BT-Practice What You Preach?

Activity: Psychiatrists sometimes use inkblots to see what kinds of associations people make out of
random blots of ink. Let’s play a verbal inkblot game.
Q: What is the first thought or image that comes to mind when I say:

Taxes, senators, Occupy Wall Street, Mercedes, fast food, Las Vegas, computers, old age, church and religion. (Take a lot of responses from the last two.)
Q: Would you say that most peoples’ initial thoughts about religion are good?

Q: Based on your experience with religion, how would you characterize it in general terms?

American “Christianity” is in a sad state affairs. Many leaders are corrupt, greedy, weak, etc. The Bible is used to promote pet doctrines, or only used occasionally. Churches are “lukewarm” and not much different from the rest of the world. Churches are dying, ritualistic, tradition bound and swayed by the norms of society. God is left out and make to look weak or indifferent, a cream puff or tyrant. “Christians” are disillusioned, cynical, apathetic, uncommitted, materialistic or lukewarm.
When Jesus came on the scene two thousand years ago, things were not much different. On one occasion, Jesus gave a “State of Religion” address.

Matthew 23:1-39

A Warning Against Hypocrisy

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

This passage is recorded in the Bible for a reason, so we can learn from it. We learn how to be true disciples, and not just religious people.
They do not practice what they preach V3

Q: What is this called?

Hypocrite
Q: How did these religious people get caught up in hypocrisy?

Let tradition and ritual replace God’s teaching
Greed or materialism overshadow their commitment
Compromised with sin so they wouldn’t look narrow-minded
More interested in how they looked than in being righteous
Q: Why was Jesus so upset with their hypocrisy?

Sounded like truth, but it was a lie
Had religion draped all over it, but it wasn’t loving
Done in God’s name, but it wasn’t what God wanted
Lacked sincerity, their hearts were not in it
Q: How do we get caught up in hypocrisy?

Don’t know the Bible, don’t read it, and don’t put it into practice
Let tradition and ritual replace God’s plan for our lives
We become lazy and lukewarm
There are two ways to avoid hypocrisy, one is wimpy and the other is hard work.

Q: What are the two ways we can avoid being a hypocrite?

Totally run from God, the truth, the Bible, commitment and righteousness
Decide to obey God and do what God wants, no matter the consequences
Q: What makes the latter decision so hard?

Must study to find out what God wants (not necessarily what people say)
Most religious people wont like it
You catch grief every time you make a mistake
Its much harder to be righteous than to appear righteous
To avoid being a hypocrite takes incredible humility!

Q: Why would that be true?

React with humility when a flaw or problem is pointed out, don’t be defensive. (How did the Pharisees react when Jesus pointed out their flaws?)
Be open about your short comings and the areas you are still working on.
They compromised with sin so they wouldn’t look narrow minded
Be teachable, ready to change anything God wants you to change
We need people intimately involved in our lives to help us see our weaknesses
We must be open to what the bible teaches, even if it is different than what we were previously taught or from our backgrounds
If the Pharisee had been humble, they would have accepted Jesus’ words and changed. They would no longer have been hypocrites.

Challenge:

Don’t be a wimp and run away from the truth.
Decide to be a truth seeker, no matter the consequences
Be humble and get someone in your life to tell you the truth about what they see
Be diligent. Follow the Bible above human teachers and traditions

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