TRANSCRIPT | Sun, July 26, 2020 | One Mask You Should Never Wear

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

... all across the world. And so I want to share three verses of scripture. They're going to be an anchor text for us and then we're going to take those and weave them together throughout the message this morning. John chapter two. And I want you look with me at verse number 13. John chapter two, verse number 13. "Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand and Jesus went up to Jerusalem and He found in the temple those who were selling ox and sheep and doves, and there were money changers who were doing business. And when He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen and poured out the changers money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold the doves, 'Take these things away, do not make my Father's house a house of merchandise.'"

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Look with me at Matthew chapter number 21. And I want you to see with me verse 12 and 13. It says this. "And then Jesus went into the temple and He drove out all of those who bought and sold in the temple. And He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, 'It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you've made it a den of thieves.'" Now some of you may think that we've just read the same text from two different gospels. But most scholars believe that the passage of text that is recorded in John chapter two is different than the passage of text that is recorded in Matthew chapter 21. And the reason for that is because they believe that one of these events happened at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry and that the other happened towards the end of Jesus' ministry.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

In fact, some believed that these events basically sandwiched the ministry of Jesus. That Jesus may have very well cleansed the temple when He was first getting His ministry started and He may have, again cleansed the temple right before He was crucified. In fact, some believe that it is that second cleansing that led them to finally say, we're going to crucify this guy. We're going to get rid of Him. We've had enough.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Now. I want you to look with me at Matthew chapter number 27. I want you to look with me at verse 50. It says, "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and He yielded the spirit." This is when Jesus is dying on the cross. Verse 51, "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked and the rocks were split." So as Jesus was dying on the cross, there's another event that takes place in the temple. It was this veil that went into the Holy place, where the presence of God was supposed to be. And that veil was torn in two.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Father I ask you today to help me to preach, to help me to teach, to help me to share your word in a way that God causes your Holy Spirit to become real in our lives and that God, you would provoke every single one of us to take our next step in You, whatever that might be. God help me to yield Your sword with skillfulness. Give me a special [inaudible 00:00:03:03], a special grace, the anointing of the Holy Spirit for such a time as this. God show me where to pierce. Show me where to heal. Let it be done in Jesus name. And this church said, amen.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I heard the story of a man who had went to church and as they were leaving, he got in the car with his family and he began to complain. The music was too loud. The building was too hot. The sermon was not good. They made their way into the restaurant. And now he's complaining about the fact that it's taking too long for them to be seated. They're at their table and he is complaining that it's taking the waitress too long to facilitate the order. Now the food has come and that also has taken too long. He is complaining about whatever crosses his path. And as the meal is being set on the table, he calls everyone to attention and says, "Now let us bless this meal and give the Lord things."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And as he blessed the meal and he gave thanks, they now begin to pass the meal around the table. And the little boy, his son, looks at his dad, he says dad, "When you were in the car coming home from church, could God hear you?" "Well, sure. He could hear me." "Well dad, when you were just praying over the meal and giving thanks. Could God hear you then too?" "Well, yeah. I guess he could son." "Well dad, which one of them is God going to believe?"

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The definition of hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform. I'm going to say it again for the sake of emphasis. The definition of hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform. When you're reading through the gospels, it becomes evident very quickly that Jesus does not seem to be a fan of hypocrisy. In other words, those who claim to have moral standards or beliefs, but yet their own behavior does not conform to it.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

In fact, when you're reading through the New Testament, depending on which translation you choose to read from, you will discover that the word hypocrite or hypocrisy is used somewhere between 15 and 25 times. But almost every single time that it is used, it is used by Jesus Himself. And in fact, when Jesus is beginning His preaching ministry in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount. It's recorded in Matthew chapter five, Matthew chapter six and Matthew chapter seven. Repetitively throughout that message, Jesus addresses the issue of hypocrisy. In fact, in Matthew chapter number six, what you'll discover is that Jesus calls out hypocrisy when it comes to prayer lives.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

This is what it looks like. He says, "And when you pray, you shall not be like hypocrites for they love to pray standing in the synagogue and on the corners of the street that people will see them. And I say to you, surely they already have their reward." He's not finished. He's addressed hypocrisy in people's prayer lives. Now He addresses hypocrisy in when people are fasting. It says, "Moreover, when you fast do not be like the hypocrites with a sad countenance for they disfigure their faces so that they may appear unto men to be fasting. Assuredly I say to you, they already have their reward."

