The Real Pharisees (Part 6): The Pharisees Took Advantage of Others

The Real Pharisees

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses…therefore you will receive greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14).

When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for devouring “widow’s houses,” He was condemning them for taking advantage of others. However, the Pharisees did not take advantage of just anyone. Jesus used widows in His example for a reason. These were ones who typically were in need of assistance from others. Yet the Pharisees not only failed to help these ones in need, they also took advantage of them for their own benefit.
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Friendship with the World

James 4:4

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

When James warned Christians about “friendship with the world,” he did not say that it was possibly unwise or potentially dangerous. Instead, he used very strong language indicating that being “a friend of the world” makes one “an enemy of God.

Knowing this danger, it is important that we know what the inspired writer meant by “friendship with the world.” In this article, we are going to consider what “friendship with the world” looks like and also see what a Christian’s relationship with the world should be.
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“He Has Denied the Faith”

Couch potato

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

The inspired apostle Paul delivered some harsh condemnation for those who refuse to provide for their own. But why is it that God likens this to one denying the faith? It is because the refusal to provide for one’s own is contrary to several fundamental characteristics that one must have in order to be a disciple of Christ.
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The Fertile Fields of Sin in Sodom

Lot and the Men of Sodom

Shortly after receiving the promises from God, Abram (Abraham) journeyed out of Egypt with his nephew Lot (Genesis 13:1). A problem soon arose between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen because the land was unable to support all of their livestock (Genesis 13:6-7). Abram proposed that they separate in order to resolve the conflict and allowed Lot to choose which direction he would go (Genesis 13:8-9). Notice what the text says about his decision:

Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord… So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. […] Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom” (Genesis 13:10-12).

While the area around Sodom provided fertile ground for his livestock, Lot ignored a very significant fact about the city: “The men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). Just as the ground was fertile to produce vegetation, conditions among the inhabitants of Sodom were fertile to produce the great wickedness in that city.
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