How to Raise a Pharisee, Part 1 Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Matthew 23 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: October 7, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Matthew 23. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. We are looking today at PART ONE of the message: “How to Raise a Pharisee”. We are all leaving a legacy. What do your children see in you? In Matthew 23 we have Jesus explaining what He sees in the Pharisees. Jesus can see with XRay precision behind any mask or façade and see right into our heart. Jesus wants your heart. Your children need you to have a heart for God. What do they see? Children can see your heart more than you realize. We’re going to do a little exercise here this morning. I want to mention some traits in your life that are absolutely vital in pointing people to Christ. If you have children and you want them to love Christ, you must have these. here are some important traits of godliness that will display the beauty of Christ. Repeat them after me if you would. · Integrity. · Truth. · Sincerity. · Brokenness. · Meekness. · Gentleness. · Self-Control. Now here are some traits will destroy your children. They will destroy your testimony for Christ with your loved ones, your neighbors. These are traits I pray people rarely see in you. Repeat them after me if you would. · Double-mindedness. · Pride. · Manipulation. · Insincerity. · Harshness. · Self-centeredness. · Pouting. · Complaining. · Hypocrisy. Would you say these traits are dangerous and destructive? I would say so. Now Would you say these traits are transformational in your life and your children’s lives? Absolutely. Sam Walton & Made in America / China I remember as a child Sam Walton was the founder and chairman of Wal-Mart. They prided themselves into having everything “Made in America”. They did all they could to keep American jobs here. I remember after Sam Walton died, I started seeing “made in China” on various things. To say one thing and do another is something that turns everyone off. Now I’m not so concerned about Wal-Mart this morning. I actually don’t mind shopping at Wal-mart. What I’m concerned about is our hearts. Do we know God? There are many struggles, but are you, am I walking with Him? Today we turn to Matthew 23, and we are going to consider the Pharisees. The thrust of our message comes from the fact that these were people who truly seemed to do all the right things, but their hearts were cold. They had no God-consciousness in their life. Their hearts were far from God. I want our children to have a close walk with God. I want them to be blown away with a God-consciousness and a manifestation of the presence of God in their lives. Today we are talking about GRAVE and SERIOUS mistakes parents make in raising their children. And what we are going to find out today is that if you are not careful, you might RAISE a Pharisee. Now I’ve put this together with a little humor and reverse psychology. None of us wants to raise a Pharisee. Listen to the Word of God this morning. Here we come to the chapter of the seven WOES to the Pharisees. Seven was a number of perfection, and what we are going to see is that the Pharisees receive the absolute woe and condemnation of the Lord Jesus. These people are in the most dangerous place a person could be in because they say that they love God, but their heart is really FAR away from God. We are going to look at a few of these woes this morning. This is Jesus’ way of telling us “don’t do this”. Let’s begin in Matthew 23:1-33. Matthew 23:1–33 (ESV), “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. “33 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” Who are these people? They must be perfectly awful people. Well, let me tell you a bit about the Pharisees. A. Who were the Pharisees? The Pharisees were the major religious group of Jesus’ day. There were about six thousand (6000) of them in Jesus’ time. The word for Pharisees literally means “separated ones”. The Pharisees were committed to a strict adherence to the ceremonial law, like “make sure you wash your hands in this way”, “make sure the priests have this color fringes on their garments”, and “make sure you don’t do these things to break the Sabbath”. The ceremonial law was the passion of the Pharisees. B. How did the Pharisees BEGIN? With EZRA. You might be wondering how the Pharisees began. Remember that at the time of the exile and captivity of Israel and later Judah, the land was filled with idols. Pluralism was the dominant religion of the day. Israel and Judah were exiled and God began to bring His people back through Ezra. And so the philosophical and religious forerunner of the Pharisees is Ezra, whose intense devotion to the Scriptures (Ezra 7:10) set the standard for the scribes and Pharisees. Tradition tells us that Ezra was the first to use the synagogue to gather people locally for Scripture reading. Ezra had an intense desire to communicate the Word of God to the common people, and he affected great changes for the good in Jewish culture. So the Pharisees began well, and they were quite right in doctrine. They were the super naturalists of their day. They held to the literal resurrection from the dead and in angels, and in a literal heaven and hell. The Sadducees on the