Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds.
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For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Well, again, it's good to be here tonight. I'm grateful for my friend Russ and just an invitation to come.
And I want you to join me at Luke's Gospel Chapter 12. And as you're turning there, I want you to think with me about a time maybe where you received a warning. Maybe it was your parent. Maybe it was a loved one. Maybe it was a friend.
Maybe you were driving in your car and on your dashboard, that little yellow light lit up, giving you a warning that there was something going on in your car. I thought about a warning that I received many years ago. My wife and I were down in Atlantic Beach and Russ allowed us to stay at his place there that he had at the time. And Hurricane Floyd was coming through. And I remember thinking, oh, you know, it's not going to be that big of a deal. I mean, the news always blows things up, always blows things out of proportion. And we can go to the beach and enjoy it.
And the storm is only, you know, is way out at sea and it's not going to affect us at all. And so we get down there and we're there a couple of days and we're watching the news. And my wife is a news junkie. She watches the news all the time and she's tracking the storm. And she's like, Pete, we need to heed these warnings. We really should go.
I said, sweetheart, it'll be OK. The media is just blowing it all out of proportion. I bet they'll be down here at the beach with their cameras. And if they can be down here, why not us? You know, and I sort of like storms and I would love to see a storm come in. We're fine, sweetheart. And we stayed another day or so and the storm is getting closer. And she's like, Pete, we really need to go.
We need to heed the warning. Sweetheart, it'll be OK. And then finally she gave me an ultimatum. She said, if you want to stay, me and Jamie.
We only had one at the time. Me and Jamie are leaving. You can stay. I said, woman, you don't tell me what to do. I am the man. I am the boss.
You're to submit to me. It'll be OK. About five minutes later, the car was parked and we were on 70 coming back to Raleigh. And I'm so glad that we did, because we all know those of us that are from here and are familiar with Eastern North Carolina and storms that come through our coast know Florida was a really, really bad one.
And I want to say the coast was shut down a couple of weeks after that storm and people couldn't even get to their homes and their places at the beach. And I'm so glad that we heeded that warning. I'm so glad that that I listen to my wife. Sometimes when I get warned, I just kind of think nonchalantly about the warning. I'm kind of real casual. I don't think it's that big of a deal. I don't know if you're like that or not. You receive a warning and and you don't think it's really that big of a deal. Well, Jesus gives us some warnings here in Luke Chapter 12. He gives us three warnings, if you will. And I hope that your response and my response tonight to what Jesus says to us in Luke 12, verses one through thirty four. I hope we won't be like I was down there at Atlantic Beach many years ago. I hope we won't be casual. I hope we won't be nonchalant. I hope we won't say, you know, Jesus really doesn't know what he's talking about.
I hope we won't say, you know, Jesus is just blowing it all out of proportion. I hope we'll listen. I hope we'll hear and I hope we'll heed his warning. He'll give three warnings, I believe, in the text. The first warning will be this, that we ought to beware of concealment. Beware of concealment in verses one through eleven.
In other words, what Jesus will say here is we need to guard against hypocrisy. The chapter begins with the scene where a crowd of many thousands have gathered. And the text says they were trampling on one another. Tennessee beat Alabama and after they beat Alabama, they stormed the field. It was great.
I don't know about you, but I like to see Nick Saban lose. And they stormed the field. In the text, they were storming the field.
The text says thousands have gathered. The text says they were trampling on one another. They were trying to get to Jesus. They were trying to see Jesus. They were trying to touch Jesus. They were trying to hear from Jesus.
But I love what Jesus does here. Jesus doesn't seem to be that impressed with the crowd. I mean, if the crowd was storming the field to hear me, if the crowd was storming the field to see me, I mean, I think that might go to my head. I think that might go to my ego. I think I might go, hey, they've come to see me.
I think you and I might get a little bit puffed up about that. I mean, they came to see me. They came to hear me. But Jesus doesn't seem that impressed with the crowd. Because look at verse one. It says he began to speak to his disciples. And I don't know if he pulled them to the side, but he's not addressing the crowd at this point.
