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Summary: A contrast between hypocritical religion and honest relationships with God.

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Topic: Christian Living

Theme: Honest Christian Living

Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to develop honest relationships with God.

Response: In preparation for Communion, individuals will examine their relationship with God with the questions I provide at the end of the message.

Pattern: A contrast between hypocritical religion and honest relationships with God.

INTRODUCTION

“The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.”

Citation: Karl Rahner, quoted in the Wittenburg Door (June/July l988). Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 8. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International

DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT? DO YOU THING JESUS WOULD? LET ME READ IT ONE MORE TIME. LISTEN CLOSELY AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.

“The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.”

Citation: Karl Rahner, quoted in the Wittenburg Door (June/July l988). Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 8. © 2001 PreachingToday.com / Christianity Today, International

ARE HYPOCRITES THE NUMBER ONE CAUSE OF ATHEISM?

Jesus seemed to think so. He said that --

HYPOCRITICAL RELIGION…

1. Plays at clean living but produces A DIRTY SPIRIT.

[39] (Jesus told the religious people of his day), "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. [40] You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? [41] But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Hypocrisy focuses on the things others can see and forget that God can see everything about them.

2. Worries about what others may think and wants to be PERFECT.

Jesus said: [42] "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.”

Hypocrisy wants to be noticed and admired. It tends to be so detail oriented that it misses the things that really matter.

3. Finds the LOOPHOLES in regulations in order to avoid obeying them.

[46] Jesus (said), "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”

Hypocritical religion loves a long list of rules. The longer the list the easier it is to find loopholes.

4. Honors heroes of the past but rejects God’s work in the PRESENT.

[47] "Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. [48] So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. [49] Because of this, God in his wisdom said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ [50] Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, [51] from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.


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