- knowing the truth but not obeying it
- living a self-serving life
- reduces faith to rigid rules
- outward conformity without inner reality
You could be someone who tithes, but are rude to a waiter in a restaurant. We are to follow what Jesus does since He is our example. If He was right next to you, would you act differently? Since the Holy Spirit is in those who believe He is in fact right next to you. Many people choose to stay away from God because of the "Christians" they have encountered. Be kind and show compassion so they can see that no all Christians are the same. On the other hand we should not worry about those who think we are hypocrites. If you know your heart is right then don't concern yourself with trying to defend yourself. The enemy is trying to keep other from entering the kingdom.
v. 4-5 Do not fear man because after death they can do no harm. We are to fear God because He is the one who has the ability to alter our eternal place. Many fear what men can do instead of the creator of everything.
v. 8-9 "I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns Me before men will be disowned before the angels of God." Such a simple statement, you either accept Him or disown Him. Whatever you choose to do will also be done to you.
Do you do any of these:
- hope no one would think you are a Christian
- decide not to speak up for what is right
- are silent about our relationship with God
- blend into society
- accept our culture's non-Christian values
What we should be doing:
- live moral, upright Christ-honoring lives
- look for opportunities to share our faith with others
- help others in need
- take a stand for justice
- love others
- acknowledge our loyalty to Christ
- use our lives and resources to carry out His desires rather than our own
v. 10 "And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." This one has confused me for awhile. What is seems like to me is that those that speak against Jesus can be forgiven, yet those that blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not ever be forgiven. Blaspheme means: to speak impiously or irreverently of (God or sacred things), to speak evil of, slander, to show contempt or disrespect for (God, a divine being, or sacred things), to utter profanities, curses, or impious expressions. I believe the demons who do this will never be forgiven. I believe there are few people that fall into this category. Anyone who fears that having committed it shows, by his or her way very concerned, that they have not sinned in this way.
v. 11-12 Do not worry about what you will say to defend God or your beliefs. Pray that the Holy Spirit guides you to what to say. Sometimes Jesus said nothing to defend Himself. Not all times are we supposed to argue with others. The truth does not need to be defended, it just is.