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The Business of Whitewashing

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 26, 2020 1:00 am

The Business of Whitewashing

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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They may have overflowing parking lots and cues. But the truth is that in deception are there charter member. Jesus Christ said to the religionists of his day, but we can still say today to both organized religion that is false, and individual men and women were deceived, you might look spiritually alive. You might do the works of religiously minded people, but you are in truth, self-satisfied self contented self deceived silicon. That's actually one of the biggest dangers of the false religions of the world they present. Salvation is something people can achieve by working hard enough at being good enough. Welcome to wisdom for the heart.

Today Stephen baby begins a series called got religion comes from Romans chapter 2 where Paul addresses the Jews whose confidence rested in religious devotion.

The issues addressed in this passage are just as relevant in our culture as they were in Paul's Stevens called this message the business of whitewash has never been perhaps today in our world where people are more religiously oriented than the day just about everybody today has a religion right everybody is claiming some form of God today and in our country in the last few decades, Christianity has seemingly made so much in credible progress, whether it is through television Christian television Christian radio Christian music industries Christian publishing houses Christian bookstores Christian educational institutions mega churches and even bestsellers all seem to indicate that Christianity is moving forward that Christianity is a power to be reckoned with.

How is it though at the same time that the statistics of divorce and abortion and premarital sex and pornography in all sorts of sinful obsessions of found their way same way within the church within the world of those who call themselves Christians.

How is it that the church who for so many years with great clarity declared that the world needed to repent.

Yet in our generation has the world telling it. It needs to repent. How does it happen.

Well, it happens slowly but surely, when the reality of a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ is relegated to the back closet to the backstage area out of the way let's get on with the ritual. Let's get on with the farm. Let's get on with the ceremony. Let's look good. Look right look alive yet not know the reality of true life in Christ there is such a thing as good religion we sung in the past.

The song give me that old time religion.

We sing that and we sing that we think about the old time religion being the religion that held high the cross of Jesus Christ religion that spoke the truth of God's word centered upon our Lord warned of sin and judgment.

James wrote that pure religion is religion that exercises and selfless acts toward widows and orphans. Individuals in James Dagan to some degree and are they who cannot repay no money to pay for the received if pure religion that is related to acts of love in pure religion is related simply to accept liturgy and ceremony. False religion tends to cater to people who can pay if pure religion makes an internal difference in the heart of an individual than false religion only cares about externals and the reputation of a person. False religion can be a mega church what's defined as a church of more than 2000 people in attendance are about 3000 of these churches were one of them in America could be false religion. False religion could be a bestseller. True religion could be a small simple country chapel where a handful of people worship today. It could be a dusty volume that is overlooked and ignored false religion is the true enemy of the gospel of Jesus Christ and around the world today.

One of the greatest obstacles to the gospel of Jesus Christ is not the enemy. It is not demonic attack.

It is not political obstruction. It is in many ways organized religion.

The problem of religion is not new to our generation. Though Luke chapter 11 verse 37 when Jesus had spoken a Pharisee asked him to have lunch with him. Hey, one of the religious professionals religious dedicated, faithful men of this day said to the Lord, would you eat with me and have lunch in my home, and he went in and reclined at the table. Verse 38 and when the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised. Jesus did not first ceremonially washed before the meal were things that the religious men didn't certainly rabbis, Jesus was a rabbi. This culture but the Lord said to him in verse 39. Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but inside of you. You are full of robbery and wickedness. This is the menu invited in the lunch. By the way, you foolish ones did not he who made the outside make the inside also but give that which is within this charity and that all things are clean for you, but woe to you Pharisees for you pay tithe of mint and ruin every kind of garden urban yet disregard justice and the love of God, but these are the things you should've done without neglecting the others.

Woe to you Pharisees for your love of front seats in the synagogues and the respectful greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, for you are like sealed tombs and the people who walk over them are unaware of it. One of the lawyers said one reply teacher when you say this, you insult us also and he said I apologize for insulting know we said woe to you lawyers as well for you way men down with burdens, hard to bear while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens. One of your fingers back in verse 44 the Lord gives this scathing analogy to the religious professionals of his day.