other hand were the naturalists—they believed at the end we are all annulated. So the Pharisees were the Puritans and Fundamentalists of their day! They were spot on doctrinally. Not only did they have right doctrine, they were willing to Contend for the faith, and they did. They protested the corruption of religion and resisted the humanism (Hellenism) of their day. They had a huge “culture war” with their own society, and you will notice the idols that so plagued the people of Israel before the captivity now were no where to be found. That was due in large part to these Pharisees. They were religious reformers. They were puritanical when it came to living holy lives. If the Pharisees were around in our day in Christianity, we would all be greatly impressed with them! C. They invented the Oral Law. So committed were the Pharisees to not breaking the written ceremonial law, that they established something called the “oral law”. These are additional rules that are not from the Bible, but they had added them in an attempt to make sure they did not break the written ceremonial law. For instance God says to “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy”, and the Pharisees wrote 600 additional rules governing what is and what is not breaking the Sabbath day. The Pharisees were very focused on this self-invented, outward-focused, legalistic oral law. D. The Scribes were Pharisees too. You will see the Scribes referred to in the New Testament. They are not a separate religious group. Scribes were a certain type of Pharisee. They were kind of the seminary professors of the day. They were professional scholars. E. They were brilliant and sincere. You make a mistake if you think the Pharisees were moronic “keystone cops”. They were not insincere. They were brilliant minds—some of the most intelligent people of Jesus’ day. They were totally committed and zealous to God’s Word. They were uncompromising. For instance the Scribes who would have written copies of the Scriptures were so zealous about keeping the fourth commandmen, prohibiting taking God’s name in vain, that they would take a bath every time they wrote His Name in copying the Scriptures, and they would use a unique pen for each time they wrote it. F. They began well. They began as the REFORMERS and PURITANS of their day during the time of Ezra. They put away the idols in Israel. But within several generations, they lost their heart. They were the committed ones, the defenders of the truth, the separated ones. They refused to compromise. Yet they could not see themselves clearly. So there, now we know who the Pharisees are We all want our children to have a heart for God. Of course, if you have a Christian home, your children probably say they love God. They seem to be “good kids”—obedient, kind, thoughtful as far as you can tell. But why is it then that many young people change so drastically for the worse after they are out of the home? I believe it is because we have not reached the heart. Jesus said, “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” (Mark 7:6). We as parents must not aim for behavior modification. Behavior modification is never the goal. Any lost person can attain behavior modification without the help of God. The goal is always to reach our child’s heart for Christ. Without reaching the heart, we are in danger of raising our children as Pharisees. As parents and children’s workers, none of us wants to raise a Pharisee. That is why we must all be spiritual heart surgeons. Giving an aspirin to someone who has serious heart disease will not work. In the same way, no parent should be content with a superficial change of behavior. What our children need is a heart change! Has your child experienced the new birth? Has their HEART been reached for God? In this session we will cover 12 steps to avoid an outward, shallow understanding of salvation, and ways to point our children to a passionate relationship with the living Saviour. If you have a Bible, look at Matthew 23. Here we have the Lord’s warnings of WOE to the Pharisees. He is saying: this path may look good, but it is a path to destruction! So let’s get started… I. MISTAKE #1: If you want to raise a Pharisee, Major on the externals instead of internal issues. The Lord said in Matthew 23:27-28, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. Examples of Outward conformity. · The rich young ruler. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. He replied, “All these things have I kept from my youth up.” · Saul of Tarsus was “a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless.” (Phil. 3:5-6). · It’s possible to have “the appearance of godliness, but to deny its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). The Pharisees were outwardly beautiful but inwardly dead! There’s nothing the Lord condemned more than hypocrisy, which is outward conformity without inward reality. We can be easily deceived by the good behavior of our children and young people because we look on the outward, but we need to learn how we can get into their heart. A. Majoring on Behavior instead of reaching the heart is like being a Good actor. Verse 27: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” HYPOCRITE = ACTOR The word hypocrite literally means “actor”. Why were they actors? Verse 28 tells