Thursday, February 09, 2012

120209 - Matthew 15-16 - Discernment vs. hypocrisy

Thursday SOAP: Discerning the signs all around us - hypocrisy thoroughly leavens our perception of God's revelation, to the point that we can't see it or perceive its very purpose. How had those old rotten Pharisees missed that the Scriptures testify of Jesus? (John 5:39) What might I be missing, for the same reasons?

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S: The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:1-12)

O: One of the verses I referenced yesterday is v.7, where the disciples misunderstand the spiritual application of Jesus' question. Digging a little deeper, it would appear that hypocrisy does the same thing to the hypocrite as it does to the 'audience' the hypocrite is playing for - preventing him from discerning the truth. Sovereign, verifiably foretold signs are all around them - and they ask for a sign on their demand. Jesus doesn't call them "foolish" or "lazy" but "hypocrites" for being able to see the indications of a gathering storm but not the indications that His coming was near. In another instance, Jesus plainly says, "beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Luke 12:1) In other words, their doctrine (teaching) was itself hypocrisy, which made them "blind leaders of the blind" (15:14) as He had said earlier, or "deceiving and being deceived," as Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:13.

A: If I want to hope to have discernment of the times, of how God is moving generally and His will for my life personally, I have His warning to beware this doctrine: hypocrisy. I may believe I'm saving myself some embarrassment, or that I'm looking more spiritual than I really am - I may use it to gain some kind of temporary leverage over others -- but in the process, I'm blinding myself, deadening my own perception of the truth---and leading others astray. The truth may be a little bitter, (Rev. 10:10), but it will make me free. (John 8:32) To perhaps stretch a point, if the seed is the Word (Matthew 13:19 / Luke 8:11) and the error of hypocrisy is mixed with it as it is ground - it no longer serves to reveal Christ as it would, unadulterated.

P: Lord, how afraid I should be of hypocrisy, instead of flirting with it as I so often do! Help me banish it from my household as is done for the Passover ceremony!

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