Joh 10:1-5 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. (2) But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (5) A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Most churches today love to put signs out front with a slogan that has become odious to me: Everyone Welcome! How wonderful and loving and kind it all sounds. But of course, as we have mentioned before in this blog, most certainly not everyone is welcome to be among Christ’s people. There really are only two categories of people who the Bible would have be in a local church: 1) Sheep. I mean, genuine, regenerate members of Christ’s flock, and 2) Sinners (even the most wicked sort) who are present to seek Christ, searching for a remedy to their sin burden. Who isn’t welcome? Hypocrites. Do you realize that? Hypocrites are not welcome in Jesus’ church. He said so!
Luke 5:30-32 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (31) And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (32) I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Hypocrites are those “who are well and have no need of a physician.” They are “the righteous.” That is, they are “well” and “righteous” in their own eyes. Jesus did not come to call them. He came to call those who feel their burden and who are heavy-laden by it. Hypocrites have no burden. They are quite alright in their own eyes, and surely superior to everyone else.
Now, here is where abuse hiding in the church comes in. How many of our readers have been slapped with the following insane and unbiblical notions:
- We must pray for your abuser-spouse. It is wonderful that he is in church every Sunday. Who knows when the Lord might save him. Oh, you say that he is quite confident that he is righteous, that he is a fine Christian? Well then, of course he belongs in our church and just needs sanctification. Hey, we are all sinners you know.”
- Your abuser-spouse grew up in the church? Well, you know, sometimes people like that never truly get saved until years and years have gone by. So we all (especially YOU) must be patient and keep praying for him, even though he is, what did you say, “difficult”? No? Oh, really, it’s worse than that,huh?”
I could go on, but you get the idea I think. The point is that EVERY abuser who professes to be a Christian (and many, many of our readers’ abusers fit that very category) is a hypocrite. He is wearing a mask. And I want to ask every pastor and elder and Christian this pointed question:
Where in God’s Word can we find justification for a mode of ‘evangelism’ that focuses upon hypocrites in our churches who have heard and heard and heard and heard and heard (and heard to the power of 10) the gospel, rejected it every single time, and pressed on with their wickedness all the while claiming to be a Christian?
Can anyone cite chapter and verse on that one? Well I can sure give you one (many actually) that says God tells hypocrites to STOP COMING TO HIS TEMPLE! Here it is:
Isa 1:10-17 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! (11) “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. (12) “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? (13) Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations– I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. (14) Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. (15) When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. (16) Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, (17) learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
See it? Now unless I am totally out of my mind so that words don’t mean to me what they mean, the Lord is telling the wicked who claim to belong to Him to stop coming to church! He doesn’t want them there! They first need to repent! And notice that one of the things they had not been doing is pleading the widow’s cause. Plug in “abuse victim” there and you see the relevance to our cause.
God does not want abusers in His church! Did you hear that? God does not want abusers in His church! I will go further. Christ commands us to put them out. To meet them at the church doors and say “uh-uh, not you buddy.” Remember now, we are NOT talking about sinners who are genuinely coming to hear about the Lord and to seek remedy for their soul. If there is an abuser out there somewhere who IS repentant and his eyes are being opened to his evil, and he comes to our doors, we say as Bunyan did, “Come, and Welcome to Jesus Christ!” But the hypocrite? The “fine” Christian who needs no repentance? No way. [For anyone wondering how we identify the hypocrite, we answer, “start by listening to abuse victims!” And for anyone who is asking, “but hey, we are all hypocrites aren’t we?” — the answer is, no! Real Christians sin, yes. But they repent. They don’t go on and on and on wearing the mask].
Where in the world did we get the crazy notion that we are to welcome even the rankest, most abusive hypocrite into Christ’s church Sunday after Sunday so that “we can lead them to Christ”? You know where I think that idea came from? It came from arrogant Christians, just like the Corinthians of 1 Cor 5, who want to boast about how superior their degree of mercy and love and forgiveness is to everyone else’s. “Well, you say he abuses his wife? Then he needs to be here in this church even more.” Oh yeah. Such crazy thinking only gives sanctuary to the wicked and oppresses their victims.
Isa 1:18-20 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (19) If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; (20) but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
The hypocrite, hiding behind his “Christian” facade, is not willing and obedient. He refuses and he rebels, and the mouth of the Lord has announced his fate.
We live in a cow town. Dairy country. You can smell it most days of the week. But it isn’t the smell of cow manure that is obnoxious to Christ the King. Oh no. It is the regular “trampling of his courts” that is done by hypocrites who walk habitually and characteristically in sin, including in the notorious evil of abuse, dragging the stinking refuse of their sin on their hands and shoes and tracking it up and down the aisles and hallways and sanctuaries of Christ’s churches. And there is an accompanying stench. The rank odor of church leaders and members who allow this to happen.
Mal 1:10-11 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. (11) For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
How about it? Wouldn’t it be remarkable if next Sunday all across this land, humbled pastors and church leaders and members met abusers and rank hypocrites at the front doors of the church, slammed them shut, and refused them entry? Malachi, it sure sounds like to me anyway, is saying that an action like that would announce the greatness of the name of the Lord of Hosts.
His name IS great! It WILL be great among the nations. He WILL have the honor and worship due Him. Whether we give it to Him or not, He will have it:
Amos 5:21-24 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. (22) Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. (23) Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. (24) But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Indeed. Let justice and righteousness roll!