|From the Pastors Desk|
|Tabernacle||Internal Worship vs. Hypocrisy||Lesson 3|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|June 10 2001||Bible Lessons
To have a proper understanding of the Tabernacle and its service, we need to have a clear understanding of God's purpose for the Tabernacle. There are several stated aspects of God's purpose for the Tabernacle. If we do not start with God's purpose, we will have the same tendency as the Old Testament Jews to misuse, misapply and misdirect the instructions concerning the Tabernacle and its service.
The Tabernacle and its service were designed by God to capture and direct the minds and thought processes of the observers and worshipers. However, if the human thought process is allowed to wander and is not centered on God's clear presentation, then the imagination can develop many false teachings, thereby establishing immoral and non-Biblical actions. This very thing happened to the Old Testaments Jews, and continues to happen to many students of the Bible, even to this day.
In viewing the Tabernacle and its service, it is easy for the human mind to be so drawn to the structure and the details of the instructions for service that the purpose and function intended by God is missed.
By and large, the Old Testament Jews became obsessed with the structure and the instructions for service, and they DID miss God's purpose and message. To the Israelites, the Tabernacle and its service became more an idol, than a picture of the coming Messiah and instructions for their walk in holiness.
The Jews felt that simply being the custodians of the Tabernacle and the Law somehow made them "better" than other humans. As a result, the very use of the Tabernacle and the performance of its services became sins of the greatest magnitude.
As we look at the divine commentary on this matter, may we remember that, as New Testament Believers, it is equally as easy for us to become obsessed with the external and find ourselves in sin of like or greater degree than the Old Testament Jews.
The Holy Spirit through the Old Testament prophets often gave sharp rebukes to the Jews, because they had an outward form of worship, BUT their heart attitude was not pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit through the New Testament writers are equally hard on Christians who practice the same type of things as the Jews in the Old Testament. Over and over again throughout the entire Bible, the Holy Spirit tells us that heart intent or motive is the most important human factor in worship and service.
Please keep in mind, as we studying the Tabernacle and its service, we
need to observe BOTH God's purpose for it,
AND the human misuse of the same. In that
way, we will have real insight into the proper form and reality of our
worship, service and walk of faith. We need to keep in mind that the people
to whom Christ is speaking in
Even Christ uses their outward "goodness" as an example in....
In later lessons, we will spend some time seeing HOW our righteousness CAN exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees. For this lesson, we need to establish that these people were not your general run-of-the-mill sinners. These were people of religious status, bar none!!!
Later in this lesson, we will go back to chapter 15 and see that the context of this statement was centered around the Law, and what the Jews had "done to" the Law to make it "better".
It was these well educated, religiously motivated, pious people whom Christ addressed at "HYPOCRITES". If this is the "title" given to those "custodians of the Law", we had better know what "hypocrite" means!!
We often say that hypocrite means an actor, or one who hides behind a mask. That is an accurate definition. However, the term hypocrite has far more meaning, BOTH in secular and Biblical definitions. Look again at the definitions that make up this term.
This is the descriptive title given by Christ to these VERY religious people. These are the very ones who the majority of that day felt were the MOST Spiritual of all.
I wonder what term Christ would use of us, if He were to visit our assembly in Person? If Christ were to visit our assembly, I fear He would find a good number of SUPER HYPOCRITES. Many of us have refined the act of being a hypocrite to a daily art form that could easily win an academy award!!
As we take a glance at what these custodians of Law did to merit such a title, I trust that we can learn from their very poor example, and we can see beyond the sham, to the reality of the Tabernacle and its service for our lives, today.
Christ, while on earth, gave many teachings that demonstrated the purpose of the Law. One of those teachings was given to the "woman at the well" in.....
Worship of God is internal or "of spirit", and must be honest or "of truth". I often ask the question at the beginning of a lesson that goes a little like.., "Why did you come to church, today?" It is a good question, and it should be asked and answered EVERY time we engage in an act of worship. Let's take a quick look at the Old Testament portion that Christ referred to in....
The Holy Spirit puts the sin of these in Isaiah's day on the same plane as those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Please note. Most of Israel was in this state of hypocrisy. By the way, this study of the Tabernacle will help us to see sin as sin, INSTEAD of seeing some sins as bad, while other sins asnot so bad. Usually, we equate our sins as those that are not so bad, while the sins of others are the bad ones.
The truths of the Tabernacle will help us level the playing field, and see that ALL sins are against God, and were equally responsible for nailing Christ to the cross. We'll have plenty of time for that subject later. Right now, let's see God's focus on the "purpose", or the heart attitude in this matter of worship vs. "good" outward demonstration.
Keep Proverbs 21:27 in mind as we compare this passage with the rest of Scripture.
Never let it slip from your mind! God is interested in the intent or motive of religious service, FAR more than the outward form. That fact has been true since the earliest mention of worship, even going back to the worship of Lucifer, and later the worship of Adam and Eve.
Are you serving or worshipping to be seen, to impress, to cover up, to gain favor with God and others, etc., etc.??? By the way, all of the above and much more can be a reality when we worship and serve from a proper motive. BUT when we serve or worship from the wrong motive, our worship/service is an abomination to God, AND we would be better off never attempting such.
If you are worshipping and/or praying from a wrong heart attitude or motive, God will HIDE his eyes from you, and will not HEAR your prayer.
So....., if you have this wrong motive and you pray, and your prayers are answered..., guess WHO did not answer them??!!!!!!!?
Under those conditions, if you got an answer, it came from some other source than God. Scary, isn't it??? However sad as it may be, very few people will change their motive because of fear.