He said you are like concealed tomb and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.

Now this takes us back to to something that they did in Jerusalem before the Passover. This was sort of a cleanup Jerusalem time as they prepared for at least 2 million additional Jews to flood into the city to celebrate the Passover and so what they did was beautify the city and among other things that they did.

They painted the headstones of grave part of the law required that no one come in contact with the dead. Even expanded during the day of Christ to refer to contact with graves of the problem was that people would sometimes, especially in the evening not see a decaying headstone or old wooden decaying headstone or maybe one of dark stone and so they would inadvertently walk across of the grave and thus become ceremonially ritualistically unclean and have to then avoid the celebration of the Passover. So with all of the people coming to Jerusalem part of their custom before Passover was to whitewash all of the headstone so they would they would stand out and they would eliminate as much as possible the the accidental defilement of an Israelite Matthew 23 the Lord speaks even more specifically in verse 27 he says woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside, appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

So you to outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Verse 33 you serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell the strongest words that Jesus spoke most often in his ministry were toward those who were religious. He says you Pharisees are like whitewashed tombstones. You stand out you draw attention to yourselves. You look polished and good and clean, but you do not represent vitality to represent decay people who look at you and follow you and listen to you and rub shoulders with you think that the following life and afterlife, but they are following death followed defilement. Ladies and gentlemen, the system of religion still today I believe is the greatest, most effective, most alluring path along the broad road that leads to hell.

More people will enter health in the doorway of religion than any other thing on earth why Satan is so busy counterfeiting. The truth in the religions of the world religion. False religion has and will always be simply in the business of whitewashing the center, making the person feel better about themselves whether to the application of oil or water or certain prayers or blessings or whatever, merely focusing on the outside.

And if we can just get people looking right in putting in what seems to be the right direction and using the right words and genuflecting at the right time, then certainly will. Gentlemen that have been Jesus said that religious world in his day we repeated for our day. It's just the broad road to hell just put on a couple of coats of Sunday GoToMeeting painting have a few blessings and say a few prayers and sing a song or to say nothing of the symptoms of true spiritual life like hunger and thirst for righteousness, say nothing of true repentance say nothing of confessing sin before our Lord say nothing of the demands of discipleship and the true reformation of the life that comes out through the lips that is seen in the heart first and evidence through the desires of life. Just give me a hand make me look good and I'll leave whitewashed and on my way to how is the way of the world's religion. The church today in Americas accommodating it like never before. Church growth experts in specialists are in great demand, and consulting the church. I repeatedly throw your invitations in the trashcan telling us if they could how to invest in everything from telemarketing strategies to entertainment schedules how not to offend the unbeliever how to market the church to the unbeliever.

Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you that many a church within mainline denominations have steeples stretching toward heaven, masking the fact that their doctrine is leading people to hell. They may have overflowing parking lots and pews, but the truth is death and decay and deception are there charter member. They are involved in religion but on the wrong road.

Jesus Christ said to the religionists of his day when we can still say today to both organized religion that is false, and individual men and women or deceived. You might say you have religion, you might look spiritually alive. You might do the works of religiously minded people, but you are in truth, self-satisfied self contented self deceived self-confident when it's enough of an introduction, we better get to the text years I said all of this to you I have said it to prepare you for the audience to whom. Now Paul will turn his thoughts in his letter to the people living in Rome, Italy.

He addressed a religious group of people who represent even to this day, millions of others who claim to have true religion loaded ceremony with all of its ritual with all of its form. He is going to shock them. He is going to deeply disturb them. He's going to upset them and I'm sure that his prayer is that by the grace of Yahweh.

He will convert them to the way the truth, the life I believe that it would've been a good place to start a new chapter about 11 centuries ago, they divided the Bible in the chapters and verses.

