The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

03/14/2014

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A Whitewashed Fence


"Woe to you teacher of law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean" (Matt.23:37).

In the Mark Twain classic Tom Sawyer, Tom's Aunt Polly punishes Tom for getting into a fight by having him whitewash their fence. Tom was shackled with this unpleasant job, but through cleverness, gets someone else to do it for him by convincing him that it was fun. Whitewashing fences wasn't a permanent process and had to be done periodically. In Jewish Law, a person who stepped on a grave became ceremoniously unclean (Num.19:16). Tombstones were whitewashed to make them easily visible, especially at night. They appeared to be clean and beautiful on the outside, but were dirty and unclean on the inside. Against this backdrop I will conclude this short series about being clean on the inside as well as the outside. Once a person becomes a Christian believer, it is important to seriously address those things that would make him or her become unclean... This process is an ongoing one and we call it sanctification... The apostle Paul makes a list of things (Col.3:5-11) that make a person unclean. He says that we have put off our old self with its practices, and put on the new self. (V 8). It is not enough to just whitewash our old self... We are to replace that old person with a new one, and work everyday to make sure that it stays new.... "To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph.4:23). Jesus wants our hearts to be clean and pure so He said: "But give that which is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you" (Lk.11:41). Even our giving will come from the heart, having less regard to what it looks like from the outside. Paul wants us to engender that fruit of the Spirit of Gal.5:22, and not the traits he mentions before them... To Tom Sawyer, whitewashing was a punishment, and for the Jewish tombstones it was for cosmetic sake... Lets get the inside clean so that our service to the Lord will be above reproach... No whitewashing...

Have a great day... Good people make a difference... Love mark Phil.4:11

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