by Marvin D. Patterson

The Marks of False Spiritual Leaders
Marvin Patterson
Matthew 23:1-12


We are going from mountain peak to mountain peak in the wonderful Gospel of Matthew. We have seen the Lord teach us the greatest truths known to mankind! Now, in this twenty-third chapter, we see that the Lord preaches His last sermon. It is a sermon of denunciation. In giving this sermon, Jesus seals His own death warrant, for these false leaders will surely come after Him now. Why? He exposes the hypocrisy of these false religious leaders by showing how they say one thing and do another. They were hypocrites or play actors. Don't hide behind a hypocrite friend, for that will get you nowhere when you stand before God one day!

A rather pompous-looking deacon was trying to impress a class of boys with the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a moment's pause, one youngster said, "Maybe it's because they don't know you."

We know that Jesus was the kindest, most tender person Who ever lived, yet in this passage, He confronts these false religious leaders with a scathing denunciation. Jesus was no sissy or weakling, for He was a man's man, and that is the side of Jesus that we see in this passage of Scripture. They could not back up their talk with their walk. Amen!

This chapter concludes the clash between the Lord Jesus and the religious rulers. He warns the multitudes about them and then denounces the religious rulers in unmistakable terms. No words that ever fell from the lips of our Lord were more scathing. It is a merciless condemnation.

If you will remember, we are still looking at what the Lord did on Wednesday of the Passion Week. He has answered all of the questions and entrapments of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians with the wisdom that only He could exhibit. They are so jealous of Jesus, and they want to execute Him by crucifixion. Last week we saw that Jesus prov ...

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