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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 19, 2017
Preventions for Hypocrisy
Introduction – Luke 12:1
I my last sermon we covered Luke 11:37-54 and Jesus exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and lawyers and rebuking them for it. The Pharisees claimed to be pure and models of living righteously, but it was all for show because their hearts were bent on robbery and wickedness. Jesus warned them they would need to give of themselves to God first and then do their acts of righteousness to please God instead of to impress others if they were going to be righteous. They put great emphasis on keeping minor points of the law such as tithing garden herbs while ignoring major points of the law such as justice and loving God. Jesus warned them they would need to get their priorities in order if they would be godly. Instead of being humble as required by the Law, they sought positions of prestige and desired to be honored in public. Tragically, they were like hidden graves that polluted people without them being aware. Their outward profession of spirituality caused others to follow them thinking they would then be walking in the ways of righteousness, but what they taught was lawlessness.
The lawyers were formally trained in the Mosaic Law so they should have known better than those just following traditions, but they were not any better. Jesus chastened them for their interpretations of the Law which put great burdens on people in their striving to keep the law, yet the lawyers always found some way to get around their restrictions. Jesus castigated them for their building memorials to the prophets as supposed acts of honor and approval of them, yet they were of one heart with their fathers that had murdered the prophets for they would soon be persecuting and murdering Jesus and His apostles. Jesus pronounced a woe upon them for obscuring the message of God which hindered those that wanted to follow Him. Their teachings made the message of God’s revelation of Himself and redemption of man by faith in what God would do into mysteries that could not be understood much less followed.
Sadly, the Pharisees and lawyers did not heed Jesus’ warnings and instead confirmed what Jesus had said about them. They should have repented or at least have had some introspection. Instead, they became hostile and after Jesus left, they plotted how to catch Him in something He might say by which they could accuse Him. (See: Religious Hypocrisy Exposed and Rebuked)
This morning we are going to look at what happens next in Luke’s account as Jesus turns His attention back to His disciples and the multitudes that had gathered. Turn to Luke 12:1-12. Jesus is going to warn the people about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and instruct them on preventions from becoming hypocrites.
Warning on Hypocrisy – Luke 12:1
Jesus and His disciples have been traveling from Jerusalem to Galilee. The crowds gathering around Jesus had been increasing after He cast out the mute demon from a man and healed him and then had to confront both those that were falsely accusing Him and those that were demanding He show them a sign from heaven. Jesus had been invited by a Pharisee to dine at a private gathering of Pharisees and lawyers, but that also ended up in a conflict. It is very reasonable to assume that news of that soon spread. People are interested in Jesus and what He might do or say next, so it is not surprising to read in Luke 12:1, “Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another.”
The sense of the phrase “Under these circumstances” in the NASB can be gained by its translation in the NKJV and ESV, “in the meantime,” Youngs, “at which time,” and the Lexham version, “during this time.” It is a reference to what Luke had just stated about Jesus having been with the Pharisees and lawyers. While that had been going on or soon after a very large crowd had gathered. The phrase “many thousands” is muriavV / murias which literally means ten thousand but is often used in more figurative way, as is the case here, to refer to a very large indefinite number. Luke specifically points out there are so many that they were stepping on each other. That indicates there was a very large number of people in a very small area. Even when Jesus fed the more than five thousand, they had enough room to spread out and sit down in groups (Mark 6). This describes a group so large and compact they cannot avoid stepping on each other.
Jesus speaks openly to all those present, but His focus is primarily on His disciples according to this verse. What He has to say is a warning about the Pharisees. “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Leaven is a good analogy to use for the hypocrisy of the Pharisees because of the insidious nature by which hypocrisy spreads.
Leaven refers to yeast which is added to dough and batters to make them rise and change their characteristics. Yeast itself is a single celled fungus that consumes carbohydrates and gives off carbon dioxide and alcohol as a by-product in proportions depending on its environment. More carbon dioxide when oxygen is present (aerobic) and more alcohol when it is not (anaerobic). Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the common species used in baking and in the fermentation of fruits and grains to produce wines and ales. Yeast is widespread and its spores are commonly carried in air currents by which they contaminate anything out in the open. That is why fruits will ferment naturally. Animals ingest yeast when eating so they are commonly found in the intestinal tracts of animals and have a symbiotic relationship with them. Yeasts can cause problems if they over produce or become parasitic. Yeast is added in measured amounts within specific temperature ranges in order to achieve the consistent results desired for baking and beverage production.
Jesus’ reference to leaven here is specific for its ability to spread and change the characteristics of the dough. Yeast reproduces rapidly and so can also spread exponentially. It is slow at first, but the rate of increase goes up quickly. Used in baking, yeast produces carbon dioxide which permeates the dough and causes it to rise. The amount of yeast, amount of sugar, temperature and time all factor into how aerated dough becomes – will it be sponge cake or noodles?
The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was like yeast. It did not seem like much at first, but over time their core error consumed the truth of God’s word and replaced it with the precepts of men (Matthew 15:9). Their efforts to keep God’s law would have been commendable if they had not changed it by their interpretations into man-made regulations which they could keep but were contrary to the point of the law. Their regulations about divorce increased adultery. Their practices of vows increased lying. Their practices of revenge and hating their enemies were contrary to God’s commands concerning mercy, forgiveness and love.
Jesus’ warning is as relevant today as it ever was because though the Pharisees as a particular Jewish religious sect died out a long time ago, their approach to God and righteousness continues in the present and makes shipwreck the faith of many. It is commendable to restrict yourself from things that may bring you temptations. There are plenty of verses that tell us to flee from them (1 Cor. 6:18; 10:14; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22). However, the restrictions cannot be a substitute for God’s commands or true righteousness. It is hypocritical to claim a higher standard of righteousness by refraining from going to a movie theater when you watch the same immoral trash in the privacy of your own home. You are self deceived when you present yourself as morally superior because you listen to “Christian” music instead of “secular” music when that supposedly Christian music contains a lot of theological error and is man centered. I do not drink any alcoholic beverages for a variety of reasons, but that does not make me more righteous than the believer that never gets intoxicated but may have a glass of wine with dinner.
It is critical that you remember that the Law is a tutor that reveals your sin so that you will seek God’s mercy and forgiveness (Romans 7:7-9; Galatians 3:24). You are also to strive to keep God’s commandments, but failure to do that should result in humble confession to gain His forgiveness. You cannot become righteous by substituting man-made regulations for God’s laws. The source of righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ to live for His glory and not self righteousness by human standards. Remember, Jesus offered forgiveness to sinners of every stripe for He came to seek and save the unrighteous which were lost (Luke 19:10). His condemnation was reserved for the self righteous.
Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who claimed to have higher standards and more laudable beliefs than was the case. Self righteousness is as much an affront to God now as it was then.
How can you prevent yourself from falling into the trap of hypocrisy? Jesus gives four teachings to the large multitude that had gathered that will help keep you from becoming self righteous. 1) There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. 2) You must have a proper fear of God. 3) God cares for you. 4) Proper confession results in confidence while denial leads to blasphemy
Nothing is Hidden – Luke 12:2-3
2 “But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 3 “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.
A major reason that people will put on an air of moral superiority is that they think they can hide the true nature of their hearts. Jesus uses four statements which make it clear that the opposite is true. If you conceal it (sugkaluvptw / sugkalupt ), it will be revealed – unconcealed (apokaluvptw / apokalupto). If you try to hide it as a secret, it will be made known. If you say it in the dark, it will be heard in the light. If you whisper it in the inner rooms, a reference to the most secure and private area of a house, it will be proclaimed from the housetop.
Sure, a person may be able to keep it secret for a long time, but it will eventually come out and be displayed for all to see. We should all be aware of that if not from personal experience in trying to keep something secret then from the scandals that are constantly reported in the news. And even if you live in a place where the unrighteous thought or deed is accepted or even celebrated in your society as is increasingly true in this one, be warned that Scripture makes it abundantly clear that it will also be openly declared in God’s courtroom in which you will be judged by His standards.
