A survey of people in America taken a few years ago reveals a strong reaction to perceived hypocrisy in its Christian churches. A whopping 72% of people who believe in God, but who don’t attend church, said the church is full of hypocrites!
Jesus noted that the leaders of the church of His time were hypocritical, and He illustrated hypocrisy 7 times in Matthew 23 to underscore the importance of the issue, and this leads me to wonder how He feels about His church today.
Could it be that so many young people fail to hear the Holy Spirit pleading with their hearts because our hypocrisy shouts so loud?
Jesus emphasizes the importance of humility and genuine love before He talks about end-time events. Social media is full of discussions and headlines regarding the details of prophecy, while ignoring and saying nothing about Jesus and our need for daily spiritual exercise that lead us to Him.
Some people seem to be worshiping words and ideas more than our Savior, and that opens the door to pride and hypocrisy. When we have knowledge that gives us an advantage, when we feel privileged, when we feel superior, we are drawn into a position where Jesus can be usurped. Our focus needs always to be on Jesus, and our daily prayer should include a desire for His humility.
So, even though the title of this week’s lesson emphasizes the second coming and Matthew 24, I will study both Matthew 23 and Matthew 24 with the same eagerness to refresh in my mind these important words of Jesus.
“Take heed that no man deceive you; Matthew 24:4
Jesus warned His disciples about deception, and His words underscore the importance of Bible study and the pursuit of truth because deceit will be very great. Many Christians today act as if “deceit” doesn’t exist, and we must be careful to resist this temptation.
Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh. Matthew 24:44
As Seventh-day Adventists, we are a people who believe in the soon coming of Jesus, and look forward to that glorious day, and our study this week will encourage and strengthen us for the work that lays before us.
I pray that this study of Jesus will increase our desire to be closer to Him and will transform our lives.
Join me this week and pray more and more. Come closer to the Father and Jesus and let the words of Matthew stir your soul.