-Motivational Blog Posts To Encourage You To Stay On The Mainstream Path Of Faith-
If you haven't read the post before this, I'd recommend reading it. It will give you understanding of where I am coming from and why I am writing this. Are You A Pharisee?
This blog post is going to focus on what the Pharisees believed. To know if we live like the Pharisees, we must know what they believed. Makes sense right? But even before going there, I want to give you a little background of who the Pharisees were, and why it is so important to know what they believe. Let's get right into it!
Who were the Pharisees?
"The Pharisees were a scholarly class dedicated to the teaching of both the written and oral Law and stressing the internal side of Judaism. Pharisees would have been determined to avoid in their resolution to separate themselves from any type of impurity proscribed by the levitical law — or, more specifically, their strict interpretation of it." (found here) The time and origin of the group is debated as they are only mentioned in the New Testament, but I would suggest that the Pharisees rose as a group during the 400 silent years.
Josephus, born in 37 A.D., was a historian that came from Jerusalem. Many would know the name from their apologetic study; if you're not familiar with him that's okay too. Just know that he is a pretty well-known trustworthy source for early A.D. history.
Anyways, he speaks of the Pharisees. You can look up some of the stuff he says with a quick Google search, but I want to share a few that I found interesting online.
Josephus stated that the Pharisees lived in harmony with others.
Josephus stated that the Pharisees were seen as the most accurate interpreters of the law.
Josephus stated that the Pharisees believed and taught oral laws, laws which were passed down by word of mouth through generations, but were not recorded in the law of Moses.
Josephus also makes it appear that during the time of Herod, the Pharisees were influential on the people, but they were also careful with their speech and actions because they were under control of the king. The Pharisees were probably loyal to the king because they wanted to keep the peace between the Jews and the Romans, since the Romans basically had full control over them at the time.
(found these statements from here)
This is all very interesting to take into account when thinking about the Pharisees. They kept the peace, were acknowledged and respected, and were loyal to the king. They sound like some pretty good guys so far, right?
Let me explain:
From the studying of the background of the Pharisees, they sounded pretty sincere. It seems to me that they truly wanted not only others to see them as holy men but God also to see them as holy men. They wanted to be the example for the Jews. For the Jews to regard them as respectable men of the day was not a mistake; they truly did keep the laws of Moses and the Jews would have held high regard to this. This all leads up to one statement: it was not what they were doing essentially that was wrong; it was what they believed. Their belief was very misguided, making them blind to the Messiah.
The Pharisees were seen like a brotherhood (sounds like a cult); they devoted their whole life to studying the law.
Let me ask you a question: What's the point of knowing ANYTHING if you won't apply it? Think of it this way: Why go to college to become a surgeon, study hard, pass all your tests with perfect scores, and then never get a job at a hospital to put it into practice? What's the point. It's as if the Pharisees studied, showed everyone that they studied and how much they knew, but never moved on. They knew the law, but never looked to the application of the law. They never saw that law was about much more than just doing and looking righteous.
If I went to college and got the degree as a surgeon, you would think the next step is to start operating. What if instead I just kept studying, so I could be the wisest and most talented surgeon there is. I wore my scrubs, carried around my surgical tools, and showed everyone that I had a degree. They would probably look at me and say, "Wow, this guy is successful." Does it mean anything if I never do an operation? What was the point?
The Pharisees thought the point was to look and be as righteous as can be. That was the goal. They wanted to impress man and God with knowledge. They were misguided. It was useless without being given the job; it was useless without the application of God in their life.
What did the Pharisees believe?
The Pharisees were very legalistic Jews. They were more dependent on moral law then faith in God.
Do you see the problem there? They found it more important to do what looked good to God than believing in God. They basically took salvation on themselves. "If I just do this, this, and this, God won't be able to deny seeing me as a holy and righteous man." This makes salvation fully dependent on the work of man instead of the work of God.
So on the outside, the Pharisees looked great; in fact, they were highly regarded! But Jesus wasn't fooled; he knew where their hearts were.
But why did the Pharisees believe this way? Because they believed in salvation! They believed that the righteous would be rewarded with eternal life; the unrighteous were damned to death. This is made clear in Acts 23:8 "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all."
They believed in the resurrection of life, and they believed that the righteous would be the ones receiving it. This is true! The Bible makes it clear that the righteous inherit salvation. You must have righteousness, but the difference is what the Pharisees believed.
