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Connection Points: Hypocrisy

March 28 2014
March 28 2014

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“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them…  When you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others...  And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites.  For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others...  And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fast may be seen by others...  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:1, 2, 5, 16, 18

Explanation
Christians are not hypocrites because they derive a benefit or reward for our good deeds. God made us so that we would laugh at funny things, cry at sad things, and receive reward and benefit for our good deeds. You reap what you sow, and your ‘Father, who sees in secret will reward you.’ When we receive benefit from men, our pride is fed, but when we receive our reward from God, our relationship with God is nourished. The problem with hypocrites is that their economy of reward is wrong. A hypocrite says that his worth is from God, but practically he derives his worth from his peers. Hypocrites believe, ‘My identity is based on my social status and relationships,’ but Jesus reorients us to believe, ‘My identity is based on my Kingdom status and relationship.’ In human social economy, there will always be someone at the top and at the bottom of the ladder. In God’s economy, there is more than enough reward to go around.

Quote
‘Jesus reserves verse 1 for the general principle: All “acts of righteousness” must be preserved from the ostentation and degradation of the chase for human approval.’
D.A. Carson

Question for Parents
How are you teaching your children to think about social status? Is it a reward to be obtained, or a commodity to be used in the service of God’s Kingdom? What are some ways that you are helping your students seek the benefits of God over the benefits of human approval?

Question for Students
Jesus wants us to shine our lights before men, but true religion begins in secret. What are some Christian practices that can be done in secret? How might our secret practices help shape our public good works?


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