Final Instructions - Week One: Do As I Say & As I Say

Throughout November, our sermon series will be based on the final instructions that Jesus gave his followers from the lectionary texts in the Gospel of Matthew—teachings he did right before he was arrested and crucified. 

It might seem odd that the lectionary includes these texts before Advent.  Why would we want to study scriptures from the end of Jesus’ ministry right before we anticipate the arrival of the Messiah?  

It’s simply this:  Throughout Advent, we expect a gift—the gift of the One who rescues, redeems, and restores.  But we need to know what to do with this great gift, and these final instructions from Jesus to his followers outline how to follow the Messiah that is to come. 

oday we’re going to be exploring what it means to act in humility when it comes to our beliefs and practices as Christians

And we’re going to be learning a bit more about what it really meant to be from the Galilee, like Jesus and his disciples. 

Have you ever encountered someone who you thought was a phony? 

What are the telltale signs that someone is “being fake?” Well according to my unscientific research from the Interwebs this past week, there are at least ten: 

1. Fake people lie to your face. 

2. Fake people are inconsistent. 

3. Fake people are insincere. 

4. Fake people are only around when they need you. 

5. Fake people gossip and spread rumors. 

6. Fake people lack empathy. 

7. Fake people are manipulative. 

8. Fake people have double standards. 

9. Fake people are jealous of your success. 

10. Fake people are self-centered. 

We've all encountered people who fit some or all of these criteria for being fake.  The funny thing is that most of us don't see these signs in ourselves, which means that fake people may not know that they are fake. 

Let me ask a pointed question:  Why do people frequently assume Christians are phony?

Year after year, when polls are conducted to determine the state of faith in our culture, people will frequently cite "hypocrisy" as the main reason why they don't want to be part of a church.  

And interestingly, most Christians don't see themselves that way.  

It comes down to humility.  Far too many of us who claim to follow Jesus have a decided lack of humility when it comes to our beliefs and practices.  But Jesus made it clear that what he wanted his followers to do was act with humility in everything, including what they believed. 


Matthew 23:1-12

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Jesus takes on the religious leaders of the day--teachers, Pharisees, etc. 

Photo of the Moses seat from Chorazim 

The truth about being from Galilee (mestizaje) - not Jewish enough. 

5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

Image of phylacteries and tassles. 

The honorifics, the airs, the holier-than-thou pretensions---Jesus says to reject them. 

8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

The contrast of exaltation and humility and what they bring. 

We must seek to live humbly, doing what we believe and showing grace to ourselves and others.  

Do As I Do & As I Say - Following Jesus’ Path of Humility

1. Jesus never sought recognition, titles, or power—just to love God and others.
2. Jesus was just as comfortable with outsiders as insiders.
3. Jesus acknowledged frailty with grace and forgiveness 
4. Jesus never let rules get in the way of relationships.  



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