Sermon Notes by Pastor Jon
Gandhi said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
*Hypocrisy has kept many from coming to Jesus, and has run the children of fundamentalism off…
*This skepticism is rooted not so much in intellectual reasons as it is in personal disappointment.
*2 Ways this has been done in the church:
- Institutional Injustice: crusades, inquisition, Salem witch trials, segregation, etc.
- Personal hypocrisy: holier than thou attitudes, self-righteousness, don’t practice what preach, etc.
- Say one thing but do another
- Hide your sin so you can save face (not a lot of honesty & openness in the church)
- Condemn the sins that we don’t struggle with (i.e. drugs over divorce)
- Use Christianity to not love our neighbor (give a tract instead of a tip; cf. Matt. 15)
*Jesus talks about hypocrisy in the Sermon on the Mount (read Matthew 6).
*Let’s try to address why there is hypocrisy in the church:
1. False Converts- Not everyone who says they are a Christian is one!
*Parable of the soils teaches that there will be some who give initial evidence of being believers but it doesn’t last because suffering, the cares of life or the love of money derail people.
*James 2 says that just because you pray a prayer or know the facts of the gospel doesn’t mean that you’re really a Christian (living faith is evidenced by obedience)
*Matt. 7:21-23: “Depart from me I never knew you”
-Some are not genuine Christians who bear the fruit of repentance
-There are many nominal Christians who have a form of religion but are not born again
2. We are all sinners by nature & choice, so it’s inevitable that we will all be hypocrites.
*The Christian message begins with a basic premise that everyone is a sinner (Romans 3)
*THEREFORE, it’s inevitable that we’ll be hypocrites who don’t live up to God’s standard (the standard we claim for ourselves). We will sin because there is no sinless perfection for Christians.
*BUT, even non-Christians don’t live up to their own standards > intolerance culture & Kirk Cameron
-Hypocrisy is hardwired into our makeup b/c we have a sin nature
-Christianity makes best sense of the world (sin natural explains why you violate your standard)
3. We don’t understand the Christian message rightly.
*This is an issue for both the skeptic & the “believer.”
*The issue here is more than hypocrisy; it’s SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS (that’s what Jesus is attacking)
*They want to be seen as righteous & think this gains God’s approval (Matt.6:7)
- You don’t admit that you have sin (or you act like it’s not that big a deal)
- You put on a mask at church and act like you don’t struggle with sin
- You act like you’re better than other people
- You call out sin in others but have an excuse for your “little sins”
- You are judgmental and don’t love your neighbor
- You think God approves of you because of your behavior
*These attitudes from many “Christians” are completely inconsistent with the Christian message
- Christianity isn’t about what we do; it’s about what Christ has done for us!
- We are all sinners in need of grace, mercy & forgiveness from Jesus
- The Church is a hospital for sinners
- If you’re judgmental or think you’re holier than others then you miss Christianity (the whole thing!)
*The Christian life is about RECOGNIZING how deeply sinful you are and that you deserve Hell!
*The Christian life is about turning from your sin (continual repentance)
*The Christian life is about loving your neighbor & your ENEMY (forgiveness over judgment)
-give the benefit of the doubt to people
-humbly recognize sin in yourself before others
*The problem is not admitting our own faults/sins & casting judgment outwards so quickly
*Harder on others than we are on ourselves
*In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is contrasting true Christians with hypocritical Pharisees
- Both the Christian & the Pharisee are trying to obey God
- BUT, 1 is doing it self-righteously to be seen by others and won’t admit own sin
- 1 is lowly in heart
*Tim Keller says: When someone is prideful & self-righteous it’s not because they’re being too Christian; it’s because they are being less than Christian.
*Because this is central to the Christian message, it shouldn’t surprise us that some unbelievers will be better morally than some Christians. Christianity is not about moral reform. It’s about being rescued from sin & wrath.
-Christianity says we’re seriously flawed & can only have relationship w/ God thru GRACE
-MISTAKE: thinking a person should clean up life to get God
-BUT, this means church will have immature & broken people
-1 Cor 6: adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunks, etc…
-We need these people in our church (those who admit this was me, still struggle sometimes)
Conclusion- This objection can be a cop out to not seriously consider the claims of Jesus
*We have to get this b/c there’s so much confusion > you think “gospel” = try harder
*So many of us think there are 2 ways to live (Sermon on Mt. 7:24): 1) God’s way 2) Worldly way
- Think: Christians look really, really good & non-Christians look really, really bad
- WRONG: point of the Bible is that Christianity is NOT a system of moral improvement
*There are 3 ways to live, not 2: 1) worldly way 2) Religious way 3) Gospel way (Grace)
-2 Ways to miss God: being really bad & trying to be really good (follow rules)
-Both will cause you to miss God
-3rd way > Come to Jesus who died for your hypocrisy!