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Removing the Deadly Leaven: The Pharisee in us All | Part A

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
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"Pharisee." This word immediately invokes a sense of repulsion among Bible students and Christians. Yahushua, throughout the New Testament, had more conflict with the Pharisees than any other group of people. Why, though? What was at the heart of these conflicts? Could it be that many professed Christians are today guilty of Pharisaism?

While we often think of Pharisees as an antiquated people group consigned to ancient Palestine, the truth is that Pharisaism is alive and well. In fact, it is thriving in the hearts of many of Yahushua's own followers. The spirit of Pharisaism is not restricted by age, gender, or vocation. It can reside in the hearts of both the young and elderly; it can reside in the hearts of both men and woman. None, no matter their title or position, are exempt from its evil influence.

Are you a Pharisee? We encourage you to take the time to prayerfully consider each of the points below.1 In our preparation for Yahushua's soon return, it is imperative that we daily examine our practices, our professions, our thought-lives, and the true condition of our hearts in Yahuwah's sight. Let us be always vigilant in our pursuit of holiness, that we may by the Father's grace be found blameless on that great day.

Then Yahushua said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6)

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)

50 Characteristics of a Pharisee

(1) A Pharisee glories in his connection to pious men, but does not have a personal or living connection with Yahuwah. Yahuwah saves us as individuals. None will be saved by their earthly affiliation with another. Are you boastful of your relationship to another? Are you allowing your relationship with a parent, spouse, friend, teacher, or pastor to influence your beliefs and practices, rather than searching the Scriptures for yourself to learn what is true?

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father: for I say unto you, that Yahuwah is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. (Matthew 3:9)

(2) A Pharisee glories in external righteousness, but neglects true righteousness, which comes from within. We are exhorted to pursue the genuine righteousness that comes only through a living connection to Father Yahuwah. Without this, we "shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Do you pursue the true righteousness that comes from within? Do you harbor anger, lust, covetous, greed, etc. in your heart? True righteousness is a condition of the heart. "Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23) "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see Yahuwah." (Matthew 5:8)

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

(3) A Pharisee does not mingle with unconverted people. Yahushua, in all that He did, was a friend to sinners. "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Mark 2:17) As followers of Yahushua, we are to imitate Him in all things. How will you reach the lost if your circles are comprised exclusively of those who are saved? If you refuse to mingle with sinners, you are a Pharisee.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? (Matthew 9:11)

Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. (Luke 7:39)

(4) A Pharisee is an ascetic. He boasts of his fasting and prides himself in his outward discipline.

Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? (Matthew 9:14)

(5) A Pharisee is very critical of others in small matters. He focuses on trivial details to the exclusion of the heart of the matter.

But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. (Matthew 12:2)

(6) A Pharisee focuses on rules to the exclusion of Yahuwah's revealed will.

And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Yahushua knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known. (Matthew 12:9-16)

(7) A Pharisee is motivated by jealousy and hatred. Do you always seek to bless others? ...or do you sometimes harbor resentment? Jealousy and hatred are the religion of Cain.

Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. (Matthew 12:14)

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