You don’t have to search far and wide to find a hypocritical Christian. You know, the kind of Christ-follower that says one thing and does another. In Revelation 3:1-6, we’re introduced to a local church that’s going through a similar problem. The church in Sardis had this reputation of being a great church. Things were happening. I’m sure they had a dynamic youth program, a creative team with an eye for design, solid worship, and maybe even challenging Biblical preaching. This church was the place to be. It was, after all, the church to belong to. They had a reputation of being alive! After imagining this church, I bet it sounds appealing and almost makes you want to give it a shot this Sunday. Unfortunately, this church had a big problem: they were hypocrites.
A hypocrite is someone who says something and does another, and like I said before, there are plenty of Christian hypocrites out there. This church in Sardis was called out by Jesus on their hypocrisy. Sure they had a reputation, but they were far from where they should be. They were told to wake up before it was too late. Christians in Sardis were told to return to the genuine faith that they had at first. That letter in Revelation was a desperate warning to save this dying church. History isn’t entirely sure whether that church listened to Christ’s call or not, but we do know that today’s church is right back in that same problem of hypocrisy.
Sardis wasn’t the only one.
The church in Sardis dealt with the problem of hypocrisy, but they weren’t the only ones that had to deal with, or are dealing with this problem. Today, there are hypocritical Christians everywhere. You know, the kind of Christians that say all the things they need to say, but the life they live is far from the example of Christ. Maybe you know some of them? They look the part, they dress the part, but they are far from a genuine faith walk.
Hypocritical Christians jam out to their favorite trendy worship albums in the car. Hypocritical Christians have letters from their sponsored children at home on the fridge. Hypocritical Christians even post inspiring Christian messages all over social media. They’ll watch Christian television, read the latest and greatest Christian book, and even put scripture decor all over their homes. These hypocrite posers will often read scripture, while enjoying an overpriced coffee. Hypocritical Christians will pray for you, they give to the church, and even serve among the leadership. Yet, hypocritical Christians live a life defined, not by Jesus, but by sin.
Stop pointing fingers.
Today, we’re a bunch of hypocrites. Like my friend, Jarrid Wilson, says: we need to break free from poser Christianity! It’s easy to sit here and point fingers. Look, there’s a poser over there! Don’t go to that church, they’re a bunch of hypocrites! Those people say they do good, but they are far from good! Yet, I never thought of myself as the problem. Even while I was sitting down to type these thoughts, I was convicted.
It’s easy to read through the passage in Revelation 3, and shake our heads at the hypocritical nature of the church in Sardis. It’s even easy to point to other Christians that are doing the same thing. But, the last thing I want to think about is the fact that the majority of us are living a life of reputation instead of living out a genuine walk with Jesus. We can sit here and point fingers, but we fail to point out the worst hypocrites of all: YOU & ME!
I’m here today to tell you that I am a hypocrite. I’ve been talking a good talk, but I’ve failed to truly walk the way God called me to live. I’ve been living for my reputation, instead of living for Jesus. But, I’m ready to change. Will you join me on this journey? Are you ready to stop pretending and start living? Ditch that overpriced coffee and just be real.
*This message has been adapted from Scott’s November 29th sermon Mismatched.
(Photo by Flickr user: Basheer Tome)