Luke 12:1 NASB
Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Under what circumstances? Jesus had been teaching out in public, and crowds were gathering to listen to what he had to say. Then a Pharisee invited him to lunch at his house. So, Jesus accepted his invitation. But, Jesus failed to ceremonially wash his hands before the meal, and this disturbed the Pharisee who was overly concerned about such things.
So, Jesus spoke frankly on this subject of hypocrisy because the Pharisees, though perhaps not all, were more concerned with outward appearances and with following rituals than they were with living righteously. But, it wasn’t just that. It was that they were religious about looking righteous outwardly while inside they were “full of robbery and wickedness” (Lu. 11:39).
They were legalistic about things that did not matter for eternity while they neglected love and mercy. They were guilty, too, of persecuting the saints of God who were following the Lord in righteousness. And, they were guilty of teaching what is false, distorting the truth, and of keeping people out of heaven due to the fact that they were giving them a false hope.
But, the Pharisees were offended at Jesus’ words, and they were angered, too, by what he told them, so they began to be very hostile towards Jesus. Thus, they tried to trip him up with his words so that they might have reason to accuse him. So, Jesus warned his disciples against the leaven, i.e. against the spreading influence of the evil of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
And, hypocrisy is pretending to be what one is not while hiding the truth of who one really is and does. It is making an appearance of righteousness while one secretly engages in willful sinful practices against God. So, there is a warning here for all of us to guard our hearts against such hypocrisy.
But, there is also a warning to not get caught up in the lies of such hypocrites as these, and to not believe what they teach, too, for what they teach is false, and it will not produce the fruit of righteousness in people’s lives that God so desires.
Many are teaching such a false grace gospel today. Even though the vast majority are not what we consider “legalists,” they are still teaching a man-made gospel which allows for people to appear righteous while willfully continuing to engage themselves in sinful practices, hidden from sight. And, so they are just as guilty as the Pharisees, for what they are teaching is keeping people out of heaven and sending them to hell.
Yet, there is one other matter here to be cautioned against, and that is that many of these who teach what is false, who make pretenses of righteousness while they engage in willful sinful practices, are also among those who are persecuting the saints of God who are following the Lord.
Thus, they will try to keep us from obeying the Lord, or they will try to trap us by our words or find some way to accuse us in order to discredit us and thus to discredit the gospel, too. So, we must be on guard against such as these and be wise so that we don’t fall into any of their traps.
Luke 12:2-3 NASB
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.
Whatever You Say
The encouragement here is that these hypocrites will not get away with their evil deeds and with their false pretenses and their hypocrisies forever. One day everything will be laid bare that has not already come out into the open. And, all the evil which is now being done in secret, hidden from sight, will come into the light and will be exposed for what it is.
I pray that when this happens that revival will break forth and that many will have their hearts turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:18).
But, not all of this is comforting, for it says that what we have said in the dark will be heard in the light and will be proclaimed upon the housetops. And, the technology exists today to make this a reality in our world.
For, if we own computers, TVs, cell phones, smart phones, or other mobile devices, it is possible that we are being spied upon and that our conversations are being recorded without our knowledge. And, this is possible, perhaps, because of our own naivety in thinking that our texts and emails and all private conversations we have really are private.
So, we should all make it our practice to not say anything privately we would not want shouted from the rooftops. And, that takes much prayer and discipline to do that. For, the reality is that “private” is not so private anymore. And, we do need to be careful about what we say, even if what we say is perfectly ok to say in the right circumstances.
Yet, I am not saying we should ever shy away from what needs to be said, out of fear, but that this knowledge should make us ever more careful about the words we do speak, knowing that one day our words will all be brought into the light and, perhaps, proclaimed publicly, too.
Luke 12:4-7 NASB
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Don’t Fear Them
Like I said, we should not ever shy away from sharing the truth of the gospel or speaking the truth in love to people out of fear of what might happen to us if we do.
Yes, people are being put to death for their faith in Jesus Christ and for their testimonies for Christ, which are in regard to their salvation from sin, which is the salvation our Lord provided. They are being persecuted, imprisoned, beaten and falsely accused on account of the name of Jesus, too, and because they share his gospel message. This is a living reality.
But, this should not surprise us, because Jesus said this would happen to us, his followers. And so we are to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus and for his message of salvation from sin.
Thus, we should put our lives into our Lord’s capable hands, and believe that he is with us, and that he will see us through every difficulty which comes our way. And, we should trust that he is working all things for good in the lives of us who love him, and who have been called according to his purposes. For his ways are higher than our ways, and he has a reason for all that he does, and for all that he allows, which is ultimately for his glory.
So, instead of being afraid of what humans may do to us, which they may do to us anyway, even if we do compromise our faith, out of fear, we should walk in the fear of the Lord.
To walk in the fear of God, thus, is to treat our Lord with the honor, respect, value and obedience which he requires and which he so deserves. This means that we follow Jesus wherever he leads us, we obey His Word, and we do not compromise with the world in order to be liked. Thus, we are not hypocritical about our faith and practices, but what we say we believe we live.
This is not to say, however, that we will never fail, or that we will never sin, for absolute perfection should not be what we profess. But, it is to say that our walk should match our talk, and that we should be walking in the ways of the Lord as a matter of our normal course of living day in and day out. Jesus should be our Lord, and “Lord” should not be just a word we say.
So, don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t pretend to be righteous while you secretly engage in willful and continued sinful practices, like the Pharisees did. Be who God has called you to be, all in his power and strength within you. And, you will be blessed!
An Original Work / May 31, 2012
Based off Matthew 23
Woe to you, teachers of the law;
Hypocrites, you keep men from God.
You refuse to obey the truth,
Nor will you permit others to.
You travel o’er land and sea
To win a single convert to you.
When he becomes one
You make him twice as much
A “son of hell” as you are.
Woe to you, blind guides of mankind.
You distort the words of your God.
By your practices you declare
Your oaths mean nothing, though you swear.
You give a tenth of your spices,
But you neglect justice, mercy.
When you focus your
Time and talents on
What is external, you miss out.
Woe to you, who appear so clean,
When inside you are crass and mean.
You work hard to look so upright,
While you hide all your sins inside.
You deceive yourselves when you think
You would not have done what others
Did to God’s messengers
And prophets of old,
For you will do much the same.
You’re to blame.
Thursday, August 9, 2018, 2:15 a.m. – Thank You, Jesus, for these encouragements to walk in the Spirit and in truth. Amen!