Summary: Jesus says that there will be both good & evil people in this world, & they’ll be living side by side. Even the church will not be immune to this mixture. (Powerpoints available - #156)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at email@example.com and request #156.)
ILL. When was the last time you overheard a conversation like this? “Madge, how come you never shop at Walmart?” And Madge answers, “Well, I used to. But the last time I was there the place was just full of hypocrites. So I’ll never go back there again.”
You’ve never heard such a conversation about Walmart, have you? We don’t hear that kind of excuse in regard to grocery stores, schools, or the country club. But sometimes we hear it used in regard to the church.
ILL. Zig Ziglar said that he invited a friend to go to church with him. The man answered, “Well, I’d like to go. But the church is so full of hypocrites.” Ziglar replied, “That’s okay. There’s always room for one more.”
A. Turn with me to Matthew 13:24-30. In this passage Jesus is talking about the presence of good & evil in this world. Please listen as I read it to you.
“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came & sowed weeds among the wheat, & went away.
‘When the wheat sprouted & formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him & said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
‘The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go & pull them up?’ ’No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.
‘Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds & tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat & bring it into my barn.’”
In this parable Jesus says that as wheat & weeds grow side by side they look a lot alike. And if we try to pull up the weeds we would likely uproot the wheat as well. So we’re told to let them grow until the harvest. Then it will be easy to see which is which, & to treat them accordingly.
PROP. Jesus told this parable nearly 2,000 years ago. But the lessons He was teaching are just as pertinent today. So let’s consider some of them this morning.
I. THE PRESENCE OF HYPOCRISY
A. The first one is the presence of hypocrisy. Jesus says that there will be both good & evil people in this world, & they’ll be living side by side. Even the church will not be immune to this mixture.
On the one hand, it seems unfair to say that the church is full of hypocrites, because I know a lot of people who have been faithful & true & authentic in their Christian lives, & they’re wonderful Christian people.
But even those of us who have been Christians for many years have experienced times when our guard was down & Satan shot his fiery darts, & sin was the result.
B. Now there is a difference between a Christian struggling with sin & a hypocrite. A Christian struggling with a sin comes to God saying, “God, this is a weakness in my life & I really need the help of the Holy Spirit to deal with it.” God welcomes that prayer & He promises to help.
But the hypocrite doesn’t really struggle to overcome his sin. He just tries to hide it. He thinks, “When I’m in church I’ll behave like a Christian. I’ll say the prayers. I’ll sing the songs. I’ll obey the rules. But when I’m out in the world I’ll act differently & behave exactly the way those around me behave.”
You see, the word “hypocrite” originally came from a word used in Greek drama that meant “one who is play-acting, wearing a mask.” The symbol of Greek drama, as some of you may know, is a two-faced mask.
That’s why a hypocrite is often called “two-faced,” someone who is trying to deceive, pretending to be different than he or she really is.
ILL. A preacher in the Midwest tells about a young couple in his church who boasted to all their friends & neighbors that they were flying to New York City.
They were only going to be able to spend one day there, but the highlight of their trip would be to go & see the Broadway play, “My Fair Lady.” They were so proud of this, & everyone was really impressed because no one else in that small town had ever been to a play on Broadway.