I’ve grown up in the church my entire life and I’ve heard the term ‘hypocrite’ thrown around a thousand times and recently have heard this word thrown around even more (ok. So this post is inspired by some Tweets by Cory Copeland). Most people associate a hypocrite with someone who calls themselves a Christian yet lives in outward sin. The people who were clumped together under this label included those who called themselves Christians but were alcoholics, had pre-marital sex, looked at pornography, cussed like a sailor, or beat their children. Jesus didn’t put up with hypocrites… but when he talked about hypocrites, outward sin was not what He was referring to. It all involved the condition of our hearts. So I pulled up some scriptures to help us dissect what is actually being said about hypocritical behavior.
1. It’s all about their “Image”.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:2
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. Matthew 6:5
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:16
People who are hypocrites are ones that are tormented with the fear of man. They are more concerned about their reputations than about the hearts of the people around them… not to mention the condition of their own hearts. They crave honor from other people so they put on a facade of spirituality to make people think they are something they really aren’t. Their motives in loving and serving weren’t to please God but to please men and be honored by them. Serving and giving are all about ‘the heart’. People can talk about love all day long and not really love. They talk about it to make themselves appear generous, good, and compassionate when in reality their heart is full of wickedness, jealousy, and pride. These people are hypocrites.
2. They like to point out everyone else’s sin but never deal with their own.
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 7:5
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Matthew 22:18
Watch out for people who point out the flaws of others more often then they are transparent with their own flaws… especially if they seem to be getting enjoyment or some sort of rise out of it. The truth is, everyone has junk in their hearts to deal with and we should all be ready to confess it (with safe people in our lives). If you are gossiping about someone else’s sin then there is a huge chance your heart probably isn’t right either. In fact, you probably use your judgment of others in an attempt to prevent sin in your own heart from being exposed. So before you go ready to pounce on someone about their issues, try sitting before the Holy Spirit and asking Him to examine your own heart first. If you don’t do this, then sorry… you are a hypocrite.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t call sin what it is. I’m not talking about tolerance of sin in any way here. God has laid out some pretty clear definitions of sin and we are not to ignore them because if we do, we are harming not only ourselves but the body of Christ at large.
3. They try to earn their salvation through works instead of resting in the provision of the cross and resurrection.
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Matthew 15:10-12
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15
The Pharisees had a ton of stupid rules and a majority of these rules had to do with food, hence the jargon about what goes into a mouth. True, God did send a few of these rules down during the old covenant but the Pharisees added a ton to these rules. They added a bunch of ridiculous legalistic… CRAP (pardon me)… that had nothing to do with God whatsover. They simply wanted a way to prove to everyone how ‘holier than thou’ they were. I have heard these man-made rules over the years as well. Some of them consisted of “television commercials are evil”, “cabbage patch dolls are evil”, “getting married is not very spiritual”, “short hair and pants are a sign of a worldly woman” or some much more unspoken rules like “if you don’t dance, you don’t have freedom”, “if you don’t raise your hands, you must not love God”, etc. Some think that the more you “do” for God the more you are going to please Him. BOLOGNA. NOW… that being said, if the Lord tells you to do something… it’s probably best to go do it or if you WANT to do it out of your love for God, of course– but don’t do something to please someone else or to make yourself look good to the people around you. That is called Fear of Man.
God is looking not for those who put on a facade of worship through external activities but He is looking for those whose hearts are sincere and who draw near to Him. He cares about us having a deep friendship and intimate relationship with Him as well as the condition of our hearts… MUCH more than He cares about the mounds of activities we’re involved in. This is conveyed all through scripture… Luke 10:30-42, Matthew 7:21-23, John 6:28-29, Romans 3:19-23, Romans 3:27-28, Romans 4:1-3, Galatians 2:15-17, Galatians 3:5-6… okay. There happens to be many more but I simply don’t have all the time to record each verse… because they are EVERYWHERE! This is not a cop-out to say that we are automatically released from all of our responsibilities but the Lord does talk about doing things out of obligation. Because we are His sons and daughters we should never feel “obligated” to work for Him… “Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness” Romans 3:4. Remember that Paul is not talking about the actual work but your heart behind the work you do. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus doesn’t tell the Pharisees that tithing is bad, He just tells them that they should have tithed AND practiced justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Leaders who shame others for not being perfect are usually the ones committing the deepest sins– as the Pharisees were. The best leaders are the ones that are leading by example. They are displaying the fruits of the Spirit in their own lives and it is contagious to those who are following them. Not that leaders aren’t suppose to confront sinful behavior, but if they feel the need to control and demand more than they are capable of doing themselves, then there is a huge problem. For example, my pastor, Pete, is a great example of faith, vision, and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I want to follow His example in this. Mike Bickle, a former leader of mine, has amazing character and true humility. As the old Nike saying goes, because of this, “I want to be like Mike.” My own Dad is also my “spiritual father”. He is a man of prayer, mercy, and compassion for others that few can replicate and he has a true heart of a shepherd. The Pharisees weren’t pointing people to faith in the supernatural grace and power of God, they were pointing them to an absolutely impossible salvation through “doing”. And they were publically rebuked by Jesus for leading these people into slavery!
