Religious Pride and Deception 18

Jeremiah 8:8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie. 11 “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

Matthew 23:2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,

The words of Jesus in the Scriptures are so clear that pride is such a danger in the religious realm that one would think that all who read the Bible would grasp the great danger of it. The scribes and the Pharisees did not, though they did not have the New Testament Scriptures, but they did have the Old Testament Scriptures which are crystal clear on the subject as well. For example, Proverbs 8:13 gives us the mind of God on this issue: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” Jesus spoke directly to the scribes and Pharisees and told them that they were shutting off the kingdom from others and that they were not entering in either. How politically incorrect and intolerant would that be thought of in our day?

Just after Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they were not entering the kingdom and keeping others out, He revealed the real issue with their evangelistic practices. He started off by telling the scribes and Pharisees that they were hypocrites. He said “woe” to them because they were hypocrites and because of what they were doing. These men who were proud of their religion would travel across land and sea to make one convert. But when the person became a convert, Jesus said that they made that person twice the son of hell that they (scribes & Pharisees) were. These were and are harsh words (in any day) except that they were spoken by love incarnate. Those men needed to have an arrow pierce their hearts and reveal the truth of all their proud works. These men needed to see just what their evangelism produced. Their evangelism (so to speak) did not produce lovers of God and true converts to God, but instead their evangelism simply made men worse in terms of growing in their being sons of hell.

Here we see what the pride of the heart of man does when it is not broken and changed by God when it is granted a position as a leader and/or what it does in evangelism. A proud man cannot preach the true grace of God and a proud man cannot tell other men how the heart must be humbled and broken because God only gives the humble true grace. Oh how this should teach us that men must have some true humility and not a false humility of pride when they become teachers and leaders in the professing Church. A false or pseudo-humility is nothing more than a proud heart covering its pride in a false and deceptive humility. Jesus, who was perfectly humble, was thought to be proud by the proud religious leaders. We must beware and seek the Lord so that we can see the true differences between these things. The world and the flesh twists and changes these things and when worldly and fleshly thinking controls in the professing Church, those things are twisted there as well.

Imagine what would happen to a professing church when its evangelism would produce nothing but false converts and make them twice the children of hell as they were before. Think of the horrors of pride that would lead men to increase their own damnation by their evangelism and blind others and contribute to their damnation as well. Oh, we think today, anyone can evangelize. That is true, but can just anyone evangelize in ways that point people toward the true Christ in true ways? When even the most religious men in the days of Jesus were hypocrites who practices a false way of evangelism, do we really think we can escape that as well? Are men less proud today? Has external religion lost its ability (so to speak) to make the proud heart even prouder, though perhaps the real question is whether the human heart has lost its ability or not to use religion to grow and increase its pride. Can it be denied by any true seeker of Christ that the evangelism of our day has made men stronger in their being children of hell? Can we really deny that the modern practice of evangelism has blinded proud hearts to the truth and many have been hardened to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ? We must be concerned about true evangelism and not just because it gets people in the door of the professing churches and so they can give money, but because false evangelism contributes to the damnation of all concerned. It is that serious.

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