This theme shifts now at verse 17 through verse 17 and on through chapter 3 in the early part of chapter 3, Paul will address a new audience in chapter 1.

You remember he is address the immoral man in chapter 2, he addresses the moral man. Now he will begin talking to the religious man. He will and has already condemned the immoral unbeliever. He has condemned the moral unbeliever, and now here the religious unbeliever, he will say all three are guilty before God and worthy of judgment and he begins now to address the epitome of religious faithfulness. He begins to address the faithful Jew. Remember, Paul was a Jew himself. Paul had been a Pharisee that had received as were the woes that we read from Christ. Paul knew how they thought he knew what they rested upon.

You know how to live in now under the brilliant inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

He will peel away their defenses and perhaps yours as well. There are six reasons Jews felt eternally safe before God. The first reason is in the first part of verse 17 he says, but if you bear the name Jew.

In other words, the faithful Jew felt safe because first of all, he had the special name we know from biblical history that the Hebrew was first referred to as a Jew in the book of second Kings where we read a reference to the Jews or Judeo derivative of Judah that tried that literally means one who is praise.

They began to follow that shorter version that derivative of Judah. They simply refer to themselves as Jews, meaning we are ones to be praised. By the time of Christ.

They turned their national privilege into national pride.

The rabbis by the time of Christ had sort of divided the world very clearly in the two parties Jews and everybody else.

The rabbis taught statements such as these.

God loves Israel alone of all the nations only or God will judge the Gentiles with one standard in the Jews with another all Israelites will have a part in the world to come. Abraham sits beside the gates of hell and does not permit any wicked Israelite to go through Paul will say in fact you cannot skip the judgment of God simply because you bear the name Jew and I cannot imagine ladies and gentlemen, the horrifying moment at the judgment that we read about in Matthew seven earlier work all those who claim the special name of Jew all those who claim as he specifically said the name of Jesus.

The name Christian, they will stand before him and say we did all of this stuff in your name we set the right words and we went to the right places and Jesus will say I never knew you.

You claim the name Christian. Well Paul says you claim the name Jew that is not enough. There is not safety in the claiming of this name. Secondly, the faithful Jew felt safe because of their dedication to the wall: on but if you bear the name Jew and rely upon the wall. The word rely here could be translated to rest upon.

To lean back upon to depend upon the Jews had great pride in the fact that they had been given the law and had given themselves to the law and what a wonderful treasure. It was for the Jewish nation to have received the law to be the blessing that God said in Genesis they were to be to the nations of the world by disseminating the truth of the Torah. The truth of the law.

They'd taken pride in simply the fact that they possess the law and not that they work obeying the law.

Third, the faithful Jew not only felt safe because of his name is law, but is proud perspective. God said, but if you bear the name Jew and rely upon the law and boast in God, but is nominal faithful Jew would never say anything disrespectful of that. I know people is either Christians and they speak disrespectfully of God. But it fell a couple weeks ago.

Refer to the man upstairs. I asked him what man is that Jew would never say anything demeaning or trivial about God that they would name right his name.

They would only write the consonants and only after putting the PennDOT going to washing their hands and coming back and picking up a brand-new coil in writing. The consonants to the name of God are the names of God and in discarding that pin so that it would never write anything else. But these sacred name they had all of that respect for God they were his people.

He was there God they were not ashamed of my friend, are you are you proud to be associated with him.

You bow your head and thank the Lord for your food at a restaurant. Are you embarrassed that someone might see. Do you acknowledge on Monday what you did on Sunday, without hesitation. Are you ashamed to own him as your God. Are you ashamed to speak his name. No, you think you will get into heaven. When we are reading that these Jews who wore God there, God is a banner of pride are not getting what hope do you have fourth, the faithful Jew felt eternally safe because of the special knowledge pulses. You bear the name Junior rely upon the law boast in God numbers 18 and you know his will work for well refers to the revealed will of God through the Scripture. Israel knew they had a covenant with God. They knew the will of God for them as a nation was to be a blessing to all the world, all the nations of the world they knew the roots of their heritage.

