Beware the Spreading Influence of Evil

Luke 12:1-3 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.”

Trampling One Another

As recorded in Luke 11, Jesus had some sharp words he spoke against the Pharisees. And what he described has come to be a standard definition for the word “hypocrite.” For, he said that they were clean on the outside, in appearance only, but inside they were full of greed and wickedness.

He told them that they were good at tithing, but they neglected justice and the love of God. He said that they loved the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces, i.e., they loved to be important and to be recognized. And He said that they were like unmarked graves, and people walked over them without knowing it.

The scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say. And this, evidently, drew large crowds of people, so large that the people who were gathered together began to trample one another.

But I want to look at another aspect of this word “trample” which fits with this dialogue Jesus was having with the Pharisees, and the lawyers, too. The Pharisees, the scribes, and other rulers in the temple of God had it in for Jesus as soon as he began his ministry, for they were jealous of him, threatened by his popularity among the people, and they hated him, too.

So, they made it their mission to provoke, attack, oppress, oppose, and attempt to trick him and to trip him up with his words so that they would have cause to accuse him of wrongdoing. So, they hounded him left and right, always on the attack, always criticizing his every move, but not because he was doing wrong, but because he was doing right.

But, yes, they hated him, too, because he told them that their deeds were evil and that they needed to change. But they didn’t want to change, and they resented him and his interference in their lives. But they were oppressing people and they were “trampling” on (mistreating) the people, and they were people of influence, control, and authority over the people.

So, Jesus had to speak against the evil they were doing, and he had to warn his disciples against the spreading influence of the Pharisees so that they were not influenced by them, and so that they were not led astray by them, and so that they did not follow their example.

Beware of the Leaven

The word “leaven” here is intended to be taken figuratively as meaning the spreading influence of something usually hidden from view. And it is a symbol of the spreading character and influence of evil. The Lord’s disciples were being warned against this, and we are warned here, too.

For, hypocrites are those who make professions of one thing outwardly or who make a show of righteousness outwardly but who are secretly involved or engaged in and full of greed and wickedness. They like to do things outwardly that make themselves look good and that get them praise, but it is a performance, for behind closed doors they are doing what is evil.

Since outwardly they appear righteous and good, at least to those who can’t see past the façade, there is the danger that they may lead people astray, for they also can be very deceptive, charming, and manipulative, and they know how to get people on their good side so that the people trust them.

But their words can’t be trusted, for lying is what they do by nature. For, hypocrisy is a lie. It is a false image, and it is intended to trick people into believing something about them that is not true, and that opens the door then for them to have influence over people who think they are good.

For, if they can gain the trust of the people, then they have the opportunity, too, to deceive, to trick, to trap, and to lead them in the wrong direction. And we have many people these days who are doing just that who are in positions of power and influence over the people, and so Christians need to be warned not to trust everything they see outwardly.

This is why the Scriptures tell us that we must test the spirits, for not everyone who professes the name of Jesus knows Jesus, and they are not all truth tellers and they don’t all have the best interest of the people in mind. But many of them are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” out to deceive the people and to turn them away from genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

And many of them are teaching a cheap grace gospel which permits “believers” in Jesus to continue in deliberate and habitual and premeditated sin against God, and which does not require of them that they must repent of their sins or obey the Lord or submit to him as Lord of their lives. So, this is why we must test the spirits against the Word of God (in context).

Things Hidden, Things Revealed

I live in America. I know many of my readers don’t live in America, but they live in other nations in the world, and so I don’t know where all of you are with regard to modern technology other than you obviously (it would appear) have a way to read what is on the internet or you wouldn’t be reading this.

The Lord has me use modern technology as a way of communicating what he wants me to share with others. So, I am in possession of a computer and a smart phone, too. And one thing about modern technology you may be aware of is that someone is always listening to what you say.

There is no such thing as privacy anymore, unless you live out in the woods, and you don’t drive a car and you don’t have any kind of electronic communications with other people. For, our computers and our smart phones hear our conversations, or else they listen for key words.

So, whenever I read this passage of Scripture about nothing being covered that will not be revealed and what we have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what we have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops, I think about today’s technology and their listening ears and that whatever we say can be heard by someone.

But I also find this encouraging, because I know one day that all hypocrites will be exposed, and the things they are doing in the dark when they think no one else can see will come into the light. But I also know that not one of us is perfect, and not one of us says all the right things all the right ways all the time, but that is not what this is about.

What this is about is those who make it their practice to do evil while they preform for an audience and pretend righteousness on the outside. They are liars by practice. Their goal is to deceive others. One day their evil deeds will be exposed. And I pray many hearts now given to evil will repent of their sins and they will turn to follow Jesus Christ with their lives.

For, Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died to set us free from our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. So, I pray that many who are living a double life today will repent, and they will surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, and they will follow him now in truth.

Seek the Lord

An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

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