Delivered By
C. C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
June 5, 2016
Central Passage
Matthew 23:5
Description

SEE ME?

          In Matthew 23:5, Jesus said, “Everything they do is for people to see.”  He was talking, of course, about the religious leaders during His time on earth…but the statement also has implication and application for us today.

          Too many people think that Christian worship is about them…not about the God who should be the sole reason for their worship.  If anyone other than Jesus Christ is center stage in a church’s worship…that worship is a failure.  And, if you’re worshiping to make yourself feel good…you’ve completely missed the point of worship.  The purpose of worship is not about you or me.  The purpose of worship is love for…and praise of…God.

          There should be a huge difference between the “Kingdom of God” and its citizens and the “Kingdoms of this world” and their citizens…but there isn’t.  In many ways the modern church is set up very much after the pattern of this world’s kingdoms…which are Satan’s kingdoms.

          For example, many churchgoers fight for power rather than for the opportunity to serve.  In fact, it seems that the more evangelistic and service-oriented a ministry is…the harder it is to get churchgoers to participate.

          Many church members tend to love those who love them…and to make excuses for not loving others.  These folks tend to build personal empires…give as little as possible…and ignore the physical and spiritual needs of others.  They like being seen and applauded when doing a little good but…when another member is wounded…prefer shooting him or her instead of offering spiritual aid and comfort.

          It’s these people who allow New Testament teachings to be trampled by the influences of the kingdoms of this world.  They’ve been called to be reborn…and to allow the Holy Spirit to govern their lives…but it hasn’t happened.

          In a true Kingdom Church…a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ…there is no struggling for title and position.  You will recall that the disciples argued over who would have the highest position of authority in the new kingdom that Jesus was establishing…and He repeatedly rebuked them for it.  But, they never really caught on…and neither have most Christians today.  And, the teaching of Jesus is just as applicable now as it was then.

          There are ministers who insist on being addressed as doctor, reverend, pastor, bishop, rabbi, father and so on…but Jesus clearly put ministry in its proper place when He said in Matthew 23:5-12: “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ’Rabbi.’  But you are not to be called ’Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.  And do not call anyone on earth ’father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called ’teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.  The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

          You might think titles are no big deal in Christian ministry…but they are when someone who is allegedly appointed…or called of God…thinks a fellow servant of Jesus Christ should pay homage to them.  When someone becomes bigger than the God they allegedly serve…that’s a serious problem…and the Jewish religious leaders had done just that.  In their own eyes they had become bigger than God.

          So how Jesus lived and what He taught provided quite a contrast to their lives and teachings.  Some people today are upset when a so-called outsider runs for political office.  Well, Jesus was the ultimate religious outsider…and He still is.

          Many preachers and churchgoers today want…and expect…a lot more materially than Jesus ever had while He was on earth…which gives you an idea of what most people value.  They value money and titles…along with the power that those titles bring.

          Muhammad wanted a title…and the power that he thought the title brought.  He wanted to be a prophet…and even proclaimed himself to be one.  But, he wanted more than mere self-proclamation.  Arabs at the time didn’t have prophets…so he wanted the Jews, especially, to acknowledge his prophethood.  And, when they wouldn’t buy into what he wanted…he eventually murdered all those that he didn’t deport.

          Jesus reasoned with people about their relationship with God…and shared how everyone could have that relationship.  Muhammad murdered everyone who disagreed with him.  His narcissism screamed for attention…but, of course, narcissism is closely associated with an inferiority complex…which can express itself in violent behavior.

          All indications are that Adolf Hitler…whose narcissism had absolutely no boundaries… had an inferiority complex…which expressed itself in a phony attitude of superiority.  He was actually a weak man who found strength in going after…and murdering…the weak and unarmed.  He might have learned that from Muhammad’s Qur’an and the Hadiths.

          In Hitler’s writings and statements you can discover that he admired Islam…and that he even aspired to be Islamic in his faith.  Because of his stated goals…he was able to capture the admiration and loyalty of Muslims…using them and their hatred of Jews in his quest for world domination.  Muslims didn’t fight for the allies in World War II.  They fought for the Nazis…because Nazism represents more of what Islam is. 

          But, back to Muhammad.  I don’t recall any of the Old Testament prophets saying, “Look at me, I’m a prophet.”  In fact, most of them approached prophethood with a bit of fear and trepidation…a reluctance to be a prophet.  So if someone today tells you they’re a prophet…it’s OK to be a little suspicious.  Jews and Christians were certainly suspicious of Muhammad…and rightfully so.

          Muhammad proved to be a poster boy for narcissism.  And, he had an inferiority complex that was the mother of all narcissistic behavior.

          He was, in fact, such an accomplished liar that he had to be getting his material from the prince of liars…Satan himself.  He would say one day that Allah had told him this or that…and a week later he would say that Allah had told him something that completely contradicted what he said that he had previously been told.  The most recent utterances by Allah supposedly took precedent over his previous utterances.

          That may explain why every fifth verse in the Qur’an is incoherent…and why the most gifted translators say it is impossible to provide an accurate and reliable translation.

          Speaking of incoherent utterances…a man we call B.O., who is now president of these United States…has proclaimed that he now has terrorists cowering and on the run throughout the world.  However, the latest statistics available show that in 2015 there were 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 countries.  Unless my calculator is wrong…that comes out to an average of more than 32 terrorist attacks every day.  And, the number of attacks will likely increase this year.

          No one can say that Jesus took advantage of His relationship with God to live in the lap of luxury while on earth.  He actually lived a life of deprivation…but that wasn’t the case of the Jewish religious elite…and it wasn’t the case with Muhammad, either.

