Summary: Full title is: Jesus Hates Hypocrisy Even More Than You Do - Part 2... Discussion of how hypocrisy can keep people from Jesus.
Jesus Hates Hypocrisy
Even More Than You Do!
Part 2 – Hypocrisy Blocks the Way to Heaven
October 26, 2008
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
I asked last week if any of you like hypocrites.
I also pointed out that from time to time all of us have been hypocrites, myself included.
And probably most of us have had someone say to us that they won’t consider Jesus because the Church is too full of hypocrites.
Sales trainer and Christian author Zig Ziglar has something he says to people who tell him that. He says, “Well don’t let that stop you – there’s always room for one more!”
So how do we respond to people who point out the hypocrisy in the church and use that as an excuse to reject Jesus?
Part of the answer lies in telling them what I’m trying to communicate through this series of messages: that Jesus hates hypocrisy more than they do.
And part of the answer lies in examining ourselves to see if we’re harboring the things Jesus talks about in our passage today.
It’s not enough to have a verbal answer ready. We need to have lives that display humility and a willingness to adjust our own attitudes and actions for the sake of others who don’t know Christ.
God: Jesus continues to rail against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, who in just three short days would cry out for His death.
And in this whole chapter you can hear His passion for truth and how the hypocrisy is keeping people from it.
Today we look at the first two of seven “woes” that Jesus pronounces against the Pharisees as we study Jesus’ attitude toward the hypocrites.
Matthew 23:13-15 (p, 700) –
13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”
I want to spend some time covering a few of the things that are touched on in these passages, but my goal isn’t to just give you information that you can tuck away somewhere and go, “Oh hey – that’s nice. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I play Bible Trivia.”
My hope is that in seeing what Jesus points out here you’ll want to avoid these mistakes, because as you see here, it can mean the difference between heaven and hell for somebody.
So that’s where the majority of my remarks will be centered today.
I want to start off by mentioning that in some of your Bibles, the verses go from 13 to 15 without a 14. Some Bibles have verse 14, which reads –
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Therefore you will be punished more severely.”
Why is this not in there in the version we’re reading from, the New International Version? Is it because the translators of the New International Version and others just didn’t like verse?
No, that’s not it. The fact of the matter is that this verse does not appear in the best of the ancient manuscripts of the gospel of Matthew. Therefore, it is their learned opinion that someone copying the gospel may have inserted that verse.
So it’s not that the translators were mathematically challenged and couldn’t count from 13 to 15 correctly, okay?
Let’s take a moment and look this word, “Woe.”
It’s generally used to express grief, regret, or distress (Merriam-Webster). You might have heard the phrase, “Woe is me!” when talking about how bad they’ve got it at the moment.
In this passage, the word “woe” is used for a couple purposes.
The first was to point out the miserable condition the Pharisees had come to. They had become self-appointed guardians of the Kingdom of God, but their standards were based more on their desire for conformity to their rules than on the Word of God.
The second use Jesus has for this word is to pronounce the fact that they are under judgment. (NIVAC)
But let’s look at what Jesus is getting after them for. What is it He’s “woe-ing” them about?
Verse 13 tells us that the first thing was that they were keeping people from entering the Kingdom of God. They did this by rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and emphasizing their man-made rules for keeping the Law of Moses.