Are Christians Hypocrites?

Sermon Transcript/Article: Are Christians Hypocrites?


I have 2 emotional charged statements that I would like you hear.

1st : “Christians are hypocrites.” And 2nd: “Well, if that’s how a Christian acts then I want nothing to do with Christianity.” Maybe you’ve said something like that or heard someone else say it. We all know that Christians are supposed to be good, kind, follow the rules, and try to act like God.

But many of them blow it, even in really big ways. They hurt people and make Christianity look back. Their poor representation of God has actually turned people away from wanting to learn about Jesus and making a decision to follow Him.

Now, to be fair, some of these people who claim to be Christians probably aren’t. Even Jesus says that just because you claim to be His follower and you give the appearance in public doesn’t mean that you actually are one. I’ll read what Jesus says about this in Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. 22 When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God's message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ 23 Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’ (Good News Translation)

Jesus Condemned Hypocrisy

Thank goodness that the wonderful life-saving message of Christianity is not based on its members. Christianity is based on Jesus, who sacrificed Himself for our sinful behavior so that we can be forgiven. We can have a restored relationship with God. And we have eternal life with Him.

And he is not hypocritical. Jesus is not the Christian woman who publically pushed for abstinence yet ended up having an affair and destroying her family. Jesus is not the Christian father that physically abused his own child. Jesus is not the priest that gained a child’s trust and then molested him. Jesus is not the outspoken, arrogant pastor that preaches that all homosexuals should burn in hell. He is not the Christian leader or the spouse that uses the Bible or his leadership position to spiritually abuse you. Nor is He the TV evangelist that begs for money yet has his own mansion and expensive car. Jesus - is the perfect, sinless, holy son of God. Actually, He is God.

Text - Matthew 23

In Matthew 23, Jesus spoke out against the religious leaders and He even called them hypocrites. I will read verses 1- 7: “ Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra-long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ (or teacher).”

And then Jesus goes on to say that they win converts to their own religion, but not actually to God. They reinterpreted their laws in order to suit their own purposes. They emphasized minute religious details, yet ignored the more important truths of God such as justice, mercy, and faith. They worked hard to look good on the outside, but inside they were greedy and self-indulgent. They even denied that they too were sinful. They were so bad that they eventually persecuted and killed real followers of Jesus, including Jesus Himself. So, Jesus clearly condemns hypocrisy among His followers and representatives.

Why Some Christians are Hypocritical

So what makes people become hypocritical? Well, it pretty much comes down to pride. We think or pretend that we are better than we really are. Pride is thinking that our way is the right way because we are better. Essentially it is self-worship. When we’re prideful, we don’t need God or other people to help us because we’re already doing it well enough. Christians that have a problem with pride will cling onto the morality that they like, and then force it on others, but they will ignore Biblical truths that they don’t like especially if it’s something sinful that they are struggling with. And some people use Christianity and the Bible to manipulate and control others for some kind of personal gain – maybe for monetary reasons or for their own popularity. You might even see this behavior in some church leaders. It’s called spiritual abuse. And it is wrong.

I’m going to describe a well-known man. This man used Christianity to manipulate others so that he could grow in power. “He made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions which would become the pillars of the new government. He assumed the earnestness of a man weighed down by historic responsibility. He handed out pious stories to the press, especially to the church papers. He showed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength for his great work from it as scores of pious people welcomed him as a man sent from God. Indeed, Adolf Hitler was a master of outward religiosity--with no inward reality! (Today in the Word June 3, 1989). I think it would be hard to find anyone these day who believes that Hitler was actually a Christian. But it sounds like, there once was a time when he had people fooled. He is a perfect example of a hypocrite.

True Christ­-like Character

God has high moral standards for his true followers. He wants us to be Christ-like. However, human beings cannot do this perfectly. They do make mistakes. But making a mistake and not attaining perfection are not the same as being a hypocrite. There are many Christians genuinely trying to live the Christian life, relying on the Holy Spirit to convict them and change them. Numerous Christians live good lives free from hypocrisy and scandal. Many live selfless lives, trying very hard to live by high moral standards. And one such person is a nurse named Charlotte Thrall. I read an article about her called Mercy-Full Nurse in Christianity Today Magazine. I’ll read a portion of the article.

