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Modern Day Pharisees

  • The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, Why dont your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands? He answered them, 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. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of menthe washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things. He said to them, Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. Mark 7:5 WEB

    I grew up up in the Bible Belt of the south. The first time that I read the Bible all the way through, I was amazed at what was not in there. From hearsay, I had been told that the Bible says this and the Bible says that, only to find later that it didnt and that they had not read it either. I found that reading the Bible for myself was quite liberating. What I had mostly been taught were the traditions of men (Mark 7:7) that had been handed down through the generations verbally.

    The Pharisees in the above scripture were a strict religious sect that followed the written law of Moses, but also an oral law called the oral Torah. They believed the written law was incomplete and so unwritten traditions were debated, refined, and expanded on. Rules were created to prevent Jews from breaking the law, and then that became taught alongside the law. This was passed down through the generations as the word from God.

    They developed an extremely elaborate tradition for hand washing from a single verse, Leviticus 15:11, which spoke of washing your hands after a bodily discharge, which I happen to agree with. Soon they had laws about the purity and color of the water, what it was to be poured from, how it was to be poured over the hands, and required washing each hand several times each up to the elbow.

    The Pharisees condemned the disciples of Jesus for not practicing this hand washing, the tradition of the elders. Jesus knew the word of God, He was, and is, the word of God (John 1:1). When Jesus had to face satan, His weapon was It is written. The Word is our weapon and is only as powerful as your knowledge of the Word. Jesus who knew the word better than anyone called these pharisees hypocrites, actors. Jesus point was that no amount of external washing would make them clean for their defilement came from the inside, and besides, what they were teaching was not written.

    Fast forward two thousand years and we have our own oral law to accompany the written scripture. Somehow, we know how people should dress. How they should style their hair. The music that they should listen to. The Bible they should read. The holidays they should or should not observe. In summary, we want them to be a reflection of us. We can completely ignore love your neighbor and then tell them how to dress appropriately, which would be like us. We would re-make them in our image, no matter how distorted and bent that is. If they are like us, they must be alright.

    Try to read the Word for yourself when you can or listen to it on audio. Do not trust what other people tell you without checking yourself (Acts 17:11). As the Word soaks into your spirit it will come back to your remembrance later when you need it. If you have never heard it, how can it help you? You have to first know what is written, and what is not, in order to use it effectively.

    Prayer: Lord please reveal the areas in my life that need to be cleaned up and wash me from the inside out. Help me correct the areas that I am mislead in and help me see the differences between scripture and traditions that have been handed down, in the name of Jesus.