The first prevention from hypocrisy is recognizing that it is ultimately futile. Whatever false appearance of virtue or religion will be eventually stripped away and all will know the truth about you. It is better to be honest now. A sinner saved by grace is always better than a sinner condemned by his hypocrisy
Proper Fear – Luke 12:4-5
The second prevention for hypocrisy is having a proper fear. 4 “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. 5 “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!
Since we are mortal creatures, it is reasonable that there is a fear of what can cause death. You should be careful about the kinds of things you do and how you interact with those who threaten your life. However, because we are also beings that will continue to live through eternity, it is even more important to have fear of the one that will determine where we will spend eternity.
The obvious reference here is to men who will try to manipulate your behavior and stated beliefs by physical threats. A robber with a gun wants you to voluntarily hand over your valuables to him reasoning that you will value your life more than those things. Governments seek to control your behavior by laws, whether righteous or unrighteous, that threaten physical confinement, harm or death if you violate them. Armed forces are the ultimate diplomatic tool in relationships between nations since the threat is that you do what we want or many of your people will die. Terrorists are successful because their threat of murder and mayhem brings about changes in the behavior of those they threaten. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Satan is also implicated in the Scriptures as a cause of physical death, so I believe this verse applies to the demonic as well. People want to avoid being killed or even harmed, so fear caused by such threats are very successful in manipulating people to do and say things contrary to what they actually believe.
Jesus points out that the worst man or even Satan can do to you is bring about your physical demise. That is a real and serous threat for the non-Christian, but it should not be for the Christian. Why? First, because we have already died with Christ and no longer live, but it is Christ that lives in us (Galatians 2:20). You cannot kill what is already dead. Second, because for the Christian to be absent from the body – physical death – is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Death is a gain for us. We seek to preserve present physical life on earth only so that we might serve the Lord until He calls us home. Paul describes his inner conflict about this in Philippians 1:19-26. He wanted to be with the Lord, but he also wanted to remain to serve the Lord longer in ministry to the Philippians. The Christian has no need to fear death and therefore no need to fear those who threaten it.
The One all people need to fear is God who has authority to cast the soul into Hell. The reference here is to Gehenna, the word describing the eternal place for the unrighteous where “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-48). Revelation 20:11-15 describes their future judgment in which their very deeds will condemn them to the second death in the eternal lake of fire.
Hypocrisy is ultimately pointless. Presenting yourself to be something you are not in reality may win the favor of other people, but it does not impress God. Ultimately every person will stand before Him to be judged. According to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10, the believer will have his works judged whether they were good or bad and whether they were of eternal nature or temporal. The works of a believer may be burned up, but he will not be condemned because there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The unbeliever will be judged by his works and condemned because he did not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom according to Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10. It also prevents hypocrisy.
God’s Care – Luke 12:6-7
The third prevention of hypocrisy is remembering the Lord’s care for those that belong to Him. 6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
One of the fuels to hypocrisy is the false understanding of whom God cares for and why. Those who follow the ways of the self righteous are led to believe that God’s care is dependent upon their ability to keep all the rules. If they do all the right things, then God will take notice of them and provide for them. In today’s vernacular, God will bless them if they live right. Certainly living right before God brings its own rewards in the present because following His design for life is beneficial. That is why the practical wisdom expressed in the Proverbs works for believers and unbelievers alike. You will be healthier and avoid all sorts of trouble if you flee immorality and are faithful in marriage. You will be better off financially if you work, save and spend wisely instead of being lazy and spend what you have irresponsibly. Honest business practices will enable it to grow over the long term while cheating will cause it to fail. There are many blessings in following God’s commandments, but His care for you is not based on how well you do at that.
The analogy here is simple. Sparrows were insignificant creatures. The poor would buy them for food because they were cheap. The word translated as penny here (ajssavrion / assarion) was a copper coin worth about 1/16 of a day’s wage. Jesus said in Matthew 10:29 that two were sold for one of these coins, and here He said you could get five for two of them. So either you got one free if you bought four or they were slightly less expensive in this area. Either way, Jesus’ point is that sparrows were not worth much, yet God took notice of them and cared for them. How much more does God care about people when He even keeps track of the number of hairs on your head?