“When Diego was a little boy in Mexico, his abusive father plunged a fireplace poker into the 3-year-old's left eye. Diego and his mother fled to the United States, ending up in Phoenix. But Diego's misery continued. Essentially blind, haunted by memories of his father, and mocked by fellow students, he was suicidal by age 10. His mom was undocumented, with no insurance or access to services. That's when Charlotte Thrall heard about their plight. A nurse who uses her skills to serve Phoenix's uninsured and undocumented, she connected Diego to an ophthalmologist for his eye and a psychiatrist for his anguish. The former crafted a custom contact lens that restored some of Diego's sight. The latter put him on an antidepressant that may have saved the boy's life. All this for free. Today, Diego is a thriving 16-year-old who enjoys playing soccer. If it weren't for Charlotte, he might have ended up as another lost statistic.”

Due to the political climate surrounding immigration, many undocumented Latinos are afraid to seek medical help. Instead of involving herself in the political fight, Charlotte Thrall has dedicated herself to showing compassion. She has been able to help around 2,000 people within seven years - without being paid. And most of her clients have been undocumented. She doesn’t have an office, just a cell phone and a Chevy Tahoe filled with medical supplies. She meets their various physical needs, makes referrals to other medical providers, and offers to pray with them. Charlotte is a good example of a selfless Christian trying to represent Jesus well.

That was just 1 example of Christian that is doing it right. She is looking on at her fellow human beings as Jesus would. Through her empathy and compassion she is doing what she can to help people with their physical and spiritual needs. And this is what Jesus did during His ministry on Earth. Yet even the best representatives of Jesus are still humans who sin. The only One who is truly perfect and without sin is Jesus. He is the only one that can ever live up to God’s perfect holy standards. Only He could truly practice what He preached without ever making a mistake. But we still need to do our best, to work at transforming ourselves to becoming like Christ. And this isn’t going to happen instantly, as soon as we make a commitment to follow Jesus. Plus, we will continue to struggle with the temptation to sin. But Ephesians 4:23-24 instructs us to stop sinning and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. It says “ Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

God is Holy

God wants us to pursue holiness in our lives, because He is holy. Actually, He is the absolute perfect example of being Holy. Bill Bright explains God’s holiness in his book called God – Discover His Character. To be holy means to cut or to separate. God is above, exalted, and separate from all that He created. His holiness also means that He is completely set apart from sin. God is so holy that no one can look upon His glory and live. No one can approach our holy God without a covering of blood to atone for the forgiveness of his sin. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross provided a covering of blood against the anger of God for unconfessed sin. The only thing that can satisfy the judgment of sin demanded by God’s holiness is the shedding of pure, innocent blood. And only Jesus’ blood met this high standard. God is the absolutely pure and righteous being who hates evil. He cannot tolerate any unrighteousness. Habakkuk 1:13 tells us, that God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil; He cannot tolerate wrong (NIV). God’s holiness demands consequences for sin. We have broken His standard of holiness, and His holiness demands that He judge our sin, not ignore or excuse it.” And Jesus paid our consequence for sin for us when He sacrificed himself by dying on the cross.

Bob Hyatt, a pastor of The Evergreen Community in Portland, Oregon says the following concerning the hypocritical reputation of Christianity. “Our churches aren't perfect by any means, and the people serving in those churches are sinful, fallen human beings as well. But there are many pastors out there who are doing their darndest to love people and serve Jesus who don't deserve the same broad brush as the few narcissistic control freaks who have somehow wandered into the ministry. There are more communities of faithfulness who are refuges for hurting people, serving their cities with love than there are abusive churches that use people up and spit them out. If you have been hurt by a church, or by certain pastors, let me say I'm sorry. I too have hurt people in my ministry. Our church has, at times contributed to the problem. I think more often than not, we've done right by people and tried our hardest to be kingdom agents of healing. I don't think we are by any means special. I think the vast majority of pastors and churches have heads and hearts in the right places.

