(Message 3) Have you ever tried to manage someone’s perception of you? Whether at work, school, church, or on social media – we can be tempted to present a flattering but false image of ourselves to others. This is actually hypocrisy, which means we’re all guilty of it at some point and to some degree. Join us as we learn how Jesus can undo the hypocrisy in our lives. #GCWWJU
Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (NLT)
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. ‘“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.'(NLT)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.’ (NLT)
‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (NLT)
Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.
Who are some of the least hypocritical people you know? What stands out about them?
Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.
The definition of a hypocrite is a person who pretends to have certain beliefs, attitudes or feelings when they really do not. Describe how you feel or what you think about when you hear the word “hypocrisy”.
Read Matthew 23:25-28. What was Jesus saying to the Pharisees? Have you ever been affected by hypocrisy? How did it impact you? Your belief in God?
Read Proverbs 28:13. Why do you think confession leads to mercy?
Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.
Describe what “masks” you wore growing up or are wearing now.
In what area of your life do you struggle to show your honest self?
Think about environments, participants, reputation. How do they factor into your behavior? Are any ‘masks’ involved? How do you know?
Accountability is a great safeguard for identifying and combating hypocrisy. What other safeguards can you establish that can help to keep you on track?
How will you ask your Small Group, other friends, or family to pray for you this week?
Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
Take a step:
Tell your group about a mask you’ve been wearing. Then, ask them to help you watch for it – and keep it off.
Do inventory this week as you interact with people. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you other masks that you put on.
Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.
God, we have nothing to fear when we have nothing to hide. We can’t surprise You with our honesty and confession. Will You give us the boldness to live open lives? Thank You, Jesus, for your unlimited grace. Amen!