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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Oct 10, 2017

Brother Jonathan answers the question, "Are churches full of hypocrites?"

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Are Churches full of hypocrites?

Question 11      

Remnant Bible Fellowship

 

  1. Are Churches full of hypocrites?
    1. This question is usually in the form of a statement, “Churches are full of hypocrites!” Or, in some cases, it is just intended to discredit the promises and claims of Christianity. But is it valid?
  2. What is a “hypocrite”?
    1. The word “hypocrite” is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.” Or, “A dissembler; one who assumes a false appearance.”
    2. The word “hypocrite” or “hypocrites” appears 31 times in the KJV, and it comes from the Greek word, “hupokrites”. In “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature”, which is generally abbreviated as BDAG, it is stated that the word “hupokrites” used in the sense of an actor, pretender, or dissembler. One who pretends to be something that he is not.
    3. This is the actually meaning of the word “hypocrite”. Our English word is nothing more than a carry-over from the Greek word. In fact, the definition exposes the problem with the question.
  3. What is the “church” of God?
    1. Depending on how you define this you’ll get two different answers.
    2. People think that a “church” is a building. But how does God define the “church”?
    3. The word “church” is defined in Webster’s Dictionary both ways. It’s said to be a building set apart by Christians for the worship and service of God.
    4. In the scriptures the word is used differently though. In the Bible, God defines the “church” using the Greek word “ekklesia”. This word is used in the sense of, “a regularly summoned legislative body, assembly; a casual gathering of people; people with shared belief, community, congregation; the global community of Christians.”
    5. So, when considering the biblical meaning of the word “church” we see that it is directly tied in to the question, “what is a Christian?” We’ve answered that question before on this podcast. If you want a more detailed answer then I suggest that you listen to that brief episode also; but, in short, a “Christian” is a person who follows Jesus Christ. The word “follow” being defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “to walk after, practice, or act in conformity to, to obey.” So, a Christian is one who follows and obeys Jesus Christ. They live by His doctrine and Word. This is the only true definition of a Christian.
  4. The real question
    1. You see, you have to get to the real question. When we define the words hypocrite, church, and Christian, in their proper context the answer is made pretty clear.
    2. So, let’s restate the question using the proper definitions: “In the global community of people who follow and obey Jesus Christ, are there people who pretend to follow and obey Jesus Christ but who do not actually follow and obey Jesus Christ?”
    3. The answer is pretty obvious isn’t it? Of course there are people who say they are Christians but don’t follow and obey Jesus Christ; but, by definition, when someone does not follow and obey Jesus Christ they are not a real Christian. They are lying, or at best, deceived as to what a Christian is. It’s more common than you think.
    4. If you define the word “church” as a building then yes, there are hypocrites in it. But if you define the word “church” as God defines it, then no. There are no hypocrites in the church of God. When someone says “I am a follower of Jesus,” a Christian, and they don’t obey Him, which means that they are a hypocrite and pretending to be a Christian, then it is obvious that they are not actually a Christian. They don’t meet the conditions in the definition of the word Christian to call themselves by that name.
    5. Jesus Christ Himself said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?” (Luke 6:46) He went on further to say, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mat. 7:21-23)
    6. The Apostle John made it clear that Christians do live righteously. In Biblical Christianity there is no such thing as a perpetually “carnal” Christian. It’s an oxymoron. Listen to what the Apostle John said:
      1. “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” (1Jn. 2:29)
      2. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 Jn. 3:7)
      3. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1Jn. 3:10)
    7. Jesus warned that when all men are called to the judgment of God to give an account for every idle word that they have spoken (Mat. 12:36) that there will be many people who are deceived into thinking that they know God and serve Him. He will correct them though.
    8. This should not happen. We have God’s Word written literally in black and white to tell us objectively what He tells us to do and how to live, and it all begins with the Gospel. God is a King. You are under His jurisdiction as the Creator of the universe and all things in it. As a King and Judge, He has a moral law. You have sinned against the righteous law of the King, and you are a criminal in His sight. This is what the Bible refers to as sin (or the breaking of God’s law), and being a sinner (a violator of God’s law). The penalty for violating God’s law is death. You have earned it by willfully breaking God’s commandments. There is coming a day of judgment when all of your crimes are laid out before you and you are sentenced to your death. In eternity, this state is called the second death. It is eternal death. But the King and Judge is merciful and says that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but He wants the criminal to turn from His wickedness to serve Him faithfully. He has Himself made a way for you to be pardoned. This is called the Gospel, it means “good news”. You are in a hopeless situation on your own, but God offers you good news. He Himself has made an offering to pay for your sins if you would acknowledge your crimes to Him (your sins) embrace your Savior, the one who has made a way for you to be reconciled to the King—Jesus Christ. God became a man to live a righteous life, die a terrible death that He didn’t deserve, be buried in a tomb, and God raised Him from the dead as a testimony to you He says that He is not only able to forgive you but that He is willing. Your part is to acknowledge your sins to Him, ask forgiveness, embrace your only hope of salvation from eternal death at the hands of a holy and righteous Judge and King, Jesus Christ.
  5. If you are willing, and that’s what you want to do, call upon God and do just that. Believe the truth of the Gospel, embrace Jesus Christ as your Savior, and live as though He is your Lord. Nothing less than that is Christianity. If you would call Jesus Lord, then live as though He is.
  6. For a deeper discussion about the gospel or salvation, listen to our episodes, “What is the Gospel”, “The Gospel is reasonable”, and “What is a Christian”.
  7. You can always sends questions or comments via our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RBFellowship, or you can email me directly through the email at the end of every episode.