While reading for an upcoming sermon over Matthew 23, I came across the following application to the two woes pronounced on the scribes and Pharisees in verses 25-28 that challenge our current model of and participation in church.
Looks are Deceiving
Avoid looking pious while living lives of greedy self-indulgence. The fifth and sixth woes describe a life of hypocrisy and typify much of Western Christianity, building huge luxurious churches whose members on Sunday look worshipful while they live lives of extravagance.
The members live above their means, yet give little to God in terms of both time and money. It has been estimated that only 25 to 30 percent of the average [members in an] evangelical church are actually involved in that church’s ministry. The rest attend regularly but live self-centered lives.
There are only two possible destinies for them: to squeak into heaven “as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor 3:12–15) or to have Christ say, “I never knew you” (Matt 7:21–23). It is a terrible thing to play games with one’s eternal destiny!
Question for Reflection
- What in your mind is worship? Is worship attending service? Serving God? Or a mixture of both?
Grant R. Osborne, Matthew, vol. 1, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 859.