Galatians 2:11-14 ESV
“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?’”
There are two messages here, one that is specific to the particular situation Paul was dealing with with Cephas (Peter), and the other is a broader message dealing with the subject of hypocrisy, in general, and that is what I will be addressing today. For if we are one way with one group of people and another way with another group of people that is hypocrisy. And if we hold to our convictions when we are with certain people but then not when we are with other people, but we conform to them, that is hypocrisy.
I was once in a church situation where I attended a gathering of the church on a Tuesday for a meal. At this meal they brought in a group of people to entertain us with singing and dancing and acting, and they were singing and acting out some songs from a Broadway musical. Now I was familiar with this musical because I used to love to watch musicals until the Lord showed me the central message in so many of them was of romantic relationships between a weak woman and a man who was a womanizer, cheat, and liar.
Anyway, several of the songs and actions were of a sensual nature, and one of the songs was about a woman who could not say “no” to men’s sexual advances. She said that she knew right from wrong. She knew she must not fall into the pit, but then she would forget when she was in that moment of temptation. She said she would say “yes” when she knew she ought to say “no.” And then she acknowledged that other girls were hard to catch but that they weren’t having any fun like she was.
The pastor and the assistant pastor sat there, though, and did nothing to stop this, and in fact, they applauded the song. They applauded a song about a girl who could not say no to men’s sexual advances. And I wept! And I had to walk out. For there was a time in my past life when I was that girl, and that is nothing to applaud. We are to weep over such situations. But they were smiling and applauding, instead.
Well, the next day the pastor was teaching a Bible study and then he began to condemn people who drink alcohol and who smoke (maybe). He was getting down hard on those who drink alcohol and smoke, but he applauded a song the day before about a girl who could not say “no” to men’s sexual advances and so she consistently gave in, although she knew right from wrong. And he did nothing to stop that kind of entertainment from taking place in a church function. And I found that very hypocritical.
And since this Bible study was open to all of us participating in the discussion, if we raised our hands, and if we were given permission to speak, the Lord had me do something like Paul did with Peter, and the Lord had me speak to the issue of the hypocrisy of applauding the idea of a woman not being able to say “no” to men’s sexual advances one day and then turning around the next day and condemning people for drinking alcohol when the Scriptures do not prohibit alcoholic beverages, only getting drunk. But they do prohibit sexual immorality and us finding enjoyment in such sin.
The pastor and I did talk privately about this later, and he did admit that he was in the wrong in what he did the day before, but I think he was more concerned about what people would think of him if he stopped the performance, for that would not be regarded as socially acceptable to stop the performance and to make a scene. It was more socially acceptable to let the performance continue on as scheduled regardless of the message that was being given or the sensual nature of how it was being presented.
Our Present Situation
And this represents the present situation in much of today’s church here in America. Many pastors are more concerned with being socially acceptable to the world, and so most of them are not speaking out against sexual immorality. Instead, many of them are using sensuality to sell their churches to the world, and they are playing video clips from movies with sexual situations in them, and they are coddling people in their sins and teaching people that their sins no longer matter to God once they “believe” in Jesus.
So, these pastors profess faith in Jesus Christ, which biblically is to be a life of service to the Lord in walks of obedience and in holiness and righteousness and in the putting sin to death, by the Spirit. But so many of them are not teaching death to sin nor submission to Christ as Lord nor walks of obedience to our Lord and to his commands. Why? Because that is not socially acceptable, for it offends people. And many of them are living the life of that girl who could not say “no,” though she could, in reality.
We can all say “No!” to sin, and as followers of Christ we can live lives which are free from the control of sin over our lives because Jesus Christ died to set us free from slavery to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. Not saying “No!” is a choice of our wills, no matter how hard the temptation may be. For Jesus provided the way of escape for us. We just have to take the way he provided which is for us to daily put sin to death in our lives and to daily walk in obedience to our Lord in his righteousness.
But many people choose the “easy way out,” and they just cave to the sin rather than to do what is necessary to cut that sin out of their lives. And the Scriptures teach that these evils come from what is stored up in our hearts. And so our hearts need to be cleansed by the Spirit of God and then we need to walk by the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And this is possible, by God’s grace, in the power of God, when we choose to say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God, and when we choose to resist the devil and to draw near to our Lord in walks of obedience to him.
Don’t Be a Hypocrite!
So, don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t profess one thing but live another. Don’t act like you are a good Christian if you are not saying “No!” to sin, in practice. Yes, I was there, too, at one time in my life. And that is hell! So, if that is where you are, repent of (turn away from) your sin and choose to daily say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God. Now, if you try saying “No” but you are still wandering in other ways, and your lives are not dedicated to following Jesus in obedience, and so you keep going back to that same sin, your heart needs a transformation and then you need to never go back to your old ways.
For, again, how we live is a daily choice of our wills. We can choose to die daily to sin and to follow Jesus in obedience and to not put any obstacles before our eyes that might tempt us to go backwards, or we can just play games with fate and we can just drift along in meaningless wanderings to this or that and eventually who we are at heart is going to resurface time and time again. And we can choose to be people of integrity, or we can choose to be one thing to some people and another to other people.
So, I hope you will make the right choice today to shut that door permanently to your past life of living in sin and to now walk in holiness and in righteousness in the power of God from this moment forward. But this is not going to happen if you play with sin and with temptation and if you are being casual about your relationship with the Lord. You have to mean business, not just in your emotions, but in your heart’s determination to never go back and to only move forward, and to walk with integrity and no longer as a hypocrite.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.