TRAITS OF HYPOCRISY
1. "Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not & have no intention of being." (Life Application Bible, 1774). "Play-acting...pretense" (Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words, II:241).
a. Consistently warned against - Lk. 12:1.
b. Contributes to a seared conscience - 1 Tim. 4:1-2.
c. Put away every vestige of it - 1 Pet. 2:1.
2. Note: When a Christian sins it is not necessarily hypocrisy!
3. By its very nature, hypocrisy is hard to admit & repent of.
4. To avoid becoming hypocrites we must carefully consider ourselves in light of three basic traits of the hypocrite.
I. THE HYPOCRITE PAYS MORE ATTENTION TO HIS REPUTATION THAN TO HIS
A. How Others Perceive Him Is His Preeminent Concern - Matt. 6:2, 5, 16 (Display of self - to be "seen by men" - What others will think & say).
1. Matt. 23:5-7 - Phylacteries & hems:
a. Phylactery - Leather box containing scripture - wore on forehead or arms to obey Deut. 6:8. Status vs. truth it contained.
b. Enlarged borders (Num. 15:37-40) - To remember to obey the law of God. Enlarge -- greater honor for the law (and from men)!
2. cf. When we pray, teach, preach, memorize scripture, have a Bible class, visit someone, etc. - Because of reputation or due to character?!
B. Hypocrisy Is Pretended Motives - Matt. 23:25-28.
1. CHARACTER SUFFERS AT THE HANDS OF HYPOCRISY:
a. Keeping up appearances while your private world & heart is corrupt - v. 25-26.
b. Acting spiritual in order to cover up sin - v. 27-28.
1) Mk. 12:13-15 - No interest in Caesar's tribute!
2) Gal. 2:11-13 - A pretended motive (loyalty to the law) when another existed (fear of the Judaizers).
2. For God to accept any religious service we must begin with the heart -Concentrate on being right with God, & reputation will take care of itself!
a. Lk. 6:26 - Character is vilified by the wicked.
b. Rom. 12:10 (13:7) Character will be honored among saints.
II. THE HYPOCRITE CAREFULLY PRACTICES RELIGIOUS ACTS WHILE HIS HEART REMAINS DISTANT FROM GOD - Matt. 23:23-24.
A. The Hypocrite Has Details Without Depth.
1. 23:23-24 - Tithe minute herbs, but ignore justice, mercy & faith. (v. 24 - Strain gnat, swallow camel!)
2. v. 23 - Both details & their basis are vital - Psa. 85:10 - (Not a verse which excuses disobedience)!
B. This Inevitably Leads To Elevating The Traditions Of Men Above The Commands Of God - Matt. 23:16-22 (16:6, 12).
1. Lk. 13:10-17 - It invariably confuses God's revealed will with man's interpretation of that will.
2. Matt. 15:1-9 - God's commandments violated while man's teachings are pressed & bound - All in the name of honoring God!!
3. Matt. 23:13 - Such shuts people out of the kingdom! (15:14)
III. THE HYPOCRITE EMPHASIZES HIS OWN VIRTUE AND OTHERS' SINS -
Rom. 2:1-2, 17-24.
A. The Hypocrite Does Not Put Himself Under The Same Scrutiny With Which He Condemns Others - Matt.7:1-5.
1. He tears another down in order to build up himself. Jesus calls us to use righteous discernment it our judgments.
2. He becomes insensitive to the plight of others - Because he refuses to consider himself! - cf. Gal. 6:1; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Cor. 10:12
B. Hypocrisy's Companion: Self-righteousness - Lk. 18:9-12.
-CONTRAST: Jas. 3:13, 17-18 - The meekness of wisdom avoids hypocrisy & strives for purity in itself while showing peace, gentleness & mercy toward others.
1. Hypocrisy hides itself in the crevices of human pride & conceit, but it exposes the soul to eternal damnation!
2. Better to admit hypocrisy now & say, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Lk. 18:13), than in hardness of heart rebel against God & lose your soul.
-(Basic points are from the Life Application Bible, page 1774)