Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
3) Matthew 15 - verses 7 and following
Ye hypocrites form a class so large that your colleagues were the object of God's reproof in Isaiah's day, and what
He said about you of that notorious crew. How unchangeable is God's ethics: seven centuries had not made any
difference in morality: hypocrisy was an abomination to God in the historical context of both Isaiah and Jesus Christ.
1) Heartless formalism: This people honors Me with their lips; but their hear is far from Me.
2) Self-deception and consequently futility: In vain do they worship Me.
3) Substitution teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.
What was wrong? Missing were the essential ingredients of true worship and a right approach to God:
concentration on God and His revealed will.
Hypocrites have less interest in obedience and loyalty to a revelation than they do their own ideas. In effect, they
worship self when they give absolute value to their own exalted opinions.
Hypocrites' prayers no longer evidence their dependence upon God, because THEY need no grace, no power, nor
guidance - 2nd Timothy 3:5, Isaiah 1:11-20, Psalms 51:16 and following, Proverbs 21:3, Proverbs 21:27, Proverbs
15:8, Proverbs 28:9.
There must be a capacity to be compassionate toward any of God's creatures who are lost without God, or who
otherwise need God's merciful help expressed through His people. Hypocrites can only look down in unmoving pity
upon such unfortunates beneath their level.
Matthew 15:9 - In vain is an expression rich in significance to describe human worship founded solely upon human
precepts. Such religion is folly, because it imposes upon its believers carefulness and rigor that accomplishes
precisely nothing except make them uncomfortable, sensitive to trifles, ascetic, hypercritical and intolerant.
Ceremonies can be seen and experienced by him who does them, and they satisfy him more easily and sooner than
the slow, inner, invisible growth in godliness. Observing rites is far easier than the slow maturing in righteousness
and walking with God, having the courage to repent and deny oneself of such easy satisfactions.
Teaching as doctrine the precepts of men, because even in the law of Christ revealed in the New Testament, there
are many, many details that Christ and the Apostles have not revealed, details that we would like to know in order to
complete our obedience to that Law.
Matthew 15:11 - not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man. The revolutionary significance of this
statement can hardly be overestimated, because it amounts to the practical abrogation of the Levitical distinction
between clean and unclean foods.
By affirming that real purity or defilement is not merely external, but of the heart, the Lord established a principle so
fundamental that it is the basis of His teaching. He dared teach the people doctrine that put in doubt the traditional
basis of their customs by exposing revered rabbinical opinions as absurd and ungodly.