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Matthew 23:13-29; Woes of Hypocrites

Matthew 23:13-29 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. [14] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. [15] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. [16] Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! [17] Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? [18] And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. [19] Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? [20] Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. [21] And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. [22] And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. [23] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. [24] Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. [25] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. [26] Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. [27] 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. [ 28] Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. [29] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, [30] And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. [31] Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. (KJV)

Jesus was speaking to Jews here. But His Words should be considered by the church as well. There are many Pharisees (hypocrites) in the world today. The Jewish scribes and Pharisees were enemies to the Gospel of Christ, and to the salvation of the souls of men . . . just as false teachers are today. It is bad to keep away from Christ ourselves, but so much worse to keep others from Him. A form of godliness can be made a cloak to hide the greatest errors. Hypocritical holiness will be severely judged

While millions SEEM to be religious and godly, they are NOT! We really are what we are inwardly. The heart reveals the TRUE person! Outward motives may seem to others that a person is clean, but inside is nothing but filthiness. The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like white-washed tomb-stones, only for show. Jesus condemned the Pharisees and religious leaders for outwardly appearing saintly and holy but inwardly remaining full of corruption and greed (like today). Living a Christian life just as a show for others is like washing a cup only on the outside. When we are clean on the inside, our cleanliness on the outside will NOT be a fake.

Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (KJV) These religious rulers were in the place of authority, and they knew and controlled the Old Testament Scriptures. They occupied the same position that church leaders do today. People looked to them for the interpretation of the Truth. Here we see our gentle Jesus using some extremely harsh language. No Old Testament prophet denounced sin like Jesus did! Liberals gives the impression that all Jesus ever talked about was love. That is NOT true! Yes! Jesus loves sinners and died for sinners, BUT Jesus is also going to judge sinners.

We MUST have a correct perspective of Christ Jesus. Many people and churches today misunderstand just WHO Jesus is and what He is and what He will do. The average conception today of the Lord Jesus is NOT at all biblical.

  • Many people do not believe that Jesus was virgin born.
  • They do not believe that He died on the cross for the sins of the world.
  • They do not believe that He rose bodily from the grave.
  • They do not believe He would ever send anyone to Hell.
  • They believe that everyone will go to Heaven and that is NOT true!

See our article on Universalism. http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_false_doctrines_universalism.1.htm

My friend, the TRUE Jesus is NOT known today. The other Jesus is a figment of the imagination.

2 Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (KJV)

The majority of churches today preach another Jesus and another gospel, which is utterly condemned by the Word of God.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Can you hear Him as He spoke the above words? This is very strong language. The Lord uses the term woe eight times in Mat.23:13-30 and calls scribes and Pharisees hypocrites seven times. He accuses them of blocking the way to Heaven by their false leadership. It is the SAME for religious leaders in the church today. They are leading so multitudes astray. And what they are preaching is NOT bringing anyone to God. NONE of their converts are actually born again.

I think that this comparison of the tomb pictures millions of church-goers today, beautiful on the outside, but on the inside they are dead in trespasses and sins. They have a form of godliness (2 Tim.3:5), but they deny the power of it to make them new creations in Christ. My friend, until you become a true child of God (John 1:12-13; 3:3), your church membership is null and void, and is nothing but hypocrisy. Supposedly over half the population of the United States are church members. Why is it then, that in public places ninety-nine percent of the crowd are drinking cocktails, using profanity, and telling dirty stories? We have a many white-washed tomb-stones walking around, spiritual zombies, dead in trespasses and sins. Jesus denounced religious leaders! They should be denounced! If you belong to a Bible-teaching church and a preacher who believes the Bible and is trying to teach it, PLEASE take a stand with him. He needs you, and you need him.

