Too Religious To Surrender
"And when all the people heard him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him." Luke 7:29-30 Isn't it amazing how the people responded to John the Baptist as he prepared the way for the Messiah to come upon the scene. The people recognized John as a great prophet and they flocked to him, submitting to baptism at his hand. Except for ...the Pharisees and the religious lawyers. Think about it. God was about to do a marvelous thing in the land, and he sent John to prepare the way, as Jesus himself testified of him: "This is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’" Luke 7:27 A great conviction of the Spirit of God came upon the people as John, God's messenger, called them to repentance. Multitudes received the call and were baptized. So why didn't the Pharisees and lawyers receive him? And of course the answer is obvious. The Pharisees were considered the "holy" men of God, comparable to the way multitudes of Catholics today view the pope. They were the honored ones, the educated ones, the ones the people turned to for spiritual direction, the ones who people bowed before when meeting them in the market places, the ones who were seated in the most honored seats in any gathering. Yet they refused God's prophet, God's messenger -- because they just could not be seen submitting to this man clothed in camel's hair, unrefined, a loner and an authoritative voice demanding repentance. Never had a Pharisee even considered that he NEEDED to repent. They saw themselves as the holiest men on earth. Submit to this ...this ...this lowly man demanding repentance? NEVER! As Jesus said: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes." Matthew 11:25 Think on this, especially if you are a person of high qualifications, or if you are in an honored position, or if you have people under your authority. Put yourself in a Pharisee's place and maybe you can relate to the response they had to this lowly unrefined, uneducated man, albeit the man God himself sent. Would you have ...could you have ...surrendered your pride? There is no position before God, no status, no glory, all are EQUAL before him. Yet it will be harder for an honored man to surrender because he's used to being the one in charge, and the word "surrender" is not going to be music to his ears. Yet that is what is required. The greatest of all sins is pride. It is what made Satan fall. He lost his status and position in heaven as the leader of the angels, and the Scriptures tell us that it was pride that toppled him. He said: ‘'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit." Isaiah 14:13-15 Then he fell. Pride is the greatest danger to mankind, because it is the strongest and most powerful force within us. But before God, it's the FIRST thing that has to go. The call to repentance is the call of the Holy Spirit to every man, every woman, and without it one can't be saved because the only way to God is through surrender to Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Think it over carefully and ask yourself if it's worth it to demand your way rather than surrender. The end result is eternal, so make your choice very carefully.