Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Resolved 2008: Session #3

John MacArthur

Luke 12:1-12

With thousands gathered to hear Jesus, so many that they were trampling each other, what He chose to speak about among all things He could have chosen was the subject of hell.

When Jesus tells these people to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, He is essentially saying “Beware of the religion you are a part of otherwise you will end up in hell.”

Many people are OK with a hell for the Hitler’s, Stalin’s, murderers, and such high profile crime committers, but the truth is that these people will only make up a small minority of heaven. The majority of hell will be religious people, people who follow a religion that cannot save.

The illusion is that we are good people who God would never send to hell and most certainly would send to heaven. That is what Jesus is getting at in this text. These were all Jews who believed in a Messiah, in heaven, in hell, and the laws of God. But most of them were all headed to hell and that’s why Jesus speaks as He does. Jesus constantly warned such people. He most constantly condemned the religious people to eternal damnation.

There are the religious people. And then there are the disciples, the genuine learners. Jesus is referring to these also. Jesus is offering both a warning them to avoid what the others were walking in. They needed to beware of the deadly pervasive influence of the Pharisees.

Jesus was full aware of sin. But He spoke so much more about false religion than He did of gross iniquities because false religion locks so many up in subtle deception.

How do we avoid false religion?

1) We need to be motivated strongly to abandon false religion

What will motivate us? The fact that there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be made known (v.2-3). We must escape false religion because God will uncover the truth. And if we are hypocrites, we know that we are hypocrites when we are honest with ourselves. We must flee this hypocrisy because we are in severe danger.

The heart of hypocrisy is the fear of man. Jesus tells us that to defeat this we must not fear men, but rather to fear the One who after He has killed us, has authority to cast us into hell—namely, God.

Why should we fear God? 3 reasons:

1) God will unmask all hypocrites

2) He will send them to hell

3) He knows everything

The fact that God knows everything is comforting news for the genuine believer. It is frightening news for the hypocrite and unbeliever. And God knows those who are his and those who are not.

2) We must make a true, open, public confession of Jesus Christ (v.8).

To not do so is hypocrisy if we think we are Christians. We will never be confessed by God as one of His own before the angels until we have acknowledged Jesus before others as the Lord.

Luke 13:1-9

Here in the same occasion as Luke 12 (v.1), a group of people look for a reason why some Galileans had been slaughtered and had their blood mixed with that of their sacrifices (v.1-5). Jesus responds in saying that what they experience is not because they are worse than any others. The point is that all people are sinners just like those victims and unless a person repents, he too will likewise perish. This is the gospel. The message is simple. All must repent or perish.

Then in the parable to follow (v.6-9), Jesus teaches that everyone is living on borrowed time. This is the gift of common grace. But unless we produce the fruit that God seeks, that time will be cut short.

We must examine ourselves, whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Hell is real. And we will go there if we don’t pass the test.

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