1. Growing in the knowledge of Christ is an important responsibility (2 Peter 3:18). 2. This growth can be achieved by searching the Scriptures (John 5:39). 3. In this lesson we are concentrating on a subject that Jesus addressed many times during His ministry, especially in the Gospel of Matthew -- "hypocrisy." 4. In addition to pointing out the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders, Jesus warned His followers to avoid their mistakes. Discussion:
I. LET US OBSERVE 3 GENERAL PRINCIPLES THAT RELATE TO HYPOCRISY
A. Jesus is aware of it (Mark 12:15). B. Hypocrisy is an inward problem (Matthew 23:28). C. Eternal punishment is the destiny of hypocrites (Matthew 24:51). II. LET US OBSERVE HOW JESUS ASSOCIATED CERTAIN ACTIVITIES WITH HYPOCRISY; INCLUDING:
A. participating in religious activities for the purpose of being seen of men, such as doing alms [benevolence] (Matthew 6:1-2), praying (Matthew 6:5), and fasting (Matthew 6:16) B. judging unfairly (Matthew 7:5) C. approaching the Lord with words while the heart is far removed (Matthew 15:7-9) D. tempting the Lord with a request for a sign (Matthew 16:1-4) E. tempting the Lord with the question about paying tribute (Matthew 22:18) F. preventing people from entering the kingdom (Matthew 23:13) G. taking advantage of people while praying (Matthew 23:14) H. false conversion (Matthew 23:15) I. obeying certain commandments while overlooking others (Matthew 23:23-24) J. cleaning the outside while neglecting the inside (Matthew 23:25-28) K. denying participation in the deeds of others (Matthew 23:29-33) L. criticizing the Lord for healing a woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:14-16). Conclusion:
1. These passages indicate that Jesus detests hypocrisy, especially among religious leaders. 2. Let us heed: a. the Lord's warning in Luke 12:1 b. the instructions given in 1 Peter 2:1.