2 Thessalonians 3 Lesson

Hypocrisy And The Importance Of Telling The Truth

HYPOCRISY

“Do as I say, not as I do.” That is a popular expression that speaks to the hypocrisy of those who teach one thing and then do another. 

Hypocrisy in any form is a problem, especially for Christians. Hypocrisy is confusing, unproductive, and most importantly displeasing to God!

Hypocrisy is defined as: “The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.” (Source: Google dictionary)

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT HYPOCRISY

  1. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” -Mathew 7:5,
  2. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” -James 1:26,
  3. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” - Luke 6:46,
  4. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” - Mathew 23:27-28,
  5. "You hypocrites rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” - Mathew 15:7-9.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING THE TRUTH

As Christians, God commands us to be honest and truthful. As disciples of Jesus, we are to say what we mean and to mean what we say. Consider the following words spoken by Jesus, and recorded in the Gospel of Mathew:

  • “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” – Mathew 5:37

People need to be able to count on our word and to trust what we say.  We are the light of the world (John 8:12), and there simply is no place for dishonesty in our lives and interactions with others.

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT TELLING THE TRUTH

  1. "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” -Proverbs 12:22,
  2. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” - Ephesians 4:15,
  3. “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” - Ephesians 4:25,
  4. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:24,
  5. “Truthful lips will endure forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.” - Proverbs 12:19.

PAUL’S EXAMPLE

The Apostle Paul was a truthful person.  He was bold in his preaching and never sacrificed the truth for what was convenient or popular at the time. Paul practiced what he preached. 

In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote:

  • “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,  nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;  not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10.

Paul had credibility with those in Thessalonica because he did not ask them to do anything that he himself was not already doingThe apostle Paul led by example, which is the best way to lead.

There is a poem by Edgar Guest entitled, “Sermons We See,” that speaks to this point.  It is a beautiful poem that talks about how sermons that we see are often much more powerful than sermons that we hear.

SERMONS WE SEE – By Edgar Guest

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. 
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear, 
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear; 
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done; 
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. 
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true, 
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give, 
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind. 
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind 
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be. 
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today 
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold; 
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told. 
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear, 
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear. 
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say, 
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.”

Paul had serious concerns about brethren that were living hypocritical lives.  He warned the Thessalonians to distance themselves from such people:

  • “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:6

It is important to note that Paul is talking about a brother or sister in the above verse.  He is not telling us to avoid those that are being hypocritical out in the world.  They are the very people that God wants us to share the gospel with.  As Jesus said: in Luke 5:31-32:

  • “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” - Luke 5:31-32.

CONCLUSION

When we commit to following Jesus, we put away the sins of our past and strive to be more like Him in everything that we do.   Telling the truth is a big part of that.   We understand that we will stumble and fail, but we must keep trying.  The character is in the trying!

Simply put, there is no room for hypocrisy and lies in the life of a Christian. If people cannot believe what we say, why would they believe our testimony about Jesus and how great it is to be a Christian?

As Children of God, we are to be honest and truthful in all that we do. We will end today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’” - John 8:31-32.


Comments

Dan

Agree that hypocrisy causes a lot of damage.

Reply