This past week a Pastor Jerry Vines, 1st Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fl. was taken to task in the media and basically accused of spreading hate and racism against Islam. Listen to what he said, "Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives - and his last one was a 9-year-old girl. And I will tell you, Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people." Now listen to the response of Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's really unfortunate that a top leader in a mainstream Christian church would use such hate-filled and bigoted language in describing the faith of one-fifth of the world's population." Now the really interesting part is that they never claimed that what he said was wrong, simply that it was hate-filled and bigoted language. Listen to the response of two Islamic experts, "It's simply a matter of quoting [Islamic] sources … the comments in question cannot be considered bigotry when they come from Islamic writings … the pastor quoted from the Hadith, a highly respected source for Islamic teaching among Muslim clerics and followers worldwide. The Hadith itself verifies that Muhammad married a 6-year-old girl and consummated the marriage when she was 9."
I have heard many say that such preaching is negative and contrary to what Jesus would do…after all, Jesus was always loving and kind in everything He did, right?
This is one of the most remarkable chapters to be found in the Gospels. In this chapter, Jesus gives the most scorching sermon that He ever preached. It consists of exposure of sin and sharp rebuke of the lives of the Pharisees. Eight times He says, "woe unto you." Seven times He says, "you hypocrites." Twice He says, "you blind guides." Twice He says, "you fools," and once He says, "you generation of vipers." Jesus never pulled any punches, but made His message plain and pointed. Jesus denounced heretics. People of our day do not like for you to speak against other religious. They seem to be opposed to criticism of false doctrines, but Jesus exposed these false teachers and so should we! Who is Jesus talking to in this chapter? He's speaking to the Pharisees, the most religious people of His day. These people claimed to be in the know. The Pharisees carried a large key tied to their girdle as a symbol of knowledge. They were supposed to have the key to spiritual knowledge. They claimed to have the key to Heaven but, literally, they shut up Heaven against men.
They rejected Christ and did not believe the Gospel. They did all they could to prevent others from following Christ.
1Co 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
We are cautioned against putting stumbling blocks in the way of others. And yet people continue to do just that. There are many modern-day Pharisees that hinder the Gospel and cause many to stumble.
I. Those Who Give Lip Service v3 "…for they say and do not."
A. Jesus was talking about the same kind of people in Mt. 15:8.
Mt 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
1. By failing to do what we know we should do, we are simply giving the Lord lip service.
2. Rescue the Perishing - but let the preacher do it, he gets paid.
3. Stand Up for Jesus - that is if no one is looking.
4. Jesus Paid it All - so why should I tithe.
5. Nothing Between My Soul and My Savior - except my job, my company, and my own interests.
B. Christianity is not a lip service, but a heart service.
1. We are to believe with all our heart.
Ac 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Ro 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
2. We are to love God with all our heart.
Mt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
3. We are to serve God with all our heart.
Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
4. What could be accomplished for God if only we would walk the talk?
C. When we don't live a good testimony before others, it will cast stumbling blocks in their way.
1. Christians, what do we need to do?
2. What areas of our lives do not line up with Biblical principles?
3. It isn't enough to talk about it…we are called to be Christian or Christ-like in all areas of our lives.
Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
II. Those Who Are Indifferent. v4
"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
A. Get this picture in your mind.
1. Here is a man carrying a heavy load and we are adding to it, but are unwilling to lift a finger to help him.
2. Many times people will help a man with a material load, but not a spiritual one.
B. The greatest burden or need of a person is to come to Christ.
1. Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes…
2. Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where…
3. People need the Lord…
4. When will we realize, we need to give our lives…
5. Cause people need the Lord.
C. It is nice to know that we are on our way to heaven…
1. But we will give an account of how we have used the life that God has so graciously given to us.
2. God has called us to invest our lives into the lives of others.
3. The sin of our indifference will send multitudes to a Christ-less hell.
4. Compassion can make all the difference.
Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
III. Those Who Are Inconsistent. v23-25
A. Gnats and Camels
1. Gnats were everywhere in Palestine.
2. It was necessary to strain their water before they drank it.
3. So this saying was certainly one that the Jews would understand.
4. They would get all upset over little things, but would let more important things go.
B. We still have a problem with gnats and camels.
1. When we are so careful about small things of little importance, but disregard the plain teaching of the Word of God.
2. I have had folks who wanted to argue the Bible with me who would never come to church or serve God with their lives.
3. When we focus only on little things, and do not realize the importance of being obedient to God in all things…we can cause others to stumble.
4. We had a couple here a while back where the husband was really concerned about what version of the Bible I used, but when they went home from church he would smack his wife around!
5. Whatever version of the Bible you read, they all condemn such behavior!
6. Gnats and camels…fill in the blanks.
7. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for living an inconsistent life!
C. We often think we are fooling others.
1. Parents think they can fool their children by the old 'do as I say, not as I do' but they are only fooling themselves.
2. Lost people readily pick up on the inconsistencies of our lives.
3. Jesus called it hypocrisy!
4. Putting on a mask and playing a part, while all the time realizing that their life was lie!
Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. Christian, have we found ourselves in this passage? Is it a bit uncomfortable here? Why not come today and make things right with the Lord. Does our life point people to Christ or turn them away? When will we realize, we need to give our lives… Cause people need the Lord.
Friend, if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, let me assure you that He loves you and only wants God's best in your life. He was willing to pay the price to redeem us from our sin. Will you accept Him today, by faith?
Ac 16:31, "… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved …"