One of the things that the religious leaders in Jesus' day were guilty of was hypocrisy. A hypocrite is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions contradict stated beliefs. Another way to put it is a hypocrite is a person who likes to take credit for a sacrifice without actually paying the price. Hypocrisy was addressed by Jesus in Matthew 23 and the passage we looked at last Sunday in Acts 5, showed two other people who were guilty of it. There were several things that caused them to walk in hypocrisy and I believe that we deal with some of these still today.
1. PRIDE - “Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the person who has it.” Pride is thinking very highly of ourselves or having a high opinion of our own importance. It is not always shown in our actions but even if it is in our mind, it is not a good thing. It causes us to think that we are on the same plane as God. Humility is the cure for pride. Choose to be humble.
2. PERSONAL GAIN - This is when we have a strong desire to get tangible rewards for ourselves, right now. When this is how we walk, we are going against what Jesus tells us to do when He says to "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven". When we are too busy trying to store up for ourselves stuff right now, we will always walk in hypocrisy.
3. PARTICIPANT - Sometimes we just go with the flow. That is not the way to go. If you or someone you know is walking in hypocrisy and you just go along with it, you are guilty as well. Start by taking a look in the mirror and making sure that you are not doing that and then call it like it is. Don't just go along with it because it is easier. Don't be a participant in hypocrisy.
4. PERPETUATE - Continuing without intermission or interruption. Sin breeds more sin. Once someone begins walking in hypocrisy, it is really hard to stop. Pretty soon it increases and you have to be more and more hypocritical to maintain your hypocrisy. We need to stop perpetuating the sin in our lives in general but specifically, hypocrisy. Hypocrisy has no place in the kingdom of God, the church, or in our lives.
In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira told a lie. Hypocrisy is living a lie. They died because of their lie. Hypocrisy will kill our relationship with Jesus and with others. Sin is serious so let's do all we can to stay away from it.