Pharisees saw it this way: "We must be righteous. Righteousness is being right or justifiable; it is to be considered good. So I just have to be good, and God will see that I am righteous."
Read Romans 3-4 for me PLEASE! If you have never read Romans 3-4 you need to crack open a Bible or Google it right now. Paul perfectly explains how this works and the misunderstanding of the Jews in Rome. He even uses an Old Testament example (Abraham) for them to see where it states that the righteousness we need is not our own. Yes, we need to be righteous in the site of God, but we are all unrighteous from birth. So how are we suppose to become righteous? By faith! God credits Christ's righteousness to the one whom has faith in God instead of their own works.
This is why Jesus could say, "Do as they say and not as they do" (Matthew 23:3). They Pharisees taught the law; they were teachers of God, but they did not live in accordance of it!
Pharisitical Christians Today!
We do this all the time! We teach one way, and we do the other! Are you guilty of being a Pharisee? I sure am! I love to study the Bible and know doctrine and deep theology, but when I don't live it out, I am a Pharisee. Christians are the biggest hypocrites! It's true, and it hurts to say it because I know this is true of me too.
We say we believe this, and yet we fall under the Pharisitical mindset of just studying and doing, studying and doing, looking good on the outside, no intimate intention on the inside. It's like saying, "Look, I love God. I read the Bible. I pray every day. I go to church. I even invite people!" and not saying or doing any of it with the motive of glorifying God. What's the point of doing anything if you're not going to do it for the right reasons?
If salvation is of God ALONE, and not of ourselves, we must live in accordance of that truth. If you call yourself a Christian, stop living for yourself! Your belief is crooked; Don't be a fool like the Pharisees were. They hated Christ because He challenged what they believed. They hated Christ because he took the focus of keeping the law and looking good, and put it on God! Does Jesus need to do that for you too?
I want to end by challenging you to take a good look at yourself. Ask yourself why you do what you do? What do your actions say you believe? What is your heart motive? Who are you living for? Are you living with the intentions of looking good so your own righteousness can buy you eternal life? It's not going to work! You need to live in accordance to scripture. Let God's righteousness be credited to you by faith in Him and the work of Christ. Only then will your works and life lived out truly reflect where your heart is.
Jesus words not mine:
(Matthew 23:27-28 NIV) “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
Is that you? What are you going to do about it?
Everyone knows who a Pharisee is. I don’t even have to quote scripture; you probably already have a pretty good idea in your head.
Self Exalting, Puffed Up, Wealthy, Hypocritical, Religious, Bigots.
From the reader of the Bible's point of view, nobody likes the Pharisees. They were always the ones picking fights with Jesus. They were always trying to catch Him doing something wrong. As a Christian, it’d be first instinct to dislike them.
Sometimes we pick sides and build up fences between people or groups. We then act like angry neighbors that throw harassing remarks at one another or try to catch the other in the act of doing something wrong…. As if both sides think they are better than the other. It's like Christians group up against the world and act cool by trash talking. Who's the Pharisee now?
You see it? You see what I just pointed out above? Sometimes we think of how wrong or even evil the Pharisees were, yet Christians stoop down to that level and act the same.
Really? Christians? Acting like Pharisitical hypocrites? No, never! They wouldn’t!
I say this all humbly; I want you to really try to examine yourself, your friends, your church, even your pastor. Try to see what is in the heart of someone. Do they fake it and just look good in front of the audience of people? Do they live for themselves? Do they show love to the unsaved and share the Gospel?
I know, we can't see everyone at all times, and we can't judge someone easily by just a few occasions. Christians need to keep their Bible spectacles on (see all of life through Scripture). We need to examine ourselves most importantly.
"Why do I dress the way I do?"
"Do I pray in the wrong manner?"
"Do I show love like Christ to the world?"
"Am I willing to give everything for the sake of furthering Christ and the Gospel?"
Some of these questions can be very simple answers. Some can get you tied up in a knot. These are just a few examples of the questions the Pharisees probably could not answer honestly and still glorify God.
The next few blog posts, I would like to focus on the subject of how the Pharisees lived. According to scripture, I want to really dive deep on who they were, why they believed what they believed, and what went wrong. These are IMPORTANT questions to ask, because if we don't know the answer, how will we know if we are going through exactly the same phase the Pharisees did?
Listen, if your Christianity has become more "religious" than relational, don't give up; Nicodemus was a Pharisee, and I believe from the evidence of scripture, we can see Christ changed His life! It can be the same for any of us. I want to motivate you to really think about why you would call yourself a Christian. What does that really mean to you, and how are you living in light of what you believe? I truly hope these next few blog posts on the Pharisees are encouraging to you!
I want to recommend two books to you on this topic that have impacted me to write on the topic of Pharisees.
I would challenge you, if you have the time, to do some research on the Pharisees. Brush up on who they were, how they lived, and what they did. See what others had to say about them. I can't wait to share my first topic on the Pharisees in my next post with you guys!
We live in a day and age today where the name of Jesus Christ has lost weight. Most times you hear the name, you can count on it being mixed with vulgarity used more as an expression of WOW instead of carrying any weight it was truly meant to carry.
Today, I am hoping it is used correctly. Today, I'm praying that the name Jesus Christ is heard from all. Today is a day of great joy and praise; for today is the day we celebrate my Savior, Jesus Christ, because He PROVED He won the victory. I hope it is the same for you.
(1 Corinthians 15:54-57 KJV) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Easter Sunday is a big deal to me personally. It is a holiday that I celebrate with the remembrance of my Lord establishing eternal security for God's children. In other words: if Jesus can raise Himself up in three days, I am sure He will raise me up one day as well!
What would it be like if Jesus just died? Would you be okay with that? He died, promising He brought your sin onto Himself and therefore into the grave with Him... is that enough? The whole Christian faith would be a little odd after that. We would worship God, who we'd say and believe that died. Think about that for a second.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Do you see what i'm getting at?
if Jesus just died, it wouldn't fill in all the gaps. We would just have to take His word that He cleansed us of sin, but even that wouldn't suffice. How could we believe in an eternal home if He couldn't raise Himself up? God, who became man and died, is going to raise us up still some day? Harder to believe in my opinion. And then you have to deal with the fact that we would worship a dead God. Which the Father and Holy Spirit would not be dead, but now we're taking our one God and dividing Him into three. Which He is three in one, but is He now two in one?
See all the questions that would sprout up if Christ didn't rise? We'd have a big issue. I would be afraid of death!
(Hebrews 2:14-15 NASB) Therefore, since the children share in [m]flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
This is why today is such a great day for Christians. Without Christ rising, I do not have full assurance in my God. But since Christ did rise, I can count on Him being able to raise me up as He has said! Christ conquered death, took sin to the grave, and rose again proving His power over death and sin even today.
(Revelation 1:17c-18 NIV) “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."
It was prophesied, He spoke about it Himself, and then He did it! The God-man came to earth to die and rise, and He made my life a beautiful picture of it! Today isn't only a day to rejoice in the resurrection of Christ, but the resurrection of life He has done in you!
Think about it: If you are a child of God today, you were once dead in sin, condemned by the law, and damned to Hell by the just and righteous wrath of God. UH-OH! Not cool!
(Romans 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thank God for grace.
(Ephesians 1:7 NKJV) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
God had chosen you, the Spirit came like the wind to awaken you, and Christ said "Believe in me" and died for you. The Triune God all worked together in your salvation, making you alive in Christ. As a Believer, your old man has died with Christ. He was crucified on that cross; the sinful man was left in that grave. Three days later a new man had come out. You have risen up by the power of Christ with the old man dead and gone and the new man alive and well!
(Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved--
Oh! What a beautiful picture! Once enslaved to darkness; now enslaved to light. Once journeying to hell; now picked up and shown the way to glory. Once living for yourself; now living for the King. Get pumped! Get excited! Today we remember salvation being accomplished for sinners like you and me! Today we remember the resurrection not only of Christ's body, but the work of the resurrection done in all the saints. Praise God!
(Romans 6 NKJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today is a day of joy! Don't forget to praise God today, who made a way and gave salvation to you! And if you can't say that's you today, I pray that you fall at the mercy of God and cry out for His saving from sin. He's the only one that can save you, and everything I said above can apply to you if He saves you. If you're reading this, whether it be on Easter Sunday or days later, today is the day of salvation! Don't waste any time; I pray that these words speak to your heart.
Because Jesus rose, we have a hope in salvation. If he never rose, all hope would be lost. It's like this: Jesus died to justify, Jesus rose to sanctify, and Jesus ascended to glorify! All three of these things describe your life if you are a believer in Christ. If you are a Christian, today is a day of rejoicing!
Happy Resurrection Day!
