The Danger of Hypocrisy




Scripture:

Phil. 1:27   Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Observation:

Paul’s concern for the church in Philippi is one of spiritual consistency. He knows the dangers of hypocrisy, for if Christians do not live as they preach and speak, their witness will be invalidated. Just as Paul endeavors to live every day of his life worthy of being a servant of Christ, so every follower of Christ is to do the same. Whether someone is watching you live your life, or not, that should not matter. What matters is to remain faithful. 

Unity within the community of faith was absolutely vital for this consistent witness. Believers are to spur one another on, linking arms and uniting in the mission of God. When this happens, when believers are bound together in their faith and holy love, then they are able to withstand the pressures from without. When the outside pressures do not prevail against the believers, they would see the reality of what God has done. 

The privilege of serving, is that believers will be invited to participate in the life of Christ, including his suffering. But we will only struggle against the outside forces when we refuse to live in hypocrisy. Genuine servants of God become a real threat, but those who embrace hypocrisy are eventually abandoned, for they have no power.  

Application

One of the greatest criticisms against Christianity is what people view as hypocrisy. Not only is the world watching, and I believe, hoping that Christians will be genuine, but so are other Christians and young people, wanting to know whether this faith is real. The temptation to be Christian on Sunday and do your own thing throughout the week is not anything new. Paul was encouraging this new church in Philippi, that these believers, needed to be careful. Their faith in Christ could not be something that they simply wore on the exterior, but they had to be genuine, through and through. They needed to allow Christ to so fill their lives that they lived as his representatives here on earth. 

One can often avoid hypocrisy by living a life of accountability. This is why the community of faith is so important to our own spiritual growth and development.  Are we vulnerable enough to ask others to comment on what may appear to be hypocrisy in our own lives? 

Being a part of the community of faith means that we are serious about becoming like Christ. I guarantee that this will put us at odds with society, because culture is not comfortable when the light of Christ is shone into dark corners. But when God’s people respond in holy love, Jesus is revealed. 

This last year there were many hurricanes and floods in the Americas. Numerous people suffered as a result of the the damaging storms. I had the privilege of traveling to South Texas to survey some of the damage, but also to participate with a Disaster Response Team. Everywhere we drove, there were church vans, busses, and teams of Christians helping strangers to clean up in their time of need. This was Christianity in action, and those actions spoke loudly about love of God and neighbor. This is the church in action and it becomes powerful, opposing the negative voices. God’s people linking arms and reflecting the love of Christ, not at a worship service on Sunday, but in service to their neighbors. 

Hypocrisy makes us weak and destroys our testimony. We need each other to keep us accountable, genuine, and strong. The world needs genuine followers of Christ.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the reminder to continually seek you. Thank you for friends and family members who ask the hard questions and help us to remain real.  Amen

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