Summary: the danger of hypocrisy
Intro: one of the classic, I Love Lucy shows was the show where Lucy and Ethel traded places with Ricky and Fred; one of the funniest parts of that show was when Ricky put a whole box of yeast into his dough and it overflowed the oven. Yeast is a powerful substance, just a little is needed to make bread rise. Jesus stressed yeast or leaven many times in his messages. He warned that the leaven of the Pharisee’s was religion’s greatest sin, and that was the sin of hypocrisy. A classic teaching of the Word is that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump, in other words: just a little bit of hypocrisy in your life will ruin you completely. Today, let’s look at this serious problem that every Christian must guard against in their lives.
RELIGION’S FAVORITE SIN
Background: with a large crowd gathered to hear Jesus he starts out by teaching on one of his favorite subjects, the counterfeit religion of the Scribes and Pharisees. He warns people that hypocrisy is a great danger to every life, and that every detail of our lives will be revealed in judgment.
Today, I want to look at the leaven that leaveneth the whole lump, and warn all of us against the sin of hypocrisy.
I. Hypocrisy One—being churchy---Matthew 15:3-6 one of the biggest dangers in all of our lives is becoming a professional Christian. What started with sincerity and humbleness can rapidly become showy and proud.
· Rules of the Church can become more important that winning souls, or seeing God move in our services. You must guard against this as a minister, laymen or member of any church. We must constantly remember the main goal of winning souls for Jesus Christ, and not try to burden people with rules, legalism and man made theologies.
· Lost sincerity—we can know when to raise our hands, when to say amen, how to paint on our religious faces and go to church, but true Christianity is birthed in relationship to Jesus Christ, and anything that replaces that position in Christ is a man made idol.
Ill) it is like the man who acted horrible all the way to church every week but in church acted wonderful. One week his wife had it with his hypocrisy, she said, “today why don’t we switch things up, why don’t you act like an angel with us, and be a devil in the church service.”
II. Hypocrisy Two-Going Through The Motions—Matthew 15:7-8 Lip Service Christianity—another leaven that will leaven the whole lump is lip service Christianity. Everything is from the lip, nothing is from the heart anymore. We all must guard against getting into ruts or routines. In the Revelation, Ephesus had lost it’s love, Laodicea had lost it’s fire.
· We all have seen couples that have grown distant, where communication is missing, maybe the man just grunts his responses or the woman is constantly picking or nagging about every little thing. Most people would know they have fallen into ruts, got into some hopeless routines. The same holds true with our relationship with Christ, we must guard against the lip service Christianity.
Ill) Michael W. Smith—sings a song about looking for a missing person, a young man with fire, vision, dreams. I didn’t understand what the meaning of that song was until recently, he was looking for himself, the person who use to be on fire for God. We all need to do spiritual check-ups to see where we are in Christ.
III. Hypocrisy Three—Talk the Talk, Don’t Walk the Walk—Matthew 23:3-4 Here is the oldest of all hypocrisies, not practicing what you preach. This isn’t just for preachers, this is for everyone who claims Christ. It is easy to become judges of others, but never judge ourselves.
· In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells that some people spend all their time looking for the faults of others, that never see the faults in their own lives. He says, clear out the beam in your own eye, and you will see clearly how to help the person with the speck in their eye.
· Heaping burdens on others that they won’t carry themselves. We must all guard against being hard on others, easy on ourselves. Sometimes the weaknesses we see in others isn’t near the weaknesses we have in our own lives.
In the Imitations of Christ-Thomas A Kempis states that when you feel you are doing well putting up with the faults of others, realize they are doing better putting up with the faults in you.
IV. Hypocrisy Four—Showy Christianity—Matthew 23:5-12 One point that many people miss is that religion is big business, religion is a powerful entity in the world, and those who are the movers and shakers, those who climb to the highest rungs of religious importance have reached near celebrity status in our world. Jesus warned against Spiritual pride. He said we must guard against doing everything for show and pretense.