Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Folly of Hypocrisy

Scripture: Psalms 28 v 3 - 8: "Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
 4  Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
 5  Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
 6  Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
 7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
 8  The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed."

Our God is He who strengthens us when we feel weak and vulnerable, when we are afraid or in shock.  He helps us with everything, but Jesus is against hypocrisy in all its forms.

There is a chilling court case going on in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where a Nigerian pastor Omotoso is accused by a former member of his church of rape and other acts that he did to her from the age of 13.  There are 49 people lined up to testify against this pastor who is surrounded by young women.

He giggles while shocking and damming accounts of his behaviour are laid bare in court.  His followers continue to praise him as they demonstrate outside the courthouse.  This young girl was intimidated into believing that she would go to Hell or be horribly punished by God if she did not do everything he required of her.  The first three verses can apply to this man should he be found guilty.  

This is a gross form of hypocrisy that is laid upon the vulnerable by Catholic priests, other clergy, and men who hold positions of power like dads.  God will not spare them!    Jesus said in Matthew 18 v 5 - 7: 
"And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
 6  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
 7  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"

Another folly of hypocrisy is like the Pharisees who would lay heavy burdens on their congregations in the form of tithes but they would not pay them themselves.  They felt entitled.  It is a modern trend today where the famous preachers are very rich with houses, jets, big cars, and using the tithes and offerings to live a luxury life, which God never intended.  In Acts 4 the disciples had all things in common.  Every Christian had enough.

The root of hypocrisy is pride, and pride deceives a person into thinking he or she is better, more superior, than the common man.  But as Lucifer fell from Heaven because pride was found in Him, so shall we fall if we are likewise deceived.

Pride cannot see any wrong in oneself.  It blinds a person and causes them to lay their own errors and shortcomings on others.  They never apologise, or say sorry for causing hurts, because they are always just and fair in their own minds.  This turns them into hypocrites that criticize everyone around them but are never accountable.  Unless this proud spirit breaks they are difficult to win to Jesus.

There are those who take pride in the gifts the Holy Spirit gave them.  The gift of healing is badly abused by some.  Actually every born again Christian can lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.  Mark 16 v 16 - 18.  The problem starts when someone declares they have a Healing Ministry.  The real gift says 'gifts of healing' and the gifts are for those who are sick.

Years ago there was an evangelist who was blessed by God that every person he laid hands on got healed.  He held tent meetings in various places.  It became his practice to put the band member's open guitar case on the stage and say when it is full of money I will start praying for the sick.  A visiting pastor I knew was shocked and asked the Lord why He let this man continue.  Jesus replied, the sick need to be healed but he has received the only reward he will ever get.  

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth......when?  When proud religious hypocrites discover that their final destination is not heaven.  Beware if you are elevating yourself and plundering the poor to convince yourself of worthiness and entitlement.  It has no happy ending.

Ephesians 2 v 8 - 10: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  So if we are in the spiritual doldrums where the wind of the Holy Spirit has departed and our prayers are hitting a brass ceiling, we should carefully consider our ways and doings.  Have we strayed into error, or become conceited and approachable?  Do we have the audacity to tell people, Do as I say, not as I do?

We may be in a backslidden condition without realising it.  If mountains are looming like debt, sickness, relationships suffering, then it's the Lord's way of trying to get us back on our knees.  Don't delay, do it quickly.

Prayer: Father God, forgive us any pride or hypocrisy in our attitudes to others, and our lack of reverence to You.  We need Your favour and blessings every hour of the day.  Help us to be contrite, humble and approachable people doing the good works You chose for us to do before we were even born. In Jesus' name. Amen.