The Hypocrite

The word hypocrite is based on the Greek theatrical word that means “actor” or “to play a part.” Hypocrites pretend to be something they are not. Psalm 26:4 calls them “false men” (RSV), but in the Gospels the implications are more specific: Hypocrites pretend to be model of righteousness but in reality they are unrighteous to the core. They honor God with their lips, but their heart is far from him (Mk 7:6).

The Pharisees are the classic hypocrites of the Bible.  It’s easy to paint a picture of them from Jesus’ description of them.

  • They are showy when they give money with the intent that people will praise them (Mt 6:2).
  • They pray publicly in a flashy way so people will take note (Mt 6:5).
  • When they fast, they disfigure their faces (Mt 6:16).
  • They tithe their garden produce but neglect “the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23).
  • Jesus says they, “clean the outside of a drinking cup but ignore the filth inside it (Mt 23:25).
  • They are self-righteous (Mt 23:29-30)
  • They teach people false religious beliefs (Mt 23:16-22)
  • They pretend to care about tough issues, but actually want to discredit Jesus (Mt 22:15-22).
  • They prevent people from entering the kingdom of heaven (Mt 23:13-15).
  • Jesus pictures them as “whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Mt 23:27).
  • Jesus says they have a special place in hell (Mt 24:51).

God’s people must constantly beware of the dangers of hypocrisy.

Here are some red flags:

How can a Christ follower avoid hypocrisy?  Six times the New Testament stresses that we live with sincerity, (instead of hypocrisy.)   (Rom. 12:9; 2 Cor. 6:6; 1 Pet. 1:22,1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:5; Jas. 3:17)  

 For more about the series Scary People, go to www.ridgefellowship.com

Sources:
Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
Holman Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The AMG Concise Bible Dictionary

 

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander, Jarrell & Taylor, TX
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