Are You a Hypocrite? Matt. 23:25-28 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When you first hear the question, Are you a hypocrite, your first response is undoubtedly, No way! But is your first response true? Are you a hypocrite? Well, the best way to find out is to describe what a hypocrite is and what a hypocrite does. And if you find that these things are true in your life then, to the degree that they are true, you are a hypocrite. You are a hypocrite if:
You are different on the inside than you are on the outside – Matt 23:25-28 – notice that the hypocritical Pharisees kept up a clean, beautiful and righteous exterior. However, they were full of extortion, excess, dead men’s bones, uncleanness, hypocrisy and iniquity on the inside. This is a very common problem with Christians in churches. We are very conscious of other peoples’ views of us when we are in church. And so, we are generally on our best behavior. We get used to pretending to be something we aren’t because others are watching us. I mean, if the people in church could hear what you really think about them, feel what you really feel toward them, see what you are really thinking about when you are with them, and so forth, they would be shocked. So, you have learned to hide these feeling and thoughts from them by putting on a front. You speak a good line but your heart is not in it [Mk 7:6]. That’s hypocrisy.
You speak differently face to face than you do privately or virtually – Jn 7:19-20, 25 – notice that the Pharisees accused Jesus of having a devil when he questioned why they wanted to kill him. But the truth is that they had been talking about killing him. Even the people who were there listening to him speak knew it. In other words, they spoke one way behind Jesus’ back and another way face to face. You are a hypocrite if you do the same thing. If you don’t love someone, don’t tell them that you do just because you are supposed to. It is amazing what people will say behind a pseudonym in the virtual world of the internet that they would never say if they were standing face to face and toe to toe with someone. Hypocrites!! It is amazing what people will say to someone else about a person that they would never say to that person’s face. Hypocrites!!
You are judgmental and critical in your thoughts and attitudes about a person – Matt 7:1-5 – notice that a hypocrite is more judgmental about a very small matter in another person’s life than he is about a big deal in his own life. That’s because hypocrites are critical of other peoples’ sins while ignoring their own. The Pharisees nagged Jesus every time he did something beneficial for someone else on the Sabbath day. But they never considered that their buying and selling in the temple on the Sabbath was illegal. When Jesus finally cleared them out of the temple on the Sabbath before his crucifixion he accused them of turning his house of prayer into a den of thieves. And they had the audacity to come back the next day and question his authority to do it. When you conclude that you don’t like someone else because of their faults you forget that your lack of charity [1 Cor 13:1-8] is far worse than their petty peculiarities. If you truly loved them you would love them the way they are, not the way they would have to be in order to meet your approval.
You seek the approval of men more than the approval of God – Matt 6:2, 5 – hypocrites give to be recognized as charitable and pray to be seen as spiritual. In other words, if men aren’t watching they are not nearly as zealous in their giving and praying. They are aware that they have an audience of men. God said that the only audience you need in spiritual matters is the Lord [see 2 Tim 2:15]. If you crank it up when someone you admire [Jude 16] is watching or could be watching you, then you are a hypocrite. If you were really that zealous then it wouldn’t make any difference whether another man was watching or not. Hypocrite!!
If you are a hypocrite, there is a remedy. But first, you must admit to yourself and to God that you are a hypocrite; that what you are portraying on the outside is not what’s really on the inside. Otherwise, you will never deal with the problem. The remedy for hypocrisy is to:
Go to work cleaning up the inside – Matt 23:26 – “cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter.” Don’t worry about the veneer. The problem is on the inside. The trouble is in your heart. Here are some examples:
- If you don’t love a brother or sister in Christ, the problem is not with them. The problem is with you. You don’t have charity. So, pray and ask the Lord to give you a sincere love for them. The love of God can be shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost [Rom 5:5]
- If you can’t say to their face what’s in your heart, the problem is with you. Perhaps, you are hindered by the fear of man. God didn’t give you that fear [1 Tim 1:7]. When you truly love them that fear will be gone [1 Jn 4:18]. And then you can speak freely and honestly, even if it hurts [Prov 27:5].
- If you can’t say to their face what’s in your heart, it could be that you are proud and critical and have no business saying that kind of thing to them [Prov 10:32]. Humble yourself before God. When you are humble you won’t have those critical thoughts about them anymore. And your perception will clear up. You really aren’t better than they are.
- If you can’t say to their face what’s in your heart, then you are not being truthful with them. You are dishonest. You need to be honest [1 Pet 2:12]. There is no accountability if there is no honesty. There’s no liberty if there is no honesty [Jn 8:32].
Conclusion: Do you see now that more of us are hypocrites than you realized before this broadcast? But, thank God, all that can change if we will: first, admit the truth about the filth on the inside; second, go to work on the inside, by God’s grace; and third, after cleaning up the inside, let the outside take care of itself. We need no longer build a façade of hypocrisy around a rotten core. The core will be right and clean for a change!! No more pretending, praise God!!