Following a great sermon on lifestyle evangelism one family thought they had better do something to witness to Jesus. So they invited their neighbors to dinner. When it came to the meal, the hostess was eager to show their neighbors that they upheld Christian standards in their home. So she asked little 5 year old Johnny to say grace. Little Johnny was a bit shy. "I don't know what to say" There was an awkward pause, followed by a reassuring smile from the boy's mother.
"Well darling," she said, " just say what Daddy said at breakfast this morning."
Obediently, the boy repeated, "Oh God, we've got those awful people coming to dinner tonight"
Hypocrisy. Don’t do it….or rather, with God’s help minimize your hypocrisy! But you know what. That’s not what this scripture is about.
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” In a large measure Luke is about becoming a fully committed disciple of Jesus Christ. Here is a major lesson. Hypocrites will try to sidetrack you from following the Lord Jesus Christ. The world does not want the values of God to guide our nation. Hypocrisy is like yeast ~ it spreads. I believe there is a systemic hypocrisy in our nation ~ embedded in our systems. As an example, recently the thought I keep thinking as I have tried to understand the present state of the world is that we seem to have gotten to the horrifying and scary place where we as a nation justify the means according to the end: As long as we envision a just world, any dishonorable method is allowed, protesters that riot and destroy with the goal of attaining peace is hypocritical, yet many folks justify bad behavior because the goal is just. That’s hypocritical…What an astoundingly crazy world!
We are living in a day of great hypocrisy. The ironies of politicians who preach one message but practice something different. Global warming preachers who buy a third house. Socialism advocates who amass millions. Congress passing laws they exempt themselves from following. Nations that preach equality but exclude the voice of entire groups. Abortion rights advocates that trample on the rights of the unborn and fathers in the name of making it entirely the woman’s choice as if nobody else is effected. We could discuss all day long about the hypocrisy of a thousand movements....
As disciples of Christ, do not be swayed by our society of hypocrites. One application of Luke 12:2-3 is that what we believe in our personal lives must match our public proclamations. READ. Almost always when I write a private e-mail or text I think, “what if this ends up in a wider audience…”
Jesus is talking about being consistent… we can have private conversations about difficult or personal situations that should remain private, but the principles of how we conduct ourselves in public and private must be consistent. Our hypocritical world advocates double mindedness, inconsistency…The world says, “Repent only if you get caught!” Jesus is saying be consistent, be the same person in all situations. That’s what it means to be a disciple. The world will always accuse Christians as being hypocrites. That is what the world does. When they are right let’s correct ourselves, but don’t let the world’s insults define who we are. This is why the Bible is clear we are not to listen to people, but live according to Christ. The message of the world to Christians of conviction is, “Don’t be a Christian hypocrite, become a worldly hypocrite like us, then we’ll all get along.”
The goal of the world is to silence people with convictions who differ from their beliefs. Listen to Luke 12:4. READ. Hypocrites try to control by making you feel small and afraid. How much does fear control us? Jesus says the world’s hypocritical system is limited in power. Here’s an interesting phenomena. Every now and then on Facebook I selectively speak up about something controversial. Some people are nervous about what I say on some topics. So am I. But here is what is interesting: Many times in private messages people have written me and said, “Thank you, I agree with you, I am just not ready to say it.” It is a process to overcome fear of the world. I get it…Every Christian needs to weigh when to speak/wait, but we must all be willing and ready to speak the godly convictions of our hearts when the Spirit says now! The Christian Community cannot be silenced by fear of the world. They world is hypocritical. The world has limited power.
Thankfully the Lord gives us an alternative. Jesus says, don’t fear the world, instead embrace God: READ Luke 12:5-7. To be a disciple of Christ means to be guided by Him. God has ultimate power and authority, he alone has lasting values, eternal consequences… he cares so deeply he knows even inconsequential details like the hair on our heads…. I held two babies this week that were less than a week old… as I looked into their faces and fell in love, I cannot help but wonder how much more does God love us, know us…
How do you stay pure and focused on God as the guide of your life, the one who loves you and cares deeply about you? How do you resist the temptation of society’s hypocrites and not water down your convictions, not live in fear? READ Luke 12:8-10.
Following God is serious business! Staying pure and focused on Him takes deliberate effort. I had cataracts removed in both eyes. I am happy to report I did not miss a single eye drop. I have followed the plan prescribed by the doctor. How did I do it? I was determined. I listend. I thought about it. I talked about it. I did it. As a disciple of Christ, how do you say focused, listening to God and not people? You desire to be guided by Him, grow in faith, never quit learning, embrace Christ, talk about Christ, be thankful to Christ. As I face temptations to compromise, I can honestly say for five plus years I have been asking the question to myself, “Would Jesus Be Pleased?” My desire to glorify Jesus Christ is greater than my fear of the world.
It comes down to two choices: the way of the hypocritical world, or the way of Jesus Christ. I must be willing to publicly proclaim Jesus is Lord. Amen!!! We all have opportunities to share our faith with friends, to testify of what we believe, to explain how we have come to our convictions. I’m not saying make yourself obnoxious or artificially insert yourself into conversations, but on the other hand, when opportunities present themselves, stand up for Christ and what he has done for you.
Luke 12:10 talks about forgiveness… Thank you Lord, how awesome is that. Sometimes bumper stickers pack a lot of truth: I am not perfect, but I am forgiven. God is not looking for perfection, he is looking for people who desire to grow stronger in faith, people who will get back in the saddle after they fail, people who will be willing to proclaim their faith to others. The word “blaspheme”, not sure I know all the nuances of meaning, but the main idea of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is to deny the Spirit, to turn completely away from God to such a degree that you cannot return…
I love the way this scripture ends in Luke 12:11-12. READ. For those who give their life to Jesus Christ, God takes up residence in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
I believe in spectacular visible miracles, but I personally get most excited about quiet miracles and daily nudges by the Holy Spirit. How does the Holy Spirit speak? Call me crazy, but as I go through my day/week, even in mundane things like preparation for sermons, I don’t always have time to ponder and put off decisions. ~~ I constantly go with my gut. But here’s the thing: I often don’t know the difference between my gut and the Holy Spirit. Chad and I went into Kendall this week with a list of people to visit…most weren’t home, so we just went here and there and said God bless it this is how it must have been meant to be for today, I just went with my gut, or was it the Holy Spirit speaking. I don’t know if anything spectacular happened, but perhaps some quit God things took place…
READ Luke 12:11b-12. There are two ways to walk in this world: Listen to the hypocritical world or listen to God. What/who guides you? When the Bible says, “the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what to say,” I don’t think it is talking about brilliant words, the perfect zinger, deep wisdom that will silence foes (although all that may happen!). When you make your Christian faith a daily walk the words of your mouth will be right. God will not abandon you; he will give you the right words/thoughts at the right time! I have counseled many people over the years facing court for custody battles, conflicts, and my advice to the nervous women (almost always women) ~ tell the truth, speak from the conviction of your heart, and you’ll do great. When you invite Christ into your life, seeking to please God, the conviction of your heart will be heard, your love for the Lord will shine on your face, the peace of Christ will break through… it is the Holy Spirit giving you the words, because it is the Holy Spirit that softens your heart and gives you peace.
WJBP. Would Jesus Be Pleased? Resist the temptation to water down your convictions when the hypocritical crowd attempts to shape your thinking. Remain true to the Lord, speaking of your devotion to Him with your words and relying on Him to testify of your love and commitment to Jesus Christ. I love the simple guiding question to test our daily decisions: Would Jesus Be Pleased. Amen.