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The Sin of Hypocrisy

by L. R. Shelton, Jr.


These messages were delivered over
THE WORD OF TRUTH RADIO NETWORK


Today we come into your home with a message on another sin which is fast bringing man to the brink of damnation and judgment: THE SIN OF HYPOCRISY. I want you to pay particular attention to this one! I have cried unto the Lord to let me deliver it with a broken heart; I have cried all week for His Word, so I trust you will listen.

I believe the judgment of God is fast coming upon the vast multitudes in Christendom today because of the lukewarmness and hypocrisy that is so manifest in the lives of those who claim to be followers of Christ. There has never been a day in the history of the church when seemingly there has been more profession and less practice of godliness than is witnessed in our churches today. Every form of the media proclaims the fact that more people claim to be "born again," and more people claim to be followers of Christ today than at any other time in the history of the Christian church. There are more Bible study groups, prayer groups, retreats, seminars, singing and preaching groups scattered around the country than at any other time.

But I would like to raise some questions right here in view of this. Where is the vital godliness and holiness that characterized the church in the Acts of the Apostles? Where is the preciousness of Christ? Where is the convicting power of God the Holy Spirit? Where are the sinners crying unto God for mercy? Where are the life-giving evidences of the claims of God upon the lives of so-called born again believers? Where is the Lordship of Jesus Christ claimed and practiced? Where is the sacrificial spirit of giving for the cause of missions at home and abroad? Where is the separation from the world and the walking in righteousness and true holiness? Where is the thundering forth of the law of God so that people may know what sin is? Where is the old fashioned prayer meeting where people meet to cry unto God for the souls of men? Where are the praise meetings where Christ is exalted and lifted up among His people? I believe these are pertinent questions for our times.

Let me go further and state these facts—We have time to eat and drink; we have time for pleasures and the world; we have time to talk and visit with friends and loved ones; we have time for just about everything the world has to offer, but where is the time for prayer? Where is the time for waiting upon God. Where is the time for meditating upon His Word and crying unto Him for holy lives and godly tongues?

We have time to hunt and fish, swim and play, ski and skate; time to go on vacations, entertain and be entertained; we have time to work, go to school, and enjoy all the world has to offer in the form of pleasure; we have time for television, radio, stereo and movies; but where is the time for God, His Word, and for waiting in His presence? Where is the time for God's work and service?

We claim to be saved by the grace of God, but where is the fruit of the Spirit that shows we have been with God? We say we have trusted Jesus as Savior; we have been baptized, we go to church ' but where is the new life of holiness? Where is the vital godliness that makes us bond slaves to Jesus Christ? Where is the love for souls? for others? Where is the crucifixion to the world? I do believe these are pertinent questions for this hour.

Will you listen? Our trouble today is that many have been rushed into profession without the slightest bit of work in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Let someone get the least concerned about his soul, then he is rushed into profession through the four spiritual laws, and told he is saved because he has now made a commitment. You see, a profession today is used as an escape from every crises: in marriage, finance, sickness—you name it. People are told that they are saved because they have said "yes" to certain questions, when they know nothing of their depraved hearts before God. They know nothing of the awfulness of their sin against God; they know nothing of a sorrow for sin, nor of a hatred for themselves (Luke 14:26); neither have they had a deep desire to turn to God from sin, asking that God would break the power of sin in their lives because they have come to hate it.

Our Lord warned of such hypocrisy in Matt. 23:15 in these words: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a child of hell than yourselves." What a commentary upon present-day evangelism, of rushing people into professions just to make more proselytes, when those individuals know nothing of their own hearts, of God's hatred for sin, nor of a brokenness of heart before God because of sin!

I am trying to analyze our situation today; I'm not being critical. My heart has cried unto God for your precious souls because I know where you are; I was there one day myself. My cry has been: "Lord, send us revival, open hearts, have mercy upon this people; Oh Lord, call sinners to repentance."

Listen again! When John the Baptist came on the scene to prepare the way of the Lord, he came crying, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand...bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance...And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matt. 3:2,8,10). He came preaching repentance and laying bare the human heart before God by the quickening, convicting power of the Holy Spirit. This is what is missing today in our churches, in our pulpits, in our lives—the "old-fashioned" work of the Holy Spirit to convince and convict of sin!

Dear friend, without the Holy Spirit's work, our preaching is in vain, our labors are in vain; for without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). In John 6:63 we read, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." We must be made alive; we must be quickened by the Holy Spirit, Who produces the new birth in us by His almighty power. He must make us willing in the day of His power or we will never be saved, because the carnal man cannot "pick himself up by his own bootstraps;" he cannot save himself! A little profession, a little believism won't do it! Brother, the new birth is not produced by our believing; it is produced by the power of God's Spirit in our hearts.

Oh, that our churches would be turned into houses of prayer instead of just a center for socializing! Oh, that our hearts would be broken before God in confession and repentance! Oh, that there would be a pouring forth of our hearts before God, confessing our conformity to the world, our laziness in prayer, our religion without life, our profession without possession, our lack of conformity to Christ, our lack of the holy zeal and boldness which characterized the early church! Oh, that there would be a seeking of the face of God in intercessory prayer until we would rather tear down the gates of heaven than to let God go; for a reviving of our souls and the souls of others! Dear friend, this is our only hope today: a heaven-born, heaven-sent revival where men will be born of the Spirit of God.