          The Jewish religious elite had an air of arrogance about them as to what was due them because of their alleged service to God.  As for Muhammad…he just made up what he said Allah wanted him to have as he went along.  And, because he had this direct connection with Allah…no Arab was going to argue with him.

          But, I see the same thing today with some alleged ministries…preachers living lavish lifestyles off the backs of people who believe that what these charlatans are telling them is God’s truth…when in reality they’re being fed a pack of lies that challenge even the biggest whoppers that Satan can concoct.

          You know who these clowns are.  They wear the five thousand dollar suits…the five hundred dollar shirts and ties…and the two thousand dollar shoes.  They live in houses that look more like hotels than homes…and they have more than one.  They have an entire fleet of the most expensive automobiles…along with two or three jet aircraft.  They have fulltime bodyguards, pilots and servants.  They’re no different than Muhammad…faking a relationship with God while keeping the masses ignorant of the truth.

          There’s nothing we can do about these charlatans…except to keep telling the truth…because Scripture makes it clear that they will always be with us.  And, we must share God’s truth with the masses of people they are misleading because Scripture also tells us “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Luke 12:40).

          Satanic leadership subscribes to the concept that ignorance and stupidity is a terrible thing to waste…and they certainly don’t waste it.  They build on it.  It’s how Islam has become a major force in the world over the past fourteen hundred years.

          I can’t help but be angered by how people are being misled…or about how ignorant and stupid people are who equate Christianity with a satanic ideology conceived in the bowels of hell.

          Should I be angry?  The answer is that whether I should be or not…I am.  I suppose that I could attribute it to righteous anger…but I don’t feel it necessary to excuse my anger on that basis.  Because God has laid out a clear path to salvation and eternal life with Him…it angers me that the majority of people continue to revel in their ignorance and stupidity…and to follow Satan instead of Jesus.

          And, I’m not just talking about Muslims.  Because the god of materialism reigns in this country…people in America have the idea that when an alleged church is large numerically it’s because they’re doing what’s right…the same idea the Jews had when equating the rich with the poor.

          But, the crowd that showed up at Pilate’s doorstep and shouted for Jesus to be crucified was much larger than the one that remained silent.  In this world Satan has always been able to draw a larger crowd for his lies than Jesus has drawn for God’s truth.  People would rather hear that God’s going to give them a bunch of stuff…instead of hearing that Jesus wants them to give up their stuff and follow Him.

          Following Him in today’s America…which is awash in materialism…is tough duty for most people.  It requires honor…sacrifice…and selflessness…all of which are belittled by a liberal culture in which no perversion known to humankind is sin.  In our Sodom and Gomorrah culture…God is thought of as nothing more than a myth…and what He calls sin is actually worshiped.

          For example, the University of Miami recently received a $2.2 million dollar gift to endow a professorial chair for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics.  If you don’t believe in God…what is there to study?  And, what pray tell are secular ethics?  Are we talking about morality as defined by man?

          Satan’s draw for people in this culture is that he’s always offering them a piece of the pie…and for people who claim to be Christian…but who have less than those around them…there is the temptation to want something so badly that you’re willing to compromise your beliefs to get it.

          That’s Islam’s draw for people, too.  Muhammad knew that it would take a piece of the pie to get people to follow him.  So the promise he made to his first little band of renegades was that they would share the plunder from raids on unsuspecting and poorly armed caravans.

          Of course, Muhammad got a bigger piece of the pie than anyone else.  But, that was OK because he was Allah’s prophet.  And, he would eventually become the prophet for the entire Arab world, which we’ve established had no prophet at all until he came along.  They had, in fact, never felt the need to have one…so Muhammad had to create the need.

          And, since he created the need…he also wrote his own job description for the position of prophet.  This enabled him to make a statement one day…contradict it the next day…and get no flak from anyone for confusing them.  Amazingly, Allah did the same thing when dictating the Qur’an to Muhammad…which tells me that Allah feels no more obligation to tell the truth than Satan does…which causes me to believe they are one in the same.

          Muhammad, obviously, had a lot more latitude in quoting Allah than Jesus had in quoting God.  It is impossible for God to lie…so Jesus could not lie…and said His followers should not lie.  But, Muhammad said Allah told him it was OK to lie as long as it benefited Islam.  And, since Muhammad was for all intents and purposes Islam…lying that benefited him was OK.

          Muhammad’s logic was that because he was Allah’s prophet…he deserved a bigger piece of the pie than anyone else.  So he took it…more wives, more concubines, more female slaves, more children for the purpose of pedophilia.  Muhammad’s male followers were allowed only four wives…but there was no limit on the number of wives the prophet could have…and no age limit, either.  Muhammad’s youngest wife was only six years old…but Muslim tradition claims he did not consummate the marriage until she was nine.

          Muhammad kept adding wife after wife to his harem…all with Allah’s full consent.  Any time he wanted to add spice to his sex life all he had to do was raid a town or caravan for female slaves…and Allah would approve.

          In keeping with the practices of their prophet leader…most of the human trafficking in the world today is carried out by Muslims.  Islam finds no fault with slavery or the use of women as sex objects…just as it finds no fault with those who murder Christians, Jews, or others who will not bow to Allah, Muhammad, the Qur’an and the Hadiths.

          In the world’s view the Kingdom of God that Jesus brought and taught on earth is an up-side-down kingdom.  There’s no socio-economic division.  Salvation is offered to all.  James asked, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? (James 2:5).

T          he world of Muhammad was about taking someone else’s pie and murdering them in the process.  The world of Jesus is about sharing your pie with those who are hungry for God’s truth.

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