Warnings against Pseudo Piety & Pride – Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
October 14, 2018

Warnings against Pseudo Piety & Pride
Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47

Introduction

It is the Wednesday prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, and Jesus is in the Temple where conflict has arisen as group after group of Jewish religious leaders have come in succession challenging and testing Him trying to find some way discredit Him before the people. Attempts are made by the chief priests, scribes, Sadducees, Herodians and Pharisees, but they all utterly failed. With each encounter, Jesus is magnified as He demonstrates that He is wise in showing the way to God and having superior understanding of the Law of Moses. It is Jesus’ antagonists that are discredited as their ignorance, prejudices, and hypocrisy are exposed. (See: Who Does the Father’s Will & Obligations to Caesar; Obligations to God & The Dead Still Live & The Greatest Commandments)

For the last few weeks we have examined Jesus’ answers to the lawyer’s question about which is the greatest commandment in the law of Moses. Jesus answered that it was the shema, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Jesus then continued on to say, “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” He then concluded, “There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31). Or as recorded in Matthew, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  In other words, everything written in the Old Testament concerning man’s relationship with God is based on man loving God with all his heart, soul and mind.  (See: Love for God). Everything concerning man’s relationship with other people is reflective of him loving his neighbor as himself. (See: Loving Your Neighbor).  If you want to be truly godly, then start with the quest to obey these two commandments. As the Holy Spirit changes you, you will learn and be enabled to fulfill all the specific commands built upon them.

Last week we examined Matthew 22:41-46 in which Jesus goes on the offensive. He begins by asking questions of the Pharisees who were gathered there. The first was, “What do you think of the Christ, whose son is He?” They quickly answered that the Messiah would be the son of David, They got many things wrong, but they understood the multiple ancient prophecies concerning this well enough to answer correctly. Jesus then asked the second question about how David while speaking by the Spirit could say what he does in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet?’” Jesus’ pointed question was then, “If David called Him Lord, how is he his son?” This exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees concludes, “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.” It is not that they could not answer the question, but rather that they would not answer the question, because in order for the Messiah to be both David’s descendant and also David’s Lord even before He was born, the Messiah would have to be God who became a man. That was exactly what Jesus was proclaiming about Himself. He accepted and defended the people in proclaiming Him to be the son of David – the promised Messiah. Jesus also claimed to be the Son of God. They could not answer Jesus’ question because they would then have to admit that according to the Scriptures, Jesus’ claims were possible, and they could not even admit that. From this point on, no one will try to discredit Jesus by asking Him shrewd or trick questions. Jesus had proven to be too much for them. They finally recognized that they had met their superior.

As we begin our study of Matthew 23, verse 1 states, “then Jesus said to the crowds and His disciples . . .” Jesus continues on the offensive, but now He turns His attention to speak to everyone. This is Jesus’ last public sermon and it is devoted to describing and warning the people about false religious leaders. He will describe their character and warn about following their example (vs. 1-12). He will rebuke those leaders and warn them of the judgment that is against them, yet even here there is a provision for repentance (vs. 13-36). Finally, Jesus laments over a people that refused to heed His message (37-39).

Why such a message? You might think Jesus would give a final call to salvation, or final guidance about how to live for God, or a sermon of hope in the resurrection. Instead, it is a message of warning and condemnation. Why? The reason is simply that there has been and always will be those who claim to represent God and show the way to Him, but they are false. They twist the truth for their own advantage to get people to follow them rather than God. Without a warning and description of what these false religious leaders will be like, people will easily be led astray into following a lie while thinking they have found the truth. Jesus gives that warning and description.

In Acts 20, the Apostle Paul followed Jesus’ example when he warned the Ephesian Elders who had come to Miletus to meet him, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert.”

