Part 1 | What Sorrow Awaits You…Hypocrisy | Matthew 23:13-22


Mat 23:13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.
Mat 23:14 [What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, you will be severely punished.]
Mat 23:15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
Mat 23:16 “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’
Mat 23:17 Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?
Mat 23:18 And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding.
Mat 23:19 How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
Mat 23:20 When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it.
Mat 23:21 And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it.
Mat 23:22 And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.

What does it mean to be a Christian hypocrite?

I am a teacher at my church. I teach about once or twice a month in the adult class and I really enjoy doing it. I think I learn more than I actually teach. As a teacher you often stand in front of a group and give them your opinion about religious matters or scriptures in the bible. But, I don’t always 100% of the time follow what I try to teach from God’s word. Does that make me a hypocrite?

I’ve often heard from friends the statement, “If the church wasn’t full of hypocrites it would be empty”, and they are saying it in a jovial yet understanding manner. Does that really mean that we are a church full of hypocrites?

What I would like to do with the next few posts is study the ideas of hypocrisy, as presented by Jesus in this most humbling discourse, and see if we can’t come to some conclusions and maybe even some understanding on what hypocrisy really is and why Jesus seems to deal with it so strongly.

hy·poc·ri·sy [hi-pok-ruh-see]

noun, plural -sies.

1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
Shutting the door to the Kingdom of Heaven
Let’s start with the first verse in this most eloquent and terrible discourse regarding hypocrisy. It may be helpful to remember where Jesus is and whom he is speaking to. He is speaking to the disciples and the crowds in the temple. This is possibly his last public presentation to a multitude and it seems to be an attempt to open their eyes to the misleading teachings of the Pharisees.
Mat 23:13  “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.
The Pharisee’s had been doing everything they could to maintain their influence over the people. They spoke out against Jesus, leading people to think of Him as just another rabble-rowser who had no authority. They taught traditions and binding ceremonies that were a burden on the people and led them to think that the door to the Kingdom was closed to men who could not do the works that they did. Many people at this time were ready to embrace Jesus as their Messiah and Savior but the Pharisees were there to lead them away from safety instead of toward it. They had shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven not only for themselves but also for others. What a terrible thing that is to do.
What can we learn from this admonition from Jesus?
We can learn a lot, but let’s consider what the “door” is because this seems to be what they are shutting. I did a little search for “the door of the tabernacle” and found this very interesting study. If Jesus is the door, or the door leads to new understanding of Jesus and his Kingdom, they were shutting the door that they claimed to have access to in their own faces. In the process of shutting it in their own faces, they were also shutting it for those they had influence over. Jesus said ” ..I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [emphasis supplied] Ask yourself this question, when a door is shut, are we able to go through it? No. So how can we reach the Father? Through Jesus!
I did a word search in the bible for the word ‘door’ and these are some of the  interesting verses that came out…
[*Please look up these verses and read them in context. Links are provided at the beginning of each text]
Joh 10:2  But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Joh 10:7  So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
Joh 10:9  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.
 Mar 1:33  And the whole city was gathered together at the door. [I just thought this was a beautiful picture if you replace the word door in the verse with the name “Jesus”.]
Mat_25:10  And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Luk 13:24  “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Luk_13:25  When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’
Joh 10:1  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
And finally a verse that brought tears to my eyes…what an AMAZING promise from our Lord and Savior.
Rev 3:8  “‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Conclusion
Anyone who tries to tell you there is a way to “healing” -or- to salvation -or- to a new life -or- to the Kingdom of Heaven and they are not leading you to, through and into Jesus…they are a robber and a theif. DO NOT let them shut the door in your face.
There are many robbers and thieves, door-slammers, Pharisees, today. They mention the name of Jesus as an after-thought. They use His words to make themselves the door. Consider this my friends….think on it. This is so important! Don’t let anyone keep you from the open door that JESUS has set before you. And if you are trying to lead others to the Kingdom of Heaven make sure you take them to the DOOR! Don’t go over the wall…go through the door.
You cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven by any other way. You cannot “self help” your way into heaven. You cannot “work through your issues” to gain heaven. You cannot gain enough “counseling” to make yourself “unbroken” enough to gain the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no “process of healing” that will open the door….there is ONLY JESUS! Do you want to help your fellow traveler that may be struggling, broken or hurt by sin and life? Don’t try to be the source of healing…lead them to the Source of healing. Do it in love. Do it because you have been forgiven much. Do it because you can do nothing else…because you are filled with Jesus and He is leading you.
Luk_20:18  Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” [emphasis supplied]
Mat 7:25  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock [JESUS].
Prayer:
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You so much for opening the door that no one else is able to shut. Lead me Lord to the One that can truly heal me. Give me a humble heart. Give me a loving spirit. Give me a tender voice. Give me a caring heart. GIVE ME JESUS!
Lord, I ask that You would rebuke me if ever I lead someone away from the Door.
I praise Your Name today because through Your Son, Jesus Christ, I am free. Today I consider myself dead to the power of sin and alive to You through Christ Jesus. Today I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that I may have the Mind of Christ.
I am blind and naked. Please give me the eye salve and the covering that only You can supply.
Please watch over and protect my children. Bring them to the door and open it wide. Forgive their sins Lord and cover them with Jesus’ robe. I love You. Amen.
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