One Thing That Will Definitely Make You A Hypocrite Or An Apostate
"Love of the praise of men is a very great prejudice to the power and practice of religion (Christianity) and godliness. Many come short of the glory of God by having a regard to the applause of men, and a value for that. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion ( Christianity) is in fashion and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate when religion (Christianity) is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it..." - Matthew Henry
"Never should people exhibit outwardly more than they feel; and never should they attempt to exhibit anything for the mere sake of ostentation."
- Barnes' Notes
"How common are these four obstacles of faith!...1)Too great a regard to men...2) Riches and temporal advantages...3) The fear of disgrace...4) The love of the praise of men."
- Adam Clarke
Look again at the quote given above from Pastor Henry. He made this comment - "Many come short of the glory of God by having a regard to the applause of men, and a value for that." By his statement, he implied that when belief in Jesus is in "fashion" and "credit is to be got by it," then the church is filled with hypocrites. However, when becoming a believer in Jesus brings disgrace from an ungodly world, "and credit is to be lost for it," the churches lose their members to apostasy.
Right now, we seem to be in a state where being a "Christian" is a popular thing - that is, being a "Christian" according to the world's definition and not the Bible's. Hence, we find that the church is packed out with hypocrites - those who seek to gain a "credit" from being associated with God's people. However, as we follow this reasoning, we can easily see where the church is headed. We know that in the days ahead (it may be sooner than we think), being a Christian in America will certainly cost us something. Since it will almost become a "disgrace" in the eyes of this antichrist world system to be called a child of God, then we will find many people opting for a total denial of their faith in Jesus - simply because it is no longer a fashionable thing to be a Christian.
According to Pastor Henry, what causes people to flip-flop in their so-called "faith"? The answer? It is none other than the "love of the praise of men."
This is almost a scary thought because there is not one person reading this message that doesn't battle at one time or another "the love of the praise of men." We all love the recognition that is gotten from men. We covet earnestly the approval and applause of others. Who in their right mind wants to be rejected and hated by men? Not one of us!
However, we see from this opening quote that the "love of the praise of men" can ultimately cause us to end up in an apostate's Hell for all eternity - that is, unless we do something about it now!
How serious an offense before a Holy God is it when we seek for glory from men? Is it really that bad to desire honor from men? We certainly can't perform our duties of giving, praying, and fasting without being seen by someone, so how do we keep from wanting to be seen of men or to have glory of men?
The Lord Jesus warned us in Matthew 6:1 - "Take heed that ye do not..." In verse 5, He said - "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are..." Then in verse 16, He said - "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites..."
What was He warning all Christians not to do? For one thing, He was admonishing us not to do our good works "before men, to be seen of them" (Matthew 6:1). He wasn't saying not to do them before men, but not to do them "before men, to be seen of them." In other words, He was saying that we should not have this as our motive for doing so.
He then went on to admonish us not to be "as the hypocrites" (Matthew 6:5). Why? Because in Matthew 23:5, the Lord Jesus said of them - "But all their works they do for to be seen of men..." The Pharisees or hypocrites were theatrical actors - acting a religious part. They were not sincere in their devotion to God. They pretended to be holy and righteous when they were not that way at all. Everything they did was from a principle of pride and vainglory.
It wasn't wrong that they gave, prayed, or fasted. It wasn't wrong either that they performed these religious duties in public where others could see them. What was wrong was the motive of their hearts. They did all their works - "for to be seen of men."
In John 12:42-43, the Apostle John spoke of the chief rulers who feared the Pharisees more than God. He said this of them - "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him (Jesus); but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Here is a perfect example of how the "love of the praise of men" will cause a people to become apostates in their faith.
It is interesting to note that the Lord Jesus said in John 5:41 - "I receive not honor from men." What He was saying here was that He did not covet nor court the applause of men. Ambition was not His motive. He didn't seek for His own glory, but He did seek that the Father would be glorified through Him. He neither acted through self-interest nor through vanity.
When He called His disciples, He said - "Follow Me."
In 1 Thessalonians 2:6, we find the Apostle Paul, a follower of the Lord Jesus, saying on behalf of himself, Silvanus, and Timotheus - "Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others..." They were not influenced by the love of applause. Love of fame, honor, and esteem was not their end and view. As followers of Jesus, what they did seek after was the approval of God and the testimony of a good conscience.
Any one who is a true follower of Jesus Christ will do as He did - not seek after the applause of men but seek only to glorify God in this earth.
We pray that - after reading this message - you have seen the danger of loving the praise of men or doing your Christian duties to be seen of men.
We leave you with one more thought - as long as you are striving for the approval of men, you are keeping yourself from the approbation of God.
You have a choice. You can go after men's applause. That will be your reward. But if you do not allow the Holy Spirit to cause you to die to this desire, it will - if it hasn't done so already - cause you to play the hypocrite in your assembly and eventually drive you to apostasy.
What an awful price to pay just to be able to hear applause or receive a pat on the back from some man!
May God Bless His Word.
© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved