Sincere means free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings. Being sincere is for a person to say what they genuinely feel or believe; not dishonest or hypocritical. Just like we want sincere people in our life, God wants the same. (Matthew 6:5- “And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who pretend piety by praying publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. Truly, that is all the reward they will ever get.) When we seek God He will reward us, but when we seek to be seen by people, their approval (their praise) is the only reward we’ll get. God doesn’t want us to be hypocrites, He wants people who are sincerely seeking Him.
God doesn’t want people who have a form of godliness. It’s not about how we act/look on the outside, it’s about our heart. (Proverbs 16:2- People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.) (Isaiah 29:13- The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.)
Following a bunch of rules doesn’t determine if we have a relationship with God. For example, going to church and paying tithes is great, but if our heart isn’t in the right place God isn’t pleased. When our heart is free from sin then He’s able to delight in the things we do for Him.
1 Samuel 15:1-22
Even though Saul was going to use the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord, it wasn’t what God wanted because he was disobedient. Our obedience to God is better than sacrifice. Our love for Him results in our obedience and everything else flows so that we can live a life that’s pleasing to Him.
Why is it important not to follow the world’s example?
People of the world are lost, when you follow their example you’ll be lost as well. Reminds me of the saying “the blind leading the blind” it’s a metaphor used to describe a situation where a person who knows nothing is getting advice and help from another person who knows almost nothing. When Jesus was talking to the crowds and disciples he told them not to follow the example of the Jewish leaders and Pharisees because they were “blind” hypocrites that lived ungodly lives.
Jesus is the best example we will have on this earth. He sincerely sought God and was satisfied by obeying Him. He followed in God’s footsteps and did what God did. If we want to sincerely seek God we need to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. (Matthew 4:34- Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God who sent me, and from finishing His work.) (John 17:4- I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to.)
I like the Amplified version of (John 7:18- He who speaks on his own accord seeks glory and honor for himself. But He who seeks the glory and the honor of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness or deception in Him.)
Simon sought God’s power and his heart wasn’t in the right place. He wanted glory for himself, but Peter and John were doing it for the glory of the Lord. We need to always check our motives because that’s what God looks at. He looks at our hearts and checks our intentions.
Tonight’s Bible study reminds me of (Matthew 7:21- “Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven.) The Jewish leaders and Pharisees sounded religious, but they didn’t obey God and sought to bring glory to themselves. Jesus was sincere, obeyed God and sought to bring glory to Him. They all called God Lord, but only one of them was sincere: Jesus. Be like Him.
2. What did you get out of today’s lesson?