Summary: From Jesus cofrontation with the Pharisees we can see six marks of being a hypocrite.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 31
“The Marks of A Hypocrite!”
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.
We need to remember that this washing of hands had nothing to do with cleanliness; it was ceremonial cleanliness which was the issue. There was nothing in the law of Moses that required this washing of hands before a meal, it was a tradition of the Pharisees that they had elevated equal to Scripture. Knowing their thoughts Jesus says to them in verse thirty-nine, “Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. (40) "Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? (41) "But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.”
Jesus differs from his host and the other Pharisees by seeing the inside as more important than the outside, the heart as more important than appearances, actions as a mere reflection of attitude.
Jesus’ problem with the Pharisees was that they were more concerned with form than substance; more concerned about appearance than reality. The Pharisees were concerned only with what a man did, Jesus was concerned with what a man was. Jesus says that they are only concerned with cleaning the outside of the cup and dish, but inside there is filth. I read a wonderful example of this, A preacher “…went out to a rural church to preach, where he spent the night at the home of a farmer. In the morning the farmer’s wife fixed breakfast. She went out to the hen house to gather eggs. When she came in with the eggs, this preacher noted that they had some barnyard on them, which the woman had not washed off. He didn’t worry about it, though, because she put the eggs, into boiling water to cook. The pollution of that water couldn’t hurt the eggs, protect-ed as they were by the shells. The woman then asked him if he would like a cup of coffee. He gratefully accepte, only to watch the woman put instant coffee into a cup and then pour the dirty egg water into it.” It is then that what is inside the cup is more important than what is outside. [Robert Deffinbaugh. “Fundamentalists In Formaldehyde. (Luke 11:37-54) p.6 Sermon Central.]