Monday, June 8, 2015

Isn't Your Church Full of Hypocrites?

This is the question Pastor Daniel tackled at Sojourn this week. I am so thankful for it. It was so helpful to hear what a hypocrite is and what that means for us who follow Jesus. We looked at Matthew 23:1-39. (Yes, it's a long passage, but so important.)

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for theybroaden their [a]phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. Theylove the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues,and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called [b]leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. 
 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven [c]from [d]people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 [[e]Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one [f]proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of [g]hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the [h]temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the [i]temple is obligated.’ 17 You fools and blind men! Which is [j]more important, the gold or the [k]temple that sanctified the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the [l]offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19 You blind men, which is [m]more important, the [n]offering, or the altar that sanctifies the [o]offering?20 Therefore, [p]whoever swears by the altar, swears both by [q]the altar and by everything on it. 21 And [r]whoever swears by the [s]temple, swears both by[t]the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 And [u]whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and [v]cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full [w]of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are [x]sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how [y]will you escape the [z]sentence of [aa]hell?

34 Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the [ab]temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Hypocrisy Defined vv 3-5
Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another, living a life of outward deeds for men to see but in their hearts do not follow their teaching.
A hypocrite trusts in a persona or in pretending instead of trusting in God. They are driven by shame,

Hypocrisy Displayed vv 13-28
In these verses Jesus shows how the Pharisees lived by the letter of the law, while neglecting the heart of it. Hypocrisy denigrates the law of God, putting emphasis on actions instead of loving God and loving others with all of our being.
Hypocrisy not only hurts ourselves with our hidden sin, it hurts others and damages the witness of Christ in our lives.
When we live in hypocrisy we are trying to manage God, our lives, our jobs, our homes, etc, instead of dealing with the reality of these things.

So how do we live a life apart from hypocrisy? It's a heart matter

Hypocrisy Defeated vv 29-39
God is the only One who can make our hearts clean and show us how to live a life of honesty and humility so that others can see who we really are.
Isaiah 50:6-8 shows us that Jesus was humble so that we could learn to be humble. He took our shame so that we can live free of shame.
Jesus split the curtain so we no longer have to perform.
We are only right and strong when we realize we are weak and wrong!
It is all about God being right, not us. The Gospel Works and we need to put our trust in Jesus. We were designed to live in light of the Gospel without shame. This makes us better spouses, workers, parents, creators, etc.

Are you living a life in light of the Gospel or are you a hypocrite? Let's learn to be real with each other and be who God created us to be together.

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