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Are You a Hypocrite, or Someone Who Struggles with Sin?

Are You a Hypocrite, or Someone Who Struggles with Sin?

In Matthew 12:31, Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men." If a person continues to ignore and reject the call to repent and believe in God, that is blasphemy against the Spirit. One who dies in this state has committed the unpardonable sin. If you are reading this, you may be in the process of committing it, but there is hope.

The religious leaders of Jesus' day were attributing the works of God to Satan - this was reflected in their heart...the fruit of their life.

Jesus continued in Matthew 12:33-34, "For a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." How is this relevant for you today? Would Jesus have said the same things to you?

(Photo: Shane Idleman)

Religious people often say "good things," but their hearts deliberately disobey. This is called religious hypocrisy; God hates it. This is much different than a believer who struggles with sin. A religious person acts religious but doesn't know God.

Around the globe, millions have religion but not a true relationship. Jesus states, "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Matthew 15:8). A.W. Tozer adds, "Millions of professed believers talk as if [Christ] were real and act as if He were not. And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk." Is this where you find yourself today?

The only way to awaken those who are spiritually dead is with words that confront. Jesus used cutting words to spark change: "Brood of vipers." Sometimes, we are to do the same, primarily when preaching.

Pastors...did you catch that? God doesn't just want us to encourage; He wants us to confront. Many go to church sporadically, but would rather sit at home. They are disengaged and bored during worship when they do attend. Their social media posts resemble Hollywood not the work of the Spirit. They choose friends who complement their worldly lifestyle, rather than friends who challenge them to live for God. They look forward to consuming alcohol, and avoid prayer and Bible study. The things of the world are exciting and the things of God are dull.

Their movie and video choices look no different than what the culture promotes. Their conversations at work include every topic except God, and at home, their words are shallow and lifeless. Their waking thoughts are focused on wealth, pleasure, or entertainment. They have religion, but not a genuine relationship. Sadly, many churches are encouraging this lifestyle rather than confronting it.

This spiritual climate is where the majority of religious people live. Floyd Mayweather wrote recently on Instagram, "Yes, I got a 14 passenger jet. Got to give them another reason to hate, but I will motivate the people that are ambitious and want to be winners in life. I am guilty! I'm materialistic and I'm motivated by money...but God is first in my life." It's impossible to love the things of this world and still have God as a "priority."

Granted, there is a huge difference between a hypocrite and someone who is struggling in their relationship with God. We all struggle, but hypocrites play a role, much like an actor. They are deceiving people by saying one thing and doing another. Those who are unrepentant and indulge in sin are outside of God's will...outside of salvation. Those who are struggling turn to God and allow Him to cleanse and redeem.

Why are the majority of American Christians misled? They are spiritually dead, or they are dying spiritually. If this upsets you, let me ask why? It upsets because your relationship with God is being compromised. Yes, we are saved by faith, but faith without fruit is dead. We need conviction so that change takes place.

Are you spiritually dead? That can change today through repentance, brokenness, and surrendered to the One true and living God. When your heart is right, the rest falls into place (cf. Matthew 6:33). Turn to God (or back to Him): "Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you…(Psalm 50:15)."

Watch my sermon, Overcoming Shame & Guilt, on Vimeo

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. He just released his 7th book, Desperate for More of God. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at Follow him on Facebook.