BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES
by Kevin Rutherford
The Lord’s church has an obligation to stand up for what is true and right and to fight against that which is false and wrong. We must not have fellowship with evil, but we must instead reprove it (Ephesians ). We must not fellowship false teachers (2 John 9-11). We must mark and withdraw from those who divide with false doctrine (Romans , 18). We must stand and never fall!
However, we must stand for the truth with the right attitude or we shall loose our souls. We must always speak the truth in love (Ephesians ). We must always love those who are the enemies of truth (Matthew -48). We must answer error with meekness and godly fear (1 Peter ).
There are some who practice situation ethics. They believe that as long as they are opposing error they can behave in any manner they choose. Some will not deal with a matter or a person in error compassionately or honestly. Some will jump to conclusions too quickly without knowing the facts. Some will quickly bind their view in a matter and withdraw from all who do not immediately take their side. In others words there are some today who act just like the Pharisees. Jesus Christ said, “beware the leaven of the Pharisees (Mark ).”
What were the Pharisees like? Take note of some of the characteristics listed below:
1. The Pharisees were quick to condemn people before getting all of the facts in (Matthew ).
2. The Pharisees were quick to accuse others before they had all the facts
3. The Pharisees loved to tempt others through trick questions and deceit (Mark 19:3 ff.).
4. They desired to appear more righteous than anyone else (Matthew ).
5. Their form of radicalism bred greater radicalism (Matthew ).
6. They emphasized the small details but the Pharisees failed to recognize such basic doctrines as judgment, mercy, and faith (Matthew ).
We could go on listing the characteristics of the Pharisees but these should be enough to make it clear that there are people just like the Pharisees in the church today. Men who come blazing into a situation hurting, accusing, attacking, and hacking verbally before they even know all the facts. These are men who are quick to condemn others because it makes them feel superior. Men who believe theft constant bashing of others makes them look more important. The spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well today. “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees!”