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A - Oh God of Abraham you are true and in you there is no error. When you speak it will be done. When you act no one can stand in your way. You are faithful to your people even when they are faithless.
C - God we are so often faithless, we claim your name and yet often live in opposition to your will. We recognize and seek to repent from our falseness our hypocrisy. Send us a fresh wind and fire to live out our faith authentically in all areas of our life at all times always so you may receive the glory you are due.
T - We thank you LORD that you are able and often do work out your plan even in spite of us. We thank you that you are long suffering with us and that you have started a work in us will bring it to completion and that promise gives us great hope.
S - Therefore we lift one another to you. We ask that you would heal our sick. Save our lost. Keep our hearts faithful to you and help us persevere until the end. Grant us patience and peace as we wait for your glorious appearing.
Big Idea of the Message: If Christians really love Jesus, why is there so much hurt in the church?
Why you shouldn’t go to church…
You don't have to look very far to meet someone who has been hurt by the church.
Based on past studies of those who avoid Christian churches, one of the driving forces behind such behavior is the painful experiences endured within the local church context. In fact, one Barna study among unchurched adults shows that nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans (37%) said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people.
(“Millions of Unchurched Adults Are Christians Hurt by Churches but Can Be Healed of the Pain,” The Barna Group, April 12, 2010, https://www.barna.com/research/millions-of-unchurched-adults-are-christians-hurt-by-churches-but-can-be-healed-of-the-pain/)
Sexual Abuse, Infidelity… Cover-ups
Embezzeling funds
How have you been hurt by the church? “Church People”?
Hypocrisy !!
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform = Gr = Pretender!
Jesus reserved some of his harshest critiques for the religious leaders of his day. His words still ring with truth for the modern Christian.
As we look at Matt 23 we can see that Jesus is speaking to his disciples and yet has a word to the religious elite of His day.
Matthew 23:1–3 ESV
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
Do as they say but not as they do
they preach but do not practice
they want the look of religion… relationship
Matthew 23:5–7 ESV
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
But this is NOT how it is supposed to be
Matthew 23:8–12 ESV
8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
we are all equal… under Christ
those who humbly serve are to be honored… will be honored
7 Woes to these “religions” hypocrites

First Woe

Hypocrites Kill Conversions
Matthew 23:13 ESV
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.
“Religious” preaching without righteous practices shuts people out of the kingdom
Where are we claiming Christ but living Lucifer??
They shut the door in their faces!!
They do not enter in themselves
They do not allow others to go in either

Second Woe

Hypocrites Keep Condemning
Matthew 23:15 ESV
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
They work hard to corrupt the converted.
They work hard to make converts, only to place them under corrupted theology and subject them to rabbinical rule rather than scriptural authority.
They set free from sin to enslave to law
Are you even working hard to make converts?
How quick are we to judge someone based on our own perceived spiritual maturity?
What dos the Bible say and what is church tradition?

Third Woe

Hypocrites Practice Religion
Matthew 23:16 ESV
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’
Their swearing makes the people want to cuss.
they encourage evasive vows that are tantamount to lying.
where are we looking for loopholes in the law?
As a Christian are we cannot be ok with half truths, living in the grey area, or looking for loopholes.
There is and there fore should not be any disconnect between our Sunday self and Monday self.

Fourth Woe

Hypocrites Neglect Repentance
Matthew 23:23 ESV
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
Their pocket books are open but their hearts are closed.
so many people believe that their involvement in the local body begins and ends with merely bringing their tithes regularly.... some are not even as regular in this area as they should be!
Do you remember the poor widows mite?

