Missing the Plan Because of Hypocrisy

Steve Viars March 15, 2008 Matthew 26:6-25

 

- during the time in which much of the New testament was written, a popular pastime was attending the theater...

- obviously this was long before entertainment was piped into our homes electronically...so it was not unusual at all for people to go to an outdoor venue, or one that was enclosed...to see some kind of play...

- one of the common terms in that culture was the word “hupocritos”...the Greek word for actor...

- and it has a very interesting history and background...but the basic idea was that the hupocritos was playing a part, was acting, was skillfully pretending to be someone/something he wasn’t...a hupocritos...

- it wasn’t a negative word...in fact even in our day...the more a person can get into their part...or mask their true identity and make you think he’s someone he’s not...the better..

- the Bible came along, and because that word was so common...used it to describe something that wasn’t good...a hupocritos...someone who was a fake...someone who was disingenuous...someone who acted like they loved the Lord but really didn’t...

- so we read verses like this:

- Matthew 23:27-28 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

- there’s a fabulous picture of this same concept---why would you whitewash a tomb?...the nice paint on the outside doesn’t cover up that fact about what’s inside...outwardly these persons appeared righteous to men – but they were actors, they were pretenders---inwardly they were “full of hupocritos”

 - Mark 12:13-15 – Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement.  They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?  “Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.”

- in this case, they were buttering him up with their words...we know you’re truthful, we know you defer to no one...blah, blah, blah...as if they really wanted to hear the truth...it was an act...and Jesus knew that...playing games might work with a lot of people, but it will never work with the Lord...He knew their hypocrisy...

- Luke 12:1-3 – Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. “Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.

- if you read the previous verses, this was when Jesus pronounced His woes on the Pharisees for deceiving the people with all of their rules...and don’t miss this---He said---that is leaven...like yeast in a lump of dough...it really doesn’t take much to impact the entire lump...or in this case, the entire...beware of the leaven of the Pharisees...which at its core, is hypocrisy...

- Romans 12:9 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

- much of what our world tries to pass off as love is fake...it’s a cheap imitation...it’s an act...

- so when some young man tries to entice his date into behaving in an inappropriate way sexually with the lame excuse...but I really love you...

- he’s being a hypocrite...

- he ought to just take his mask off and say---I love me and I want you...

- and I don’t care how this impacts you emotionally...

- and I don’t care about the possible consequences...I’m a selfish pig...

- of course such words don’t go over so well on a date...but at least they wouldn’t be hypocritical...

- James 3:17 - But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

- see, God wants His people to be the real thing...to be genuine...to have a transformation of heart that would motivate us and enable us to peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits...

- that concept has significant bearing on how well we’re going to do at Seeking God’s Plan...

- that’s our theme this year in part because we’re in the process of developing our next 5 year strategic ministry plan...

- and on the one hand---it’s a thrilling opportunity...

- When you look at the church family that God has given us...all the people, all the backgrounds, all the giftedness, all the enthusiasm...

- When you look at our leadership...all of the men and women who are really serious about making a difference for God...some who have served here a long time some who have just been added to the team more recently...

- and then when you just look out the window...at what is happening in the neighborhoods all around us...it is no secret demographically that much of the town is moving east...with the road improvements and hospitals, and on and on...it takes your breathe away...

- and then when you just move that out to opportunities throughout our community, and throughout our country, and throughout our world...

- this is a very thrilling time for us as a church family to be doing strategic planning...

- but here’s part of the challenge...we have to determine what stewardship of all of this really looks in the next 5 years...especially if Jesus intends to keep His promise of building His church...

- so how do we avoid, on one hand, going into some lazy, faithless mode...

- but on the other hand...avoid planning steps or dreaming dreams that are not of God?...

- one of the answers to that is – by doing a lot of talking...

- nearly 800 of you did that by completing your planning surveys...that is an incredible number...

- now we are encouraging you to go back to our website and begin reading what everybody else said---it’s like this mass conversation and it is a very effective way for busy people to talk and share ideas...

- then we’ll begin evaluating initiatives...and eventually choosing initiatives...

- ultimately we’ll talk about and then decide as a church family what we believe God wants us to strive to accomplish here in the next five years...

- but then the test will be --- were we really sincere in those statements, or were we just acting?

- did we really believe God would be glorified if we did that...or was it just hupocritos?

