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Wednesday: Hypocrisy — 10 Comments

  1. Jesus reserved his most stinging rebukes for the hypocritical scribes and pharisees. He likened then to white-washed gravestones covering rotting bones and cups washed clean on the outside but filthy inside. The targets of his rebukes were the most religious people of the day, visibly practicing the rules of the Torah and actively taking part in Synagogue life. Jesus saw through the facade of theatrical makeup to what was underneath.

    Hypocrisy reached new heights of blatancy during the dark ages with the church becoming rich and powerful, built on the back of oppressing the poor. They built imposing cathedrals to glorify God while they were killing any who dared to criticise them.

    In our modern age, we see the hypocrisy of media evangelists whose main message is to get rich and prosper and who have seemingly forgotten about the servant leadership of Jesus.

    Don't we love hypocrites? They make us look so good by comparison don't they? We are not like them are we?

    Jesus said:

    And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother. Matt 7:3-5TLB

    My secular friends often dismiss Christianity because they see us as hypocrites. Of course, we answer that by saying that what they are seeing are those who are not "true believers" but apostate Christians. And perhaps we deserve their response, "Arrogant prat!"

    Earlier in this lesson series I quoted Paul:

    Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Cor 13:5 KJV

    It still applies.

    • This study cuts like a knife - just like Jesus said the Word would do. It hurts me to know I can be a hypocrite!
      Paul says in Romans 7:19-20 TLB "When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp." Perhaps I can be thankful to recognize hypocrisy in myself? I think so! Because it humbles me and sends me back to Jesus. I suspect that I might not recognize my need without the Holy Spirit, so thankful for that too. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

  2. I used to wonder "how" did the israelites go from the continuous wicked sinners sent to babylon, to the wickedly righteous that killed the son of God. I think it was Hezekiah (correct me if I'm wrong) that found the scrolls in Jerusalem. Saw how far off track in following God's word, and began advocating for returning to being obedient to God. What I imagine happened is they went from one extreme to the other. Not for love of God but for fear of punishment by God. This was exactly the wrong motivation. What is my motivation for being an SDA? What is my motivation for following the 10 commandments? Am I being obedient to the will of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to complete a good work in me? Or am I sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal? Just as a butterfly the metamorphosis has to begin on the inside. God always works inside out.

    • Hezekiah did institute many reforms, however sadly his son Manasseh who was born in the extra 15 years Hezekiah lived after the sundial event did not follow in his father's ways. There were several more kings (including Josiah who also instituted major reforms including re-discovering the Book of the Law) before the Exile took place. After the return from exile Ezra and Nehemiah did much to restore the worship of the LORD at the re-built Temple.

  3. First, to say Jesus tolerated any sin above another is a false claim. Adam brought death into this world for eating a forbidden fruit. Jesus shows mercy and offers forgiveness for “all manner of sin”(Matt 12:31) if one repents, including hypocrites.

    Perhaps the one defining characteristic of a hypocrite is saying, but not doing themselves what they tell others they must do. What followed this definition in Jesus' description were illustrations of this principle of deception. Making a false claim is hypocrisy. Consider the story in John 8 of those men dragging a woman into the temple area to condemn her before Jesus, while they were guilty themselves. This is an example of hypocrisy.

    Like any other violation of the will/law of God, overcoming begins with acknowledging our sin and genuinely repenting. Yes, those who accept positions of leadership will have greater condemnation if refusing to repent, but one does not need to be a leader to be guilty of any sin against God, and for all, the wages of sin is death.

    • I think it's also true that hypocrisy is the defining sin of the church of Laodicea, and that would include you and me. I don't think hypocrisy is always intentional either. And I'm glad to note that Jesus loves hypocrites in spite of their hypocrisy. He spent the better part of three and a half years of ministry appealing to the Pharisees in various ways, and only just before His death did He denounce the religious leaders of His day outright. At that point He needed to let His followers know that they should not look up to these leaders for spiritual guidance. Because of His many appeals to them, a large number of these leaders joined His followers after the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating that hypocrites aren't always hopeless.

      • The only hopeless sinner/sin is the impenitent. Agreed, "for God so loved the world..." is what Jesus tells us, with no exceptions listed outside of unbelief.

        Do you think Jesus rebuke(Matt 23) was His last call to those who's sin He rebuked? Doesn't Rev 3:19 tell us how urgent His desire was to save them? As you mention Inge, it seems to have worked in some cases. Perhaps it will for some in Laodicea?

  4. What is the danger of hypocrtical leaders?
    For 3 years we have seen a parade of leaders (even struggle heroes) being found guilty of fraud and corruption looting millions from the state coffers in my country to line their own pockets (not even for their people). Now people are 'surprised' when the masses go on the rampage looting shops of food and basic or even luxury goods following their example.
    When some Christians leaders are revealed to be hypocrites it damages the reputation of all Christians and gives nonbelievers an 'excuse' to reject the good news.
    But I say, I am not a leader so if I am a little hypocritical some times surely it is not so bad? I don't influence many people. What about fake it till you make it? What am I saying! I am in a relationship with the LORD who can read my heart and mind like an open book! I might fool myself but I can't fool Him.
    Big or small hypocrites are dangerous like serpents slithering between the legs of their victims.

  5. When we dig down to the roots of restlessness we enter into our mind a private territory where one's motives, ambitions, love, selfishness, jealousy, pride and desires originate. Someone said 'character is what you do in the dark when no one is watching'. Commandment 10 in Exodus 20:17 states "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. And is one of the most difficult commandments to keep. Other commandments such as commandment 8, Thou shall not steal are action oriented. In other words, one perform the act of stealing before we recognize that someone has broken God's law. By looking and comparing ourselves with our neighbours, we will begin to covet the neighbours material things. We are told to look to Jesus as a role model for character building. Commune with Christ daily and fill our minds with the presence of Christ. We are also counselled to guard our senses and ears, eyes and mind, for these are the avenues to the soul. Whatever our sense of touch, smell, see, taste, feel is exposed to, we will begin to desire it.

  6. To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

    14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
    Luke 18: 9-14

    Praise God, that the ground is all level at the foot of the cross.


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