They knew would got it intended for them to become. They knew all about God's will for them and maybe you say all I but listen I know God has a plan for my life to I know his will for me. According to the Bible.

Ladies and gentlemen, there's a vast difference between knowing his will and doing as well.

Just as there is in possessing the law and doing the law. We are told in the New Testament with the will of God for the believer is those who claim to know on the Savior.

The apostle Paul wrote in one letter.

This is the will of God.

What is the will of God. Paul, this is the will of God that you abstain from fornication. That's a broad term that simply means or refers to sexual relations outside the marital bond church today calls itself Christian and yet promiscuity within the church is at the same level as that within society, fornication, adultery, in many cases, divorce has become the justification for nothing more than serial adultery. And yet people say we are confident of heaven. Paul wrote in another epistle to the Ephesians, some commands which indicate then these are things that are the will of God. Do not let any impurity or greed even be named among you anybody in here given the greed. He writes there must be no filthiness, no core suggesting, but rather giving of thanks anybody in here disobeying the will of God by not being thankful by complaining instead see, these are just a few passages that tell us. Clearly this is the will of God. Now in knowing the will of God.

Just in those brief passages do you feel secure and going to heaven or fearful because the more you know about the will of God, the more what we realize how you disobeying right. The more we learn about the holy standard of God for our lives, the more unholy we realize we are right.

That's the nature of the law. That's the nature of understanding the will of God.

Sale foolish it is to say what I'm safe because I know the standard of God that doesn't produce safety.

The Jew says I know the will of God. I have it in the Torah does reveal what a lawbreaker you are. So the Jews says oh I'm safe because I know the will of God is no more safe than the person who says today, I know the will of God is all we learn from it is how we do not keep fifth Jew felt safe because of his keen insight verse 18 goes on to report you approve the things that are essential were approved.com mods means to examine or to approve after putting to the test, often to the fire Jews prided themselves in testing everything examining the philosophies and worldviews of history.

Determining those things that were truly essential for life. They were sharp thinkers. They had spent generations dissecting the Torah debating the law they had commentaries on commentaries they had teachers upon teachers they had added regulations upon regulations so as not to violate God's regulations.

They had come up with 365 prohibitions, in addition to the law so there would be one other thing every day they would not do they work so convinced that they desired to know and to keep and to fulfill insight into this law, but they had missed this. Paul will say further in the passage. The essential thing final thing the faithful Jew had the gave him his misguided full census safety was his biblical education.

Paul writes in the latter part of verse 18, you are instructed out of the law. The were instructed we could transliterate that record catechized. You have been catechized out of the wall. See the average Jew and the average person in the church today imagines he is safe because he simply knows more about the Bible than the man on the street.

He has his copies and he has Redington.

Maybe he has memorized some of it he can quote some of it with the Jews could say we have received a biblical education in the law. Those who were rabbis of Christ. They had most of Isaiah memorized and many of the prophets. Most of the Torah memorize first five books of the Old Testament Jews could say our parents taught us when we sat down on the house and when we lay down at night and when we walked by the way, when we arose in the morning and rebound them as signs on our hands and as placards on our foreheads.

We wrote them on the doorpost of our rooms and on our dates. Deuteronomy 6 we immersed ourselves in the truth of the Bible that they had diligent are you, Paul said to them, it's not enough to get a name we got the law.

We follow the true God with insights with knowledge.

We have a biblical education and God said, in effect happen to be unknown or simply involved in the externals of religion spiritually alive. Number one, it is possible for religious exercises. Touch the mind and emotion of man was an ever-changing heart of man is possible.

Secondly, for person to be emotionally moved by religion without ever being spiritually awakened by the Redeemer. If I could take those two and say the same thing over again just in a shorter sentence, it would be this. It's possible to be religious not redeemed. I hope this time in God's word has helped and less thanks for joining us this is wisdom for the heart.

The Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen pastors colonial Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina.

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