Now… hope. Thankfully, there really is a simple solution to our hypocritical behavior. Get to know Jesus. Read His Word and ask Him questions about it. Ask Him for revelation on true intimacy and obedience. Take some time to sit and adore Him… without other people around. Shut yourself in your bedroom (Matthew 6:6), put some worship music on and pour out your heart to Him.
And I disagree with Cory. Not all Christians are hypocrites. HAHA.
I’ve made the mistake recently of looking back on my past recently and envying the people that are still living the way I use to. What I figured out is that if you look past the thin veneer of knowing all of the “right people” or people recognizing you when you’ve never met them in your life… or you get past the ludicrously superficial conversations that only happen in bars… or the van trips with stinky musicians who, in order to keep their sanity, are bent on trying to out-do eachother with practical jokes… or recieving degrading comments by random drunk guys… or spending days at a time laying around a girlfriends house whining about your broken hearts over a couple of Shiners…
“Well, Brooke… if you put it THAT way…”
Yeah. And that’s only the surface stuff.
Along with all of that amusement also comes seperation from God. All that stuff in the paragraph above… well that’s called disobedience. That’s called choosing your own path. It’s also spelled “D-E-A-T-H”. And knowing you’re choosing death instead of choosing eternal life, friendship with the living God, hearing His voice, a love that will not… EVER relent… knowing your choosing death (aka your own stinkin’ flesh) is depressing. There is nothing more agonizing, nothing more painful, nothing more despairing than choosing to be seperated from the presence of Jesus.
And then one day I figured out this simple truth: It isn’t about me! Granted, occasionally I slip back into this silly lie but one day I woke up and said… “I haven’t dug myself a hole so deep that Jesus can’t pull me out of it”.
The relentess stuff that I wrote about earlier. That’s actually the most painful part though when we’re in the thick of it, we don’t really see it that way. I know I interpreted that part as God forgetting about me or not caring about me. Basically, He allowed my life to become completely miserable. Sounds like fun, huh? Jesus is kind… He is gentle but he will use the least amount of discipline to provoke your heart in the deepest ways imaginable. Sometimes we’re so stubborn or so full of fear that His version of discipline might as well be Guantanomo Bay.
We were created to have this amazing communion with God… with a Jesus who is ALIVE and wants friendship with us. And if we don’t do what we were created for we will spend our whole lives trying to find our purpose in other things and we will never… ever find it because it’s not there. It’s with Him. And that is… beautiful.
I had a dream last night that I was ice skating in this indoor rink. On the floor of the rink, under the ice were anti-God slogans that were put there by the government. I don’t remember exactly what they said but I know that last night the state of the church was heavy on my heart. To me this dream represented the church, symbolically “skating on thin ice”. We can no longer tolerate even hint of the anti-christ spirit in our churches. We need to start getting serious about the truth of God’s Word. We need to stop being so tolerant of compromise. This is the end of the age, people.
Atheists Plan Anti-God Ad Campaign on Buses
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The sides of some of London’s red buses will soon carry ads asserting there is “probably no God,” as nonbelievers fight what they say is the preferential treatment given to religion in British society.
Organizers of a campaign to raise funds for the ads said Wednesday they received more than $113,000 in donations, almost seven times their target, in the hours since they launched the project on a charity Web site. Supporters include Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins, who donated $9,000.
The money will be used to place posters on 30 buses carrying the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The plan was to run the ads for four weeks starting in January, but so much money has been raised that the project may be expanded.
“A lot of people say trying to organize atheists is like herding cats. The last couple of days shows that is not true,” said comedy writer Ariane Sherine, who started the campaign.
