Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Laying Aside Hypocrisy

We are looking again today at 1 Peter 1:1. Here Peter gives 5 hindrances to our ability to desire God’s Word. We have already considered the first two, “wickedness” and “deceit,” and now we’re considering the next one which is “hypocrisy.” Not only are we to put off all wickedness and deceit but also “hypocrisy” (v.1c).

Warren Wiersbe says, “If we are guilty of malice, we will try to hide it; and this produces ‘hypocrisies’” (The Bible Exposition Commentary). The word “Hyprocrisy” (hupokrisis) “was generally used for flattery and deception” (Zodhiates). It is “pretense, to pretend” (Lou-Nida), “insincerity” (UBS Lexicon), “outward show” (BAG). This word also “was used of an actor on the Greek stage” (Rienecker) referring “to acts of impersonation” (Wuest). It occurs 7 times in the New Testament (QV). Jesus said this is what characterized the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:28-29a when He said, “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”

John MacArthur says, “The Pharisees’ focus on external issues lay at the heart of their error. Who would want to drink from a cup that had been washed on the outside but was still filthy inside? Yet the Pharisees lived their lives as if external appearance were more important than internal reality. That was the very essence of their hypocrisy, and Jesus rebuked them for it repeatedly” (The MacArthur Study Bible).

“We are so accustomed to wearing a disguise before others that we are unable to recognize ourselves” (Francois, Duc De La Rochefoucauld). Jesus told His disciples to beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisee in Luke 12:1. He said, “In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, ‘Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Even Peter and Barnabbas played the hypocrite with the Gentiles so that Paul had to rebuke Peter to his face. Galatians 2:11-13 records the incident when it says, “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.” According to 1 Timothy 4:1-3, hypocrisy will be prevalent during the last days. Paul reminds Timothy of this when he says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”

We need to constantly examine our lives for this deadly disease and forsake it. To do that we need to first examine our love. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” James 3:17 tells us that we need to next examine our motives. James says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” Calvin Miller said, “It is easier to wear a mask. An ugly face is sometimes better than a real one. Thus are we afraid to show each other who we really are” (Drapers). Billy Sunday also said, “Hypocrites in the church? Yes, and in the lodge, and at home. Don’t hunt through the church for a hypocrite. Go home and look in the glass. Hypocrites? Yes. See that you make the number one less” (Drapers).

Everyone struggles at some point with hypocrisy. The only way to overcome it is to walk in holiness. Holiness will always expose hypocrisy for what it is and destroy it.

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