The Hypocrisy of Religious Rightness | Foundations Bible College





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Dr. O. Talmadge Spence


The Hypocrisy of Religious Rightness

Founder of Foundations Bible College
Date: Oct 15, 1995
Service Type: Sunday Evening Sermon
Text: Matthew 23:1–39
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A message warning Christians against becoming right in one’s own self rather than abiding in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Sermon Notes

Excerpts from the sermon:

“There was a fundamental problem in the righteousness of the Pharisee. It was made of lead. It was heavy with rules. It added an intolerable burden to people. It was not the law that hurt us. It was the building of a fence around the law that hurt us.”

“Man was to be born a baby, and that`s not much to say. All of them have to be taught. All of them have to be trained, all of them. Now and then, a goodly child would come. He`d have to be taught by the parents. You have got, for this sermon`s sake, to include in God a place for stupidity and ignorance and dumbness and untrained creatures. We`ve got to get right down to the bottom now because God ordained it....If you do not include this in your God tonight, this sermon will not get through. Remember, it`s very humbling that you were born that way. Even if you become a prodigy or a genius, you still slobber. Even if you are born great or achieve it or you`re made great by someone else greater, you were nothing but a baby once.”

“It`s not where you came from. I don`t care from a broken home, drunkard`s home, liar`s home, thief`s home. There`s something worse than that. It`s that you start out on the road of your righteousness, and become religiously right, and Jesus call you a snake, a generation of vipers, blind leading blind. It is pathetic to come to believe you`re too right. It`s sad.”

“I`ve actually thought at times, ‘Lord, help me to make a mistake today so the people will know my righteousness does not exceed You.’ Now, I`m not going to get drunk with that, but how we need to be humbled away from our righteousness!...What is it that makes you right, lady? ‘Well, I`ve been through this and been through this and this and this and this. Excuse me. I`ve been through this and this and this and this. Many things have made it.’ When in reality, one word will do—Christ! Christ did it.”

“Woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup—this is presenting yourself outwardly. How often our heart has wept when the deception was so great, people were just led away with the falseness of piety.”

“As time goes on and we accomplish this and accomplish that, and give this and give that, and befriended this one and befriended that one, they owe us now. And then the extremely sincere person, honest integrity, ‘Now let me think that over again because I want to remember the truth.’ It has suddenly now given way with the facade—just a perfect person. The facade is you`re just so perfect. It`s refreshing to hear a Christian say, ‘I tell you I failed God in it. This was three months ago. Just failed in it—flat out on my face.’ I don`t want you to fail God, but if you do, do not be a hypocrite. Do not act. Do not be an actor, actress. Do not finally be the great religious pretender. I thank God upon every blessing He`s bestowed upon me, and everytime anything has ever happened to make me stop and think. I do not mind being a loser to see if I can be sincere with God. One of the greatest dangers in my life is to be a pretender, and I might tell you a secret. Not everybody appears to be one, for you can be so strict and so regulated for the exactness of the truth, and be just as far off as a lie because nobody can be that perfect with truth.”

“Some people have ruined themselves by being too righteous. I believe that Foundations Bible College, just because of honesty and righteousness, has had to expel students. But please remember how many we took back.”

“The thing that grieves me more and more and more: we`re either too righteous, we can`t love the unrighteous. We`re too lovely that we cannot love the unlovely. And yet, we think we are a paragon picture of Christianity.”

“We are not to get so right that our husband will hate our Savior. We are not to get so right our children will run from our religion.”

“There`s nothing in this sermon to cop out on the righteousness imputed to our life. We`re to live right. But this sermon is dedicated to the destruction of religious righteousness. You cannot have the righteousness of Jesus Christ and the righteousness of religion, and the righteousness of your ego. Listen! Listen! Finally say, ‘I`m wrong.’ If you continue to be legalistic, you`re going to get a burden you can`t bear. You`re going to go down to the slough of despair because you can`t be that righteous.”

“We must be right in Christ, but we must not be right in self. We must not be. It is terrible to vomit. It`s just not something you enjoy, but there`s enough handkerchiefs around, say, ‘I`m very sorry. I have made a mess, and I`m going to excuse myself, and just before I do, I have one other word. Goodnight.’ It`s not what goes wrong. It`s what you do with what goes wrong, and you can only do what He says is right.”