Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
June 14, 2015 at 10:30 AM
Spiritual Hipocrisy/The Danger in...
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday June 14, 2015
Spiritual Hypocrisy/The Danger in...
Zep. 3:2: “ She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near the Lord.”.
How numerous are the people and varied are the instances 
in which statements are made about drastic positive changes. 
Within traditional Christianity, there is a new behavioral 
emphasis that includes among other features: frequent use of 
the expression, “I’m blessed”, “O praise the Lord”, and “I am 
saved”. While there is nothing wrong with making these and 
relate statements, it is an unfortunate fact that many professing 
Christians use another set of words, many of which are none 
religious, and act in dangerous manner when they confront 
disappointments and troubles. 
This discrepancy between words and actions is referred to 

in psychology as schizophrenia, but it has a slightly reference in 
Christianity; therein it is called hypocrisy. In terms of epistemology, 
the word, hypocrisy, is a better choice that schizophrenia because 
it denotes an individual who pretends to be uprights while knowing 
all the time that the opposite is true. Further the schizophrenic 
person is suffering from a mental problem while the hypocrite is 
suffering from a moral problem heighten by personal vanity. 
The problem of hypocrisy in matters of religion has been a 
recurring theme in Biblical history. Our sermon today, will 
explore the consequence of hypocrisy that reached a zenith 
just before the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar’s army and the 
destruction of Jerusalem. 
The sermon is planned to warn of the impending 
danger in hypocrisy, especially in the area of Christian 
values. To document the danger, the sermon will entail 
four scenes from the book of Zephaniah, each of which 
has contemporary implications for Christian conduct. The 
scenes are: (1) apostasy, (2) the day of reckoning/judgment 
and (3) restoration. 
Prior to address the subject - The Danger in 
Spiritual Hypocrisy - attention will be focused on 
Zephaniah, the minor prophet whose book contains an 
extensive narrative on the hypocrisy of Judah and 
Jerusalem. His name, according to Herbert Lockyer denotes 
Jehovah is darkness or God hides. The name, apparently, 
signified his later ability to foreseen the time when Jehovah 
would seem to be hidden from the people of Judah and 
Jerusalem. The problem of vision, however, would not 
emanate from God’s moving away from His children; rather, 
it would be caused be their moving away from 
the righteous ness of God. Ironically, both Judah 
and Jerusalem had professed to undergo spiritual 
changes: Judah had responded to the revival preaching 
of Jonah while Jerusalem had professed to embrace the 
reforms of King Josiah; the young 16 years old king had 
ordered the removal of all idols from the temple; the 
people had complied with the change but deep 
in their heart they remained unchanged; thus, they were 
spiritual hypocrites. 
Tommy C. Higle, in his book Journey Through 
the Bible depicted Zephaniah as not being misled by 
the people of Jerusalem; thus, Higle wrote, “Zephaniah 
saw into the hearts of the people and knew that much 
of what was happening was artificial”. What an awesome 
thought beloved, if a prophet could look beneath the 
action of religious people and its their feelings, how 
much greater the power of God to view the inner 
thoughts of humankind. 
Using his prophet intuition, Zephaniah penned 
a message to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 
Essentially, the message was - God despises spiritual 
hypocrisy and, in due, time He will impose 
punishment on those guilty of such a mind set. 
That prophecy of Zephaniah, while of the Old 
Testament period, continues to loom over the 
thoughts and actions of people. Accordingly, 
contemporary humanity can find both guidelines 
to follow and cautions to observe in the area of 
thought and action. 
With this background on Zephaniah, 
attention will now be directed to the three scenes 
chosen to document the danger in spiritual 
hypocrisy -the first of which is the word 

The term apostasy refers to the falling away 
from the faith; it was a frequently used term in the 
description of Old Testament History. 
Theological scholars argue, with fervor, that 
God’s order for the death of all Canaanites to 
prevent the Israelites from intermarriage with them. 
God knew that intermarriage between the two vastly 
different nations would lead to idolatry within the 
Israelite group. The Israelites disobeyed the order to 
destroy all the Canaanites and soon the Israelite 
men had begun to mix with the Canaanite women. 
Later intermarriages occurred and the Israelite 
men began to worship the idol gods of the 
Canaanites. That shift in religious loyalty was 
known as apostasy. In the process of time, 
the Israelites became more apostate and, for 
their devious behavior, God planned to punish 
them. Thus, he sent his prophet, Zephaniah, to 
warn the Israelites of his impending punishment; 
God said, “I will utterly consume all things from 
off the land.”God’s intent was not to reprimand 
but, rather, to inflict pain and impose destruction 
on the apostate people. To that end, God said 
that he would punish the princes, and the kings; 
he described that punishment as a day of wrath, 
a day of trouble and distress, and a time of 
The reality of God’s judgment is the 
second consideration in our sermon on the 
danger of spiritual hypocrisy. As noted in 
Zephaniah’s prophecy, apostasy had nearly 
completed its course and punishment 
was soon to be imposed. He referred to the 
event as the day of the Lord. That day would 
be the time when the Canaanites and most 
of the Israelites would be subjected to the 
wrath of God. Fortunately, not all of the 
Israelites had fallen into apostasy; that 
small upright minority was viewed as the 
remnant of Israel. It was instructed to 
come together and to seek the Lord and 
therefore be able to hid in the day of the 
Lord’s anger. Except for the remnant, 
all other Israelites and all the Canaanites 
would be punished. When the day of 
judgment did occur, the Canaanites were 
literally wiped from the face of the earth 
and the Israelites in Jerusalem were carried 
into Babylonian Captivity. However, 
after several years of desolation, their 
punishment, the Jews were permitted to 
return to Jerusalem. In a poetic context, the 
Jews were given another chance to become 
true worshipers of God. Many years later, 
they were offered the opportunity to become 
the sons of God, but the rejected Jesus as 
the only begotten of the Father. Again, they 
had fallen into apostasy; but - beloved - that 
divine provision was extended to the whole 
of humanity, an avenue by which you and 
I can have everlasting life. Amen.
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