The title of today’s blog, “The Hypocrite?” may seem a bit strange, but I hope you will bear with me. I pray that it will make sense in the end.
This morning when I woke my prayers were prayers filled with repentance because of late they had been so full of requests and that I had lost focus of simply praying to better know God; pray to draw closer to Him.
Yes, I still prayed for my friends, those hurting and in need, the sick and the lost, and my Church. But I had forgotten to many times to spend time in praise asking God to help me seek His face.
I suddenly realized that my prayers the past few weeks had become transactional events instead of discussions with my Father. That was humbling, and it caused my heart to ache. But it did not stop there.
After my prayers, I read Proverbs 2 on the prompting of the K-Love verse of the day.
I started with verse 7 and read it. Then I slipped back to verse 6 and read 6-8.
Proverbs 2:6-8 (ESV)
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
I read the rest of Proverbs 2, and the Lord reminded me of the value of wisdom in those verses. I thought of how my focus had shifted away from seeking His wisdom and more fixing people or things. I realized how much I was taking that for granted and how much I needed His wisdom.
The heading of chapter three also shook me a bit reminding me further how important it is to seek after God always with all your heart. That heading was “Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart.” So that is what I did this morning in kind of a less traditional day for me.
I sat for a moment or more and just thought about what I had read, and I was still a little jumbled. On autopilot, as I meditated on what I had read I cleaned out my email junk. It is something I do every morning. This time of year, it is full of sales links from photography to Christian bookstores, and we must not forget Amazon.
While I was doing this one of subscriptions on YouTube came up with a video title that caused me to pause and shift my thoughts for reflection to the title. It was “Hypocrisy! – Charles Spurgeon Audio Sermons”
Well, I am a Spurgeon fan. To me, he is a good preacher. In this sermon, he held back nothing. He spoke of all the signs of Hypocrisy, but he did it in the form of compare and contrast. As I listened, the Lord reminded me how vigilant I need to be because there is no one that I can better deceive than myself.
I need to always draw close to God and be sure that I am properly focused if my prayers or council are to be of any value.
Hypocrisy vs. Faithfulness
Spurgeon’s sermon laid out some checks and cures for the condition.
- The hypocrite is a chameleon with his religion while a true Christian is consistent with his faith.
- The hypocrite is quick to condemn others. The Christian places all above himself and focuses on his own shortcomings.
- A true Christian is assured by the Holy Spirit that his sins have been taken While the Hypocrite has no peace. God Dislikes the Hypocrite.
Cure for the Hypocrite
Spurgeon proclaimed that self-deception is the easiest sin to fall into. He warned that we need to go to God in prayer and ask, “If I am deceived free me from my deception.” We need to focus on ourselves on this issue. God will take care of those around us.
The thing he said that shook me was “Don’t be content to take your Christianity for granted.” Not that I should doubt my salvation or become worried about it. The thing that came to mind for me was my wife.
I love Pat, and she knows that I do. But do I take her for granted?
Sometimes I do and do not realize it, and sometimes I do, and I can see that I have hurt her in her eyes or her voice and that hurts me.
What about taking God for granted. Well in this circumstance he let me go for a couple of weeks before I realized that I had hurt Him.
What Do I Do Now?
I repent. I pray for forgiveness and remember the order and priority of things.
I remember nothing can be done in secret. God sees and knows everything, and a sin of omission is as painful to Him as one of commission.
There is something else that hurt as I thought of it and that was mistreating others. Getting frustrated with someone at a store or in a restaurant because the service is poor.
We all love grace for ourselves but are sometimes quick to hand out the justice of our own making. That did not work well for the debtor in the parable who was forgiven by his master but did not reciprocate in kind to those who owed him money. God will not be deceived.
As the sermon ended and I paused to reflect on all that Spurgeon had shared a flood of scriptures came to mind. I tell my daughter Caroline all the time that everything needs to be tested against Gods Word regardless of its origin, so that is what I did. I went to these passages that came to mind and reviewed what God had to say through His Apostles.
The Book of James
I went to James and read chapter 3 and read 13-18 on wisdom and the truth of its source.
James 3:13-18 (ESV)
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
In these verses, James talks about the difference between the humble and the proud the believer and the hypocrite. He points out the dangers more profoundly than Spurgeon did in his sermon.
Then I went to chapter 4 and read the warning against worldliness and settled on verse10-10
James 4:4-12 (ESV)
4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
James did the same in 4-12. He tells us the path to take in Christ Jesus and reminds us in verse 12 there is only one lawgiver.
Peter gave an example of the Hypocrite in Galatians and Called Peter to task for it. In chapter 2;11-14
Galatians 2:11-14 (ESV)
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
I looked at that as confirmation of Spurgeon’s comment that self-deception is the easiest sin to fall into. Even Peter deceived himself. When the men from Jerusalem came, he pretended he had not eaten with the Gentiles. If Peter can mess up like that, I surely know I can. The last passage I looked at was Hebrews 10 although I know there are more than support this need to guard the heart.
Hebrews 10:19-31 (ESV)
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
When I read this, I can feel the plea of the Lord through the words of the writer. He has shown us so much. We know the truth. There is no room for the false believer or hypocrite. Only the humble and repentant we have so much we should “stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
It is so easy to slip into self-deception which can lead to hypocrisy. When things get busy or distracting or just a bit melancholy because of circumstances that cannot be clearly defined it is easy to slip. I think Paul’s reminder to the Philippians is one of my favorite.
Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Peter runs a close second or maybe is tied.
2 Peter 1:5-11 (ESV)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I am so thankful for God’s Word, His patience, grace, and mercy.
Father, forgive me for taking my faith for granted the past little while. Thank you for using the sermon on Hypocrisy to get my attention. Lord, You are amazing and awesome and so patient with me that I cannot be anything but humbled and repentant. Help me be the man that you would have me be by remembering You in how I treat every person. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!