Lunch

with the

Pharisee

. . . Or why Jesus
was not Ecumenical

"And one of the Pharisees desired him
[Jesus] that he would eat with him.   And he
went into the Pharisee's house, and sat
down to meat."
  Luke 7:36

"And as he spake, a certain Pharisee
besought him to dine with him: and
he went in, and sat down
to meat."
  Luke 11:37


THE PRECEDING VERSES reveal the fact
     that Jesus Christ was sociable.   When
     invited to eat at the home of one
Pharisee, a religious leader at the time, Christ
gladly accepted.

No one can deny Christ's love for people.   People
were the sole reason He took on flesh and lived
among sinful man.   Jesus Himself stated: "For
the Son of man is come to seek and to save that
which was lost."
  Luke 19:10

And yet, while Christ's loving attitude toward
man was always displayed, it never
compromised His attitude concerning doctrine.
   In fact, as you will learn, it was a doctrinal
issue that prevailed over the social aspects of
Jesus's lunch with the Pharisee--"getting
along"
at the expense of doctrine was not what
Jesus had in mind that day.

We begin with a definition . . .
Within the realm of modern-day Christianity, we
find a certain term heard over and over again:
Ecumenicalism.
   Webster's defines the term: 1: Worldwide or
general in extent, influence, or application;

2 a: of relating to, or representing the whole of
a body of churches b: promoting or tending
toward worldwide Christian unity or
cooperation
.

Ecumenicalism strives for Christian unity, and
who in their right mind would not want that?   But
yet, as with any noble movement, there are
always those who "go against the grain."

In the case of the modern Ecumenical
movement, there is a certain group of
fundamental Christians who do not wish to
participate in unifying the various Christian
denominations.   These "anti-unifiers" are often
branded as hard-line, ignorant, divisive, and
legalistic (those are some of the nicer terms).

Now, you may be wondering what the
resistance to Ecumenicalism has to do with
Jesus having lunch with the Pharisee.   The
answer is a lot.   It helps us answer the following
questions:

n Is there any scriptural basis for not wanting
   to participate in the Ecumenical Movement?

n Is unifying, in spite of doctrinal differences,
   something the Lord Jesus Christ would have
   us to do?   Or did the Lord set for us an
   example to the contrary?

It is important that we learn how the Lord Jesus
Christ reacted to the "Ecumenicalism" of His
day, for it was He who said in John 10:27 . . .

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know
them, and they follow me:"

AS WE CONTINUE reading about Jesus'
     lunch with the Pharisee, a curious thing
     happens.   You could say it was
inevitable: "And as he spake, a certain Pharisee
besought him to dine with him: and he went in,
and sat down to meat.   And when the Pharisee
saw it, he marvelled that he had not first
washed before dinner.   And the Lord said unto
him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the
outside of the cup and the platter; but your
inward part
is full of ravening and
wickedness."
  Luke 11:37-39

The Pharisees were very big on washing their
hands before dinner.   In fact, this wasn't merely
good hygiene on their part.   This was something
that had become doctrine to them.
   They practiced the washing of hands in the
name of God.   But, ironically, it was God Himself
now sitting before them, and He didn't
remember giving them such a commandment.

The "friendly" meal now had doctrinal overtones
that Christ could simply not ignore--thus, His
response.   But, why did the Lord make such a
harsh reference to their "inward part[?]"   We find
the answer during another encounter He had
with the Pharisees:

"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees,
which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy
disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?
for they wash not their hands when they eat
bread.   But he answered and said unto them,
Why do ye also transgress the commandment of
God by your tradition? .... Thus have ye
made the commandment of God of none effect
by your tradition.   Ye hypocrites, well did
Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and

honoureth me with their lips; but their heart
is far from me
.   But in vain they do worship
me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men."
  Mat. 15:1-9

Study the last two passages . . .
In Luke 11:39, Jesus tells the Pharisees,
religious leaders at that time, that they "make
clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but
your inward part
is full of ravening and
wickedness."
  What made their inward parts so
wicked in spite of a clean appearance on the
outside?   Look at Matt. 15:8 again: "This people
draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and
honoureth me with their lips; but their heart
is far from me
."

