Faithlife Sermons

Justice (18)

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23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Mt 23:23).
This was our Lords last public message. It is a scathing denunciation of false religion that paraded itself under the guise of truth. Some of the common people no doubt were shocked at his words, for they considered the Pharisees righteous. Jesus gives these 8 woes to the Scribes and Pharisee for their hypocritical behavior! This 4th of the 8 deals directly with the Scribes and Pharisee failure to execute Justice. Mercy and Faithfulness.
As in our Sunday school lesson the execution of justice is very important to the Lord. Jeremiah had warned to Judah. SO Justice is what the Lord requires of us. In Jeremiah 5  The Lord was willing to spare Jerusalem if he could find one doing justice. Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her. 2  Though they say, “As the LORD lives,” yet they swear falsely. 3  O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? (Je 5:1–3).
The weightier matters of the law are justice, mercy and faithfulness! He uses the word hypocrites repeatedly. Because all they did was for show. If we are really to be the church we must be more concerned with actually doing right then looking right.
As with the indictment on Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s time there is a prediction of WOE to these Pharisees.
Jesus publicly warned the crowd against the scribes. He said, “... whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.” No Pharisee would have maintained his place in the brotherhood for long, if it had been obvious that he preached but did not practice. Man-made laws had been added to the Law of Moses so that it was a massive thing consisting of 613 laws in all. Most of the man-made laws were aimed at guaranteeing the keeping of the divinely given laws.
Bearing in mind the Scriptures that follow, it seems clear that this means they are to do all lawful things, that is, it depends on the extent to which they do really sit in Moses’ seat and teach what is contained in The Books of Moses (the first five books of the Bible).But, they should not teach, the traditions of the elders as coming from God (see the condemnation of some of these in Matt.15:1–20). However, as the verse goes on to show, the sin of the Pharisees lay more in their evil practices than in their teaching, for they themselves did not practice what they preached.
Jesus was not criticizing the teaching in the synagogues, but rather the teachers themselves. By teaching man-made traditions instead of God’s truth, they took away the key of knowledge and closed the door to salvation—“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves (enter heaven), and those who were entering in you hindered.” (Luke 11:52). Their lives proved they were hypocrites.
They (the scribes and Pharisees) place severe religious demands on men through extreme interpretations of the letter of the law, but they will not assist anyone in removing these intolerable burdens. They do good deeds, but it is for the wrong reason, that is, to be highly respected and honored by other men. They draw attention to themselves by enlarging their phylacteries and the fringes of their tunics. At feasts, they take the chief place at table and they set on the front row in the Synagogue. They love to receive compliments in the marketplace, and to be called teacher or master by one and all. But, I will say to each of you, do not call any man your master in a spiritual sense, because your master is Christ, you have the same ancestors, you belong to the same people, You are a fellow believer united to another by the blood of affection, and you are His brothers by blood—Christians who will be exalted to the same heavenly place.
The Pharisees’ love for praise paralleled their greed for money. Widows needing assistance to administer their estates often turned to “spiritual leaders.” Scribes gladly aided them, however, they benefited personally from a plan contrived for their own personal gain. For appearance sake, Pharisees and scribes were outwardly religious. They recited long prayers—great swelling words of vanity—empty prayers that were mere words, and they loved to parade around in long robes, which customarily was worn by distinguished persons on special occasions. This distinguished them from the common herd and gave them a sanctimonious appearance. They loved the best places at feasts (the places of highest honor), and to be greeted with high-sounding titles in public places. It did something for their ego! They sought the places of honor in the synagogues, as if physical location had something to do with godliness. They not only wanted religious prominence, but social distinction as well.
It is clear that the Pharisees had a wrong concept of ministry. To them, ministry meant handing down laws to the people and adding to their burdens. Jesus came to lighten man’s burdens—“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
This weightier thing is denoted by doing three things
Justice Justice is important to God. It’s so important that what’s right, what’s wrong, and how to live justly are consistent themes throughout the Bible.
What does that mean for you and me? Following Jesus means we have to know Him, and part of knowing Him is knowing what’s important to Him. So if it’s important to God, it should be important to us.

What the Bible Says About Justice

1. Justice deals appropriately with those who do right and wrong.

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers" (Proverbs 21:15).

2. God loves justice and hates injustice.

“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them” (Isaiah 61:8).

3. Justice comes with God’s blessing.

“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” – Psalm 106:3

4. Justice is part of who God is.

“The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18)

5. God wants more justice in the world.

“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)

6. God wants us to practice justice.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

7. God wants our just actions more than our sacrifices to Him.

“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice” (Proverbs 21:3).

8. Justice is demonstrated through mercy and compassion.

“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another’” (Zechariah 7:9).

9. God wants us to work for justice—especially for the vulnerable.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

10. Stand up for what’s right, even when others don’t.

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd” (Exodus 23:2).

11. Upholding justice is an essential part of being a good steward of what God has given us.

“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

12. God commands His people to uphold justice.

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed’” (Isaiah 56:1).

13. Jesus hears our cries for justice and promises to bring it.

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)

14. Jesus will establish justice for everyone on earth.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations...In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope” (Isaiah 42:1-4).
To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God is no easy task, but it’s a worthy calling. As we apply God’s heart of justice, we’ll see ourselves and others changed as the kingdom of heaven comes to earth.
Mercy
Mercy is where we do not really get what we truly deserve. In other words, if God was not merciful, we would receive the full measure of His wrath upon sinful human beings. Matthew 9:13 “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jude even says that we should have mercy on doubters Jude 1:22-23 “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”
Faithfulness Faithfulness. Maintaining faith or allegiance; showing a strong sense of duty or conscientiousness. In biblical Hebrew, “faith” and “faithfulness” are grammatically related.
The Lord has been faithful to us. The Psalmist said,
I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel. . (Ps 71:22). We have an obligation to return the faithfulness. It shows our faithfulness.” This indicates that faith is more than momentary assent to the truth of God. It is commitment to that truth, and it manifests itself in continued obedience.
God’s Faithfulness. In spite of Israel’s faithlessness (Dt 32:20; cf. Rom 3:3), 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 3:3–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.God showed himself to be absolutely reliable. His faithfulness is great (Lam 3:23). He is loyal to his covenant and will always manifest his steadfast love to his people (Ps 136).
The pinnacle of faithfulness in the Bible is seen in the work of Jesus Christ, who showed himself faithful to his Father (Heb 3:2) and in his witness (Rv 1:5). God calls men and women to be faithful by following Christ, relying on him for all things (Hab 2:4; cf. Rom 1:17).
Jesus showed us Faithfulness. Who can find a friend so faithful who with all our sorrows share.
That’s why the psalmist reminds us to
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
2  O give thanks unto the God of gods:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
3  O give thanks to the Lord of lords:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
4  To him who alone doeth great wonders:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
5  To him that by wisdom made the heavens:
For his mercy endureth for ever.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 136:1–5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
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