- did we really intend to do the work, and make the sacrifice, as individuals and as a church family to accomplish those steps...or was that just lines that were said as part of a play?

- I think we would all agree with this – if it’s not the real thing, then we’ll miss God’s plan...

- and that’s what we’re studying during Easter Season...When the Plan is Missed.

- [aren’t those haunting words?]

- we started by talking aboutThe Religious leaders – When the Plan is Missed because of Unbelief.

- last week we studied The Denials of Peter – When the Plan is Missed because of Cowardice.

- this morning we want to focus onThe Betrayal of Judas – When the Plan is Missed because of Hypocrisy.

- please open your Bible once again to Matthew chapter 26...page 23 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you...

- this morning we’re going to walk through the story of Judas sequentially...in the outline I’ll be mentioning approximately where in passion week each of these events occurred...

- to keep this simple, I’m going to use our way of reckoning days instead of the way a typical Jewish person would have done so...

- also in a case or two there is some question about exactly when that particular event occurred---but what’s really important to note is that from these verses, we can find Five stages of a hypocritical life.

- read Matthew 26:6-25, 47-56, 27:1-10

- so we’re talking about when the plan is missed because of hypocrisy...and in these sad but important verses, we can find five stages of a hypocritical life...

I. Saturday Evening – The Heart of Hypocrisy – Matthew 26:6-13

- Judas didn’t just wake up one morning and decide he was going to betray Christ...

- hypocrisy is a process...and it always begins in the inner man...

- to help us understand that, Matthew actually gives his readers a bit of a flashback to an event that happened the Saturday before Jesus was crucified...

- all of the gospels record this particular dinner and it provided a...

A. A stunning backdrop.[to all that was about to unfold]...

- Matthew tells us that this occurred in the city of Bethany, at the home of...

1. Simon the leper – 26:6

- the Bible doesn’t tell us anything else about this man...but everyone in Bible times would have at least concluded this...Jesus obviously must have healed this man at some point in his ministry or they wouldn’t be having dinner at his house...

- also if you’re familiar with the NT, you might say – the city of Bethany sounds familiar...and it should...

- what other well known characters in the Bible lived in Bethany?

- a man named Lazarus...and his sisters Mary and Martha...

- now if you read this story in the other gospels, many of the details are filled in...

- not only was this the same town where Lazarus, and Mary lived, but they were actually at this dinner...

- and that shouldn’t be surprising...if there was going to be a dinner in their same town where Jesus was present, it would just be natural for them to be in attendance...and they were...

- the gospel of John actually states that, with a twist...

2. Lazarus’ presence (John 12:2-11). -- here’s the way John tells it...

- John 12:9-11 - The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.

- does everyone see the problem with that plan?

- the chief priests are upset because people are believing in Christ because of Lazarus’ testimony that Christ raised him from the dead...

- so their plan is to put Lazarus to death...do they think Jesus is out of coupons?

- and all of this part of the backdrop...you have Simon the leper...and Lazarus...both clear testimonies of the power of Christ...

- and then you have...

B. A faithful act – 26:7-12

- verse 7 says that a woman came with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume and anointed Jesus head while he reclined at the table...

- now we learn two other important details from the parallel passages...

- this wasn’t just any woman...this was?...

1. Mary, the sister of Lazarus (John 12:2-11)

- and you can read quite a few more details about this event from John’s gospel...

2. The ointment was valued at over 300 denarii (Mark 14:5).

- since a denarius was a day’s wage, this represented a year’s salary for a common laborer...that would be expensive to anyone...

- but Jesus later explained...Mary gets it...he said in verse 12...

- Matthew 26:12 - For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.

- not only did Mary genuinely love Christ (in fact John explains...she not only put this on Christ’s head...but she put it on his feet and wiped them with her hair---something had occurred earlier in Jesus’ ministry but fittingly was occurring again...)...but not only did she genuinely love Christ...she understood why she should...

- of course it was wonderful that Simon had been healed, and that her brother had been raised...

- but ultimately she knew that the Messiah would have to die if there would ever be the possibility of her sin being forgiven...

- and if there would ever be the possibility of her enjoying the eternal life Christ had spoken about when He raised Lazarus from the dead...

- she got it...she was the real thing...

- she didn’t have to say any words because of the genuineness of her faith...

- all of that serves as a backdrop for...

C. A hypocritical heart – 26:8

- Matthew simply says... Matthew 26:8 - But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?

- But John is the one who points out who was leading that charge...

