Looks are Deceiving

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

  1. 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.

5 thoughts on “Looks are Deceiving

  1. I suggest worshiping God is a lifestyle, more than just attending or service.
    Your comments about the church today remind me of Amos and Hosea.

  2. Sam

    I agree – your topic is so important, I think every day of my appearance and if I am being authentic and not chasing the evils of vanity. There are many who think they can buy their way into heaven…but will be sadly mistaken on judgement day!

  3. Worship is both a corporate activity and an individual attitude. The corporate activity can be faked (as far as other people are concerned) but the attitude cannot. Excellent post, and I thank you for the reminder. Be blessed.

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