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Summary: From Jesus cofrontation with the Pharisees we can see six marks of being a hypocrite.

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A Study of the Book of Luke

Sermon # 31

“The Marks of A Hypocrite!”

Luke 11:37-54

Hypocrites! Hypocrites! When I said the word someone came to your mind. We are quick to judge who we think may be a hypocrite, but most of us never consider whether we might be one. But the hard truth is that it is a disease that we all suffer from. Spiros Zodhiates provides a wonderful example, “A man sat through a church service and on the way home he fussed about the sermon, he fussed about the traffic, he fussed about the heat and he fussed about the lateness of his meal being served. The he bowed his head and prayed. His son was watching him all the way through this post-church experience. Just as they were beginning to pass the food he said, ‘Daddy, did God hear you when you left church and started fussin’ about the sermon and about the traffic and about the heat?’ The father sort of blushed and said, ‘Well, yes, son, He heard me.’ ‘Well, Daddy, did God hear you when you just prayed for this food right now?’ And he said, ‘Well, yes, son, He … He….He heard me.’ ‘So, well Daddy, which one did God believe?’” [Spiros Zodhiates. Behavior of Belief. As quoted by Charles Swindoll. The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart. ( Nashville: Word, 1998) p. 285]

Jesus reserved his harshest words, not for thieves, or prostitutes but to a segment among the religious folks who he identified as hypocrites. Jesus is committed to exposing these people who claim to represent God and his ways, while not living out what they claim to be.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about the Pharisees was they were the group of people in the gospels which most closely resembles us. So far as the fundamentals are concerned the Pharisees believed in nearly everything we do. They believed in the inspiration and authority of the Bible (in their case it was of course the Old Testament). They believed in the supernatural, in Satan, angels, heaven and hell, and the resurrection of the dead.

The Pharisees developed an extensive tradition of oral laws, applying it to every area of life this factor made them the strictest of the Jewish religious sects. They believed deeply in what they tried to teach, but zeal and sincerity are not enough. The problem with the Pharisees is not in what they believed and not even in what they hoped to do, but in what they actually became and did. The issues that Jesus exposes are still relevant to us today because they apply specifically to those who hold a conservative theological viewpoint. In pursuit of the Truth and the attempt to carry out the will of God, we can get caught up in spirit of self-righteousness causes us to watch others to see that every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed as believe it should be.

The Pharisees were big on separation, there were seven groups with in the Pharisees and they even avoided contact with other groups of Pharisees. Sounds like some Independent Baptist I know!! (I am an Independent Baptist.)What I am saying is that this is a very uptight group.

The setting of this section is a meal and the catalyst is Jesus’ failure to wash his hands for eating. In verse thirty-seven we read, “And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat. (38) When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.


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