   Their hearts, the inward parts, were so far
from God because "in vain they do worship
me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men
."

My friend, the Lord Jesus Christ could not
overlook "the commandments of men" that the
Pharisees were trying to pass off as
commandments of God.   Nor could Jesus ignore
them for the sake of "trying to get along"--
lunch or no lunch!   False doctrine sends people
to Hell.   Jesus knew it; SO SHOULD WE!

My sheep follow me . . .
Now, flash forward 2,000 years to those "anti-
unifiers"
we referred to earlier.   There is no way
around the fact that the ecumenical movement
today is full of the commandments of men.
Honestly, how can it be otherwise?   Each
denomination claims to be following the same
Bible and yet, they each have their doctrinal
differences.   It is these differences that have
traditionally kept these denominations apart in
the first place!   In fact, without these man-made

doctrinal differences there wouldn't even be a
need for Ecumenicalism.
   Now, some may argue that these differences
are not strictly man-made, but rather, the result
of how a denomination interprets the Bible.   This
argument assumes that private interpretation is
okay, but such interpretation goes contrary to
God's Word!   "Knowing this first, that no
prophecy of the scripture
is of any private
interpretation."
  2 Peter 1:20
   No, my friend, there are no grounds for
interpreting the Bible according to the traditional
inclinations of a given denomination, and yet this
goes on all the time within Ecumenical circles.

For example . . .
Consider the denominations within the
Ecumenical movement that baptize babies.   Who
told them to do so?   Surely not God.   No where in
His Word do we find babies being baptized.   Only
SAVED people are baptized.   When the Pharisees
came to the baptism of John the Baptist, John
told them: "O generation of vipers, who hath
warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:"

(Mat. 3:7-8).   Those Pharisees needed to repent
and get saved before getting baptized.

When the Ethiopian Eunuch desired to get
baptized, he asked Philip: "See, here is water;
what doth hinder me to be baptized?   And Philip
said, If thou believest with all thine
heart
, thou mayest.   And he answered and
said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God."
  Acts 8:36-37
   The Eunuch needed to first put his faith in
Jesus Christ.   Baptism always follows
"repentance toward God, and faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ."
  (Acts 20:21)   And repentance
and faith are two things a baby can't do!   So

why are some denominations baptizing babies?
Are they not "teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men."
?   Mat. 15:9
   There are many other examples in which a
denomination within Ecumenicism is "teaching
for doctrines the commandments of men."
  And
the Bible teaches us to "mark them which
cause divisions and offences contrary to
the doctrine
which ye have learned; and
avoid them."
  Rom. 16:17

Jesus Christ set the example . . .
Exposing and renouncing the Pharisees' false,
man-made doctrine is exactly what Jesus Christ
did the day He had lunch with the Pharisee.
   Notice, He didn't compromise for the sake of
unity.   He didn't tolerate their method of worship
for the sake of keeping the peace.   Nor did He
unite with them, on the basis that they were all
"worshiping the same God."

The fact is, Jesus and the Pharisees were NOT
worshipping the same God.   The God of the Bible
honors His commandments; they are a reflection
of His character, and Jesus told them that they
had, "made the commandment of God of none
effect by your tradition
."

   If you add to, remove from, or change the
requirements found in God's Word, you are no
longer worshipping the God of the Bible.   Jesus
said "the true worshippers shall worship the
Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father
seeketh such to worship him."
  John 4:23

My sheep follow me . . .
My friend, the only source of truth is God's
Word, not the traditions recorded in a given
denomination's catechism.   To such groups the
Bible says, "avoid them[,]" for "Can two walk
together, except they be agreed?"
Amos 3:3

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
  (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because, "Not by works of
righteousness
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
us
,"
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
  (John 14:6)   THAT'S
WHY
: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us
."
  Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind
); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved."
  Romans 10:9

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