Conclusion and Application

Unfortunately, we will continue to hear about Christians being hypocritical and poorly representing God. You and I will probably have another personal experience in which a Christian hurts us or disappoints us. I really don’t want to be one of those Christians, but I’m afraid that at times I too may misrepresent God and maybe even act hypocritical. That’s not what I want to be like, but if I am that way – I hope that people will look past me and my flaws to see Jesus – the only One that will never hurt you. So, I think that we need to rise above our hurts and disappointments concerning Christians or those who claim to be. Because Jesus is the only one we can absolutely count on to never fail us.
I’d like to leave you with the following 2 challenges:

1st - for the person who has been hurt by a Christian or a church – there are some Christians and fake Chistians out there who are hypocritical. But Jesus is not. He is perfect and He won’t fail you. Give Jesus a chance, it’s a matter of your eternity. He offers you salvation by believing in Him, trusting in Him, and living your life for Him. If you are interested in learning more about Jesus, but not ready to join in on the whole church thing, that’s OK. You can develop a relationship with Him on your own. You can learn about Him and talk to Him without being in a church. There are full copies of the Bible at to read online or you can download Bible apps to your phone. There are thousands of sermons online that you can learn from. You may get to a point where you decide that you would like to visit a group of Christians in a church or a small group setting. I know for myself that it has been really rewarding to belong to a church – being able to worship, pray and socialize with other people who follow Jesus. But if you’re not ready for that - then that’s fine. The most important thing to focus on is your one on one relationship with Him anyhow. However, if you do join a church and it doesn’t feel right – maybe the focus is more on the leaders rather than Jesus, then you might want to move on and look for a Christian community that is right for you because they are out there.

And 2nd - for the person who calls themself a Christian. We have a responsibility to represent Jesus well. The Bible tells us to be transformed from that old sinful way of life. We are supposed to pursue holiness. Remember that we were made in God’s image and therefore we should reflect His character traits. People are watching us and trying to decide whether or not to join in on our spiritual beliefs. Our Christian example may have a lot to do with whether or not they choose to pursue Jesus. How terrible it would be if our bad behavior turned them away from Jesus. Many people can think of examples of Christian who have acted like hypocrites, so we need to correct that disappointment for them and be examples of good, moral, selfless Christians that represent Jesus well.

The Book of Ruth - Tragedies Can Turn to Miracles

The entire book of Ruth complete with personal application, the doctrine of redemption, and the sovereignty of God in 23 minutes.
Sermon Transcript/Article: The Book of Ruth - Tragedies Can Change to Miracles


The book of Ruth, in the Bible, shows us that God can replace the tragedies of ordinary people with miracles and blessings. As Ruth went about living her challenging life, her perspective was very limited, yet she faithfully continued trusting God. She had no idea that the day by day leading of God would result in one of the greatest events in all of history. This true story took place in the period of the Judges, after the Israelites rebelled against God. The story provides a sharp contrast with the disobedient actions of the Israelites, because Ruth chose to obey God and therefore she prospered. I’m going to read the story from the Message version of the Bible. My hope is that you will be able to relate to Ruth, an ordinary person that had extraordinary experiences that provided by God. And then I will follow it up with some practical application points.

The Text , Ruth 1-4 (The Message Version)