Hypocrisy is not needed because you do not gain God’s blessing by your outward behavior. God’s care for man was proven when Jesus Christ died to redeem sinners. What will bring God’s blessing is faith in Christ and walking in trust of Him. God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). It is a matter of seeking first His kingdom and righteousness which is a condition of the heart which will in turn affect the manner of life.
Proper Confession – Luke 12:8-12
The fourth prevention of hypocrisy is a proper confession. To confess Jesus Christ will result in confidence while denying Jesus will lead to blasphemy.
Confession – Luke 12:8
8 “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God;
Confession, oJmolovgew / homolge , carries the ideas of “to assure,” “to promise,” “to admit,” “to concede,” “to bear witness,” and in this context, “to confirm allegiance.” In Paul’s writing in Romans 10:9-10, to “confess with you mouth Jesus as Lord” is “to make a solemn statement of faith.”
The Pharisees were hypocrites and that came out in their response to Jesus. They professed to be followers of God, but very few were willing to make a statement of allegiance to Jesus despite all of His miracles and teaching which proved He was the Messiah and from God. Even those that were favorable toward Jesus such as Nicodemus were hesitant to publically admit it for fear the other Pharisees would put them out of the synagogues (John 12:42).
This statement is an incentive by Jesus for them to shed the hypocrisy and overcome their fear to admit what they believed in public. Whatever the negative consequences in the present would be worth the benefit of having Jesus confess them before the angels of God. That is of eternal consequence whether it refers to the angels gathering the wicked for judgment (Matthew 13:41) or the elect for blessing (Matthew 24:31). In both cases, a confession from Jesus about the man would put him in the saved group instead of the condemned group.
Denial & Blasphemy – Luke 12:9-10
Jesus also warns about the opposite response. 9 but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
This is a more serious warning that it may appear in the English. To deny is ajrnevomai / arneomai which in this context means to refuse to acknowledge a relationship with Jesus before others. That can be done in several ways. It could be a verbal denial in saying you do not know Jesus and you are not a Christian. It could a verbal statement or an action which would deny you believe certain things about Jesus which could get you in trouble with those who are challenging you. Such was and is the case in giving worship to false gods which is a denial of Jesus’ deity and lordship. It could also be by being quite and just going with the crowd so no one would know your beliefs. Would you step on a Bible or the name of Jesus to avoid persecution?
Jesus uses an intensified form of the same word (ajparnevomai / aparneomai) to express a strong denial, a rejection of such a person before the angels of God. While the two forms can be used interchangeably, when both forms occur in the same sentence, the nuance of meaning is expressed.
This level of denial of Jesus is not without hope, for Nicodemus was at one time hesitant to acknowledge his beliefs about Jesus (John 7:50) later was bold about it (John 19:39). Peter verbally denied Jesus three times and even cursed on the night of Jesus’ trial (Luke 22:54-62), but later he is bold in publically proclaiming his belief and allegiance to Jesus and eventually died as a martyr. A denial in the past can be corrected by a confession in the present or future. Jesus even states in verse 10, “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven Him . . .” However, He also warns of a greater danger in the rest of the verse, 10 “. . . but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”
This is not the first time Jesus has given this warning. He said it in Mark 3:28-29 and Matthew 12:31-32, but in that case it immediately followed the Pharisees accusation that Jesus cast out a demon by the power of Beezebul. (See: The Danger of Blasphemy) In this passage it is more removed from the same false accusation by different people, so the same idea of attributing to the devil an obvious work of the Holy Spirit may be in view, but it is more general here. It is the conscious and wicked rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). It is a final quenching of the Spirit after which there is no longer any means of repentance. The person may have remorse and regret like Judas, but there will not be repentance and therefore no means of faith and forgiveness. While we as humans will not be able to know when this has happened, the danger of continued rejection of the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction is real and dangerous. The time for repentance is now. Religious hypocrisy increases the danger of falling into this blasphemy.
