(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)
MARK 2:23-3:6 – MARKS OF A HYPOCRITE
Life of Christ #18 of 61
One blistering hot day when they had guests for dinner, Mother asked 4-year old Johnny to return thanks. “But I don’t know what to say!” the boy complained. “Oh, just say what you hear me say” his mother replied. Obediently the boy bowed his head and mumbled, “Oh Lord, why did I invite these people over on a hot day like this?” Source unknown Johnny’s Prayer | Bible.org
He made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions which would become the pillars of the new government. He assumed the earnestness of a man weighed down by historic responsibility. He handed out pious stories to the press, especially to the church papers. He showed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength for his great work from it as scores of pious people welcomed him as a man sent from God. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was a master of outward religiosity—with no inward reality! Today in the Word, June 3, 1989,
- ”When the other fellow acts a certain way he is ill tempered; when you do it is nerves.
- “When the other fellow is set in his ways, he’s obstinate; when you are it is just firmness.
- “When the other fellow doesn’t like your friends, he’s prejudiced; when you don’t like his, you are simply showing that you are a good judge of character.
- When the other fellow tries to treat someone especially well, he is a flatterer; when you try the same thing, you are using tact.
- When the other fellow takes time to do things, he is dead slow; when you do it, you are deliberate.
- When the other fellow spends a lot he is a spend-thrift; when you do, you are generous.
- When the other fellow holds tight to his money he is close (a tight-wad); when you do you are prudent.
- When the other fellow dresses extra well, he’s a dude; when you do, it is simply a duty one owes to society.
- When the other fellow runs great risks in business he is foolhardy; when you do you are a great financier.
- When the other fellow says what he thinks he is spiteful; when you do you are frank. Source Unknown
We are continuing our chronological series on the Life of Christ. Last time we saw the Lord Jesus in Jerusalem healing a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years. This healing was a picture of grace.
This time our subject is hypocrisy as Jesus confronts the Pharisees on the issues of picking and eating grain on the Sabbath and healing on the Sabbath.
American Heritage Dictionary defines Hypocrisy as “1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. 2. An act or instance of such falseness.”
The Pharisees were a super religious, super pious, super legalistic group that took pleasure in giving Jesus a hard time. The Pharisees were zealous for keeping the letter of the law; not only the laws of God, but the laws written by men.
Our Lord’s most frequent word to describe the Pharisees was “hypocrites”! Matthew 23:23-25
Today we do not have a religious group called the Pharisees, but we still have hypocrites with us.
- These hypocrites expect more of others than they do of themselves.
- These hypocrites will tell you how to live but do not live it themselves.
- These hypocrites will say one thing and do another.
- These hypocrites will pretend to be what they are not.
And the sad thing about it is that you and I often fall into the trap of being hypocrites. Often it happens when we judge others, but don’t consider our own faults. Romans 2:22
Unless we are careful, our hypocrisy can go to the same desperate, delinquent, despicable limits of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day!
This morning we want to look at the marks of characteristics of a hypocrite. How can you and I tell if we have characteristics that lead to and cause hypocrisy?
In Mark 2:23-3:6 we find that a hypocrite has:
A CRITICAL MIND
AN ACCUSING EYE
A HARDENED HEART
A DESTRUCTIVE TONGUE
A HYPOCRITE HAS A CRITICAL MIND – 2:23-28
As we begin our study, it is a Sabbath day.
That means it was Saturday.
It was the Jewish day of worship.
It was the Jewish day of rest.
It was the Jewish day of religious observance.
Work was not to be done on the Sabbath. It was a collective day off. Exodus 31:15
Of course, this was under the Jewish Law. In the New Testament every one of the Ten Commandments is repeated in some way, shape, or form, except the keeping of the Sabbath. The reason is clear. Since Jesus arose from the dead, the day of worship and rest for the Christian is on Sunday.
