Matthew 23: More Reasons “Do Stuff” Isn’t the Gospel

This morning I studied through part of Matthew 23 with my middle-schoolers. We found that legalism is both deceptive and selfish. It turns people away from Jesus and toward, not only themselves, but also those people who preach themselves instead of Jesus.

Matthew 23:1-12 says:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

In other words, the first signs of a false teacher, a law-preacher, a legalist, a Pharisee, a  hypocrite are:

  • He wants to be Moses, the law-giver.
  • He does not practice what he preaches.
  • He lays heavy burdens on his hearers.
  • He does good deeds so that he will be noticed.
  • He likes to dress well to get people’s praise.
  • He likes to sit at the seat of honor.
  • He likes to be called by an honorary title.
  • He is no servant like Christ.

“Do Stuff,” in other words, exalts the false teacher over the True Lord. It raises up men instead of God. It makes “masters” and “teachers” out of mere creatures while failing to treat the Creator as the King of Kings.

But Jesus didn’t come, live, die, and rise so that men would be supreme in our own and each other’s hearts. He did it so He would be supreme in our hearts! He did it to exalt His own gracious glory!

You see, “Do Stuff” dethrones God from the gospel and places man as the idol. The gospel places God at the center, crucified and risen for sinners, and places man at His feet.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

2 Responses to Matthew 23: More Reasons “Do Stuff” Isn’t the Gospel

  1. Pingback: New Series! « Your Cross on My Back

  2. Pingback: Archives: “Do Stuff” Still Isn’t the Gospel « Your Cross on My Back

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