We all must be careful to heed these warnings! Mark and Luke give summary statements about Jesus’ warnings here. Matthew is much more detailed with Matthew 23:1-7 describing five characteristics of these false teachers. These same characteristics exist in false teachers today, so they are very helpful to us in heeding these warnings. These five characteristics of false religious leaders are: 1) Their authority is self-appointed. 2) They make hypocritical demands on their followers. 3) They are loveless and uncaring. 4) They make pretentious public displays of their good works. 5) They are proud and arrogant. Not every false leader has all these characteristics, but if any of these are present, then you need to be aware and must be careful for you may very well be dealing with a false teacher.

Self Appointed AuthorityMatthew 23:2

Matthew 23:2 exposes the first characteristic, “The Scribes and Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses.” False teachers claim authority for themselves.

Being in the “seat of” something refers to having a position of authority. We still use the concept today in such words as “chairman,” or the “chair” of the department. These men neither inherited Moses’ position of authority nor were they set there by God. They also were not given the responsibility or position by any source of authority other than themselves. They seated themselves there.

Jesus’ statement was probably much more meaningful to the crowds than we might think since it could have also referred to a physical place in the synagogues. The remains of the first century synagogue in Chorazin, one that Jesus certainly would have been in and taught since He traveled “throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues . . .” (Matthew 4:23), has a physical stone seat labeled as the “seat of Moses.” This was the seat of teaching authority in the synagogue, and one which shows evidence of syncretistic aberration and heresy since its wall decorations included the image of the Greek mythological character Medusa.

Historically, the scribes did not emerge until after the exile. Up until the time of Ezra, scribes simply copied and preserved the text of the Scriptures. After the exile, the common Jew could no longer understand Hebrew for most spoke Aramaic or other language from where they had been exiled. In addition, the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians brought an end to the worship that had taken place there. The spiritual vacuum that was created by this gave rise to the synagogue system and increased the duties for the scribes. They began to teach and interpret the Law, translating and giving the sense of the Hebrew Scriptures in the language of the people as described in Nehemiah 8:8. They continued this practice even after their return to the Judah and the of the rebuilding of the Temple and restoration of worship there. Over time, the Scribes increased the power of their positions, and by the time of Christ in the first Century, it equaled or surpassed the spiritual authority of even the priests.

The Pharisees do not show up on the scene until about 200 B.C. By the time of Jesus, they were the dominate religious sect in Judaism. Most of the scribes were also Pharisees, though some were Sadducees or belonged to one of the minor sects. At the time of Christ, it was the scribes and Pharisees that the people looked to for spiritual guidance. Some were worthy guides, but most were not.

There are many today that claim for themselves authority not given to them by the Scriptures. It is a common mark of cults and aberrant Christianity. Someone or a small group declares that only they understand the true way to God. You cannot read and understand the Bible yourself because only they can really explain it, so you must follow what they teach, and don’t argue about it! This is true of many groups. Some of the more well known ones include Jehovah Witnesses, Latter Day Saints (Mormonism), Christian Science, The Way International, and The Unification Church (Moonies). Locally, there is the World Misison Society Church of God (the mother-God cult with US East Cost headquarters in New Windsor). And yes, by definition and practice, the Roman Catholic Church fits too, though it no longer burns dissenters at the stake as it did in previous centuries.

False teachers and prophets have been around since ancient times. God warns about them in Deuteronomy 18 and also differentiates them from true prophets by requiring 100% accuracy in prophecies. God allowed them then and He allows them now as a test of our faithfulness to Him (Deuteronomy 13), but they exist because people want them. Paul states in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” The people of Isaiah’s day even told their prophets to “not prophesy to us what is right, speak to us pleasant words, prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10).

False teachers claim authority for themselves and many people are glad to give it to them for a variety of reasons including insecurity and laziness. An insecure person finds security in having someone else make decisions for them. A lazy person does not want to put in the effort to do the necessary research to know right from wrong and what to do. It is much easier to let someone else do that. There is also often a sense of absolving yourself of responsibility if someone else is the authority. You can try to blame them for bad decisions, though that will not work in God’s courtroom for He will judge you by whether your name is in His book of life, and if not, then condemn you according to your own deeds (Revelation 20:11-15).

