the Love of Christ.

“The disciple is not above his master:
but every one that is perfect shall be as his master”
Luke 6:40

The “marks*” of His disciples are a growing likeness to the Master. There is a distinct mark upon those who diligently “follow the Lamb wheresoever HE goes”. There is a detachment from the popular, the ethos of factions, or the press to conform to the dictates of a church or small fellowship. It is a life fully captivated by the wonder of Him.

“And as He passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed Him”
Mark 2:14

Those who truly hear the call and feel the power of a love beyond comprehension know this abandonment to Him. They know not where He will lead, they care not where He will lead. In reality they are no longer their own.

Abandonment
is the response
to seeing HIM.

The price of Discipleship? Loneliness, misunderstanding and persecution.

The prize of Discipleship? His joy resident in our hearts.

Ω

“Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it:
if a man would give all the substance of his house for love,
it would utterly be contemned”
Song of songs 8:6

*Note: Paul considered the scars borne in his body as the “marks” of the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:17) The Greek word translated “marks” actually means “brands” which denote the ownership of Christ.

“From henceforth let no man trouble me:
for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”
Galatians 6:17

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – Anne Hutchinson

Quote for Today

Anne Hutchinson

“The Lord knows that I could not open scripture;
he must by his prophetical office open it unto me”
Anne Hutchinson

“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it,
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ”
Galatians 1:12