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Jesus goes on to talk about hypocrisy in the realm of generosity. And then He even talks about hypocrisy in the realm of judgment. It's one of the often quoted scriptures. I'm not sure we truly understand it. It's Matthew chapter seven, verse five. Hypocrite first remove the plank from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. So Jesus is pointing out that He has an issue with hypocrisy. He's pointing out that He has an issue with people who claim to be one thing, but they are actually something else. He's pointing out that He seems to take issue with people who put on this big public show, but yet it's not truly coming from their heart.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

For instance, these people who go out and pray and they learn how to say these eloquent prayers, but it's not really coming from a relationship with God. People who just choose to be generous so that other people will think that they are generous. People who just choose to fast so that other people will think that they are spiritual. And especially those who choose to judge what's wrong with everybody else, even to the most minute details, but never deal with the big issues in their own life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Jesus' ministry gained intensity in the level in which that He confronted hypocrisy to the point that by the time you get to Matthew chapter 23, Jesus delivers what is known as the seven woes. And he begins each statement with woe unto you hypocrites. Woe unto you hypocrites. Says it seven times. And here's some of the things that He addresses. He says an issue that I have with you is that you are like whited sepulchre. That you are beautiful on the outside, but on the inside, you are like dead men's bones. If you don't know what a sepulchre is, it's basically a tomb.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

He's saying you've got a beautiful tombstone, but inside you're full of debt. He even says, hypocrisy could be likened unto somebody who cleans the outside of the cup, but they don't do anything to the side of the cup. Jesus seems to have an issue with hypocrisy. But you know what I have noticed? I've noticed that the lost also seemed to have a problem with hypocrisy. And I've discovered that many times, one of the things that the enemy uses with people who are lost to keep them in the darkness of this world is to point out the hypocrisy in the lives of other people. And here's the thing. Listen, we're all going to make mistakes at the best we can do. Can I get a witness somewhere?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

We're going to make mistakes. We're going to have [inaudible 00:09:25]. There's going to be places where that we come up short. But I think when it begins to become hypocrisy is when we try to act like those mistakes don't apply to our life. It's when we try to act like, that we're something better than we actually are. And we start self righteously looking down our nose at everybody else. And we choose to point out their flaws because we don't want anybody to ever see our own flaws. And what happens is it not only distances us from God, but it distances us from the very people that need to know that Jesus, that we proclaim the name of.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Greek theater is actually what gives us the word hypocrite. It came from their language because of a word that they used to describe actors who would put on a mask and then they would quote lines. And part of the humor behind it is that their quotes, their lines as actors didn't match the facial expression. And so in between scenes, they would go change mask. And through that, then they would start giving their lines. And from there is where we get the word hypocrite. It is biblically, may be, most easily translated to understand theatrical mask. That I am a pretender. I am a poser. I am coming across as one thing, but in truth, I am actually something else. So Jesus apparently starts His ministry by addressing the fact that His temple had become a theater.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Can I say it again? He starts and ends His ministry by addressing the fact that His temple had become a theater. And so we make it sometimes when we're looking at John chapter two, we're looking at Matthew chapter 27 and even the other gospels that relay some of this storyline. We make it all about the fact that they were buying and selling inside the temple. And we make it just about the fact that they had merchandised the selling of the lamb or the dove or the ox. But that's really probably not what the issue was about at all. Because what would happen is people would travel from afar to come to the temple to have a worship experience. And as they were having the worship experience, it was super important for them to be able to make sacrifice. But there were a lot of people who didn't own doves or a lot of people that didn't have a farm if you will. And so when they would come to make sacrifice, they had to buy their sacrifice. It cost them something.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But the issue here is not with the fact that they were buying their sacrifice. The issue is that the temple was a theater. You see, because somewhere North of 450 years before Jesus began His ministry on earth, we learn that in the temple, behind the veil, there is supposed to be an Ark of the Covenant. And the Ark of the Covenant was known as the manifest presence of God on earth. And they were supposed to value their relationship with what God did behind that veil above everything else. But the issue was, at some point they lost the Ark of the Covenant, which means that they lost the manifest presence of God inside the temple. And so now for people to come and make sacrifice is for it to just be all about a form, all about a sham, they're just going through the motions. There's nothing behind that veil.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And Jesus seems to be pointing out the fact that He takes issue with you are robbing these people because you're going through the motions of a religious experience, but the relationship with God has been lost. He seems to be taking issue with the fact that the presence of God is not in the temple and they're not choosing to address it or talk about it. And so Jesus starts running money changers out, and He says, "This is supposed to be a house of prayer, especially if the presence of God is not here." And so I think that there's something to be thought of there, of how easy it is to fall prey to theater.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I've just wondered if there's not even something a little prophetic going on in the earth today with all of the coverings, because there's something I think God wants to get ahold of with us. And that is don't settle for going through the motions of a form of godliness and denying the power thereof. The apostle Paul talked about that. He said that one of the issues that can arise is that we can settle for going through a form of godliness. So we say our prayers, we give our little bit, and then we may be, a fast if we really want to appear to be spiritually elite. And then all the rest of the time, we're criticizing this person and criticizing that person and trying to debate with this one and debate with that one and point out that we're right and we're wrong. And then we go to church on Sunday and we go to small group on Wednesday and we go through these motions.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And at the same time, it's all just checking the boxes and we start to feel self-sufficient because we're giving place to self righteousness. And so what has to happen in our lives is that we don't just have this form where, okay. I check this box, I'm going to read my little thing every morning on the Bible app. And then I'm going to make sure I... All those are good things. It's good to have your prayer time. It's good to be generous. It's good to fast. It's good to make sure that you're not being deceived by somebody else's hypocrisy. It's good to go to church. Hallelujah. It's good to be a part of small groups. It's good.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But that can't just be a part of your checklist or that you're trying to make yourself feel better about your religious experience. It has to start with what is behind the veil. And that is the manifest presence of God. Where you have a legit experience with the Lord. You are in relationship with Him and He is in relationship with you. And the Kingdom of Heaven becomes made manifest in earth wherever you step, because you are in relationship with the King and He sits on the throne of your heart as the Lord of Lords. Can I get a witness from somebody on a Sunday morning. If you've ever had a relationship with the Heavenly Father?

