Thanksgiving for the Kingdom of God
The Kind of Righteousness Needed for God’s Kingdom – Part II
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.”
Jesus pointed to another kind of righteousness that is not sufficient to enter the Kingdom of God:
“The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.” (Matthew 23:2-3 NLT)
Notice that the Pharisees and the teachers do not practice what they teach. They knew what they ought to do and they preached what God’s people ought to do, but they did not do it themselves. Jesus did not criticize what they were teaching. The problem was not the content of their message but the hypocrisy of their lives.
In our day, Bible teaching is available through weekly worship times in our church, Christian television shows, the internet, audio/visual media, and more with a click on our computers. Our problem is seldom about the content of our beliefs. Our problem is often the same as the Pharisees; we talk like we live out biblical truths, but we do not.
Remember, hypocrisy is not failing to live out all that we say we believe, it is acting like we are living them out!
I have a lot of knowledge of the Bible in my head, but I readily admit that there are times when I do not live all of it out. None of us should be afraid of admitting that we are weak in some areas of our lives and do not behave as the Bible tells us to.
We should never stop putting forth our best efforts to overcome our weaknesses and improve in our walk with the Lord. Look at how the Apostle Paul addressed this issue:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. (Philippians 3:12 NLT)
Paul told the Corinthian believers how he handled his imperfections:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT)
Authentic believers admit their weaknesses but work hard at their discipline to be more like Jesus.
Father, thank You for having such patience and forgiveness in my failures. I will never stop trying to be more like Jesus in my lifestyle. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.