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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hypocrites

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional

Verse for the Day – Matthew 6:2
Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward.

Daily Scripture ReadingLuke 21

Puritan Catechism
Question #6: How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Answer: There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one God, the same in essence, equal in power and glory (1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19).

Devotional Thoughts
Note here that as Jesus starts this verse, He starts it with "when", not with "if." Although He goes on to make a point about hypocrisy, as we will see, He begins by stating that as His followers we are expected to do acts of charity. Acts of charity is translated from the words that mean an act of mercy or ministry. It was used especially to speak of giving money, food, or clothing to the poor. We are expected to do these kinds of things in order to be obedient in loving God and our neighbor. For another look at what Jesus commands of us, see Matthew 25:34-40!

So, when we do things to minister to others, whether it be in a church service or on a street corner, when we give of ourselves and our resources to benefit others, we are NOT to do so in a pompous manner, drawing attention to ourselves. The picture Jesus uses is that of blowing a trumpet! Can you imagine what the scene would look like if next Sunday at church when you found someone in need of encouragement you proceeded to stand up and blow on a trumpet before you began to minister?! Everyone would look at you -- talking would cease, people would be startled and amazed. YOU would be the center of attention!

That is exactly the picture Jesus is communicating. He is telling us what hypocrites do. Not that they literally blow a trumpet, but they do whatever they can to "toot their own horn." So what is a hypocrite? According to some, if we go to church next Sunday, it will be full to the brim with hypocrites. Haven't we heard that excuse enough? Sure there may be hypocritical people in our churches, but if that stops us from going to church then we aren't going for the right reasons in the first place and that makes us a hypocrite, too!

The word for hypocrite means an actor who wears a mask. He pretends to be something he isn't. No one can see who he really is. If we draw attention to ourselves when we "minister", then we really aren't spiritual like we appear to be; instead we are immature and full of self! A hypocrite hides his true identity. A hypocrite will also do whatever he can to maintain the spotlight. He is all that matters. His ministry. His works. His charity. His money. That sure doesn't sound like meekness does it?

If we look at the work of the hypocrites we see that they live to please men, not God. Actually, they live to please self and get the praise and glory for themselves from men. Jesus tells us that if they are honored by men for what they do, that is all the reward they will ever receive! The statement "they have their reward" means that the deal is done. What they have is all they will get!! There will be no eternal reward - which means that a hypocrite who pretends to be spiritual may want to check to see if he is even saved at all (see Matthew 7:21-23). These people thought they were involved in ministry even casting out demons!! But they did not know Him. Therefore, they were not known by Him, bought by Him, redeemed by Him. They had every outward appearance of being a follower of Christ, but they lived to serve self!!

At times we will all be hypocritical. We will pretend to be something we aren't. But if that happens, we must forsake and confess our sin. To confess means to agree with God - agree that He knows what we really are. HE KNOWS! We can't fool Him so why should we try to fool anyone else? If we live as hypocrites, the praise we get from men will be all of the reward we ever receive. Does that sound like a reward to desire?? Desire to please HIM. To obey HIM. To live for and love HIM. Hypocrites focus on self all the time - we must "turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." Deny self and look to Jesus today. HE KNOWS!


Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from The Sin of Man-Pleasing by Richard Baxter.

Direct. VIII. And remember that honor is such a thing as is found sooner by an honest contempt of it, than by an inordinate affection of it, and seeking it. It is a shadow which goes from you if you follow it, and follows you as fast as you go from it. Whose names are now more honorable upon earth, than those prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and preachers, and holy, mortified Christians, who in their days set lightest by the approbation of the world, and were made the scorn or foot-ball of the times in which they lived? Those that have been satisfied with the approbation of their heavenly Father, who saw them "in secret," have been "rewarded by him openly." It is, even in the eyes of rational men, a far greater honor to live to God, above worldly honor, than to seek it. And so much as a man is perceived to affect and seek it, so much he loses of it: for he is thought to need it, and men perceive that he plays a low and pitiful game, that is so desirous of their applause! As they would contemn a man that should lick up the spittle of every man where he comes, so will they contemn him that lives on their thoughts and breath, and honor him more that lives on God.

