Posted by: missionventureministries | November 3, 2016

HYPOCRITS WHO ARE THEY? – Matthew 15:8

hypocrits-who-are-they-matthew-15-vs-8

This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. (Matthew 15:8) 

What Jesus is saying here is that the Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come to see Him and to question Him were hypocrites.  

Hypocrisy means ‘the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; a deceiver, a liar, a pretender.’ And in biblical terms it is ‘the contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs.’ The word hypocrite is rooted in the Greek word hypokrites, which means ‘stage actor’, – literally, ‘one who wears a mask’- in other words, someone who pretends to be what he is not. 

Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah who condemned the hypocrisy of his day: “The Lord says, ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” (Isaiah 29:13) 

Some time before, Jesus addressed another form of hypocrisy in the Sermon on the Mount: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). Here, Jesus is not teaching against helping others overcome sin; instead, He is telling us not be so prideful and convinced of our own goodness that we criticize others from a position of self-righteousness. We should do some self examination first and correct our own shortcomings before we go after the “speck” in others, since those who judge, probably are practicing the same things. (Romans 2:1) 

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had many encounters with the Pharisees. These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about following every letter of the Law; however, in adhering to it, they actively sought loopholes that allowed them to violate the spirit of the Law. Also, “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.” (Matthew 23:5–7)  

Jesus also condemned their behavior in no uncertain terms, pointing out that “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” are more important than pursuing a perfection based on faulty standards (Matthew 23:23). Jesus made it clear that the problem was not with the Law but the way in which the Pharisees put it into action and told His listeners you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. (Matthew 23:3)  

We cannot say we love God if we do not act accordingly and love our brothers (1 John 2:9). Love must be sincere (not hypocritical). Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). A hypocrite pretends to look righteous on the outside, but he is wearing a mask and it is like a façade. True righteousness comes from the inner transformation of the Holy Spirit not an external conformity to a set of rules. In contrast, the Pharisees did everything just to be seen and were total hypocrites. (Matthew 23:5) 

Please understand that hypocrisy is not the same as taking a stand against sin. For example, it is not hypocrisy to teach that adultery is a sin, unless the one teaching against adultery practices it himself—that would be hypocrisy. As we read in the Scriptures: “you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?” (Romans 2:21-22) 

Hypocrites are self-righteous and they think that they are better Christians than everyone else, just like the Pharisee who stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (Luke 18:11-12) 

Jesus is saying that these hypocrites were honoring Him with their lips. They were just talking about serving the Lord but in reality were only acting.  

It is no different today; the Lord knows each of us here. He knows our heart. He knows if what you are doing for Him comes from the heart. Too many people in the world honor God with their lips and there are a lot of folks today sitting in churches and their pretended worship is an abomination to God. These people need to humble themselves and get right with God. The only way God will accept our worship is to follow His directions in the Bible. Worshiping any other way lacks worth or substance and is unacceptable to God, for Jesus says, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8). Today is the day to repent, not on Judgment Day, because then it will be too late. 

Please take the time to read Jesus’ warnings about hypocrisy in Matthew 23, where He calls the Pharisees hypocrites six times along with “You snakes! You brood of vipers!” 

Pride and hypocrisy go hand in hand; and God “opposes the proud”. The word “oppose” is used in a war or fighting context; this is a very dangerous place to live – God is actually fighting against proud, rebellious, hypocrites. However, if we humble ourselves, “He gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) 

True Christians submit to the righteousness of Christ. Hypocrites seek their own righteousness and their own glory. As Romans 10:3 states: “Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” 

If you have been living in hypocrisy you must repent and put your trust in Christ alone. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior please click here.

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