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So when I'm thinking about Jesus cleansing the temple and the point that He's trying to make, I don't think it's by accident that when Jesus is on the cross and we read the verse. A matter of fact, maybe we should just read it again. It's Matthew chapter number 27, just for the sake of emphasis, verse number 51. "And then as He's dying, the veil of the temple was torn in two." Say it with me. "From top to bottom." Is it that what it seems to describe that as the Son of God is dying, the Heavenly Father reaches down and gets a hold of that veil, which would be the theatrical mask of the temple. And He just starts to rip it from top to bottom as if to make a statement that the days of pretense are over and that now, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the broke... According to the book of Hebrews. The broken body of Jesus becomes the actual veil.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

And now you don't got to go to some place in Jerusalem to have an experience with the Heavenly Father. Or you don't got to look for some Ark of the Covenant with Indiana Jones and try to finally see the blue flame of God's glory. All you got to do is decide. I am passing through the work of Jesus Christ, that I can have a relationship with the Heavenly Father. And He's going to touch my life from the top of my head, to the soles of my feet. And I'm not just going to go through the motions because those cost Heaven too much. It's cost Heaven too much.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Don't you just wonder sometimes what God would rip today? Now she's getting ahead of me. I'm all tag team. You were going rock and roll. She got it. Because I just wonder if He's not. Just wonder if God's not maybe just trying to get the attention of his people again, because the lost are at stake. And the more that we move out of self-righteousness in our works and we move into true righteousness in the grace of Jesus Christ. And we start to live in the manifest presence of God. I'm telling you, God is going to be able to do something that coincidence will never be able to take the credit for. Does anybody want more of the presence of God today than you had yesterday? Does anybody say more today than yesterday? That nothing else will do quite like the presence of God.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

I've had the privilege to be in Israel a few times. And as I've been there, one of my favorite places to visit is the place where the temple stood in the hour and day of Jesus. The only thing that is left of it though, is the steps. There are people who go there and they have a profound experience with God because they realize undoubtedly, at some point, Jesus walked those steps. In fact, when Jesus was going up to clean out the temple, He walked those very steps. And I've had some intense prayer times there where I just begin to visualize that, read those scriptures and think through it.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But they're known as the Southern Steps. In fact, Neil Armstrong said that standing at those steps meant more to him than stepping onto the moon because of the experience that he had with God in revisiting the cleansing of the temple. Here's the thing you need to know about the Southern Steps. They don't meet code and there are no handrails. But they are extremely steep. And there's a lot of them. And the Southern Steps, the steps that went to the temple in the days of Jesus, some of them are really wide. Some of them are really narrow. Some of them will hold a full foot. Others will hold basically a half to three quarters of a foot. And they were built that way on purpose, because the point was attempting to be made by the architect of that temple. You don't just skip into the presence of God. And there are no handrails.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So even today, if you were to go to the Southern Steps, you're not just going to... You're going to take your time. And every step of ascension was meant to mimic the Psalm of David about ascending into the Holy Hill. And every step was supposed to be another place where you would stop and evaluate your own heart and your own life and where you were at in your relationship with God. But the religious elite of that day had done it so many times, it lost its meaning. And what once had been wholly, became casual. What once had been filled with reverential awe, became mundane.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

