Recently I spoke with a young lady. She is a Christian, but she refuses to go to church anymore. You know what her excuse for not going is, “Everybody there’s a hypocrite,” she says. They are so phony. They live one way all week and another on Sunday’s.” Please tell me you’re not the one she’s talking about? You see one of the biggest excuses the world uses to rationalize why they don’t come to church or are not Christians is the hypocrite excuse. “I don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites.” “Who needs church if the people in it are no more genuine than the people outside it?”
Listen, we cannot be phony Christians who nullify our witness by our deeds. William Barclay once said, “A man’s message will always be viewed in context with his character.” In other words, your message don’t mean squat if your actions don’t follow suit. [Titus 1:16] says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions deny Him.” You’re not the one this verse is referring too are you? I want to know; because there is probably no greater a curse on the church than that of hypocritical [phony Christians]. You see the world is not so much turned off by what we preach. They are turned off by the fact we don’t practice what we preach. We don’t walk the talk we talk. That’s why [1Peter 2:1] instructs us to, “rid ourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” We cannot be phony Christians who turn the world off because we fake our relationship with God. Just going through the motions! They aren’t fooled. We must be aware that our deeds affect the lost. [1 Peter 1:21] says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
You know a few years back the Coca Cola Bottling Company decided to start a new campaign to sell Coca Cola. They called it the “Real Thing.” Because they found that people are searching for authenticity. And so it is in our world; people are looking to see if we are the “Real Thing.” Authentic followers of Christ! I tell you we must live our life of authenticity and character so that there will be no doubt in their minds about who we are and Whose we are.
Let me tell you a story. “Once upon a time a grouchy old Deacon was teaching a boy’s Sunday school class. He wanted to help them understand what a Christian was, so he asked them a question. He asked, “Why do people call me a Christian?” There was a moment of silence and then one of the boys said, “Maybe it’s because they don’t know you.” Just like that little boy, Jesus always told it just like it was. He told the Pharisees and the scribes exactly what they were. He told His disciples exactly what resided within the hearts of men. Pretending to be something they were not! I don’t know about you but I would rather be called anything than a hypocrite! Therefore as [Titus 2:7-8] instructs us, “In everything [let us] set the world an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you.”
I tell you, our day-to-day living must become genuinely more and more Christ-like, and not just fake it. We should never be false or defeated Christians. Even if everyone around you seems hypocritical—or even if no one else around you is a Christian—you need to be a real Christian. That is your calling. You need to stand out from the