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Sunday, August 10, 2014 pm

Am I Sincere?

 

Tonight we want to address the subject of sincerity.  We all know the importance of being sincere.  Tonight we want to examine some qualities of one who is sincere. 

 I.                    The word “sincere” in the New Testament

a.        2 Corinthians 6:6, Paul commended himself and those with him as ministers of God.  In addition to tribulations and persecutions, he added that they were ministers “by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
The word sincere is
νυπόκριτος, (anupokritos) and is a word that means to be unhypocritical and unpretentious.  In addition to this text it is found in 1 Timothy 1:5 describing how Timothy was to tech with a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith.
1 Peter 1:22 also speaks of the sincere love of the brethren. 
The word is also found in Romans 12:9 saying, “Without hypocrisy” and in 2 Timothy 1:5 where Paul speaks of the genuine faith that was in him.   

b.       Colossians 3:22, “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.
The word sincerity here is  
πλότης, (haplotes) and here means singleness of purpose.  It is one who is undivided in his actions.   The word is sometimes translated “liberality” (Rom. 12:8, 2 Cor. 8:2, 9:11, 13)

c.        Philippians 1:10, as Paul prays for these brethren he includes, “that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
The word for sincere here is ε
λικρινής, (eilikrines).  It is a word that means unalloyed or unmixed.  It means to be without hidden motives (BDAG).   Kittel notes that it is a compound word that means to be tested by the light of the sun.  Interestingly, it has been said that our English word “sincere” is from the Latin sincerus which is said to mean “without wax” or pure.   Though not verified, some sources say the word was used during the Roman Empire as sculptures gained popularity.  To cover up flaws, some artists (not honest) would use wax and blend it into the marble.  Serious buyers would put the statue in the sunlight where any wax would melt.  Thus the flaws would be exposed.  How true this analogy is we cannot be certain, but it does accurately portray the meaning of the Greek word in our text and the concept of sincerity in our English language.

d.       One who is sincere is of pure motives.  He is without hypocrisy in his conduct and he is of a single purpose.  That is what we want to be. 

 II.                  A sincere person will:

a.        Be open minded

                                                   i.      Acts 7:57 sadly describes the attitude of the religious leaders when Stephen exposed their corruption.  They cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears. They then stoned him to death. 
One reason Jesus spoke in parables was because there were many who were not open minded.  He explained in Matthew 13:14-15 the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10 where they had closed their eyes and stopped their ears and dulled their heart.

                                                  ii.      One of the problems we have today with many is the closed mind.  People make up their minds before they hear the whole story. Others are happy where they are at and don’t want to change or HEAR about their need to change. 
This attitude is a danger to the truth and could jeopardize one’s soul. 

                                                iii.      We need to be open minded.  We need to be like Cornelius who with his household was ready to hear the truth and consider it.  (Acts 10:33)
When Paul approached the Bereans they were more “fair-minded than those in  Thessalonica.” (Acts 17:11)  They were willing to consider the truth.

                                                iv.      But open minded does not mean accepting of anything.  It simply means we will consider something when it is presented to us.  If we are sincerely trying to please God we are going to do that.
 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” (Proverbs 9:8-9)

                                                  v.      One of the problems with many who call for open mindedness is their closed minds.  Some call for tolerance of sin (or certain sins) or being willing to agree to disagree, unity in diversity, etc.  Many mean that as long as you agree with them.  I call it the intolerance of the preachers of tolerance.  We need to be open minded, but not at the cost of truth. 

b.       Investigate the truth

                                                   i.      If we are sincere, we will be willing to investigate the truth.  This will be a byproduct of being open minded. 

                                                  ii.      In Acts 17 11 we find WHAT made the Bereans noble minded – they searched the scriptures to verify the truth of Paul’s message.

                                                iii.      1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test all things, hold fast to what is good.”

