19. What is hypocrisy?
Relevant Words of God:
What is the definition of the term “Pharisee”? What’s its attributive? (Hypocrisy.) Yes, the definition of a Pharisee is someone who’s hypocritical, who is fake and puts on an act in everything they do. And what do they pretend to be? To be good, and kind, and positive. Is that what they’re actually like? (No.) They’re hypocritical, and so everything that is manifested and revealed in them is false, and not who they really are. And where is who they really are? Hidden within their hearts, and out of sight, right? Everything is pretend, it is all fake. And so if people do not pursue the truth, do not understand the truth, then what do their religious knowledge and the theories they’ve gained become? Do they become oft-murmured words and sayings? They use these words and sayings, these supposed doctrines, which appear correct, to pretend, and wrap themselves up, and fulfill themselves, and wherever they go, the things they utter and say and their external behavior are right, and good, and in accordance with people’s conceptions and tastes. Seeing them, others say, “Wow, they’re so devout.” It’s fake! Seeing them, others say, “They’re so humble.” Fake! “Wow, they love God.” They’re pretending! “They are forbearing, and loving toward others.” Fake! “They’re tolerant.” They’re faking it! What else? “They’re holy.” Fake! If someone is said to be holy, that must not be true; it’s totally fake, they’re pretending, they’re packaging themselves. What else? (Loyal and obedient.) “They’re loyal.” They’re putting on an act for others, but out of sight, these people are not in the least bit loyal, everything they do is perfunctory. What else? Devotion. “They’re truly devoted.” And what do they do when people’s backs are turned? (They conduct their own management.) What else? Profiting from the church. Superficially, they seem committed, they have given up their family and career—but in fact they’re trying to profit from the church, they’re secretly stealing offerings! Superficially, they have given up their family and career, and forsaken everything. But where did all the money in the offering box go? When the believers leave, they take the offering box with them. They hurry back to their room and stick their hand in it, they grab the money and stuff all of it into their pockets. And when they count it, there’s several thousand dollars’ worth. And who do they give it to? (Themselves.) Everything about them is fake! This is what is meant by a hypocritical Pharisee.
Where did the term “Pharisee” come from? Where did these people come from? Did they appear among the unbelievers? (No.) Where did they come from? They were believers, they appeared among those who believed in God. Why did those who believe in God become like this? Could it be that the words of God made them like this? (No.) So what was it? How did they change? (It was because of their nature and substance, and the path they walked.) It was the path they walked. They took God’s words as a tool by which to arm themselves, they treated God’s words as a food bowl, as capital, they armed themselves with these words to get food for themselves, to get something for nothing. They did nothing but preach, they did nothing but preach doctrine, they never put God’s words into practice. Who are those who never walk in God’s way, and yet still preach religious doctrine, and preach words and sayings? (Hypocritical Pharisees.) Yes, hypocritical Pharisees. That supposedly good behavior and good conduct, that little bit of abandonment and devotion—they’re all deliberately forced, they’re a deliberate act people put on, they’re entirely fake, a pretense. In these people’s hearts there is not the slightest reverence for God, and they don’t even have any true belief in God. More than that, they are of the unbelievers. If people don’t pursue the truth, this is the kind of path they walk. Isn’t it frightful? Those who do not pursue the truth will walk this kind of path and they will become Pharisees. And what is the place where Pharisees reside and gather? It’s a marketplace. In God’s eyes, that is religion, it is not the house of God. It is a religious venue, it is a place of merchandise, not a place where God is worshiped.
from “Six Indicators of Progress in Life” in Records of Christ’s Talks
So in your performance of your duty, in which things do you hold similar views to believers in Christianity? (Abiding by doctrine, equipping ourselves with words and theory.) Abiding by doctrine, equipping yourselves with words and theory, treating the truth like words and theory. Anything else? (Focusing on work, and not focusing on entry into life.) Only focusing on putting in effort, not focusing on gaining life, or on entering the reality of the truth. … so I’ll summarize for you: The pursuit of superficial good behavior, then doing your utmost to create a pretense using the appearance of spirituality, doing a few things that, in people’s conceptions and imaginings, are praiseworthy—this is the pursuit of false spirituality, it is hypocrisy, standing upon high speaking words and theory, telling people to do good deeds and be kind, to be good, and to understand the truth. What else? Is never searching for the truth in what you do, and only acting according to human will, one of them? (Yes.) When something happens to you, you completely rely on human will, and cast God to one side. Anything else? (Going through the motions when praying.) Going through the motions when praying—what’s that? This is the pursuit of false spirituality, yes? You pursue to be someone spiritual. This is one of them. Speaking spiritual theory, saying the right spiritual words, and pretending to be someone spiritual, impersonating someone who is spiritual, giving the appearance of spirituality in what you say, do, and reveal. But in your behavior and the performance of your duty, you have never searched for the truth, you have never acted according to the principles of the truth, you have never known what is spoken by the truth, what God’s will is, what the standards He asks of man are—you’ve never taken any of this seriously, you’ve never paid it any attention, you’ve never paid any heed to these things.
