Mat 23:25-28 NKJV - 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 "Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew chapter 23 begins with the last public sermon of Jesus just days before He went to the cross. He told His disciples that when they went to Jerusalem He would be put to death, so He clearly knew the end was near. It's interesting to me that after a three year ministry that was filled with love, grace, mercy, healing, and forgiveness, this final address , is one of judgement. Speaking to the multitudes and His disciples (notice the distinguishment the scripture makes in verse one. A disciple is a follower of Jesus, while the multitudes are made up of the curious, the spectator, the fans and the foes, but they are not followers. So why this message of judgement? First, as a warning. To tell His disciples, and the multitudes, when it comes to the pharisees to do as they say, not as they do. To no longer be deceived by these hypocrites.
Jesus also delivered this message to warn the religious leaders that they were just blowing it and to give them opportunity to repent. The opening scriptures to this reflection describe them as putting on a show. Presenting themselves as something they were not. Inside they were filthy, rotten, but their outward appearance was all about convincing others how righteous they were. It's so easy for us to look at them and condemn.
What about us? Do we lack authenticity? Do we walk the walk, or are our lives really all talk? If people could see your heart would they be surprised? Would it lead them closer to Jesus, or would it lead to your shame? Are you a disciple or do you stand with the multitudes? Following Jesus means our inside matches our outside. Evangelize with and without words. Let the way you live your life be the evidence of a changed heart. Be a true disciple!
This morning we experienced a moving of the Holy Spirit that was amazing! First we read in Matthew 22 about our Father's desire for us to all be apart of the wedding feast for His Son. As Jesus answered the interrogation of the religious leaders of the day He spoke to them in parables. Earthly stories laid alongside heavenly truths.
Here He spoke of a certain King that was preparing for the wedding of His Son. He sent servants out to invite the chosen guest, but they were not willing to come. An absurd response to an invitation to a royal wedding. Just as absurd as rejecting our invitation to come to Jesus. Other invites went out, "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. (Matt 22:5 NKJV) They were too busy with other things. Others seized the servants, treated them spitefully, and even killed others. It would be understandable if the wedding was cancelled, or changed to a small family event, but the King, not willing for the wedding hall to be empty, continued to invite....[Mat 22:9-10 NKJV] 9 'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding [hall] was filled with guests.
How faithful are we in extending the invitation for others to come to Jesus? How quick are we to give up? When at first they're not willing? When an excuse is given about work or being too busy? Our God continues to invite you today. But the parable ends in verse 24 where it says, "For many are called, but few [are] chosen." Matt 22:24 NKJV The invitation goes out to all, but not all are chosen. In verses 12 and 13 Jesus tells us that The Father, the King in the parable, examined the guests and one was found without a wedding garment. When he had his chance to "make his case" before the King He was speechless. When faced with the righteousness of God, with the rightness of his justice, he had nothing to say, he didn't give him a piece of his mind, didn't work out his own deal, but rather, [Mat 22:13 NKJV] 13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast [him] into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Many are called, but few are chosen. Rather than debate sovereignty of God vs. free will of man, just read the scriptures, the Bible says both. If you want to know if YOU are chosen, just chose Him friend. I assure you that you won't be rejected. You will have a place at the wedding feast that He has prepared. It's not a potluck, He's done the work. You are invited.
I began this mentioning a powerful work of the Holy Spirit this morning. It began during our morning prayer before the service, continued on through our worship in song, and concluded with several receiving freedom and victory as God destroyed the chains of fear that were holding several in bondage. You can listen to our morning service in its entirety under our recent teaching section under the media tab above. Grace and Peace!