Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn

                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness

Dec 30, 2009                     "Spirit of the Pharisee" 

Wed Pm Worship                  " Exposing the Way of the Master"

Text: Acts 15:1 - 11 (King James Version)

Subject:  Equipping the Church for the Harvest"

"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                        GOD'S AMAZING GRACE

"I heard (this story) from a man who works with the down-and-out in Chicago: he stated A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter – two years old… She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story… I had no idea what to say to this woman.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naïve shock that crossed her face. "Church!" she cried, "Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse."
What struck me about this story is that women much like the prostitute fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. I Wonder Has the church lost that gift? Evidently the down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome among his followers."

INTRO: Something is wrong in the church today!
• We've forgotten all about God's Amazing Grace! We have been infiltrated with the Pharasee Spirit . I was watching and  listening one day to a service from a  mega church that knew little of the grace of God.
• When they sang the famous old hymn, they  actually changed the words to: "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved someone like me."
• The pastor said right from the pulpit, "If I ever ask you how you're doing, I don't want to hear about all of your problems. I want you to say: Bless God, I'm on top and rising!" They didn't understand grace. And was operating by a spirit of the pharasee,

 I recently discovered a book that radically revolutionized my understanding of Christianity. It's called "The Ragamuffin Gospel."

QUOTE: (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).
"The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the super-spiritual… It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules rather than run the risk of living in union with Jesus…
The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out… It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents… It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a great disappointment to God… it is for anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the way."

However, the one quote that impacted me the most was this one: "Morton Kelsey wrote: The Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners."

"Jesus said, "Healthy people don't need a doctor – sick people do…" For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." (Matthew 9:12-13, NLT).

BIBLE STORY: Why do so few people really understand God's grace?
This is a problem they had in the early church as well. The Spirit of the Pharasee!

Acts 15:1   And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

Acts 15:2   When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Acts 15:3   And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.


Acts 15:4   And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

Acts 15:5   But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Acts 15:6   And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

Acts 15:7   And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

Acts 15:8   And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

Acts 15:9   And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Acts 15:10   Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Acts 15:11   But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.


THE BIG IDEA: The Bible teaches that we are saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. However, we must beware the spirit of the Pharisee, because they will try to keep you in bondage and keep you from experiencing God's grace.


There is a dangerous book in circulation called the way of the master! Beware of this book!

It is the laced with the spirit of the Pharasee and it teaches Doctrines of Law that neither the Ancient Jews nor we could then nor can live under now. Hidden within its pages is the same Pharasee spirit that Peter was addressing here in this scripture.

Well What is the spirit of the Pharisee? A Pharisee isn't someone with a long beard in a long robe!
In Matt. 9:11 - they criticized Jesus for hanging around with sinners
Matt. 12:2 - they judged Jesus and His disciples for ‘working' on the Sabbath
Matt. 12:14 - they plotted and schemed how they might destroy Jesus
Matt. 15:6 - they made God's Word ineffective because of their traditions

Matt. 15:7 - Jesus called them hypocrites – pretenders, Poisenous Snakes, Vipers
and White washed Sepulchrees,  Look good on the outside but on the inside full of dead mens bones.

Matt. 15:8 - they worshipped on the outside but their hearts were far from Him.
Matt. 15:12 - they were offended by Jesus' teaching (Pharisees are easily offended)
Matt. 23:4 - they bind heavy burdens on other people but won't help them carry them..  In other wards they try to tell you how to live by the law and they themselves can not and don't do it.
Matt. 23:13 - they don't enter the Kingdom of God, and hinders all others from entering, too. By the way of Grace!
Matt. 23:14-15 - they act very spiritual and try to get other people to follow them
Matt. 23:23 - they follow the law legalistically and externally, but aren't merciful to people
Matt. 23:34 - they kill and persecute men of God (attack pastors and preachers, ). Because they feel like were not presenting the Truth.  Salvation must be maintained by keeping of the Law of Moses. You are really not saved if you don't keep the 10 commandments.

Did you know that is exactly what peter was addressing here. They were de  moralizing the word of God  making the Grace of God not good enough.

Yeah you might be saved but now you have to keep the 10 commandments.

Yeah you might saved but in order to get into heaven you have to be circumsised

My bible tells me

Romans 8:1   There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Beware the spirit of the Pharisee: They will try to keep you from experiencing God's grace!

• They will try to pile rule after rule on you to try to make you ‘acceptable' to God.
They start out with a few of the Ten Commandments and Build upon those for the destruction of God's Grace that ye arre saved.

"Listen Jesus hung around with sinners, and if we're too holy to allow people to blow smoke in our faces, then we're holier than Jesus was."


"If you come around here, we're going to love you – unconditionally, always, and under every circumstance."


• The problem with the spirit of the Pharisee or legalism is it always puts unrealistic expectations upon people that they are bound to fail.

•The Danger In Doing this to people is Because they can't and never will measure up, it will either lead to feelings of failure, or possibly pretense, or even rebellion. This isn't grace! The next time someone comes to you and leads you down the Mosaic laws, kindly recognize the pharaseic spirit in operation and walk away in Grace. " God loves me just the way I am,  He not You, He not the Law, but He loves me way to much to leave me this way…   You see it is His good pleasure both to Will and to Do in my life… He in the Potter you and  I are nothing but the lump of Clay.  We can never mold our selves into ever being good enough, or holy enough, My rightiousness is mere filthy rags but it is God who is on the Inside that works on the Outside.. not the other way around


KEY TEXT: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9).
"But God demonstrates His own love towards us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8).

WHAT IS GRACE? "God's undeserved favour, spiritual blessing, mercy, and lovingkindness."
• Someone defined it in terms of this acronym: God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
• Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation – it is all of grace!

We can't add anything to the work of the Cross. Our sins are forgiven. Jesus said, "It is finished!" The spirit of the Pharisee tries to add good works to God's grace.  Ten Commandments etc ,NOT of works, so no one can boast.
• Undeserved favour. That means: There is nothing you can do to make God love you less. There is also nothing you can do to make God love you more.

ILLUSTRATION: Charles Spurgeon, The Doctrines of Grace do not Lead to Sin.
"There is the story of half-a-dozen boys who had severe fathers, accustomed to beat them within an inch of their lives. Another boy was with them who was well beloved by his parents, and known to do so. These young boys met together to hold a council of war about robbing an orchard. They were all anxious to get about it except the favoured youth, who did not enjoy the proposal.

One of them cried out, "You need not be afraid:

if our fathers catch us at this work, we shall be half-killed, but your father won't lay a hand upon you." The little boy answered, "And do you think because my father is kind to me, that therefore I will do wrong and grieve him? I will do nothing of the sort to my dear father. He is so good to me that I cannot vex him."

ILLUSTRATION: Charles Stanley took a test in school. The teacher said, "Before you take the exam, read all the way through the exam." The last line said, "You have a choice. You can either complete this exam, or simply sign the paper and you'll get an A." An example of grace!  You want to Live by the Law, you want to try and burden others to live by the law.. to set them up for repeated failure.. or do you want to sign on the bottom and accept Gods Grace Alone?


"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31).

CLOSING SONG: Amazing Grace