Acts 17:11 Archives

Spiritual Blindness


Luke 12:1c (Wey) "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is to say, beware of hypocrisy."

Mat 23, Hypocrisy: The Cause of Spiritual Blindness

Mat 23:1-3 (NIV) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

Mat 23:4-8 (NIV) "They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the market-places and to have men call them 'Rabbi'. But you are not to be called 'Rabbi', for you have only one Master and you are all brothers."

Mat 23:11-12 (NIV) "The greatest among you will be your servant." For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Mat 23:13-24 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Woe to you, blind guides!.. You blind fools!.. You blind men!.. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."

Mat 23:25-28 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Hypocrisy: The Yeast of the Pharisees

1Sa 16:7 (NIV) "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Mat 16:6-12 (NIV) "Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn't bring any bread." Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand?... How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Mat 23:3b (NAS) "Do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them."

Mat 23:3c (KJV) "For they say, and do not."

Luke 12:1b (NIV) Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."

Hankering After Yeasty Teachings and Teachers?

  • There is a real danger of following the teachings of "yeasty", puffed-up people and admiring their doctrines. The teachings they boastfully speak forth may be correct as far as they go, but the personal consequences being led by the blind are stark and painful. Thus, Jesus gives us a direct order.

  • Mt 15:14 (NIV) "Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

    Lu 6:39 (NRS) He also told them a parable: "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?"

    Mat 15:12-14 (Phi) Later his disciples came to him and said, "Do you know that the Pharisees are deeply offended by what you said?" "Every plant that my Heavenly Father did not plant will be pulled up by the roots," returned Jesus. "Let them alone. They are blind guides, and when one blind man leads another blind man they will both fall into the ditch!"

    1Cor 5:6-7 (NIV) ...Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are...

    Words Must Match Deeds

    Luke 6:43-46 (NIV) "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

    1Jn 2:3-4 (Jer) We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments.

    Jam 3:11-13 (NIV) Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig-tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

  • We ought to take Jesus' command to "Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1) seriously, else we will "fall into" a spiritual "ditch" for sure. We must refuse and renounce teachings and teachers who are anti-christ in their demeanor and who show anti-fruit in their daily lives, no matter how dazzling their doctrines sound. How many spiritual "ditches" have we fallen into for lack of obedience to this loving warning God has given us?

  • 2Tim 3:5-14 (NIV) ...Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.... But they will not get very far because... their folly will be clear to everyone. You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings... But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it.

    1Th 5:12 (KJV) ...know them which labour among you...

    1Th 1:5 (NIV) Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

    1Th 2:10 (NIV) You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.

    1Co 4:16,20 (NIV) Therefore I urge you to imitate me.... For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

    The Darkness of Blindness

    Eph 5:3-11 (NIV) But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no-one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

    John 12:35,46 (NIV) Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going... I have come into the world as a light, so that no-one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

    Healing of Blindness: Want, Ask, Believe, Receive, and Follow

    Mark 10:51-52 (NIV) "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus...

    Mat 20:32-34 (NIV) Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

    Do You Want To Be Healed?

    John 5:6 (NIV) When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"

  • It might sound like an odd question, but think about it. If God can really heal us, rather than just give us a vague hope that the "waters might be stirred", then much of our yeast-doctrine will prove bogus. The proposal of Jesus skewers hypocritical coping mechanisms and rationalizations.

  • John 5:6 (TCN) "Do you wish to be cured?"

  • Picture yourself a beggar who has grown up panhandling. It is a miserable life, but at least you have learned to get by and have gained certain skills to cope. You don't know much about what normal, healthy people do; about real work, etc., and this intimidates you. On the other hand, you are no dummy when it comes to knowing where to go to get the best donations, where to sit in case "the waters stir" and so forth. But if healing is a real-and-present prospect then this "knowledge" would be useless and you would be starting back at ground zero. Healing, while it sounds good, is intimidating in reality to our sense of carnal pride of being masters of our own destiny--even if our destiny is a pitiful one. The familiar prison of trudging along seems better than the stress of an unknown prospect.