In true Christianity, authority arises from the Word of God, not the individual or group. As an Elder in this church, my authority comes from the Bible. As a pastor in this church, it is the wisdom God has given me to direct you by the Scriptures and help you apply its principles in your life that gives me any authority. You are to do and believe what I say only as I am true to the Word of God, and you have the responsibility to make sure that what I say is true to Scripture. You must be like the Bereans of Acts 17 who even checked out what the Apostle Paul said before they believed him. Stay away from those who say you must obey them because they have an “anointing from God.” Flee those who claim authority over you because they have some title or degree. Run away from those who claim authority based in anything other than the Scriptures. Be wary of even those that go to Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” It is not title or position that gives a man of God authority, but his ability to teach in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict (Titus 1:9), for a leader is to guide you according to the word of God and protect from false doctrine.

The first mark of false religious leaders that Jesus points out here is that they have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. The claim of authority for themselves. They second mark is the hypocritical demands they place on their followers.

Hypocritical Demands Matthew 23:3

Therefore do all they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them. Jesus does not imply absolute obedience, but the same principle found throughout scripture. We obey those in positions of authority as long as what they tell us is consistent with God’s will. The scribes and Pharisees were responsible to teach the people God’s law. Therefore, the people were to do and observe all that they said that was in keeping with the Scriptures. Jesus had already pointed out many areas where they were wrong. In the Sermon on the Mount alone, Jesus corrected them on the issues of murder, fornication, adultery, divorce, swearing, praying, worship, giving of alms and fasting (Matthew 5-6). But there were also areas in which they were faithful to what God commanded, and even in many of the areas in which Jesus corrected them, it was issues of their hypocrisy and not the commands themselves. To “do” (poievw / poie ) was to take action, to perform, immediately. To “observe” (threvw / t re ) is to continue to obey.

The great problem with the scribes and Pharisees even in the areas in which they did teach well was their hypocrisy. They often did not practice what they preached. They demanded the people follow all sorts of rules and do all sorts of things that they themselves would not do. They preached holiness but lived corrupt lives of sensuality themselves. Peter described them in 2 Peter 2 as “daring, self-willed . . . unreasoning animals . . . stains and blemishes . . . eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed . . . springs without water . . . speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption . . .”

Modern examples are plentiful of preachers who teach correctly on a subject but do not follow their own teaching. The continuing sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are an example, but there are plenty of protestant pastors who also fall to the same sexual immorality they warn their congregations against. It is not uncommon for TV & Radio preachers to tell their listeners to sacrifice and send them their money, but they do not live lives of sacrifice themselves. Instead, you find them living in lavish homes, driving expensive cars, and building up their personal bank account. Another of my favorite examples of this kind of hypocrisy are the preachers who claim it is wrong to criticize them because they are the “Lord’s anointed,” and yet they will rail against any other preacher who disagrees with them. Be aware that it is spiritual hypocrisy to demand others to do what you will not, and such spiritual hypocrisy is a sign of a false teacher. Do and observe what they say that is in accordance with God’s word, but do not follow their example.

Loveless & UncaringMatthew 23:4

Jesus expands on this same theme in the next verse. “And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” This illustration of them requiring what they would not do themselves reveals their loveless and uncaring attitude.

The imagery reflected here is of the practice still common in the Middle-east where camels and donkeys have so much stuff loaded on their backs that they can hardly walk, yet the owner carries nothing but a switch to strike the animal with when it staggers or stumbles. There is no concern for the animal’s welfare.

In a similar manner, the scribes and Pharisees would load up all manner of rules, rituals and traditions for the people to follow which they often did not do themselves. When the people failed to keep any of their requirements, these leaders berated them which only added the burden of guilt to the weariness and frustration. The most horrible burden was that they taught man could only please God by his own good works. If the good stuff out weighed the bad, they would make it to heaven, if not, then too bad. They did not point people to God’s mercy and grace given to the humble who had faith in God.

