13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.
The hypocrite should have been helping people into God’s kingdom, and maybe he would claim that’s what he was doing, but, in reality, he is obstructing their entrance. The hypocrite is hurting God’s cause not helping it. The person who says the right thing but doesn’t do it is not an attractive advert for the gospel, it puts people off before they even hear the message.
Am I a hypocrite? Do my words and actions and attitudes hinder the advance of the gospel? Am I making it harder for my friends to listen to the message of the gospel? Does my attitude change or reinforce the negative perception that people have of the church?
The answer is not to put on a better image so people are impressed - that’s the problem in the first place. I need to be honest with others - that I get things wrong, but God forgives. The message of the gospel is not that we sort ourselves out but that God has acted on our behalf. Covering up our struggles doesn't help, but a group of people honest about their sin because they have been set free by a gracious God, is an intriguing and attractive community to outsiders. That is a church that does not shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces.