Summary: First message looking at the "woes" that Jesus brings down on the Pharisees and religious leaders during Holy Week
Jesus Hates Hypocrisy
Even More Than You Do!
Part 1 - The Need for Humility
October 19, 2008
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
I’m willing to bet that no one likes a hypocrite. At least no one I know of does.
And you know what? Even hypocrites hate hypocrites. And you know why? Because they don’t see it in their own lives.
Hypocrisy is still one of the biggest reasons people choose to reject Christianity as a viable option in their lives.
They say, “The Church is full of hypocrites and I don’t want any part of it.”
And the problem is that they’re right to an extent. The church has hypocrites in it.
It’s been said that when a missionary was trying to convince Gandhi to consider Christianity, his answer was no.
He said, “I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”
He had seen first-hand how co-called “Christians” treated people, especially those who weren’t Christians and of a lower social status than they.
Sad, isn’t it?
But in the end that argument for rejecting Jesus doesn’t hold water, because of the fact that Jesus is true, even if His followers blow it from time to time and even misuse Jesus for their own ends.
Just because I’m not perfect doesn’t mean that Jesus and His teachings aren’t true. Your imperfection doesn’t negate the fact that Jesus was the perfect Son of God who laid down His life so you could be forgiven and have a home in heaven.
And just because Joe Televangelist gets caught in a sin doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t the only way to heaven.
He’s all these things in spite of what it looks like in the lives of some people who call themselves Christians.
But when someone tells me that they’re not interested in Jesus because of the hypocrisy in the Church, I simply say this:
“You hate hypocrisy? You should see what Jesus says about it. He hates it even more than you do!”
And if they let me, I show them this chapter that we’re going to start looking at today.
One of the things that the Church in general needs to get a better grip on is how Jesus dealt with people.
The Church is full of people and pastors who love to call out the sin of others. They’re loud and condemning.
But in the Scriptures, when Jesus is confronted by a sinner, He offers forgiveness and restoration. He doesn’t excuse or condone their sin, but He forgives it – and tells them to sin no more.
Jesus saves His harshest words for the hypocrites. And as we work our way through this chapter over the next few weeks, you’ll see what I mean.
Now here’s the hard news. We’ve all been hypocrites at one time or another. We’ve all been people who have said one thing and done another.
We’ve all been people who have pretended to be something we’re not.
Hypocrisy is never a good thing. It can hinder not only your own relationship with Jesus, it can hinder others in their relationship to Him as well, and it can even keep them from finding Jesus altogether.
Folks – can you see why Jesus doesn’t look too keenly on hypocrisy?
God: That will be the focus of the messages for the next few weeks as we go through this chapter in Matthew.
This chapter begins a message to the people, but it’s directed at the Pharisees and the rest of the religious leaders who were caught up in the trap of being religious on the outside but had nothing really in their lives and their character to back it up.
Jesus, knowing that the time was short, uses this last opportunity to set the record straight about what God really wants to see in the lives of His followers.
Matthew 23:1-12 (p. 700) –
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;
Phylacteries were these boxes that contained four specific passages of Scripture from the Old Testament. The Pharisees wore them on their foreheads and on their left arms. And according to Jesus, at least some of these guys were making a big deal out of how spiritual they were by making these things bigger so they stood out more. Then people could go, “Whoa! Look at that guy. He’s ‘spiritual!’”