August 13, 2023

Sins of the Spirit #7: Hypocrisy, part 2–Solutions to Hypocrisy

Passage: Matthew 23:1-33

I heard recently about a SC congress woman who spoke at a prayer breakfast. In her remarks, she let slip that she was living in sin with her fiancé. She said that she had gotten out of bed with a man who was not her husband to attend this prayer breakfast. This woman has been divorced twice and is currently living in sin, but it was important for her to speak at this prayer breakfast. Seems just a little hypocritical. But that seems to be very common these days. Religion for many is merely a mask, a costume that people put on and take off. They live in blatant disregard to Christianity and they put on a religious exterior whenever it suits them, whenever it serves their purposes. They talk but they do not walk. That’s textbook hypocrisy. And it’s true of many people, not only politicians. It may be true of some of us in this room right now.

In Matthew 23, Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. Remember that a hypocrite is a play actor. He puts on religion like a mask or a costume. He appears to be religious for his own selfish purposes.

Mt 23:3  … they say, and do not.

Mt 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the characteristics of hypocrites. We found that hypocrites focus on externals instead of on the inner man. They major on minor rules and regulations instead of on fundamental moral principles. They are proud and corrupt rather than humble and compassionate. They don’t really care about the law, salvation, the needy, prayer, the temple, the truth, tithing, or weighty spiritual matters. They look good externally, but within, they are full of dead men’s bones, uncleanness, extortion, and excess. They are serpents and vipers even though they appear to be righteous. Ultimately, their religion is a fraud, a pretense, and they are in danger of the damnation of hell.

Sadly, some Christians are guilty of hypocrisy. They are not in danger of spending eternity in hell, but they are like the scribes and Pharisees in some ways. If we claim to be followers of Jesus, we must avoid the sin of hypocrisy. We must examine our own lives and purge them from any hint of hypocrisy.

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