You might be a Pharisee if…

            Jeff Foxworthy became famous for his catch phrase “You might be a redneck if.” It was his signature joke that he would use to point out funny things about people that proved they were a redneck. Many of us realized he was talking about us, and for that reason, we were able to laugh at ourselves. It is my intention to borrow that one liner but the results of this will be more serious than funny. Before we continue, I want to say this: The intention of this article is to point out characteristics of modern day Pharisees, not to be condescending or judgmental. We want to look at what the bible shows us about being religious rather than Christians. Gods word says that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). With that in mind it is very possible to be a modern day Pharisee, and be deceived by our own heart in a way that we actually think we are a true follower. The biggest travesty that plagued the Pharisees of Jesus’s day was that they knew the scriptures better than anyone and they missed the point of them.  The one who the scriptures are pointing to is Jesus. He was the one trying to tell them they missed it but instead of listening to him they killed him. Being confronted on these things is vital because these people are the ones who will hear the words that Jesus eluded to in Matthew 7:22, On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” A Pharisee is someone who tries to make themselves holy and righteous by keeping laws and commandments. The purpose of the laws and commandments is to show us that we can’t keep them completely and thereby drive us to Christ, the one who did (Romans 3:19&20). Here are some characteristics of a modern day Pharisee:

1)      You might be a Pharisee if you view “sinners” and lost people the same way a racist views those they look down upon. I recently heard a man say this about racism, “Being a racist isn’t necessarily hating another group of people, rather its thinking you are superior to them.” If we look down on those who need Christ it proves that we don’t see our own need for him.  That’s why Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 9:12, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”

2)      You might be a Pharisee if your greatest desire to give is when others know you are giving. When the Pharisees of Jesus’s day would give to the needy they would blow a trumpet in the streets. They gave to feed their pride, not to feed the hungry. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 6:2 “They have received their reward.” What they wanted most they received, the praise of man.

3)      You might be a Pharisee if your main focus is on your own reputation rather than the kingdom of God. At the heart of every Pharisee is selfish pride. Jesus says in the gospels that if we want to follow him we must deny ourselves and take up his cross (Matthew 16:24). He is saying we must dye to our own pride and live for his glory. This includes the pride we have for our local churches. Consider yourself blessed if you are part of a gospel preaching, bible led church, but also rejoice when other gospel preaching, bible led churches are growing disciples and reaching the lost. This is having a kingdom minded heart and not a selfish minded heart (Phillippians 2:5).

4)      You might be a Pharisee if you are better at seeing others sin than your own. Jesus says in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” A mark of a true Christian is having a growing awareness of their own sin. When this happens, we have a heart for the lost and their sin because we know what it means to be saved from our own sin.


God Bless, Pastor Dusty