AMOS 5:21-24: “I hate your festivals; I despise them. I’m not pleased with your religious assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I won’t accept them. I won’t even look at the fellowship offerings of your choicest animals. Spare me the sound of your songs. I won’t listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Am I a hypocrite? The definition of “hypocrite” is – a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings (Webster). So, in contemporary terms, it is a person who hides behind the veneer of Christianity, while practicing things that are in direct conflict with what the Bible teaches. Hypocrisy is washing the outside of one’s cup, but never touching the inside!
I think we all have times or moments when we display hypocrisy. This does not make one a hypocrite, it merely makes one human. Yet, when we put our trust in outward observances, and leave the weightier matters of the heart unattended, we can move from a lapse of hypocrisy – to living as a hypocrite. This is what had happened to the nation of Israel. And it sounds a lot like much of the contemporary church today.
Our churches today have state of the art media systems. Our worship teams have become full blown orchestras. Many of our church services could compete with the finest productions of Hollywood or Broadway. Israel depended on their burnt offerings, grain offerings, fellowship offerings, and their wonderful music and songs. Yet, this is not what the Lord desired.
- “I won’t listen to the music of your harps. But let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
The Lord desired justice – without, and righteousness – within. This is what the Lord desires in our lives. The book of Revelation also speaks to this in the letter to the Church of Laodecia.
- “You say, ‘I’m rich. I’m wealthy. I don’t need anything.’ Yet, you do not realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you: Buy gold purified in fire from me so that you may be rich. Buy white clothes from me. Wear them so that you may keep your shameful, naked body from showing. Buy ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act. Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together.” (Revelation 3:17-20 GW)
This church could have been named – “The First Church of Hypocrisy”. They thought everything was going well. They were rich, living in abundance, and resting in their sense of sufficiency. Their trust was in that which was outward, and they were lacking the true riches of justice and righteousness. So Jesus calls them to true faith (gold purified in fire), true righteousness (clothes from me), and true wisdom (ointment to put on your eyes so that you may see). The deceptive thing about hypocrisy is that it blinds us to our real condition. The only cure is repentance!
- “Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act!”
The “First Church of Hypocrisy” was going on, business as usual, and they did not even realize that Jesus was outside, knocking on the door!
Lord, purify my life, so that I may have true faith, refined in the fire of Your holiness. Let me trust in nothing else but Your righteousness. Anoint my eyes to see the pathway of mercy and justice that You are calling me to. And guard me from all hypocrisy in my life! I throw open the door of my heart this morning. Come in Lord Jesus!
In Jesus Name!