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Burned: Healing the Pains of Hypocrisy

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

(4/8/2018) Today we're considering Jesus, who one week is loved, the people are shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (John 12:13). And then the next week they turn on him, he’s betrayed by one of his closest friends, and the rest of them are scattered. There’s hypocrisy, gossip, and judgment as Jesus is crucified, brutally executed, and very literally becomes a human sacrifice, burned by those he came to save, and burned by those who loved him most.

Today’s message is entitled "Burned: Healing the Pains of Hypocrisy"

Jesus faithfulness to love us gives us hope and comfort. And yet, for those of us that have been burned, that have experienced the pain of hypocrisy, and who might be considering giving up and just walking away, I want to encourage you to stay the course, showing you the words of Jesus at a time when he continued to press on, when it would’ve been so much easier for him to just give up.

The Bible records this in John chapter 12, beginning at verse 20, and I want to give you a little bit of context to set the stage. This was a week before his crucifixion, just days before the Passover, and Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. The Bible tells us in verse 20,

"Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus" (John 12:20-22).

In verse 23, Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me" (John 12:23-26).

Then, with deep anguish of the soul, Jesus said in verse 27, "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?" (John 12:27).

In other words, knowing what he was about to endure, Jesus asks a very honest question. "Father, should I pray? Should I ask if we can do it another way?" You see, Jesus knew the physical pain, the torture, and the suffering that was coming; he knew the emotional pain, the pain of hypocrisy, the pain of rejection, and the pain of betrayal. But not just the pain of Judas’ betrayal, even from Peter and the others that wouldn’t be there at the cross.

You know, it was Peter who made such great boasts in Mark chapter 14,

"Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you" (Mark 14:31).

"I’m your guy", he said, "I’ll be there for you." And then a little girl says to him in Matthew chapter 26,

"A servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about." (Matthew 26:69-70).

"I don’t know who you’re talking about."

<<< Video from The Skit Guys "Peter’s Denial" (4:54) >>>

You see, Jesus knew he would experience that rejection, that he’d be beaten beyond recognition, that they would strip him, shamefully exposing him, and hanging him on a wooden cross. Jesus knew all this was coming. And he knew worst of all, that when he took our sins upon himself, when he became sin for us, that his Father would look away, and he would cry out to heaven in a loud voice,

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46).

Jesus knew all this was coming, his separation from the Father, the loneliest and lowest point of his human life. Jesus knew it was coming and he said, "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? His very next sentence is so powerful, because with the knowledge that he had, considering all that he knew, all that he was aware of, in verse 27 he said,

"No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour" (John 12:27).

For this very reason he said. What reason? He said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). He didn’t come for the healthy, but for the sick. He didn’t come for the religious people, he came for sinners. Jesus knew it was for this reason… he came for you and I. And so, number one, there is pain.

1. There Is Pain

This morning, if you’ve ever been ashamed of something you’ve done, ever felt unworthy, unlovable, or unwanted because of your sin, Jesus came for you. "For this very reason I came" he said. When everything within him, when all of his humanity cried out, "Is there any other way?" He stayed the course, he endured for this very reason,

"For the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame…" (Hebrews 12:2).

In other words, Jesus just needed one good reason to endure, to press through the pain, and you were the joy set before him. You were his reason. You were his joy.

He endured it all for you. When mankind was at its worst, Jesus was at his best. When the people he loved mocked him, hated him, and insulted him, Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed "Father, forgive them" (Luke 23:34). You see, Jesus heals the pains of hypocrisy and he overcame it on the cross.

And yet, as we see the hypocrisy, the love and the hate of those whom Jesus came to save, it’s hard to understand. It’s hard to fathom so much bitter hatred toward a God who’s so full of love. Yet the Bible describes this contrast, telling us in John chapter 3,

"Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:20).

You see, the problem is that there are so many, who as Paul tells us, "Claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him…" (Titus 1:16). And Jesus hated this, this is hypocrisy, this gap between what others see and who we really are. He talks very directly about an outward display of religiosity without having an inner transformation. He said in Matthew chapter 6 that any time you’re giving to be seen, praying to be heard, or denying yourself to be noticed it’s all in vain. He said in verse one,

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven" (Matthew 6:1).

And so, there are some things that God loves and there are some things that God hates. It’s just like our children, you know, we love them, but we hate it when they disobey. There are some things that they do that we just don’t like so much. And in the same way, as we are desiring a relationship with our Father in heaven, we want to know what he loves, do what he loves, and we want to do less of what he hates. And so, number two, there is healing through knowledge.

2. Through Knowledge

Now, there’s a foundational truth that we have to understand and that is that God is love. And so, love is more than what God does, it’s the very essence and nature of who God is. Yet in spite of the evidence that was presented to them, many of the nation of Israel would not believe, they closed their eyes to the truth. They’d heard the message, they’d seen the miracles, and yet they would not believe. "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him" (Titus 1:16). They’d resisted so long, that something began to change within them, and the apostle Paul describes it this way in second Corinthians saying,

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor 4:4).

