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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Message

Now, one might expect that, since the Lord is leading my reading, that this post would be about the Resurrection, and the holy day we celebrate today.  But God doesn't lead you TO things, He leads you THROUGH things.  Ask Moses riding in his bulrush cruiser, or David getting his OJT in Gath of the Philistines, or Elijah celebrating his great victory in a ditch.  And so, though we do get to Easter, it's in the VERY long run.

Because this week, the subject is hypocrisy.  Now I can hear you saying here comes a long discourse on the Pharisees and how they apply to us.  And you'd be 10% right.  But God recognizes a spectrum in the definition of hypocrisy, and they are just a part of it.

The first place I landed this week was the opening chapter of the book of the prophet Haggai.   Here we are 16 years since the Jews were able to return to Babylon, and when God looks around, He sees city walls and nice fancy homes with paneled walls- but the Lord's Temple isn't half finished.  More to the point, the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua, and the people themselves, are going about their lives without seemingly minding.  "Consider Your Ways!" God shouts, not once but twice.  It's easy to get to that point where God has answered your prayers, given you everything you wanted- and then you just forget about Him.  This insidious form of hypocrisy  cost them a drought until Z and Joshua, and the people, got off the stick and paid attention to God's work again.  What does it cost you?

Tuesday brought me to the trailing end of Job 15, where Eliphaz the Temanite is accusing Job of hypocrisy.   Now it is well-established that Eliphaz et al were considered foolish counselors, but their fault was not in what they said so much as trying to apply it to Job, who had done none of what they accused him of.  So it is that Eliphaz points out another form of hypocrisy, in which wealth in material things not only causes a man to forget about God as in the first example, but to "(act) defiantly against the Almighty, Running stubbornly against Him with his strong, embossed shield" (VV25-26).  You can start to see that the point of hypocrisy is not as much saying one thing and doing another, but believing that God is there, but "I don't need Him", or "I'll get back to Him later".  Hypocrisy is the act of knowing that God exists and not giving Him the importance due in your life.  At the end of his message, Eliphaz brings up two important observations.  First, "Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself, for futility will be his reward" (v31); and second, "...for the company of hypocrites will be barren..."(v34).

Wednesday took me to Paul reading the riot act to the Corinthian church in I Cor. 4 and 5.  In my Bible's translation, Paul repeatedly accuses them of being "puffed up", which it then gives a definition of arrogant (4:6. 4:18, 5:2).  Arrogant in knowledge as well as wealth, they have begun to argue over nits, setting themselves up as experts, "aligning" themselves with those they think they follow like Paul, Apollos, or Peter, and in the meantime allowing sins "as is not even named among the Gentiles" to go on right under their noses without reproach.  I have seen a lot of Facebook "discussions" that fit this category well.  The philosophic argument being of more weight than the life you live, the example you set for others.

Thursday we finally hit the Pharisees and scribes in Mark 12.  38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
For them, it was all about the power they wielded over the people.  The appearance of religion but no true faith.  The law but not its purpose.  It puts me in mind of the gay marriage debate.  Do I think its wrong? Yes.  Do I think it will have a detrimental effect on this nation?  It already has.  BUUUUUT....  It is an affair of SECULAR government, and Jesus I think would put it in the "render unto Caesar" category- our mission is for US to give to GOD what is GOD'S.  I mentioned this on a FB comment to a relative of Laurie's who briefly replaced her profile pic with that damnable red-and-pink equal sign that's been popping up everywhere.  But that's a whole other post, and I've been there before.

Friday kind of brought the readings to an early conclusion, in Isaiah 6.  Here, the prophet has come before the Lord in a vision.

So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
Hypocrisy is defeated by constantly reminding yourself of your true condition.  And that is, no matter your wealth, knowledge, or comfort, your are a hopeless, fallen sinner, and the only ticket you have into heaven is the one that Christ bought you on the Cross.  If you forget what that means, go rent The Passion Of The Christ- or watch it again, if the case may be.  Let it remind you of just what price was paid for your well-being spiritually.
So at this point, we see categories of hypocrisy- the Pharisees brand of intentional "live one way, talk the other";  Z and Joshua's "I'll get to Him in a minute"; Eliphaz's "I don't need Him, I have X"; and the Corinthians arrogance, which is a lot like the Pharisee type except the emphasis moves from what you have to what you know.  But there is one more type.
And that brings us to Saturday, and my habit of sleeping with the radio on.  Waking up in the middle of the night, I caught a bit of a sermon on Easter and it made me think.  The final hypocrisy that we face (and I know some of you won't like this) is how we treat the evidence given us in the Bible.  Some of you will say that the Bible is a book written by human hands and put together by men hundreds of years removed from the events.  So be it.  But Peter tells us in his letter (2 Peter 1:19-21) that ALL scripture is certain; and common sense should tell you that a God that can fashion things so marvelous, from a flea's eyeball to a distant quasar, can keep what He wants man to know inviolate over the centuries.  Yet, some will say, as Thomas Jefferson did, that Jesus was a wise teacher, but not God.  Salvation is a myth; the miracles didn't happen.  Some don't go quite that far; they'll go along with the Bible up to the point where Jesus died and rose, but not that He was God made man.
But hear me- the Bible is plain on these things.  There is a resurrection- Jesus said in that same passage of Mark, God is the God of the living not the dead.  Jesus told us He was God- "Before Abraham was, I AM."  God agreed- "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."  The doctrine of the Trinity is there- "Let us make man in OUR own image, after OUR likeness".  And lastly, the resurrection of Jesus is attested to:
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (I Cor. 15:12-19)
So tell me- how much can you pick and choose to believe about the Bible before you are in effect calling God a hypocrite?  To me, the Bible is the ultimate authority, and Easter divides the believers from the hypocrites.  Either there is a Triune God, beyond our understanding, revealed in the part of Him that manifested as Man and died for our sins, and rose from the dead, and a spirit that proceeds from both to guide us, or there isn't.  Anything less than that lessens our God, and makes Him a hypocrite.  So, do we worship a lesser God that fudges the truth, or is it our preconceptions that is the problem?  How much of God do we sell off in the name of our Knowledge?


  1. CWM:
    Brother, you hit this one OUTTA THE PARK!
    Very well said.

    The entire hypocrite gig was perfect.
    And I've seen them both in and outside of God's house.
    They are everywhere, and as siners go, we all are guilty of some hypocracy once in a while (some have turned it into an art form, especially in D.C...LOL)

    Again...wonderful observations for a wonderful day.
    Keep on preaching!
    God Bless.

    And stay safe up there.

  2. Hey, CW ~
    I just felt like stopping by on this 'Day Of Days' to personally wish you a joyous Easter.

    I hope yours was as good as mine was.

    Well, I'm off now to watch a DVD I own of Mahalia Jackson doing what only Mahalia Jackson could.

    Bless And Be Blessed, Brother!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'