Faithlife Sermons

How to Not Be a Hypocrite

Parables  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Looking at the authority of Jesus and the lack of willingness to do what the Father asks.

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Introduction

Matthew 21:23 ESV
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”
If you remember, Jesus had burst onto the scene with everyone shouting Hosanna! or “Save Us” to Him back in chapter 20. Then, we see Him enter the temple and turn over the tables. Obviously, He was at war with the common held beliefs of the day and making a very loud statement about the error of the religious leaders and authorities of the day.
Jesus came into the temple and spoke at length about the laborers in the vineyard and those invited to the wedding feast. Those two parables are preceded by a very interesting, short parable which follows the scepticism of Jesus’ enemies, the chief priests and Pharisees.
If you remember, Jesus bursts onto the scene with everyone shouting Hosanna! or “Save Us” to Him. Then, we see Him enter the temple and turn over the tables. Obviously, He was at war with the common held beliefs of the day and making a very loud statement about the error of the religious leaders and authorities of the day.
Any time someone shows up and starts questioning authority we all start doing the same. Who knows whether they could be right. After all, whoever we place as an authority over us has certain priveledges and we will either be leading us down a cliff, or up the tallest mountain.

Authorities

Do we need to trust all of the authorities?
Are we supposed to believe that everyone who stands before us is worthy of telling us how to live our lives?
Jesus speaks to many people before they put them to death and His teachings were highly regarded by many, but the religious leaders of that day were not impressed because they had become so focused on the scholarship of their day. They had rabbis who were very well thought of and they had writings and traditions that they spent and even days understanding and memorizing so that they could teach others with authority one day.
Jesus didn’t mess with any man made scholarship because His information was straight from the true source.
We have many authorities in our day. In school the teacher is supposed to be the authority and the principle. At home the father and parents are the authority. At work, the boss is the authority. In government, the police are the authority.
Whatever is spoken by the authority carries with it some form of power, justice, relevance and truth as it is shared with others. This is a law and it must be upheld. It is important to understand!
Jesus was said to have spoken as one with authority
Luke 4:32 ESV
and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.
Jesus spoke with authority because He had been given authority. A truth that has not sunk in for the religious elite.
He allows an adulterer to go free, telling her to sin no more because His words of authority are about salvation from the darkness and bringing people to the light. He doesn’t want them to stay in the darkness any longer.
He came to seek and save the lost.
John 8:12–18 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”
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His authority comes from the Creator of the universe. He speaks the words God has given Him to speak and doesn’t go against His Father’s will.
John 12:44–50 ESV
And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Choosing Hypocrisy

Jesus responds to their inquiry on this occasion with a question.
Matthew 21:24–27 ESV
Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
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Instead of recognizing Jesus’ authority, the religious leaders try to find a way to condemn Him for blasphemy. When Jesus asks this question about the baptism of John, they have to backtrack to keep from losing the respect of the people. You see John was an exception to the Jewish traditions of leadership of the people.
Typical Politicians! They decide to do the political thing and not tell the truth about what they thought. They decide not to recognize an obvious prophet of God who, verse 32 points out came in the way of righteousness. John was a man who abstained from everything. Surviving on locust and honey in the wilderness.
This obviously righteous man pointed to Jesus, not these hypocrites. He pointed to the requirement of one who hears his call to repent and be baptized, but to these people he said, “What are you doing here? VIPERS!”
Jesus saw what John saw. Men who do not care to repent of their adultery, their robbery, their lying, their murdering, their oppression! They have justified all of that and see no reason to change as you can imagine.
They say that they are going to do God’s will while planning to do the opposite.

The Parable

Matthew 21:28–32 ESV
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
The two sons are obviously compared to the immoral people who recognize their error and the self righteous who are proud and justify every evil that they create for themselves.
The question must then be asked, are you the first or the second son. If you don’t know of any sins you have committed, you are the second. If you think you are a good person and that you don’t need salvation from the darkness, you are still in it.
The hypocrites don’t just go to church. They also walk about on Sundays playing golf and exclaiming how they can commit adultery, but it’s okay because they gave their spouse a certificate of divorce as these Jews did.
These are men who say that they are good and righteous, but they aren’t clean on the inside. The intentions of their heart are awful. You don’t have to be religious to be one of the people who condemned Jesus. You just have to be the type of person who justifies your own bad behaviour instead of fessing up!
Matthew 23:25–31 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
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These people are rotten and dead on the inside and until someone or something wakes them up. Maybe if something happens to expose their deadness, they will be willing to let God fix what’s wrong with the baptism of Jesus.
We looked previously at how Jesus came into the temple and spoke at length about the laborers in the vineyard and those invited to the wedding feast. Those two parables are preceded by a very interesting, short parable which follows the skepticism of Jesus’ enemies, the chief priests and Pharisees.
So, Jesus tells them to jump into the same boat as those who He did not come to judge, but to save. Those who have originally lived a selfish self serving life of immorality, and are NOW choosing to go into the vineyard TODAY and get to work!
A lot of people say that the millennial generation is leaving organized religion. I believe it has a lot to do with whitewashing and self justifying their sins away because they haven’t learned that God provides us with all of the fulfillment that we need in this life. All of the other things are not as important.
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