Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” Matthew 23:13-15
Hypocrites have been around a long time. According to many people, “the church is full of hypocrites.” That might be true. Certainly some hypocrites are there. Where else would they be?

Today, people talk about hypocrites in the third person and in a general way. They do not name the hypocrites. That would not be polite or politically correct. It would also take courage.

Jesus was specific in the second person; “you hypocrite” and He gave the reasons. People do not pretend to be bad. They are bad. People are hypocritical in the direction that they think is good. They do not define themselves as hypocrites. They do not think of church as a play and they are the actor; they think of it as real and right. If there were a few hypocrites in a fellowship of saints they would have a hard time keeping up the act.

So in some cases the church is not a fellowship of saints with a few hypocrites among them. It is a fellowship of hypocrites with a few saints. It is a play and they are play actors and they are not saved. They do not know it.

Here are few examples:

1. Many liberal churches in main line denominations with unsaved pastors with church members who have not heard or believed the gospel.
2. Many evangelical churches whose members are made up of second and third generation “Christians” who in fact are not saved but who have “heard” the gospel.
3. Legalistic churches who have replaced faith with works in an otherwise “sound” doctrine framework.
4. Cultic churches like the Church of Christ who emphasize one biblical truth in such a way that it becomes an untruth

These hypocritical churches have several things in common:

1. They do not have the fruit of the Spirit
2. They are subjects of false teaching.
3. They do have a few Christians in them but whose witness is compromised.

Jesus told us, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:15-20