The common definition of hypocrisy in America and particularly in the American church is that hypocrisy is the failure to live what you believe. But the biblical definition is different. The underlying Greek word refers to putting on a mask–to acting a theatrical part. Thus a hypocrite is one who professes a belief, but in fact does not believe.
Likewise, we often speak about revival in the church, but what do we mean by revival? Typically what is meant is that we want to see a number of people make tearful professions of faith or tearful renewals of faith. Another definition is related to this one: a church schedules an outside preacher or preachers to come in for some days with the intent to generate such professions of faith. Should this be successful then the church gains some notoriety for a time that “revival is happening at ABC Church”. Typically the church also sees some gains in membership, giving of time, efforts in evangelism and ministry, and financially. Yet a year later the same church is often back in the same position of apathy that caused it to seek out the revival in the first place.
It is interesting to look at the word revival: it means to bring back to life or to resuscitate someone who has passed out or has just died. Revival is a word that is used little or not at all in the New Testament. However there is a word that it is often used: resurrection. Resurrection is not the same as revival: in resurrection the person affected was definitively dead, with no hope of resuscitation, yet by the grace of God they are made to stand up and live. When resurrection happens spiritually to a person, we call it salvation: one who was once dead in trespasses and sin is now alive in Christ. This resurrection is made known to the world by another “R-word” in the New Testament: repentance. A person who experiences salvation makes it known by their publicly seen repentance of sin and sins. The biblical definition of repentance is to confess your sin, forsake your sin, and trust the Savior, Jesus Christ. This repentance is both a “once for all” thing at the time of salvation and a daily thing as we are sanctified. It is a lifelong turning from rebellion and sin and a lifelong turning to the Word Incarnate and the Word Written.
By now you’re probably wondering, ” What is the relationship between hypocrisy and revival?
Put bluntly, we practise hypocrisy when we speak of revival. We proclaim we want to see a great move of God culminating in the salvation of many. But is that what we really want, or is it the brief emotional high of a different preacher and some short lived professions of faith? Aren’t we really asking for a counterfeit of resurrection? What does a spiritually resurrected person look like? Are we spiritually resurrected?
- Are we praying fervently, daily?
- Adoring God?
- Confessing our sins?
- Thanking God?
- Petitioning God?
- Interceding for others?
- In faith that the Lord will answer?
- Are we fervently, daily, studying the Word?
- To know God more?
- To love Him more?
- To obey Him more?
- To worship Him more?
- Are we living sacrifices? Do we sacrifice anything really?
- Do we come to church ready to worship?
- Ready to praise God for who He is?
- Ready to testify to His mighty works?
- Setting aside time for corporate prayer?
- Singing songs that exalt Him with no mention of us?
- Listening to the Word preached with the intent to repent and rejoice?
- Do we make our life one of exultant worship?
- Our work?
- Our family?
- Our rest and leisure?
- Do we do everything heartily as unto the Lord?
If we truly want revival then we will seek to be such a people and to seek salvation of such a people. If not, then we have a name and it is Sardis.