(VERSE 20)

KJV Matthew 5:20
20. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

We are going to look at what righteousness is, what the Pharisees and Scribes did that made them examples of what we MUST NOT be.

I. Righteousness

Righteousness - 
Vine's Greek Dictionary
"the character or quality of being right or just"; it was formerly spelled "rightwiseness," which clearly expresses the meaning.

Glory seekers are not righteous
KJV John 7:18
 18.  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

God does not respect individuals for who they are but rather what they do
KJV Acts 10:34-35
 34.  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
 35.  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

The unrighteous are enemies and children of Satan
KJV Acts 13:7-12
 7.  Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
 8.  But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
 9.  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
 10.  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
 11.  And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
 12.  Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

The Gospel reveals righteousness 
KJV Romans 1:16-18
16.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
 17.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
 18.  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

The Bible instructs us to be righteous
KJV 2 Timothy 3:16-17
 16.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
 17.  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Flee sin and follow righteousness 
KJV 1 Timothy 6:11
 11.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

If we suffer being righteous we should not be troubled
KJV 1 Peter 3:13-15
 13.  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
 14.  But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

II. Why did Christ use the scribes as an example of what NOT to be?

Scribes were teachers of the law.  Yet taught with no authority
KJV Matthew 7:28-29
 28.  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
 29.  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 28:18, Christ has ALL authority)

The Scribes were out to attack Christ
KJV Matthew 9:1-6
 1.  And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
 2.  And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
 3.  And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
 4.  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
 5.  For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
 6.  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

The Scribes were instrumental in the death of Christ
KJV Matthew 16:21
21.  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

They mocked Christ
KJV Matthew 27:41-43
41.  Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
 42.  He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
 43.  He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

III. Why were the Pharisees a good example of what NOT to be?

They did not want to recognize good deeds 
KJV Mark 3:1-6
 1.  And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
 2.  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
 3.  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
 4.  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
 5.  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
 6.  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

They followed after commandments of men
KJV Mark 7:1-9
 1.  Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
 2.  And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
 3.  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
 4.  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
 5.  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
 6.  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
 7.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
 8.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
 9.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

They wanted to be exalted
KJV Luke 11:43
 43.  Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.

Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees
KJV Luke 12:1
1.  In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

The Pharisees were arrogant and self-willed
KJV Luke 18:10-14
10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


We must aim to be right before God.  We must be:
KJV Matthew 18:3
 3.  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Copyright 2001 by Brian Yeager may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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