A Warning Against Hypocrisy

Hypocrite

The word “hypocrite” came from ancient Greek drama. By means of role play, rhetoric or a face mask, the individual was playing-acting. Later, the term “hypocrite” became a designation of someone pretending to be something they are not.

In , the focus is on the Kingdom’s citizen’s conduct in regard to genuine godliness. Jesus begins this section by saying, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (). The conduct of God’s people is to be genuine godliness, which is without hypocrisy. This is seen regarding giving (), prayer (), and fasting ().

Giving ()
Giving to the needy is an important and kind act. However, the danger facing the act of giving is hypocrisy. Despite the kind act of giving, Jesus exposed the motivation of the religious leaders. Their motive was to be “praised by others” (). This pretend piety has its reward – the attention here and now. In contrast to this, Jesus instructed, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (). In other words, give in a way that doesn’t demand attention. God knows your motive and will reward genuine godliness ().

Prayer ()
Prayer is an essential element to the Christian life. Prayer is commanded by the Lord, it deepens our fellowship with the Lord, and is a means that God has ordained in accomplishing His purposes. However, if it is not done with the right motive it is nothing more than pretended piety. Jesus addresses this matter by talking about the motive of prayer () and the manner of prayer (). Interestingly, three times in this passage the Lord says, “when you pray” (vv. 5, 6, 7). This statement assumes that prayer would be a normal part of the believer’s life.

Regarding the motive of prayer, Jesus provides two examples. The first example is of the hypocrite whose prayers are all about them (D.A. Carson refers to this as “play-acting praying”). Their prayers are marked by prideful recognition (Matt. 6:5) and pointless repetition (Matt. 6:7). The second example is genuine and humble prayer. This kind of prayer is marked by private removal (Matt. 6:6) and by plain request (Matt. 6:7-8).

Regarding the manner of prayer, vv. 9-15 are famously known as the Lord’s Prayer. Though it was not a prayer that He prayed, it is His prayer in the sense that He created it. This prayer provides us with a model of how to pray. After the opening words, this model prayer contains six petitions. The first three are concerning God () whereas the final three are concerning us (). This prayer teaches the believer to place their attention on God making it a God-centered prayer. Recognizing that the purpose of this prayer is not to simply be repeated word for word (though that is not necessarily wrong), it provides God’s people with a pattern and model on how to pray.

Fasting ()
Fasting refers to the act of abstaining from food for a period of time, in which the individual would earnestly seek the Lord. In addition to the OT law of fasting on the Day of Atonement, people would fast for other reasons. Sadly, this act of humility and dependence upon the Lord became an opportunity for show (). Jesus commanded that this be done with the motive of honouring the Lord and not man ().

Beware of hypocrisy! Let us serve the Lord with genuine godliness from a heart that is filled with grated toward Him. He knows our motives so let us be warned that hypocrisy is of no eternal value.

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The Power of the Resurrection

Resurrection

The day after the death and burial of Jesus, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate worried that the disciples’ may steal the body. So Pilate ordered soldiers to guard the tomb (). However, nothing was going to get in the way of what happened early that Sunday morning – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ refers to that event in which He was raised to life. It occurred three days after His crucifixion (Luke 24:46; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4), which took place on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9). The resurrection of Christ was an event foretold by the prophets (Psalm 16:10) and prophesied by Christ Himself (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; John 2:19-22) – it was a necessary event (Luke 24:45-46). After His resurrection He appeared to Mary Magdaline and other women (Matt. 28:9; Mark 16:9; John 20:18). He also appeared to the disciples (John 20:26), to a crowd of about 500 (1 Cor. 15:6) and later on to Paul (1 Cor. 15:8). The resurrection was the power of the Triune God on display (The Father: Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:13; the Son: John 2:19; 10:18 and the Holy Spirit: 1 Peter 3:18). It was powerful! In this post I would like to sure three demonstrations of the power of the resurrection of Christ in the life of the Christian.