Fifth & Sixth Woes

Hypocrites Emphasize The External
Matthew 23:25 ESV
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Matthew 23:27 ESV
27 “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.
They have cleaned up their act but are not acting the part.
We have beautiful multi million dollar buildings full of people who are not really sold out for Jesus!
we wear our Sunday best, put on programs and pageantry all the while there is gossip, gluttony, pornography, bitterness, and backbiting …

Seventh Woe

Hypocrites Eliminate Accountability
Matthew 23:29–31 ESV
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
Their father had rejected the prophets and they would reject Christ
They say they honor them but they taught about Jesus who was here and they were shortly going to denounce him… if they truly honored the men of God they would honor the Man of God too.
We say we stand on the word of God… but only the parts we like, the parts that make people happy and grow our coffers.
Thats Not All
Galatians = Legalism
Colossians = Teaching Heresy
2 Timothy = Leadership Tensions
Philippians = Conflict and Selfish Ambition
1 & 2 Corinthians = Pride and Arrogance
Revelations 2-3 = Letters to the Churches
Church malfunction and dysfunction is not a new thing, and it wont end with us here at ABC in the year 2023 either.
What do you get when you put a group of sinners together for a period of time??
you get sin!!
Big Idea of the Message: If Christians really love Jesus, why is there so much hurt in the church?
Because the church is full of sinners! And sinners sin!
Why you shouldn’t go to church…
You shouldn’t go to church if you equate Jesus the Christ with those who claim to be Christians
You shouldn't go to church if you expect everyone there to be perfect
You shouldn't go to church if you think everyone there is going to like you or serve you or cater to your needs
You shouldn't go to church if you think church is about what you get rather than what you bring
You shouldn't go to church if you are unwilling to see past the people who are in the building to the Christ whom you should be there to worship.
Why you should go to church…
Because you truly love God, His Word and the Gospel
Because it is the best place to be discipled, to be held accountable, and grow in your spiritual maturity
Because the Holy Word of God assumes that this is the way we live out our faith in Christ
Now That Being Said
Are you a practicing pretender? A masquerading member? A counterfeit convert?
Jesus confronted the hypocrisy of religious people and rebukes them sharply!
Matthew 23:33 ESV
33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?
If you have been hurt by those who claim Christ, my heart breaks for you!
Exalting Jesus in Matthew The Danger of Damnation in Sincere Religion (Matthew 23)

A. Do we fail to practice what we preach?

B. Are we not content with the approval of God?

C. Do we assert our superiority over others?

D. Are we hypocritically centered on ourselves?

E. Are we hindering people’s salvation?

F. Are we more concerned with biblical minutiae than we are with practical ministry?

G. Are we focused on outward cleanliness instead of inward holiness?

Jesus hates hypocrisy… Jesus says that hypocrisy will send you to hell!
Application Point: Only when we stop pretending the church is perfect can we invite Jesus to conform us more and more to his image.
Christ’s offer of salvation is a personal offer. Christ offers salvation to you personally today. You are not saved because Grandma was saved, you are not saved because you attend a church, you are not saved simply because you said a prayer, got baptized, stopped a sinful habit or some other external act. You are saved simply by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. His sacrifice, His resurrection, Him!
Christ's desire for us however is to live out our personal salvation in the gathering together as a body of believers known as the church. As a group of people who are not yet perfect, still capable of sin, and on the road of sanctification. This does not excuse whatever pain has been perpetrated against you by that person or persons. What I do hope you understand is that you are not alone, Jesus himself does not and did not want that sin to take place and He will punish it. Even so His desire for you is to be an active member in a local body of believers seeking to practice the forgiveness that He has given to you toward others as well as practicing the love one another that he commands.
Group Questions
What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
Even for unbelievers, hypocrisy is despised. Why do you think this is? Define hypocrisy.
What is the difference between strong, biblical leadership and leadership that is self-promoting? How might these principles apply to Christians who aren’t spiritual leaders?
Have you or someone you know experienced being hurt by the church or by people who said they were Christians? How did it affect you?
Have you or someone you know decided to stop going to church for a time, if so what made you return? What would you say to someone who currently feels that way?
Which of the seven woes do you most identify with? How and why?
Do you have areas of your life where you know all the right Christian answers, but your actions don’t line up? Why is it easier to find fault in others than to face your own weaknesses?
What’s something your local church, or the wider church, does well?
If your church were suddenly gone, would your local community notice? Why or why not?
How can we pray for you?
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