1-2 Once upon a time—it was back in the days when judges led Israel— there was a famine in the land. A man from Bethlehem in Judah left home to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The man’s name was Elimelech; his wife’s name was Naomi; his sons were named Mahlon and Kilion—all Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They all went to the country of Moab and settled there.
3-5 (but) Elimelech died and Naomi was left, she and her two sons. (So) the sons took Moabite wives; the name of the first was Orpah, (and) the second Ruth. They lived there in Moab for the next ten years. But then the two brothers, Mahlon and Kilion, died. Now the woman was left without either her (sons) or her husband.
6-7 One day she got herself together, she and her two daughters-in-law, to leave the country of Moab and set out for home; she had heard that God had been pleased to visit his people (in Bethlehem) and give them food. And so she started out from the place she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law with her, on the road back to the land of Judah.
8-9 After a short while on the road, Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, “Go back. Go home and live with your mothers. And may God treat you as graciously as you treated your deceased husbands and me. May God give each of you a new home and a new husband!” She kissed them and they cried openly.
10 (but) they said, “No, we’re going on with you to your people.”
11-13 But Naomi was firm: “Go back, my dear daughters. Why would you come with me? Do you suppose I still have sons in my womb who can become your future husbands? Go back, dear daughters—on your way, please! I’m too old to get a husband. Why, even if I said, ‘There’s still hope!’ and this very night got a man and had sons, can you imagine being satisfied to wait until they were grown? Would you wait that long to get married again? No, dear daughters; this is a bitter pill for me to swallow—more bitter for me than for you. (sigh)God has dealt me a hard blow.”
14 Again they cried openly. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye; but Ruth embraced her and held on.
15 Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back home to live with her own people and gods; go with her.”
16-17 But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, help me God (if I don’t keep this promise) - not even death itself is going to come between us!”
18-19 When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. And so the two of them traveled on together to Bethlehem.
When they arrived in Bethlehem the whole town was soon buzzing: “Is this really our Naomi? And after all this time!”
20-21 But she said, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow. I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi (which means Happy)? God certainly doesn’t. (sigh)The Strong One ruined me.”
22 And so Naomi was back, and Ruth the foreigner with her, back from the country of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
2 It so happened that Naomi had a relative by marriage, a man prominent and rich, connected with Elimelech’s family. His name was Boaz.
One day Ruth, the Moabite foreigner, said to Naomi, “I’m going to work; I’m going out to glean among the sheaves, following after some harvester who will treat me kindly.”
Naomi said, “Go ahead, dear daughter.”
3-4 And so she set out. She went and started gleaning in a field, following in the wake of the harvesters. Eventually she ended up in the part of the field owned by Boaz, her father-in-law Elimelech’s relative. A little later Boaz came out from Bethlehem, greeting his harvesters (with), “God be with you!” They replied, “And God bless you!”
Boaz asked his young servant who was foreman over the farm hands, “Who is this young woman? Where did she come from?”
6-7 The foreman said, “Why, that’s the Moabite girl, the one who came with Naomi from the country of Moab. She asked permission. ‘Let me glean,’ she said, ‘and gather among the sheaves following after your harvesters.’ She’s been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break.”
8-9 Then Boaz spoke to Ruth: “Listen, my daughter. From now on don’t go to any other field to glean—stay right here in this one. And stay close to my young women. Watch where they are harvesting and follow them. And don’t worry about a thing; I’ve given orders to my servants not to harass you. When you get thirsty, feel free to go and drink from the water buckets that the servants have filled.”
10 She dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground. “How does this happen that you should pick me out and treat me so kindly—me, a foreigner?”
11-12 Boaz answered her, “I’ve heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you’ve done—and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings.”
13 She said, “Oh sir, such grace, such kindness—I don’t deserve it. You’ve touched my heart, treated me like one of your own. And I don’t even belong here!”
14 At the lunch break, Boaz said to her, “Come over here; eat some bread. Dip it in the wine.”
So she joined the harvesters. Boaz passed the roasted grain to her. She ate her fill and even had some left over.
15-16 When she got up to go back to work, Boaz ordered his servants: “Let her glean where there’s still plenty of grain on the ground—make it easy for her. Better yet, pull some of the good stuff out and leave it for her to glean. Give her special treatment.”
17-18 Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. When she threshed out what she had gathered, she ended up with nearly a full sack of barley! She gathered up her gleanings, went back to town, and showed her mother-in-law the results of her day’s work; she also gave her the leftovers from her lunch.
19 Naomi asked her, “So where did you glean today? Whose field? God bless whoever it was who took such good care of you!”
Ruth told her mother-in-law, “The man with whom I worked today? His name is Boaz.”
20 Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Why, God bless that man! God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!”
Naomi went on, “That man, Ruth, is one of our circle of covenant (kinsman) redeemers, (or protectors), a close relative of ours!”
21 Ruth the Moabitess said, “Well, listen to this: He also told me, ‘Stick with my workers until my harvesting is finished.’”
22 Naomi said to Ruth, “That’s wonderful, dear daughter! Do that! You’ll be safe in the company of his young women; no danger now of being raped in some stranger’s field.”
