Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

Some “Christians” to Avoid (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #8)

Listen to the audio version: Part A | Part B

TEXT: Matthew 15:1-9

It is sad to say, but you have to watch out for some people who call themselves Christians. Yes, there are some people who act Christian, look Christian, and talk Christian, but are not truly committed to the teachings and the spirit of Jesus Christ. In fact, our Lord told us to “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Throughout your journey as a Christian, you are bound to meet some of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. It was not too long after he had been saved that Christian, the main character of Pilgrim’s Progress, met two of these types of individuals — Formalist and Hypocrisy.

Formalist and Hypocrisy are representative of people who want to receive all of the benefits of being a Christian, but they do not always want to live the Christian life the way the Lord Jesus Christ has prescribed. I want to share with you three problems with these types of believers in hopes that you would not have these traits yourself and that you would be able to spot these traits in others and avoid them at all costs.

1. These types of believers value form and function over faith. The Bible tells us that “scribes and Pharisees [came to Jesus] saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.”

2. These types of believers are not sold out for Jesus Christ. Reminding His listeners of the words of Isaiah, Jesus say, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” The scribes and Pharisees were all about religious appearances and making sure they looked holy before the people, however their hearts were far from the place where God wanted it to be.

3. These types of believers are in it for their own glory. Finally, Jesus says, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” One of the reasons why Christians remain stuck on tradition, formality, or hypocrisy is because they are seeking their own glory. They are seeking to be noticed. They are seeking fame for themselves.

Ask yourself, today, dear friend: What kind of Christian are you? Are you just a formalist, only concerned about the outward appearance? Have you surrounded yourself with other people who are formalists? Are you a hypocrite? Are you trying to be something that you are not? It is my prayer and hope that you will live the life of a true believer, for that is truly where the blessing is.