The Hypocrite's Triple Judgment
[Hypocrisy meter pegging out] Who is setting that thing off? I’m the only one talking! “The church is full of hypocrites!” Yes, and there’s room for one more.
Howard Carter discovered the tomb of old King Tut back in the early twenties and when he finally broke in to the tomb of one of Egypt's richest kings, he went in and found the casket, the sarcophagus, it was a huge thing. He opened that coffin and inside was another coffin covered with gold leaf. And he opened that and inside was a third coffin, and he opened that and inside was one of solid gold. And when he opened the fourth, inside was King Tut, and he was wrapped in gold cloth and he had that incredible gold mask on his face. It is so beautiful. But when they lifted that off and took off that gold cloth, there was an old, dried, withered, dead corpse inside all of that. The outward thing did not change what was on the inside.
We're dealing today with hypocrites, and many hypocrites have quite a few things on the exterior, but God doesn't look on the exterior, God looks on the heart. God sees through all of those things that we decorate ourselves with.
In chapter 1 we talked about how God handles the heathen. In chapter 2 we're going to see how God handles the hypocrite. In chapter one, we saw the down and out. In chapter 2 we're going to see the up and up. Because Paul, who's very smart and anointed by the Holy Spirit, knew that there were certain religious people who would listen with relish as he described God's judgment upon the heathen and perverts--and they would say, Well, we're not that way, we don't do that. And so they were indignant at the sins of others but indulgent about their own sins.
[The devil would as soon send you to hell from the pew than the gutter.]
vv. 1-3 Now go back to chapter 1 and verse 32, "Knowing the judgment of God, that they," underscore the word they. And now notice in chapter 2 verse 1: "Therefore THOU art inexcusable." It's easy to talk about ‘they,’ but God is gonna talk to 'thou.' God is saying, Hey, don't talk about other people, it's time right now to examine yourself.
A man who went to the psychiatrist's office. He had a scrambled egg on his head and a strip of bacon over each ear. He said, "Doc, I need your help...it's about my brother." It's time that we stop thinking about they and, and begin to think about ourselves and examine ourselves because even those who are saved are often guilty of hypocrisy, including me. 'Faults in others I can see, but praise the Lord there's none in me.'
What is the hypocrite's judgment going to be like? Three things:
Three times he uses the word according. Look at it in verse 2: "But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth." All right, just underscore that.
Now go down to verse 6: "Who will rendereth every man according to his deeds."
Now go down to verse 16: "In the day when God should judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." So the judgment is going to be according to truth, according to deeds, and according to the gospel.
First of all, the judgment is going to be according to truth, and therefore there will be no disguise. You see, the word hypocrite means play actor; that's what the word literally means. And in Jesus' time, the actors would put on disguises. If they were supposed to be happy, rather than merely acting happy, they would put on a happy face, a disguise. If they were to be sad, they'd put on a sad face. If they were to be fierce, they would put on a fierce face. They were wearing masks, they were wearing disguises. And Jesus said in the religious world there are some who are hypocrites, they are actors, they are wearing disguises. But Paul says that the judgment is going to be according to truth. God is going to pull off the mask, there will be no disguise. What will be His standard? Not profession, not pretension, not performance, but truth will be the standard.
Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." And we could add that you can't fool God anytime. God's judgment is according to truth.
Today we've forgotten truth. We have sacrificed truth for practicality. We don't ask, Is it true? We ask, Does it work? We sacrifice truth for style. We don't say, "Does he or she tell the truth?" Rather, do I like them? We're not interested in truth, we're interested in the stock market. We are one nation under greed, rather than one nation under God.
We think we're smart. Somebody said that if you were to take all of the accumulated knowledge of the world, from creation to 1845 and measure it as an inch on the scale, from 1845 to 1945 it would've grown to three inches. But from 1945 to 1975 it would be as tall as the Washington Monument. But from 1975 on it would be out of sight. Now, knowledge is exploding exponentially, but truth never changes. You know Daniel said in the last days knowledge shall increase. What a prophecy! But the Bible says that there are men ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Morally we're in kindergarten.
God has written the Bible-the Word of truth. God has given his Holy Spirit-the Spirit of truth. God is building his church-the pillar and the ground of truth. God has sent his Son and his Son is the truth. The apostle John said, I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth. But the truth has fallen down in the streets today. The hypocrite's judgment, however is going to be according to truth.
