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Striving together in Prayer
Luke 16:14-15 “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
The preaching of Jesus Christ is always based upon truth - truth that exposes the hearts of men; for this cause the Pharisees could not stand the preaching and teaching of Jesus. The truth of Christ’s teaching (a truth that undermined the works and ways of man) was the main reason the Pharisees crucified Christ.
The Pharisees presented a godly impression before others, but in actual fact they were consumed with themselves. The Pharisees loved possession and position, and did not want anyone interrupting their lifestyle. Their lifestyle proved what was in their hearts. God knew that the Pharisees put on a show to look good before the eyes of men. God knew that they had no heart for the truth. Luke 16:15 "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men..."
May God help us not to say and do the right thing simply to justify our ungodly living. God knows each of our hearts. We can put up a front with each other but not with God. God knows whether we are truly surrendered or just living a covetous, convenient Christianity.
The Pharisees heard Jesus and began to feel convicted, but instead of responding for good, they chose to reject the Truth. Luke 16:14 "...and they derided him."
The Word "derided" means “they turned up the nose at him.” Wow! They had a proud look toward Christ, who was only trying to help them see their disposition. Our reaction toward the Word of God will determine whether we really love the truth.
1Thess. 5:20 "Despise not prophesyings."
We must not treat the preaching of God's Word lightly. When God's Word is preached or read, it is to be adhered to with great seriousness and attention. We are to be ready to respond and not react.
We are instructed to love all aspects of preaching – rebuking, exhorting, reproving, and doctrine. The doctrines of "creation, prophecy, and eternal security" can excite us, but what we do with them determines how we behave. We can learn to submit to and obey the Creator God who is sovereign over all things. We can occupy in the Gospel till the Lord comes again. We can be content and thankful to the Lord because He has written our names in heaven.
The Bible is filled with the promises and blessings of God, but it is also rich with divine instruction in righteousness. We must receive both gladly. Our convicted hearts can either be humbled and respond, or be proud and walk away. Remember the account of the woman who was caught in adultery? She responded and fell at the feet of Jesus, but the others turned their back on the truth.
John 8:9 "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."
The same is true of the two thieves on the cross. One humbled himself and cried out to the Lord, while the other, moved with pride, died with no hope.
The way we respond to the truth of God's Word can either help us or hurt us. No matter how we feel or what we think, God's Word will always prevail; so it is better for us not to resist it as we hear it.
Luke 16:17 "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."
Psalm 119:164-165 "Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
As we hear the Word of God week in and week out, let us have hearts like Ezra, hearts that are prepared to receive the Word of God so we can be changed by it, to live for God's glory, and not to live a covetous lifestyle.
Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”
Keep praying for each other.