Confidence – Luke 12:11-12
To confess Jesus is to risk rejection and persecution by unbelievers. Jesus gives multiple warnings about this throughout His ministry (Matthew 5:11-12; Mark 13:9-13; John 16:33). It would be very tempting to find ways to avoid such persecution which could include becoming hypocritical. Jesus fully recognizes the danger and gives them a promise that enables them to be confident as they face them. They will have no need to be hypocritical. God can and will speak through them. 11 “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; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Synagogues refer to local assemblies that could question Jesus’ followers and might even ostracize them which would also cut them off from local Jewish social life. Rulers probably refer to the Jewish national leaders and especially those in the Sanhedrin since that is the way Luke uses the term in the rest of his gospel account. In addition to cutting people off from the Temple and Jewish social life, they could also arrest and physically punish people. Authorities probably refer to the Gentile government officials who had authority to arrest, punish and execute people.
Jesus does not tell them they would avoid future persecution, but that they should not be anxious or worry about what they would say when they are arrested because the Holy Spirit would teach them at that time what they ought to say. Jesus’ focus is that God would enable them to remain true and faithful in the midst of such persecution. There is no promise of escape from the danger. The book of Acts records that even for the Apostles, sometimes they did escape punishment (Acts 4:13-22; 12:3-17) and sometimes they did not (Acts 5:17-42; 12:1-2).
While Jesus’ priority is speaking to the disciples, He is also speaking to the large multitude, so what He says also applies those within the crowd that will be faithful to confess Him. This promise in no way supports the idea advocated by some that you do not have to read, study and memorize the Scriptures. That is a false spiritualization that invariable results in heresy because the individual remains ignorant of what God has said and so is easily led astray by false teachers and their own desires. That idea is contrary to the example of godly people throughout the ages, the multiple Biblical commands to know the Scriptures, and the very reason the Scriptures were written down. We are to be diligent workman who can accurately handle the word of truth (1 Timothy 2:15) and work hard to be prepared to teach and respond for any encounters we might have, but we do not fret and worry because we rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us at the time needed. Godly teachers and those who have had extensive witnessing opportunities have all experienced those times when the Holy Spirit’s work is obvious as things such as Bible verses come to mind and there is clarity of thought to address exactly what is needed in an encounter. Acts gives many examples of Jesus’ promise here being fulfilled in them as they faced th eir persecutors.
There is never an excuse for a Christian to be hypocritical. Nothing can be ultimately hidden anyway and your true nature will be fully exposed. Having a proper fear of God will eliminate the motivation to hide the truth that arises from the fear of man or the devil. Having a proper understanding of God’s care for you eliminates the false idea of trying to gain it by sham religious practices. Having a proper confession of Jesus brings confidence of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in your life, while denial of Jesus reveals your true unrighteous nature anyway.
All you really need to be is humble and honest as you learn to trust the Lord and walk with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. He will make your life count for eternity instead of being squandered on the brief moment of time that is your physical existence on this earth.