- John 12:4-5 - But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?

- and someone might hear that and say – well, perhaps Judas had a point...maybe he just had a softer concern for the poor...no, John doesn’t leave that point open for discussion...he makes it clear in the next verse...

- John 12:6 - Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

- in other words, Judas was the treasurer for the group...and he was a thief...he would pilfer what was put in the bag...and Judas’ response to the Christ’s upcoming death was entirely different than Mary’s...

- he had been hanging on 3 years with the hope that Christ would become the king and as a result he might be able to share in the power and the spoils...

- and Judas never believed in Christ---not really---and these verses make it clear...he could talk a good game...but at the core, he had a hypocritical heart filled with unbelief for the Savior...

- it would be wise for all of us to ask this morning...deep down, is it the real thing?...

- have I truly repented of my sin and looked to Christ’s death on the cross as my only hope of a relationship with God?...

- and is my life now an outflow of a genuine and sincere heart?

- and you might say – well, how can I know?...

- there’s a lot of answer to that...but one of them is...what do you think about when you don’t have to think about something else?...

- is your heart full of praise and thankfulness and adoration for Christ?...

- or are you like the Psalm 10 man...

- Psalm 10:4 - The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

- see, one of the great scourges of Christianity is the belief that it’s just a bunch of behaviors or rules or rituals...its like wax fruit that you paste on a dead tree...

- that is the anatomy of hypocrisy...the lack of a heart that truly believes in, and is in love with Jesus...

- can I just ask you directly this morning – who are you like – Mary, or Judas?...

- now let’s go further into the week...the event on...

II. Tuesday – A Hypocritical Will – Matthew 26:14-16

- the parallel passages suggest that what Matthew records in verses 14-16 probably occurred on Tuesday of passion week...

- the Bible spends a lot of time talking about...

A. What Jesus did on that day.

1. Teaching.

- in fact, a surprising percentage of the four gospels contains teaching that Jesus did in these final days...

- He was doing everything in His power to help men and women see their need of a Savior...and to be willing to take the steps necessary to have a true transformation of heart...

2. Cursed the fig tree (Mark 11:12-14)

-  if you’re familiar with Scripture...why did Jesus take time to curse a fig tree...

- the answer is...because it didn’t have any figs...

- do you think that is in Scripture because Jesus really cared a fig about figs...

- no, it was a picture of the emptiness of a hypocritical life...

- don’t act like you’re a fig tree if...you’re not going to bear any figs...

- but what does verse 14 tell us Judas was doing?...and remember...the text makes it clear...

B. Judas was “one of the twelve” 26:14

- that is one of the things that makes his betrayal especially heinous...

- he had walked with Christ for 3 years...

- he had heard the teaching over and over...he could probably finish many of Jesus’ sentences...he had seen the miracles...but he refused to believe...

- some of us have had the privilege of being around teaching for a long time...

- we’ve been exposed to many things from Scripture year after year after year...

- people like that will face greater judgment...

- that’s one of my concerns for the young people growing up here...

- where they get truth at home, and they truth in SS, JR. Church, and WNKids of Faith, in some cases their home school or their Christian school...

- but please keep this in mind – God doesn’t have grandchildren...every generation has to decide what they are going to believe...and whether they are going to cultivate a lifestyle that is the real thing...

- and young person, you can tell what that is going to be like by watching what you say, and how you act when the adults in your life aren’t around

- (cf. the conversation with a Purdue parent recently – its admirable that all of thee Purdue students would be so faithful to church, and so fired up for Christ, while in some cases they are tasting their first time away from parental authority and oversight)

C. At some point his hypocritical heart led to treacherous choices – 26:15.

- It’s always a progression...

- and friend, can I ask you – have you crossed the line into clear hypocritical behavior...

- I don’t care what God says...I’m going to immerse my heart in pornography...

- I don’t care what God says...I’m going to participate in endless gossip...

- I don’t care what God says...I’ll blow up any time I want...

- I don’t care what God says...I’m going to have this affair...

- if you can look at your life and identify behavior that is clearly hypocritical, friend, that is a very dangerous position to be in indeed...

- both Mark and Luke add a chilling detail at this point...

D. His decision made the enemies of Christ “glad” – Mark 14:11, Luke 21:5

- Mark 14:11 – And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

- you know it had to be especially sweet to those who refused to believe in Christ when one of his own disciples was willing to betray him...