us, “28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. Jack Kennedy and Soap Flakes In 1946, when Joe Kennedy gathered his family together to announce that his sickly son John F. Kennedy would run for Congress, the family didn’t think it would float. JFK was too small and sickly for people to have any confidence in him. To which Joe Kennedy replied, “Just remember, it’s not who you are that matters, but who people think you are that counts. We’re going to sell Jack like soap flakes”. In other words, a soap flake is a soap flake, but were going to paint him as special. Of course JFK surprised a lot of people and he far more substance than most conservatives of today. But the point is, any one can be packaged. I think politicians and many modern day Christians have a lot in common. “it’s not who you are that matters, but who people think you are that counts.” This is something that has moved into the mainstream of our culture. Verse 28 tells us, “28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. Self-Indulgence he word “lawlessness” means “excess or self indulgence”. Good actors love to make the outside appearance like “whitewashed tombs” (verse 27) and “beautiful outward” but inwardly they are still dead in sin, living the self-life. Self is still on the throne of their heart and rules every action. They’ll say they love God, but their heart is far from Him. We don’t want children who are only “playing the game” and “acting” their way through the Christian life. We want God to give them a radical heart change. Jesus said of the Pharisees in Mark 7:6, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;” B. Majoring on Behavior instead of reaching the heart is like Dressing up a corpse. Jesus said the Pharisees are “like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). A child can have behavior that conforms to the strictest of standards, yet Christ says unless you deal with the inner man—the heart—they are still dead and ugly inside. We must connect the life of God to this child! We want to raise genuine children of God, not dress up dead spiritual corpses. There has been no heart change. C. And here is the Most Frightening Thing about majoring on behavior instead of reaching the heart. If we settle for outward conformity instead of God touching the heart—no matter how good our children look on the outside, without a changed heart verse 33 asks a shocking question: “how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”. As Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Men May Judge us Well, But What Does God See? Remember that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). These Pharisees looked awesome on the outside! Yet Christ said of them in Matthew 15:8 , “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” The Pharisees were meticulous about the outside. They may have looked beautiful on the outside. Yet when Jesus saw the Pharisees, what he saw was very ugly. You and I wouldn’t have seen what the Lord saw. When you looked at the Pharisees outward appearance what you saw were beautiful, wonderful people. Application: 1. Aim for Regeneration. It is very easy to major on controlling the child's behavior without using Scripture and prayer to deal with his heart. This will produce a Pharisee—everything looks good on the outside, but inwardly he is corrupt. Regeneration is the only thing that will transform your child. Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” Ezekiel 36:25–27 (ESV), “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” 2. Use the means of Grace. Sincere prayer, Bible reading, living out the life of the Spirit in the home, contrition, repentace, brokenness, tenderness. 3. Make sure God does the work. Repentance, faith, conviction, joy – they are all gifts of the Spirit. Let God do a work in your child’s heart! So MISTAKE #1 is to major on behavior while neglecting the heart. Let’s look at the next step. II. MISTAKE #2: If you want to raise a Pharisee, instead of leading by example, rarely practice what you preach. Matthew 23:3 (ESV), “so do and observe whatever they [the Pharisees] tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” Hollow Faith As the old TV ad said, “image is everything.” But I’ve seen marriages and families that seemed to have everything together, and you’d think—nothing could ever happen to them. And then there is an explosion. And you scratch your head. And you realize that “image ISN’T everything.” James says: “Faith without works is DEAD”. James 2:26, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” Queen Mary Ship: I’m told that when the Queen Mary was retired it had been the largest ocean liner to go across the ocean. During WWII it was used to carry troops and then after the war it became a passenger liner. Then in 1967 it was retired to become a floating restaurant. When they brought it back to refurbish it, I’m told that they removed the three smoke stacks and they were to repair them. The problem was, when they set them upon the deck, they disintegrated. You see, they had been covered with 30 coats of paint, and when they looked at it all of the steel had rusted away and all that was left was paint. THE SUBSTANCE WAS GONE! Actually it’s the opposite. God said about David in 1 Samuel 16:7, “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart”. Not Just