I find that most of us Christians are hypocrites. Perhaps not in the sense that our enemies use it but in a sense that reveals a great weakness. We criticize people who decide not to take the Word of God at face value, who twist passages and come up with excuses to make the Bible say what they want it to say. We see that a lot these days with all kinds of things but especially from people who wish to support the homosexual community. But the hypocrisy happens when we, those who say we live by the Word, also twist the Word, or ignore certain passages, because they make us feel uncomfortable or reveal a certain lack in our walk.
Now I am not talking about some obscure Old Testament verse that I want to tell everyone they should be practicing. I am talking about the Words of Jesus. It is amazing to do a study just on what Jesus commanded and what he taught and realize how much of it we are not applying to our living. For example, Jesus was adamant about the importance of the Holy Spirit but great sections of the Church ignore the Spirit. In fact, much of the Church operates without any sense of the supernatural. They live very much as they would without Jesus except they pray and go to church (sometimes). Do you know Jesus rebuked his disciples for not stepping out from what they were to embrace the Kingdom?
Yesterday we saw how Jesus told his disciples they were hard-hearted because they continued to ignore the supernatural things they saw all around them through Jesus. We are considering another passage today where he did they same thing because the disciples refused to believe those who had seen him after the resurrection. Even after seeing all that Jesus did and having heard his words that he would rise from the dead after the third day, they chose to believe what they had grown up with: Dead people are dead. Dead people do not get up, have conversations with people or take a nice long stroll with them.
We are like this. Even though our belief in Jesus has brought us into the incredible Kingdom of God, made us a new creation, brought us into adoption by Father, and has allowed us to be possessed by the Holy Spirit, we live like we have always lived, with the same limitations. We ignore the supernatural because it makes us uncomfortable and we are unfamiliar with it. We are hypocrites, criticizing others for ignoring the truth of the Word while we do the same. Jesus told his disciples:
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16)
We accept this as truth but we stop there. We totally ignore what follows. Jesus told us that we will know people are saved by the manifestation of the Spirit. Power would come on those who believe. Look at the wording of this. He did not say it would come only on the disciples to kick start the Church. He said it would come on those who believe. The ones the disciples would teach and baptize:
"And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)
It is amazing what lengths people will go to in order to dismiss these words for our times even though these words confirm Old Testament prophecies. It is crazy that we would dismiss these words of Jesus while accepting everything else. It is just like the disciples who took part in all the supernatural happenings as members of Jesus' Team yet failed to apply it when it really mattered. Thankfully they woke up to the new reality when Jesus sent the Spirit, as promised.
Without the power of the Holy Spirit we can only play at church. We can only build what we are capable of in our own flesh, our talents and abilities. It is impressive what we can do but there is no eternal value in it. In the coming testing fires all such work is going to be burned up, but what is birthed and empowered by the Spirit will stand any test thrown at it. We who believe in Jesus have been given the Holy Spirit bu,t if we refuse to believe in these words of Jesus, his power will not be manifest in us. However, if we surrender our prejudices, step away from what we were and step into the new reality of the Kingdom, then we will discover the power he has given us to do his work.
It is hypocritical to do what we have accused others of doing. Either we believe the words of Jesus or we don't:
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)