Summary: This message looks at the overall theme of Matthew 23: hypocrisy.

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CHRISTIANS ARE SUCH HYPOCRITES: Hypocrisy is not practicing what you preach.

- Matthew 23:3.

- This is major accusation from Jesus. Here is Matthew 23, it shows up in vv. 3, 13, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29.

- There is a lot of truth to the accusation for the way we behave as the church today. We need to heed Jesus’ words because this is a serious problem and Jesus indicates He is very bothered by it.

- Sometimes we presume that because we talk about God a lot that that means we’re on the inside.

- But in talking about hypocrisy, Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 in saying, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6).

- Talking a lot about God can just set the stage for hypocrisy.

- Some examples of hypocrisy that Jesus pointed to (these are some verses in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus mentioned hypocrisy):

a. In giving.

- Matthew 6:2.

- Jesus says: Give in secret, not to impress people.

- An example of our failure: Churches doing plaques within churches or naming stuff after people.

- An example of our failure: We say the most important thing in the world now is the Kingdom, but our checkbook says it’s the American Dream.

- An example of our failure: Jesus says not to let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, but we use tithing envelopes so we can get a tax deduction.

b. In prayer.

- Matthew 6:5.

- Jesus says: Pray in secret, not to impress people.

- An example of our failure: We say that “prayer changes things,” but treat prayer as a tool of last resort and as a ceremonial addition to our worship.

c. In fasting.

- Matthew 6:16.

- Jesus says: Don’t manipulate your face to make others impressed with your piety.

- An example of our failure: We deliberately ignore the teaching of Jesus and don’t fast, yet we’re meticulous about saying grace at every meal.

d. In judging others.

- Matthew 7:5; Luke 6:42.

- Jesus says: Know that you’ve got stuff in your own life to clean up first before cleaning up someone else.

- An example of our failure: We say we’re all sinners saved by grace, but we’re quick to point out how bad others’ sin is.

- In all four of these examples, we don’t practice what we preach and do what we do for the right reasons.

- Instead, we talk a good game of being righteous, but we do the things we say are wrong (porn, gossip) and don’t do what we say is good (prayer, Bible reading, forgiveness).

- What will transform America? A good starting place would be Christians actually acting like Jesus.

- Some humility, transparency, confession would be a good start.

- Pretending is a killer.

- Christians should be the most willing to admit to sins and failures, but instead we work hard to maintain a public persona of piety.

- Statistics on evangelical v. the population at large on major moral issues and how our behavior doesn’t differ.

JESUS' FAVORITE IMAGE OF HYPOCRISY: Jesus often referred to hypocrisy as “yeast.”

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