hearers but Doers James says it this way in James 1:22–25 (ESV), “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Bring the Gospel Home! I can remember going to Spain and bringing back gifts for my children. I had little things for each of them. What God wants us to do is bring the hope and transformation of the Gospel home! Listen to the words of Martin Luther “Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children in…godliness. Therefore such a house is actually a school and church and the head of the household is a bishop and pastor in his house.” – Martin Luther Our greatest worship services should take place in our home! Let Your Heart Burn for Christ at Home! Jesus said, “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me” (Mark 7:6). If all our children hear are empty words, and they are never backed up by a passionate commitment to Christ in our life, then we may very well raise a Pharisee. If we do not practice what we preach, our children will honor God with their lips, but their hearts will be far away from God. Review · MISTAKE #1: If you want to raise a Pharisee, Major on the externals instead of internal issues. · MISTAKE #2: If you want to raise a Pharisee, instead of leading by example, rarely practice what you preach. Conclusion: Our vision at Living Hope is that this would be a place—not to put on another mask and compare your mask with someone else’s mask of false expectations. We want Living Hope to be a place where you come and take the mask off. It’s a place where you can come and say, “I’m really hurting today”. I’m a Christian, and I’m struggling with an addiction.” I’m confused about life. Life hurts! Can you help me? Can you help? Is there mercy for me? Yes there is mercy for you. Be in awe of the holiness of Christ and marvel at the fact that you are the apple of his eye. You with all your struggles and warts and all. He wants you. He loves you. Alfred Nobel It is never too late to change what you are doing. There was a man who also wanted to start over. His life it seemed was a disaster. Perhaps you’ve heard about the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel. Alfred Nobel woke up one morning in the late 1800s, and he picked up a newspaper and turned to the obituary section. To his great shock and dismay, there was an obituary of his own life as the lead article on the obituary page. This is a true story. He read, “Alfred Nobel died yesterday…” but of course Alfred Nobel was very much alive. The paper had a mistake. A relative had died, and they got the wrong information and thought it was him. Well, the obituary said that Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite. It had been used to kill more people in war than had ever been experienced before. And the obituary went on to say, “Alfred Nobel is singularly responsible for the death of more people than any other living human being”. By the invention of dynamite he had become extremely wealthy. He read that about his own life, and Alfred Nobel was broken hearted. He took the newspaper’s mistake to be an opportunity from God to take a different path. He said that he didn’t want to be known for creating greater effectiveness in war and killing people. And so he established something called “The Nobel Peace Prize” for writers and scientists who make advancements in the establishment of peace. What’s the point? What would your obituary say were it to be written today from God’s point of view? Would it say that you are blind or boastful? That or that you see yourself as the standard of spirituality? Or would it say that you welcomed people into the Body of Christ. Would it say that you loved sinners and saw yourself as the least of all the saints? Would it say you were just a spectator, on the sidelines criticizing those who serve? Or would it say that you were a servant of Christ, encouraging those around you and covering all the faults and failures of the saints with love? III. Step #3: If you want to raise a Pharisee, Use Excessive control & Manipulation instead of relying on the Holy Spirit of God. Matthew 23:4, “they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers If the people did not comply with the Pharisees, they could be put out of the synagogues. The Pharisees loved to control the lives of people, but they did not want their lives to be controlled. The Pharisee’s did not rely on the Holy Spirit to convict of “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). Their preferred METHOD was to use guilt and excessive control to conform behavior. God’s method is to convert the heart to change behavior. A. Grouchy Parent Syndrome. When things are going all wrong—the kids are out of control, it’s easy to get into GPS mode? I’m not talking about the electronic Global Positioning System in your car. I’m talking about Grouchy Parent Syndrome. How do you know if you have it? 1. Instead of relying on the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to press down on their heart, you use your overbearing spirit in order to produce the desired behavior. It is easy to nag and berate a child in order to get the desired behavior. We should never threaten or put a child down! This is a burden the child cannot bear. You will get the desired behavior, but you will drive his heart away. 2. You may even start raising your voice to get desired behavior. The temptation when we don’t see the desired contrition is to threaten our children or make them fear. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict of “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). Instead of raising your voice, you must instead speak the truth in love to your children in a calm controlled manner. If you raise your voice, you will hinder your children from hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. We must never take the place of the Holy Spirit of God in our children’s lives. We must use the Word of God to gently convert the soul of the child. B. Let me tell you about Grace filled parents. 1. The grace filled parent knows we are warned never to use manipulation but to nurture our children. If you use harshness and control to get desired behavior, your children will outwardly conform, but they will inwardly rebel. You will provoke them to wrath. According to Ephesians 6:4, parents, specifically fathers, are not to “provoke their children to wrath” but to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition (discipline) of the Lord”. 2. The grace filled parent believes James 1:20, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” We should always be motivated by a God-centered love for the child, and the fruit of the Spirit. We ought never act because of being angry, annoyed, irritated or upset. What does Christ say? Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 3. The grace filled parent knows that “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Raising a child should never mean raising your voice. As a parent, you can be effective in reaching the heart of your child only if you are in control. If you have a gentle humble attitude, your children will reflect that. Your tone of voice is heard louder than your words! 4. The grace filled parent believes I Corinthians 13:1, that “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” We’ve got to be a vessel for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit of God. C. Let me finally say this: a godly humble spirit in the home does not mean that we do not deal with sin! In fact we must deal with sin swiftly and firmly. Our children are to obey immediately, sweetly, and completely. But anger and irritation are not fruits of the Spirit! It is absolutely essential to correct sin, but you must speak the truth in love. We don’t need to do the work of conforming our child’s behavior—that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. We need to have an environment where the Holy Spirit reaches the heart of your child. He changes the heart, which in turn changes the behavior. Transition: So, if you want to raise a Pharisee, don’t rely on the power of God! Don’t rely on the Spirit of God, Don’t rely on the Word of God, all you need to do is make sure they know that you’re boss. Raise your voice! Don’t let them hear the voice of God. You just pounce on them with manipulation and an overbearing spirit, and you are sure to raise a Pharisee. IV. Step #4: If you want to raise a Pharisee, teach your children to please men instead of God. The Pharisees were people pleasers! Verse 5, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men”. The Pharisees greatest desire was to get the praise of men. Of course Jesus said in Luke 6:26, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” Remember that pleasing Mom and Dad is not the ultimate goal: Pleasing God is!! 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” In the most ordinary of things, we are to please God. Application: In the Word of God, human success is not the goal; pleasing God is the goal! How do you spell success in parenting? S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N! If your child experiences the new birth and lives a life hungering and thirsting after God, you have succeeded. (1) Some parents raise their children as a museum piece for you to show off to the world. “Look at how successful my child is in the world” is the attitude. My friends, our children are not our own. They are on loan from God. They don’t need to succeed in the world to succeed in God’s eyes. They are sinners that you ought to pray will be saved by grace. (2) Some parents see success as their child getting a degree from a good school or getting a job with a high income. Actually some of those things if they are pursued in place of God is spiritual failure. Success is not bad if it is in the will and plan of God. But if my child is poor and in ordinary job and loves God fervently, then I am a success. The goal is not to please men, but to please God! Application: Our children are not going to stand before our friends and neighbors on judgment day to see if they were a success. They are going to stand before God. V. Step #5: If you want to raise a Pharisee, focus on personalities instead of the Person of Jesus Christ. Look at verses 6-10. Pharisees “love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ”. The Pharisees would not look to Christ. Instead they looked to all their doctors and teachers. A Christian is not a follower of a man or a movement, but of Christ. God uses people, and for that we are all profoundly humbled. But let us not exalt the hammer! Let’s exalt the Architect! You and I are just hammers. Our children need to see us not exalting each