Unconscious Hypocrisy

Unconscious Hypocrisy is actually the title of a sermon by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which was recoded in his book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. The following is just a few notes I took on that sermon.

Lloyd-Jones began by saying that there are many people who are not aware of the fact that they are not really Christians when they are convinced that they are; and so, they have a kind of unconscious hypocrisy. They think they are good Christians but they are in fact reprobates.

  • They are of the “many” who have passed up the narrow gate and have instead gone down the broad path with most of the world.
  • They are like the five foolish virgins, and like the man who built his house on the sand.
  • They are of those whom Jesus spoke of (in Matthew 7:21-23) who did wonderful works, but yet didn’t know Him.
  • They are people who are praised by men.
  • They are considered as outstanding servants.
  • They are happy about themselves.
  • They are assured of their salvation.

God says of them, “I never knew you.” So, they have been deceived. And they will be surprised at the judgment. Here is the passage that we have been considering:

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

I think the most important thing we can do is to list the causes of self-deception to make sure we don’t fall into the same trap that so many have fallen into. Here is the list of six, which I gathered from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermon.

  1. They have a false assurance of their salvation, which they have persuaded themselves to believe. This false assurance is based on a false belief system. A system that says that if I say I believe often enough and strongly enough, that it will take hold. But James says that the Devil also believes this way, and he certainly will not be saved from hell.
  2. They refuse to examine themselves periodically to see if their faith is true.
  3. They live on their activities of good works. They think this will save them.
  4. They balance their good works with the bad. This is a Muslim system, and a system of all false religions, but it doesn’t work.
  5. They fail to heed the plain teaching of Scripture. To take it as their guide.
  6. They fail to realize that the one thing that matters is a relationship with Christ. He wants our heart, our submission, our time; and He wants us.

Why Prayer is Necessary: #5 – To Obtain Fullness of Joy

Jesus said in John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.” 

The teaching here is that when we ask in His name and receive the things we ask for, the result, after receiving those things, will be a fullness of joy.  And I suppose you could say that our joy will come in degrees.  To the degree that we recognize that God has answered our prayers, to that degree we will receive joy. The person who doesn’t realize that God has answered his prayer may have a certain amount of joy just because he has received what he wanted.  But the real and full joy is a joy that comes from knowing absolutely that God has answered our prayers.

R. A. Torrey has said, “When we ask something definite of God, and He gives it, how real God becomes!  He is right there!  It is blessed to have a God who is real, and not merely an idea.”3  Yes, it is a joyful and real experience when God reaches down in love, and gives us what we ask for.  It is the joy of experiencing His presence.

In Psalm 16:11 David wrote, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures forever.”  Though David here is mainly speaking of the joy that comes after this life, we can know that same joy now whenever we experience His presence—which will surely come to us with the realization that He has answered our prayers.

This I think is the whole point of prayer—to have the joyful realization of His presence.  It is what God intended for us.  Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10b).  He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6).  It is God’s purpose for us to have this abundant life, which is found in Jesus, and can only be gained when we call out to Him in prayer.  Prayer then is the key to obtain this life—life that produces for us a fullness of joy.


3 R. A. Torrey, How to Pray (Chicago: Moody Press, n. d.), p. 16.

Paper Tiger — Ernie’s Musings

The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. (1 Samuel 2:4) Unless you have completely isolated and insulated yourself from the outside world (and I would not blame you if you have; sometimes I wish I could completely detach from the constant flow of bad news), you […]

Paper Tiger — Ernie’s Musings

Those who say to Him, “Lord, Lord”

The narrow way and the broad way

The Bible says that on the judgment day it will be revealed that some who think they are Christians are really not. In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

This may seem to you to be a very strange thing, that some people will be so self-deceived, that they think they are Christians when they are not. How can this happen? How does someone not know that he is not a Christian? How does he or she live so much of a life thinking that they are Christians when they are not?

The only answer is that they haven’t really known what a Christian is. They evidently have allowed false prophets to influence them; and they, at the beginning, entered not at the narrow gate but at the broad gate and went down and lived in the broad way—the way of the world. And all along in their journey, they never at any point got to know the Lord and to be changed by Him. What a tragic deception.

But how is it that they are so deceived?  And also, how is it that true Christians are also deceived into thinking that some false Christians are true Christians? Here are a few reasons why:

  • Knowing Him does not mean saying the right words. It is possible for a person to say all the right words, to have a very holy and righteous speech, and yet not be a Christian. A changed language does not mean that there is a changed heart.
  • Some unbelievers may use Scripture and Scriptural teaching as a kind of philosophy, but they don’t really know Christ or are converted.
  • Some may speak and even preach the Scriptures fervently, but it may be entirely of the flesh and not for the sake of Christ.

The test of course is whether a person has the fruit of the Spirt, and also whether they know Him or not. Do they pray and read their bible regularly? Do they have a growing love relationship with Him?

 

Why Prayer is Necessary: #4 – To Obtain Good Things

God really wants us to have things—many things.  But He wants us to have only those things that are good for us. 

Sometimes we will desire something, and it really does seems to be a good thing; but then later, after we have prayed about it and sought God’s Word about it, He shows us that He isn’t pleased with what we desire.

Whatever we pray for we should ask ourselves these two questions:

1. Are these things going to bring me closer to the Lord or further away?

2. Will these things I desire help me to be a friend of the world, or a friend of God (James 4:3-4)?

There are many good things that God wants us to have, but if we don’t ask for them we will not receive them (James 4:2).  And when we do ask, perhaps we don’t ask correctly—with the right motives (v. 3).

