How to Tell if You’re a Pharisee (Part 3)

This is the final part of this series, taken from the sermon “Barriers: Religion” at Christ the King Church.

#7 Pharisees test others to include or exclude.

The Pharisees did it to Jesus. In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees caught the woman in the act of adultery. But their whole point in doing this was to “put Jesus to the test.” They tried to box Jesus into a corner with a complicated test to see if he would side with Law or with grace. They did this in the name of justice, but their motives were wrong.

This happens a lot with Christian sub-groups. Not only are these sorts of Christians prone to “pet issues” (see part two) but they also devise tests to evaluate one’s commitment to their pet issue.

These tests are numerous. Some people make heart judgments about other people based on the clothes they wear, where they school their children, what part of the city they live in (in the city or in the burbs), and so on.

#8 Pharisees Follow the Rules and Miss the Point.

The Pharisees who caught the woman in the act of adultery followed the “Do Not Commit Adultery” rule from the 10 Commandments. But they missed the point. The Law was not given to us by God to give us a sense of moral superiority when we obey it. Rather, the law gives us a code to live by but also a means of atonement for failure.

The Pharisees were eager to point out the moral sin of adultery committed by this woman but they failed to see their own sin of self-righteousness and pride.

#9 Pharisees Rejoice in the sins of others.

Since Pharisees are all about demonstrating their own moral superiority, they might secretly rejoice when others fail. People who’s sins are outward and easy to identify make those around them feel great about themselves. Then those Pharisees can demonstrate their self-righteous outrage at the sin of others.

#10 Pharisees Lack Genuine Joy.

Living life as a Pharisee will ultimately rob a person of true joy. There is no freedom because they are always wondering how others perceive them. They take themselves too seriously because they feel like they are the only ones who take anything seriously.

But the life of freedom offered to us in Christ sets us free from bondage to sin and gives us a true joy that lasts forever.

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