Today’s Modern Day Pharisees: Fruits of Hypocrisy Rather Than Fruits of the Spirit

Posted: March 4, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 12:1-12 — This passage has much to discuss. First, there are the signs of hypocrisy. Then there is allowing fear to cause us to deny Christ. Next, there is acknowledging Jesus even when it will cost you something, and, finally, there is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Today, let’s look at the signs of hypocrisy.

Many non-believers list this one thing, hypocrisy, as the main reason that they do not attend church. My favorite professor from my Master of Christian Ministry (MCM) program is Bill Cashion​. He recently posted on Facebook one of those catchy little poster thingies that you see on Facebook quite often. This one said, “Saying that you don’t go to church because of all the hypocrites is like saying that you don’t go to the gym because of all the people that need to lose weight” or something to that affect. Sure, all of us who are Christ followers are hypocrites in one way or another. The key is where you heart is. Sure, we as Christ followers make mistakes in judgment and that can be perceived as hypocrisy by non-believers. However, a true Christ follower is convicted by the Holy Spirit of his sins, his hypocrisy, and will repent and turn away from it whereas a true hypocrite is a non-believer who claims to be one. What are the signs of such a person?

Jesus said beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. Yeast when you put it in dough spreads throughout it to make the dough rise. It changes the form of dough such that you can make bread. In this instance, Jesus is saying that the sickness that is the Pharisees is like putting yeast in dough. It permeates the dough and changes it. What once was something good has been altered and permanently changed for the worse. The Pharisees had changed Judaism into something that it wasn’t intended to be – a dizzying array of rules and regulations. Things are not much different in today’s world. We may condemn the Pharisees for not seeing Jesus as the Messiah and for contributing to the death of Jesus’ earthly body, but we are not much different today.

One of the signs of hypocrisy of a non-believer who claims to be one is to say that you follow Jesus but do not obey His Word. These are those who go to church on Sunday but live like hell the rest of the week as the old saying goes. These are the people whose Bible, if they have one, gathers dust on the coffee table. These are the people that attribute things to the Bible that are not even in it because they have never read it. These are the people who say they are Christian but bear no fruits of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Another sign of hypocrisy is living a self-serving life. People may desire to be in Christian leadership positions but they want the position so that they can be seen or have their name called out rather it springing forth from a need to serve others. These are the folks that attribute the success of a church project to themselves rather than to the work of the Holy Spirit. Even believers can get swallowed up by pride at times in this way. So often we claim to lead people to Christ when it is the action of the Holy Spirit that does that. We are just the vessels through which He works. A non-believer though sees nothing wrong with taking personal credit for something that is solely because of the action of God. They desire leadership roles in churches so that they can make a name for themselves. Score brownie points in the checklist religion they live. Some even desire to be at church because it is politically and professionally to their advantage to be at this or that particular church. I know of several people to attend a specific church because many of the big wigs from their job go to that church. Their attendance there had nothing to do with Jesus but everything to do with advancing their career.

Another sign of hypocrisy and lack of genuine conversion to faith in Jesus Christ are those who reduce Christianity to a set of rigid rules. People can end up worshiping their rules about what they think God wants instead of worshiping God himself. You know these types. If you do this, you are a heathen. If you do that, you are not worthy of our church. If you are divorced you are automatically disqualified from being a leader in our church, particularly a pastor. If you are a recovering alcoholic, you are always an alcoholic and not to be allowed in our doors. If you broke any of the rules, you are no longer worthy of Jesus Christ. Pharisees! If you have a past that everyone knows about, you are not welcome here. Is this what Jesus Christ died on the cross for? He came to redeem those who have a past. He came to reclaim us from the ash heap. He came to set us on our feet again. He came to tell us that that love is what should be our motivation not setting up rules and barriers.

Although many of those who read my daily blogs are Christ followers and we are convicted by the Holy Spirit when we are acting hypocritically, we must also examine ourselves, you and me. We are not perfect ourselves and only will be when we arrive in heaven at the end of this life and are joined with Christ. Only then will we be perfect. In the meantime, we must examine our lives constantly for hypocrisy. It is one of Satan’s greatest desires is to tear down Christ followers and make them ineffective. He tempts us constantly looking for our weak spots. We all have them. Satan’s lie is that our sins are not really sins and that it is OK. That’s when hypocrisy creeps in. Thinking something that is a sin is not a sin is how he wins. This is where we can be stumbling blocks to non-believers. Let us examine our lives constantly for those things that are not of God. Let us focus ourselves on ridding ourselves of those things that are not of Him that can be used by a non-believer as an excuse to further reject God. Let us not try to be perfect but rather seek guidance from our father as to the things that grieve His Spirit about us. Let us seek to please Him in all we do because of the grace that He has shown us. Let us not be the people that are the excuse for someone running away from Jesus.

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