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Summary: An adaptation to a sermon I found a while back.

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Why are there So Many Hypocrites?

Adapted from a sermon by Rev. Brian Bill

3-26-2006

First Baptist Church of Tawas City Michigan

Rev. Bruce A. Shields

www.TawasBaptist.org

WELCOME

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 23:27-28

“27 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Why Are There So Many Hypocrites?

Armed with hidden cameras, a Dateline NBC program depicted what goes on behind the scenes at some automotive repair shops. It was incredible. A couple of the mechanics had no problem lying to potential customers. They went out of their way to create even mechanical problems.

Now I don’t want us to assume that they are all like this, but some of them are.

When I was watching this show, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of a story they would uncover if they installed hidden cameras in the church, or better yet, in our homes.

What would the secret tape look like if they also shot some film when churchgoers were in their cars or at their jobs?

It’d be quite a story, wouldn’t it? I can see the headlines now...

Christians Who Play Charades;

or Pretenders in the Pews.

It would confirm what many already believe -- that the church is full of hypocrites.

It’s difficult to believe Christianity is true when so many of its followers lead such contradictory lives.

That reminds me of the man who told the pastor that he doesn’t go to church because there are so many hypocrites there.

The pastor responded by saying, “Don’t let that stop you. There’s always room for one more.”

We grow tired of people saying one thing and living something that’s completely opposite.

According to the dictionary, a hypocrite is “a person who pretends to have beliefs or practices which he or she does not actually possess.”

As used in the Bible, the term comes from ancient Greek theater, where one actor would often play two parts.

When saying something humorous, he would hold up a mask with a smiley face; when playing a tragic part, he would hold up a mask with a sad face.

A good actor could imitate the speech, mannerisms, and conduct of the character he was portraying. The word literally means, “One who hides behind a mask.”

One hot day when they had guests for dinner, a mother asked her four-year-old boy named Johnny to say the blessing for the meal.

Johnny didn’t really want to and complained, “Mom, I don’t know what to say!” The mother sweetly replied, in front of her guests, “Oh, just say what you hear me say.” Obediently, Johnny bowed his head and mumbled, “Oh Lord, why did I invite these people over on such a hot day?”

I want to suggest this morning that one of the reasons why there are hypocrites in the church is because not all church people are Christians.

Does that offend you? If you’re a true follower of Christ it won’t, because true followers know this to be true.

Going to church will not automatically change anyone’s behavior.

People go for all sorts of reasons -- maybe out of habit or ritual, maybe to seek the truth, or perhaps to just network with other people.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going into a garage makes you a car.

We have to live with the possibility that what some people perceive as hypocrisy in the church is in fact, the result of mistaken identity.

Some people are no more Christians than I’m Hispanic just because I happen to love Mexican food.

Some people just look like they’re Christians because they get up on Sundays and go to a place called a church.

Actually, this should take some pressure off those of you who are investigating Christianity.

You’re not expected to act like a Christian if you’re not one yet. As you seek and ask questions, don’t get all caught up in what you should do, or shouldn’t do.

Once you surrender your life to Christ, He’ll begin changing you from the inside out. You don’t have to manufacture Christian behavior on your own. He’ll give you the desire and the power to change -- after you receive Christ into your life.

True Christ like behavior isn’t manufactured by the believers, it is fruit which is produced by the Holy Spirit.

Some may be able to imitate this for a while, but it cannot be duplicated and the mimic will always eventually reveal his true fruit which will show of what spirit he truly is.

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