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Beware of Hypocrites (2) – By Femi Aribisala

“The work of God humbles man; it does not glorify man”.

Jesus did not have a big problem with sinners. He had a big problem with hypocrites. So, He warns us: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Luke 12:1).

Religious people are hypocrites. Quoting Isaiah, Jesus says about them: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:8-9).

Hypocritical prayers

God called me to a healing ministry, so I used to spend days fasting and praying before healing services. But then, one day, the Lord asked me a curious question. He said: “So, Femi, why are you fasting and praying? Why are you spending so much time in prayer? Is it because you are ministering at the Time of Healing? Is it because you want them to see you as a man of God?”

“Why do you want Me to heal? Is it because you are the one praying? Do you need this healing to validate your Christianity in the sight of men? Or do you need this healing because of Me? Why don’t you fast and pray without an agenda, when I am your only motive?”  

The immediate upshot of these questions was that I lost all interest in fasting and praying. I stopped altogether for a season because my motive was essentially hypocritical. I lost my motivation.

Hypocritical insecurities

A man saw the actor Robert Redford in a hotel lobby and chased him into the elevator. “Are you the real Robert Redford?” he asked him with alacrity. “Only when I am alone,” replied Redford.

“Would they still love me if they know the real me? Would they still love me if they know I am still striving against sin? Would they still love me if they know I am an alcoholic? What if they find out that I beat my wife? What if it becomes public knowledge that I have children outside my marriage? What if they know that I am addicted to smoking Indian hemp? Would they still love me?”

Jesus says: “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” (Matthew 23:11-12).

The holiness movement is a waste of time because it is about impressing men. Have you heard someone say that they do not do something anymore? It is a lie because he is taking the glory.

Someone says: “I used to have such a bad temper, but now you can do anything you want to me, and I won’t even mind it at all.”

“So, you mean that God has healed you of your bad temper?”

“Yes. He has healed me totally and completely.”

That is a lie. God does not heal totally and completely. His healing is only sufficient for the day. If Jesus heals you of AIDS, you can catch it again. Accordingly, He says to a man he healed: “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14).

If you stop reading your bible, your bad temper will come back in a dimension that is much worse than before.

Law of faith

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” (Romans 3:27).

If it is true that God has healed you, there would be no glory of man in it. The work of God humbles man; it does not glorify man. It glories only God. Jesus says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Hypocritical David

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. David discovered the fear of the Lord. Like Achan, he sinned and buried the evidence in the sand. He committed adultery with another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and had her husband killed. He then marries her thinking he had gone clean away.

When he was told a story of a man who committed a similar sin, David maintained the sinner must be killed. Only to discover that the story was about him.

God sent Prophet Nathan to David to reveal to him that he did this evil in the sight of the Lord. Thereafter, David could no longer trust his heart. Every so often, he went to God to seek cleansing from secret and presumptuous sins.

He asks: “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14).

Blind hypocrites

Hypocrites kept me out of the church. I went to church as a young boy and noticed it was full of hypocrites. The churches are full to the brim of pretenders, living sinful lives, but acting holy on Sundays.

Jesus teaches that where charitable acts are concerned, we should not be seen. Our light must shine but we must not shine. Our righteousness must not be ostentatious.

Do we carry our bibles publicly?  Do we litter our speech with vignettes of scripture?  Do we drop one “hallelujah” here and another “praise the Lord” there?  Do we hold hands to pray before eating at home or in restaurants?  Do we bring all-comers up to speed with jaw-dropping testimonies about the wonderful works we are doing for the Lord?  Then we have missed the way of Christ. We are on “Broadway” and not on the narrow path that leads to life.

But churches love hypocrites. They celebrate them. They have special seats reserved for them in front of the church. Everyone knows they are moneybags. They are the ones who buy the new church organ. They are the ones who make a show of buying a car for the pastor. They are the ones who steal public funds and give lavish tithes of their loot to the church.

You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when as a new believer, the Lord revealed to me in a dream that I was also a big hypocrite. I then discovered that the hypocrite often specializes in identifying hypocrites.

Zig Ziglar said that he invited a friend to go to church with him.

The man answered, “Well, I’d like to go. But the church is so full of hypocrites.” Ziglar replied, “That’s okay. There’s always room for one more.”

“So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When He comes, He will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of — inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God. (1 Corinthians 4:5).

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