Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: James calles it doublemindedness -- we call it playing both sides of the fence -- what will help our human tendency to live a "double life"?

July 15, 2001

7So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. 9Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done.

Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

10When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. 11Don¡¦t speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God¡¦s law. But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it. 12God alone, who made the law, can rightly judge among us. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to condemn your neighbor? James 4:7-12 (New Living Translation)

I broke my own rule again! For years I have been swearing-off the talk shows, call-in shows, and such. The problem is, you get so mad over the foolishness. Then, I did it again ¡V I tuned-in while driving to Greensboro. The conversation went something like this:

Caller: Hi, This is Mike. Why is it some people can¡¦t keep from sinning?

Host: Mike, what do you mean some people?

Caller: Well, I¡¦m a Christian.

Host: Do you mean, Mike, that you don¡¦t sin?

Caller: I¡¦m not a Christian like most people you find in the world today; I do what the Bible says.

Host: Mike, when¡¦s the last time you did sin?

Caller: Nine years ago.

I wanted to leap into the radio and smack Mike around a bit!

James had some strong words for the dear church folk about their actions and attitudes. The words sting just as harshly today (and rightfully so). Perhaps the most stinging rebuke is what the radio call-in show host finally said to Mike:

Mike, the Bible says that if we say we have no sin,

the truth isn¡¦t in is¡Kand we lie .

Mike, to say you haven¡¦t sinned makes you a hypocrite. (At that point I held off slapping Mike around¡K.he¡¦d gotten what was coming to him.)

Hypocrisy, or spiritual schizophrenia allows for judging others, while not acknowledging ¡V or even seeing ¡V your own faults.

Jesus¡¦ sense of humor put it this way, You are some case ¡V hunting specks in your brother¡¦s eye, when you got a telephone pole between your own eyelashes. (Matthew 7.3).

Hypocrisy is what King James calls doubleminded. In the ancient language of the Bible, it is literally, two-breaths, or what we would call, speaking out of both sides of your mouth. It¡¦s what the politician did on the floor of the Senate one day during the debate on allowing alcohol to be sold¡K

"You asked me how I feel about whiskey. Well, here¡¦s how I stand on the question. If when you say whiskey you mean that Devil¡¦s brew, the poison spirit, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yes, literally takes bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man from the pinnacle of righteousness and gracious living and causes him to descend to the pit of degradation, despair, shame, and helplessness, then I am certainly against it with all my heart.

"But if, when you say whiskey, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in an old man¡¦s footsteps on a frosty morning; if you mean the drink whose sale puts, I¡¦m told, millions of dollars into our treasury which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, or blind or deaf or dumb, our pitifully aged, and our infirm, to build highways and hospitals and schools, then I am certainly in favor of it. This is my stand, and I will not compromise." Maybe he was running for president.

Consider the following definition of doublemindedness:

An attempt to follow two opposite and antagonistic

courses of action at the same time.

Doublemindedness, or hypocrisy is playing both sides of the fence. It is trying to be a different person, according to the benefit you can get out of changing you, so your environment will change for you. It is schizophrenic!

And there are many spiritual schizophrenics running around today ¡V always have been. You have heard it before. On Sunday, there is the sweet smile, spiritual-sounding talk, and lots of brother and sister talk.

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