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)

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. "And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."

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