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TEXT: Matthew 15:1-9
It is sad to say, but you have to watch out for some people who call themselves Christians. Yes, there are some people who act Christian, look Christian, and talk Christian, but are not truly committed to the teachings and the spirit of Jesus Christ. In fact, our Lord told us to “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Throughout your journey as a Christian, you are bound to meet some of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. It was not too long after he had been saved that Christian, the main character of Pilgrim’s Progress, met two of these types of individuals — Formalist and Hypocrisy.
Formalist and Hypocrisy are representative of people who want to receive all of the benefits of being a Christian, but they do not always want to live the Christian life the way the Lord Jesus Christ has prescribed. I want to share with you three problems with these types of believers in hopes that you would not have these traits yourself and that you would be able to spot these traits in others and avoid them at all costs.
1. These types of believers value form and function over faith. The Bible tells us that “scribes and Pharisees [came to Jesus] saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.”
2. These types of believers are not sold out for Jesus Christ. Reminding His listeners of the words of Isaiah, Jesus say, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” The scribes and Pharisees were all about religious appearances and making sure they looked holy before the people, however their hearts were far from the place where God wanted it to be.
3. These types of believers are in it for their own glory. Finally, Jesus says, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” One of the reasons why Christians remain stuck on tradition, formality, or hypocrisy is because they are seeking their own glory. They are seeking to be noticed. They are seeking fame for themselves.
Ask yourself, today, dear friend: What kind of Christian are you? Are you just a formalist, only concerned about the outward appearance? Have you surrounded yourself with other people who are formalists? Are you a hypocrite? Are you trying to be something that you are not? It is my prayer and hope that you will live the life of a true believer, for that is truly where the blessing is.
MUSICAL SELECTION: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” by Maurette Brown Clark and “Pass Me Not” by Ann Nesby
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update, the Reasons to Believe, the History of Christianity, and the Covenant and the Cross. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-six years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.