Summary: The world is turned off by hypocrites’s and they ought to be, because Jesus was to.
The master pretender.
Matthew 6:1 -- 2. 02/08/04
If you ever watch television, then you know there are a lot of people making a lot of money pretending to be something they aren’t. As a matter-of-fact, once a year they give awards for those who are the best pretenders. It is called the Academy Awards. So they receive praise for being great pretenders.
But you know, I believe the greatest pretenders may not be found in Hollywood. They may be found in our churches of America. Now the Bible calls these actors hypocrite’s. Jesus spoke to them in the Sermon on the Mount.
They tell me by the time a young person has entered high school that he has seen about 15,000 hours of television, with makeup characters in pretend situations. But pretending is not new you to our age. In the days of Jesus it was around. Today there are many cardboard Christians, plastic preachers and game playing Christianity. The world is turned off by hypocrites’s and they ought to be, because Jesus was to.
Have you noticed Jesus had words of compassion for the sinners, thieves, harlots and cheaters of His day? He was crucified for being a friend of sinners. Jesus reserved His most severe words for the hypocrite’s. He called them wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Now in our text, Jesus pointed out what is wrong with hypocrisy in about three areas. I want us to look at these areas tonight.
Now the Pharisees were guilty of all three but they may not be the only ones. We may find that there are traits of these in our own lives.
There is first of all HYPOCRISY IN PERFORMANCE.
Jesus warns about making a big show of helping others. All of us should be looking for ways to help others. Also our motives are to be considered behind our giving.
It was said that the Pharisees would carry a trumpet whenever they gather some money for the poor. They would go to a crowded area and blow the trumpet. The poor knew there would be some money for them. Also all the people around would know the Pharisees were giving to the poor.
Jesus said they were acting this way to be seen by the crowds. They did not care about the poor as they did about being seen. They did their deeds for the attention of men and that is all they will ever get. There will be no rewards in heaven for this crowd.
Jesus not only warns of hypocrisy in our performance but also HYPOCRISY IN PRAYING.
Now there is nothing wrong with praying in public. There are sometimes we ought to pray in public. What Jesus warns of is praying to be noticed. But we ought to pray in the restaurant before the meal.
Another thing about praying is we do not need to inform God. Jesus has already told us that the heavenly Father knows what we have need of even before we ask. What it boils down to is that we can’t tell God something that he doesn’t already know.
One of the churches I have been a pastor of one of the members had an airplane. He wanted to know if I would fly with him one day. I said I would love to. I was sitting right next to the pilot. He asked if I wanted to pilot a little. I said I sure do. Now, he could pilot without me but I could not without him.
God knows what I have need of but he wants me to ask that we might partnership together. In praying, we show our dependence on Him and have fellowship with Him. We don’t pray in order that might be noticed.
Jesus not only warns of hypocrisy in our performance, and hypocrisy in our praying but also HYPOCRISY IN POSTURE.
Of course you know what fasting is. It is the withholding of food for a period of time in order to focus ourselves spiritually. Fasting is right and proper if it is done right.
Now what Jesus warns of is making a big show of it. The Pharisees would make such a big deal of a show. They would pretend to be in agony. They wanted to impress people. To make people think they were real religious.
Now as we finish let me just ask some questions. No. 1. How often do you do some service for others that goes unnoticed? If you answer rarely, then it may be that you are more concerned with what man thinks than God.
No. 2. Have you ever stopped doing a duty you had in church because you were not recognized?
No. 3. Have you ever failed to obey God in some command because of what someone might think? We ought to be sincere and our service to God.