October 31, 2014

Dead People's Bones (Matthew 23:27-28)

It's Halloween, so for the last few weeks we've seen a lot more skeletons around than we normally do.  Some are cutesy, some are gruesome, but what if all could be reminders?  What if every time we spot a skeleton we recall Matthew 23:27-28:
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
I love how Jesus paints a picture to speak truth!  In this passage, he was addressing hypocrites, or those who's actions rarely match their words.  In fact, earlier in Matthew 23 Jesus tells everyone to "do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do."  Their outward appearance was appealing to the eye in every way, like a beautiful sepulcher, but their hearts were sinful (as disgusting as soul-less bodies). Jesus hated it!

What secret area of our lives do we live in hypocrisy?  
Let's be honest.  Isn't it nice when our lives looks lovely?  We would rather people not know what's underneath and others would probably rather not know either.  But Jesus says "Woe!", meaning "grievous distress, affliction, or trouble" may come to you.  When our outward life doesn't match our inward heart, we're in more danger than we think! 

How do we address this problem of hypocrisy?

Repent!  We must acknowledge and confess our sin to the Lord, and we may also need to confess it to people.  James 5:16a says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed."  

Give in secret!  Matthew 6:1-4 says, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they be praised by others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

What can we do this week for God's glory that no one has to know about?

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