They're storming the field to see him and to hear. But he speaks to his disciples. He addresses his disciples. And notice what he says here in verse one.
He gives them a warning. He says, be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Here, hypocrisy is compared to yeast in that it starts small, it spreads, and eventually it affects the whole loaf. And in Jesus's day, yeast was a picture of that which was sinful. Yeast was a picture of that which was unholy.
Yeast was a picture of that which is impure. And that's what hypocrisy is like, Jesus says. It's like the yeast of the Pharisees. And the Pharisees in Jesus's day were filled with hypocrisy.
Now you might ask, what exactly is hypocrisy? It's a Greek word. Allow me to share this Greek word with you. It's hupo, crisis.
And it's two words that come to form the one word. Hupo means under, crisis means to judge. And so literally it would mean this, to judge under. And it would describe a person giving off his judgment, but he's doing so behind a screen or a mask. In Jesus's day, a hypocrite was an actor. You remember in the Greek plays, an actor on the Greek stage, in Greek drama, they would hold these masks over their faces. And these masks were oversized.
And these masks were painted to represent the character they were portraying. And it's like Jesus is saying this, that the hypocrite is the person who judges others while masking or concealing his real self. A hypocrite, Jesus would say, is a spiritual actor. Someone who's a pretender. Someone who's pretending to be a Christian. Someone who's pretending to love God. Someone who's pretending to know God. Someone who's pretending to be holy. Someone who's pretending to be righteous. He's a spiritual actor. He's a pretender.
He's not authentic in his relationship with God, nor is he authentic in his relationship with other people. And Jesus, listen to this, is having this conversation with his disciples. See, because the reality is this, those of us who are walking with Christ, this can be a tendency of ours.
It's those who claim to know Jesus Christ and be following him and serving him and worshiping him. If we're not careful, we can fall into this. I hope you'll heed this warning about concealment.
I hope you'll be on guard against hypocrisy. Let me ask you a question. Are there areas in your life where you're living as a pretender? Are you a spiritual actor? Are you wearing a mask and not living authentic before God and others? We could ask it another way.
Do you live one way in public and an entirely different way in private? Jesus says, beware of concealment. Be on guard against hypocrisy. Now, why should we be on guard against hypocrisy? Why does Jesus give this warning to his disciples, the 12 who are following him?
And it's one answer that's really simple here. It will be exposed, hypocrisy, on the day of God's judgment. Hypocrisy will be exposed on the day of God's judgment. Jesus tells us here in the verse, there's nothing that is concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight.
What you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roost. I have a friend. His name is Thabiti Anubuli.
That's a little bit of a twister. Thabiti was an elder in our church many years ago when we first started our church. Thabiti is a pastor now up in Anacostia River near D.C. He's a pastor of a church that he started up there. Thabiti is a speaker. He's got a national platform, an international platform as well. And Thabiti is a wonderful writer and he wrote a commentary on the Book of Luke.
I would recommend it to you. Listen to what he says here about verses three and four. I like the way he eloquently summarizes this point. He says, one day our lives will be shown on the big screen of God's judgment. It will be a split screen. On one side will be the life we showed the world. On the other side will be the life we tried to hide. If they are the same, then we have integrity.
We are true disciples, true to God, true to self, and true to others. But if the two screens show different pictures, then we will be condemned as hypocrites. And it will be shouted from the rooftop of heaven.
Wow. Now, Jesus gives us three pieces of advice if we want to guard against hypocrisy. He gives us three pieces of advice that I hope will motivate us to not be hypocrites. First, he tells us to fear God, not man in verses four through five. So often I think at the heart, at the root of hypocrisy is the fear of man and not the fear of God. I think the hypocrite is more concerned about what man thinks than what God thinks.
I think the hypocrite is more concerned about what man may do to him or can do to him than what God may and can do to him. But notice what Jesus says. Don't be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear, fear him who after killing the body has power to throw you in to hell. We should fear God and not man.
