Summary: Message seven shows hypocrites lead many people to doubt the reality of church member's claims and their need of accepting Jesus. It defines what a hypocrite is and what our response should be.
THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION
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Copyright 2005 by Bob Marcaurelle
2014 Revision by Bob Marcaurelle
THE BEST ARGUMENT AGAINST SALVATION - HYPOCRITES
“You hypocrites-you shut to door to the Kingdom of Heaven in other people’s faces and you yourselves don’t go in.” (Jesus
( Matt. 23:13-14)
“You teach others-why don’t you teach yourself. You preach, Do not steal, but do you steal? / “You do the very thing for which you pass judgment on others. / The name of God is blasphemed by Gentiles (outsiders) because of you.” (Paul, in Rom. 2:21f; 1; 24)
“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, ‘These people, says God, honor me with their lips but their heart is really far away from Me.’”
(Mark 7:6 / Isa. 29:13 Septuagint)
From the minute Jesus began His public ministry he had conflicts with the legalistic group who reduced the OT to 612 rules and lived by them (Pharisees- Separated Ones). About a year into His Galilean ministry they were making plans to have Him killed for breaking their man made rules and in his Sermon on the Mount he threw fuel on the fire by attacking their character. He said as they obeyed these rule they felt better than the people who didn’t; they loved for people to see them do their good things; they felt no need to confess; and to top it off they were just acting like they loved God and wanted to lead people to Him. They were playing a part, pretending to be what they knew in their hearts they were not.
Isaiah 29 pictured this in the OT and Jesus took that text and added the word that suited them – hypocrite- the Greek word for an actor. Jesus coined this phrase. He introduced it into the Bible. If hypocrites in the church bother you; you are in very good company because Jesus preached against it more than all other sins put together. And in the end, it was the Bible teachers (Scribes) and the Pharisees, whom He called hypocrites, who had Him crucified.
Mark Twain’s wife illustrates this. She wanted to break him from cursing, so one day, with a paper full of curse words she came into the room and shouted each curse word out loud. Twain looked at her and said, “Honey- you got the words right, but your heart wasn’t in it.” That is the hypocrite.
The latest George Barna poll reveals regular church attenders are just as likely to cheat at school, commit adultery, etc. An interesting fact is that 34% of all marriages in America end up in divorce, and the rate among those who attend church is 34%. It has been said, “The best argument for Christianity is a good Christian.” If this is true, then the best arguments against Christianity are the multitude of men and women who claim to be “born again” Christians and act no different than the world.
In the first church service in the Bible, half the congregation was unacceptable to God. Rebuked by God, Cain, all dressed up in his Sunday best, stormed out of church and killed Abel. (Gen. 4) Jeremiah stormed into church and said,
Jer. 7:1, 2, 5, 10
“The Lord sent me to the Temple where the people of Judah went in to worship. He told me to stand there and say, ‘Change the way you are living and the things you are doing. / Be fair in your dealings with others. Stop taking advantage of strangers, orphans and widows. You do the things I hate and then you come and stand in my presence, in my own Temple and say, we are safe.’”
The finest church ever, had twelve hand picked members with Jesus as the Pastor. Yet one of them, Judas, was stealing from the collection plate and sold Jesus for a month’s wages.
After Jesus went back to heaven and the Holy Spirit was poured out, two members of the early church, Annanias and Sapphirra were struck dead for lying. Vance Havner said if God did that today you would have to have 50 funeral coaches parked outside of church every Sunday. James (4:8) said to the young church in Jerusalem,
“Clean you hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts you hypocrites. (James 4:8)
Such people do more harm to the cause of Christ and the efforts of the church than all other kinds of sinners put together. One angry church conference in a Baptist church does more harm to that church than all the liquor stores in that town combined. The Bible says
“The name (character) of God is maligned and blasphemed because of you.” (Rom. 2:24).
Jesus said Pharisees “close the door to heaven people’s faces and don’t go in themselves.” (Mt. 23:13)