The Book of Luke, Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisee, Which is Hypocrisy, Part III - Lesson 156
In past weeks we have been studying the warning of Jesus Christ to his disciples; a warning to beware of the leaven of the Pharisee, which is hypocrisy.
Jesus’ first argument against hypocrisy is that it is worthless as a defense.
It is worthless because it suits temporal needs only but has no value with eternity in view.
Hypocrisy is foolish and futile because it seeks to avoid the inevitable which is the revelation of all things.
The evil which men do, which is not under the Blood of Christ, will eventually be made public knowledge.
Jesus second argument against hypocrisy concerned who the disciples should fear.
They are not to fear man because the greatest thing that man can do is to take away this earthly life but God does the greater by having the power to cast a man into hell.
The fear of rejection, ultimately the fear of death by man, tends a man toward living a life of hypocrisy, but the proper fear of God will bring a man to honesty and truthfulness.
The bottom line is: What need is there, then, to fear men, and because of that fear the need to be a hypocrite?
Jesus Christ continues in his instruction by giving another reason why His disciples should beware of the hypocrisy of trying to appear that one is not a disciple:
Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 12:8‑10, Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. 10And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
Hearing this word of Christ without knowing the scriptures may lead a person to believe that a disciple might lose his salvation by his hypocrisy in denying his Savior.
We know that this cannot be the case because:
Man’s salvation is not based upon his works, or his faithfulness, but on Christ’s shed blood and on Christ’s faithfulness.
We also know that the Word of God consistently teaches that man does not choose God but that God chooses men, and that men and women who are saved are eternally secure.
In this instruction Jesus Christ is changing direction from addressing only his disciples to addressing a broader group, the group whom he calls “whoever.”
The unpardonable sin, referred to in verse 10, is a sin which an unbeliever commits, which ends any further opportunity to be saved.
As Jesus said: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
It is not the disciples who he is referring to here, but those who would respond to their message for salvation.
The message is clear, those who publicly confess the Lord before men are those who are confessed before the angels of God and who are the elect of God while those who do not confess the Lord, show themselves as denied of God.
The disciples are being instructed to call upon men to publicly profess their faith in Christ upon salvation and if they are calling for others to do so how can they conceal their own faith, by hypocrisy.
In all times of persecution, the early days of the church being such a time, a decision to trust in Christ was very dangerous, and could lead to persecution by some and rejection by the believer’s family.
We know that this is still the case in many parts of the world, including our own country in many situations.
The disciples are not to falter in their boldness, for they must set an example for those who would come to faith.
The last caution against the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy, concerned carelessness on the part of the disciples.
They were to be careless with regard to preparing to defend themselves when they are called before the authorities receiving charges which could even lead to death.
Luke 12:11‑12, And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Notice that Jesus uses the word “when” and not the word “if” they are brought before the authorities.
Jesus’ instructions to His disciples were not hypothetical for they would indeed suffer rejection and persecution for their faith in Him and many would die for the Lord.
He does not want them to think or to worry about their defense ahead of time.
He wants them simply to trust in God for the very words to speak.
God wants His words to be spoken at such times, not carefully crafted words which may include hypocritical words, words of hypocrisy designed around the fear of man.
Jesus told His disciples ahead of time that they would be persecuted and resisted for their proclamation of the Gospel.
But He did not mean for them to worry about this, or to spend time thinking up ways to defend themselves.
For one thing, this would not be profitable for they would not know, in advance, what the circumstances were, to be able to make a proper defense.
For another, they would be tempted, in their defense, to be hypocritical — not to be as bold and forthright as they should be.
And for yet another, the more they thought about the dangers which lay ahead, and their reaction to them, the more they would be tempted to avoid the confrontation altogether by simply “backing off” in their proclamation of the gospel.
Jesus was telling them “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”
There is plenty to keep you busy today and you are not to plan for the evil tomorrow.
These are fine and laudable words but Jesus Christ does not leave them without any support so he reassures them that when the time comes the Holy Spirit would teach them the right words to say in their defense.
Disciples of our Lord are to be more involved in proclaiming the Gospel to men than they are in defending themselves.
The Holy Spirit, Jesus said, would minister in a special way to those who are accused, so that they can speak the gospel clearly and with force.
The Book of Acts is full of examples of this where disciples of Christ relied upon the Holy Spirit to give them the words to speak in times of tribulation.
Peter and John, after they were arrested, boldly preached the gospel as their defense (Acts 4).
Stephen, when arrested and before a violent crowd, powerfully preached the gospel as his defense (Acts 6 & 7).
There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit gave him the words to say at that time for any more powerful words than Stephen spoke are difficult to find in the scriptures.
The Holy Spirit is God’s special gift to those who are in difficult circumstances and we are to rely upon him and not fret beforehand of what we will speak and therefore move into the realm of hypocrisy, pretending to be what we are not.
Jesus Christ promises the Holy Spirit to his own who are under pressure for Him.
He gives a special understanding of God’s presence which will bring comfort and assurance.
He also gives men the very words to speak, and the power to speak them boldly.
So we are to depend upon Him, we are to trust in God for our defense.
We are to faithfully preach and tell the gospel even knowing that we may be persecuted and that we may even be put to death.
This promise is to be a comfort to us.
This next section of scripture apparently takes place in the same location as verses 1-12 did.
Remember the disciples and Christ are surrounded by what is given as a crowd which was so vast that they trod upon one another.
It was an unruly crowd which Christ used to teach the disciples about the danger of fear which produces hypocrisy, a covering of what we are in order to provide protection.
Apparently in the midst of Christ’s instruction there was a question from one of the company, one who called Christ, Master, apparently a disciple.
This word Master translates into the word teacher, so this disciple was calling upon Christ as Teacher.