If you remember, both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea belonged to this group initially, but they eventually came out and publicly confessed Jesus as the Christ. It was this group of Pharisees that often challenged Jesus and his identity, and it was to them that Jesus said, "When you’ve lifted up the Son of Man, then you’ll know that I am [the one I claim to be]" (John 8:28). Then you’ll know, because there’s healing through knowledge, and it’s for that reason that Paul said, "I resolved to know nothing… except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). And it was that knowledge that became the greatest desire of his heart and he wrote this in Philippians chapter 3,

"I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10-11, NLT).

He says, I want to know Christ, I want to experience him, and so, he would seek him, because there’s healing through knowledge. Jesus said, "If you knew me you would know my father also" (John 8:19), you’d know God. And so, along with Paul and those others that the Bible calls that great "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1), we want to seek God as Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 6,

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).

There’s healing through the knowledge of God, through the knowledge of his love, and so, as we’re seeking his kingdom and his righteousness all of these things will be added to us. Whatever worldly sustenance is necessary for you, over and beyond the abundant goodness and generosity of our gracious God. Over and beyond all these things, being rooted and established in love, grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, so that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.

Through knowledge we’ll begin to know and understand what it is that God loves and what it is that he hates. We’ll do more of what he loves and less of what he hates, because it’s through the knowledge of God that we find that healing that we long for. You see, God knows the pain of hypocrisy, he knows the pain that you’ve known, the pain that you’ve experienced, and he says to you today "I want you to know something new, something higher, something greater. I want you to know that I love you and I love to take broken and hurting people and heal the pains of hypocrisy." And so, number three, there is hope.

3. There Is Hope

You see, here’s what happens when we realize how much God loves us. We understand that he hates that loneliness we feel, that emptiness inside, and he hated it so much that he actually sent his Son so that we could be healed. It’s through knowledge of his love that gives us hope, knowing that our hypocrisy, our desires that once were bent towards the things of this world, things that God hates, can begin to be renewed, our minds can be transformed, and we can begin to think on those things that Paul tells us in Philippians chapter 4 are,

"Pure… lovely… admirable… excellent and praiseworthy" (Philippians 4:8).

Here’s what I want you to know today, there’s hope for the hypocrite in all of us. The psalmist said, "No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame" (Psalm 25:3). There’s hope, and so today, we want to allow the Spirit of God to do a work inside of us where no one else sees. As we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, allowing ourselves to be conformed to the image of Christ, with the Word of God working within us, transforming us, we will become a reflection of the goodness of God.

But God has no tolerance for hypocrisy in our lives. He can’t stand it, it turns his stomach, he hates it with everything within him, but he has grace for every sinner who comes to him in need of forgiveness. The psalmist tells us in chapter 33

"The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love" (Psalm 33:18).

When we embrace the truth, acknowledge the pain, and drop the mask, Jesus always responds with love, grace, and forgiveness. You see, he didn’t come for those who appear to be righteous, but he came for those who are sinners. He didn’t come for the healthy, for those who look like they have it all together, but he came for those who are hurting, those who knew they were sick and broken on the inside. He has unlimited grace for every sinner who comes to him in a spirit of repentance.

Now some of you might be thinking, "But what if they find out I have these faults?" Well, let me assure you, that you have absolutely nothing to fear when you have nothing to hide. But whoever hides behind a mask, concealing their sins, and hiding the truth; the Bible tells us in Proverbs chapter 28,

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper…" (Proverbs 28:13).

The one who asks, the one who renounces their sins, who renounces their rage, their immorality, their addiction or whatever; they find mercy. Those who renounce every agreement they’ve made in the flesh, who drop the mask, who are honest, for them there’s power. But they’re only as strong as they’re honest and so, today is a perfect day to join one another in confessing of our need for mercy because we’re not perfect people living the perfect life. James tells us in chapter 3,

"We all stumble in many ways…" (James 3:2).

And we do, we’ve all messed up, we all fall short, we struggle, and we’re inconsistent at best. We want to do one thing and then we do something else. But, as we come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and we’re honest, we’re transparent, it’s suddenly in that moment of truth that we find that we’re truly free. Because whoever drops the mask, confessing their sins, and renouncing them finds mercy.

This is so important, because hypocrisy is the gap between what others see and who you really are. It’s the gap between the you that others know and the you that God knows. But the only way we can close that gap is through Jesus Christ, because he’s the perfect one, he’s our righteousness, our healer, and our salvation. And so, we let him do that work in us, forgiving us, and transforming us so that our outward behavior is a reflection of the inward healing work of Jesus Christ.

Our culture today is ripe with hypocrisy, it’s who we are, and yet there are those of you who are going to experience breakthrough, you’re going to drop the mask, you’re going to expose the pain, and find hope and healing through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. You see, when you drop the mask you’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free. The truth is, "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).

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