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46 comments
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Lucas Napo
Lucas Napo Amen. God richly bless this ministry. We need it Thanks Pastor.
June 18, 2015
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J D  Williams
J D Williams ITS AMAZING HOW WE AS CHRIST FOLLOWERS CAN SO EASILY TAKE WHAT MAN HAS SAID AND DONE HAS THE WORD OF GOD THATS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO READ ARE HEAR THE WORD OF GOD FOR YOURSELF....
June 18, 2015
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Lissy Verghese
Lissy Verghese Thank you dear Pastor, for the great message and the prayer!
June 18, 2015
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Angela Williams
Angela Williams Lord we thank you for teaching us this morning. Your word Lord help all of us to have a teachable spirit.Thank you Pastor Todd for allowing God to use you.to teach us everyday about the Gospel of Jesus christ. 
June 18, 2015
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Loriann Riley
Loriann Riley Amen 
June 18, 2015
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Kathy Banfield
Kathy Banfield My family criticizes me because I still cuss (but I am working on it!) listen to hard rock music,and often dress like a teenager even though I'm 55. But I love God with all my heart and I recall reading that Kurt Cobain had been saved! On another note, as a retired nurse, I think the Pharisees would have fared well in Nursing School--the first thing they teach is HANDWASHING! LOL
June 18, 2015
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Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer Amen 
June 18, 2015
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Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell There is a day coming when we need to know what is written, our choices in life depend on it. If there is anyone teaching the truth all the time, I have not found them. Read The Bible for your self is the best advice any one can give!
June 18, 2015
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Mike OBryan
Mike OBryan good Morning! Interesting read right out of the shoot! As a Veteran-many things are taught Us! The rubber meets Our road when our butts end up using what we were jes taught in a War Zone! Common sense-clear thinking, sniff it out! Funny seems Healthy too realize what you have, dealing with and make very clear choices on how you react!!!!!! When in doubt, don't due it! I'm very proud of all My years in recovery too have never voted!!!!!!!!!! Which jerk are you voting for? Right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
June 18, 2015
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Daryl Donerson
Daryl Donerson This is great Pastor Dion thank you very much!!!!!
June 18, 2015
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Conchita Bowman
Conchita Bowman I have read the Bible through a few times.  It's always amazed me that you can read over and over and learn new and more information from verses you have already read several times.  Everyone needs to read the Bible through so they will know if they are being told the truth from the Bible or just man made.
June 18, 2015
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Patricia Motley
Patricia Motley Amen
June 18, 2015
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Cynthia Nortey
Cynthia Nortey Amen
June 18, 2015
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Jay Jerisek
Jay Jerisek Spot on, Pastor Dion ! This reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5 ; 21  Prove all things, hold fast to what is good.  When in doubt, look it up and see what their telling you is in the scriptures and right, or not.  Since i am not good at remembering chapter and verse, I run to my handy concordance and in a few minutes , I can look up anything in the Bible  if I even recall only 1 word of the verse in question. I thank my Holy God and the people inspired to put the entire concordance online.
June 18, 2015
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Twila Stierwalt
Twila Stierwalt I was raised in a Christian home where we prayed and read the bible daily, I am so thankful for this. It never really became personal to me until I starting studying the scripture on my own. I now have a very personal relationship with Jesus Christ and know that the Holy Spirit will teach me all things. I have learned a lot through bible studies and do trust God to teach me the truth. I do believe that a lot of religion's do not teach Gods truth. Religion's and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are totally different things.
June 18, 2015
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Pam Ivins
Pam Ivins Amen
June 18, 2015
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Carol Pady
Carol Pady It is important that we spend time in His Word to reveal the areas in our life that require change. We are all individual and unique in our experiences. We all need to address different issues in our walk with Christ. One size does not fit all! We can attend a church service with a companion and leave with each of us receiving a different message from the sermon. This is because God reveals what is necessary to each of us individually in order to reprove us and bring us up in our faith. One on one with Abba Father! Time very well spent!
June 18, 2015
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Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith Amen
June 18, 2015
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Debbie Bible
Debbie Bible I needed this one...especially, "We can completely ignore love your neighbor and then tell them how to dress appropriately, which would be like us." Thanks again for writing something that makes me see my shortcomings.
June 18, 2015
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Karen Pasquinelli
Karen Pasquinelli I was raised Catholic and remember having to go to confession every Saturday.  I also remember a time when I was around 7 or 8 standing in the confession line and asking the girl behind me what I was supposed to tell the Priest because I didn't know what I did wrong.  She told me to tell him I "Lied" and that would cover it all, so I did and had to say 10 Hail Mary's and 10 Our Father's.  Needless to say when I became an adult and read the Bible for myself I found out I had to confess to God if I wanted to be forgiven.
June 18, 2015
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Thank you for this message, this is how I felt most of my life growing up, that people made the rules, I could see many times they weren't even going by The Word of God, just making rules as they went along. So I decided even as a young person that I would listen and read and study God's Word even more, because I wanted to live like Jesus wanted me to live not like man.
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Isn't it sad when you have to confess for something you didn't even do, just to follow man's rules, when Jesus has given us His Amazing Grace. I am so happy to serve Jesus with all my heart.
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, we do many times follow man's ways not even realizing we should just keep our eyes on Jesus and open hearts to listen to Him, not man. Jesus loves us so.
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd As someone who didn't grow up in church, this "how to dress in church" thing was pretty interesting to me. From observation, I learned that you dress pretty nicely on Sunday morning, a little more casually on Sunday night, and on Wednesday night, you could get away with sweats ;). I wasn't sure why that was the case, but I suppose all churches have varying degrees of the same thing :).
June 18, 2015
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Amen, Conchita!
June 18, 2015
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Thank you so much, Lucas!
June 18, 2015
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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<i>Deleted Member</i>
Deleted Member Amen, we should read and study and learn from Jesus what He wants for us.
June 18, 2015- Edit- Delete
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Carletheia Linnen
Carletheia Linnen Powerful, very True and a much needed message for these days, Amen!!!
June 18, 2015
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Christina Ocasio
Christina Ocasio Amen!..Thank you for this message 
June 18, 2015
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Albert Chau
Albert Chau I was told by a pastor to dress up the best you can when going to church on Sunday to show respect for God. Is that really true?
June 18, 2015
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Just my view, I'm pretty sure God is looking at what is inside of us. On the other hand, I recall one time when a worship leader showed up in what appeared to be boxer shorts, and could have lived without seeing that ;-).
June 18, 2015
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Sandra (ClydeAngel) Collins
Sandra (ClydeAngel) Collins My church is *a come as you are church* GOD loves us as we are.  What about someone that is homeless and can't dress up..would GOD turn them away?
June 18, 2015
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd Here is a post I like on that subject: http://www.happysonship.com/we-stink-of-pride-2/
June 18, 2015
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Dion Todd
Dion Todd I understand what the pastor meant, but it is just adding an "oral law" along side scripture to help control peoples behavior when you tell them how to dress, if it involves more than women dressing modestly  (1 Timothy 2:9 ESV).  It is fine to have a dress code in church, we have seen what people do when there is not one. Just don't teach that as God breathed, because it is actually man made rules. If you wear a necktie, or do not, God does not care.  
June 18, 2015
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Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin Having attended different denominations in my life, I really don't believe that it matters how you dress to attend service. I will not, however, attend in shorts, tee shirt and the like, because of how I was raised. I will also not judge anyone that attends on how THEY come to service!! It's all about Him!!!
June 18, 2015
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd We don't attend in shorts either, Michael, but like you, it's more habit than anything else. One of the warmest, kindest and most active people we know at our local church wears shorts every single week, all year round. I'm sure it's not an issue for the Lord :).
June 18, 2015
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Kay Rushin
Kay Rushin  If the Holy spirit is not convicting me of such things I am fine....I was brought up to wear dresses, the younger generation wear pants. God searches the heart. All these secondary doctrines get in the way of the real Message of Jesus. I know one is judge not......or you will be judged....
June 18, 2015
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katrina harrell
katrina harrell Amen 
June 18, 2015
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Ticardo Williams
Ticardo Williams Praise God!
June 19, 2015
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Karen Pasquinelli
Karen Pasquinelli It is very sad Tamara especially for a little child.
June 19, 2015
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Rosemary Marsh
Rosemary Marsh Amen.God never ceases to amaze me.Just been sharing this with my daughter in law.To check things out in Gods word,and when we read the bible,The Holy Spirit,will remind us and lead and guide us,sharing with other people.Thank you for this prayer.
June 19, 2015