Summary: Next message through Matthew, this one dealing with Jesus’ words about actually living what we say about loving God.
Lip-Service Won’t Cut It!
November 19, 2006
There are a number of things in my life that I try to avoid, if at all possible.
For instance, I try to avoid pot-holes in the road.
I also try to avoid things like the tornado I mentioned a couple weeks ago, as well as any form of spider – real, fake, or imagined…
I try to avoid things that would bring me into temptation to sin against God or my family.
And of course, I try to avoid anything like pig intestines or sauerkraut that tries to pass itself off as “food.”
I think you know what I mean.
Another thing I try to avoid is hypocrisy in my life.
Hypocrisy is basically trying to look like a Christian without really trying to be one – or at least one that thinks that Jesus should be the boss of a person’s life.
They want to give the appearance of loving Jesus, but don’t want to actually be committed to Him to the point where it would get in the way of living for themselves.
And so I strive to make sure that who I am on Monday is the same person you see here on Sunday.
My hope is that I would never be accused of being a person who is good at “loving Jesus” on Sunday, but lousy at it the rest of the week.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always successful in my goal to completely avoid hypocrisy, and it could be that some of you have witnessed something in my life that is contrary to what Scripture would say is something that characterizes what a follower of Jesus would do.
And the thing is, there is really no excuse for hypocrisy, no matter who is involved with it. It’s sin, plain and simple.
My guess is that I’m not alone in this room in telling you that I’ve been a hypocrite from time to time.
I think if we all were to examine ourselves, we would have to admit that hypocrisy has crept into each of our lives from time to time.
Maybe you claim to love Jesus but you cheat on your taxes – or your spouse.
Maybe you claim to love Jesus but your love is confined to between 9:30 and noon on Sundays, because the rest of the week is yours.
Or you claim to love God but you treat others like trash, in spite of what Jesus says about how we’re to treat others.
Or maybe – just maybe, it’s something entirely different, but for you, your soul aches when hypocrisy rears its ugly head, and you cry out in your spirit because you know it’s wrong, but you feel powerless to do anything about it.
The problem is that people see right through our hypocrisy, and in the case of some, it may turn them off to Jesus completely.
And with eternity in the balance, we can’t afford to be giving them excuses to reject Him.
So just how do we go about avoiding hypocrisy in our lives?
What does it look like to live a life that’s not marked by living a double life, spiritually speaking?
Well, let me tell you right up front that the way to do that is what I’m addressing as the main point of this message for today: To love Jesus is to live for Jesus.
That is what I want you to take away from here today. To love Jesus is to live for Jesus.
We’re going to look at some false ideas of what it means to love Jesus, as well as some thoughts on what loving Jesus looks like in everyday living.
Our passage of Scripture for today gives us the principles we want to look at, so please turn with me to…
Matthew 15:1-9 (p. 693) –
1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!"
3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ’Honor your father and mother’ and ’Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ’Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ 6 he is not to ’honor his father ’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 "’These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.