Try and summarize all of these expressions, these states, these external actions and internal states, all of these means of belief. What are they, above all? Are they the fear of God and shunning of evil? (No.) Then what are they? (Religious faith.) Without doubt, they are religious faith. That’s why we’re analyzing it. So why are they said to be religious faith? You don’t understand, yes? If there is no connection between people’s belief in God and the pursuit of the truth, do they believe in God? (No.) For people who have no connection to pursuing the truth, no matter how many years they have believed in God, are they capable of truly fearing God and shunning evil? (No.) And so what is expressed in these people who are incapable of fearing God and shunning evil? What path would they walk? What do they spend all day equipping themselves with? What is the path they walk? Do they spend all day equipping themselves with words and theory? They spend all day arming themselves with words and theory, to create an impression, to make themselves more like the Pharisees, more spiritual, more like people who serve God, yes? (Yes.) So what are all these actions? Do these people worship God? Do they truly believe in God? (No.) So what are they doing? (Deceiving and opposing God.) Yes, they are deceiving God, they’re just going through the motions, they’re performing religious ceremony; using the belief in God to put on a pretense, they’re performing religious ceremony and trying to deceive God in order to achieve their aim of being blessed. They do not worship God.
from “Only If You Live Before God at All Times Can You Walk the Path of Salvation” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Some men have a penchant for drawing attention to themselves. In the presence of his brothers and sisters, he says he is indebted to God, but behind their backs, he does not practice the truth and does entirely otherwise. Is this not as those religious Pharisees? A man who truly loves God and has the truth is one who is loyal to God, but does not outwardly reveal so. He is willing to practice the truth when matters arise and does not speak or act in a manner going against his conscience. He demonstrates wisdom when matters arise and is principled in his deeds, no matter the circumstances. A man such as this is one who truly serves. There are some who often pay lip service to their indebtedness to God. They spend their days with brows locked in worry, put on an affected air, and feign a wretched countenance. How despicable! And if you were to ask him, “In what ways are you indebted to God? Please tell me!” he would be rendered speechless. If you are loyal to God, then speak not of it in public, but use your actual practice to show your love for God, and pray to Him with a true heart. Those who use only words to deal with God are all hypocrites! Some speak of indebtedness to God with each prayer, and begin to weep whenever they pray, even without the moving of the Holy Spirit. Men such as this are possessed by religious rituals and notions; they live by such rituals and notions, always believing that such actions please God, and that superficial godliness or sorrowful tears are that which God favors. What good can come of such absurd ones? In order to demonstrate their humility, some feign graciousness when speaking in the presence of others. Some are deliberately servile in the presence of others, like a lamb without any strength at all. Is this the manner of people of the kingdom? A person of the kingdom should be lively and free, innocent and open, honest and lovely; one who lives in a state of freedom. He has character and dignity, and can stand witness wherever he goes; he is one beloved by both God and man. Those who are novice in the faith have too many outward practices; they must first undergo a period of dealing and breaking. Those who have faith in God in their hearts are not outwardly distinguishable to others, but their actions and deeds are commendable to others. Only such men can be deemed to be living out the word of God. If you preach the gospel every day to this person and that, bringing them to salvation, yet in the end, you are still living in rules and doctrines, then you cannot bring glory to God. Such manner of men are religious people, and hypocrites too.
Whenever such religious people congregate, they ask, “Sister, how have you been these days?” She replies, “I feel indebted to God and that I am unable to fulfill His heart’s desire.” Another says, “I, too, am indebted to God and unable to satisfy Him.” These few sentences and words alone express the vile things deep within their hearts. Such words are the most loathsome and exceedingly repugnant. The nature of such men opposes God. Those who focus on reality communicate whatever is in their hearts and open their hearts in communication. There is not a single false exercise, no civilities or empty pleasantries. They are always straightforward and observe no earthly rules. There are those who have a penchant for outward display, even without any sense. When another sings, he begins to dance, not even realizing that the rice in his pot has already burned. Such manner of men are not godly or honorable, and are far too frivolous. These are all manifestations of the lack of reality! Some gather to commune about the matters of life in the spirit, and though they speak not of indebtedness to God, they retain a true love for Him within their hearts. Your indebtedness to God has nothing to do with others; you are indebted to God, not man. So what use is it for you to constantly speak of this to others? You must place importance on entering into reality, not outward zeal or display.
