Sometimes I Doubt Because of Christian Hypocrites | Reasonable Doubt | Week 3

Sermon Notes

Sometimes I Doubt Because of Christian Hypocrites | Reasonable Doubt | Week 3
Pastor Dave Pretlove

Why do so many Christians seem like hypocrites?
  1. Because a lot done in “the name of Jesus” has nothing to do with Jesus.
    • Matthew 7:15,21-23; 25:44-46
  2. Because some people misunderstand the nature of Christianity. 
    • 1 John 1:8-9
    • Romans 7:16-20                 
  3. Because, as Christians, we all have areas of ignorance, imbalance, and biases.
    • Matthew 23:23-24; 7:3-5 
  4. Because stories of quiet faithfulness, selfless sacrifice, and loving service rarely make the headlines.

Group Questions

  1. Who’s someone in your life who has modeled quiet faithfulness and loving service? How have they shaped you?
  1. Was there anything that caught your attention, challenged you, or confused you from the message? 
  1. Read Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21. Jesus seems to be saying something about the credibility of his life and message being dependent on the way we as his followers act. Somehow their belief and our behavior are connected. How do you see our behavior impacting other people’s beliefs about Jesus?
  1. Read 1 John 1:7-10 together. These verses give us an idea of the nature of Christianity. How would you rephrase these verses in your own words?
  1. Has there been a moment when you’ve been hypocritical toward others? Have you experienced a time when your actions and choices betrayed your beliefs or your words?
  2. How can our group encourage each other to live lives of quiet faithfulness, selfless sacrifice, and loving service? Or what’s one way you will lovingly serve someone this week?

Scriptures To Meditate On

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
John 17:20-21 NIV

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”
1 John 1:7-10 NIV


Article | How to Stop Being a Hypocritical Christian by Kylah Kerry 
“Let offenses cause you to consider your own behavior, thank God for forgiveness and offer a pardon to the other person.”

Article | Faith and Hypocrisy in the Family by Dave Boehl 
“The home may be the place where it’s most difficult to live out our faith—and also the most important.”

Spiritual Practice To Try

This week, explore the spiritual practice of confession. Reflect on this quote from Richard Foster:

“Confession is a difficult Discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners … We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.”

Remember that you are not alone. You are not the only one. Take a step toward openly confessing your needs and brokenness to your brothers and sisters. This can be over coffee or after LifeGroup or on a walk with a friend. Practice the spiritual discipline of confession this week.

Something To Think About

As we think and talk about how Christian hypocrisy leads to so much doubt, I can’t help but think about the solution to this. How can we live lives of authenticity and truth? Not just for our own sake and our own walk with Christ, but for the sake of those who don’t believe yet. 

Francis Schaeffer has said, “Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful — Christian community is the final apologetic.” How we live and relate to one another is delivering a message to those outside the church. What messages are we sending out to our world? 

If you’re like me, it’s easy to feel discouraged at the behavior of everyone else. I can’t control the actions and choices of other believers. What I can control is my own response to those actions, my own choices, my own words, and my prayer life. I can choose life-giving, Jesus-obedient actions and choices. And I can choose to pray fervently for my brothers and sisters and for the messages they’re sending out to our world. And I get to model the nature of Christianity by practicing my own discipline of confession, living in community, and living a life of quiet faithfulness. How will you model the nature of Christianity? 

Lydia Long
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