Summary: From a 2008 series of messages on Romans.
Romans - God’s Glorious Gospel
A Word to the Hypocrite
* Turn with me to Romans 2 and we’ll read verses 17-29. Today’s message is one which can be disturbing, if we embrace the truths contained in the text. Paul has just completed a message on God’s judgment being based on knowledge, truth, guilt, deeds, impartiality, motives, and the gospel; and now, he seems to punch away at the hard exterior of the religious lost. Think about those two words, “Religious Lost.” He is speaking of those who are religious but are not of the faith; Jesus calls these “hypocrites.” Paul’s words to the Jews follow the same thought pattern as the words of Jesus. None here want to be perceived or better yet, be one. Let’s read our text & hear “A Word to the Hypocrite.” (READ TEXT)
* Of all the things which our Lord took issue with, hypocrisy leads the list. Even a cursory study of the life of Jesus reveals that He took serious issue with the life of the hypocrite. And Jesus pointed a few finger at the religious leaders or Pharisees calling them hypocrites. Turn with me to Matthew 23 and follow along (read verses 1-3, 12, 13-16, 23, 25, 27, 29, and conclude with 33). Our Lord Jesus took a dim view of saying one thing & doing otherwise.
* Somehow it is missed today in the American church that the very people Jesus had trouble with was the religious, church going, established, keepers of the religious traditions. It was these “religious teachers” who finally had Jesus crucified. It you ever really studied this issue, it will sober your thought processes.
* In our text today, Paul deals with the Jew, the Pharisee, or better said, “the Hypocrite.” They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, and Paul gives us 4 snap shots of this truth.
1. The Definition of the Hypocrite – Verse 17 says it this way, “IF you CALL yourself a Jew..?” Think about that. There is a difference in what we call ourselves and what someone else might call us.
* The word hypocrite literally means a “play actor”. The thrust of the word pictures someone on stage, playing a part, and wearing a mask. In short, trying to be someone or something other than they are.
* I read this week about brother Brighton. He was a pompous man who was meticulous about his appearance, holding fast to many religious rules. He was a member of the most prestigious church in town and was very bothered by the behavior of the boys in his church so he decided to become their Sunday School teacher. On his first day of class, he decided to begin by teaching the boys the importance of living the Christian life so he asked them this question: “Why do people call me a Christian?” After an awkward pause, one young boy piped up and said, “Maybe it’s because they don’t know you.” Ouch. Look at three concepts Paul gives;
a. Prideful – Reading verse 17 & 18 one can almost get a sense of the ‘proud’ people the Jews were. Words like “rest, boast, know, approved, and being instructed” gives us a sense that this person has arrived! Then it gets worse;
b. Presumptuous – Paul continues outlining the life of a hypocrite. You are “convinced” that you are guide, light, mainstructor, and teacher, because you have it all together. You THINK you have the “full expression” of both knowledge and truth. The implication is that these Jewish hypocrites had the idea that the Gentiles were fools & only “they” had the knowledge & truth. Presumptuous. When you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
c. Pretends – Paul sticks the knife of inspection in and says, “You who “think” you teach, better teach yourself.” You tell people not to steal, commit adultery, worship idols, boast in the law, and yet, you are doing the same things.
* Consider these 3 qualities and know they dishonor God.
* They hypocrite is one who attends church regularly, knows all the right traditions to uphold, speaks the church language, & then honors Satan during the week.
* By his actions, he tries to convince everyone that he is one thing, but he has no real love of God and no real desire to live a holy and obedient life.
2. The Damage from the Hypocrite – Candidly, as I developed this message, I do not remember hearing a message about the damage done from a hypocritical life. In recent months I have commended to you a book entitled “Unchristian.” This book is a sobering, startling, & stunning revelation of what this culture thinks of us. The very reason this culture thinks badly of us is laid squarely at the feet of those who profess to be a believer. Jude tells us that men have crept in and;