Mathew 23 Lesson

Hypocrisy

DEFINING HYPOCRISY

As Christians, it is important for us to make sure that we understand the meaning of the word “hypocrisy” when we read it in the Bible.

According to Google dictionary, hypocrisy is defined as:

  • The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.

That is exactly what Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees for in Mathew Chapter 23.

Keep that definition in mind as we discuss the scribes and Pharisees, and the strong way Jesus rebukes them.

FIVE 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.

JESUS REACTS TO THE HYPOCRISY OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES

If anyone ever doubts how much Jesus dislikes hypocrisy, have them read Mathew Chapter 23.

To say that Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees would be an understatement!

Yes, He rebukes them. Strongly!

But He also does it publicly, and passionately!

In condemning their hypocritical behavior, Jesus makes eight “Woe to you” statements:

  1. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” – Mathew 23:13,
  2. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” – Mathew 23:14
  3. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” – Mathew 23:15,
  4. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?  And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering?  Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it.  And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it.  And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.” – Mathew 23:16-22,
  5. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.  You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” – Mathew 23:23-24,
  6. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.  You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” – Mathew 23:25-26,
  7. “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,
  8. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.  Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.  You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” – Mathew 23:29-33.

CONCLUSION

In today’s lesson, we defined hypocrisy, we read what the Bible teaches on the subject, and we saw how Jesus reacted to the hypocritical behavior of the scribe and Pharisees.

It is easy to understand why Jesus would react so strongly.

Hypocrites and Christians are opposites.

Hypocrites say one thing but do another.

Christians can be trusted to tell the truth. As Christians, our “no means no” and our “yes means yes.” (Mathew 5:37)

We will end today with the following Proverb:

  • “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight. ” -Proverbs 12:22.

Comments

James A Guillory

Why do you think that Jesus took such a strong stance against hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is totally opposite of the character of God let's look at the definition of hypocrisy in the Bible.Hypocrisy is "a
person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs."We as Christians are to reflect the character of God and we are here on this Earth as ambassadors for Christ leading all people to Christ that they may believe and be saved. If we lead a life that is contrary to the character of God we will be just like the Pharisees leading people away from God instead of a life-changing relationship with Christ!

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Dan

Hypocrisy is lying to God. People may not know but God does, for He knows the heart.

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