Direct. IX. If nothing else will cure this disease, at least let the impossibility of pleasing men, and attaining your ends, suffice against so fruitless an attempt. And here I shall show you how impossible it is, or, at least, a thing which you cannot reasonably expect.

Direct. X. Remember what a life of unquietness and continual vexation you choose, if you place your peace or happiness in the good will or word of man. For having showed you how impossible a task you undertake, it must needs follow that the pursuit of it must be a life of torment. To engage yourselves in so great cares, when you are sure to be disappointed; to make that your end, which you cannot attain; to find that you labor in vain, and daily meet with displeasure instead of the favor you expected; must needs be a very grievous life. You are like one that dwells on the top of a mountain, and yet cannot endure the wind to blow upon him; or like him that dwells in a wood, and yet is afraid of the shaking of a leaf. You dwell among a world of ulcerated, selfish, contradictory, mutable, unpleasable minds, and yet you cannot endure their displeasure. Are you magistrates? The people will murmur at you, and those that are most incompetent and incapable will be the forwardest to censure you, and think that they could govern much better than you. Those that bear the necessary burdens of the common safety and defense, will say that you oppress them, and the malefactors that are punished, will say you deal unmercifully by them; and those that have a cause never so unjust, will say you wrong them, if it go not on their side. Are you pastors and teachers? You will seem too rough to one, and too smooth to another; yea, too rough to the same man when by reproof or censure you correct his faults, who censures you as too smooth and a friend to sinners, when you are to deal in the cause of others. No sermon that you preach is like to be pleasing to all your hearers; nor any of your ministerial works. Are you lawyers? The clients that lost their cause, behind your backs will call you unconscionable, and say you betrayed them; and those that prevailed, will call you covetous, and tell how much money you took of them, and how little you did for it: so that it is no wonder that among the vulgar your profession is the matter of their reproach. Are you physicians? You will be accused as guilty of the death of many that die; and as covetous takers of their money whether the patient die or live; for this is the common talk of the vulgar, except with some few with whom your care has much succeeded. Are you tradesmen? Most men that buy of you are so selfish, that except you will beggar yourselves, they will say you deceive them, and deal unconscionably and sell too dear: little do they mind the necessary maintenance of your families, nor care whether you live or gain by your trading; but if you will wrong yourselves to sell them a good penny-worth, they will say you are very honest men: and yet when you are broken, they will accuse you of imprudence, and defrauding your creditors. You must buy dear and sell cheap, and live by the loss, or else displease.

Direct. XI. Remember still that the pleasing of God is your business in the world, and that in pleasing him your souls may have safety, rest, and full content, though all the world should be displeased with you. God is enough for you; and his approbation and favor is your portion and reward. How sweet and safe is the life of the sincere and upright ones, that study more to be good than to seem good, and think if God accept them that they have enough! O what a mercy is an upright heart! which renounces the world, and all therein that stands in competition with his God; and takes God for his God indeed even for his Lord, his Judge, his Portion, and his All: who in temptation remembers the eye of God, and in all his duty is provoked and ruled by the will and pleasure of his Judge, and regards the eye and thoughts of man, but as he would do the presence of a bird or beast, unless as piety, justice, or charity, require him to have respect to man, in due subordination to God: who when men applaud him as a person of excellent holiness and goodness, is fearful and solicitous lest the all-knowing God should think otherwise of him than his applauders: and under all the censures, reproaches, and slanders of man, yea, (though through temptation good men should thus use him,) can live in peace upon the approbation of his God alone; and can rejoice in his justification by his righteous Judge and gracious Redeemer, though the inconsiderable censures of men condemn him. Verily I cannot apprehend, how any other man but this can live a life of true and solid peace and joy. If God's approbation and favor quiet you not, nothing can rationally quiet you. If the pleasing of him does not satisfy you, though men, though good men, though all men should be displeased with you, I know not how or when you will be satisfied. Yea, if you be above the censures and displeasure of the profane and not also of the godly, (when God will permit them, as Job's wife and friends, to be your trial,) it will not suffice to an even, contented, quiet life.


Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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