It may be that when we do ask for things we don’t really believe that God will give them to us, so that’s why we aren’t persistent in our asking.  In other words, we may treat prayer as sort of a religious duty, or a ritualistic thing—something that we just do but we don’t really expect an answer.

My friend, God is real and personal.  He is your Father.  How do you ask your earthly father for things?  You ask and keep asking until you get it, don’t you?  And you ask that way because you know that sooner or later He will give it to you, because you know He loves you.  Will not God who loves you far more give to you as much?

Sometimes, instead of believing and asking God for the things we want, we sit and worry, and we lust and envy and fight and even wage war over those things (Ja. 4:2).  But if you want certain things, and if you know you need them, why not just ask God for them. He will give them to you as a gift.  Everything you desire in life, if it pleases God for you to have it, He will give it to you if you just ask.

Do you need a job?  Then ask.  Yes, make your rounds to employment agencies and apply at various places, but you must also ask God.  He will give you the job you really need, in quick time. 

Are you worried about your friend who is lost?   Then ask God for his or her soul.  Who else will save your friend?

In all the things we desire but aren’t receiving, take these words to heart: “You do not have because you do not ask” (Ja. 4:2).  Prayer is indeed necessary for obtaining things. 

Why Prayer is Necessary: #3 – To Help Us Stand Firm Against the Devil

Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).  Jesus knew that prayer was absolutely necessary to resist temptation, that without it we are weak and vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. 

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are in a struggle, not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in heavenly places.  He therefore suggests that we put on the full armor of God so that we may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

As we see in Ephesians 6:18, prayer is part of this full armor.  But we should not look at prayer as just one piece of the full armor, as if to have a little significance.  Prayer, in fact, is significant for the correct use of each piece of armor.  Moreover it energizes the armor and holds each piece of armor in place.  In the final analysis, it is our power for victory.1

Prayer, as it is used in verse 18, is not just of one kind; it is “all prayer.” All kinds of prayer, therefore, are to be used against the enemy.  And with “all prayer” we are to pray “at all times.”  That is, we must pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).   What is meant here, according to Warren Wiersbe, is that we must “always be in communion with the Lord.”2  And this infers that we must always be drawing on His strength.  Yes, we must be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10), which cannot be accomplished without unceasing prayer in the Spirit.

Also, when we pray, we must “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all saints” (v.18), knowing that the devil is on the prowl, seeking to destroy God’s people. We must therefore, be watchful and pray, not just for ourselves, but also for all other believers who are subject to the same temptations as we are.  And when we are faithful to pray for others, God will be faithful to bless us and give us His strength.


1 Warren Wiersbe, Be Rich (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books. A division of SP Publications, Inc., 1976),  p. 172.

2 Ibid., p. 172.

Urgent Prayer Needed for Afghanistan

Though we are a long way from troubles in Afghanistan, Christians should take time to pray for them. Though prayer may at times seem to be a little thing, we are called to do it, and we must believe that God will hear and answer.

Pray for those who are waiting to get out. Pray for them to be patient and to cry out to God for His help. As they fear the Taliban, pray that they would cling to God for His deliverance. Pray especially for the young women who are in grave danger of being taken by the Taliban as wives—but they will be abused and raped. May God not allow it!

I pray that God will use this hard situation to turn people to Him for help and for their salvation. I pray that America will see how this administration and the President has really bungled it and that we will demand a new president. Biden is proving his poor leadership and mental deficiency.   

Pray also for all Americans that in this time of trouble and chaos many will turn to God and trust Him. Pray that they will see that their only hope is a new life in Christ. That they will see the hopelessness in the old life.

Afghanistan and War

Afghanistan has been in the news lately. A tragedy! My thoughts are this: We never should have even thought about pulling out. I’m sure there are different things we could have done, but my view is that as long as there is evil in the world, good governments have the responsibility to resist evil—even by war. Yes, it is the role of a nation’s government to resist and fight against evil forces. We find this over and over again in the bible. Also, I believe God has put a war-like spirit in the heart of every man to fight against evil. It is a holy and righteous desire to fight and be victorious over evil and evil governments. I am not a war-monger. I am a realist and one who desires peace and righteousness for all. As long as there is evil in the world, war is necessary. I do think peace talks are good; however, when evil reaches a certain point to where talk is pointless, then groups like Isis and AL Qaeda  and the Taliban, the only thing they will listen to is war. They need to be destroyed.

Hypocritical or Too Content

I’m writing this at McDonalds—the one near me. They are finally open for service after months and months. It has been one of my favorite hang-outs, where I can do my reading and blogging.

Today is Sunday. I love to come and worship with friends at my church. And the pastor always has a good message. But I hate it that he is missing so much in his doctrine in that he doesn’t ever preach on bible prophecy or the coming of Christ. As you know, I write on that subject frequently. For some reason I think God has called me to stay in this church. I am strong enough in my faith and beliefs that I will not be affected, and maybe someday I will speak up (to him and others) more on what I believe. But for now, I feel content in just writing about it. That almost sounds hypocritical, but I’m not sure that bible prophecy is something to be used as a witnessing tool or to be preached just for the sake of sounding my futuristic beliefs. It seems that when Paul wrote about it, it was always in response to a problem (1 Thess. 4) or as a matter of the course of his doctrinal message (1 Cor. 15). Anyway, I pray that someday soon I will be more vocal and excited about His soon coming. It is just really hard to do now since so many have different views and many reject the Rapture of the church. I know that that is not a good excuse for me. I kind of wish that I was more like Hal Lindsey. When he was younger, he used to preach outside in the open on college campuses about the rapture and future things. That was when he wrote his famous book, The Late Great Planet Earth. As far as I know he is still alive (about 90 years old) and he has a weekly program on line. God bless him.