Saturday, July 17, 2021

Our Shield And Buckler

Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Today’s study in Matthew 15 gives us insight into how the Jewish Leadership monitored Him, and kept track of events in Jesus’ Ministry. Immediately after coming ashore after Peter’s Baptism, and more healings, the Pharisees confront Jesus about specific behaviors of the Disciples.

Their question reveals that they were present for The Feeding of the Five Thousand, taking in the crowd, and watching the miracle unfold before their eyes. But instead of giving glory to God for this miracle, they were critical of the Disciples, as though they were guilty of some horrible transgression!

Jesus would later teach those around Him to “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” Their own transgressions of the Law were ignored, while they held the Jewish people to a higher standard. Their doctrines were made by man, while they imposed the higher standards of God on the people. This is a precise example of a double standard that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:1-3. And He will speak of it again in Matthew 16, so this is an important topic to God, and to Believers everywhere. Doctrines of men can be rationalizations for sin!

With God, there is no room for hypocrisy. We are to let our yea be yea, and our nay be nay. At the risk of plagiarizing an old cliche’, hypocrites speak with a forked tongue, And we know that it’s that slimy serpent, Satan that is the source of every forked tongue. The traditions of men will always be reproved by the Doctrines of God, for God’s Word is a light unto our path.

Darkness is dispelled by the true light. Even heathens can recognize a truth of God, as evidenced by a Syrophenician woman in this chapter. By nationality, she was Syrian and Phoenician, a mixed race woman from the region of Tyre and Sidon along the northeastern shores of the Mediterranean. As she had discourse with Jesus, she spoke a profession of faith in Him that could not be denied. Though from a heathen nation, her faith was real, and Jesus healed her daughter. A step-in-faith, and a point of contact made the way for yet another miracle. Jesus is our defender, and our buckler!
"But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."  - Psalm 3:3 

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 15:1-28 - "Our Shield And Buckler"


The Pharisees! They look righteous and act holy, but their hearts deceive them.  "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."  Matthew 12:34

They had been following Jesus' ministry, and listened to Him teach. They had observed His power, the miraculous healings and yet are blind to understand Who He Is!  They refuse His Words. They fail to acknowledge their sin, let alone repent and receive salvation. They are jealous, sanctimonious, self righteous and conspire against Him.

In Matthew 15 we see the Pharisees criticizing the disciples once again.  What did they do? They did not wash their hands before breaking bread.  Jesus cuts to the chase. Speaking of the heart Jesus tells them that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but rather what comes out.   Here's the truth, we simply cannot hide what is really in our hearts, it all comes out eventually.  The Pharisees worked hard to look good on the outside, but the reality is they were corrupt deep within. They knew a lot about God – they simply DID NOT KNOW HIM.

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

I can’t imagine a more horrifying thing than those who thought they were living for God, possessed good works, stood for justice, mercy, and love and believed that they knew God only to find out that God did not know them. Those who have deceived themselves will not listen to anyone. It’s ironic how many Christians still get into deep arguments and debates with those who have hardened their heart to God considering that when Jesus himself stood before the Pharisees they refused to acknowledge their own sin.

Sinful human nature cannot meet God's standards.  The only way to meet God's standard is to abandon ourselves and receive new life in Him.  
Jesus was going to the cross to provide a new life for all whosoever would lay down their own will and believe in Him.

Unfortunately, the Pharisees wanted to keep their old life and represent God at the same time. When we understand what has been done for us at the cross, we hand our lives over to the gentle authority of Christ. It’s all His.

The Pharisees couldn’t see it, and in the end, most of them didn’t want to.  Are you turning a deaf ear to the Lord,  disregarding His Word in order to follow your own traditions? Your own ways?  


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