Branson Bible Church
Sunday Service 04.04.2021
  • Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
      • 1 Corinthians 15:1–8ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 15:58ESV

  • Because He Lives (Amen)
  • The Power Of The Cross
  • INTRO:
    “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.”
    Who said these words? Jesus. Although it took place before his death, burial and resurrection, as did the majority of his teaching and ministry, who of all people understood the absolute truth of what he said? Jesus knew that his own sacrificial death and vindicating resurrection was in fact according to the sovereign will of the Father, and would prove the limitations of the power of man.... and of death, and sin, and Satan.
    At the time he said these words Jesus was teaching his disciples to prepare for the rising opposition from the religious leaders, and to be wary of their hypocritical religiosity. Their hostility would reach a feverish pitch to the point where, at one Passover feast in the not too distant future, they would instigate the crowds to clamor for an innocent Jesus to be crucified. What they didn’t know, but Jesus did, is that it was in fact the Father’s will that He suffer and die to offer salvation, and it was the Father who raised Jesus from the dead to vindicate His authority to forgive sins and to declare righteous those who are his by grace through faith.
    After the resurrection and proof of it by Jesus appearing bodily to many, surely his disciples could both comprehend more clearly as well as order their lives according to these truths Jesus had taught them. Do not fear those who merely have influence in this life, but fear the One who is not only sovereign over these events but holds power over eternal life.
    As we look today more closely then at the context of these words from Jesus (in Luke 12), I want to make sure you come away with this overall point today: Because of what Jesus has accomplished,
    Christians can lead lives of fearless integrity in the face of hypocrisy and hostility.
    In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus has just denounced the religious hypocrisy (the legalism) of the Pharisees and Scribes (11:37-52), demonstrating that they care about outward conformity to rules but not about inward integrity of right relationship to God. Jesus knows, and even as Luke describes (11:53-54), this will result in rejection and hostility rather than repentance.
    Luke 12:1–12 ESV
    In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
    There is both a warning and exhortation in Jesus’ teaching here. (A warning is what to avoid, and exhort means to urge and persuade them TO DO something.) The disciples are warned about the coming conflict with religious hypocrisy, and they are therefore to fear God and find comfort in entrusting themselves to a loving Father. If they will publicly side with Christ, they can have confidence in their standing with God and find courage by the power of the Holy Spirit to face external pressure.

    The Disciple’s Conflict - Religious Hypocrisy

    Crowds are flocking to Jesus (myriad is a number that meant 10,000 and then came to be used for thousands/countless), but Luke has caused the reader to question both the crowd’s understanding of Jesus and their motivation for coming to him. Some seem influenced by the religious leaders to conclude that Jesus is doing miraculous things in Satan’s power rather than by the power and authority of God, and many others are just seeking more phenomenal signs (11:14-16).
    Jesus focuses his attention on this disciples and instructs them, “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
    Beware = to be on guard against, to take care or to be attentive (for the purpose of safely avoiding) - This is a grave danger, a serious warning.
    Jesus paints a big, bright warning sign… like you might see on an electric fence. The cattle can’t read, but you can. Don’t touch this fence. In fact, keep a safe distance away.
    To be clear about the danger to avoid, exactly what is hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is play acting. It is an insincerity that comes from pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have.
    Jesus says that religious hypocrisy is particularly dangerous because it is both insidious (unseen) and comprehensive (all-encompassing), like leaven in a lump of dough. Leaven is the substance used to produce fermentation in a dough or liquid (they used a bit of fermented dough saved from the last batch, like yeast used in later times), which spreads throughout the whole as it grows.
    Since Jesus uses it negatively, we are probably meant to picture the unwanted addition of leaven to the bread that was intended to be unleavened for the Passover (as they had been commanded). Like this leaven, the self-centered, man-centered religious legalism for outward show is a cancer that spreads to everything it touches.
    The disciples face this conflict (the confrontation with religious hypocrisy of the Pharisees) on two fronts: Those who are already proven hypocrites reject and oppose Jesus and will therefore reject and oppose his followers. So there is external conflict. Then too the pressure from the Pharisees is sure to create internal conflict for the disciple, who could be tempted to become focused on man-pleasing in his religion rather than siding with Jesus (who is actually showing the true way to God). But siding with Jesus is not without cost. The Christian must prepare to deal with the conflict (internal and external) that arises from moral hypocrisy.
    As Jesus continues, he demonstrates that with God, there is a deep irony to this hypocrisy—this play-acting, this falsehood put on as if it is sincere. The irony is that you never get away with it from the one who counts! God sees behind the curtain, beneath the mask. He knows who you really are. Others may be fooled by it, but God is not mocked.
    v. 2... This is the exact opposite of the point Jesus made about his teaching and his followers being the light of God’s truth. You don’t hide light. It’s put in a prominent place for guidance. Jesus’ teaching and ministry is out in the open. - By contrast, what hypocrites attempt to conceal is laid bare before God, particularly at the judgment.
    v. 3... Similarly, what we say in secret is not secret. It’s going to be broadcast on a megaphone, put out on all the airwaves.
    Jesus is saying, you can’t hide anything from God. All will be exposed, If not now then at the judgment.
    *** Like the earliest disciples, do we face this danger of hypocrisy in our day as well? How are we pressed by, tempted toward, religious and moral hypocrisy? ***
    In its simplest and most subtle form, we always risk hypocrisy by hiding ourselves amongst the true believers while refusing to truly submit to God on his terms.
    The danger, especially in our day, of cultural Christianity. - It’s easy, and it’s fluffy and feel-goody, but it isn’t real. It’s a hypocritical falsehood. True spirituality does not come from spiritual talk and self-help, but by repentance from sin and self and confession of Jesus as Lord.
    There is a moral hypocrisy running rampant through secular culture, intending to change everything in its path.
    Beware of religion before men rather than integrity before God. - Integrity matters because God sees all, and he judges according to that perfect knowledge. Falsehood is not hidden to him. In fact, our hypocrisy is plain to him even when it may not yet be plain even to us!
    This warning of God’s judgment on hypocrisy launches Jesus’ teaching on fearing God, not man.