23 So Ruth did it—she stuck close to Boaz’s young women, gleaning in the fields daily until both the barley and wheat harvesting were finished. And she continued living with her mother-in-law.
1-2 One day her mother-in-law Naomi said to Ruth, “My dear daughter, isn’t it about time I arranged a good home for you so you can have a happy life? And isn’t Boaz our close relative, the one with whose young women you’ve been working? Maybe it’s time to make our move. Tonight is the night of Boaz’s barley harvest at the threshing floor.
3-4 “Take a bath. Put on some perfume. Get all dressed up and go to the threshing floor. But don’t let him know you’re there until the party is well under way and he’s had plenty of food and drink. When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there. Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage. Then wait and see what he says. He’ll tell you what to do.”
Ruth said, “If you say so, I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me.”
She went down to the threshing floor and put her mother-in-law’s plan into action.
Boaz had a good time, eating and drinking his fill—he felt great. Then he went off to get some sleep, lying down at the end of a stack of barley. Ruth quietly followed; she lay down (at his feet) to signal her availability for marriage.
In the middle of the night the man was suddenly startled and sat up. (I’m) surprised! This woman asleep at (my) feet!
He said, “And who are you?”
She said, “I am Ruth, your maiden; take me under your protecting wing. You’re my close relative, you know, in the circle of covenant (kinsman) redeemers—you do have the right to marry me.”
10-13 He said, “God bless you, my dear daughter! What a splendid expression of love! And when you could have had your pick of any of the young men around. And now, my dear daughter, don’t you worry about a thing; I will do all you could want or ask. Everybody in town knows what a courageous woman you are—a real prize! You’re right, I am a close relative to you, but - there is one even closer than I am. So stay the rest of the night. In the morning, if he wants to exercise his customary rights and responsibilities as the closest covenant (kinsman) redeemer, he’ll have his chance; but if he isn’t interested, as God lives, I’ll do it. Now go back to sleep until morning.”
14 Ruth slept at his feet until dawn, but she got up while it was still dark (so she) wouldn’t be recognized. Then Boaz said to himself, (Hmmm)“No one must know that Ruth came to the threshing floor.”
15 So Boaz said, “Bring the shawl you’re wearing and spread it out.”
She spread it out and he poured it full of barley, six measures, and put it on her shoulders. Then she went back to town.
16-17 When she came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “And … how did things go, my dear daughter?”
Ruth told her everything that the man had done for her, adding, “And he gave me all this barley besides—six quarts! He told me, ‘You can’t go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law!’”
18 Naomi said, “Sit back and relax, my dear daughter, until we find out how things turn out; that man isn’t going to fool around. Mark my words, he’s going to get everything wrapped up today.”
4 Boaz went straight to the public square and took his place there. Before long the “closer relative,” the one mentioned earlier by Boaz, strolled by.
“Step aside, old friend,” said Boaz. “Take a seat.” The man sat down.
Boaz then gathered ten of the town elders together and said, “Sit down here with us; we’ve got some business to take care of.” And they sat down.
3-4 Boaz then said to his relative, “The piece of property that belonged to our relative Elimelech is being sold by his widow Naomi, who has just returned from the country of Moab. I thought you ought to know about it. Buy it back if you want it—you can make it official in the presence of those sitting here and before the town elders. You have first redeemer rights. If you don’t want it, tell me so I’ll know where I stand. You’re first in line to do this and I’m next after you.”
He said, “I’ll buy it.”
Then Boaz added, “You realize, don’t you, that when you buy the field from Naomi, you also get Ruth the Moabite, the widow of our dead relative, along with the redeemer responsibility to have children with her to carry on the family inheritance.”
Then the relative said, “Oh, I can’t do that—I’d jeopardize my own family’s inheritance. You go ahead and buy it—you can have my rights—I can’t do it.”
In the olden times in Israel, this is how they handled official business regarding matters of property and inheritance: a man would take off his shoe and give it to the other person. This was the same as an official seal or personal signature in Israel.
So when Boaz’s “redeemer” relative said, “Go ahead and buy it,” he signed the deal by pulling off his shoe.
9-10 Boaz then addressed the elders and all the people in the town square that day: “You are witnesses today that I have bought from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and Kilion and Mahlon, including responsibility for Ruth the foreigner, the widow of Mahlon—I will take her as my wife and keep the name of the deceased alive along with his inheritance. The memory and reputation of the deceased is not going to disappear out of this family or from his hometown. To all this you are witnesses this very day.”
11-12 All the people in the town square that day, backing up the elders, said, “Yes, we are witnesses. May God make this woman who is coming into your household like Rachel and Leah, the two women who built the family of Israel. May God make you a pillar in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem! With the children God gives you from this young woman, may your family rival the family of Perez, the son Tamar bore to Judah.”
13 (And so) Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. By God’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son.
14-15 The town women said to Naomi, “Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in (your) old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!”
16 Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.
17 The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” (because a son had been born for Naomi). But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of (King) David who was the ancestor of the future Jesus, the long awaited for Messiah.

