Friday, July 31, 2009


Do you know a hypocrite? Have you pointed this out to someone before that what they've done goes completely against what they have said to you? Has anyone ever pointed out to you that your actions fly in the face of the beliefs that you say you hold?

Oh really, no one?

Come now you must be joking. No one has ever pointed out that you as a christian should love your neighbour as yourself while you scream obscenities at those who have offended you. Maybe it wasn't that bad, maybe you only thought these things. Of course if no one knows how much of hypocrite you are does that still make you a hypocrite?

Of course it does. In fact it puts you in a good company with some pretty famous people. Also a few infamous people as well. In fact it puts you in company with every person on the face of the earth. We are all hypocrites. Its just that sometimes we just haven't had it pointed out to us, yet.

Consider it pointed out to you.......NOW!
Imagine if you could see yourself like some hovering camera that permenantly looks at everything you do at church (if you don't go to church try another place where you are at your best behaviour) . Then think of how that compares to the rest of your life.

Can someone look at you here at the place where you act the best and then take that as a measure of who you are everywhere else? Are you the same here as you are everywhere else?

Do you measure up? Honestly do you at you best measure up to the standards you believe in?

You don't do you?

Thats great cause I don't either. No human being ever has, apart from Jesus that is.

In Jesus time there were 2 kinds of hypocrite. The kind who realised they were and those who didn't.

Those who didn't were the Pharisees, the religious elite the ultra-orthodox super religious do everything by the boook dot the i's and cross the t's people. The scoffed at Jesus and treid their beest to bring Him down with their questions and tricks. These men professed to know God to understand Him and they did, in their heads as a list of laws. They did what they had to do and made sure others saw it. They also made sure none saw their faults and their sins.

In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus gives a story about those Pharisees.

Luke 18:9-14
9Jesus told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who looked down on everyone else:

10Two men went into the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed, "God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12I go without eating for two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all I earn." 13The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, "God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner."

14Then Jesus said, "When the two men went home, it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored."

Which camp are you in? Honestly, which one are you in? You better think about it cause a lot depends on this. This realisation of personal hypocrasy is required. Humble yourself, you will be honored says Jesus. Did the Pharisee humble himself or did the tax collector.

Tax collectors, Prostitutes, Theives, Leppers, the Blind, the Lame these were those who gathered round Jesus for the grace He was brining. Yet here we are professing to live His way and do we always? I know I don't do it always and my reaction when I finally realise my hypocrasy is the same as these outcasts and deviants those "greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful". I need Jesus and the Grace He has poured out for me.

There is more to the life we live than just the time we spend at church with everyone looking on. Jesus called the Pharisees white washed tombs. Pure and white on the outside but inside full of dead and decaying bodies. Is that how we live professing to be spiritual and Godly but not living in His peace and love troubled in our thoughts and relationships. Are we unable to love others and show the Grace that He showed us. Do you love your neighbours as yourself?

I don't, in fact my cynical and black heart has come up with some astonsihingly evil words about others and its only recently that God has shown this to me. People who don't follow Jesus have said "Phill for a Christian you're incredibly cynical." I also got "At first I thought you were nice, but you have a real nasty streak."

How do we do this? The same way the tax collectors and prostitutes and disciples did. They listened to His teachings, watched and learned His voice and who He is. They got to know Him personally, they had a realtionship with Him. This is the same for us there is contact to Jesus thorugh His spirit, through prayer, through the word He has left for us. We are free to do this to envelop oursleves into His open Grace ready to be loved beacuse we realise that on our own we can never get there. He is the one who gives the Grace to live the life He lived. The lie is that we can't, that there is no way to change our spots. Through Christ all is possible and as we grow in Him by getting to know Him through His word and His spirit these things will be passed.

Do you know this Jesus who is there for us Hypocrites?

Or are you a white washed tomb?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back in 2009. Inside versus Outside

This hasn't been the most consistantly used blog for me at all. Of course you'll see that when you look at the fact that the other posts are all 2 years ago.

What happened thischristianguy? I hear you all ask.

Well I changed my way of preparing the messages I was going to give. I started just talking them out to myself while walking the dog. Of course now the dog barks in tounges - its just a joke.

So now I'm going to begin again posting my message preparations.

Its 2 weeks till my next deadline and I'm already playing around with the concept of inside/outside - Jesus versus The Law. You know the whole whitewashed tombs hypocrasy thing in Mathew 23.

Matthew 23:27-28
27"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

28"So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Jesus' teachings focused on the decisions you make, what you think and beleive, on your heart. Not on what people see you do and how you look. The people of Jesus' day had a way of seeing things that was skewed to the visual, only seeing the acts of a person and their physical state. This extended to the sick, ill and disabled. You can see it in the question the disciples ask Jesus about the Blind Man.

John 9:1

1As Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2Jesus' disciples asked, "Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was it because he or his parents sinned?"

Being pop culturaly minded I find myself thinking of another character who saw things differently. Jay from Men in Black.

Jay looks beyond the exterior appearance of the monsters in the shooting gallery. He sees that one of them is working out, the other is sneezing, and that the white girl in the ghetto with quantum physics books is "Up to somthing". This an obscure way of explaining what Jesus does with all of us, but thats just how revolutionary Jesus teaching is. It's a whole new way to understand the world. Before Jesus everything was external, everything to do with the Jewish faith was to do with your actions. Boys were circumcised, animals were sacrificed, purification and washing of the body was essential, the temple was in the city huge and larger than life. People struggled to keep up with the laws that the Pharisees had established. Of course for the Pharisees to keep ahead of everyone else they went to extremes. They tithed from their spices. This would be akin to thithing from your sock drawer, or teaspoons, or pens, staples, paper clips.

This kind of strict adherance is scary but its still done, yes its done by the religious right wing fantatics in every fait, but its not just Jews, Chrisitians and Muslims. Its done by people folowing trends and lifestyles be it Goth, Geek, Extreme Sports, you name it. We live our lives with a template which we have decided up on or have had decided for us. This is how we present ourselves. The Pharisees presented themsleves was as pious and clean,Jesus called them white washed tombs. How they looked was a facade, merely a mask which hid dead bones.

All of the external trappings we do only mask the fact that on the inside we are like the Pharsiees, dead bones. We need to look on the inside of ourselves and see this is true. Jesus looks inside us all and tells us there needs to be a clean up. Of course this clean up can't be done by ourselves we need purification but not just the washing of our bodies but out hearts as well. A kind of spiritual irrigation is needed. The Jewish customs and traditions all delt with the outside, markings of your body like circumcision, rituall cleansing, sacrifice and the temple. Jesus said he came not to destroy the law but to filfill it. Jesus came to make us Temples for His Holy Spirit. He is the one and only complete sacrifice who died on the cross and rose again, whose blood makes us clean washing away our sin. He asks us to circumcise our hearts and cut out the dead and decaying parts of us that are worthless that lead us into those old ways. Paul describes this best.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We need to realise that how we look on the outside isn't as important as how we are on the inside. We can change, we can do more than just what people expect us to be. Jesus is able to do this in us, if we are willing to submit to Him, becoming a Temple of His Holy Spirit. Then He will begin the job of transforming us into the person He wants us to be.

Yeah thats almost there.

God bless