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Enough To Make Your Knees Tremble

I solemnly assure you, the man who has faith in Me will do the works I doOe
John 14:15-21

Sermon Topic Hypocrisy

Sermon Week Sixth Sunday of Easter Cycle A

Scripture Summary John 14:12


There is an old aphorism which says:
"Some people go to Church to see who didn't."

There is another that goes something like this:

"Attend your Church," the pastor cries;
to Church each fair one goes.
The old go there to close their eyes,
The young to eye the clothes.

In terms of understanding what God is doing in the Church -- and in the home, and in the city, and in the world -- we are in need always of reexamining our role as Church-goers. Are we spectators, or are we participants? Are we watchers, or are we doers? Are we detached, or are we involved? Are we giving lip service to the Good News of New Life in Christ, or are we experiencing it?

There are several Gospel episodes in which Jesus comes down hard on the "spectators" and "watchers" of His time. Jesus labelled their strict observance of the Sabbath laws "hypocrisy." You hypocrites," He said. "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said:

This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, teaching as doctrine the precepts of men (Mt. 15:8-9).

Again and again, Jesus called them hypocrites: "Woe to you hypocrites! ... Woe to you hypocrites! ... Woe to you hypocrites! ... Woe to you blind guides!" He called them "blind guides" because, in terms of their experience of God in their lives, they were playing the spectator's role. Although they meticulously observed rituals of worship, their hearts weren't in it. Their detachment was blinding them to the true nature of God, Jesus said. They were perceiving God more as a tough taskmaster than as their loving Heavenly Father.

In a recent interview, pollster George Gallup Jr. was asked to comment on what his polls were saying about "the state of religion in America." He said that, in general, American Church-goers are assenters rather than believers:

They assent to faith. They assent to the beliefs which one is meant to believe, but they don't necessarily believe them. If you consider that a belief is something to be acted upon, [...]

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