Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 103 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Matthew 7 today and our focus is on hypocrisy and what I believe is the scariest  verse in the entire Bible. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Today our focus is on hypocrisy – a word that is frequently used, but maybe not frequently understood. What is hypocrisy and what does it mean to be a hypocrite? If you know me, you know I love a good word study, but don’t despair too much, because this one will be quick. The Greek word here is ὑποκριτής hupŏkritēs, and it is obviously where we get our English word. It comes from a verb that means to feign or impersonate or pretend. In the noun form, the Greek word is used for actors or pretenders. A hypocrite is therefore not what they seem. Jesus, in particular, was extremely concerned about hypocrisy and taught hard against it. The word in its various forms is mentioned about 27 times in the Bible, and of those mentions, Jesus is the one speaking – and condemning – hypocrisy 21 of those times. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus essentially defines for us what a hypocrite is in the first few verses of chapter 7: 

Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye?Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye?Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

It is hypocrisy, then, to point out faults and sins in other people when you are guilty of those same faults and sins. Let me repeat my earlier statement: Jesus condemns hypocrisy in the strongest possible terms, and calls Christians to run from it. Unfortunately, Christians in America have a reputation of being hypocrites, and I must say that, while some of that criticism is unfair, not all of it is. The church can indeed be guilty of gross hypocrisy from time to time. It is particularly confusing and repelling, for non-believers to see Christians speak out against sin of various kinds and then either commit those sins themselves, or STRONGLY support causes and political candidates who are paragons of sin. For instance: if the church calls people to flee from sexual immorality, and yet lionizes people who boast about committing sexual immorality, then this is hypocrisy and will drive people away from the truth, rather than draw them towards it.

Spurgeon gives us an excellent illustration of hypocrisy in his anecdote of visiting the cheese shop, and discovering that the ‘cheese’ in the window is actually a metallic model:

IN the pursuit of pastoral duty, I stood a little while ago in a cheesemonger’s shop, and being in a fidgety humour, and having a stick in my hand, I did what most Englishmen are sure to do, I was not content with seeing, but must needs touch as well. My stick came gently upon a fine cheese in the window, and to my surprise a most metallic sound emanated from it. The sound was rather hollow, or one might have surmised that all the tasteholes had been filled up with sovereigns, and thus the cheese had been greatly enriched, and the merchant had been his own banker. There was, however, a sort of crockery jingle in the sound, like the ring of a huge bread or milk pan, such as our country friends use so abundantly; and I came to the very correct conclusion that I had found a very well got-up hypocrite in the shop window. Mark, from this time, when I pass by, I mentally whisper, “Pottery;” and the shams may even be exchanged for realities, but I shall be long in believing it. In my mind the large stock has dissolved into potsherds, and the fine show in the window only suggests the potter’s vessel. The homely illustration is simply introduced because we find people of this sort in our churches, looking extremely like what they should be, yet having no substance in them, so that if, accidentally, one happens to tap them somewhere or other with sudden temptation or stern duty, the baked earth gives forth its own ring, and the pretender is esteemed no longer.

C. H. Spurgeon, Feathers for Arrows (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 112–113.

Let us read our passage, and hear our Lord’s warnings against hypocrisy and judgment. (and also, keep an ear out  for the most terrifying verse in the Bible) \

Did you hear the scary verse? I actually think ‘scary’ is too light and fluffy a word for what we are talking about here. Terrifying is a far better description of Matthew 7:23:

23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’ Matthew 7:23

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that the way destruction is BROAD, and most people follow that wide and broad road that leads to destruction. The way to salvation is NARROW, and FEW follow that road. We live in a country where millions claim Christianity, but so many do not live it. They SPEAK and IDENTIFY as if they are followers of Jesus – as if they are protected by a helmet of salvation, but they do not live that way. Christians in name only, you see? It is possible to go through all the motions – to be an actor…a hypocrite. To know Jesus as Lord, to do works in His name, but to never KNOW Him and be known by Him. I think Jesus gives us the most sobering and terrifying warning in the Bible here, and Paul does similarly in 2nd Thessalonians: 

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength 

How do we respond? We seek to know Jesus and we obey the good news of Jesus – by faith, through grace, not by works. Don’t pretend, friends, but flee to Christ as your shelter, Lord and Savior.

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for April  James 4:6 “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Happy by Mike Leite https://soundcloud.com/mikeleite
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