Overcoming Hypocrisy August 9
Think About It … • Why do some people object to “organized religion”? • Jesus confronted the hypocrisy of “organized religion” in His day • We must confront hypocrisy in our lives also
Right Relationship with Christ • What are some synonyms for “hypocrite”? • Listen for why Jesus accuses the Pharisees of being hypocrites.
Listen for why Jesus accuses the Pharisees of being hypocrites. Matthew 23:23-24 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.  You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Right Relationship with Christ • What glaring contrasts existed in the lives of the Pharisees? • What oxymoron did Jesus use? • What hyperbole (exaggeration) did Jesus use?
Right Relationship with Christ • How is it easier to focus on doing the little things, those less personal, than the big ones? • What did Jesus emphasize in His example of straining at gnats but swallowing a camel? • How could the Pharisees have become so caught up in following the Law that they missed what God really expected?
Right Relationship with Christ • What kinds of nitpicky rules and regulations tend to blind us to more serious sins? • The Pharisees: • Controlled the synagogues • Numbered about 6000 men at any time • Chief interpreters of Jewish legalism • Expanded on Ten Commandments to include 400 more rules • Insisted everyone else should follow
Right Relationship with Christ • Why do you suppose they would not be willing to demonstrate justice, mercy, righteousness? • This was a disconnect between • what they taught about righteousness • the way they lived Thus Jesus labeled them as hypocrites
Behind Hypocritical Masks • How are masks used today? • Masks were worn by Greek and Roman actors to help portray their character • hypocrite meant “mask wearer” or “actor” • Jews considered anything to do with acting would be ungodly • had to do with other gods • were often bawdy and coarse
Behind Hypocritical Masks • Jews used word “hypocrite” to describe • a liar • a deceiver • someone who hid true nature behind a mask • Listen for how the religious leaders were hypocrites.
Listen for how the religious leaders were hypocrites. Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Behind Hypocritical Masks • What was the religious practice Jesus referred to? • What was Jesus’ suggestion as to how they cleaned the cups and dishes? • So what was Jesus’ point? What was the analogy? • How might Jesus have made an accusation to today’s religious culture … maybe even within our own church?
Listen for more examples of hypocrisy. Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Jesus Makes Us Alive Inside • The Law required avoidance of all things unclean • certain foods • anything that was dead • What would painting or whitewashing the outside of a burial tomb accomplish? • In what ways do people sometimes fake the Christian life and “whitewash” a life that is dead?
Jesus Makes Us Alive Inside • God desires a relationship through Christ as our Lord … not through following rules to earn our way into God’s presence. How can we build or pursue that relationship? • How does coming to know the Lord better, change the view of our inward lives?
Application • What attitudes or “matters of the heart” do you need to confess to God today so that your inside looks as good as your outside? • 1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. • Ephes. 1:7 (NIV) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
Application • What could you do to help a young Christian grow stronger this week? • Guide him or her to a stronger relationship with Jesus • Demonstrate by your life inner qualities of righteousness • Do away with hypocrisy – confess your need for their prayers for you also
Application The Masked Prayer Leader: Lord, we come to you in prayer—wearing masks. We know there are things that we hide from one another. Group: We know there are things we’d like to hide from you. All: But you see all things. Leader: You see behind our masks.
All: You see behind our lies. Leader: You see us as we are. All: You see what we would like to be. Leader: Lord, help us to realize that only you can make us clean. Group: Help us to realize that only you can make us pure. All: Lord, make us honest. Leader: Don’t let us think that we can fool you by fooling ourselves.
All: Lord, unmask us. Leader: Don’t let us fool ourselves into believing that others can’t see through our lies. All: Lord, unmask us. Leader: Don’t let us be hypocrites, Lord. Let us be true. All: Lord, unmask us.
Overcoming Hypocrisy August 9