Tuesday, November 26

Inside and out

Scripture: Matthew 23-25

Matthew 23:27–28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Observation

In Matthew 23, Jesus delivers His scathing judgment of the Pharisees, the most religious and devout people of His day.  Jesus called them out on several issues: hypocrisy, saying one thing and doing another, externalism, desire to be noticed and honored, burdening others with no intent of helping, majoring on the minors, legalism, on and on.

Jesus compares them to whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, dead and unclean inside!  “You appear to people as righteous, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”  Their inside and outside don’t match—hypocrisy!

Application

This type of externalism and hypocrisy is so harmful.  It keeps people from Jesus.  How many people use this as their excuse?  They stay away from church and from Jesus because of phony Christians.  God help us!

God always looks at the heart, and so should we.  He starts on the inside, and so should we.  We need to have humble and contrite hearts, and must invite God to work in us, to make us new and make us righteous from the inside out.  

This morning, I was praying a prayer from a book of Puritan prayers. (See the quote below in my prayer).  I never want to be self-righteous and proud—and it’s easy to do!  I want my heart to be clean and the rest of my life to flow out of that.  I want my inside and outside to match!

Prayer: “Destroy in me every lofty thought, break pride to pieces and scatter it to the winds, annihilate each clinging shred of self-righteousness, implant in me true lowliness of spirit.”  Make me clean inside and out!