A Place Where Authenticity Is Honored
Dennis Miller // Matthew 23:25-27
My life is far too short to spend it playing some phony game of spirituality.
Jesus called out the Pharisees, a religious group during Jesus’ day, for not being real. They wanted others to see them as special and treat them as though they were closer to God than anyone else. They wanted others to be impressed with their piety and holiness.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“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 dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. -Matthew 23:25-27
The word “hypocrite” came from Greek drama that meant “one who is play-acting, wearing a mask.”
Jesus was familiar with the Greek theatre…he grew up in the village of Nazareth. The population of Nazareth during his day was approximately 200 people. Four miles to the northwest of Nazareth was the bustling Greek city of Sepphoris with a population of 25,000. Sepphoris had a Greek theater that seated 4,000 people.
The symbol of Greek drama, as many may know, is a two-faced mask. Greek actors were called, “hypocrites.” Often, a single actor would play several different characters, and for each character, the actor would use a different mask. So when they would switch characters, they would switch masks. Since actors wore different masks, what people saw didn’t reflect who they really were. Jesus says in verse 5: “Everything they do is for show” (NLT).
Jesus was telling the religious Pharisees to drop the masks and get real.
God wants the same for you and I. But how do we drop the masks and “get real”?
1. Live what you claim to believe.
“Do not merely listen to the word, do what it says.” -James 1:22
The word for “listen” is derived from the Greek word “akroates” which we get our word “audit”. Have you ever audited a class in college? What do you do when you audit a class? You just sit in. You don’t do anything. James is saying here, “Don’t just audit the word, do what it says.”
Do you talk a pretty good game of Christianity on Sunday morning but Monday through Saturday your life completely contradicts what you say you believe?
“Whoever claims to live in him, must walk as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:6
When you drop your mask, when you quit playing games, when you quit trying to fool God and get really honest with him – His grace is released in your life and you are free to really live.
2. Resist comparing yourself to other people.
“Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done, and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.” – Galatians 6:4
God takes great delight in watching you be you! God says, “You are my beloved daughter! You are my beloved son!” When you understand that, all other human titles are empty.
Over the past 30 years, I’ve had a lot of titles in ministry. I’ve been Pastor Dennis, Brother Dennis, Rev. Miller, Dr. Miller, Rev. Dr. Miller, and even some names I can’t repeat in this room!
I have only one title that actually matters: The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved.
“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them” – John 21:20
Does anybody know who the disciple whom Jesus loved was?
His name was John.
Does anybody know who wrote John 21:20?
His name was John.
John wrote this about himself!
John knew that Jesus loved him. That what’s how I want to be known.
God just wants us to be real – To live what we believe and not compare ourselves to others.
Authenticity is refreshing; it’s what people are looking for.
Senior Pastor | Ginghamsburg Church