other. We are just pieces of clay in the Master’s hand! To be a Christian is not to be a man follower, but to be a Christ follower. It is to have Christ living in you—to have Him as your Master. It is not “doing what the pastor says” or even “doing what mom and dad say”. Children should obey authority, but ultimately to be a Christian is to have ONE Master, Jesus Christ as the ruler of your heart. As verse 8 says, “one is your Master, even Christ”. We must get our eyes off of man and get our eyes on Christ. If you put your eyes on men, you will soon be disappointed. If you have your children esteem men, they too will be disappointed. It’s not about me! It’s not about you! It’s about Christ! It’s about Him! Signing a doctrinal statement does not make a child a Christian. We are to have correct doctrine, but Christ must dwell in the heart by faith! Agreeing to good doctrine does not transform you. “The devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). We ought to always have correct doctrine, that’s something to contend for, but having correct doctrine does not make you a Christian. To be a Christian is to have Christ living in you, to have a new birth, raised from the dead, and to have be a new creation in Christ Jesus. It is not outward conformity. It is a total heart change that desires submission to Christ. Understand what it is to enter the Kingdom. Jesus said, “except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Understand that the entire goal for the life of a child is to have a broken moldable heart for God. VI. Step #6: If you want to raise a Pharisee, create an environment of pride instead of humility in the home. The Pharisees really did think they were the next best think to sliced bread. They sincerely believed they had it all together. Rule number one for the Pharisees was: never admit fault. They had proud, hard hearts. Look at verses 11-12. Jesus rebuked the proud Pharisees and said: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” The answer to almost every spiritual problem your child has answered by Peter in 1 Peter 5:5, “God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble!” Or as David said in Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” The greatest example a child can have is that of a humble mother and father who know they are sinners worthy of the God’s eternal punishment. The kind of broken home that God loves is to have a mother and father with a broken heart. Do you have a broken heart for your children? Are you gentle with them? Are you serving them up the Gospel or do you think they are there to serve you? Take the TIME to serve your children. Spend time with them. They should know you intimately. A. Serve them through prayer. Pray for them. Gather them around you each night and pray for them by name. Then let them pray and listen to their spiritual heartbeat. If your children see you on fire with a broken, fervent, joyous prayer life, they will want to pray! B. Serve them through humble confession when you sin. 1. Confess your sins before your children. If they see you really want to change in your life they will want to change. 2. When they sin, don’t act as if you are holier than thou. You tell them, Daddy and mommy are sinners too. That’s why we all need Jesus. VII. Step #7: If you want to raise a Pharisee, make the Ten Commandments merely rules to live by instead of a mirror to show their corruption and need for Christ. It was said of the Pharisees in verse 13, “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” The parallel passage in Luke 11:52 tells us how the Pharisees blocked the way to heaven. “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” The ‘key of knowledge” is referring to the Law. The Pharisees thought the Law was given as rules to keep. The Pharisees were trying to keep the Law to get into heaven—instead of allowing the Law to be the “Schoolmaster” that shows us how sinful we are and lead us to our need of Christ (Galatians 3:24)! The Law was not given to justify man. It was given to give us knowledge of our sin. The Pharisees were trying to keep the Law to get into heaven—instead of allowing the Law to be the School master that shows us how sinful we are and lead us to our need of Christ! The Law was not given to justify man. It was given to give us knowledge of our sin. Romans 3:19-20, says that the Law was given “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” God’s Law, the 10 Commandments does not merit us favor in God’s sight—it measures our corruption in God’s sight! Application: We need to use the Ten Commandments to show our children their wretchedness. They need to come to Christ. The Law shows us that there is none good. We are constantly sinning We need to hold up the 10 commandments as a mirror to show our children just how corrupt they are and how much they need Christ. They need to see themselves as lost sinners before they can be saved. Luke 5:31-32, “And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole [WELL] need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” VIII. Step #8: If you want to raise a Pharisee, Don’t be transparent about your struggles with sin, instead use Spiritual Smokescreens. The Lord says in Matthew 23:14, “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.” A pretence is a show. In other words, the