- that’s why those around us who don’t know the Lord love to mock when they see us behaving hypocritically---in their minds it justifies their unbelief...there’s even...

E. The significance of the price (Exodus 21:32)

- anyone remotely familiar with the Scripture in that day would have made this connection...

- 30 pieces of silver was the price established in the OT that had to be paid when a slave was gored by the neighbor’s ox...

- that in and of itself is another story...but the point was – it wasn’t much money...but it said volumes of how much value Judas put on his relationship with Christ...

- it’s a pretty short walk from there, isn’t it, to a point of application?...

- for what would you be willing to betray Christ?...and what does that say about how really valuable you consider Him to be?...

- [could talk about why it’s so dangerous to view your relationship with the Lord in terms of – what am I getting out of this?]

- the process continues in the Upper Room...

III. Thursday Evening – Hypocritical Words – Matthew 26:20-25

- as they are reclining at the table, Jesus says...Matthew 26:21 - As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.”

- now, you have to decide how you think Judas would have responded to that, but I think it was one of...

A. Judas’ shock.

- and you wonder, did Judas think the Lord knew someone betrayed Him, but maybe wasn’t sure who yet...

- but Jesus revealed it, at least to some of the disciples at the table...

B. Jesus’ revelation.

- Matthew 26:23 - And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me.

- and the lesson there is...God knows...

- a person can have everybody else fooled...but God knows...

- and all the disciples start saying...surely not I, Lord?...

- and Judas has the audacity to say...

C. Judas’ words.

- Matthew 26:25 - And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”

- that’s one of the haunting aspects of this whole discussion...just because a person has learned to talk the talk doesn’t mean that it’s the real thing...

- it’s just like an actor who has memorized the lines---they’re just empty words that don’t reflect who the person really is...

- there’s obvious personal applications, but there are also some corporate ones...we’re about to make some declarations as a church family...

- here’s what we believe God wants us to do...

- here’s what we’re committing ourselves to accomplishing...

- but anyone who’s been around a church knows...when its all said and done, there’s often more said than done...

- and we’ll miss God’s plan in a heartbeat...if we’re not committed to backing up our words with a sincerity of heart...

- later that evening...

IV. Thursday Night – The Act of Hypocrisy

- John gives us another important detail here...because when the mob comes to arrest Jesus...

A. Jesus’ question to the mob – Whom do you seek?

- He actually asked that twice...

- and John explains why...

- John 18:8 – Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,”

- that is an amazing statement and a stark contrast...

- because even though Peter is about to deny Him, and all the disciples are going to run away, and of course Judas is about to commit a vile act of treachery...our Lord’s focus is on the protection of his failing friends...

B. The kiss.

- Matthew 26:49 - Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

- the word “kiss” is the Greek word –kataphileo – “to kiss earnestly, intensively, or repeatedly”

- its the same word used back in Luke 7:38 to describe the way the first woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair kissed Christ’ feet...

- and now Judas is going to betray Christ...not with a signal, not with a point, not with a word, or a stare...but with a kiss...

- and what’s also amazing is...

C. Jesus’ response.

- what would you have called the person treating you like this?...

- traitor, villain, infidel, fool?...

- how does Jesus address him in verse 50?...

- Matthew 26:50 - And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

- Luke 22:48 - But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

- this can really help the person this morning who has been betrayed...

- or is related to someone, or associated with someone, or living with someone who is just a hypocrite...

- that doesn’t mean your only choice is to respond in kind...

- now, you might say – but PV, doesn’t Scripture talk about ...

D. Satan’s place in all of this?

- Luke 22:3 - And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve.

- we believe that’s more evidence that Judas was not truly a believer because a Christian cannot be indwelt by the devil (greater is He that is in you...)

- but there is no question that if a person is living in a way that is disobedient to God, even as a believer, he can be opening himself up to special onslaught by the evil one...

- that’s why Paul says, when discussing anger...

- Ephesians 4:26-27 – Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

- the lesson here is, at some point, the jig will be up...

- a person can only keep the act up for so long...

- Galatians 6:7 - Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

V. Friday – The Remorse of Hypocrisy – Matthew 27:1-10

- someone might say – well, at least Judas repented...

- it was never biblical repentance...

- he was sorry for the consequences...that money tasted like gravel in his mouth...

- but He never asked God’s forgiveness...and he certainly didn’t turn around and begin making choices that would please the Lord...

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video