Matthew 23:25-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside you are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Jesus says “woe” eight times to the Scribes and Pharisees. They obviously got some things wrong to get that much scolding from Jesus. In verse 28, Jesus says something interesting; he said that “outwardly they appeared righteous to men, but inwardly they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” On the outside they behaved pretty good, why? What was their motive?
Matthew 23:5 But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men.
Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
The biggest hurdle we have in pursuing righteousness is motive. It is so hard to keep our motive pure, and to pursue holiness to please the Lord rather than people. We can see people, we can hear people and it only takes a minute for our motives to move from North to South, wham, just like that and we can go days before we notice, and by then we often don’t care.
One of the warning signs that our motive for pursuing holiness has moved from pleasing God to pleasing people is that we get our feelings hurt easily, and we get weary in well-doing.
You don’t want to be a person who does all the right things for all the wrong reasons and doesn’t even know it. What a shame when you stand before Jesus at the “Judgment Seat of Christ” and everything you have done with your life is burned up.