Believer or Hypocrite

  Does today's Christian turn off people because of white-washed religion? Are we truly believers when we say we are Christian, or do we follow the way of the hypocrite? Hypocrisy has been one of the greatest sins of Christians throughout the ages, and has led many so-called believers astray. Hypocrisy isn't only found among members of the church, but also among it's leaders who are to seasoned in the Word and set the example of righteous living.

  Yes, many non-believers are turned off by Christianity because of what they see going on in the church today. Many feel justified in their view that all Christians are hypocrites. So, why do they form this opinion towards most Christians. Well, lets see what the word "hypocrite" really means. From the Greek word "hypokrites" to be a pretender, or play actor. "It's called playing church."

  In the book of Matthew, when Jesus dressed down the Scribes and Pharisees, He was warning us about the hypocrisy going on in the churches and it's leaders. It's going on to this day with the great apostasy (falling away from the faith), that is dividing our country. Without God this country is in big trouble. Just look around my friend.

Religious hypocrites: The Scribes and Pharisees were perfect examples of many religious leaders today. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. (Matthew 23:25). Many religious leaders make everything look so good and holy from the outside, but corruption goes on inside.

  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (Matthew 23:26). Christ is saying, clean yourself up from within. We are not just talking churches here, but your heart and minds as well. Sometimes we need to do a little internal cleansing to get rid of all the junk we consume. False teaching, church doctrine, worldly trends, and traditions of men. (Luke 6:45, 2 Corinthians 7:1, James 4:8).

Self-righteousness hypocrites: The Scribes and Pharisees were so into themselves they forgot who they really were. Man always tries to erase their wicked past but it will always come out in the end. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous. (Matthew 23:29). These self-righteous hypocrites were building monuments to the prophets killed by their fathers, just so they looked so holy. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. (Matthew 23:30). They say; if we lived back then, we would have never acted like our fathers did. (Matthew 21:35-36). Yea right, nothing like admitting your guilt; like father like son. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. (Matthew 23:31). In saying that, they were accusing themselves of being the sons of wicked men.

  They were so holy acting but they still had murder and corruption on their minds and Jesus knew it. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. (Matthew 23:32). Go ahead and finish what your fathers started. (Jesus knew they wanted to kill Him, now He invites them to finish the job). Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Matthew 23:33). Generation here is translated offspring. (Strong's G1081 "gennema" meaning "offspring" or "generation"). "Generation or offspring of vipers." (evil wicked men). The offspring of Satan! (John 8:44).

  Jesus dresses them down again about the future. Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (Matthew 23:34). You crucified and killed the prophets in the past. Now, I will send more wise men and teachers and you will kill some of them also. Others you will persecute and chase away. (Just like many churches today who ridicule real teachers of the Word).

Hypocrites love the praise of men: They love to broadcast their charitable deeds to receive the praise of others. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1). Don't do your good deeds publicly to be admired, for then you will lose the reward from the Heavenly Father. (Its hard to keep a good deed secret).

  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:2-3). When you help someone or give a gift to someone, don't shout about it or go around telling everybody what you did calling attention to your act of charity like the hypocrites do. (Then your just boasting). If you do; this is the only reward you will ever get. Some people need everyone to see that they are trying to be a good person. (Complements their insecurity).

  Secrecy is the key. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:4). Do your good deeds in secret, then the Heavenly Father who knows all secrets will reward you for your kindness towards others. "Give God the credit, He is the one who gave you the intention and kind heart."

Prayers of the hypocrite: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:5). When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who pretend piety by praying publicly in front of others where everyone can see you, because that is all the reward you will ever get. (Your prayers may not be answered). It may make you feel so holy or religious in front of others, but that is about the extent of it.

  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:6). When you pray, let it be in secret by yourself and pray to the Heavenly Father secretly, and the Heavenly Father who knows your secrets will reward you.

  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6:7). Don't recite the same prayer like the heathen do over and over thinking your prayers will only be answered by repeating them again and again. "God does not like repetitive prayer." Talk to Him like father and son, after all, He is your heavenly father.

Hypocrites follow tradition of men: They create man-made traditions to create more opportunities to look so pious. "Another holy celebration to beg for money." Some of the Pharisees and teachers of the religious law came to question Jesus about His teachings. Here was one of the questions about traditions. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. (Matthew 15:2). The Pharisees asked Jesus why the disciples disobey the ancient traditions? They were speaking of the ceremonial hand washing before they would eat. Not a commandment of God, but a tradition and ceremony of man that was passed down from the old times. And so it is today, with all the traditions and ceremonies that many church groups practice. Its a show for the people and has nothing to do with God. God wants your love, not a bunch of rituals that have no meaning.

Lies of hypocrisy: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1). The Holy Spirit tells us; that in the later times many will fall away (the apostasy), from the faith (the true teachings of Christ), and listen to a bunch of false teachers and traditions of men which leads right into Satan's bed. "You think you were deceived and groped before; wait till Satan's little devils get a hold of you."

  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:2). These teachers will tell lies for so long that it becomes part of them and their conscience does not even bother them. They listen to lies, begin telling lies, and their minds become seared and cauterized with lies.

Identifying a hypocrite: Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is truly a Christian. In the past, some of the most famous hypocrites among Christians were deceivers. Even today, many Christian leaders have fallen into financial and sexual scandals to plague the Christian community. True Christians (a believer), are getting a bad rap from denominational religion. We need to discern the spirit of the church or individual and their teachings. Many scriptures confirm that those who truly belong to Christ will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus’ parable of the sower in (Matthew 13), makes it very clear, not all professions of faith in Him are genuine. Many who profess to belong to Him will be stunned one day to hear Him say, "I never knew you. Depart from me." (Matthew 7:23).

Overcoming Hypocrisy: There is hope we can all have to overcome hypocrisy. Like any other sin it can be forgiven, and over time we can eliminate it from our life. God knows your heart and if you are trying your best, that is all He expects from you. No one is perfect, but God set the standard for perfection (Matthew 5:48). All Christians fail to perfectly live up to the standard the Bible teaches. No one has ever been perfectly Christ-like. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit, it is up to us to try and follow the example Christ laid before us. The question is, are you a believer?

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Bart

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