Luke 11:42-53 includes six specific warnings that Jesus gave the Pharisees, and they still apply today:
1) They were tithing, but neglecting justice and the love of God. We can’t somehow earn points with God by giving a tenth of our income, and then expect Him to overlook our failure to practice the more important things like justice and love. Tithing can be meaningless legalism.
2) They loved the most important seats in the synagogues, and being publicly greeted as important dignitaries. Our flesh clamors for undeserved honor. It’s easy for politicians to be guilty of this, as well as philanthropists who want to ensure that their generosity is well-known. In Matthew 6:2-4, Jesus taught that people like this have already earned their (cheap) rewards before men in this life, while the richest rewards are reserved for those who practice a lifetime of humility, and then approach the Judgment Seat of Christ on their knees.
3) They were inconsistent and deceitful in their teachings, because their walk didn’t match their talk. This serves only to bring others down to our own level.
4) They loaded people down with burdens that they could hardly carry, and they weren’t willing to help them. Likewise, churches and pastors can load people down with responsibility and guilt, and turn their backs when those same people are in need.
5) They claimed to honor the prophets, even though they approved of the unjust killing of those prophets at the hands of their own forefathers. Many politicians today claim to honor our godly forefathers who risked their lives in creating a unique nation with a unique Constitution, doing so with a love and respect for God and prayer. Yet, they want to take God out of government. Neither the Pharisees nor these politicians will not escape accountability for their actions.
6) They were experts in the law, but they were guilty of false teachings. They weren’t true believers, and they hindered others from learning the truth. Preachers who fail to preach the truth are not carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). If they don’t know the truth, then they’re not believers themselves, so they’re unable to proclaim the truth to others. Otherwise, they’re deliberately deceiving others.
We still see all of these sins today. We honor legalism above grace, and pride over humility. We should approach God like the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14, with repentance and bowed heads. Our preachers should preach the truth in humility, and we should all regularly study the Bible for ourselves (Acts 17:11).