Dear friend, will you listen? We have compromised with sin; we have taken the road of least resistance; we have folded our sails and said that God does not want us to live sacrificial lives as they did in the early church. Therefore we have no testimony, no vital witness of life and tongue; we have nothing but a sickening, hellish, diabolical profession without life and without hope! We see it everywhere we turn today in fundamental and evangelical circles.

Christ Himself in His letter to the Laodicean church in Rev. 3:15-17 put it like this: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot...then because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." What a commentary on the professing church today, living in hypocrisy and deceit before God and man! "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness" (Ezk. 33:31). No wonder He said in Rev. 3:18, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."

We are living in a day when most everybody wants a good feeling, a good emotion, a happy time; but they do not want to think of guilt and sin. They want only the blessings of God without the humbling, mortifying experience of Holy Spirit conviction which makes them face the awful fact of their utter ruined condition before God. They want to jump over all of this humbling, breaking, mortifying, wounding and sorrowing work of repentance. They do not want to wait until a real work of grace is worked in their soul by the Holy Spirit. They want to escape hell and have all the benefits of the gospel without the work of the gospel in their hearts, which starts with a breaking of their wills, a knowledge of sin, and their laying at the foot of the cross as a helpless, hopeless, doomed and damned sinner before God. They want to rush in with a little profession instead of waiting upon God to break their hearts! They want the benefits of the gospel which are, "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17), before they learn the terms of the gospel which is a crucifixion of the flesh as we read in Gal. 5:24: "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." They do not want to hear the words of our Lord when He said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple...whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:26-27,33).

Men today do not want to hear that they must leave the world behind and go forth unto Christ "without the carnp, bearing his reproach" (Heb. 13:13). They do not want to do what Moses did—he refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter; he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; so he forsook Egypt! (Heb. 11:24-25). There is a refusing of the world and a choosing to follow Christ. The world must be forsaken! Oh, that we would hear it!

Yes, dear friend, it is the wicked forsaking his way: his way of sin, his way of self-will, his self assurance, his way of rebellion, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: that is, his thoughts of pride, unbelief, lust and self will; and there is a returning unto God in true repentance before there can be forgiveness, deliverance and mercy in Christ according to Isa. 55:7.

Our blessed Lord said He would have mercy, but only on His terms. Are you listening? Only upon His terms of complete surrender unto Him. And why? because He is going to be Lord of all. He will not allow you into His kingdom, He will not allow you to be partakers of His glorious and gracious salvation without a broken will and a complete surrender unto Him as LORD.

You see, Ps. 51:17 tells us that "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." It's a broken heart and a broken will before God; and anything short of this, dear friend, is nothing but hypocrisy! For why should Christ save you if you are still a rebel at heart? Why should Christ save you if you do no love Him supremely? Why should Christ save you and marry you to Himself if you are still longing and hankering after other lovers? Why should Christ save you, if you love the world and all that is in it above Him Who gave Himself to redeem you from this present evil world?

Listen, dear friend, our blessed Lord does not bargain with you. It is imperative that you come clean and come clear with God, lay down your arms of rebellion, give up the world, or go to hell. He Himself said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." So according to Matt. 7:21-23, only those who DO the will of God will enter into heaven.

You ask, "Pastor, what is the will of God?" Matt. 5 tells us: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The man who does the will of God is the man who comes before God in poverty of spirit, owning his sinfulness and helplessness before God with a broken spirit and a broken will.

Next He said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." The man who does the will of God is the one who mourns over sin, over his lack of conformity to Christ and his inability to produce one good work that God will accept for salvation and justification.

Then in v. 6 He said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." The man who does the will of God is he who hungers and thirsts after that righteousness which is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to get this statement: this hungering and thirsting after Christ is one of the most blessed signs of a true work of grace in the heart, this desire to be His, to know Him, to be his completely; and this is shown in a complete surrender unto Him: "Not my will, but Thine." It is a putting into practice what the apostle Paul said in Phil. 3:7-8: "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." This is the man who does the will of God; the man who leaves all and follows Christ. Anything else, dear friend, is nothing but lip service; it is vain; it is hypocritical and useless and only damns the soul further into hell.

Again, we read of the will of God in I Thess. 4:3,7 in these words: "This is the will of God, even your sanctification...for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." If our lives are not producing the fruits of sanctification and holiness, then we are not saved! We are nothing but painted hypocrites, abiding under the judgment of God!

We could go further and say the will of God is for us to repent (Acts 17:30); to bring forth the fruits of repentance (II Cor. 7: 10-11); to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and love one another (I John 3:23); and not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake (Phil. 1:29); to pray (Eph. 6:18); to offer the sacrifice of praise continually (Heb. 13:15); to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27); to seek the welfare of others (Rom. 15:2); to be witnesses unto Him and His saving grace (Acts 1:8); and to wait for his Son from heaven (I Thess. 1:1O).

I know that all these things must be worked in our understanding and affection by the Holy Spirit, but praise His holy name, this is the work He was sent to perform! (John 16:7-11). I for one, am trusting Him to do it, remembering His Word that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them...for God hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ]" (II Cor. 5:19,21).

Dear friend, this has been God's message for our hearts today; and he therefore that despiseth God's message, His warnings, and His call to repentance, despises not man but God, Who has given us His Word by His Holy Spirit, according to I Thess. 4:8. So we close this present series of messages crying for a breaking of our hearts before God in repentance, and a making of our calling and election sure before God according to II Peter 1:10. Dear friend, I love you; I am praying for you, and I have cried that God would give me this message with love and compassion to warn you of hypocrisy: that God hates it; He desires a broken heart before Him.


Many of the thoughts in this article were taken from the writings of A. W. Pink.


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