Do I have a Pharisee’s Heart?
You may never have heard of Horace Pitkin. He was a missionary to China in the early 1900’s. He wrote to his freinds and basically said, “It definately won’t be long until we (he and his family) find out whether we can serve Him better above or here.” Shortly after the gates of his compound were stormed and he defended two women and was beheaded. His head was offered at a shrine to foreign Gods and his body was thrown into a pit with nine other Christian believers. His wife and baby returned home and his death won many souls to Christ in China. 9/28 Day by Day by Billy Graham
Hopefully, most of us in America will never face this type of persecution, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live for Christ with this kind of fervor. Are we ready to give an account for who and what we believe; ready and whole heartedly willing to stand up (and even die) for our faith in Jesus? With factions increasing around us, it isn’t hard to see wickedness increasing.
Matthew 24:12 says it best,
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”
How can I keep from growing cold and having an unrepentant heart?
We can’t do this on our own without the help of God. I’ve found the best way to cleanse my soul is to study scripture, pray and then be quiet and listen. This morning I felt the Lord directing me to the story about Jesus’ mother and brothers coming to disrupt his meeting.
In Matthew 12:47-48, we read:
Someone told Him, “Look, Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to You.” But Jesus replied, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers.…
Jesus’ mother and brothers were obviously there to do an intervention on Jesus and perhaps “get him out of there.” I have to laugh because after having four sons, I’ve seen myself in this situation many times. Mary probably thought, “He needs my help!”
Any time we think we know better than God we put ourselves where many of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time were. We should only be doing and saying, “What the Father tells us to do and say. This takes building a listening ear and obedient heart. Repentance is about knowing the truth about ourselves, and the truth about who God is. It is understanding our identity in Jesus, but moreso about our relationship with Jesus.
True repentance is a heart issue. This is what makes true disciples.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Matthew 12 is all about Yom Kippur and the importance of true repentance. Check out the subheadings in this passage of scripture. They are:
- Jesus is LORD of the Sabbath, (Don’t deny our Creator and His Commandments)
- Jesus healed on the Sabbath, (Don’t deny helping others who are lost & sick)
- A disciple is God’s Chosen Servant, (Don’t deny God’s Lordship)
- Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Don’t deny the Holy Spirit is God)
- A Tree is Known by It’s Fruit (Don’t deny the Word of God – Remember what Adam and Eve did?)
- The Sign of Jonah (Don’t deny Jesus’ resurrection)
- Return of the Unclean Spirit (Don’t Deny to repent totally)
- Jesus’ Mother and Brothers (Don’t deny the covenant & familial relationship with Jesus)
Yom Kippur – Begins Evening of September 29th and Ends Evening of September 30th
The Talmud (Yoma 73b) lists the five obligatory “afflictions” (i.e. forbidden pleasures) of Yom Kippur:
- Eating and drinking
- Wearing shoes- Read Full Article
- Marital relations
Listed above are some of the practices Jews abstain from on Yom Kippur in order to memoralize this time of repentance.
Below are some of the thoughts I had regarding these practices from a heart perspective:
- Eating and drinking – Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days where He fasted. I believe He did this to set an example for discipleship. He was tested by the enemy and knows we too will be tested. In Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus spoke to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” Keeping God as Lord of the Sabbath. Verse 10: Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. Jesus is reminding us, you will perish if you don’t eat or drink but you will also starve to death without the bread of life.
- Bathing – As sinful man we can not cleanse ourselves. Job asked this question, ‘Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? Job 4:17 ESV Jesus through the cross made a way for us to have hope that our impure hearts may be clean. “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I John 3:3 ESVThe like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: I Peter 3:21 KJV
- Annointing – Abstaining from annointing reminds us that we can’t annoint ourselves. Jesus ascended to the Father after His resurrection and then they sent the Holy Spirit to anoint and teach us.“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you. John 14:15-17 ESV
- Wearing Shoes – There are many examples of the importance of shoes and the covenant and respect it holds Biblically.Holiness: “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
Promise: And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed” (Deuteronomy 25:9–10) and
Marriage Covenant: “Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe” (Ruth 4:7–8).
In the following two examples we see where bare feet are present and a sign of true repentance, humility and relationship:
1) His disciples in John 13, 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean. And you[b] are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.), and
2) Luke 7: 36-50, A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
I see this woman performing an act of repenting, annointing, bathing and fasting before Jesus, while He has formed a covenant with her by removing His shoes. How humbling this is and what a great woman of faith! How she kept His commandments!
5. Marital Relations – This was a difficult one for me at first because I’m not married. But after prayer, this is what I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me. Go back to the beginning and look at scripture.
All of the five conditions for Yom Kippur deal with the heart, humility and true repentance and relationship.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In the beginning God created everything including man and woman. In verse 28 God blessed Adam and Eve with the ability to create life and have dominion over every living thing. God also gave Adam and Eve freewill of when to have marital relations. As an act of worship and denying the flesh, abstaining from intimate marital relationships on Yom Kippur is an act of worship to God.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matthew 23:23 NIV
“Brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).
But in your hearts set Christ apart [as holy—acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives] as Lord. Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15 AMP
Jesus was posing this question to everyone in the room that day and to each one of us today; “Who is my brother, (sister) and mother (father)?
Searching for God’s Treasures,
from ashes to beauty…
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