Jesus hated hypocrisy but he had unlimited grace for anyone who would turn to him.
Hypocrisy is a very popular word today. And none are more popularly referred to as hypocrites than those of us that make church a regular part of life. Jesus was a HUGE critic of hypocrites too. He saved his most violent outbursts and verbal thrashings for the selfishly ambitious people who acted like respectable religious people.
What causes someone to become a hypocrite? Being an accomplished hypocrite myself I can speak from my own experience. What made me a hypocrite was having a secret behavior that I did not want to stop (going into debt). Bottom line for me, was the fear of losing what I gained from the double life that kept me from coming clean, all the while knowing full well my secret behavior was destroying me.
Since nobody wants to be a hypocrite, how can we best help each other live authentic lives instead? G
Not surprisingly the Bible talks quite a bit about hypocrites. The passages we will focus on this morning deal with how to end our hypocrisy and walk in truth and authenticity.
- Proverbs 28:13 – expose your hypocrisy
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Hypocrisy only exists when our negative behaviors are a secret. Every hypocrite knows it is only a matter of time before they will be found out and his or her true character will emerge and ruin the fake reputation they have carefully crafted. This Proverb reminds us that hiding our sins only deepens its destructive force in our lives.
- James 5:16 – confess your sins to each other
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Churches are often identified as hotbeds of hypocrisy. But in reality, churches are one of the few places where hypocrites can come to be changed. In a small group or a person from that group you can find a trusted person to confess your sin to and have them effectively pray for you
- Galatians 6:1 – treat hypocrites with gentleness and humility
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
How should hypocrites expect to be treated by other Christians? The Bible is quite clear that we who live by the Spirit are trusted by God to restore people with gentleness and humility.
Most people choose to continue in a life of hypocrisy because they fear what people will say if they are found out. But God wants us to remember that our church is not a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners. What people outside the church need to know about The Point Church is that this is a place where people are restored by gentle and humble people who remember what it was like when they were hypocrites and sinners too.
Max Beerbohm’s play, “The Happy Hypocrite,” deals with a wealthy aristocrat named Lord George Hell, a self-indulgent and morally-corrupt man who falls in love with a saintly girl. In order to win her heart, he covers his own face, which shows the signs of his debauchery, with the mask of a saint. The girl is deceived and marries him. Together they live in happiness until an evil woman from Lord George Hell’s immoral past enters the scene in order to reveal his true identity as a scoundrel. She challenges him to take off his mask. Reluctantly and sadly he removes it, and, low and behold, beneath the saint’s mask is the face of the saint he had been transformed into by wearing it in love. What began as pretense became real through practice.
People in our hurting world should be able to look at us and see hope.
power hungry – humility
dark – light
anxious – peace
broken – healing
hate-filled – love
angry and bitter – forgiveness
People should be able to see that our lives are not perfect, but we are different.
People do not need the example of a perfect life, they need the example of a forgiven life.
As powerful as hypocrisy is at repelling people from Jesus, authenticity is that compelling in attracting people to Jesus. Jesus hated hypocrisy but he had unlimited grace for anyone who would turn to him.
There’s always room here for more recovering hypocrites like me.