The Holy Spirit goes on, in chapter 29 of this book, to give God's Spiritual diagnosis for WHY these people had the wrong motive, and WHY they continued to live by that motive. Please look closely. For it might prevent you from falling into the same type of sin.
We could spend the rest of this lesson in this portion. As a matter of
fact, we could spend a year of lessons in this passage and never exhaust
the depth of its truth. Let's move back to our passage in
Let's look a little further to see if there is any possibility of New Testament Believers falling into the category of a Biblical hypocrite.
Yes, as Christians, we are warned over and over again to be alert to hypocrisy in others, and in our own lives!
Just a side-light in passing. I was doing some research for another subject, and it was interesting to see that often, the tools of a hypocrite, in their profession of hypocrisy, are "deceit and guile" along with an array of similar devises.
Both deceit and guile can be described as "lures" such as a fishing lure. A "lure" is something that is false, but "dressed-up" to look better than the real thing, in order to attract the victim and yet not reveal its true nature, until too late. Please, read that again, and again, and...
When I saw that, I thought.., those sure sound like good tools for a hypocrite. Also, when working with an obvious hypocrite, I need to be on the look-out for the use of such tools.
One of the best ways for us NOT to become hypocrites in the use of the knowledge of the Tabernacle and it service, is to be sure we see the real motive of God, AND that we present the facts in the light that God gave them.
It is so easy to "dress-up" or spiritualize the Tabernacle in a manner that will make it more appealing to the human mind. If we do "dress-up" the Tabernacle and its service in such a manner, then we are no better and probably worse than those Christ called "Hypocrites"!!
We will not take time to follow this through at this time, but please
note some of the context of
Christ not only points out that He came to fulfill the Law, He assures us that the very
smallest part of that Law will be fulfilled. This very fact emphasizes the importance of the Law. Notice Christ's statement about
keeping and teaching the
This teaching others to break the Law, referred to here, is not so much through verbal instruction, but by example through personally breaking the Law. Paul picks up that theme in Romans, and gives additional information and insight.
Romans 2:17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.
But when it came to doing what they
taught, they received a failing score. The conclusion of Paul and what
Christ said in
God's intention for the Law, as it related to the people, was not simply a text to be taught. God's intention for the Law was that it become the motive of life, changing both the exterior and interior of that life.
As we move through this study, we will see that the purpose of the Law had two major divisions:
As these two were allowed to work together, the participant in the Law could see that his sin was overwhelming, BUT there were also provisions for forgiveness, cleansing, and victory over that sin. This effect was only true in the life when the participant was involved in the totality of the Law.
The keeping or fulfilling of the Law could not be piece-meal. The Law was a WHOLE, and the keeping of it was "all or nothing". When or if the participant realized that they could not personally "keep" or fulfill the Law, they would then see that the total and complete fulfillment had to come through a perfect substitute.
As time passed, the leaders of the Jews, and the people in general began to think that they personally had to keep or fulfill the Law. However, it was obvious that no human could keep the Law. Therefore, the leaders began to interpret the Law in such a manner so that a person could keep the "letter" of the Law, but ignore the real spirit of the Law. Of course, the "letter" of the Law was their personal interpretation.
Through this interpretation process, the leaders developed an elaborate system of things a person could do and couldn't do. Most of the things contained in this manmade system were not even in the Law, given by God. During the time of Christ, this system, developed by the leadership, was called the "Tradition of the Elders".
Look at that! There's part of the context
to the passage we've been looking at throughout this lesson. Not only does
the context shed light on
After all, if they could "keep" the law by washing their hands, plus a lot of other things in that Tradition of the Elders, then there was no reason to look for a Messiah, sent from God to be the Lamb of God, who would be the sacrificial substitute for their sin. Instead, they looked for a Messiah who would, by great power, deliver them from Roman domination.
Listen my friend. Add a little human wisdom to the pure Word of God, and you NO LONGER have the Word of God. You have the commandments of men taught AS the Word of God (and that's a lie). When that happens, you have the doctrine of demons.
Listen to what else Christ had to say to these Jewish leaders concerning this subject.
There are many things that the Law should and could have produced in the lives of those under the Law. Three of those things are mentioned here: (1) Justice (2) Mercy (3) Faith. These three are the "weightier matter" of the Law, or the most important aspects for the human life.
If they had been fully participating in the service of the Law and Tabernacle, by faith, these three things would have been a natural result. Instead, they tried to change the Law to make it compatible to mankind, and where they couldn't change it, they simply ignored it altogether.
That sounds a little like modern religions, and a whole lot like some people I've met. Even somewhat like the one in the mirror I see each morning. How about you??
Well....., I wonder how we "stack" up?!?!?? If the Holy Spirit were to have a paragraph written about you...., how many times would He have to insert the term "Hypocrite"?
The Jews were not required to fulfill the Law. They were not even to attempt to fulfill it. However, through faith in the service of the Tabernacle, the "righteous requirement" of the Law was fulfilled by a substitute representing Christ. The "righteous requirement" of the law has never changed.
No longer do we have to participate by faith in the service of the Tabernacle, while a substitute, representing Christ, fulfills the "righteous requirement" of the Law. Christ, Himself, came and fulfilled the "righteousness requirement" of the Law.
That "righteousness requirement" can be fulfilled in you. First, by faith you must accept Christ as your Savior from sin. Then moment by moment, you must walk in the Spirit and the requirement will be fulfilled in you, by the only One Who can fulfill it, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ did it! All you can do is accept it, by faith! If you will allow God to do it, God's way, it will happen!! If you try to do it your way.... or by the traditions of the elders...(or substitute your name for the elders).., then over and over again God will say of you, "You hypocrite!!!"
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001|