While most London buses carry posters for shops or Hollywood movies, Christian churches and Muslim groups have bought bus-side ad space in the past.
Sherine came up with the idea after seeing a series of Christian posters on London buses. She said she visited the Web site promoted on one ad and found it told nonbelievers they would spend eternity in torment in hell.
“I thought it would be a really positive thing to counter that by putting forward a much happier and more upbeat advert, saying ‘Don’t worry, you’re not going to hell,'” said Sherine, 28. “Atheists believe this is the only life we have, and we should enjoy it.”
The British Humanist Association, which is administering the fundraising drive, said it had been so successful the campaign might spread to other cities including Manchester and Edinburgh.
Most Britons identify themselves as Christians, but few attend church regularly, and public figures rarely talk about their beliefs. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was rare among politicians in speaking openly about his Christian faith.
Dawkins, author of the best-selling atheist manifesto “The God Delusion,” said that religion nonetheless held a privileged position in society.
“Religious organizations have an automatic tax-free charitable status,” he said. “Bishops sit in the House of Lords automatically. Religious leaders get preferential treatment on all sorts of commissions.
“This campaign to put alternative slogans on London buses will make people think — and thinking is anathema to religion.”
Dawkins said that as an atheist he “wasn’t wild” about the ad’s assertion that there was “probably” no God.
Sherine said the word was included to ensure the posters didn’t breach transit advertising regulations, which stipulate ads should not offend religious people.
Few believers appeared offended by the campaign, although most doubted it would work.
“I think people will ask themselves, ‘On what basis can they make that statement?” said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. “So it will get people thinking, so in that sense it can only be good.”
Ad agency CBS Outdoor, which manages advertising on many London buses, said it had approved the atheist campaign.
Sales and marketing director Tim Bleakley said “our decision to take an ad that promotes God, or one that promotes no God, is based on commercial terms, as long as the advertising copy itself does not breach U.K. advertising standards.”
The Rev. Jenny Ellis, spirituality and discipleship officer for the Methodist Church, welcomed the ads.
“This campaign will be a good thing if it gets people to engage with the deepest questions of life,” she said.
The religious think tank Theos said it had donated $82 to the campaign, on the grounds that the ads were so bad they would probably attract people to religion.
“It tells people to ‘stop worrying,’ which is hardly going to be a great comfort for those who are concerned about losing jobs or homes in the recession,” said Theos director Paul Woolley.
“Stunts like this demonstrate how militant atheists are often great adverts for Christianity.”
It is no secret to most people that know me that I am massively passionate about the love of Jesus being known in the city of London. I believe that God has given me even a supernatural affection and burden for this city to encounter God and I know that I have clearly heard from the Lord through not only His own voice speaking to me but through dreams and prophetic confirmations from a couple of seasoned prophets .
I am currently in the 6-8 Sunday night set which is an intercession set focused on the salvation of nations. We had what we call at IHOP a “rapid fire prayer cycle” (a line of people who pray 10 second prayers on the mic) tonight where we were exhorted to pray for any nation/city on our heart. Of course I chose London! As I stepped up to the mic, I prayed for a 24 hour house of prayer to be raised up. I prayed that the spirit of God would be poured out on the young adults of the city… and then something slipped out… “Holy Spirit, I pray that you would crush the head of humanism in the city of London.”
As I headed to the back to pace (which is nicely dim on Sunday nights while everyone else is at church), I realized that “the head of humanism” was about to be crushed just as I prayed. In lieu of the economic crisis, this seems very likely. Humanism is very prevalent in London, a city known for it’s affluence, style, education, intellectual esteem and general influence on the world’s population. Humanism, most of the time, is due to the falsity that we already have our needs met, we are successful, and darnit… people like us… therefore… our needs don’t NEED to be met by “religion” or as we who know Him, by an amazing Jewish man that redeemed our sinful lives by shedding His blood, and then giving us power to conquer that sin through His resurrection from death and our leaning into His love daily.
The props that are keeping the people in the city of London (as well as the States and the rest of the world) in deception are about to pulled out from under them. Who will they turn to once their comfort is taken from them? Once the economic crisis hits this city in a profound way, many will be quite aware that if they weren’t created to be a success, popular, a deep intellectual, physically attractive etc… well they can make two choices: either they wallow in despair or they turn to Jesus the Author of Life and receive understanding that they were created to enjoy God and be enjoyed by Him and the simplicity of this truth is so much richer than they could have imagined. I’m praying that they make the latter choice.