Thanksgiving for the Kingdom of God
The Kind of Righteousness Needed for God’s Kingdom – Part III
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:17-20
Key Verse: Matthew 5:20
“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Let’s look at a third kind of righteousness that does not get anyone into heaven. It is “show-off righteousness”:
“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra-long tassels.” (Matthew 23:5 NLT)
Only Jesus could make this accusation because He is the only one who can see a person’s inner motivations. Jesus tells us to never judge a person because we cannot see what He can see. Had we lived in Jesus’s day, we would likely think of the Pharisees as very spiritual people. We would not be able to see their inner desires to promote themselves in the eyes of important people.
But look what Jesus could see:
“And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’. (Matthew 23:6-7 NLT).
The Pharisees would never admit to loving “to sit at the head table at banquets”. They would never admit to how much they enjoyed receiving “respectful greetings” as they walked around town.
Were they terrible people because they loved such treatment? No, all of us would enjoy the host asking us to sit at an honored place or being treated with great respect by the people around us. Of course, we would; that is not the problem.
The problem occurs when we want all that so much that we pretend to be more than we are.
These Pharisees did everything for show so they could get those honored seats and those respectful greetings.
When we live authentically and humbly, we often receive honor and respect. Never let receiving honor become the reason we serve the Lord.
Over the years as a pastor, I have seen some people leave the church because they did something they felt the church overlooked.
The proper attitude is: I do what I do for the Lord, no matter if anyone notices. If we do receive praise, humbly give God the glory for how He works in our lives.
Father, may I serve You because I love You and not for the praise of people. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.