There are preachers like that around today. All they ever do is tell the people how bad they are without giving them hope. They lead people into dreary, burdened, guilt-ridden lives. They replace God’s message of mercy and grace to one of pitiless religious demands. This is normal among the cults which are based on earning your salvation, and also among Christians who fall into the trap of legalism.

The gospel is a two pronged message of bad news and good news. First, the bad news. Man is that bad. He is sinful by nature and practice. He is incapable of saving Himself. Second, the good news. God is willing to forgive those who place their trust in person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He converts you from lost sinner to saved saint and then begins the process of transforming you. There is hope in God Himself. You can have a confident assurance of your eternal destination and begin the personal relationship with God now!

Pretentious DisplaysMatthew 23:5

The next trait of false teachers is the pretentious displays of their supposed spirituality. “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries, and lengthen the tassels of their garments.”

I have discussed phylacteries before, called “tephillin” among the orthodox Jews. It is the little box that contains certain verses from Exodus and Deuteronomy which are strapped either the forehead or left arm or both. There is an elaborate ritual by which the things are tied on with every aspect of it having a specific meaning. The practice of strapping on these phylacteries began around 400 B.C., but it is based on the command in Deuteronomy 6:18, that the law of God was to be bound as a sign on their hand and should be as a frontal on their forehead. This had always been taken symbolically of God’s law being the controlling factor in what they did, represented by the hand, and what they thought, represented by the forehead. Over the centuries what had been a reminder of and a focus on God became increasingly an outward show of man centered religiosity. The Pharisees would make their phylacteries larger than normal in an attempt to show how godly they were.

The word Phylactery comes from a Greek word meaning “safeguard” or “means of protection.” It is also a synonym for amulet or charm, and that is what they became to many Jews. As they drifted away from God, they took on more pagan practices, and some tried to use their phylacteries as magical charms to repel evil spirits. What was supposed to be a reminder to be godly became an object to promote ungodly practices.

The wearing of tassels on the hem of their garments was commanded in Numbers 15:38-40, and was supposed to be a reminder to them to follow all of God’s commandments. Jesus wore them on his clothing. They are still around today as a fringe around Jewish prayer shawls. The Pharisees would make theirs bigger and larger than anyone else as a supposed sign of their greater piety. It was supposed to call attention to God and His commandments, instead, both the phylacteries and the tassels were being used to call attention to men.

There are plenty of people like this today. They make sure that what good things they do are seen by others. If they give something, they want everyone to know it. If God uses them, they want to boast about it. Not God, but what they did for God. The difference is seen in the evangelist who gets excited that God is pleased to let him serve, and the evangelist who constantly brags about how many people were “saved” at the meetings he held. It is an issue of humility and the focus of attention. Be cautious of braggarts, and especially those who also claim to be church leaders. It could just be a sign of immaturity, but it could also be a sign of a false teacher.

Proud & ArrogantMatthew 23:6-7

“And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi.”

This is again an issue of humility and focus. Who is important, you or God? For false spiritual leaders, it is themselves no matter how well they try to cover that up with religious terms. We have all been to banquets where there is a head table. False religious leaders want to be seated at the head table instead of with the regular guests because they see themselves as better and more important than everyone else.

I think most of us have seen churches in which there are special chairs on the platform for the people who are leading the worship service. That can be practical since the worship service leaders are close to the lectern, but it can also be proud. I remember one church that had three huge chairs with the middle chair half again bigger than the other two. They had fancy wood carvings with red velvet upholstery. The preacher sat in the middle with his music minister on his right and the associate or a guest on the left. It looked like a king holding court. That would be a dangerous attitude.

I am sure most everyone has also met pompous people, some of them pastors, who make a big deal out of special titles and initials behind their name. Sure, there is a time to list out credentials so people will know your qualifications. When I go for medical help, I want the person who sees me to have an M.D. behind their name, and the more letters there the better! But there is a big difference between the proper use of a title and demanding it or flaunting it. One is proper respect for an earned qualification or honor while the other is self centered egotism. Be careful of egotists who demand to be called by a title for it could be the mark of a false spiritual leader.

