December 18, 2011

David Sorn

We love to hate hypocrites. But what if we're hypocrites? What would God say about that?


December 18, 2011

David Sorn

We love to hate hypocrites. But what if we're hypocrites? What would God say about that?


Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

You know what’s really annoying? Hypocrites. Am I right?

We love to hate hypocrites. It’s in our nature, it’s in our culture, it’s everywhere.

If you want the media to completely annihilate you, be a hypocrite

I think it’s PART of why this Jerry Sandusky child abuse case has made people in this country SO angry

You have a guy who has a CHARITY for children, and is a child abuser.

There are a child abuse cases all the time, but there’s just something about this one that infuriates us.

Or politicians that talk about defending the poor and creating equal rights, and yet they’re personally making deals under the table and secretly amassing tons of money.

Those people drive us nuts. Just nuts.

Here’s another one. Pastors. “The few pastors that have been just roasted by the media and by our country over the past decade have been the one’s that so openly spoke out against sexual immorality,

Yet were found to be deeply involved in sexual addiction, an affair or you name it.

And we just crucify these people when we find it out.

There’s just something about hypocrites that we can not stand.

I mean, “UGH!” They get up in front of EVERYONE and say one thing, and then behind close doors, they’re totally different.

These people are sick.

I mean, you just want to throw something at ‘em right? Like, what’s your problem? How can you live in this duality?

It’s just terrible. It’s just sick. Right??

But….what if we’re hypocrites?


And maybe step one of our hypocrisy is denying our own hypocrisy and casting the first stone.

Because I think we are indeed hypocrites. All of us.

Ugh. It’s just deflating to say it.

Not to someone else. Feels kind of good even to call someone else a hypocrite. “They’re a hypocrite!”

Try it on your neighbor. Turn to them and say, “You hypocrite!” Feels good, doesn’t it?

But what about saying, “I’m a hypocrite.” Try that. Doesn’t feel as good.

But, if we’re going to begin to accept it (and some of you are like… “I didn’t’ say I was accepting that term for myself!), what is a hypocrite?

A hypocrite is just saying you live one way, but living another.

And typically that’s saying you live this good & holy life, but not living up to it. Or even close.

The word actually comes from the theater. A hypocrite used to be the greek work for a stage actor. Often they even wore masks.

But a hypocrite was therefore someone who pretends to be what he is not.

And that tendency is in all of us.

C.S. Lewis said once that EVERY one of us leans towards “exaggerating our depth of character while treating leniently our flaws.”

We just do it.

Here’s a great example:

Say you’re recounting an argument you had with someone to your spouse or good friend…

And you start saying, “Okay, and then she was like so I went forward with it anyway.”

Which I was like, “Well, that’s a decision that’s really going to mess up your life.”

And I’ve started this happen of saying to people (and some of my friends could attest to this), “So, did you really say that or did you just think that)

And I swear, I’m like 10 for 10 of people saying, “I just thought about saying it. But I WANTED TO!!”

We have this habit, and many of us can’t help ourselves of presenting a different “me” than we really are.

None of us really presents the deep, icky, darkness of who we really are to each other. NO way. It doesn’t’ feel safe, right?

So, we’re then forced to develop hypocritical lives.

And often it just grows.

We want to be someone else in front of people.

So, we change the package on the outside. It’s like the food industry. Ever felt a bag of chips lately? Okay, maybe not.

But seriously, go to the grocery store and feel a bag of chips or open up a box of cereal (well, you should probably do it when you get home),

But packaging in the food industry is messed up!

You have this huge box of cereal, and you open up the box, and there’s a bag, but it’s ½ full.

They trick you with the packaging!

And we attempt to do the same thing. Just trick people w/ our clever outside packaging of ourselves.

You ever heard the story of Teddy Roosevelt and pitching hay?

During one of his political campaigns, a delegation came to see him at his home. The President met them with his coat off and his sleeves rolled up.

“Ah, gentlemen,” he said, “come down to the barn and we will talk while I do some work.”

At the barn, Roosevelt picked up a pitchfork and looked around for the hay. Then he called out, “John, where’s all the hay?”

Sorry, sir,” John called down from the hayloft. “I ain’t had time to toss it back down again after you pitched it up while the Iowa folks were here.”

We love to package ourselves. We can’t help it.

And we churchgoers especially love to pretend like we’re pretty spiritual.

