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Let’s read that portion to get a sense of what the Lord is trying to teach us here.  Matthew 23:2-10 says, “…The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.”

The Lord is warning us against pride and self-elevation.  Moses was the giver of the law, and these scribes and Pharisees spent their time teaching the law to others.  They must have been accurate in the things they taught.  The Lord told the people, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”  The problem with the scribes and Pharisees is that they knew and taught the law, but they, themselves, did not obey God’s law.  On several occasions, the Lord called them hypocrites.  These people loved to be noticed and honored by men.  They loved the special treatment they were given.  They loved the seats of honor when they attended feasts.  They loved the chief seats in the synagogues, and loved to be called Rabbi as a title of honor.

James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”  These men were not humble.  They loved to have attention.  1 Peter 5:5 tells us to, “…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  These men were proud and delighted in the accolades of others.

We read in Matthew 23:8, “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.”  This verse gives us the idea that we are not to assume a title of honor.  Neither are we to allow anyone else to call us by a flattering title.  The Lord then said in Matthew 23:9, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”  In the spiritual realm, we have only one Father, and that is our Heavenly Father.  We should not give this honorable title to anyone else.  The Lord Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 23:10, “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.”  Again, we should not assume any titles of honor for ourselves.  We learn here that there is one Master: Christ.  There is one Father: our Father in Heaven.  Then, we have it re-emphasized to us that there is only one master: Christ.

Flattering names and titles only detract from the glory and honor that properly belongs the Lord.  It is true that many men and women have labored tirelessly and affectively for the Lord.  However, all true labor done for the Lord is performed by the will and strength of the Lord.  Philippians 2:13 makes it clear that, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

One name that men are commonly called is ‘Reverend’.  Let’s read Psalms 111:9, “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”  This is the only instance that the word ‘reverend’ is used in the scriptures, and it is speaking about the Lord Himself.  The word literally means ‘to be feared’.  Should men take a title for themselves that the scriptures give to the Lord?

If we are not to call each other Rabbi, or Master, or Father, or Reverend, what name can we properly use?  As we read in Matthew 23:8, “…ye are brethren.”  It is proper to call each other brother or sister.  This is a name that is common to all; it doesn’t try to elevate one person above another.  The Apostle Paul commonly used this expression in his writings.  So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all humble ourselves and allow all glory, honor, and praise go to the One who truly deserves it…the Lord Jesus Christ.  (96.2)