Jesus expands on this last point in verses 8-12 and shows the difference between false teachers and true spiritual leaders.

Instructions to True Spiritual LeadersMatthew 23:8-12

“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

To summarize this, humility is the mark of true spirituality and pride a mark of the opposite. Humble people center on God and do not want to diminish His glory in any way, including being called a title that is actually more reflective of God than themselves. Proud people center on themselves and want all the glory they can get.

The modern equivalent of Rabbi is Doctor because both terms mean teacher. God is the believer’s only true teacher (1 John 2:27). Humans are only channels of communication for Him. And while those who diligently labor as teachers of the Scriptures are to be appreciated and respected as 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 states, they are not to seek the honor or demand it.

The idea of being called “father” in verse 9 is not in the biological sense, but the sense of spiritual father. The scribes and Pharisees liked to think of themselves as having a superior spiritual position and being the source of spiritual life for their followers. Only God can be the source of our spiritual life. We were dead in our sins, He made us alive with Christ (Ephesians 2). To use the title “father” in that sense, as well as the related terms “abbot” and “pope,” are clearly violations of Scripture. We need to be very careful in this area.

As with the other two, the term leader also should not be used for anyone in the formal, exalted sense that it was in Judaism. Only Jesus is our real spiritual leader. The most any of us can say in the church is what Paul did in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

Jesus concluded in verses 11 & 12 by reminding them of the same lesson on humility He taught in Matthew 20:6 when they were in Jericho. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Then adding in verse 12 a practical warning and encouragement, 12 And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” They could either be proud and gain glory from men in the present and then be humbled by God later, or they could humble themselves now and let God exalt them in the future. No one will remain proud before God, but the humble will be honored by God.

Conclusions

Be wary of anyone claiming to be a spiritual leader that does not follow Jesus’ example. Those who claim authority for themselves, those who make hypocritical demands of their followers, those who are loveless and uncaring, those who make pretentious displays of their piety, and those who are proud. Those are traits of false spiritual leaders. Be careful that you do not allow such characteristics to develop in yourself, and if they are present, then repent and seek to mature.

Spiritual leaders should be mature, and those who are spiritually mature will be unassuming, sincere, loving, caring, modest and humble. It is this last trait, humility, that especially marks the true spiritual leader, for it was the example that Jesus Himself left for us. He did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

Sermon Notes – 10/7/2018

Warnings against Pseudo Piety & Pride Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47

Introduction & Review

Jesus’ enemies have sought to discredit Him before the people, but all of them have utterly ___________

Jesus has identified loving God and loving others as the first and second ___________ commandments

Jesus has gone on the offensive challenging the Pharisees about the ______of the Christ as the son of David

Messiah can be both David’s lord and the son of David by being _________who has become a man

Jesus continues to be on the offensive, but now He directs his attention to the ___________and disciples too

Jesus’ last public message is a ____________because the danger of false teachers is great

Paul also warned the Ephesian Elders of the same ___________ (Acts 20), which is still prevalent today

Jesus describes five characteristics of ____________________in Matthew 23:1-12

Self Appointed AuthorityMatthew 23:2

The “seat of” something refers to having a position of ___________ – “chairman,” “chair of the committee”

They seated themselves in the “seat of Moses” – a ___________seat in at least some synagogues (Chorazin)

Scribes gained greater responsibility and authority during the exile as the _____________system developed

The Pharisees arose about 200 B.C. and became the dominate ______________ by the time of Jesus

A common mark of cults & aberrant Christianity to be the _______________authority to interpret Scripture

Moses warned of false prophets in Deut. 18 requiring true prophets to be _________ accurate

People gather for themselves false teachers (2 Tim. 4) because they want their “ears ______________”

Both insecure people and lazy people want an _____________over them to tell them what they want to hear

In true Christianity, _____________arises from the Word of God, not the individual or group.