1 John 4:1 tells us to test the spirits whether they are of God.  Why? Because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 

                                                iv.      There are many today who are satisfied where they are at.  They have no desire to further investigate God’s word.  If we ever reach that point, our souls could be in grave danger.   They may be sincere in what they believe, but they do NOT have a sincere attitude toward truth.

c.        Change when proven wrong

                                                   i.      You can be sincere and be wrong (like Paul was), but when you hear the truth that combination no longer exists.  Either you change because you are sincere, or you continue on your former course and cease to be sincere.

                                                  ii.      How often did Jesus expose the scribes and Pharisees for their errors and yet they refused to change?  It is actually a key factor that led to His crucifixion.

                                                iii.      Think of the command Jesus gave in Matthew 28:20, “teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.”

                                                iv.      Paul is a classic example of this.  Galatians 1:13-14 says, “For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.  But he changed

                                                  v.      Acts 19:1-5 finds some disciples of John in Ephesus who when they were corrected they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

                                                vi.      Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 was teaching error.  When he heard, he changed. 

d.       Value truth first

                                                   i.      Proverbs 23:23 “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”  We need to love the truth.   Psa. 1:1-2, 119:97, 113.

                                                  ii.      Those who are sincere will love the truth.  They will continually search for truth.  They will put God’s will before their own personal desires. 

                                                iii.      2 Thess. 2:10 speaks of the deceived who did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.

                                                iv.      Matthew 10:37-39 finds Jesus warning those who put family before Him.  Such are not worthy of Him and will lose their (spiritual) life because of it.

                                                  v.      And this attitude will come before all other things – Luke 9:57-62. 

e.       Be consistent

                                                   i.      A quality of sincerity is consistency.  You can be consistent and still be sincere (and thus put on a good act), but you cannot be inconsistent and sincere.  Inconsistencies expose one’s true attitudes toward truth. 

                                                  ii.      Consider Matthew 15:1-9 where Jesus is questioned for not keeping the traditions of the elders (by washing hands before eating).  Jesus exposes their hypocrisy.
He does so further in Matthew 23:2-4.  Among their inconsistencies were their pretentious long prayers, their shutting up the kingdom of heaven against men (vs. 13), their traveling land and sea to win a proselyte but making him worse off in the end (vs. 15), their dishonesty in making oaths (16-22), in their tithing of seeds while neglecting the justice, mercy and faith (23), etc.  

                                                iii.      Titus 1:16 speaks of those who profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified from every good work. 

                                                iv.      Jesus taught that in our speech we need to be consistent.  But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)
He also taught, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:18–20)

                                                  v.      Philippians 1:27 speaks of living with our conduct “worthy of the gospel.”

f.        Not easily be distracted

                                                   i.      Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25–27)

                                                  ii.      If you sincerely love God and His word, He is going to be the focus of your life. You KNOW you need to serve Him and you know what is at stake.  It is not going to be easy for Satan or anyone else to draw you away from your purpose.

                                                iii.      The Bible warns us that you cannot serve God and mammon at the same time (Luke 16:13). 
1 Timothy 6:9-10 gives a good example of this.  One who desires to be rich falls into temptation and a snare.  That is distraction. 

                                                iv.      Acts 20:23-24 – Paul has been warned that if he goes to Jerusalem he will be arrested. 
But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself…”

                                                  v.      Philippians 3:13-14, Paul said, “I press toward the goal.”

g.       Not manipulate scripture

                                                   i.      When one is sincere, he will accurately handle God’s word. (2 Tim. 2:15).  He is not looking for loopholes so that he can continue in sinful conduct.  He will not sweep that which he doesn’t like under the carpet.  He will not seek to reinterpret scripture to bolster his beliefs.

                                                  ii.      Peter warned of untaught and unstable men (not sincere) who twisted scripture to their own destruction (2 Pete 3:16)

                                                iii.      Paul was clear as he taught the Corinthians.  For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:17, NKJV)

                                                iv.      1 Peter 2:1-2, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,

 

And thus we see some qualities of the sincere person.  In 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are called upon to examine ourselves.  As you do so, do you find true sincerity in your service to God?  As we have seen, true sincerity is not ignorant.  Instead it is resolved and it is demonstrated throughout our lives.  What about you?  Are you sincere?