Sermon Notes from July 7, 2013. You can catch the audio sermon on the Adventure Church website. This message was based on scripture from Mark 11.
“Hypocrisy” – means to act or to pretend. In short, it means to act like something that you are not. The world is full of hypocrites, including the church. But for Christians, it is especially important that we seek to be “real” and “authentic” all of the time. Our witness is mostly who we are, not what we say. As many as 72% of unchurched people say that the church is full of hypocrites.
“What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.” – Emerson
The Hypocrisy of False Appearances
Mark 11:13-14, 20-21 — Jesus sees a fig tree in the distance full of leaves. It appears to be healthy, but he finds it to be fruitless and curses the tree. The next day, the disciples find the tree completely withered.
We can too easily live in such as way as to appear that everything is “good” or “fine” when in fact, our real life is far from such things. We are broken inside. We hurt. We sin. (note: illustration – ‘Dust if you Must’ – when we clean our homes for company, we shove all of our clutter and dirt in the closet or under the bed. Do we do the same with our spiritual and emotional clutter?) When we live like this, it is destructive to ourselves and the people around us, especially our kids, who are watching us.
Such hypocrisy is detestable to God, is known by Him, and will be destroyed. Just like the fig tree, God knows if our lives our bearing fruit. He knows our real selves. And, when we try to live a double life, it destroys us.
Also, see Luke 6:45 – “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man things out of the evil stored up in his heart ….” — What is on the outside comes from what is in our inside, our heart. Fruitlessness shows that we have a heart problem.
The Hypocrisy of Wrong Focus
Mark 11:15-16 – Jesus enters the temple area and turns over the tables of the money changers and prevents them from transacting business. He teaches the crowd by saying “Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
The temple was the centerpiece of the Jewish faith. By his actions, Jesus showed that they had come to worship the acts of holiness, the rituals, instead of worshipping God, the only one who is worthy of our worship.
As individuals and churches, we can slip into the hypocrisy of wrong focus. Instead of spending our lives worshipping God himself, and living for His purposes, we get caught up in our buildings, our attendance numbers, our great music. We can even allow ourselves to fall into a place of “pious fellowship” whereby we spend time with one another and are “happy” to be with each other, as long as there is no sin mentioned or demonstrated. We don’t want broken people or personal filth to interrupt our “holy fellowship” times in our small groups or pot-luck dinners.
This type of hypocrisy is opposed to God’s purposes and will be exposed by Him. God will not allow us to continue to worship things that are not aligned with His purposes or that conflict with our worship of Him. He exposes our inauthenticity – to us, to others, to the world. And, just as Jesus upset the money changers’ tables, when our focus is wrong, and it is exposed, it upsets our lives in uncomfortable ways. But, that’s how God gets our attention.
The Hypocrisy of Willful Ignorance
Mark 11:27-28 – Jesus engages in yet another verbal exchange with the religious leaders. The leaders try to trap Jesus once again with a question, but Jesus poses a question back to them. The leaders choose not to answer and in refusing to do so, expose their hypocrisy. The refuse to listen to God’s Word, instead choosing to be worried about what other men will think of them.
This may be the most devastating of all of the hypocrisies. Willful ignorance simply means that even though the Word is right in front of us, even though we can read the Bible, hear the Word preached, etc., we choose not to take it to heart. We know what we should do, or what we should not, but we choose against those things in favor of what is most expedient or most comfortable for us.
This hypocrisy shows up in our lives as we fail to live as God directs in our marriages, our relationships, in how we forgive others, in what we do at work or at school or on the golf course. The bottom line is that we purposely sin because we willfully ignore God’s Word. What can be more hypocritical than that?
Such hypocrisy is repugnant to God and will be defeated.
The Bottom Line
1 Peter 2:-2 – “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation ….”
Note: illustration about deer getting addicted to junk food to the point of not being able to consume anything healthy. It lead to their destruction.
We must crave pure spiritual milk from God. We must get rid of our hypocrisy, for the sake of ourselves and the kingdom, by feasting on what is good, allowing God to transform our hearts so that we can bear good fruit.