Its Not What It Seems

June 19, 2019 - The story is told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper hired a man to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit. He began to scream, convinced his life was over… until the lion spoke to him: “Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired!”

Sometimes things and people aren't on the inside what they appear to be, or say they are on the outside. We like to call those people hypocrites. I have noticed over the years if you ask people why they don't come to church anymore, the answer is almost always the same; "I don't want to go up there with all those hypocrites."

Paul has got some pretty harsh words for the Jews in Rome who were considering themselves just a little better than the Gentile Christians because they were born into the promise of being Gods chosen people. They thought that this gave them a special pass from God. But Paul teaches that the in the New Testament church the state of your heart not the genealogy of your family or what rituals you performed is what gets you to heaven. Romans 2:17- 29 (ESV), "But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth — you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Let's look at three key things Paul points out to us in this passage.

If you are a Christian you should be doing the work of a Christian. That means sharing the Gospel, helping the helpless, taking care of widows and orphans, serving others, teaching the word, learning the word. Being a doer of the word not just a hearer of the word. James 1:23-25 says "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."

Practice what you preach. If you talk the talk you've got to walk the walk. We can't just go around sharing the Gospel with people and continue to live like the devil. I have seen people who act "holy" in church but when they get in public or private they lie, cheat, steal, disrespect, back bite, are hate filled, unforgiving, and just generally mean. Luke 6: 39-40, "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." We know trees by the fruit they bear. The same is true for people.

God does not give out participation trophies. He wants you to be all in! He wants you to love Him with all your heart. Not just half way. Deut. 6:4-5, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." He wants all of you for the right reason. 1 Cor. 13: 1-3, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." God wants more than an outward demonstration of religion He wants a whole hearted, sold out, "I'm in it to win it" attitude. It makes Him sick when he sees half hearted christians. Revelation 3:15-16," “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. "Don't worry about what others think just do what you feel God has called you to do with all your heart.” Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts. ...The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly... who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." 

Remember Jesus made a statement about people who call themselves religious who didn't practice what they preached when he said to the Pharisees that they needed to be clean, not only on the outside, but on the inside also to be totally clean. We have to remember that its not your outward appearance and what we do in public, but the condition of your heart and how you show love and forgiveness to people that matters most to God.
 I'm Just Sayin,
 Mike Belgard