We can “talk the talk”

Oh, well, I’ve heard that Greek word that was written in the original manuscript

We can show up at all the right things

Show up here. Show up at House Groups. Show up at Worship night. Worship with all of our hearts.

And yet…at home…when no one’s looking… different story.

But when we walk in here…or you come around your Christian friends………we grab the mask.

Probably every single one of us.

We can’t help it. It just feels safer behind that mask.

We feel like we can hide what’s really in the depth of our hearts

So we hide.

And, I mean, you’re not actually going to tell anyone here that you and your spouse just were in a huge fight in the car on the way here.

Or that you didn’t even really want to come this morning.

Or that you just lusted at someone in church

Or that while I’ve been talking, you’ve just been thinking of someone at work that you’d really like to punch in the face.

No, we put on our church mask, and say, “Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! We’re so excited to be with our family this week!

(That we all secretly want to kill)

But it’s all Hypocrisy.

It’s just us trying to pretend to be more spiritual than we are.

And I hope…because this is a place where we show A LOT of grace…I hope you actually do feel the freedom to be real here.

But even in a place like this…we’re all still stuck in hypocrisy.

Because we’re afraid.

But afraid of what?


Let me come back to that question…but here’s one thing we ought to realize about our hypocrisy. God takes it pretty seriously.

We get this wrong a lot, but hypocrisy is really the sin that Jesus condemns with great vigor.

In fact, he actually gravitates towards the tax collectors and prostitutes, but speaks quite boldly against the hypocrites.

I want to read you some strong words from Jesus. If you thought Jesus only talked about cute puppies and floral arrangements, this oughta mess w/ you

In speaking to the supposed religious leaders about their obsession w/ their made up religious rules, he says:

(Matthew 15:7-9) – NIV

7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”

And we can fall into that trap. We honor him with our lips. Maybe even with the location of our bodies. But not really with our hearts.

Is your heart in love with Jesus?

Who are you doing this for?

For Him? Or is just to show your spouse, or some of these other people that…what…you’re good?

Who are you doing this for?

True story, in the 17th century, King Louis the 14th had a court preacher. One Sunday, the king arrived at chapel for the regular service, but no one was there but the preacher and the King.

King Louis demanded, “What’s going on!? Where is everyone?!”

The court preacher replied, “I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who merely flatters the king.”

And I ask you again…who are you doing this for?

Does He have your heart or just your words?

In a another conversation in the book of Luke, this happens:

(Luke 11:37-41) – NIV

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. 39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

And isn’t that us? Appearing clean on the outside, but still dirty on the inside.

It’s hypocritical. We’re hypocrites.

We go around telling people we’re Christians. Posting Christian statuses. Talking about our church…

Yet…in our hearts…in our thoughts….on the INSIDE of the cup… hateful thoughts…lust…judgmentalism…you name it. It’s dirty.

And if you thought Jesus was done on hypocrisy, he’s just getting started.

Matthew 23 is one of the most intense chapters in the Bible. Jesus basically “goes off” on the Pharisees.

And if we went out on the street and started asking non-Christians, “Hey, there’s this one chapter in the Bible where Jesus just goes off on a particular sin. You can imagine him getting red in the face as he’s speaking against it. Now, based on your impression of the church in America, what do you think that sin is?”

What do you think they would guess?

Divorce? Adultery? Homosexuality? Abortion?

What would they say if you told him it was actually against religious hypocrites?

And how come people don’t know that that’s what really gets Jesus going?

That’s kind of convenient for us, right?

We’ll just leave that part out.

Oh, and by the way, by so doing add to our layers of hypocrisy.

But look at this… This is Jesus talking to the religious hypocrites

(Matthew 23:15) – NIV

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

(Matthew 23:23-24) – NIV

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

(Matthew 23:27-28) – NIV

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

And that’s just a small sampling of that chapter.


And we can begin to feel the seriousness of lying to the world about the level of our righteousness and spirituality.

And it’s all pretty ironic isn’t it?

Lying about our spirituality while the one who judges our spirituality is the only one truly aware of our lie.

So we’re all hypocrites. Including the person who’s speaking to you. So now what? What does God think of that?

One of the most important people of the Old Testament is King David, and I’m not just saying that because I like his name.

King David is responsible for helping the nation of Israel truly follow God and His commands.

And yet, one spring, David makes a terrible mistake. And I dare say, an unbelievably hypocritical one.