Sermon Notes – 2/19/2017
Preventions for Hypocrisy – Luke 12:1-12
Jesus exposed the _______________of the Pharisees and lawyers and rebuked them for it in Luke 11:37-54
The Pharisees & lawyers did not heed Jesus’ __________and instead confirmed what Jesus said about them
Warning on Hypocrisy – Luke 12:1
The crowds gathering around Jesus had already been ______________, so it is not surprising that continued
A myriad is literally ______________, but is used figuratively for a large indefinite number
There were so many in a small area that they were ______________on each other
Jesus speaks to ___________that were present, but His main focus was His disciples
Leaven is _____which causes fermentation & dough to rise by turning sugar into alcohol and carbon-dioxide
Yeasts ability to spread rapidly & ____________the characteristics of dough is analogous to their hypocrisy
Their self-righteousness consumed the truth of God’s word and ______________it with the precepts of men
The warning is still relevant today for the error of the Pharisees, ____________________, is still widespread
The Law is a _______that reveals your sin and is to cause you to seek God’s mercy and forgiveness by faith
Nothing Remains Hidden – Luke 12:2-3
Hypocrites think they can hide the true nature of their ______________, but they cannot
Even secrets kept for a long time are eventually __________either in this life or at the judgment seat of God
The first prevention from hypocrisy is recognizing that it is ultimately ____________
Proper Fear – Luke 12:4-5
Mortal creatures have a reasonable _________of what can cause their death, but men are also eternal beings
Men and Satan use threats of physical injury and death to _________________people to do what they want
The ______________men or Satan can do to humans is bring about physical death
Death is ________a threat to a Christian because he has already died with Christ, and death is a gain for him
God is the One that all people need to fear for He is ______________over all the earth
Hypocrisy is ultimately _______________because it does not fool God who judges by truth
God’s Care – Luke 12:6-7
A false understanding of God’s care can fuel hypocrisy by trying to ___________it by outward behavior
Living right brings the ______________blessings of following God’s design – see Proverbs
God cares for insignificant sparrows therefore He must care for you more – even ______________your hairs
God’s care was ________when Jesus died for sinners – His blessings go to those who walk by faith in Christ
Proper Confession – Luke 12:8-12
To confess Jesus Christ will result in _________________while denying Jesus will lead to blasphemy
Confession – Luke 12:8
Confession, oJmolovgew / homolge , in this context is “to ______________________________.”
Few Pharisees were willing to confess Jesus because of their ___________of other Pharisees
The incentive to confess Jesus is that His confession of you before angels is _______any current persecution
Denial & Blasphemy – Luke 12:9-10
Denial (ajrnevomai / arneomai) in this context is __________________a relationship with Jesus before others
Denial could be direct, or indirect regarding Jesus’ identity or characteristics, or by __________your beliefs
Jesus uses an intensified form of the same word to describe His ________of such a person before the angels
Denial can be ______________- both Nicodemus and Peter denied Jesus, but later confessed Him
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the ______________rejection of the Spirit’s work of conviction (John 16:8)
Without the Holy Spirit’s work there cannot be _______________from sin or faith in Christ
While we cannot tell with certainty when this has happened, religious hypocrisy __________the danger of it
Confidence – Luke 12:11-12
Jesus’ promise enables full ________________even when facing persecution – Luke 12:11-12
Synagogues = local religious assemblies. Rulers = Jewish national leaders. Authorities = Roman officials
Jesus does not promise _______from persecution, but rather the Holy Spirit’s ministry when facing accusers
Jesus’ promise applies to all those who faithfully _______________Him
The idea you don’t need to read, study & memorize Scripture is a _______spiritualization resulting in heresy
We are to be diligent _____________of God’s word (1 Tim. 2:15), but we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us
There is never an excuse for a Christian to be __________________
You only need to be ____________& honest as you learn to trust the Lord & walk in the power of His Spirit
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “hypocrite” is used. 2) Discuss with your parents how you can avoid being a hypocrite.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is the setting for Luke 12:1-12? How large is the crowd? Why has it increased so much? What is leaven? What is hypocrisy? Why is leaven a fitting analogy for the hypocrisy of the Pharisees? Is such hypocrisy a danger today? Explain. What is the purpose of the law? How does the fact that nothing can be hidden prevent hypocrisy? Why should the Christian not be afraid of those that can kill the body? Why should everyone fear God? How does that prevent hypocrisy? Why are you worth more than sparrows? How did God prove His care for you? How does that prevent hypocrisy? What does it mean to confess Jesus? What is its benefit? In what ways can Jesus be denied? What is the danger of that? Can that be forgiven? Explain. What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and why can’t it be forgiven? How does Jesus’ promise of the ministry of the Holy Spirit when facing accusers give confidence to those who confess Christ? How does that prevent hypocrisy? In light of this promise, why is it still necessary to read, study and memorize the Scripture? What dangers do those who are not diligent students of God’s word face? Why is there never an excuse for a Christian to be hypocritical? Do you struggle with religious hypocrisy – presenting yourself to be more righteous than you are? Is your life marked by humility and honesty? What needs to change?
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