    The Disciple’s Comfort - Fearing God, Who Judges Justly & Cares for His Own

    Let’s talk first about fear in general. - As humans, what do we fear?
    Our fear of the dark illustrates our fear of what we do not know.
    We fear what we do not know, we fear what we cannot control. We also fear death, we fear suffering. We even fear not being welcomed, accepted, liked, appreciated. We fear that our lives don’t matter. (And none of these I’m mentioning are small fears. These are great fears… massive fears.)
    Do not fear men. - To fear men is to fear what they can do to you. (as in, even to the point of putting us to death) To fear men is also to care more about being elevated in the eyes of men rather than in the eyes of God. - Again, this is the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Fear of man is also the condition of all who are worldly, secular. To them pleasure and prominence on this earth is all that matters. “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:18)
    Jesus bluntly declares the shortsightedness of fearing man, whether from selfish ambition or from caving to external pressure. - I will warn you whom to fear. Fear God. - The first part of this fear is (v. 5) a recognition that God has authority not only over this life but over eternal destiny. For all who continue in their wickedness without regard for God’s authority, and hence no desire to repent, God justly sentences them to hell—eternal separation from him in everlasting torment—for their refusal to acknowledge him. And for all you would feign (fake, pretend) to have a religious exterior (moral superiority) while not truly listening to God and submitting to his truth on his terms, they too will be judged.
    And Jesus is the final crossroads, the culmination of God’s promise of salvation, the ultimate condition upon which every person’s restoration to God rests. There is no other means. One must confess Christ. (That is the focus off vv. 8,9&10.)
    Through Jesus, therefore, the Father will judge justly who belongs to him and who refused to repent, who denied him.
    Matthew 25:31–34 ESV
    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
    Matthew 25:41 ESV
    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
    To fear God is to rightly recognize that in his holiness and authority over all, he always judges justly. That means that anyone who stubbornly refuses to submit his/her will to God, will be justly punished for their own sin.
    But that isn’t where the fear of God ends. To fear God is also to entrust oneself to a caring Father. - God isn’t just an all-powerful, righteous judge (although he is that); he also cares for us. (Fearing God keeps us honest, but it also comforts and reassures.)
    v. 6 ***
    v. 7 ***
    The follower of Christ possesses a single fear that trumps all fears. There is a God in heaven who holds authority over my eternal fate. And that fear is also our comfort. That same God has made me his own through the work of Jesus. “What can man do to me?” (from Psalm 118:6, quoted in Heb 13:6)
    Hebrews 13:6 ESV
    So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
    To not give in to hypocritical religiosity, to outward forms that lack internal sincerity and integrity… which betrays a fear of man rather than a fear of God… what we need is a robust eschatology (a right perspective on the future culmination of the kingdom, of judgment, and the eternal state). People can kill the body, but God determines our eternal fate. He is the one we ought to fear, because he controls life after physical death.
    And if he controls life after death, then surely he controls the details of of our lives even now. Therefore, even in the valley, even in suffering, we can “entrust our souls to a faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Pet 4:19).
    Not only this, but we will continue in this discussion next week to see that God graciously gives the believer the indwelling Holy Spirit, granting us courage and wisdom in time of need.

    The Disciple’s Confession - Jesus Is the Messiah Humanity Needs

    The Disciple’s Courage - Indwelling Holy Spirit

    Conclusion: Based on this truth from Jesus we’ve examined today, how shall we then live?
    Christians can lead lives of fearless integrity in the face of hypocrisy and hostility.
    Even as the crowds grow, Jesus is aware that hostility is mounting too. So he warns his disciples against hypocrisy, warning them not to fear man but to fear God. Jesus therefore also exhorts them toward a fearless integrity that will stand at the judgment and give them confidence and courage to continue his mission.
    If we belong to God by grace through faith, we can be people of fearless integrity because Jesus has made us right with God.
    PRAYER
    COMMUNION: As we have seen today, integrity is the opposite of hypocrisy. The essential thing with relationship to God is internal sincerity.
    Do not take the Lord’s Table today as merely an outward form, of simply going through the motions—that is religious hypocrisy. Instead, be certain that it is an outward reflection of internal sincerity before God. First, you do this because you have believed only in the sacrificial death and bodily resurrection Jesus to save you and make you right with God. And two, you do this as evidence of daily submission to God and as reminder to ourselves our deep dependence on God to spiritually sustain us until we reach the final day (which is either when God takes us home or our King returns in all his glory). The Lord’s table reminds us to submit to and depend upon him until he comes.
    Finally, to avoid any hypocrisy, you want to take care that there is no unconfessed sin in your heart and life right now. In the brief moments you have, agree with God that what he has called sin is sin and seek his forgiveness.
    ***
      • Luke 12:1–12ESV

      • Matthew 25:31–34ESV

      • Matthew 25:41ESV

      • Hebrews 13:6ESV

    • Come People Of The Risen King

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