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SermonLenten Season Hypocrisy
An all-creatures Bible Message

Lenten Season Hypocrisy
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
22 February 2015
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Genesis 9:8-17
Mark 7:5-8
John 8:10-11

Lenten season hypocrisy is veiled from the minds of most Christians.
 
So, today, the 1st Sunday in Lent, we are going to expose some of this hypocrisy and point out the way the Lord really wants us to live, which we are all capable of doing.
 
This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, a day when many Christians ritually go to church and have ashes placed on their foreheads as a sign of their repentance, but just because they receive these ashes, it does not mean that they have truly repented; only the individuals and God know for sure.
 
Letís take a look at an example.
 
Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in the beginning of the Lenten season. Popular practices on Mardi Gras include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, debauchery, etc.
 
There is nothing holy or Godly about the way this day is celebrated, for to be truly sorry for the sins we have committed, we are not to celebrate them and then expect to be truly forgiven the following day by having ashes placed on our foreheads.
 
To have a truly repentant heart, mind, and soul, we should be turning away from our former worldly ways and live in the heavenly will of God.
 
To continue to live in the worldly ways of this earth is one of the reasons we consider it to be part of our Lenten season hypocrisy.
 
Even though Genesis 9:8-17 was written way before Jesus appeared upon the earth and the celebration of Lent, it does point out many of the similar problems that we are looking at in our discussion of Lenten season hypocrisy, and how God really wants us to live.

8. Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,
 
9. "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;
 
10. and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.

The fact that God is establishing His covenant with all the animals He created is proof that God created them with souls and spirits just as He created us, for that is the only way they would be able to understand the covenant.
 
And because this is proof that all animals have souls and spirits, we humans should be treating the animals with compassion and protecting them from all harm, just as we want for ourselves.
 
Part of our societyís Lenten season hypocrisy is that most humans ignore this fact, and continue to consider animals as property, so that they can do anything they want to them, including killing and eating them.

11. And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."

Since the Flood did not end the evil ways of this world as God had intended, because Noah and his family brought their sins with them on to the ark, which Noah expressed when he sacrificed some of the animals following the Flood (Genesis 8:21).
 
Noah killed these innocent animals in a vain and hypocritical attempt to scapegoat these animals by assuming that he could pass his sins and the sins of his family upon these innocent animals as a way of appeasing God.
 
As we discussed last week, God wants our obedience and not sacrifice.
 
And having a truly repentant nature is a prime requirement of being obedient to God.
 
This is also what Jesus told the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, as we see recorded in John 8:10-11Ö

10. And straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" 
 
11. And she said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more."
NASB

The temple leaders tried to condemn and scapegoat this woman as being the only one who sinned against God, while knowing full well that a man also had to be equally at fault, for an act of adultery by its very definition requires a man and a woman to consummate this sinful act.
 
Jesus didnít fall into their trap; instead he forgave this woman and told her ďfrom now on sin no more.Ē
 
Mardi Gras is a form of celebrating our sinful ways before having to repent, which is the very opposite of what Jesus said to this woman, and one of the reasons we include it as part of our discussion on Lenten season hypocrisy.
 
With these things in mind, letís return to our Genesis passage for today.

12. And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;
 
13. I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.

Here God adds an important aspect to His covenant, which we all should understand.
 
He is now expanding His covenant with humans and animals to include the whole earth; everything that God created!
 
This is also a reinforcement of Godís true meaning and intent for us to have dominion and rule over the earth; we are to be loving and compassionate caretakers and stewards of the earth and not dominate it as most people are doing, even to this very day.

14. And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud,
 
15. and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Remember that if God is saying that the rainbow is a reminder to Him, then we are to remember the same things, and follow through with Godís instructions for being compassionate stewards of His creation.
 
To not do this is being hypocritical.
 
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians are also carrying their worldly ways into this season, which makes it part of our Lenten season hypocrisy.

16. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."
 
17. And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."
NASB

God considers this covenant to be very important, which He emphasizes several times in this passage of scripture.
 
Our discussion of Lenten season hypocrisy is just an example of the hypocrisy that goes on every day of the year; note what we are told in Mark 7:5-8Ö

5. And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him [Jesus], "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?"

These religious leaders are picking at a little thing that is in their tradition, in order to try to divert attention away from their much larger and more widely spread ungodly ways of living, which is the reason that Jesus responded as He did in the following verses.

6. And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
'This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
 
7. 'But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
 
8. "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."
NASB

One of the major problems we face in the world, both in the past and today, is that most people want to be accepted by the human leadership that Jesus is speaking against, but God has given us the power to rise above such worldly ways of living.
 
God has given us the power to reject the cruel and ungodly ways of this world and become loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God who care about the whole of creation, every human, every animal, and the environment in which we all live.
 
We can speak out against Lenten season hypocrisy, and reject the practices and traditions that contribute to the corruption of Godís creation.
 
Anthony Neesham spoke out in several campaigns to encourage people to go on a vegetarian diet for Lent.
 
We need more people to do the same thing, and hopefully extend it to every day of the year.
 
And we all have the power to rise above and speak out against all the other hypocritical things that are taking place every day of the year.
 
We donít have to eat an animalís flesh and bodily secretions just because other people do; we can choose to eat the plant foods that God created for us to eat, and be truly compassionate and healthier, and enjoy our food even more.
 
People who say they love animals, but also eat them or their eggs or milk are really hypocrites because all ďfood animalsĒ suffer horribly, even so-called free range; they all suffer and die, and many of them are only babies.
 
These animals want to live just as much as we do, and donít want to be killed to satisfy human greed and gluttony.
 
Lenten season hypocrisy is just an extension of everyday hypocrisy, and we can and should rise above it and live in the compassionate heavenly will of God.
 
Amen.

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