Vs. 23 – The disciples were probably grabbing a snack of raw wheat to eat as they walked along.
According to Deuteronomy 23:25 this was perfectly legal.
Certain Pharisees were evidently traveling with the Lord and they criticized this act done by the disciples.
Vs. 24 – How did the Pharisees come to the conclusion that the disciples were working on the Sabbath?
Dwight Edmond Heibert: “To insure observance of the Sabbath law, the scribes had enumerated ‘the main classes of work: save one,’ among them reaping, threshing, and winnowing But in their eagerness to ‘fence’ the law against violation, they had gone to extremes in stipulating acts that were regarded as work. Thus the pedantic Pharisees regarded the plucking of the heads as reaping, the rubbing out of the grain as threshing, and perhaps the blowing away of the chaff as winnowing. The disciples were guilty of working on the Sabbath! D. Edmond Heibert, Mark, A Portrait of the Servant, (Chicago, Moody Press, 1974) p. 77
This was as silly as claiming that picking an apple of the tree, wiping it off, and eating it is working!
The Pharisees had a critical mind.
They were actually looking for sins in the lives of others.
The Pharisees were looking for even the smallest things to criticize.
I perceive this same critical mind in us Christians.
- Someone attempts an act of Christian service. Instead of encouraging that one who is at least finding time to do something, they try to find what the person is doing wrong.
- Somebody else does something in their Christian life that we would not do. Because it is not what we would do, we criticize.
In over 45 years of ministry I have seen:
- People criticize elders, deacons, and
- People criticize Christian Schools.
- People criticize pastors.
- People criticize others for sins long since confessed, repented of, and forsaken!
- People criticize new church members when they try and do something for the Lord.
- And time after time I have seen that these critics wouldn’t dream of doing the jobs these others are doing. Matthew 7:1-2, Romans 14:4
At a pastor’s conference in Spokane, Chuck Swindoll told of being at a California Christian camp. The first day there a man approached him and said how greatly he had looked forward to hearing Dr. Swindoll speak and his delight at now finally being able to realize that desire.
That evening Swindoll noticed the man sitting near the front. But only a few minutes into the message the man was sound asleep. Swindoll thought to himself that perhaps he was tired after a long day’s drive and couldn’t help himself. But the same thing happened the next few nights, and Dr. Swindoll found his exasperation with the man growing.
On the last night the man’s wife came up and apologized for her husband’s inattention to the messages. She then explained that he had recently been diagnosed as having terminal cancer and the medication he was taking to ease the pain made him extremely sleepy. But it had been one of his life-long ambitions to hear Dr. Swindoll speak before he died, and now he had fulfilled that goal. Sleepy Man | Bible.org
It is very easy for us to be critical and judgmental.
How do we handle ourselves when we sense we are being judgmental?
How do we handle others when we sense they are being judgmental?
We should do what Jesus did. He used the Scriptures.
Vs. 25-26 – Jesus reminded the Pharisees how David and his men were fed by the High Priest, using bread that was consecrated to God. There was no other bread available. And so the law was violated with no fault being found in Scripture. Even the Lord Jesus did not find fault, but used it as a positive example.
Why would God allow David to be fed with consecrated bread?
Why would God, the Son, allow his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath?
Meeting legitimate human needs are important to God, and should be important to us!
Vs. 27 – The Sabbath was made for man to benefit him. Man was not made for the Sabbath to benefit the Sabbath.
Vs. 28 – The Son of Man is the Lord Jesus. If Jesus is Lord, He is also Lord of the Sabbath.
If He chooses to allow his disciples to meet their physical needs on the Sabbath Day, no matter what anyone says, it’s okay.
Friends, when you tend to be critical, go to the Bible and see what God has to say. You might find that your criticisms are unfounded. Beware of a critical mind.
A HYPOCRITE HAS A CRITICAL MIND
A HYPOCRITE HAS AN ACCUSING EYE – 3:1-2
Vss. 1-2 – Notice that there was a man with a withered hand. He had a physical need and it was the Sabbath Day.