Pharisees were not transparent people. They did not let people know their struggles but instead covered them up with spiritual smokescreens. Are you able to teach something to the children at church or in a 5-Day club, but not willing to live it out at home? Then you are making a pretense. You don’t intend to live it out. A. Let’s look at the Problem. The Pharisaical parent has everything in order on the outside. They seem spiritual to people at church and in the grocery store. But nobody sees the real you. Except your kids see the real you. And God sees the real you. If you think adding more spiritual activities to cover all your warts at home, you might be on your way to raising a Pharisee. Spiritual smoke screens need to be taken away, and your children need to see you dealing with sins and struggles honestly. You may have an anger problem. Sunday morning comes along and you are having a time trying to get everyone to church on time. And you might lose it. Admit it. Your family already knows it. They need to hear it from you. The worst thing you can do is not say anything, and then act all spiritual at church. You may have an over-commitment problem. Your family already knows it because they never see you. Admit to your wife and children that you need to say NO to others so that you can say YES to them. Again, the worst thing you can do is not say anything about your stuggles, and then act all spiritual around others. We can have all the right standards in front of others. But if who you are at church is not the same person you are at home and at work, then you are using a spiritual smokescreen. Ø Can you laugh at what God hates on television? Do we say “Amen” against fleshly living at church and then go home and watch it on the TV? Ø Do you act differently at church than at home? Do you speak to your children differently at church than at home? These are just a few ways we can “make a pretense”. We all struggle, that’s for sure. But we ought never to make a show of spirituality with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and then act a different way with our family. We need to deal with this because if you don’t, when your child grows up he may very likely go the opposite direction of Christ. B. What’s the solution? 1. Transparency. Our kids need to see us transparent about areas of struggle against sin. They need to see us confessing our sins to one another as Christians. They need to hear us praying that God would change us. They need to see us applying the Word to areas of struggle in our lives. They need to see us repenting having the joy that follows. 2. Time and work. Instead of making a pretense and then living for yourself at home, take that time with your kids and invest time on your knees and in the Word. That’s going to take a real investment on your part. 3. Begin simply. Take a walk with your family and ask spiritual questions. Take ten minutes and open the Bible after a meal time. Start applying the Word of God to your life and to your children’s life. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll all begin to live a transparent life. IX. Step #9: If you want to raise a Pharisee, Substitute outward standards for Spirituality. We see this in Matthew 23:23 , “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.” What does Christ say? Standards of holiness are good, but you left the most important part out! To jump to the outward Christian disciplines without dealing with the heart is nothing more than behavior modification. Christians have holy fruit coming out of their life, but following a set of rules does not make your child a Christian. No amount of good behaviour will ever justify your child. All the good standards in the world will not balance out one of your child’s sins. That is why we want to do all we can to bring our children into an encounter with the Living God! Application: Sometimes we might forget that being a Christian is not checking off a list! o Daily Bible reading ... check. o Prayed for others ... check. o Thanked God for something ... check. o Prayed before my meals ... check. o Listened to Christian music ... check. You should have habits of godliness in your life. So should your children. But having these habits of godliness does not make a person a Christian. Application: Some parents believe if their children have the right amount of verses memorized, says the sinner’s prayer, dress the right way, and are baptized, then their child must be a Christian! Listen, lots of “good children” and lots of “good people” will populate the Lake of Fire (Matthew 7:21). None of us are good. Even our righteousnesses are as “filthy rags”. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works! We must be looking for Christ be formed in our children, not simply religious standards. X. Step #10: If you want to raise a Pharisee, have a critical spirit instead of building people up. Look at verse 24: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” It’s so easy to strain at a gnat. Pharisees become judgmental and critical of the smallest issues. It’s so easy to have our eyes on others instead of God. It’s easy to measure others by our own manufactured guide to spirituality. Be careful if you don’t see how big your own struggles against sin are. Sometimes find it easy to criticize others while we fail to see the glaring sin in our own life. It is so easy to criticize others isn’t it? The Pharisee says in Matthew 7:4 Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye”. But Christ says, “and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Do you have fault-finding, critical spirit? Remember your children are watching. What is the right response? A. Look at your own sins. Get the beam out of your eye. Say with David in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” If you look at all the struggles against sin in your own life, you’ll be way too busy to criticize others. B. Show love to others who offend you. 1 Peter 4:8 “charity shall cover the multitude of sins”. John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Love covers sin with love and forgiveness, but Pharisees critical and complain. Instead of a self righteous spirit, genuine Christian parents don’t judge others, instead they have compassion on them. Remember complaining is NOT a fruit of the Spirit. XI. Step #11: If you want to raise a Pharisee, teach them to feed their flesh instead of feeding on Christ. We read in Matthew 23:25, “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.” As parents, it is easy to give our children a hefty diet of things they don’t need. In case you didn’t know, hundreds of generations have raised children without video games, television, the internet, and cell phones. I know that is hard to believe. These things are not wrong, but they can be used as a pacifier for children and young people, and these things can take massive amounts of time from children and teach them to be self-indulgent. The temptation is to think that going to church or doing spiritual things makes up for all the hours and hours of wasted time. Actually, it is as Jesus said, “cleaning the outside of the cup” but inwardly, we are teaching our children to excess—self indulgence. We’ve got to deal with our children’s hearts. Your child may be involved in spiritual activity and going to church. Someone once said, “Going to church does not make us a Christian any more than going to MacDonald’s makes us a hamburger!” As parents need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for giving our children an appetite for Christ. How? It’s easy to set a child in front of the television, but it is a very dangerous and it will not satisfy their soul. Instead teach them to feed on Christ. How? o First set the example for them. Are you feeding on Christ? Are you getting satisfied with Christ and His Word or with other things? Do your children see you wasting time or feeding on Christ? You need to set the example. o Second, feed them Christ. The way a child gets an appetite for Christ is by you feeding Christ to them. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8). Tell them how great a Saviour we have. Have daily times with your children, not just reading the Word but asking questions and probing their heart and praying and listening to them pray. Listen, if you want to raise a Pharisee, teach them to feed their flesh instead of feeding on Christ. And finally… XII. Step #12: Finally, if you want to raise a Pharisee, don’t give time to your children—just leave the winning of their hearts to someone else. This is not directly in the passage, but it must be said. If you don’t do the work that is necessary for God to change your child’s heart, he may remain unchanged. (1) We must take the TIME to reach our children’s heart! Our children need RADICAL SURGERY on the heart, not "quick fixes" so that they won’t embarrass or annoy you. They need the NEW BIRTH. Get to the heart issues in your child. Don't settle for superficial change of behavior by your child. Ask God to change their heart. We need to spend our time wisely with our children instead of letting them dry up spiritually. The best thing you can do is to gather your children around you on your knees and plead with them to trust in God, and then on your knees worship God at His throne. (2) We must take TIME to APPLY and IMPRESS God’s Word into our children’s hearts. It is very easy to major on controlling the child's behavior without using Scripture and prayer to deal with his heart. Apply the Word of God at every opportunity. Peter says we are “Being born again…by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase”. It’s hard work! Listen, if there is one thing I can leave you with in this lesson, is to introduce a real love saturated walk with God to your children, to your wife. It will radically change you. It will change your world. It will make the world bright when everyone else sees that it is dull. Conclusion: We can’t treat our children any way we want. Once a living breathing Christianity is gone from the picture, we are raising Christianized heathens. No one wants to raise a Pharisee. Remember our children are a stewardship. We will be held accountable for every action in regard to them. We cannot treat them based on whims, but with tender care and love, just as we would treat Christ. We need to bring them to Christ, not simply reform their behavior. I hope the goal of your home is that Mother and Father and child will all worship God and serve others from the heart! By God’s grace let’s have a God-focused, God-saturated atmosphere in our home, and let’s all aim at the hearts of our children!