Jesus Speaks Against Hypocrisy

There was a preacher who was interviewing with a pastoral search committee. An English teacher headed the committee, and was very concerned that the future pastor spoke properly. “When the hen is on the nest, does she sit or set?” he asked the candidate. The hopeful p … More



In these first twelve verses of chapter 12 Jesus sounds a warning concerning hypocrisy, as the people were trying to appear good when their hearts were far from Him. Their selfishness would soon expose them as power-hungry imposters, not devoted religious leaders. Have you ever heard someone say,"I will not go to that church because it is full of hypocrites.” Actually there are hypocrites in every walk of life. These are people who try to impress others in order to  hide their  real self. Jesus gives us the following guideline for keeping hypocrisy out of our lives:

  1. We must understand what it is (v. 1) - He says it is like leaven which begins very small but grows quickly.  It does to the ego what yeast does to bread dough.
  2. We must recognize it as foolish and futile (vv. 2-3) - Nothing can really be hidden from God so why go on pretending.
  3. We must understand what causes it (vv. 4-7) - Jesus mentions fear five times in these verses and the basic cause of hypocrisy is the fear of what others may say about us or do to us.
  4. We must confess Christ openly (vv. 8-9)- It is not important that men praise our names on earth, but it is important that God acknowledges us in heaven (II Tim. 2:8-14).
  5. We must depend on the Holy Spirit (vv. 10-12) - The Jewish nation, even though they had asked Pilate to crucify Jesus, could have been forgiven if they had listened. This was their last opportunity and they failed by rejecting the witness of the Spirit (Acts 7:51).


Hypocrites love titles and honors but the true Christian cares not for titles. How do I measure up to the guidelines listed above? I must never do things to get the applause of men. It is so easy to care more about what people think about me than in what God knows about me. Charles Spurgeon said “there is no higher degree than that of a sinner saved by grace."

Luke 12:1-12 (English Standard Version)

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