Conclusion and Application

This story showed the commitment and faithfulness of Ruth. It showed the redeeming character of Boaz, and the sovereignty of God. Early on in the story, Ruth made a decision to join with Naomi and to follow the God of Israel. This foreshadowed the future when other non-Jewish people would become part of spiritual Israel, which we know as the church. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, which means that he paid the price to rescue a relative from her circumstances and to care for her. His example was a foreshadowing of Jesus who redeemed us from our circumstance of sin. Like Boaz, Jesus was our Kinsman-redeemer when He paid the price of dying on the cross, to redeem us from the guilt of sin, so that we can have an eternal inheritance with of God.

Ruth had some big challenges in her life – the death of her husband, having to leave her homeland and family behind, and experiencing the poverty of being a widow. However, Ruth dedicated herself to caring for her mother-in-law and relying on God. We get to see the sovereignty of our great God as He intervened and guided Ruth to glean in Boaz’s field which eventually led her to become an ancestor of Jesus. The sovereignty of God means that He can exercise His holy will or supremacy. God has unlimited power and the ability to do whatever He has resolved to do. So God has complete control over everything that happens. We may not see God working in our lives. However, like in Ruth’s life, God directs the events in our lives also to accomplish His will. Our daily experiences and even our difficult times can be used by God for His divine purposes. It’s such an honor that God uses ordinary people like us. We need to just keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing: trusting God through faith, obeying Him by making godly decisions, and dedicating ourselves to serving Him and following His will. Ruth probably never realized how significant her life really was. And we don’t realize how significant our lives are either. But someday we will get to see the extraordinary things that God has been doing through us.

The Bold Daughters of Zelophehad Got Results and You Can Too

Sermon Transcript/Article:The Bold Daughters of Zelophehad Got Results and You Can Too


Do you ever wish that you had more boldness to speak the truth or to stand against injustice? Or, are you satisfied with just sitting back and keeping a low profile - not wanting to rock the boat? The truth is that things don’t happen when we sit back and stifle our boldness. The Bible is filled with inspiring stories of individuals who took risks and were bold. And the results were positively life changing for themselves and for others. But being bold is hard for most of us. What keeps us from being bold? Fear - of being criticized, judged, or laughed at? Complacency? We just really don’t care that much. We’d rather someone else risk their own reputation. Insecurity? We don’t feel qualified or we worry that we will make a mistake or offend someone. Well, boldness is important. Boldness speaks the truth. Boldness changes things for the better. Boldness pleases God. It is my hope that by the end of this message you will be inspired and motivated to pray and look for opportunities to be bold.

I’m going to start with a story from the book of Numbers about 5 women who are a perfect example of risky boldness. The story took place shortly before the Israelites were about to finally enter the Promised Land. Moses was dividing up the land among the 12 tribes of Israel. The women in this story went right to the top, challenged a cultural custom, and stated their expected outcome. And it turned out pretty well for them. The story is found in Numbers 27:1-11(NLT) and Numbers 36:6-12 (NLT).


