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Summary: dealing with hypocrisy

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“Hypocrites in the Church”

Matthew 23

2/8.98

Intro: Have you ever noticed how some people always have an excuse for not coming to church? I found a solution for this: No Cop-Out Sunday. Read Article.

Probably the number one reason people give for not coming to church is “There are too many hypocrites there.” Probably the best comeback to that is, “that’s fine, there’s always room for one more.”

What is a “hypocrite”? The Greek term denoted a “pretender” or a “stage player, an actor”. someone who was just “playing a staged role.” The dictionary refers to a fake, imposter, charlatan.

What do you think of when I say “hypocrite?” Ask for answers!

What are hypocrites like? Describe them!

Why do we not like hypocrites?

This morning we will see that Jesus deals frequently with the hypocrites. Let’s look at Matthew 23.

Read Text - 23:1-12

Hypocrites are normally found among the religious, for the unchurched feel no need to pretend.

I. Hypocrites should never keep us from doing right. 1-4

*Obey leaders for their position if not for their lifestyle. You don’t ignore your boss at work because you don’t like the way he treats his wife. Respect his position. There may be hypocritical church leaders. That’s what Jesus found the most.

*True teaching can come from hypocritical leaders. Often one whose lifestyle is corrupt knows and teaches the truth.

*We come to church even though there may be hypocrites here.

II. Signs of Hypocrisy

A. Double Standards - 3-4

They speak one thing and live another. We tend to demand more from others.

Miss S. - if ahead, they can wait on us -- if behind, they should hurry up, we can’t wait on them

**you’re overweight - I’m just storing up for the winter.

***I know premarital sex and adultery are wrong, so excuse me, my soad opera is on right now!

17 and under stand: these are watching you adults!!!

B. Seek Recognition - 5-12

In their clothes - want to be noticed

In seating arrangements - need to feel important

In titles given - want to be called “Doctor” or “Reverend” - Most Reverend, on can be one

**humility is sign of greatness**

C. Self Centered - 13-15

They have to have their own way. Really have problems when you have two or more who have to have their own way.

*They criticize those who do things differently

Miss S. - “I sure hope they get to heaven, but . . .

D. Unreliable Promises - 16-22

They look for ways not to keep their word. They look for loopholes.

They try to justify wrongdoing. God says it is better not to take an oath than to make an oath and not fulfill it.

E. Partial Obedience - 23-24

They fail to fulfill the obligations of obedience. They appease their conscience in one area.

Giving vs. Right heart.

**You can’t be right with God just by putting a large check into the offering.

F. Outward Reformation - 25-28

Nice clothes never take away sinful hearts.

White tombs - filled with decay

##Illus: pitcher of mud and grime/ toilet water - but pour into a goblet.

G. Hate Truth (& truth-tellers) - 29-36

Profess they like old-fashioned preachers, but ignore their message.

Chew up pastors, run churches: Turf Lords

III. Response towards Hypocrites 37-

A. Compassion - even though it is not accepted

B. Condemnation - of their sinful actions and attitudes

C. Confession - of our own hypocrisy - not look to others

Matt 7:3-5 - And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Jesus says in Rev. 3:15

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

How have you been hypocritical? We need to confess it to the Lord and seek forgiveness. But we also need to confess it to one another. You know what? Other already know it, they just need to know you want to change.

This morning we are going to do something a little different. We are going to take some time for confession. Then we can fully offer forgiveness and pray for one another. I wonder who has been hypocritical. Who wants to confess something to the Lord today?

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