Monday, August 10, 2015

The Commands of Jesus: Don't Be a Hypocrite!

Nobody's likes a hypocrite - somebody who pretends to be one thing but really believes something else. I see examples of hypocrites everyday on Facebook. It's sad.

The number of hypocrites in our country is incredible! I even say one in the mirror this morning. They're everywhere!

Jesus often criticized the Pharisees and religious leaders of this day and quite often referred to them as hypocrites. God does not like the notion of hypocrisy because it breaks a few of the ten commandments, most notably of which is "Do not bear false witness." Do not lie.

I think if each of us examines ourselves we don't have to dig too deep to find the hypocrite inside. Recently there was a news story about some dentist killing a lion while on safari in Africa. People were really upset. Yet we, as a people kill millions of babies each year and think nothing of it. We object to the taking of life yet tolerate the taking of life at the same time. Hypocritical? I think so.

How about the Christian who professes a faith in Christ yet does not bear the fruit of the spirit. Hypocritical? Mmm. I don't know. I think I would refer to them as . . . unsaved.

I sin every day. I think things I shouldn't. I don't do things that I should. I am just as big of a hypocrite as anyone else. So what must I do to be saved?

Some would argue that my professed faith in Christ is enough. But then I read the Book of James and I am told that "faith without works is dead." Is my faith dead if I deny my faith by continuing to live in the lifestyle I have become accustomed to?

We who believe are called to"be holy as I am holy." But we fail at that. We try to be holy but we trip up and we fall down. We humans tend to lead hypocritical lives and we can't seem to stop. So what hope do we have is Jesus doesn't like hypocrites and He is the one who will judge us for what we have done. We HAVE not hope . . . apart from Christ.

Our only hope is Jesus who told us to repent of out sins. That is the only thing we can do. Repent. We must get down on our knees . . . daily . . . hourly . . . and ask God's forgiveness. We need His grace and mercy or we are done.

The scripture for today's message has several commands in it. We are not to boastfully pray for all to see. We are not advertise our religious practices in a boastful or bragging way - kind of a "Look what I did!" and therefore I am better than you. No. We are to be humble, doing unto others without thought of recognition or praise. We are set apart. We are not like this world, right? Then why do we so often act like it?

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." - Matthew 6:5-8

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