Last week we started into Luke Chapter 12 where Jesus teaches us how to Live for Jesus. In this chapter He teaches us to:
Be Real in Jesus. We need to be honest about our belief and acceptance of Jesus. Remember He said:
But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops. Luke 12:2-3We saw that we should expect hostility but that we should not be afraid of man and man’s hostility. We do need to have a positive fear and respect for God.
We should not hide Jesus or be ashamed of our relationship with him. Remember He also said:
And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. Luke 12:8-9This morning I am going to finish the topic of being Real for Jesus. Not being a hypocrite, I decided to do a short lesson, because it was a good place to break the teaching and to give us time to have a little more relaxed potluck this morning and still get cleared out before they lock the doors at 1:00.
Don't be anxious:
As we pick up the teaching this morning, Jesus tells us not to be anxious, don’t worry about how to tell people about Jesus.
When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. Luke 12:11-12This is a great promise. One of the most common fears Christians have is that they won't have the right answer to some difficult question. Yet the Lord promises that He will help us, that His Spirit will teach us what to say in those difficult situations.
This promise doesn't excuse a lack of preparation on our part. As a young Christian, Dawson Trotman (founder of The Navigators) made a commitment to never be caught on the same question twice. Any time he didn't know the answer, he made a commitment to study the Bible until he knew what God said about that issue.
In this passage, Jesus reminds us how important the Holy Spirit is in the whole process of telling people about Jesus.
Remember, if someone asks you a question you don't know the answer to, it is actually a great opportunity! Just admit you don't know and tell them that you'll dig into it and get back to them soon. This means you are guaranteed another chance to talk to them about the Lord!
When Christians are asked about Jesus or their belief or Christianity, most of us immediately jump to some theological discussion, which we are usually not qualified to discuss or debate. That is a mistake. When a non-Christian asks a question or opens the door, they are not asking about theology. They are asking about a relationship. We need to remember that the greatest and most effective witness is simply to tell them about what Jesus means to me. My experience. How He changed my life and view of life.
Many of us are fearful of sharing Christ with others. Yet we live in a time and culture where there really isn't a lot of active persecution of Christians being beaten or killed for believing in Christ. But Christians who are true to Jesus and declare him openly will experience ridicule and antagonism.
Jesus needs disciples who are willing to endure ridicule, ostracism, whatever, in order to share Jesus with others. Sadly, many Christians are willing for their non-Christian friends to risk hell rather than their risking ridicule. God wants to mobilize all of us to the task of taking the Gospel to every person. Aren't you glad Jesus didn't decide not to share because people were offended or that they ridiculed Him?
Dan Greene said “Witnessing is not a spare-time occupation or a once-a-week activity. It must be a quality of life. You don't go witnessing; you are a witness.”
Here are some suggestions.
And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19
And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. Mark 5:20
If you are not familiar with the bridge illustration, it is a sketch showing man in a sinful condition on one side and God in a holy condition on the other side and a wide chasm between the two. Then it shows that Jesus on the cross becomes a bridge to span the chasm.
In Mathew record of The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. Matthew 6:1-2A little later in the sermon on the Mount He said:
When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. Matthew 6:5Still in The Sermon on the Mount:
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5
And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.’” Mark 7:6Immediately after Jesus selected the Twelve Disciples, he explained how God’s system is different that man’s. We call this teaching The Beatitudes. In the Beatitudes we find Him saying:
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.’” Luke 6:42-43Later in Chapter 12 of Luke, as a part of the extensive teaching that Jesus is presenting to the Disciples and to the people gathered with them we will find Jesus saying:
“When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?” —Luke 12:54-57In Luke 13, after Jesus had healed a woman who had been sick for 18 years, but He did it on the Sabbath, Luke records:
But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” —Luke 13:14-16In Romans Paul told the Roman Christians to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God and not to conform to the world. He told them:
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9James warns us about our human weakness and admonishes us to depend on God and the wisdom that comes from God. You may have heard about the verse:
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5In chapter 3, James says, about this Godly wisdom:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 2:17
Peter tells us:
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” —1 Peter 1:13-16Peter then uses the analogy of being like a baby:
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 1 Peter 2:1-3So we see that Jesus knows that there is a human tendency to hide behind a mask, to pretend to be what we are not, to be a hypocrite, and He clearly does not want that from his followers. He did not want it from the Disciples, and He does not want it from us. Jesus says Be Real in Me.
Pat and I are headed for another series of extended travels during the month of July, business, pleasure and education. So we will be out of Albuquerque for the next five Sundays.
My friend and fellow teacher, Dr. Earl Godwin will be teaching a four-part series on the religion of Islam starting next week and extend for four weeks. The title of the series is: "What a Christian Should Know About Islam" He will cover Muhammad, the Quran, the beliefs, why they hate us, Jihadists, contrasts with Christianity, and witnessing to Muslims. Given the current events, if I were you, I would not miss any of this series.
I am still working on getting a sub and the lesson that will be presented July 30, but don’t worry, there will be class. I will return August 6 and pick up here in Luke 12.