God has ultimate authority over our life as well as our eternity, not man. And I think the hypocrite is the one that fears man. And listen, y'all, when I was working on this this week, man, I just wrestled here because you know what my tendency is sometimes to fear people and not God. My tendency is to want to please people and not God.
My tendency is I want people to think well of me and in them thinking well of me sometimes my focus is on people and not God. And Jesus is saying we should do just the opposite, that we ought to fear God and not man. If you want to guard against hypocrisy, start there because a healthy fear of God will cause us not to fear man.
Let me ask you some questions tonight. Do you fear God and desire to please him or do you fear man and desire to please man? And notice what Jesus says next. He says not only should we fear God, but then he says there's another side to this, so to speak.
Jesus gives us a picture of God's goodness and care here in verses six and seven. And notice what he says, are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are numbered.
Don't be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows. We fear God's judgment, but at the same time, it's like Jesus is saying this, we have a God who knows us intimately. Look at how intimate God knows us. It says the very hairs on our head, for those of us that have hair on our head still, are known by him.
That's how intimate God knows us, that the very hairs on our head are known by God. And then notice he values and he cares and he loves us greatly. He compares us to sparrows. And Jesus says sparrows, man, you can buy sparrows for just a couple pennies. Sparrows can be bought and they're not really worth a whole lot and yet God takes care of them. And how much more does he care about you?
And how much more does he care about me? And how much more are we valued to God than sparrows? And so we fear God and not man because man, God can destroy both body and soul. But at the same time, this God who has ultimate power over our life and our eternity is the same God that knows us intimately and cares for us greatly and values us greatly.
So great that he sent his one and only son Jesus Christ to die for us, right? To die for us that we might be his children. Fear God, not man. Notice Jesus says second, we fear Christ and not man. We're going to guard against hypocrisy, fear God and not man, now fear Christ and not man.
Look at verses eight and nine. Jesus says, I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the son of man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before men will be disowned by before the angels of God. Again, this is the hypocrite, his focus is on man. And maybe the hypocrite might not live faithfully and boldly and fearlessly for God before man. Maybe he doesn't acknowledge God before man because again, his fear is man, not God. His fear is man, not Christ. And so Jesus in essence, I think is saying we fear him and not man. These are incredible verses because they clearly show Jesus presenting us in a sense in eternity. And the key factor as to whether we have Jesus's approval before angels on that day, is whether we remain loyal to him on earth before men. If we acknowledge him and his lordship before men.
On that day, he will acknowledge us before angels. Even if you've ever wrestled with being ashamed for the gospel or being ashamed for the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember when I first came to Christ, you all. I remember my mom was like the greatest and still is the greatest Christian example that I know. She came to Christ and I didn't know what was going on really back then, but I knew something was different about her.
And she led me to Christ and she was instrumental in me knowing Christ. And I remember just struggling as a young believer. And I remember we were going to a place called Camp Oak Hill. I was a camper at this time.
I was like 14 years old. I didn't even realize it was a Christian camp. And I remember just going to this camp thinking I'm going to play basketball because I love basketball, swim, all the stuff you would do at a camp, right? And I remember my mom had this Bible. Yeah, she had this Bible and I remember she had given me the Bible and she wanted me to take the Bible. And I thought, man, why would I take a Bible to a camp?
We're going to go and have fun. I had no idea it was a Christian camp. To make a long story short, we get there and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to lead this Bible in the car because I'm not going to take a Bible to camp.
And I remember I'm in the back seat and I remember a friend of my mom's rode with us this hour and 15 minute drive from Raleigh to northern Granville County. And I remember plotting, man, I got to leave this Bible. I can't take this Bible.
I mean, I'm not going to take a Bible. This is crazy. And I remember getting out when we got there. I got out of the car real quick. And I remember opening the back door and I remember trying to slide the Bible under the seat. She's not a preacher, but she can preach, y'all. She really can. And this was one of those moments she broke into a sermon. Her sermons are just her just rattling off scripture and telling you about the Lord. And I remember her just telling me about the Lord and telling me not to be ashamed of the Lord. And then she quoted this verse, you all.
