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Scripture Reading: Romans 12:9-13
The Sin of Hypocrisy
“Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not and have no intention of
being.” (Life Application Bible,
1774) “Play-acting...pretense” (Vine’s,
a. Consistently warned against, Lk. 12:1-2.
b. Contributes to searing one’s conscience, 1 Tim. 4:1-2.
c. Put away every trace of it, 1 Pet. 2:1.
2. Note: When a Christian sins it is not automatically/necessarily hypocrisy (usually it is not). The sinner’s distortion to evade the light of truth that exposes his own sin (Jno. 3:20).
3. Hypocrisy is difficult to admit and correct. It requires a fundamental realigning of one’s heart (from pretense to authenticity/genuineness). The gospel has power to do this, Rom. 1:16; Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:22.
4. To avoid being hypocrites we should carefully consider ourselves in light of three basic traits of the hypocrite.
THE HYPOCRITE PAYS MORE ATTENTION TO HIS REPUTATION THAN TO HIS CHARACTER.
A. How Others Perceive Him is of Preeminent Concern, Matt. 6:2, 5, 16. Display of self; to be “seen by men” - What others think and say.
1. Phylacteries and hems, Matt. 23:5-7.
a. Phylactery: Leather strap (box) containing scripture - worn on forehead or left arm to obey Deut. 6:8. Came to be viewed as projecting commitment to truth vs. the truth it contained, cf. Deut. 11:18.
b. Enlarged borders (Num. 15:37-40): For the one who wore it to remember to obey the law of God. Enlarge: greater honor for the law (and so, expected to receive greater honor from men).
2. cf. When we pray, teach, preach, memorize scripture, have a Bible class, visit someone, etc. Is it because of reputation or due to faith?
B. Hypocrisy is having Pretended Motives, Matt. 23:25-28.
1. Character and faith suffer at the hands of hypocrisy:
a. Keeping up appearances while your heart and private world is corrupt, Matt. 23:25-26.
b. Acting spiritual in order to cover up sin, Matt. 23:27-28.
1) No interest in Caesar’s tribute, Mk. 12:13-15.
2) A pretended motive (loyalty to the law) when another one actually existed (fear of the Judaizers), Gal. 2:11-13.
2. Character built on faith concentrates on being right with God, not what others say about us for living our faith, Prov. 27:2.
II. THE HYPOCRITE CAREFULLY PRACTICES RELIGIOUS ACTS WHILE HIS HEART REMAINS DISTANT FROM GOD.
A. The Hypocrite has Details without Depth.
1. Tithe minute herbs, but ignores justice, mercy and faith, (strain out a gnat and swallow a camel), Matt. 23:23-24.
2. Details of God’s will and their basis are both vital, Matt. 24:23; Psa. 85:10 (verse does not excuse disobedience); 2 Tim. 3:10.
B. This Inevitably Leads to Elevating the Traditions of Men above the Commands of God, Matt. 23:16-22 (16:6, 12).
1. It invariably confuses God’s revealed will with man’s traditions which become seen as God’s will, Lk. 13:10-17.
2. God’s commands are violated while men’s teachings are pressed and bound - All in the name of honoring God, Matt. 15:1-9. (cf. Easter)
3. Such hypocrisy shuts people out of the kingdom, Matt. 23:13 (15:14).
III. THE HYPOCRITE EMPHASIZES HIS OWN VIRTUE AND OTHERS’ SINS AND FAILINGS,
A. The Hypocrite Does not Put Himself under the Same Scrutiny by which He Condemns Others, Matt. 7:1-5.
1. He tears down others in order to build up himself. (Jesus calls us to use righteous discernment in our judgments.)
2. He is insensitive to the plight of others because he refuses to see his personal need for mercy, Gal. 6:1; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 10:12.
B. The Companions of Hypocrisy Include:
1. Self-righteousness, Lk. 18:9-12. Contrast: The meekness of wisdom avoids hypocrisy and strives for purity in itself while showing peace, gentleness and mercy toward others, Jas. 3:13, 17-18.
2. Selfish ambition (“a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit”, electioneering), Phil. 1:16.
3. Lying deceit, Psa. 28:3.
Hypocrisy hides itself in the crevices of human pride and conceit,
but it exposes the soul to eternal damnation!
2. Better to admit hypocrisy now and say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Lk. 18:13), than in hardness of heart rebel against God and lose your soul forever.