Summary: This is the first lesson in a series based on James MacDonald's book, Authentic. This lesson battles the problem of hypocrisy.
1. Fake Cars
In the 1970’s, Bradley Automotive sold a fiberglass body kit that fit perfectly onto a VW bug chassis. The body was very modern in style and design, giving the impression that it was an expensive GT or GT2 sports car. On the outside it looked expensive, showy, and modern but on the inside it was still just a VW bug.
2. We hear a lot today about the Millennial generation’s expectations, especially of the church – authenticity is essential; this is not limited to one generation, it has been an issue for years
3. As followers of Jesus, we have an obligation to genuinely, authentically follow him
a. Authenticity honors Jesus; hypocrisy; laziness; etc. dishonors him
b. Authenticity attracts people – to Jesus – John 12.32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
c. Authenticity opens the door of salvation for others
• John 14.9b Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
• Do people see Jesus in us?
4. Jesus deals gently with sinners and harshly with hypocrisy
5. We are beginning a series on authenticity: Be Real! But, before we move to the genuine, let’s defuse hypocrisy – Matthew 23.1-12
I. The Hypocrites Wanted the Seats of Distinction
A. They Had Significant Responsibility
1. [Moses Seat = Authority
2. Correct Teaching was Key – Matthew 5.17-20
3. Heavy Burdens – Imagine a knapsack loaded with heavy objects and heavy items tied outside; then the people were to pick it up and joyfully carry it – the hypocrites would not do so
4. Compare to Jesus’ burden in Matthew 11.28-30
5. What happened?
a. The 613 Torah commands became thousands of rules and traditions – a checklist mentality
b. We are not a Rule-keeping institution (we didn’t cash in an old set just to get a new set of rules); we are a community of people passionately devoted to Jesus – imitating and demonstrating Him in our lives
c. Did Jesus violate Sabbath? Yes and No
• Yes, according to Pharisees and other rule-keepers; No to God
• “Lord of Sabbath” – Luke 6.6-11
6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
WHO HEALED THE MAN? GOD DID!
• What is a Faithful Christian? Do we have a rule?
Four Assemblies/Week or Love God/Love Neighbor?
B. They Had Serious Shortcomings – “Don’t do as they do.”
Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) attended a Sunday a.m. sermon. He met the pastor at the door afterward and told him that he had a book at home with every word he had preached that morning. The minister assured him that the sermon was an original. Clement still held his position. The pastor wanted to see this book so Clements said he would send it over in the morning. When the preacher unwrapped it he found a dictionary and in the flyleaf was written this: "Words, just words, just words."
1. Words without actions are of no value – James 2.18 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
2. Serious Judgment for Teachers/Rabbis – James 3.1 we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
II. The Hypocrites Displayed Mere Outward Devotion (23.5-7)
A. They Wore the External Reminders
1. Tefillin or Phylacteries – Reminders of Deuteronomy 6.6-8
2. Fringes – reminders of God and His word
3. These became clothing accessories with little impact
4. We? I love the bible; I own 15 versions; No, I don’t read or do it.
B. They Welcomed Special Recognition
1. Seats of Honor – [Triclinium Table and seats of honor
[The Rocket Club in Huntsville, AL once invited me to lead a prayer at their lunch meeting. I did not understand the significance of this organization but I put together a prayer and showed up to what I thought was going to be a small group of current and former rocket scientists who affiliated with NASA. I was shocked when I was taken to the “table of honor” in a very large meeting room. Seated at the table were two Army Generals and their staffs; a Medal of Honor recipient who spoke that day. I could not help but think how out of place I felt throughout the lunch.