This is the first time I'd ever heard this verse. And she's like, if you don't acknowledge that you're a believer, if you don't acknowledge Christ, if you're ashamed of Christ before men, when you stand before God and stand before the angels, He's not going to acknowledge you. Don't be ashamed of being a Christian. Don't be ashamed of acknowledging Christ before men.
And that stuck with me, you all. This image that one day, you all, we will stand in glory and Christ will present us. Jude 24 says that we will be presented to God and only by His grace it's without fault.
It's incredible how that will happen. But can you imagine Christ being ashamed to acknowledge you before heaven's courts? But He clearly says if we don't acknowledge Him before men when we stand in the courts, He will not acknowledge us before angels. Fear Jesus, don't fear man. Notice third, Jesus says we should fear the Holy Spirit and not men.
Look at what He says in verses 10 through 12. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
When you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves. Don't worry about defending yourselves before men or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. Jesus lets us know that we can receive forgiveness if we blaspheme Him, but if we blaspheme the Holy Spirit, there's no forgiveness. Blasphemy of the Spirit, people have wondered what exactly is Jesus getting at there.
I think it's just simply this. Blasphemy of the Spirit is simply attributing to Satan what the Holy Spirit is doing. Attributing to Satan when the Holy Spirit is at work.
And it's a really picture of a hard heart. And this was the Pharisees. They had hard hearts. They were hypocritical. The Holy Spirit is obviously at work in and through Christ, and they're saying, Beelzebub.
That's Satan's work there. And Jesus says that this blasphemy will not be forgiven because it's a hardness of heart. Finally, Jesus tells the disciples here when they are under pressure, standing before Jewish authorities, they are not to worry. They are not to fear.
Here's why. The Holy Spirit will teach them and give them words to say. Beware of concealment. Guard against hypocrisy.
Look at what he says next, too. Beware not only of concealment, but now beware of covetedness. Verses 13 through 21. Or in other words, guard against greed.
Guard against greed. So there's one in the crowd that says to Jesus. Look at verse 13. Look at what he says to Jesus, you all.
This is incredible to me. Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. Try to picture the scene. Alright, they storm the field. They're trying to see Jesus. They're trying to hear Jesus. Jesus maybe pulls his disciples over.
Hey, don't be hypocritical. Fear God, not man. Fear Christ, not man.
Fear the Holy Spirit, not man. And now the scene kind of changes a little bit. And maybe Jesus is now addressing the crowd, right? And there's one guy that just yells out. Hey, Jesus, tell my brother to split the inheritance with me. That's like the craziest thing. I mean, what was the last time you were in a public setting and someone shouted something out like this before? I mean, he just cries out, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.
Interesting that he would say this in the midst of a crowd. It seems to me it would be something he would try to work out inside the family or it doesn't seem like it's something he would announce at a public gathering. It seems to me that if there's an inheritance to be divided, then there must be a death to mourn. Perhaps a parent has died. In this context, perhaps the father has died because the father would be the one to leave the inheritance.
And perhaps the father has died. But this man, notice where his focus is. His focus is not in finding someone to help him with his mourning and grief.
He seems to be interested in finding someone with authority to tell his brother to split the money. And it may be an indication of where his heart is. He seems more concerned with stuff. He seems more concerned with material possessions.
He seems more concerned with money than he does that he's had a relative, perhaps his father, to die. Notice what the Lord does. The Lord doesn't get involved with petty disputes. And look at what he says in verse 14.
Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you? And Jesus proceeds to warn the entire crowd, saying, look at this, watch out, be on guard against greed. The language is very strong here. It's like Jesus is saying, take care, look out, be alert, avoid and flee greed. Greed here in the original language is wanting something that does not belong to you. And some translations here will translate this word greed, covetness. And it's possessive jealousy to have that which God has not given you.
Why does Jesus give this warning? One reason, life is not defined by what we possess. Life is not about getting stuff.
Jesus, notice what he says, verse 15. Man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. Life is not about the things you own, Jesus said. Life is not necessarily about the size of your house. Life is not necessarily about how big your bank account is.
Life is not about all the stuff that you have accumulated. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
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