I had so much spiritual steak and potatoes yesterday! I took so many notes, I think I have blog posts for days! I’ll start with Sunday School.
Since no help was needed in the 2 and 3 year old class, I went to my “actual” age range Sunday School class. It was good. I almost forgot how nice it is to have that kind of teaching. Mostly from Mark 2 and Matthew 6, we learned and talked about the Pharisees, how they practiced religion and worship, and how we as Christians ought to practice religion and worship.
The Pharisees practiced a self-righteous set of rules and actions so that they would appear spiritual in front of others. They would make a big show out of giving their tithes and offerings to God. They would pray on busy street corners so that people could see them. They would make sure that it was noticeable when they were fasting. Since the point was only to appear spiritual and to be noticed by men, it didn’t really matter whether or not they were actually spiritual on the inside. Worship became a chore, and God wasn’t in it. The Pharisees wanted man’s recognition, so that’s what they got – and that was all they got. They were so “holy” and “righteous,” much more than everyone else. But not to God.
One of my friends pointed out that Christians today are like this. “We have become the Pharisees,” he said.
We make the practice of our religion and worship a set of things that we do because it looks good. We are prideful, self-righteous, and holier-than-thou hypocrites.
Yes, I know you all saw this connection coming. But look.
Is this not what we do?
Don’t we go to church and “worship” just because it’s a habit? Don’t we sit in Sunday School because people will see us there and because we get to hang out with friends? Don’t we give the “spiritual” answer to questions because that’s the “right answer”? Don’t we sing in the song service so we look thankful and worshipful? Don’t we sit and “take notes” during the sermon so that people will see how much we’re “learning about Jesus”? Don’t we go to church just because we want people to think we’re spiritual and have it all together? Don’t we go to church so we look like a “good Christian”?
We have become the Pharisees.
We are hypocrites. We look all nice on the outside, but we’re not anything like that on the inside. We have made going to church and worshiping God comparable to a funeral.
But worship shouldn’t be like a funeral. It should be like a wedding!
We should engage and celebrate in our worship! We need to remember that God is the entire reason we do these things! God is who makes us holy and righteous. Nothing we do can make us more holy or righteous, even if other people think we look that way.
My friend also pointed out that when Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” He meant exactly what He said. But now you must ask, “Who is righteous?”
No one is. (Romans 3:10-12)
No one is righteous, not even the Pharisees. Jesus came to call them, too. But they were too prideful in their self-righteousness to see it.
Once again, we Christians are like this. We get absorbed in how “good” and “righteous” we are. We think that we’re doing it all right and that we don’t need to repent of anything.
But self-righteousness doesn’t count as actual righteousness. Look into God’s mirror and see what you really are. When you repent, then God makes you righteous by His power, not yours.
Just because we have become the Pharisees doesn’t mean we have to stay that way.