  • John 5:6 (KJV) "Wilt thou be made whole?"

  • To be sure, this is not all that goes on in the emotions of the spiritually blind, but let us admit that it is definitely part of what goes on... and why we form doctrines of unbelief against the power of God to completely heal us. Do we really want to be healed? It is not an idle question, for if we do we will have to unlearn a lot of worldly, yeasty thinking and teaching. Pharisaical doctrines and swooning under pharisaical teachers will have to go, and we will have to relearn from ground zero. But God is faithful if we will reject the yeast and truly desire healing.
  • John 5:3-6 (NAS) In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered... A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?"

    Hypocrisy Denies Real Healing is Possible

    John 9:18-19 (NIV) The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. "Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"

    John 9:32 (NIV) "Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind."

  • Unbelief makes for "blindness" to the power of God which can actually heal, and demands a reinterpretation of the facts if some poor soul is actually saved. The Pharisee in us says: "It can't have happened"; for if it has, our hypocrisy and reduction of God's standard is shown for what it is.

  • John 9:39-41 (NIV) Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

  • Claiming a "sight" that they do not have, many are blind to the glorious reality of God's real ability to heal and save. A man "born" into sin cannot really be made well, can he? If people can really be spiritually healed, then why have we spent so much mental energy to turn grace into a license to remain in immorality?

  • 2 Peter 2:17-22 (NIV) These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

    Jude 1:4-5 (NIV) For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.

    Belief: Required for Healing

  • Those who have embraced pharisaical "mere words" doctrines are "yeasted" not to believe that God can really heal them. They are blind to the reality of salvation and ability of God to actually save men. They claim to see what they have no vision of, so they are truly blind. They are content to claim things and say things rather than experience them. They disbelieve that anyone can be totally healed, in fact, since this would convict them of their own half-belief. Thus they form doctrines and teachings to insulate themselves from having to deal with full, real salvation.

  • But if we really hope to be changed into people "fit for the kingdom" then we need to believe that Jesus can really heal us and make us righteous. He died for nothing less. The big question is this: are we really believers?

  • Mat 9:27-30 (NIV) As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored.

    Mr 10:24-27 (NIV) ...Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!" ...The disciples said... "Who then can be saved?" "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

    John 9:25b (NIV) "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

    The Miracle Power of God: Purged of Yeast

    Ps 146:8a (NIV) The Lord gives sight to the blind.

    Isa 42:6-7,16 (NIV) "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness... I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

    Lu 4:18-21 (NIV) "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."... "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

    Isa 35:1-8 (NIV) The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.

    Mt 11:4-6 (NIV) Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

    Spiritual Vision Test

    Mark 8:22-25 (NIV) ...Some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spat on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

    1Jo 3:6 (NIV) No-one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No-one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

    John 9:25-27 (NIV) "...Though I was blind, now I see." They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?"


    END OF STUDY

    EXTRA STUFF, VERSES

    Mat 15:7-9 Isaiah was right... hearts far from... but rules taught by men...

    yeast doctrines: What is the appeal?

    Lk 6:39 Mat 21:28-31 - the parable of the two sons

    Words Must Match Deeds section: 1Pt 2:1 - rid of hypoc, 2Th 3:6-7 - keep away from

    salvation: Heb 3:15,4:7

    Vision: Mat 5:8 - the pure in heart, they shall see God!

    1Jn 3:18 - love/words/action/truth

    1Jn4:7 - love... knows God

    1Tim 1:6-7 meaningless talk

    1Tim 4:1-6 (Phi) God's Spirit specifically tells us that in later days there will be men who abandon the true faith and allow themselves to be spiritually seduced by teachings of the devil, teachings given by men who are lying hypocrites, whose consciences are as dead as seared flesh... You will be doing your duty as Christ's minister if you remind your church members of these things...



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