What do the superficial good deeds of man represent? They represent the flesh, and even the best of outward practices do not represent life, only your own individual temperament. The outward practices of man cannot fulfill the desire of God. You constantly speak of your indebtedness to God, yet you cannot supply the life of others or provoke others to love God. Do you believe that such actions will satisfy God? You believe that this is God’s heart’s desire, that this is of the spirit, but in truth this is absurd! You believe that what pleases you and what you wish is that which God delights in. Can what pleases you represent that of God? Can the character of man represent God? What pleases you is precisely that which God abhors, and your habits are that which God loathes and rejects. If you feel indebted, then go and pray before God. There is no need to speak of it to others. If you do not pray before God and instead constantly draw attention to yourself in the presence of others, can this fulfill the desire of God’s heart? If your actions are always in appearance only, this means that you are the most vain of men. What manner of man is he who only has superficial good deeds but is devoid of reality? Such men are hypocritical Pharisees and religious people! If you do not put off your outward practices and cannot make changes, then the elements of hypocrisy in you will grow even more. The greater the elements of hypocrisy, the more resistance there is to God, and in the end, such manner of men will surely be cast away!
from “Believing in God Should Focus on Reality, Not Religious Rituals” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If your faith is not built upon the foundation of obedience to God, then you will ultimately be punished as a result of opposing God. All those who do not seek obedience to God in their faith oppose God. God asks that people seek the truth, that they thirst for God’s words, and eat and drink God’s words, and put them into practice, so that they may achieve obedience to God. If your motivations are truly thus, then God will surely raise you up, and will surely be gracious toward you. No one can doubt this, and no one can change it. If your motivations are not for the sake of obedience to God, and you have other aims, then all that you say and do—your prayers before God, and even your every action—will be in opposition to God. You may be soft-spoken and mild-mannered, your every action and expression may look right, you may appear to be one who obeys, but when it comes to your motivations and your views about faith in God, everything you do is in opposition to God, and evil. People who appear as obedient as sheep, but whose hearts harbor evil intentions, are wolves in sheep’s clothing, they directly offend God, and God will not spare a single one of them. The Holy Spirit will reveal every one of them, so all can see that every one of those who are hypocritical will be surely detested and rejected by the Holy Spirit. Don’t worry: God will deal with and resolve each of them in turn.
from “In Your Faith in God You Should Obey God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Man’s Fellowship:
What is called hypocrisy? Under the cover of belief in God and service for God, with a mouth full of explanation of the Bible, speaking some religious doctrines, people neither practice nor seek the truth, nor obey God’s work, speaking nicely but without a bit of true obedience; is this not hypocrisy?
from “Expressions of Those Who Truly Understand the Truth” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (IX)
Back then, the Jewish Pharisees often explained the Scriptures and prayed for believers in synagogues. Didn’t they appear quite godly? Then why did the Lord Jesus expose and curse the Pharisees, saying woe to the hypocritical Pharisees? Could the Lord Jesus have wronged them? Do we not believe that the word of the Lord Jesus is the truth? Do we suspect that the Lord Jesus did the wrong thing? Distinguishing whether pastors and elders are hypocritical Pharisees and antichrists or not cannot be done by just looking at how they treat people on the outside. The main thing is to look at how they treat the Lord and the truth. On the outside they can be loving toward believers, but do they have love toward the Lord? If they are quite loving toward people but are full of boredom and hate toward the Lord and the truth, and judge and condemn Christ of the last days—Almighty God, then aren’t they hypocritical Pharisees? Aren’t they antichrists? They seem to preach and work hard outwardly, but if it is for the sake of being crowned and rewarded, then does this mean that they obey and are loyal to the Lord? To distinguish whether someone is hypocritical, we mainly have to look inside their hearts and see their intentions. That is the most important thing about distinguishing. God searches people’s innermost hearts. So to see if a person truly loves and obeys the Lord, the main thing is to look at whether they practice and adhere to His word and uphold His commandments, and moreover look at whether they exalt the Lord Jesus and bear witness to Him, and if they follow God’s will. We see that the Pharisees often explained the Scriptures to people in synagogues, held on to the rules of the Bible for everything, and were also loving toward believers. But in reality, everything they did was not practicing God’s word or upholding God’s commandments, but was done to be seen by people. Just as the Lord Jesus said when He exposed them: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” (Mat 23:5). They even purposely stood in the synagogues and on the street corners to engage in long prayers. During fasting they purposely made their faces look very sad, so that people could tell that they were fasting. They even deliberately did good deeds in the streets so that people could all see. They even continued to hold on to ancient traditions and religious rituals such as “Do not eat unless you wash the hands carefully.” … To deceive believers into supporting and worshiping them, the Pharisees kept making a big deal out of small things to disguise themselves, and they only led believers to engage in religious worship, singing and praise, or holding on to some ancestral traditions, but did not lead believers to practice God’s word, keep God’s commandments, and enter the reality of the truth. Moreover, they did not lead believers to practice the truth and obey and worship God. All they did was use some external actions to confuse and deceive believers! When the Lord Jesus came to preach and work, for the sake of protecting their own status and livelihoods, these Pharisees who pretended to be godly actually openly abandoned God’s laws and commandments under the guise of “defending the Bible.” They made up rumors, bore false witness, and furiously condemned and framed the Lord Jesus, doing all they could to block believers from following the Lord Jesus. In the end, they even colluded with those in power to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross. Accordingly, the Pharisees’ hypocritical and truth-hating essence was completely exposed. Their antichrist essence was thereby completely revealed. This shows that the essence of the Pharisees was hypocritical, treacherous, deceitful and malicious. They were all false shepherds who abandoned God’s way, deceived people and caged people. They deceived and bound believers, controlling the religious world to oppose God, furiously denying, condemning and hating the incarnate Christ. This is sufficient to prove that they were the antichrists who wanted to erect their own independent kingdom!
