From the Inside Out

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Ask God to reveal to you any unconfessed sin in your life. Then, repent and ask Him to help you pursue a life of holiness.

“In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” —Matthew 23:28

Read Matthew 23:25-28 and answer the following questions:

• Underline the word hypocrites each time it appears, and look at the definition below. Define the term in your own words.

• Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees were living a life of hypocrisy—they didn’t live for the God they proclaimed to love. Why is this so damaging to the name of God even today?

• When have you heard someone claim to love Jesus, but act in ways that failed to match up with those words? What did you learn from that experience? The Pharisees were overly concerned with their outward appearance and gave little attention to their inner purity. Scripture however tells us that righteousness flows from the inside out and results in Christ-likeness.

• How does knowing Jesus encourage you to pay attention to your inner purity?

• Look at verse 26. How does a person walk in righteousness? Describe this process in your own words.

Hypocrite (n) = a person who claims to obey God, but outwardly shows signs of disobedience

RESPOND

• Evaluate your own life and ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. Are you guilty of acting one way at church or camp and another way around your friends at school?

• What changes do you need to make in your life today to get rid of sin and truly live in a way that honors Jesus? In your journal, list the steps you will take to make these changes.

• For further study on purity of heart, read Psalm 51:10; Psalm 119:9; Matthew 5:8; Philippians 4:6-8; and Titus 2:11-14.

BEHIND THE STORY

The reference to cleaning only the outside of the cup and being like whitewashed tombs emphasized the Pharisees’ obsession with ritual cleanliness. However, they disregarded cleanliness of the heart. The Pharisees outward practices masked the internal state of their hearts.

THE POINT

Hypocrisy has no place in the lives of true followers of Christ. We must pursuing inner purity.


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