One day a petition was presented by the daughters of Zelophehad – (their names were) Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. Their father, Zelophehad, was a descendant of Hepher son of Gilead, son of Makir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph. These women stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the tribal leaders, and the entire community at the entrance of the Tabernacle.  “Our father died in the wilderness,” they said. “He was not among Korah’s followers, who rebelled against the Lord (which would have disqualified him from land); he died because of his own sin. But he had no sons. Why should the name of our father disappear from his clan just because he had no sons? Give us property along with the rest of our relatives.”
So Moses brought their case before the Lord. And the Lord replied to Moses, “The claim of the daughters of Zelophehad is legitimate. You must give them a grant of land along with their father’s relatives. Assign them the property that would have been given to their father.
“And give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If a man dies and has no son, then give his inheritance to his daughters. And if he has no daughter either, transfer his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 But if his father has no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan. This is a legal requirement for the people of Israel, just as the Lord commanded Moses.”
There are further instructions concerning this subject in Numbers 36:6-12 (NLT):
This is what the Lord commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: Let them marry anyone they like, as long as it is within their own ancestral tribe. None of the territorial land may pass from tribe to tribe, for all the land given to each tribe must remain within the tribe to which it was first allotted. The daughters throughout the tribes of Israel who are in line to inherit property must marry within their tribe, so that all the Israelites will keep their ancestral property. No grant of land may pass from one tribe to another; each tribe of Israel must keep its allotted portion of land.”
10 The daughters of Zelophehad did as the Lord commanded Moses. 11 Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah all married cousins on their father’s side. 12 They married into the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. Thus, their inheritance of land remained within their ancestral tribe.

Explanation of the Text

These 5 sisters had some obstacles to overcome in this Jewish patriarchal society. Most women wouldn’t have even bothered taking such a risk. They had to challenge the law and the customs of Israel. But the alternative was even worse - they would have had no land inheritance at all. Not only would they have lost their father's name among Israel and the tribe of Manasseh, they wouldn’t have the portion of land that belonged to him. This meant that they wouldn’t have had an permanent home in the Promised Land. This meant that they wouldn’t have anything of value when looking for a husband. Basically, they probably would have struggled for the rest of their lives.

These women believed that their request was just. They were willing to risk their reputations. Their determination outweighed their fears. It is amazing that these women, in a patriarchal society, actually had the opportunity to speak to Moses, the priest, and the tribal leaders. I’m thinking that God was behind all of this. They were so bold that they even stated what they expected the outcome to be. Instead of approaching the leaders whining and complaining, they calmly and clearly stated their expectation: “Give us property along with the rest of our relatives.” And it worked. Moses took them seriously and took their request to God. Even God agreed that the just thing to do would be to change the law.

It was probably to their benefit that there were 5 sisters banded together to make the request. And I think that is a good thing to remember. We will have situations when it will be best to take steps of boldness with others who share the same passion. Not only will this mutual support help us with our confidence, but the size of our group may help solicit more attention. However, there will also be times when we may need to have the boldness to stand alone.

God’s Character is Just and Fair

As we saw in the story of the Daughters of Zelophehad - it wasn’t Moses who decided the fate of the women, it was God. God said “Yes” because He is just and fair. And because God has the authority to do whatever He deems best, His justice will prevail

We see His justice in Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” (NLT)

God says about Himself in Isaiah 61:8 – “I love justice and I hate oppression and crime. I will faithfully reward my people and make an eternal covenant with them. (NLT)

So, if God is just and fair, why do we see so much unfairness in the world? It’s because that injustice is done by humans, not God. He has given a wonderful thing to humans called free will. But that doesn’t mean that all humans will exercise their free will responsibly in a way that reflects God’s character. However, God does give us occasions when He intervenes and we see His justice prevail despite the evil of humans. But, it won’t be until He returns to the Earth and judges the people that He will totally do away with evil, injustice, and make things fair. He is not doing that yet, because He is God and thinks that it is wise to do it this way. God knows everything of the past, present, and future. He knows all the details of every circumstance and all the facts. He makes decisions based on His absolute truth. Because of God’s justice, fairness, and righteousness, He is the perfect judge. When He does pronounce judgment, His verdict will always be absolutely right.

Examples of Boldness - Apostles Peter & John and Mary Bosanquet

God, Himself, wants us to be bold. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul tells Timothy that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT) So God knows that we are inclined to be afraid, therefore He gave us His spirit to be bold. God is available anytime to strengthen us with His power to do His will. If we are willing, God will empower us to be courageous, to speak the truth, to stand up for what is right.

In Acts chapter 4 the apostle Peter took his opportunity for boldness. Peter and John had been speaking to a group of people about the resurrection of the dead being possible through Jesus. Plus, they had just miraculously healed a man in the name of Jesus. Well, the priests, the chief of the Temple police, and the religious Sadducees did not approve of this and had Peter and John put in jail. The next day, they were brought before some really important people: religious leaders, religious scholars, Annas the Chief Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other men of the high priest’s family. Basically, everybody who was anybody was there.

And then they gave Peter and John a chance to speak asking: Who put you in charge? What business do you have speaking this way and doing these things? And “with that, Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: (saying) ‘Rulers and leaders of the people, if we have been brought to trial today for helping a sick man, put under investigation regarding this healing, I’ll be completely frank with you - we have nothing to hide. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One you killed on a cross, the One God raised from the dead, by means of his name this man stands before you healthy and whole. Jesus is ‘the stone you masons threw out, which is now the cornerstone.’ Salvation comes no other way; no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one.”
13-14 They couldn’t take their eyes off them - Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus, but with the man right before them, seeing him standing there so upright - so healed! - What could they say against that?
15-17 They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, let’s silence them with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.”
18-20 They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question - we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”
21-22 The religious leaders renewed their threats, but then released them. They couldn’t come up with a charge that would stick, that would keep them in jail. The people wouldn’t have stood for it - they were all praising God over what had happened (Acts 4: 8-21, The Message Version)  - That was boldness!

I have another example for you. Mary Bosanquet was alive during the 1700s. She ran an orphanage and led one of John Wesley’s small-group Methodist gatherings. As her small class meeting grew in popularity, so did the criticism. But John Wesley gave Mary his approval and encouraged her to continue preaching. Things changed after John Wesley’s death. The Methodist Conference passed a resolution in 1803 stating that women would not be allowed to preach. However, Mary Bosanquet did not give up her calling from God. She courageously continued to preach five sermons a week until she died in her late 70s. Her boldness impacted the salvation and spiritual growth of many people. Her example inspired many other women to become lay preachers and evangelists.

Conclusion and Application

In his book called Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome, Owen Strachan encourages Christians to be risky and bold. He says “we must break with a ‘play it safe’ mentality and embrace a bigger vision of our time on this earth. It is not our souls that should live in fear. It is comfort, ease, quietness, boredom, fearfulness, anxiety, and sin that are in mortal danger. Christianity is not about fear. It’s not about retreat. It is about advance, growth, and faith. It is about becoming someone greater in Christ than you ever thought possible. By the Spirit’s power, let’s pursue that awesome goal.”

Now, being bold does not mean that we speak and do things without using our filter. Even with boldness we must still behave in ways that are mature, respectful, and especially humble. It’s okay to be confident and have some passion in our voice. But we also need to carefully choose each word we say and think before each action we take. Without the proper behavior – we will be discredited and will probably be unsuccessful.

It’s time to rely on God for boldness and put it into action. What bold step are you going to take? Are you going to be more bold about sharing your faith? Are you going to speak out against injustice and abuse? Are you going to bring awareness to false teachings in the church? Are you going to boldly pursue your ministry calling despite opposition from others? Are you going to give your opinion at the next meeting instead of just sitting their silently? Are you going to boldly support the truth, even though you may be in the minority? Are you going to challenge your church to rise above complacency? Are you going to stand with others on Sanctity of Life Sunday – holding a prolife sign? Are you going to challenge a tradition in your church that you believe is wrong? Those are just some ideas to get you thinking. You will have to figure out your bold action for yourself. But God sure can lead you to it and He can give you the passion and boldness to do it.

No matter who you are - you have a voice, so be bold. You can make a difference. You can shape history. How bold are you willing to be? I want to challenge you to get started. Get the boldness to do one risky thing. Just one. Because as soon as you do it, you’ll be hooked. You’ll be energized. You’ll be empowered and motivated to make more bold moves. So, look for that opportunity. Maybe you already know what it is and you’ve been dragging your feet. Ask God to equip you with boldness. And then, in faith and with confidence - do it. Go do it for God.