Stay away from, flee, run away from those who claim authority for ______________

Hypocritical Demands Matthew 23:3

Obedience to a human authority is always _____________to obedience to God’s commands

This a command to do (take action now) & observe (continue to obey) where they were _____to God’s laws

Jesus’ warning is about following the __________of the religious hypocrites – also described in 2 Peter 2

________________leaders commanding others to do what they will not themselves are still very common

Loveless & UncaringMatthew 23:4

The imagery is of a heavy load causing the burden bearer to stagger while the master carries _________of it

Religious traditions and rules _________men with guilt, weariness & frustration separating them from God

Religious leaders who replace God’s mercy & grace with ____________religious demands are still common

The bad news is that man is that bad and under God’s just _____________

The good news is that God is loving and has provided grace for ____________ through faith in Jesus Christ

Pretentious DisplaysMatthew 23:5

Phylacteries (“tephillin”) – the little _______strapped to the forehead or left arm containing Scripture verses

What was supposed to be a reminder to focus on God became an _________show of supposed piety

The word, phylactery, is a synonym for ____________- which is what it became to many of them

Tassels on the hem of their garments is ____________ in Numbers 15:38-40

Those proud call attention to themselves to be thought of as good & religious – signs of _________or falsity

Proud & ArrogantMatthew 23:6-7

False spiritual leaders want to be in the ____________ of prestige

Pompous people want ___________ of prestige to satisfy their ego, not just communicate credentials

Instructions to True Spiritual LeadersMatthew 23:8-12

Humble people focus on ________and bringing Him glory – proud people want the glory for themselves

________ is the believer’s teacher (1 John 2:27) – humans are only channels of communication for Him

“Father” here refers to spiritual, not _______________father – only God is the source of spiritual life

We should not call some “leader” in the formal, ___________ sense that it was in Judaism

The who are _____in God’s kingdom are servants of all – the proud are humbled, and the humble are exalted

Conclusions

Be wary of anyone claiming to be a spiritual leader that does not follow Jesus’ example of ____________

Spiritual leaders should be mature and so will have the opposite characteristics of ________ teachers

KIDS KORNER
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times references are made to “leaders,” and “teachers.” 2) Discuss with your parents the importance of humility in leaders.

THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is the context of Matthew 23:1-12? Why would Jesus choose to warn the people about false teachers in his last public sermon? What does that indicate about the importance of His warning? What is the “seat of Moses”? Who are the scribes and how did they attain the “seat of Moses”? Who are the Pharisees and how did the “seat of Moses”? What are some cult groups you are aware of that would be similar to the scribes or Pharisees in this area? Why does God allow false teachers? Why are people attracted to false teachers (2 Timothy 4:3-4)? What is the source of authority in Biblical Christianity? How can you discern the difference between an elder or pastor properly using their authority within the church and a leader who is abusing such authority? What should you do if a leader claims authority over you because of their title, degree or position? What were some of the things the scribes and Pharisees demanding of others that they did not do themselves? Can you think of modern examples of this today? In what ways were the people to “do” and “observe” what they commanded? In what ways were they not to follow them? What principle from this can be applied today? What kinds of “heavy loads” were they putting on the shoulders of others? Why wouldn’t they (couldn’t they) lift those burdens? What attitudes does this reveal in them? What burden does Jesus place upon men and how does it compare to that of the scribes and Pharisees? What “heavy loads” does religion place upon man in the present? How does the gospel of Jesus Christ lift and take away those burdens? What is a phylactery? Why would they enlarge them? What is a tassel? Why would they lengthen them? Describe modern equivalents within churches? What do these things indicate about the person? Why does Jesus restrict usage of the titles such as Rabbi / Teacher, father, and leader? What is the proper usage of these titles and modern equivalents? What should be the attitude of a godly person who has earned titles / honorifics?


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