The Power of the Resurrection in Justification
If we are going to be forgiven of sins and justified by God, it was necessary that the Lord Jesus Christ would rise from the dead. The act of the Jesus Christ rising up from the grave was a public demonstration that Christ’s suffering and death satisfied the wrath of God. The Father accepted and approved the perfect sacrifice of His Son. In his letter to the Romans Paul writes concerning Christ, “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (). If this did not occur we would be bot be forgiven. In his grand chapter on the resurrection Paul again writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

The Power of the Resurrection in Sanctification
By virtue of the resurrection of Christ, the believer is granted the ability to grow in Christlikeness. It logically flows from the previous point that if Christ was not raised from the dead we would still be lost in our sins. However, because we have been raised up with Christ, we are to “seek those things that are above” (). Because of our union with Him we are to pursue those things that are pleasing unto the Lord. The resurrection of Christ enables us to bear fruit for God (cf. ). As we strive to walk in the will of Lord, let us be reminded that our resurrected Lord is interceding for us ().

The Power of the Resurrection in Glorification
The power of the resurrection is also seen in the certainty of the believer’s future bodily resurrection. Jesus stated plainly,

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” ().

The reality behind what we read in is amazing. Every single person in history will one day be raised up and will stand before God. With authority and command, the Lord Jesus Christ will speak and the dead will be raised. Note that Jesus speaks of two different kinds of resurrection – “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of judgment“. The first is in reference to believers and the second to unbelievers. The reason why some are able to expect the resurrection of life is because they trust in Christ for salvation. It is His death and resurrection that makes their future one possible. This future event is something the people of God for centuries have anticipated (; ). This will be a spectacular event. At the return of Jesus Christ His people will be changed instantly. They will receive resurrected bodies and will be fitted out to enjoy the eternal kingdom of their Lord.

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is powerful.

 

62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.

34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

The Power of the Cross

4062400583_0627093873_b

In the first century, crucifixion was a means used to execute criminals. The four gospel accounts provide record of the events that led up to and the actual occasion of the crucifixion of Christ. Treated and tried as a criminal, Jesus Christ was innocent of the earthly charges made concerning Him.  However, it was necessary that He be crucified. We are told that it was at the cross  where Jesus Christ made the atonement for sin. It is for this reason that the word of the cross for us who believe “is the power of God” (). The cross of Christ provides us with a powerful message. It is a pulpit in which the most amazing message is proclaimed. It was Augustine who said, “The cross was a pulpit in which Christ preached his love to the world”. How was this love preached? In Paul’s letter to the Romans we read concerning Christ,

“whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” ().

In these two verses the message of the cross is heard in two declarations:

The Cross Declared Divine Justice
God is righteous and just. Moses said concerning the Lord, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (). Because this is who God is, everything He does is in accordance with what is right and just. This includes how He treats us. When we compare ourselves against God’s righteous standard it becomes crystal clear that we are sinful (cf. ). This means if God is going to be just, He must punish our sins.

How did the cross declare Divine justice? In God’s great mercy He provided a way in which His wrath would be satisfied. begins by saying what God the Father did concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood“. The word “propitiation” refers to the act of satisfying God’s wrath against sin. God’s wrath is justifiably towards all sinners and as we sin we are storing up more wrath against us (cf. ). How can this wrath ever be taken away? The solution is found in the cross. As stated earlier, in God’s great mercy He provided a way in which His wrath would be satisfied. The act of satisfying His wrath came when He “put forward” His own Son “as a propitiation”.

At the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ took our place by being “put forward” publically. This means, when He was crucified it was not done in secret, but God put His Son on public display at Calvary for all to see. According to , “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God“. At the cross Christ became sin on our behalf. We deserve to be punished; we deserved God’s fury to be unleashed on us. But those who come to God through faith in Christ Jesus had their sins imputed to Christ. He took your punishment, and God treated Him on that cross as if that was you. How amazing and humbling is that truth!

Simply put, when Jesus died on the cross He satisfied the Father’s anger and wrath towards sin. This act of sacrifice involved a cost and that was the very blood of Jesus Christ (cf. ).

The Cross Declared Divine Justification
Christ satisfied the wrath of God at the cross. However, if you are going to have a right standing before God, you must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Paul writes that this gift comes to “the one who has faith in Jesus” (). Faith is coming to God on the grounds of grace, understanding that we deserve to be punished by God for our sin. Therefore, having nothing to offer we trust and adhere to Jesus Christ as Lord, and by faith we place our full confidence and trust in Him. The words from the hymn “My hope is built on nothing less” convey the grand truth in this text,

“My hope is built on nothing less
 than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
 but wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.”

The power of the cross is seen in that God was both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Justice and love met at the cross thus forming the sound of the greatest message to ever be heard. The cross is indeed the pulpit of God’s love – this is the power of the cross.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Romans 2:5

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.