Should we look out for the contamination of leaders and elites?
I need to be careful. There is a slippery slope where being a religious zealot moves quietly into religious rule keeping.
Has it happened to me?
Yikes! I resemble that remark.
The Pharisees (religious leaders and elites) were an influential religious sect within Judaism in the time of the Messiah and the early church.
The Pharisees (religious elites) are often presented as hypocritical and proud opponents of Jesus. The Master stated it bluntly: “They do not practice what they preach” (Matthew 23:3).
He then left them, got back in the boat, and headed for the other side. But the disciples forgot to pack a lunch. Except for a single loaf of bread, there wasn’t a crumb in the boat. Jesus warned, “Be very careful. Keep a sharp eye out for the contaminating yeast of Pharisees (religious leaders and elites) and the followers of Herod. | Mark 8:13-15 (The Message Bible)
The Pharisees (religious elites) were mostly middle-class businessmen and leaders of the synagogues. Though they were a minority in the Sanhedrin and held a minority number of positions as priests, they seemed to control the decision-making of the Sanhedrin because they had popular support among the people.
As a general rule, the Pharisees were self-righteousness and smug in their delusion that they were pleasing to God because they kept the Law — or parts of it, at least. Deluded so much as the thought our Master Jesus was demon possessed. Imagine!
As Jesus pointed out to them, however scrupulous they were in following the finer points of ritualism, they failed to measure up to God’s standard of holiness: “You have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness” (verse 23).
Pharisees (religious elites) opposed Jesus the Messiah during his ministry and were among those who brought about his crucifixion. Some Pharisees, however, accepted the Messiah’s teaching and believed in him.
They were known for:
- Their emphasis on personal piety (the word Pharisee comes from a Hebrew word meaning “separated”).
- Their acceptance of oral tradition in addition to the written Law, and their teaching that all Jews should observe all 600-plus laws in the Torah, including the rituals concerning ceremonial purification.
- That is a whole lot of hypocritical rule keeping.
- Am I a religious rule keeper? Do I look down on those who don’t seem to care about religious rules?
What We Believe
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Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus. The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus. This encounter is the means for both insight and vision. Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships. Learn more here.
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- Jesus is Lord. We exalt the One True God who made us and gave us the Lord Jesus Christ as our salvation. Our goal is to be a people with a heart for obedience to Christ in all things. His work made it possible for us to live – eternally and now – as children of God. Jesus made it possible for us to be rightly related to the Father and to one another. His desire is for us to succeed. We believe a right relationship with Him is the first and most important step.
- The Bible is True. God’s Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12-13), which we take into our minds and spirits and live out through the flesh. When Jesus asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). The basis for everything we teach is “Life is Relationships.”
- Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. We desire to walk in and by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit (available to all believers) empowers Christians for living witness and dedicated service.
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