"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Blind Leaders Of The Blind (15:12-14)
INTRODUCTION 1. Who can you trust regarding religious matters today? a. Many people trust their preacher, priest, or pastor b. They assume that "a man of God" must be trustworthy 2. Yet the Bible does not always speak highly of religious leaders... a. Paul warned about "savage wolves" not sparing the flock of God - Ac 20:29-30 b. Peter wrote of "false teachers" bringing in destructive heresies - 2Pe 2:1-2 -- Such men would knowingly destroy the people of God 3. Not all those who mislead do so knowingly... a. Jesus told His disciples about "blind leaders of the blind"- Mt 15:12-14 b. Being "blind" themselves, they may not be aware of how they mislead others 4. The end result is still the same, however... a. Those misled still "fall into the ditch" and are destroyed
- Mt 15:14; Isa 9:16 b. Whether led by a "false teacher", or by a "blind leader" 5. That we ourselves might not blindly follow a blind leader... a. What are some of the characteristics of a blind leader? b. How can we be sure not to be misled by a blind leader? -- These are the questions we hope to answer in this study [While Peter had much to say about false teachers (cf. 2Pe 2), Jesus had much to say about blind leaders...] I. CHARACTERISTICS OF A BLIND LEADER A. HOLDING TO THE TRADITIONS OF MEN... 1. This was the case of the Pharisees in Mt 15 2. They were willing to put their traditions above God's word- Mt 15:3,6,9 3. Blind leaders today will do the same a. Teaching as doctrine their traditions b. Not knowing that what they teach comes from man, not God B. MAKING DISTINCTIONS WHERE GOD HAS MADE NONE... 1. This was the case of the Pharisees in Mt 23, where they are called "blind" five times 2. They made fine distinctions between the types of oaths one could swear - Mt 23:16-22 3. Blind leaders will often do the same today a. Making fine distinctions so that one need not keep God's word b. Saying some commands of God are essential to salvation, and others not C. LEAVING COMMANDS OF GOD UNDONE... 1. Again, the Pharisees were guilty of this, for which they were called "blind guides" 2. They left undone the "weightier" matters of God's law - Mt 23:23-24 a. They stressed tithing, but neglected justice, mercy, faith b. Thus they would strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel 3. Blind leaders today often do the same, but in reverse... a. They are quick to stress the "weightier" matters, and leave what they consider the "lighter" things undone b. But Jesus said we should do both, leaving neither undone! D. FOCUSING ONLY ON THE OUTER MAN... 1. The "blind Pharisee" worked only on the outside - Mt 23:25-28 a. Concerned with keeping the traditions of ritual cleansing b. Willing to put up with extortion, self-indulgence, hypocrisy and lawlessness 2. Today, blind leaders are happy with the appearance of success... a. Big buildings, large crowds b. Accepting people into the church without challenging them to true repentance E. OTHER CHARACTERISTICS... 1. From this passage (Mt 23) in which Jesus assails the Pharisees, we glean some other characteristics of those who were blind leaders 2. Summarizing these quickly... a. They say and do not, binding heavy burdens on others - Mt 23:1-4 b. They do their works to be seen of men - Mt 23:5 c. They love the attention and special treatment by others - Mt 23:6-7 d. They wear religious titles, though Jesus condemned it - Mt 23:8-10 e. They fail to truly show the way to the kingdom of heaven - Mt 23:13 f. They use their religion to make money and impress others - Mt 23:14 g. They don't make people better, they make them worse! - Mt 23:15 h. They honor the men of God who went before them, but are more like those who persecuted the people of God - Mt 23: 29-31 [Sadly, this sounds like many religious leaders today, especially some on TV! If we are not careful, we can easily be led astray by them. This leads to our next point...] II. HOW NOT TO BE MISLED BY BLIND LEADERS A. LISTEN TO THEM CAREFULLY... 1. We need to have the same attitude as the Bereans - Ac 17:11 a. When Paul came to town, they "received the word with all readiness" b. This describes how they listened to Paul - paying close attention to the things he was teaching 2. We must first give all teachers a fair and careful hearing a. Seek to understand exactly what they are saying b. It requires that we be good listeners -- Many are misled because they have never learned to listen carefully to what is being taught them! (How well do you listen?) B. SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES DAILY... 1. This was another noble quality of the Bereans - Ac 17:11 a. Having listened carefully, they then went home and compared what Paul said to the Scriptures b. They did not simply accept whatever Paul said 2. Unfortunately, many today are Biblically illiterate... a. They do not follow along in their Bibles when someone is teaching or preaching b. They do not read their Bibles daily -- Failure to do these things leaves one in a blind condition, unable to discern what is the word of God, or some teaching and tradition of man! CONCLUSION 1. What will be the end of blind leaders, and those who follow them? a. Like plants, they will be "uprooted" by the Heavenly Father - Mt15:13 b. Together they will both "fall into a ditch" - Mt 15:14 c. Though very religious, thinking that they serve the Lord, Jesus will tell them: "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" - cf. Mt 7:21-23 2. Who are to blame, if people are misled by blind leaders? a. The blind leader will be held accountable, but not totally a. If people are blind, it is only because they have closed their own eyes - Mt 13:15 May the example of the Bereans remind us of what is necessary not to be misled by blind leaders, and may we so see and hear that what Jesus said will be true of us: "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." (Mt 13:16-17)