THE PHARISEES.Mt 15: 1- 3
Literally the word means the separated ones. collectively they were influential and extra ordinary sect. the typical spirit and attitude of Pharisee-ism were present in the post exile Jewry long enough before it took its historical form under the name Pharisees. The remnant Jews on returning from exile wanted to build a Jew nation separated from all other nation separated for Jehovah. (e.g by common consent all mixed marriages were dissolved. They were also called the Pious ones. They tried to strictly and literally live according to the law.
Many of them allowed themselves to be murdered rather than lift a hand in self-defense on the sabbath day. Their enemies labeled them separatists because of their pious but proud and often petty exclusiveness.
Three dominating features of the Pharisees
b) A fanatical adherence to the letter of the law (Mt 23: 23 - 28)
c)Paraded their virtues before God when they pray (Luke 18: 11- 12)
THE WEAKNESS OF PHARISEES
1)Their sanctimonious snobbery of the common people (Jn:30-34)
2) They were prone to hypocrisy. the mass of people gave up trying altogether and were resigned as unlucky sinners.
GOOD THINGS ABOUT THE PHARISEES
1) In the Pharisaic movement there were many sincere souls, however, misguided they may have been [ Nicodemus and Gamaliel Jn 3 , Acts 5:34-39].
2) They kept the Messianic hope a flame in inter testamental period
3) They preached the hope of the bodily resurrection for the faithful when the Messiah shall bring His Kingdom. They said he that says that there is no resurrection of the dead, has no share in the world to come. Acts 23:8
4) Jesus disagreed with their practice rather than basic teaching Mt 23:1-3
LESSONS WHICH CAN LEARN FROM THE PHARISEES
We must not put our confidence in the flesh or outside performance but on Christ alone (Phil 3:3).
Without regeneration there is no hope at all of even beginning of Holiness.
Many in Kenya today think that they are Christians because they did Christian Religion Education in school and passed their examination with flying colors. My friend this cannot save you look at the Pharisees they missed salvation yet they knew the law.
Some think that they are morally upright and that I is enough to take them to heaven. Others say that tthey come from Christian background, their parents are saved. But my friend let me tell you tthe Bible teaches that you must be born again.
For further reading let me recommend you to Dr Peter Mesters Tract on Seven Signs Of True Conversion. metropolitantabernacle.org