Satan’s Academy Award

Title: Satan's Academy Award

Bible Book: Matthew 6 : 1-16

Author: Adrian Rogers

Subject: Hypocrisy



"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. . . Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

(Matthew 6:1-2,5,16)

Hollywood seems to honors its actors and actresses at every opportunity. They give trophies to those who have done a good job in the world of make-believe. There are so many talented people who are receiving praise just for pretending.

But in my view, the greatest acting is not done in Hollywood but in churches. The Bible calls these actors hypocrites, and the Lord spoke of them in His Sermon on the Mount. God is looking for men and women who are sincere in their faith, not actors playing the part of Christians.

We live in a phony world, surrounded by make-believe. But playing make-believe is not new to our age. It was around during the time of Christ. The greatest hunger in a man's heart is for reality, but too often he is willing to settle for fantasy. Hence the popularity of reality shows! It combines reality and fantasy!

There are too many cardboard Christians, plastic preachers, and pseudo-saints, playing the game of Christianity. The world has been turned off by these hypocrites. So was Christ!

Jesus had nothing but words of compassion for the sinners, thieves, harlots, and cheaters of His day. He was crucified for being a friend of sinners. But He reserved His most severe words for the hypocrites. He called them wolves in sheep's clothing, and said they were like whitewashed graves, clean and shiny on the outside but full of rotting flesh on the inside.

I. Hypocrisy in Our Deeds

Jesus warns us not to give our alms before men; that is, we are not to make a big show of helping others ? look for ways to minister without it being a theatrical production.

Christ calls us to consider the motive behind our giving. Some gave to others just to make a show. They didn't care about the needy; they simply wanted to be noticed. They were actors, seeking praise by doing a good deed.

When we give, we shouldn't make it a big deal. We should:

(1) Give spontaneously at times ? an unplanned gift to someone in need.

(2) When you see someone needy and feel compassion for them, give in an uncalculated way. Don't be exacting; just let giving flow from your heart.

II. Hypocrisy in Our Devotions

Jesus went on to warn the people not to go praying in the streets in order to be noticed. Now, there is nothing wrong with praying in public, just as there is nothing wrong with giving in public. What Jesus is opposed to is praying that is only designed to get you noticed.

Christ tells us clearly how not to pray as hypocrites.

A. Don't Pray to Impress God

It isn't the logic or the language in your prayer that causes God to listen. Don't use vain repetitions by saying the same things over and over. Don't feel you have to "flower it up" by using big and fancy words. You don't have to be a poet to be able to pray. It's not the language of your prayers that matter. Nor is it the length of your prayers that matters.

B. Don't Pray to Inform God

Jesus says that your Heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask.

He knows it all. He knows what you need. He knows what you're going to say. You can't tell God anything that He doesn't already know. Prayer is one of the greatest acts of love and kindness God extends to us.

Pray quietly, privately, and with the motivation of talking with God.

III. Hypocrisy in Our Disciplines

Fasting is the withholding of food for a time in order to focus ourselves spiritually. There is nothing wrong with a public fast – for fasting is right and proper when done correctly. It's certainly appropriate to let people know you are fasting. But be careful of fasting like the Pharisees.

They would turn their fast into a theatrical production, pretending to be in agony and showing everyone what a big deal it was that they were going without food. In doing so, they were attempting to draw attention to themselves. Their motive was wrong and their fasting meaningless.

The Bible says we are to fast, going without food and other pleasures, for spiritual reasons. Fasting wasn't intended simply as a means of losing weight after the holidays but as a means of spiritual growth. Jesus expects us to fast. But the Pharisees would put on ashes and wear a gloomy expression and try to act "religious" to impress other people.

IV. The Sinister Danger of Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is rooted in idolatry and deceives. The hypocrite is merely interested in gaining the approval of man.

A. It is Idolatry

It is Idolatry, for it puts oneself above God and it deceives people.

B. It is Deceptive

It also eventually deceives the person doing it. Every hypocrite eventually believes that his phoniness is true spirituality.

Hell is full of religious people who never bowed the knee and surrendered to Jesus Christ. There are preachers, deacons, and Sunday School teachers who are hypocrites. They have deceived others, they have deceived themselves, and they are headed toward terrible tragedy unless they change. (Matthew 23:15). Hypocrisy deceives, and it leads a person straight to hell.

It also defrauds. Jesus told the crowd that, when the hypocrite is noticed by others, he has already received his reward. The word reward literally means "payment in full." These actors, who pretend to be godly so others will notice them, have been paid in full. God won't offer them any further reward.

Not only does hypocrisy deceive and defraud, eventually it destroys. Hypocrisy is sin, and God hates sin. Hypocrisy will lead to the destruction of your soul. Some who have claimed to do a lot of work for the Lord, are headed straight to hell ? never really having had a relationship with Christ.

Some questions following this study.

#1. What is a hypocrite?

* Why do hypocrites pretend to be something they’re not? What are they after?

* Why is hypocrisy a form of idolatry?

#2. How were the Pharisees guilty of hypocrisy in their giving?

* Have you ever helped someone and made sure everybody knew you were doing it? When?

* What are some principles for helping the needy without being hypocritical?

#3. In what ways could the Pharisees be accused of hypocrisy in their prayers?

* When is it appropriate to pray in public?

* Are you comfortable praying in public? Why or why not?

* If God knows what we need before we pray, why bother to pray? What does prayer offer us?

#4. Why did Jesus criticize the Pharisees for their fasting?

* What is the purpose of fasting?

* If you have fasted, tell why you did so and what happened during your fast. If you have never fasted, what is something you might want to fast over?

#5. What would you say to someone who complained, “I never go to church. There are too many hypocrites there”?

* Have you ever known anyone you would consider a hypocrite? Why do you think they were hypocritical?

* Could you ever be accused of acting hypocritically? When?

#6. In Daniel 6, how do we know that Daniel was genuine in his faith?

* Rather than being hypocritical, what stand for God was he willing to take?

* How did God reward him for his behavior?

#7. Here are some points to ponder.

Have you ever failed to obey God because you were afraid what others would think? Then you're more concerned about


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