Killing the Prophets

(Matthew 23:29-39)

The greatest hypocrisy Jesus condemned the Pharisees and scribes over concerned killing the prophets. They said that had they lived in the days of their fathers they would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets. However Jesus condemns them out of their own mouths.

He shows that they witness against themselves. In their statements they have shown their guilt for they witness that they are the sons of murderous fathers. Their fathers killed the prophets and righteous men sent by God to aid his people. And they would do the same and worse. Already they had consented to the death of John the Baptist. They were about to condemn Jesus and have him put to death. And they would also stone Stephen and put to death James the brother of John when the apostles commenced their ministry.

Indeed they were not only just like their fathers, but they were worse. As Jesus said, all the righteous blood shed would come upon his generation. It was their generation that would put the Christ to the stake and to this day they have been condemned.

They opposed the Lord and the prophets of God down through the generations because they wanted the power to themselves. They sought to rule and control the people for their own gain and benefit. They misused the power they had, which was given to teach the people the ways of God. Instead they used and abused the people and it would be required of them. This was the message he showed to them in various parables. It was stated in the parable of the vineyard let out to tenants (Matthew 21:33-41). It was also the essence of the parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22:1-10. And yet still the Pharisees could not or would see the evil in their hearts and turn for repentance.

This persecution of God’s people by those who claim to be his but are not is still occurring. Many have been thrown out of churches, excommunicated and shut out because they chose to follow God rather than the false doctrines of religious teachers. Many have suffered when they need not have because they failed to recognise these falsehoods for what they were.

A church or religious leader has tremendous power. They have power over people’s lives and people listen to them for guidance, advice and teaching. If this power goes to their heads it is a dangerous situation, both for the teacher and the flock of God. That is why the Lord says through James, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.” (James 3:1-2) Above all else they must find the truth themselves and then communicate it to those in their care. They cannot afford for error in the ministry and so must take the greater pains to validate what they are teaching. Their teachings must align with the truth of the words of God. It must be scripture based and it must lead to life and freedom in Jesus Christ.

And yet many preachers continue to teach bondage as did the scribes and Pharisees. Bondage to the law, bondage under sin, condemnation and a ministry based upon works. These are not the teachings of Christ or the New Covenant. They are teachings developed by men for their own devices and to achieve their own ends. The aim of ministry should be growth. Not necessarily the growth of the church in terms of great numbers, but rather the growth of the individual to maturity in Jesus Christ. Ministry should bring us all to that place described in Ephesians 4:11-14.

11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.

If the ministry of any minister is not leading to this end, they are not teaching the truth of the New Covenant. Thus it is essential that we all learn the scripture, learn the truth and seek the Lord to guide us into all truth so that we may be able to stand. As a simple test of ministry and teachings, Jesus came to give us freedom, not to bring us into bondage. If the ministry being fed to you is bringing you into bondage in any way, you must question it and resist it. We are not captives in Christ but free men. Let no one put you back into slavery under false teaching.

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