1/3/15 “Are You Playing Church?” – Pastor Shane Idleman




Context: 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

  • They were attributing the works of God to Satan – this reflected their heart, AND THUS, their fruit.

MATTHEW 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  • Religious people often speak “good things,” but their hearts are evil.

  1. Religious Hypocrisy Comes from the Heart:

God rebuked this as much as any other sin:

  • 1 John 4:20 – if a man says he loves God but hates his brother he is a liar.

  • James 1:26 – if a man cannot control his tongue he deceives himself.

  • Matthew 7:5 – a hypocrite judges his brothers without first looking in the mirror.

Billions have religion but not a true relationship. Jesus states, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:8). A.W. Tozer adds, “Millions of professed believers talk as if [Christ] were real and act as if He were not. And always our actual position is to be discovered by the way we act, not by the way we talk.”

  • Often, the only way to awaken the walking dead is with words that confront. Here we see Jesus use cutting words to spark change: “Brood of vipers.”

Many go to church sporadically, but would rather sit at home and do nothing. They are disengaged and bored during worship when they do attend. Their social media posts resemble Hollywood not the work of the Spirit. They choose friends who complement their worldly lifestyle, rather than friends who challenge them to live for God. They look forward to consuming alcohol, and avoid prayer and Bible study. The things of the world are exciting and the things of God are dull. Their movie and video choices look no different than what the culture promotes.Their conversations at work include every topic except God, and at home, their words are shallow and lifeless. Their waking thoughts are either focused on wealth, pleasure, or entertainment. They have religion but not a genuine relationship. WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY DEAD!

Am I just trying to upset people? NO! The fruit doesn’t lie

  • This is the climate where the majority of religious people live.

*Floyd Mayweather wrote on Instagram, “Yes, I got a 14 passenger jet. Got to give them another reason to hate, but I will motivate the people that are ambitious and want to be winners in life. I am guilty! I’m materialistic and I’m motivated by money…but GOD is first in my life.”

Sermon in a nutshell: Get the heart right and the rest falls into place.

The difference between Hypocrisy & someone Struggling

  1. Religious Deception Comes from the Heart: These leaders were “deceiving” the people.

Words alone can’t gauge change, but words and actions (over the course of time) can.

  • VIPERS hunt by striking and envenomating their prey

  • Wolves in sheep’s clothing

Pam’s Drum Set Story: I was delighted to know the drums would be used for worship and an a answer to prayer. He offered me $1500.00 cash ($1000 less than I was asking). He backed his vehicle up to the walkway to load up the drums. When this guy walked up, he was all smiles with two bibles in his hand. When inside, he opened with prayer and then sat at the drums and started to sing a beautiful praise song. He then asked if I would play the piano and he would accompany me.

After the song, he went on to tell me how God has gifted me to do great things….Then he proceeded to tell us he didn’t have the $1500.00 for the drums. He had $50 cash and could write me a check for money he didn’t have. Then talked about the purpose for the drums in his ministry in the inner city and how music would bring the youth to Christ.

1] Words and Actions didn’t match

2] Too religious – phony baloney – no sincerity.

3] Tried to control [point directly to Scripture like a magician]: “They are the kind who worm their way into homes” (2 Tim. 3:6)

The prince of darkness appears as an angle of light: use wisdom, be filled with the Spirit, take things to prayer, judge actions and words over time. Be patient and wait on God.

  • If we could interview Billy Ray…WHAT HAPPENED?

  • If we could interview men and women across our landscape that are caught in sin…WHAT HAPPENED?

Seemed like such a good spouse [sure, there were many red flags]

Seemed like such a good person to date [sure, they caused me to compromise…]

Seemed like such a good investment [sure, its seemed too good to be true, but…]

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

  1. Idle Words Come from the Heart

36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

  • Look at vs. 37 1st: When someone gives a testimony they use words – their words “testify” as to their eternal state.

  • Idle – [argos]: lazy, unproductive, pointless

ACCOUNT: Stewardship of our words: Words reveal the heart.

Idle Promises:

  • A few words about making commitments we don’t keep.

The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign: 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

  • There was mockery in their voice, not sincerity [what’s the difference]?

SIDENOTE: Mockery, hypocrisy, harsh words, etc are all birthed in the womb of pride.

Let’s talk about humility for a minute: David had to tend sheep; Moses had live on the backside of the desert; Paul was humiliated and had to be led around; Elijah had to be fed by birds and a widow.

  • In the same, God can’t use a man or woman greatly he must break them. Stop fighting what you’re going through and allow it to break your heart.

  • “Signs” won’t matter when the heart is wrong. They were going to say THAT everything He did was thru Satan.


  1. During an average lifetime, the human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. RE: Lungs, we get app. 22,000 breaths every 24 hours.

  2. The human brain contains roughly 100 billion neurons equalling 100 trillion data points.

  3. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain turns thoughts into actions.

STOP SAYING: “I used to believe in God, but not anymore. OR “God doesn’t exist…it’s all fairy tales.”

  • But the greatest sign was being raised from the dead so that we could have new life…

[For more information on the resurrection, see this article: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection.]

  1. The earliest Jewish arguments against Christianity admit the empty tomb.

  2. Why did 10 of the disciples willingly die as martyrs for their belief in the resurrection?

  3. It’s often pointed out that there were many myths of dying and rising savior gods at the time of Christianity? [But there are many myths about gods too. This doesn’t kill the idea of God; it adds to the validity.] The early disciples were Jews, and it would have been unthinkable for a Jew to borrow from another religion. For they were zealous in their belief that the pagan religions were abhorrent to God.

Again, “From the Heart, the Mouth Speaks”. You can’t change on your own!