If this were modern days, TMZ would be camped outside of David’s palace 24/7.

This King, this “Godly King” sees Bathsheeba bathing from his palace rooftop, sends his servants to go get her (even know they tell him she’s married), and he sleeps with her.

When he finds out that he got her pregnant (seriously this guy would be crucified in the tabloids…and it gets worse)…when he finds out that he got her pregnant, he has her husband brought home from war, so he’ll go home, sleep with his wife, and then hopefully think the baby is his.

Her husband refuses, so David tries to get him drunk, so he’ll go home, but he still refuses.

He has more morals drunk than our hypocrite David at this point.

And when that doesn’t’ work, David has his sent to the front lines, killed in action, and then steals his wife.

And this is the RELIGIOUS LEADER of Israel.

Yet, watch what happens when David is confronted by the prophet Nathan:

(2 Samuel 12:11-14) – NIV

11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”

And David is forgiven by God. He humbles himself, and asks for forgiveness.

And God forgives Him.

In fact, the Bible still even calls David a man after God’s own heart!!

Now, notice, often God doesn’t fully remove the consequences of our actions on this earth, but he can remove your guilt.

His love is still there.

He’s like a loving father communicating to his teenage child who’s just messed up their life.

Can that father undo what happened? No. Can he take away a consequence of what happened? (suspension, prison, hurt relationship, you name it). Probably not.

But does he still love his child. Absolutely.

And God is the same way. He still offers his love to us DESPITE our ridiculous hypocrisy.

And this is communicated over and over in the Bible.

Abraham….hypocrite. Jacob…hypocrite. Moses….hypocrite. Peter…hypocrite.

And I could keep going, but then I would probably start feeling to good about MYSELF and increase my own hypocrisy… J


I said earlier, we get stuck in hypocrisy because we’re afraid.

But afraid of what.

Afraid…that if people really knew us…I mean…REALLY knew us…they wouldn’t love us.

So we hide. So we put on masks. So we turn to hypocrisy to cope.

Now, because this is a place that values incredible grace…I hope this is a place where you can truly open up to people and show them the real you (especially in a place like house groups)

And I think you’ll find people who accept you and love you for who you really are.

But here’s one thing I absolutely know for certain:

God already does know everything about you. He’s already seen deep down into the pit of our wickedness.

And yet, still wants to forgive us. If we let him. If we turn to him. And accept his offer of forgiveness that he gave to us on the cross.

That he sent his son to die in our hypocritical place, to take the punishment for us.

You know we say often here that we are just a collection of messed up people.

But if you can’t admit that for yourself, you can get stuck.

Because grace isn’t beautiful until you can come to realization that YOU need it.

And a freedom from hypocrisy in your life will bring peace. Because when you can stop…and just simply admit that you’re broken. That yeah, sometimes you’re even a terrible hypocrite. When you can stop and admit that….

There’s finally a freedom. A freedom to stop trying to be “fake perfect.”

Cuz you’re not. And you never will be.

And in that freedom, you can discover a beautiful thing.

That DESPITE it all. Despite even our ugly hypocrisy…that God loves us anyway.

And that is beautiful. It’s freeing. It’s even calming.

So let go of fake-religious-perfection. And start embracing God’s love in the midst of your imperfection.

That He loves you DESPITE.

That he sent his son for you DESPITE being well aware of your coming hypocrisy.

You know, when we speak of hypocrisy, we speak of how we put a mask on for other people…

But perhaps our greatest hypocrisy is in regards to Jesus Christ and NOT to other people. Because, it’s to Him, and this is all very ironic because he actually knows everything, but it’s to him that we put on the biggest mask:

We say, “I love you God.” “I give my all to You” “I live only for you.” And we all know that so many times…that is not true. Yet EVEN knowing that, He still walked to the cross, died for us, and forgave us.

It’s crazy isn’t it? It’s crazy. It’s crazy how much he loves us.


And it’s with that knowledge that we head into this week of Christmas.

We talk about evangelism a lot at this church as God has helped us reach numerous people with the good news of Jesus Christ…and many of you have had your lives radically changed by meeting Jesus at this church.

This upcoming week is probably the most important week of all when it comes to helping people find Jesus.

There are a few weeks of the year where people tend to be more open to God than others, but NONE of them rivals this week.

