Friday, 16 April 2021

Beware Hypocrisy


Scripture: Matthew 23 v 13 - 15: "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
14  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
15  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

Proverbs 11 v 9: "An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered."

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees publicly and in righteous anger because they misrepresented God to the people and their pride, traditions and selfish intentions were destroying their hope of ever knowing His love, compassion and mercy.  He called their posturing as righteous holy people while they were destroying the faith of many, as pure hypocrisy.  

A hypocrite is defined as sanctimonious, a whited sepulchre, plaster saint, pretender, deceiver, dissembler, imposter.  A person who pretends to be moral, virtuous and spiritual - principles which he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.  A pretender who demands perfection in those he or she is influencing.

Sometimes we are ourselves guilty of hypocritical behaviour and Jesus gets vocal with us immediately to bring us back up to His standards of  being moral and ethical.  Trouble escalates when we fail to heed His words and continue to pretend to be righteous while destroying the character of someone who actually is righteous, whose right standing shows up our own lack of integrity.

A hypocrite may use social media to keep up the criticism of a Christian to garner support for his or her views, or spread rumours and innuendo to turn friends and family away because pride causes them to be superior and afraid of losing face.

People who are full of pride create an image of themselves to mask their real carnal nature.  As long as others respond favourably to their image of themselves, they are happy, but as soon as someone sees through the deceitful mask, they freak out and have a melt down.

Christians should be guided by scripture like Philippians 2 v 3 - 7: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
 4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
 5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
 6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
 7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"

Jesus came as a human baby born on this Earth through a human mother.  He laid aside His kingly status to discover what being in human flesh was like.  He says we must not fight because of our human pride or status but in lowliness of mind esteem others better than ourselves.

What a contrast to the world's way of seeing things where low self-esteem is considered a weakness and a myriad of management, leadership and other courses include having high self-esteem and how to improve it.  This subliminal training on how to make a convincing mask.

When we follow Jesus we follow His ways too and He never tried to exalt Himself but He always exalted His Father.  The Father also exalted His Son, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Ye Him.

Yet He was hated and reviled when He had done nothing wrong.  The hypocritical Pharisees and their religious pride forced the Romans to crucify Him, and when He rose from the dead they called it an elaborate hoax, which many Jews believe to this day. 

Paul called Peter a hypocrite because he taught new converts from Judaism to Christianity to continue keeping the Jewish law. He rebuked him to his face and set down proper instructions for all Christians to abide by particularly Jewish converts.
Acts 15 v 28 - 29: "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."  

They did not have to keep the Jewish Law or Sabbaths, just those four things.  Abstain from meats, this includes any material thing, offered to idols.  In other words steer clear of any form of idolatry.  Abstain from blood, do not drink blood as in covens, cults, or ceremonies mocking Communion, nor eat foods made with blood. Blood pudding, blood sausage, raw meat.  Don't eat animals that have been strangled, rather buy from proper butchers.

Abstain from fornication.  This covers every sexual sin outside of marriage between a man and a woman.  Every other sexual act is sin and must be dealt with by repentance and prayer.

So let us stop all forms of hypocrisy in our lives as it is evident that we will fail to please God that way.  Be real with Him and with each other and love one another as He loved us.  Do not tear people down and ruin their reputation for the golden rule applies: What you do to others shall be done to you.

Our God is not mocked but He sees the mockers and in His time they will be repaid.  We do not need to fight against them as this will bring more criticism and pain our way, but trust the Lord and His knowledge, and His true judgment to first give them opportunity to repent before He does what He says in Psalm 2 v 4: "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."

This life is all about choices and we need to carefully consider how we choose to treat our fellow humans.  No matter who we think we are we are all created equal in God's eyes and He loves us all like He loves Jesus, because we are actual members of the actual Body of Jesus.  So let us not tear His Body apart while trying to remain in it.  Let us rather build up the imperfect members, forgiving them their challenges and hurts against us, and defy the devil who fuels this division.

We are all in this together.  There are only two groups of humans that God sees, the saved and the unsaved.  He wants the saved to stop squabbling and rather reach out to the unsaved to bring them out of darkness into light.  

The worst moment in any human's life is when the Holy Spirit stops troubling his conscience.  Hypocrites are top of the list along with murderers, rapists, and all liars.  When your conscience feels no twinge of guilt, and your apologies are hollow or non-existent, God has departed from you and the chances of ever being rescued from eternal fire diminishes every day.

So if you are still reachable, turn yourself in today.  Admit your guilt and let Him kill your sinful nature and replace it with the righteous nature of Jesus under the water of baptism.  Then read what you have already inherited in God's New Testament and Will.  Pour over it with a fine-tooth comb until you realise how much He loves you, and how much He has given so you can spend eternity with Him.  Jesus, as God, had to die to ratify His will, so you could inherit the promises. 

Jesus as Man had to die so the power sin holds over our souls can be broken, that His shed Blood could conquer Satan, demons and death, and cause us to triumph over them.  It is up to us to take the authority He gave us and use it to glorify the Kingdom of Heaven.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You rejoice in the death of believers because they are safely home.  You yearn for the unbelievers to remember where they came from and You don't want them to be lost forever.  
You need us to be humble and compassionate and gentle to bring the wounded into Your house.  Their pain causes them to lash out and hurt others.  Father, help us to truly understand and not judge harshly but rather be led by Your Spirit in all things.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.