Point 2. THE TRANSGRESSION OF WILFUL HYPOCRITES WITH DECEPTIVE HEARTS
Mark 7:6; Matthew 6:2,6,16; 23:25-28; Isaiah 29:13; 1 Samuel 16:7; Deuteronomy 30:6; Proverbs 23:26; Jeremiah 24:7; 44:16; 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The Lord Jesus called the Pharisees many times wilful hypocrites for they closed their eyes not wanting to see the truth as revealed by and in Christ. They deceived and imposed hypocrisy on themselves and other people. “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mark 7:6). God is concerns about the heart. These people did everything – prayed, fasted, gave alms but all in hypocrisy; they did not think of the condition of their hearts. They appeared righteous, but their hearts were far away from God. “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matthew 6:2). Everything they did, they did it for show, as a tradition to please and receive the praise of men. Even when they prayed, they were just doing it for tradition, to draw men’s attention to themselves, not because they had a need that they wanted God to satisfy or to demonstrate their faith in God. They were hypocrites because the tradition had so affected everything that they did. Hypocrites do a lot of religious things that may appear right, but it was for show. Outward tradition, comportment or celebration of whatever without the heart being there merits no favour from God. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Matthew 23:25). They were meticulous about the outside of the cups, vessels and their surroundings, but within are full of covetousness, greed, and wickedness. But you need the grace and help of God to cleanse within (Matthew 23:26). Heart cleansing is the emphasis here. For the religious Jews, on the outside, there was religion, and everything appeared to be alright but there was unrighteousness, defilement, filthiness and iniquity inside (Matthew 27:27-28). Pray that you will not be like them. The word of God reveals His desire, expectations and disappointments concerning the children of Israel, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13). God looks at the heart and He expect that our hearts will be clean. He is not just interested on the outward show of religion, but He wants our hearts to have been cleansed, washed, circumcised, made holy and righteous before Him. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The Pharisees forgot that, they thought that if they were ceremonially clean then they were alright, but God says no, that he is interested in the heart. The Lord wants to do something else after cleansing you, He wants to circumcise your heart (Deuteronomy 30:6). “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26). The Lord wants us to give Him our heart so that He can purge, purify, circumcise and possess it. But these people were still religious, that their hearts went after their wilful transgressions and practices, “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee” (Jeremiah 44:16). They kept to their own tradition and rejected the word of God. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5). They still kept on in their rigid, ruinous tradition and ceremonial washing, went to their sanctuaries, but were more cruel, envious and went the evil way. They denied the power of godliness; were ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. That will not be you in Jesus’ Name.