Everyone one of us has been in some form of teaching … being taught and teaching others. Teaching is education. The reason for education is to mature a person and develop their brain so that emotionally, academically and practically a person ought to pursue a certain pattern of behavior and lifestyle. Teaching comes in many different forms and shapes, even though mostly we are unaware that we are either teaching or being taught. The most obvious form of teaching is verbal and classroom style. But then we also talk to others and these conversations are teaching as well. There are books, magazine, newspapers … all written communication. Then we have the electronic media which could be writing, verbal or video. We all too often forget that a film … be it for children, teens or adults … is teaching. Body language is teaching, as is hypocrisy! Hypocrisy is teaching one thing and practicing another. Example is teaching … and often examples lead to coercion! As we complete the passage in Matthew 5:17-22, we find Jesus speaking about teaching and practice. Let’s read the passage again …
Mt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
1) Professing Christians breaking the Moral Code … “anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments”. The verses 19-20 speaks of two types of people. Holy people and hypocrite people. Jesus is speaking to people professing Christianity in this phrase and He is warning against hypocrisy. How can one profess Jesus as Lord and Savior and then live life breaking the Moral Code? Take the man who professes Jesus as Lord, is married and goes out to commit adultery. Is his profession real? It might be and he might have gone through a moment of wandering … but that would be once and never again and he would confess such sin. But if this professor persists in adultery he demonstrates hypocrisy. A lawbreaker cannot be a Child of God.
2) Professing Christians teaching other Christians to break the Moral Code … “and teaches others to do the same”. Hypocrites have a habit of allowing their folly to influence and even coerce others into their vice. Take smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol without restrain or going to raves. If the professor practices things that could lead to others being attracted to do the same … and if these things abuse the body, finances, relationships and even leads to addiction, then that person is an imposter, a fraud … a hypocrite. Such a person is the one who leads people into eternal damnation!
3) Professing Christians being the least in the Kingdom … “will be called least in the kingdom of heaven”. I had the privilege of preaching at a small gathering of God’s people today. I pointed out to them that there is nothing wrong with being small if they are intentional. All too often people want to flock to big Churches with high powered music, star singers and articulate preachers. The problem is though, how many of the hundreds or thousands are saved? Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with big Churches if people go there for the right reasons and get the correct Bible Teaching. The problem is, many go there for entertainment. How many in the Church are actually true Christians? Sadly there are many who use the concept of “Church” to make money or teach things that are not in the Bible. Be it a pastor or a professing Christian teaching people error, to them Jesus says they will be “least” in the Kingdom. One commentator put it like this, “Disobedience plus denial equals disgrace.” If one is least in the Kingdom they are not in the Kingdom at all!
4) Practicing Christians practicing the Moral Code … “but whoever practices”. God expects and intentional Christians expect practicing Christians to uphold and keep the Moral Code. You see, we are people who love the Bible because we love the Lord Jesus. The Bible is His Word and His Word obeyed in very important to us. We are people who want to honor and glorify our Lord and God and the only way we can do this is knowing and obeying His Word. This means that although we are not saved through works, by keeping the Ten Commandments, we who are saved by grace want to keep them and God’s Word because true love responds to true love through obedience.
5) Practicing Christians teaching others to uphold the Moral Code … “and teaches these commands”. True Christians ought to be discipling people who have professed faith. That is part of the Great Commission …
Mat 28:20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
One of the greatest problems we have in the Church today is that when people profess faith they are left right there. There is no taking the profession to possession. Discipling is crucial … and it ought to be a lifelong experience. You ought always to be discipling others. That is teaching people what Jesus commanded!
6) Christians being great in the Kingdom … “will be called great in the kingdom of heaven”. We do not obey and teach to receive rewards. We do it out of thanksgiving and praise because God in grace and mercy saved our souls … but in doing so Jesus credits us with greatness in the Kingdom. We want people saved and we want people to grow in the knowledge of God.
7) Christians demonstrate Kingdom Righteousness … “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law”. These spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day professed without possessing. Their so called public righteous behavior was hypocrisy! True believers are genuine!
8) Warning against hypocrisy … “you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven”. Verse 19 almost seems the “least” are true Christians. Jesus says such will not enter His Heaven!
Father, help us daily to walk in truth, following Your Moral Code, loving Your Word and serving You, Your Kingdom and the world. We commit ourselves to be both professors and practitioners for Jesus. Amen.