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Whitewashed Tombstones (published in The North Weld Herald 4/22/10)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:15 PM by Fccea Webmaster
The Community Church brought in a performing horse. They asked the horse how many commandments, and he stamped ten times. Then they asked how many apostles, and he stamped twelve times. Some wise guy in the crowd asked, "How many hypocrites are there in this church?" The horse went into a tap-dance on all fours!

Perhaps you find yourself in agreement. Many people do. In fact, would it surprise you to know that God is in agreement too?!

Do you have any idea what Jesus did immediately after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem during His last visit there? He went down to the temple and threw out all the hucksters (John 2:13-22)! It was Passover week, and pilgrims from far and near came to sacrifice and pay a temple tax. They were "aided" by those on the temple grounds who would provide an animal for sacrifice (at their price, of course) or who would exchange money (for a small fee, naturally). Jesus made short work of them.

He saved His most scathing language for the Pharisees of His day. These were the most religious people of their time -- pillars of the community and the church to whom Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27). Strong language.

Jesus uses even more chilling words to describe the fact that good works, and a marvelous facade, will be useless on judgment day. He says, On that day many will say to me, "'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'" (Matthew 7:22-23). Did we know Him? That will be the question. Have we received Him?

No one, God included, approves of hypocrites and, yes, they exist in church -- just like everywhere else. But the question isn't, are there hypocrites? The question is, are they keeping me from God? Are they a convenient excuse for saying, "God can't be real because some Christians are hypocrites!" Does that make sense? Is that good logic? Why would I let a phony whom I don't even respect keep me from a relationship with God? Is God a fake because they are? Am I made a fraud because some "friend" misrepresents me?

Someone has well said, if you are letting a hypocrite stand between you and God, guess who is closer to God? With broken heart, God will one day say to the hypocrite, "I never knew you." With equally broken heart, God will say to the unbeliever who made hypocrites his or her excuse, "I never knew you." And now guess who will be keeping company for eternity?

There is a potent little verse in Romans 14:12: "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. At that point, it's between me and Him; the hypocrite excuse wont cut it.

A little boy attended the baby dedication of his little brother. The older boy proceeded to cry all the way home, in the car. His father asked, "What's wrong son?" The boy said, "The minister made you promise that you would have us raised in a Christian home." "What's wrong with that?" asked the Father. The boy cried, "I want to stay with you and mom." Sometimes hypocrisy starts at home.

By His Grace, Pastor Dave