Matthew 23:16-26

Matthew 23:16-26

If Jesus is on the inside, people are going to see Him on the outside. They're going to see His love... His mercy... His faithfulness... His justice. They're going to see all that Jesus does to interact Kindly and caringly with those that He's created.This is what happens in all of us. From the time of Adam and Eve all the way through to today, there are things that we don’t like so we decide to change the rules. We live life the way we want life. We explain life the way we want to explain life. We build a world for ourselves that God didn’t create, and then we misrepresent God, and we misrepresent ourself, and hypocrisy is born in us…

They are the ones who would say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” How many times have we said that to our kids? Even if we’ve not used those words, “Oh, don’t smoke cigarettes the way I smoke cigarettes. Don’t drink the way I drink. Don’t cuss the way I cuss. Don’t steal the way I steal. Don’t drive eighty, ninety miles an hour down the freeway the way I drive eighty and ninety miles an hour down the freeway. You don’t do those things!…” We’re better off if we just simply tell our kids the truth. “I am a sinner. This is why you do not want to do these things. This is God’s Word, and this is how He would have us to do it…”

But see, this is the point. Hypocrisy is born when we misrepresent ourselves, we misrepresent the law, we misrepresent the One Who gave the law. We make excuses so that we can break it but we don’t want anybody else to break it. We don’t want our kids to do the things that we’re doing. We don’t want our friends to do the things that we’re doing. We don’t want our friends to know the things that we’re doing, and so we live one life and hide the other. That is hypocrisy. You are misrepresenting yourself, and you are misrepresenting God Who knows all things, by the way. You can not hide anything from God…

Basically, they will go to great lengths to win one person, forgetting that the masses are also in need of truth. They’re not about truth. They’re about winning people to their side, and they will go to great lengths to win people to their side, and then, in the training, once they get ahold of them, they teach them their hypocrisy and that person then becomes twice what they are. And Jesus just calls it what it is. You know what? If we’re misrepresenting Jesus before our kids, and they have a mom and a dad who are both living in sin but yet telling their kids to be good, how do you think those kids are going to be when they finally leave your home? Two parents teaching them, they’re going to be twice as bad as you are when they get out in that world because they’ve had two examples. You can either teach them by your example of how to love, how to be right with God, how to give your heart into His hands, and be honest with Him, so that then when they step out of your home they are themselves living to try to trust God, or they’ll follow your example. They will do the things that you do. I don’t care how much you tell your kids don’t do it, if they see you doing it, they’re going to do it, too. They are going to be the picture of you. Very rare child that is not the picture of their parents, not just in looks, but in habits and lifestyle and the things that they do…

If a man comes to me and says, “Dave, I love the Lord. I’m having some problems, but I love the Lord, and it is my oath to you that I am going to straighten my life out and do better.” You know what? It’s my place to accept that, and say, “I will pray with you and pray for you…”

I should only be telling you that I can do the things that I can do. I should be honest with you about what I can do, and when you receive what I tell you, you accept that I’m a man who’s going to do what I say, and you know what? Even if I don’t, I’m in God’s hands. It’s not about me, and it’s not about you. It’s about God Who sits on that throne that we swear by. Every day when you get up, and you say, “Lord, I love You. I give this day into Your hands.” Guess what? You’re swearing by the throne of God. You’re giving your day over to God, and you’re saying, “God, this is Your day, and I’m Your vessel. Use me.” Do you believe it? Do yo believe what you’re saying? Or, are they only empty words to you? This is where Jesus is trying to bring the hearers. What is it that you really believe? What is it that you’re really swearing by? What value is there behind your word? You know what? The value behind our word is the value of eternity and the God Who created that eternity. If you fall short on keeping your word, guess what? God hasn’t changed. I don’t have to come after you. I don’t have to remind you. I don’t have to beat you up or send somebody out to beat you up because you didn’t keep your word to me because guess what? God knows. God saw. God remembers. I don’t have to keep account…

You know what? It’s enough that God knows. I can take your word. I don’t care if you’ve fallen short a hundred times. It’s not about you. It’s about Who God is in me. It’s about what Jesus did for me on the cross. It’s about what His life represents to me. His life to me represented sacrifice. Giving up of Himself so that others could have their need met. Reaching out even when He was tired and hungry. Praying into the wee hours of the morning so that He would have the clarity the next day to deal with the crowds when they were around Him. That’s Who Jesus is. That’s Who I want my heart to be bound to. That’s who all of us need our hearts bound to. Otherwise there’s “woe,” there’s misery. If you’ve walked away from that and you’re living a life of hypocrisy, there will be misery. It’s bound to come…

None of us are truly faithful to the law, but you know what? We can be faithful to God. We can be faithful in mercy. We can be faithful in being just. You know what? Justice is giving you exactly what I would hope to get. That’s true justice. If I’m breaking the law, and I get caught, I want the guy who catches me to have some leniency, to show some pity, to say, “Okay, you’ve broken the law. Let’s see that you don’t do it again.” That’s how I need to be. Once it’s given to me, then I need to turn around and give it back. That’s faithfulness. That’s showing mercy…

The biggest thing in life that you can deal with is forgiving and loving, and I put them in that order really — God wants us to love all men, but you know the greatest form of love that we can have toward one another is to forgive one another. To show that mercy where the infractions of the law happen. To forgive is the most amazing show of love that a man can give…

You know why we don’t see it? Because we are blind Pharisees. We’re not looking for our faults. We’re looking for everybody else’s, and our faults then become very obvious to the world around us. [Jesus] says, clean up the inside. Deal with the heart issues first. Work on who you are inside, and then the outside will come. It’ll change. You will clean up, you will look nice, and that has nothing to do with the clothes you wear, but it has to do with how you represent yourself. When you are truly living a life that is representing God, when you are truly living a life that has allowed God’s Holy Spirit through the love of Jesus Christ to enter into you, it will show on the outside. Doesn’t matter who you are. But if you’re trying to look good on the outside, and hoping that by looking good on the outside that people are going to see you as a good person, you are a blind Pharisee filled with greed and self-indulgence. That’s Jesus’s assessment… The fact is, Jesus wants us to deal with the heart issues. He wants us to stop living lives of Phariseeism. He wants us to clean up the inside…

If Jesus is on the inside, people are going to see Him on the outside. They are going to see His love. They’re going to see His mercy. They’re going to see His faithfulness. They’re going to see His justice. They’re going to see all the things that Jesus does to interact kindly and caringly with those that He’s created.

Pastor Dave Elkins