Now we see clearly the various expressions of the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. When we compare them to today’s religious pastors and elders, would we not discover that they are just like the Pharisees and are all people who don’t practice the Lord’s word or follow the Lord’s commandments, and moreover not people who exalt the Lord and bear witness to the Lord? They are just people who blindly believe in the Bible, worship the Bible, and exalt the Bible. They just hold on to various religious rituals, such as attending regular services, morning watch, breaking bread, partaking of Holy Communion, and so forth. They only pay attention to talking to believers about being humble, patient, godly and loving, but they don’t love God in their hearts, and moreover they don’t obey God and don’t have a heart that reveres God at all. Their work and preaching only focuses on holding on to and explaining Bible knowledge and theological theory. But when it comes to how to practice and experience the Lord’s word, how to keep the Lord’s commandments and how to spread and testify to the Lord’s word, how to follow the will of the heavenly Father, how to truly love God, obey God, and worship God, and all such things that the Lord Jesus asks of mankind, they do not seek, do not explore, and do not figure out the Lord’s intentions, and moreover do not lead people to practice or comply. The purpose of them going around everywhere preaching Bible knowledge and theological theory is to show off themselves, build up themselves, and make people look up to and worship them. Therefore, when Almighty God came to express truths and perform His judgment work of the last days, these pastors and elders, for the sake of achieving permanent power in the religious world, and for their ambition of controlling believers and creating their own independent kingdom, openly violated the word of the Lord Jesus, making up rumors, judging, attacking and blaspheming Almighty God, doing their utmost to block believers from seeking and investigating the true way. For example, the Lord Jesus taught us to be wise virgins: When we hear someone yell “Behold, the Bridegroom comes,” we should go out to welcome Him. But after pastors and elders heard news of the Lord Jesus’ second coming, they instead did all they could to seal off the church and prevent believers from seeking and investigating the true way. The Lord Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Yet, they incited believers to slander and beat brothers and sisters who testify to Almighty God’s work of the last days. The Lord Jesus asked us not to lie, not to bear false witness, but pastors and elders made up all sorts of lies to slander Almighty God, and even colluded with the devilish CCP to resist and condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days and smear The Church of Almighty God. … From this we can see that what religious pastors and elders have said and done completely violates the Lord’s teachings. They are just like the hypocritical Pharisees. They are all people who blindly lead people, resist God, and deceive people.
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
For a lot of people, when you look at how they gather and fellowship the word of God or how they preach the gospel, you might say: “Oh! He is a believer.” Everyone admits, “This person believes in God,” but then you look at their life and you see that in their words and actions they do not have God’s word. You look at the activities deep in their hearts, and in their thoughts and in their ideas they have no reverence for God. You see that they are still controlled by the philosophy of Satan in everything they do and all that they are, that they do not live by the truth. These kinds of people only believe in God with their lips. They go to gatherings to practice their faith, but in their private life, at home, they do not practice their faith. They just believe in themselves, in the philosophy of Satan, and in the world. They follow the trends of the world. Aren’t these people hypocrites? Aren’t they Pharisees? If you believe in God but do not bring Him into your actual life, if in your heart you do not eat and drink God’s word and do not ponder God’s word, if you pray to God but do not actually commune with Him, then how can you say that you believe in God? Isn’t this just practicing religious ceremony?!
from “How to Eat, Drink and Ponder God’s Words to Gain the Truth” in Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (V)