And because of that, I believe God can use every single person in this room to do something amazing this week. Help save a life. For eternity.

This is probably your best opportunity of the year to invite your co-worker, your neighbor, your family member, the one you’ve been praying about to come to church and hear about God.

People are open.

We’ve given you ways to help you do that.

We handed you a postcard on the way in. That’s not for you to put on your fridge. It actually goes in the mail.

There were invite cards on your chair.

Be bold. Step out and trust. Remember who you’re putting your trust in. Not you. Him!

But you know what? You know what I think keeps us from inviting our friends to hear about God almost more than anything else?

It’s the fear of our own hypocrisy.

We KNOW we’re messed up. So we reason, I can’t invite them. THEY know I’m messed up. There just gonna think I’m a hypocrite inviting them to church.

But it’s time the church in America stop trying to do evangelism by hoping everyone will be so attracted to our perfection and holiness, that they’ll be magnetized to come to our church.

Let’s just try honesty for a change.

Tell your friend you’re super messed up. But you met Jesus, and found out that he loves messed up people like you. And it’s crazy, and they oughta check it out.

And if someone tells you the church is just full of hypocrites, just say, “Yeah, it is, and there’s always room for one more!”

Let’s just tell the truth, admit our hypocrisy, and tell them He loves us despite it all.

Because that’s what we’re talking about on Saturday. We’re going to continue in our Despite series…but focus on that Jesus came to earth that first Christmas DESPITE everything we’ve ever done.

Some of your fiends, your family members NEED to hear this. That Jesus can forgive them…yes…even them.

Bring them with you on Saturday. Make it your Christmas mission.

And watch God do amazing things.


And listen, if we can just stop…admit our imperfection, admit our brokenness, and BE OKAY W/ THAT, then we will be a useful tool in the master’s tool box.

Because before, when we’re trying to be perfect, we’re just like a dancing tool, trying to jump around showing everyone, “Look at me! Look at me!” But we’re nothing but a bouncing hammer that a carpenter can’t even pick up because it won’t sit still.

But when we just lay down…stop…say…”Ugh, who I am kidding. I’m not God. I’m not perfect. Then, HE can pick you up! And He can use you, yes you, in incredible prays.

Let’s pray he does that… even this week.

Let’s pray


We’ve been mentioning for several weeks now that we were going to take our first-ever special offering today. (Children’sHome3.JPG)

In just two and half weeks, our first-ever short-term missions team from Renovation will be working at a Children’s Home (or orphanage) in Haiti.

The kids at the home we’re working w/ have basically nothing. In fact, they just got beds last month.

“I mentioned to you last week that we strongly feel that priority number one for us as we invest in these kids is their safety and health.

Currently, as it stands, there is a large lowland in the center of their property that floods every rainy season and becomes a haven for mosquitoes, and thus creates a significant risk for the kids to get Malaria. (Land1.JPG)

Our God-sized goal for our church therefore is to raise $5,000…today.

Which would allow us to fill in the lowland and eliminate the mosquito haven, and most importantly, protect these children who so rarely have even felt protection in their lives.

We want to begin a relationship with them (and it starts with this). (Land2.JPG)

And we want to show these children, and their village…their neighborhood, that our faith in Jesus means something to us.

That we’re not just going there and doing this because “we should,” but because our faith in Jesus compels us to.

That HE has given us SO much…both spiritually AND physically, that we want to bless OTHER people.

As Jesus says, “Freely you have received, freely give.”

And we want to give. Not just to ourselves. We want to GIVE.

IN a way that’s going to make a serious difference. (Children’s Home1.JPG)

I’m going to request that if we can do this, that they tell the kids on Christmas, that not only is our team going to come down and build them a playground in a place where they have no toys, but that we are finally going to get rid of their mosquito risk and keep them safe.

What a gift. What a gift.

So our goal is to raise $5,000. Today. And we can do it. God can do it through us. I know He can. It only takes $20 a person, and ALL of us can help. (Final.JPG)

And many of you can give maybe even significantly more than that.

In just a moment, we’re going to take an offering for these kids, but I did want to let you know that on a logistical note, you if you weren’t ready to give today, you can still give online or send a check into our p.o. box (just make a note on it) as long as you do so by Tuesday night.

Make checks to renovation church

So let’s just pray, and then we’ll put our trust in God and hope that he can CONTINUE to do incredible things through our church.

Let’s pray for the offering.

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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