Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
He who thinks that he will be exalted by acting as a servant, pretending to be humble so that he will receive the promise of God’s Word, is sadly mistaken. Hypocrisy is an attitude or motive.
There are two main types of hypocrisy: 1) People don’t practice what they preach. 2) People’s motives are wrong even though their actions are right.
The second type of hypocrisy is why Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees.
It is more subtle than the first type and is very prevalent today in religion. They were seeking self-glory instead of seeking to glorify God.
Their priorities are wrong, and their focus is on outward displays instead of on the inner condition of their heart. Furthermore, they always persecute the true worshipers of God.
Universally, people dislike blatant hypocrisy; although this subtle type of hypocrisy has been encouraged and even promoted by religion. Religion teaches tithing and giving for selfish motives while 1 Corinthians 13:3 and 2 Corinthians 9:7, make it clear that giving will profit us nothing unless we have the proper motive. The same thing happens when people try to achieve holiness by performing many other religious acts. It is not always the acts that are wrong, but the motives behind the acts. These wrong motives can also make you a hypocrite.
Anyone who rejects salvation because he doesn’t like religious hypocrites, should remember that if he doesn’t receive Jesus as his Lord, then he will spend eternity with these hypocrites in Hell.
Mark 12:29 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”:
Jesus repeatedly made reference to His deity for which the Jews had sought to kill Him, and yet He quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4, that “The Lord our God is one Lord:” There are not two or three Gods and yet Jesus claimed to be God just like God the Father. This union is a great mystery that defies human understanding but can be accepted and believed.
Jesus in His pre-existent state was in the form of God. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is God manifested in the flesh…1 Timothy 3:16. However, Jesus did not demand or cling to His rights as God. He laid aside His Divine rights and privileges in order to take the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of man. He further humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the Father, even to the point of death. This was the supreme sacrifice that identified Jesus totally with humanity and enabled God to redeem mankind. By dying a criminal’s death upon the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Deuteronomy 21:23, and bore our curse in His own body. This redeemed us from the curse, opened wide God’s blessing of justification through faith in Christ, and gave us the promise of His Holy Spirit… Galatians 3:13-14.
The Creator became the creation; the Lord became the servant; the Highest became the lowest. All of this was done because of God’s great love for us.
Matthew 22:36-39 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Jesus revealed that all of the Old Testament laws were designed to instruct us how to love God and love others. Therefore, the two commands that dealt directly with loving God and others, Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5, were the most important.
The religious leaders had become so obsessed with keeping every minor detail of the law that they had lost sight of its ultimate purpose. They neither loved God nor their fellow man, yet they thought they were keeping the law.
The same thing is happening today. Some of the cruelest acts of men towards their fellow men have been done in the name of the Lord by people who thought they were defending God’s holy commandments. However, if we violate one of the two greatest commandments in an effort to enforce some other commandment, then we are misapplying God’s Word just as these religious Jews did.
The Old Testament law and the New Testament concept of grace compels men to the same end, that is to love God and their fellowmen. However, the motivations to this end are different. The Old Testament law motivated men to love God and their fellowman through fear of punishment if they failed to comply. The New Testament concept of grace freely gives men a God-kind of love that is unconditional and tells them to love others as they are loved.
It is possible to display actions of holiness, but not love God. It is impossible for God’s kind of love not to produce holiness. Holiness is a fruit and not a root of loving God.
Mark 11:14 “And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.”
Notice that this verse says that Jesus “answered” this fig tree. The tree had not spoken to Him verbally but it communicated that it had figs by the leaves on it. It is a fact that a fig tree should have figs by the time the leaves are evident. A fig tree actually produces green figs before the leaves appear and if no figs are produced by that time, then the tree will not have any figs that year. This fig tree was professing something that it didn’t have even though it was still too early for figs.
Not only plants, but other things can communicate with us too. Circumstances can tell you that you have failed. Your body can tell you that your prayer didn’t work – the Lord didn’t heal you, etc. You need to follow Jesus’ example and answer these things with a positive statement of your faith.
What good could it do to talk to a tree or an inanimate object? God created the heavens, the earth, and everything that is in the earth, by His words …Hebrews 11:3. The whole creation was made by and responds to words. Our words, when spoken in faith, release either life or death… Proverbs 18:21. They also affect people, things, and circumstances. We can release the power that is in faith by our words.
Speaking God’s Word in faith brings the Holy Spirit into action. In Luke 4, when Jesus was tempted of the devil for forty days, it was the Word of God that Jesus used to defeat the enemy at His temptation. We must take advantage of God’s Word by placing it in our hearts so that the Holy Spirit may bring it forth at the appropriate time to accomplish a complete and total victory.
Speak to that mountain in your life.
Matthew 21:19 “And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.”
The Greek word for presently means “instantly; immediately; soon.” However, the disciples didn’t realize that the fig tree had died until the next day. If the tree died instantly, why didn’t they notice it until the next morning? The answer to this question is found in Mark 11:20. The tree was dead from the roots up. The tree did die instantly just as the Word declared, but what had happened to the roots wasn’t visible until the next morning.
There is a spiritual lesson here that applies to us receiving things from God. When we ask, we do receive, but it may take a period of time before we perceive it in the natural realm. God’s answer comes before we see the manifestation of what we have believed the Lord for when we prayed. Just as with this fig tree, the answer lies beneath the surface, and therefore we don’t “see” what God is doing until the answer manifests.
Not all answers to prayer are manifested instantly. Satan can hinder God’s power even after it has been released. In Daniel 10:1-13, God answered Daniel’s prayer instantly, yet it took 21 days for Daniel to see God’s answer manifest, because the prince of Persia (a demonic power) withheld the manifestation.
Prayer that meets the requirements outlined in God’s Word is always answered.
Many times we don’t perceive the answer because it always comes in the spiritual realm first then is manifested in the physical realm. If we waver from our confident faith, then we abort the manifestation of our answer to prayer. But God did answer. Everyone that asks receives
John 12:28 “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
This is the third time recorded in the gospels that the Father spoke in an audible voice to or about Jesus (First, at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River and second, at the transfiguration of Jesus).
This verse makes it clear that it was a voice that the Father spoke in; however, there were different reports of the same event. Some people heard a voice and thought it was an angel who spoke. Others thought it was thunder.
This illustrates “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”… 1 Corinthians 2:14. A carnal man with a hardened heart will always find some natural explanation for the supernatural even if he heard an audible voice from God.
A hard heart keeps us from perceiving spiritual truths and stops us from understanding. When a person doesn’t understand God’s Word, Satan finds no resistance when he comes to steal it away. A hard heart keeps us from remembering. This isn’t to say that facts or scriptures can’t be recalled, it’s the spiritual lessons learned that have been forgotten. Likewise, some people can quote scripture or remember what the sermon was about, but they can’t perceive the spiritual life in it or retain what they did perceive, because of a hardened heart.
Jesus didn’t need to hear this audible voice of God because he had a more sure word of prophecy than the audible voice of God from heaven… 2 Peter 1:18-20. Jesus knew the “voice” of the Old Testament scriptures that spoke of the Christ being glorified and He could also hear the Father’s voice in His heart as He had on so many other occasions. This audible voice didn’t come to reassure Jesus, but it came to those who had ears to hear, so that they might believe.