Notice also that the Pharisees watched Jesus carefully so they might have reason to accuse Him.
They were secretly hoping that Jesus would heal this man, so they could have reason to complain.
It’s bad enough that people have a critical mind.
It’s bad enough when people are nit-pickers and fault-finders. But then when they actually look for things to find fault with it becomes even worse.
There will always be some who are just looking for you to trip up.
There are people who will watch us like a hawk.
There are people who will never mention the good you do, but are sure looking for a reason to accuse you.
But wait a minute.
How about you?
Is there someone that you are continually criticizing and finding fault with?
Is there someone that you are watching, waiting for them to mess up?
Is there someone that you criticize constantly and they can do nothing right in your eyes?
Why are people sometimes watching us with an accusing eye?
Why do we sometimes watch others with an accusing eye?
Let me give you some suggestions.
- Sometimes we have not forgiven someone for hurting us, so we watch them critically.
- Sometimes we are secretly jealous of another person’s popularity or abilities.
- Sometimes we do not like what a person has done to others or to ourselves, so we watch them so we can back at them.
- Sometimes we do not like what another person stands for so we watch to see if we can bring them down a peg or two.
- Sometimes we just don’t like a person, so we look to find fault.
Let’s ask God to show us if we have a accusing eye.
A HYPOCRITE HAS A CRITICAL MIND
A HYPOCRITE HAS AN ACCUSING EYE
A HYPOCRITE HAS A HARDENED HEART – Vss. 3-5
Did Jesus know that these Pharisees were sitting in the audience ready to accuse Him if he made a false move?
I’m sure he did.
And if you are going to do what is right in God’s eyes, you will be criticized too.
2 Timothy 3:12 – Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Vs. 3 – Notice what Jesus did. He had the man stand up.
He was going to help the man.
In spite of the critics, he did what was right anyway.
That’s exactly what we should do, even if people are watching us in order to criticize.
The Apostle Paul also sets a good example.1 Corinthians 4:3-4
Vs. 4 – Jesus asked a question. What was morally right to do on the Sabbath Day? Was it right to do good, or, was it right to do evil? Was it right to save life, or was it right to kill?
I think Jesus was trying to show that every other day it is right to do that which is good, and it is wrong to do evil. This doesn’t change on the Sabbath Day.
The man standing before them had a need on a Sabbath Day. It was right to meet that need, even if the Pharisees considered performing a miracle work that shouldn’t be done on the Sabbath.
Vs. 5 – The Pharisees were hard-hearted. They wouldn’t answer Him, but within they were resisting the Lord Jesus.
The man’s needy condition did not move them with compassion.
Notice that Jesus was angered and grieved!
I wonder how many times Jesus is grieved and angered with our hardened hearts.
- When we continue to find fault
- When we fail to forgive
- When we have an accusing eye
- When we allow bitterness to control us
- When we don’t want good to be done for others because we are holding a grudge.
Notice that Jesus healed the man anyway.
Jesus did what was right in spite of those who had hardened hearts.
Jesus is at work today. Is he working in spite of you or through you?
A HYPOCRITE HAS A HARDENED HEART
A HYPOCRITE HAS A DESTRUCTIVE TONGUE
Vs. 6 – Notice that very quickly these people went out and took council to destroy.
They were hypocrites! They sat in church looking pious, and as soon as church was over, they were out to attack a man for doing good on a Sabbath Day.
I have found that when people have a hardened heart, an accusing eye, and a critical mind that their tongues idle at 90 miles an hour.
And the rule of thumb is that you never tell the person you are critical of. You always tell someone else. Proverbs 6:16-19
A destructive tongue does more to ruin the testimony of the church and other Christians than anything else I know.
Let me ask you something. Based on what we’ve seen about hypocrites this morning, are you one?