The Bible says the beginning of all fear... Excuse me. The beginning of all wisdom and the beginning of all knowledge is the fear of the Lord. You want to know why knowledge is increasing in the earth and people keep getting dumber. I'm not trying to be rude or arrogant. I'm saying the reason is because we are losing reverential awe, because if it doesn't start with God, it's not true knowledge and it's not true wisdom. It has to pass through the temple.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

So I wonder as you're contemplating worship with the Lord, do you ever ascend up those steps? Do you ever really think about what it costs Heaven to have a personal relationship with me and you. Do you ever think about it's more than a song, it's more than just an hour or two on Sunday morning that God desires to have a relationship with you that is something beyond formality. And He has ripped things to try and prove that point.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

You want to know how you overcome hypocrisy? Jesus made this statement in Mark chapter seven, verse number six. "And the way that you make sure that you overcome hypocrisy is you see to it every time you ascend those steps into worship. Every time you bow before the throne of God, every time you worship, every time you facilitate your relationship with God, every time you do that, you make sure that you never fulfill this prophecy.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

As they begin to play the music, I'll read it. Mark chapter seven, verse number six. "Jesus said to His audience. 'Well did Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites. It is written. The people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain, they do worship Me teaching as doctrines, the commandments of men.'" Let's let's read it again. And I want you to just to let it slide over your heart. Sweep over your life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Jesus said... As He's looking at his audience, He says, "The prophecy has come true and it's come true and through you." He's looking at people that were in the temple every time the doors were open. He's looking at people that had parades through the cities, showing how much they were helping the poor. He's talking to people who are fasting to the point that their face is swiveling up. Versus six. "The problem is this people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." Their heart is far from Me. Their heart is far from Me. You know what the Lord wants? He wants your heart. Big revelation, right? And I would just insert. I don't know... There's nothing wrong with praying this prayer of Jesus come into my heart. I get it. I prayed the same thing when I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But more than we're asking Him to come into our heart, how about just give Him your heart? Lord I give You my heart. I'm not asking you to come in and just arrange the furniture God, you can have my heart. Because I don't just want a foreign God. I want the power of the manifest presence of God in my life, in the home, my kids.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

There is a generation on the earth right now that is absolutely desperate for the manifest presence of God. And maybe doesn't even realize it. I call on you father. I call on you mother. I call on you college student, to be an example of what it looks like when God has somebody's heart. When God has somebody's heart. Come on.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Father today I believe whether online or here at an auditorium, that there are going to be people who will give You their heart. And God some it may be for the various first time. Maybe God, for the very first time to say God I give You my heart. Maybe it's not the first time they've watched a preacher. Maybe it's not the first time they've been in a Church building. Maybe it's not the first time they got all dressed up and cleaned up on a Sunday and went and sung some songs. But God, today they give you their heart. And we thank You Father, that as we give our heart to you, that your Blood cleanses our life from the top of our head to the soles of our feet. It takes away... God, it takes away all the stuff that we know we did wrong. All the addictions and all the mess and all the hateful mean things we said and all the failures.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

But God, also those places where that we were trying so hard in our own might to do right, that we didn't even realize that we had distanced ourselves from relationship through religious formality. And God today, we just give you our heart. Wherever we're at in our walk with You, our relationship with You, our life with You, we give you our heart. God let your presence rain down upon us. Let your presence rain down upon us.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Listen, whether you're in this auditorium or you're there at home. I want you just to take a moment. I want you to let the Lord have a moment with you personally, you individually and go over some things in your heart. Is there anything you need to acknowledge before the Lord? Is there anything that is maybe even spoken to you today about, "Hey, that's something I need to lay on the altar. That's something I need to let go of." And as you just begin to contemplate that and think about that, Lord, I'm going to pray for you one more time.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert:

Lord, I ask you as people are just getting real before Heaven, as people are spiritually ascending those Southern Steps. They're just taking a moment, just giving some evaluation to God. Do I need to let go of some self-righteous criticism over here? Do I need to let go of some greed that is somehow fallen into my generosity? God do I need to let a purity come back to my prayer life? Do I need to let my worship God become more expressive or more pure? God is there some part of me that you need today that I've not yet given to You? All yours, Lord. We thank You, we praise You, in Jesus name. In Jesus-

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