The universal brotherhood of man and the universal Fatherhood of God are damnable heresies. God does NOT claim you if you have not accepted Jesus Christ. The only way to become a child of God is to receive Christ. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power [the right, the authority] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). The Lord is speaking in harsh terms in these verses in Matthew. He is serving a cup of tea that is a little too strong for many of the liberal-minded people in this day and time. Jesus came to Earth to die for YOUR sins because He loved you, BUT if you reject Him, He becomes your Judge. The Bible makes it quite clear that we should not distance ourselves from unbelievers; for we could not carry out Christ’s command to tell them about salvation, “Go ye therefore” (Mat.28:18-20). But we ARE to distance ourselves from those who CLAIM to be Christians, yet indulge in sins explicitly forbidden in Scripture, then rationalizing their actions. By making excuses for sin, a person does harm to others for whom Christ died and dims the image of God in himself or herself. A church that openly includes such people, and refuses to correct (judge) their sin, is not fit to be the light of the world (Mat.5:14). To do so is compromising with the world, and distorting the picture of Christ it presents to the world. Church leaders must be ready to correct, in love, for Jesus’ sake and spiritual unity.

When God sits in judgment, it will NOT be any outward righteousness that He shall judge! It will be the inward part of man that the world does not see. The good, righteous reputation which he had acquired in his/her life will not amount to a hill of beans. It will be the heart which was the seat of the person's unrighteousness that God shall judge! The justice which impartially sends all impurity and unholiness into the pit of destruction shall be what a hypocrite shall be up against. The sins that he/she hath sinned, shall be judged and punished; and his/her profession of holiness will only tend to sink him/her deeper into the lake which burns with unquenchable fire. PLEASE be SURE that your heart is right with God.

Ye build the tombs of the prophets . . . The Pharisees imagined themselves better than their ancestors, but our Lord, who knew what they would do, uncovers their hearts, and shows them that they are about to be much worse than all who had ever preceded them. Ye be witnesses unto yourselves . . . Jesus appeals to their conscience. It was not by their building the tombs that they were witnesses that they were the children of those who slew the prophets; but in spite of all this pretence to piety-under cloak of all this profession . . . they knew in their consciences, and were witnesses to themselves, that it was mere hypocrisy, and that they really approved the conduct of those who slew the prophets. Children of them . . . resembling them; approving their conduct; inheriting their feelings. They not only showed that they were descended from them, but that they possessed their spirit, and in similar circumstances would have done exactly as they did.

There are many who think that, had they lived in the time of our Lord, they would NEVER have acted towards Him as the Jews did. But . . . those who reject His Gospel, trample under foot His precepts . . . go against the Spirit of His grace. They simply love sin, and hate His followers, and they would have acted precisely the same way to Jesus as did the murdering Jews, had they lived in that same time.

Passages mentioned above.

2 Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (KJV)

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (KJV) 2 Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (KJV)

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (KJV)

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (KJV)

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (KJV)

Other Passages about Hypocrites

Job 8:13 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: (KJV)

Job 15:34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. (KJV)

Job 36:13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. (KJV)

Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (KJV)

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (KJV)

Matthew 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)

Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (KJV)

Difficult or Confusing Bible Verses

1 Cor.3:13-15, What Motivates Us?

1 Cor.chapter 5, Should the Church Judge?

1 John 3:9, God's Child Cannot Sin . . . ???

1 John 5:4-5, Overcoming By Faith

1 John 5:16 . . . A Sin Unto Death???

1 John 5:18-20, Those Born of God Sinneth Not

1 Thes.5:23, Man's Trinity

2 Cor.2:14-17, Savour of Death, Savour of Life?

2 Thes.2:10-12, Those Left Behind

Col.3:12-17, How Believers Are To Live

Daniel 7:13-14, Christ in His Glory

Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel's 70 Weeks

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10, NO Soul Sleep

Genesis 3:15, Seed of the Woman

Genesis 6:1-2, Sons of God

Hebrews 6:4-9, Can a TRUE Christian Fall from Grace?

Hebrews 10:26, Do NOT Reject Christ!

Isaiah 53:4-5, By His Stripes We Are Healed!

John 6:47-58, Eating the Flesh and Blood of Jesus

John 15:1-6, Unfruitful Branches Burned?

Mark 3:28-29, The Unpardonable Sin?

Matthew Chapter 13, Mystery Parables of Jesus

Matthew 16:19, Keys to Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 5:48, Being Perfect?

Matthew 7:21-23, Not Every One Goes to Heaven

Matthew 7:6, Cast Not Your Pearls before Swine!

* * * * Matthew 22:36-40, Believers' TWO Commandments * * * *

Matthew 23:13-30, Woes of Hypocrites

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