Jerry C. Brewer
I often have occasion to attend funerals conducted in ornate buildings owned and operated by denominations in our town. As I looked at the trappings of these temples of the devil—including one that had a snack bar in the foyer—it occurred to me that Jesus could well have been talking to their “pastors” in Matthew 23. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were forerunners of today’s servants of Satan who masquerade as pious preachers and followers of Jesus. In reality, the denominational preachers in our town dare not preach the Truth. To do so would mean sacrificing their lucrative salaries, prestige, power and prominence in the community. To lose those things, might make them wind up like Saul of Tarsus who gave up everything to preach Christ.
What did Saul of Tarsus sacrifice to become the apostle Paul? Read Galatians 1:13-14 and Second Corinthians 11:18-12:10. No Assembly of God, Baptist, Methodist, Community Church, Presbyterian “pastor” or Catholic priest in our town would do that. Consequently, here’s our modern application of the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:1-28:
1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2saying, The Denominational industry’s clergy teach some things that are found in the New Testament: 3all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe that is in the New Testament, observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5But all of their works they do for to be seen of men: They make broad their collars and turn them backward, 6and love places of prominence in the community, 7and greetings on the street, and to be called of men, Reverend and Father. 8But be not ye called Reverend or Father, for one is your reverend Father, which is in heaven; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your father which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called Pastors; for one is your Pastor, even Christ the Chief Shepherd. 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13But woe unto you Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist Pastors, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men by denying the plain command of Jesus in Mark 16:16: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer them that are entering to go in. 14Woe unto you Pentecostal televangelists, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses demanding money from them, and for a pretense make long prayer that ye know is worthless for their ailments: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15Woe unto you Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
16Woe unto you, ye Catholic Priests, which say, Whosoever shall pray to the Father in heaven, it is nothing; but whosoever shall pray to Mary shall be heard! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, The Father in heaven who created all things, or a mortal woman? 18And, Whosoever shall fall down and worship God, it is nothing; but whosoever shall worship the Pope and kiss his toe is a true worshipper. 19Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the toe of a man, or the Creator of man? 20Whoso therefore shall pray to the Father acceptably, prayeth through Christ. 21And whoso shall pray to the Father by Christ’s authority is heard by Him in heaven. 22And he that shall fall down and worship God, worships Him who sits on heaven’s throne instead of the toe of a man on an earthly throne.
23Woe unto you Community Church Pastors, hypocrites! for ye raise money for gymnasiums, provide concerts and entertainments, adore and promote fleshly pursuits, and have omitted the things of Christ’s law—obedience to the gospel in order to be saved eternally.
24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25Woe unto you Denominational Pastors, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind minister of Satan, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27Woe unto you Denominational Pastors, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.