(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
I recently listened to two Youtube videos that have EXPLODED my motivation for writing. I absolutely love writing and believe it is a passion and talent that has been given to me by God alone for His glory alone. Watching these videos caused me to stop and think, "What happened to my book?"
It's been fully written for over a year now. I have had many eyes search my words for errors in grammar and theology at the end of last year. I was pushing towards my goal extremely well... but then... I lost it. I lost my motivation. I was waiting on two editors that were very busy in life at the time and had forgotten to keep on them about my book. They were both very important people to me; it was a necessity both of them read through my book and gave me their advice. They were not doing any ordinary editing. They had the role of theologically checking my words and making sure what I said lined up with scripture.
Instead of giving the friendly reminders, I completely forgot to even ask if they had worked on my book recently. That was all the way back in November. SIX MONTHS AGO!!! I haven't looked at my book since then until today. Today I decided it's time to start working on publishing again.
One of the editors still has a copy that they completed editing, but has never given it to me. I messaged the other that had not completed the editing I had asked of him six months ago. He said he read through the entirety of the book but had not taken the time to write down his thoughts. I'm thankful I asked because he said he will start it today and give me back my first chapter hopefully this Sunday at church.
Once I receive the final copies, I have a friend that will be going over the book with me and reading each editor's (I have four editor copies in all) thoughts, suggestions, and disagreements. This will be the start of my (hopefully) final draft. Once my final draft is finished, I have a friend who is an English major who will do a final check for grammatical errors. Once that is done, it will be time to get in contact with publishers.
It is so exciting to think about publishing a book; I cannot wait to be holding a hard copy of a book I had written in my hands. Why? Because I want to share what God has laid upon my heart with anyone who is willing to take the time and read it. I want to reach as many as I can with the love of Christ. I don't want to drop this opportunity; I don't want my ideas and God-glorifying words to go to the grave with me. I need to share my passion.
Reader, I wanted to tell you this not only because you deserve an update on my book, but also because I want to encourage you with these words:
Don't let your passions die!
If you're like me, it can be hard to stay dedicated to something. Even things we are passionate about we fall away from at times. It could be a sport, cooking, reading a good book, or even God. We can get so invested into something we love and, one day we seem to forget the feeling.
I wanted to share this example because of today. Today I woke up. Today I remembered my passion. I would feel so awful if a few years from now I looked back and remembered my book that I never published. I'd probably think, "It's been too long now. It's not worth trying anymore." It would be forgotten by everyone except for me, and it would haunt me every time I thought about it.
Don't let that happen to yourself, especially with your relationship with God! At times we fall away, get disconnected, and go off our own way forgetting the feeling of being on fire for God. Thank goodness God is long-suffering and patient with us. Thank God our salvation is a documented purchase in the Book of Life. As Christians, we have been bought and we aren't going to be thrown away. God waits for us and brings us back to Him.
We need to keep ourselves and the fellow Believers around us in check. We need to encourage each other to daily die to self and live for Christ. We need to daily remember the talents and hobbies we love that God has given us so that we don't stop doing them. If you have a real passion about something, God probably gave you that passion for a reason.
Ephesians 2:10(NIV) For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God has prepared in advanced good works that will be worked out in our lives. Think of it like an orchestra. God has built the instruments. You are one of the instruments made specifically for the beautiful song you will play. You see it? There's violins, and the bass, and clarinets, and the piano, and so many more instruments that God has made in the orchestra that all have a unique sound and part.
God wants to use you for the talent He has given you. He wants you to play your part!
Maybe you have forgotten a talent you use to have or a hobby you use to practice often that brought glory to God. Maybe you're like me and its been even half a year since pushing towards a goal or task that God had given you. It's not too late to pick it back up. It's not too late to let God do a mighty work in your life. He sure is doing something in my life right now; I hope it is the same for you!
Let this be motivation to you, because we all need motivation at times. I hope I have encouraged you today in some way, whether that is to keep on doing what you're doing, getting back into the old routine, or maybe encouraging the ones around you to start showing the light of Christ. I believe one of the best ways to express and show the glory of God is through the talent He has blessed you with.
This isn't just about doing something you love; this is about showing the glory of God!
Hi, I am Michael Jaymes. I am 20 years old, and decided to start writing in the winter of 2017. I have always loved writing, and I get to pour out that passion in my blog. I want to be a motivation, an encouragement, and edify my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that come to MainstreamBlog. I have made my life motto, "I just want to be a blessing." This is where I live that out!