Now, the hypocrite doesn't understand that God is going to judge according to truth, so the hypocrite, the play actor, has three fatal flaws in his thinking...
Flaw 1, he has the idea that outward appearance is all that matters. He thinks that if only he appears righteous, then he is righteous.
Matthew 23:25-28. Jesus is talking to the religious mafia of his day, and he says, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you may clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within you are full of extortion and excess." The way men do dishes has not changed for two thousand years. An old Pharisee is doing the dishes, and he's just wiping the outside and on the inside the oatmeal is crusted. He puts it back up there on the shelf till his wife comes and talks to him about it. "Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is in the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean of them also. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are likened unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward but within are full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness." Remember old King Tut? "Even so, ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." The hypocrite thinks all God sees is how he dresses on Sunday morning and how he acts for the crowd.
You have to pity hypocrites because the problem with the hypocrite is on the inside, not on the outside. You see, he doesn't have the courage to out and out serve the devil and he doesn't have the true grace to really serve the Lord. And so he is a great big actor. But the hypocrite is going to be judged according to truth. His outward appearance is not going to make any difference.
There's a second mistake that the hypocrite makes. The hypocrite thinks that if he is not having trouble, he's right with God.
Look in verses 3-4: "And thinkest thou this, oh man, that judgest them which do such things and doeth the same that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."
They have the idea that if they're healthy, if their bank account is up, if they have no problems that evidently God loves them, and everything is fine and they don't need to repent, because look at all of these blessings. But the blessings of God don't mean that you're right with God. God gives you blessings to bring you to him. The Bible says that the goodness of God leads you to repentance. As a matter of fact, the goodness of God only makes your judgment more severe if you don’t respond to the goodness of God. If you're being blessed now, let me beg you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and, and don't get the idea that God's goodness is an invitation to sin more, because the greater the blessing, if those blessings are refused, the greater the judgment when the judgment comes. And I want to remind you that Sodom and Gomorra were in economic all-time high when the fire and brimstone fell. The Bible says that they had fullness of bread and idleness--that is, many people didn't work. That's when the fire fell, because the goodness of God did not lead them to repentance.
Luke 13:1-5 says there had been some calamity. There were some people, who were walking down the street one day and a tower fell on them. And before that the Bible says that "there were some present at that season that told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." They were worshipping and Pilate came in there and had them killed. "And Jesus said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay, except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you nay, except you repent you shall all likewise perish."
Don't get the idea that if somebody has trouble it's because God has judged them and if you don't have trouble God is not going to judge you. Jesus said whether a tower falls on you or not, if you don't repent, you're going to perish. And the hypocrite doesn't understand this. He thinks that outward appearance is all that matters. He thinks that the absence of problems is all that matters.
Here's the third thing that this hypocrite needs to learn. The hypocrite needs to learn that delayed judgment does not mean no judgment.
Verse 5: "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God." Now what does that mean? When God is good to you and when God blesses a nation and that nation hardens its heart against God or when God blesses an individual and that individual hardens his heart against God, God says you're just putting wrath in the bank, you're treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. It's one more deposit. One day the hypocrite's judgment is going to come and God is going to say, What did you do with all of my blessings? What did you do with the prosperity I gave you? You hardened your heart. Why doesn't God judge right away? I'll tell you why God doesn't judge right away, because God waits for all of that sin to ripen. You see, you put it in the bank and at the judgment you collect with compound interest. When you sin against God, your sin does not just end here, it goes on and on and on and the ripples touch the shores of eternity. And then finally God says there's coming a day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. And so the judgment is going to be according to truth.
Hypocrites-a-plenty are living high, wide, and handsome--but be warned: You are not getting away with your sin.
He says in verse 3: "Thinkest thou that you will escape?" Do you think that somehow you're going to escape the judgment of God? You can't do it! Houdini was an escape artist, but he didn't escape death, and he did not escape judgment. The judgment of the hypocrite is according to truth.
Now I want you to see the second thing. The hypocrite's judgment is not only according to truth, but it is according to deeds.
Verse 6: "Who will render to every man according to his deeds." You see, you're not saved by works but you will be judged by works. Somehow we get the idea that certain people, maybe Americans or maybe Baptists have a special distinction, but we do not. Verse 11: "There's no respect of persons with God."
