In part 1 I covered some of the attitudes that a Pharisee has. That list was by no means exhaustive, given the time and research one could write a book on the subject. The Pharisaical life, in the day of Jesus and in the modern church today, has many, many facets! In this post I want to counter the life and attitudes of the Pharisee with what a real follower of Christ and a true disciple of Christ will look like and how they are just the opposite of the Pharisee.
As you read through the New Testament you will notice that the disciples of Jesus and the eventual apostles and writers of the New Testament books had attitudes that more closely resembled and imitated Jesus than those of the Pharisees. Here they are.
- A disciple of Jesus is “in the world, but not of the world.” (John 17:16). This means that the disciples weren’t afraid of being around and associating with sinners. As Christians we live in this world and if we think Jesus wants us “isolated” and “separated” from the people of this world we are very mistaken. Tweet This Some may argue “but Paul told the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:17 to ‘come out from among them and be ye separate,’ so we shouldn’t have anything to do with unbelievers and sinners.” Well in the context of what Paul was writing you have to carefully examine verse 14 and surrounding verses before you pull verse 17 out of context and use it as a basis for a doctrine of isolationism. Verse 14 holds the key when it says “don’t be ‘bound together’ with unbelievers.” That word “bound together” means to “team up with” like you would “yoke” a team of mules. The apostle Paul is forbidding believers or Christians to have intercourse with unbelievers. In 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 Paul makes it clears who we associate with; “When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” Sounds a lot like what Jesus prayed for us in John 17:16 doesn’t it?
- A disciple is one who is ready to help someone who is caught in a sin. (Galatians 6:1). A true disciple is one who sees a brother or sister in error and has a heart and compassion to help that person. They have a relationship with that person and they reach out to help carry their burden rather than add to their burden. They don’t get on Facebook and other social media and berate and attack them. Even if it is true, this isn’t how a Christian should treat another believer.
- A disciple is humble and recognizes that they aren’t anymore perfect than the next person. Humility is a “fruit of the Spirit.” As a disciple and believer we are to demonstrate these simple fruits: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, and faith. Do any of these sound like an attitude of a Pharisee? The modern Pharisee in today’s Christian church is so removed from this Spirit that they aren’t even recognizable as a believer in Christ. The true disciple will act humbly and appreciate the grace and mercy of God in their life as well as in the life of others.
There are other characteristics and attitudes of a disciple. The point of this two part series on “Are You A Pharisee Or A Disciple?” is to cause us to look at ourselves and see if we have the heart of Christ or the heart of a Pharisee? I submit to you that Jesus wants us to have His heart when it comes to loving and caring for others. How about it, where do you stand, with the Pharisees or the disciples?