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Beware the Scribes

May 18, 2015

casual preacherJesus did not mince words with the religious charlatans. He condemned them without compromise. These men were prideful, predatory pretenders who used the worship of God to manipulate others for their own personal gain. In Mark they are described as men who loved to to wear rich clothing. They loved to be dressed in the finest clothes and covered in the garments of prestige. They loved to be greeted with praise in the streets. The loved the praise and applause of the crowds. They liked to be called teacher and master and to be sought after. The loved to have the chief seats in the synagogue. They liked the seats up front, set apart from the crowd where everyone would see them and know they were someone important. They loved to have the most important seats at feasts. The loved the seats of highest honor and to be seen by all. They wanted to be known as important and powerful men.

They lived for fame and were greedy to become rich. They used their influence over people to convince them to give up all their wealth. They preyed on the poor and needy. They would convince the elderly and destitute to sign over their homes to the temple. They placed minimum requirements on offerings so that none could give less than a certain amount of money, even if it was all the person had. They used their power and influence over people to coerce them to give to the temple. The money that was given to the temple was then distributed among the scribes, ending up in their own pockets. They became wealthy off the sacrifices of the needy.

They made a pretence of prayer. Their worship of God was not genuine. They were not seeking Divine approval, but the crowd’s accolade. They did not desire to speak with God, nor did they trust God. They desired to be seen of others and trusted their own goodness. They stood where they could be seen and prayed long prayers for the listening crowds. The religious frauds used religion as a show to gain power, importance and riches.

The warnings of two thousand years ago are still pertinent today. Beware the false teachers. Beware the professional religionists who use a profession of a faith to achieve their own selfish ends. Whether this be the politician who claims Christianity for the sake of gaining a block of voters or this be the televangelist who preaches one must send him “seed money” to get a blessing from God, any who use the worship of God for personal gain are frauds. The very worst of them prey on the poor and needy to achieve their own fame and wealth. Beware those who get rich off the church and ministry. Beware those who use the Bible as a means to get famous. Beware those who work for influence and control instead of serving the body of believers. The and the things of God are not tools for personal promotion. The church is no place to strive for noteriety, importance or wealth.

“Whosoever will be great among you, will be your servant.”

 

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