So many people have the idea that God's gonna grade on the curve. We're bad, but we're not as bad as somebody else. And so these religious people in chapter 2 had laid themselves out in the gutter alongside the pagan in chapter 1 and they measured themselves by the pagan and they said, Well I'm better than the pagan and God is going to smile on me. They are mistaken.
As a matter of fact, James said in chapter 2 verse 10: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, the same is guilty of all." You see, God demands absolute perfection, and none of us in ourselves can provide it, and that's why we need the gospel. That's why we need the righteousness of God that comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Has anyone here kept all ten commandments? Of course not. Well you say I've only broken one. I don't believe that, but let's pretend. Here's a man dangling over a fire by a chain of ten links. Nine of those links are made of forged steel and one of them is made of crepe paper. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, the same is guilty of all." The hypocrite is going to be judged according to his deeds.
First of all, by his actions. That just means according to his sins. What kinds of sins? Sins of commission, sins of omission, sins of the flesh, sins of the spirit. You see, the most respectable man, woman, boy or girl in this building or listening is just as lost as the worst criminal on earth without a second birth. Jesus told Nicodemus, who was morally a better man than any person here, morally, outwardly, “unless you're born again you can't even see the kingdom of God.”
Not only are they going to be judged according to their actions, but also they're going to be judged according to their attitudes. Look in verses 7 and 8: "To them who by patient continuance and well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality and eternal life. But to them who are contentious, that are contentious and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, to the Jew first and also of the Gentile." What is that talking about? It's talking about your attitudes.
He's talking about some who come to church seeking God. And there's some who come to church wanting to find a problem. I've been preaching long enough to know that there are people out there who are mentally arguing with me right now. You don't like me, you don't like what I preach, and your mind is saying, I think I can find some fault in what that man is saying. Well, that'd be easy to do. I can do that. I mean, if you come to church and you're looking for something to criticize, you can find it starting with the man standing in the pulpit. I'm going to tell you something else. If you come looking for God today, you can find God because He's here. You're going to find what you look for. There are some who are seekers and there are some who are scorners. And the Lord says that when he comes to judge, not only is he going to judge actions, he's going to judge attitude. Are you looking for God or are you looking for something to find fault with? Well I'll guarantee you'll find it. But if you come looking for God, He's here, he's standing knocking at your heart's door.
The hypocrite's going to be judged by his actions, he's going to be judged by his attitudes, and thirdly, by his advantages. Now here's the one that ought to frighten some of us.
Look in verses 9 and 10. "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, but glory, honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile." Why to the Jew first? Because he had the greater advantage. They had the Word of God, the Old Testament, and "unto whomsoever much is given is much required."
God holds you responsible for being in this service today. God is going to judge you because of your advantage. There are millions of people on earth who sit in darkness who have never even once heard the name of Jesus. You see, God knows what you've heard and "unto whomsoever much is given, of the same shall much be required." How sad it would be to go to hell from the jungle, but how much sadder it would be to go to hell from an air conditioned, upholstered church. How sad it would be to sing in the choir and go to hell. How sad it would be to usher and go to hell. Jesus said, "Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, I prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works and then will I profess unto them, Depart from me, ye who work iniquity, I never knew you."
They went through the form of religion, but they were never saved. And how is the hypocrite's judgment going to be? Number one, according to truth. Number two, according to his deeds--his actions, his attitudes, his advantages. God takes all of that into account when he judges.
Number three: He's going to judge the hypocrite according to the gospel.
Verse 16: "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." What on earth does that mean? He said it's according to truth, it is according to deeds, and now it is according to his gospel. “The good news of salvation in Christ alone.”
And if that gospel does not save you, that gospel will judge you. The Bible says the Father judges no man, but he has committed all judgment unto the Son. The same Jesus who wants to be your Lord and Savior will one day be your judge if you do not allow him to be your Lord and Savior. And you can't hold court if the judge is dead, but God raised up the judge. And you can't hold court if the defendant is dead and God will raise you up. You cannot crawl up in the grave and pull the dirt over your face and hide from God. The Bible says in Acts chapter 17, "God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, wherewith he hath given assurance of all men in that he raised him from the dead." What does that mean? That means that the resurrection of Jesus Christ that is meant to save you is the very resurrection that will condemn you. You see, the gospel is a two-edged sword. That blessed blade will come to heal or to slay but it is a sword today and you're going to be judged according to the gospel.
The greatest treasure is not the tomb of King Tut, it’s to know Jesus Christ, and it's not far off for any who sincerely seek it.
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