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Sunday, May 23, 2010

[Matt's Messages] "Being Real with Jesus"

“Being Real with Jesus”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
May 23, 2010
Luke 12:1-12

I know that I use that word “Real” a lot.  But it’s for a good reason.  I don’t want to play games.  Too many so-called “Christians” just play games with Christianity.

But we’re not interested in that here at Lanse Free Church. We want the real thing.  The real deal.

That’s what Jesus wants!

And here in chapter 12, that’s what He asks of us.  “Being Real with Jesus.”

I’d like to apply Jesus’ message here with three points of application this morning.

The first is #1.  REAL YOU: DON’T BE A FAKE LIKE THE PHARISEES.

I get that from Luke 12, verse 1.

“Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

This picks up where we left off last week.  Things have been heating up for Jesus, specifically with the Jewish Religious Leaders and the religious party of the Pharisees.

They have come to hate Jesus. The last verse of the last chapter says that they were opposing Him fiercely, besieging Him with questions, and trying to catch Him in something He might say.

They have come to hate...because He can see right through and is exposing what is wrong with them.

And here, Jesus has a great big crowd–thousands have gathered, they’re falling all over each other–and Jesus begins to teach again–especially to His disciples, and what comes out of His mouth is another warning against the Pharisees.  No wonder they hate Him. He says, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

Jesus is calling for His followers to be REAL.  Not hypocrites.

Hypocrisy is playacting, it’s playing a part.

It’s a being a “poser.”

It’s saying one thing and doing another.

It’s putting up a good show, but not being real on the inside.

We saw this last week, when Jesus talked about the outside of the dish being cleaned but the inside being filthy.  Remember that?

That’s what the Pharisees were doing.  They were, in a word, fakes.

And Jesus says, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees.”

Now, He’s not saying to be on your guard against the Pharisees.  That’s not what he’s saying here.  What is He warning us about?

He’s warning us about becoming like them.

What does yeast do?  It gets in the dough, gets worked around and then spreads and grows, right?

It’s like an infection.

Jesus might have said, “Beware the infection of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.”

Don’t let yourself be a little fake like them because it will spread and grow, spread and grow.

Be real.

Live real before God.  Don’t play games.

Don’t play religious games.
Don’t try to hide.

Be real with God.

Here’s why.  Hypocrisy doesn’t work.  V.2

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

God knows what is real.  You can’t fool Him.

And while you can fool other people for a little bit of time, one day soon, all will be known.  So don’t try.

Don’t be a fake like the Pharisees.

My favorite television show of all time is the Dick Van Dyke Show from the early 1960's.  I have 3 of the 5 seasons on DVD.

Absolutely love Rob & Laura Petrie, Buddy, and Sally, and Mel!   I want to be Dick Van Dyke when I grow up!

Heather and I were watching an episode on Friday night called “All About Evesdropping.”

Rob & Laura’s son, Ritchie had set up an intercom system with their next door neighbors Gerry & Millie Helper’s son.  And they accidentally turn it on and can hear everything that their neighbors are saying about them in the privacy of their own home.  Oh boy!

The Helper’s are complaining about a few of the shortcomings of the Petrie’s right before a dinner party.  And it is absolutely hilarious how they then act because they’ve listened in.

But I don’t think it would be hilarious if that happened to all of us.

What if our all of our small talk got broadcasted throughout the world?

What if what everything we said in our living rooms got put on TV?

What if everything we thought got put on the internet?

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

Hypocrisy does not work! 

Not in the long run. There is a day of disclosure coming soon.

So, what’s important is to be real right now.

The Real You with the Real God.

Are you real with God?
           
Do you have a real relationship with God?

Jesus’ death and resurrection provide both the forgiveness and the power that you need.  The forgiveness to be real. You don’t have to hide anything.  And the power to be real–to really live for Christ.

One of the biggest reasons why Christians act like fakes is because they are afraid.

Especially afraid of other people.

And that’s what Jesus takes up next.

#2.  REAL FEAR: DON’T BE AFRAID OF OTHER PEOPLE.  Look at verse 4.

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to be afraid of those who can kill my body!

If someone has a machine gun, I’m quaking in my boots!

But Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid of people who can only kill you.”

Don’t give them more power over you than they deserve.

The Bible calls that, “The Fear of Man.”  Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.”

I think that we struggle A LOT with the fear of man.

That’s what “peer pressure is.”  That’s what keeping up with the Joneses is.

It’s worrying about what other people will think or say or do.
How much of our time is taken up with worrying (fearing) what other people will think, say, or do?

But Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid of them.”

Why?  Two reasons that go hand in hand.

Number One: There is someone you should fear.  V.5

“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Who is that?

That’s not Satan.  Satan has the power to tempt, accuse, and oppress.

But the power to throw you into hell is God’s alone.

Yes, I tell you, fear God.

You know, when we see God for Who He really is, then our fear of people will go down, down, down.

Ed Welch has a great book on this with one of those titles that says it all.

When People Are Big and God Is Small


That’s the fear of man.

And the antidote is the fear of God.  When God is Big Then People Become Small.

And we are free to love them without being controlled by them.

Proverbs says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

Now, that “fear” is not slavish fear.  It’s not cowering fear.

It’s reverent awe. It’s being amazed by the glory and holiness and greatness of God.

It’s loving fear.

I know that because of verses 6 and 7.  Jesus goes right from saying that we should fear God to saying how much He loves us and how much He values us!  V.6

“[Yes, I tell you, fear God.]  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Now, that doesn’t, at first, sound very reassuring.

You’re worth more than many sparrows!

Thanks.

But when you understand the argument, it’s very profound.

5 Sparrows are a very poor family’s meal.  Two small assaria is all that 5 sparrows are worth.  But not one of them is forgotten by God.

God cares about them.  He doesn’t forget.

How much more?  How much more are you worth to God?

Does He forget you?  It feels like it sometimes, I know.

But the very hairs on your head are numbered.

That’s easier for God with some of us than it is with others.

But God knows.  And doesn’t forget.  He cares.

So fear Him.  And fear no one else.

Don’t be afraid of what people think of you.

At school, at work, on the ballfield, at home.

Fear God, and fear no one else.

Fill up your mind and heart with the greatness of God, remember how much He cares for you–He cared enough to sacrifice His own Son!

And don’t be afraid of other people.

How are you going to apply that this week?

How are you going to be real with Jesus this week and say “No” to the fear of man?

Is there someone you need to stand up to?

Is there a statement that you need to make?

Is there an action that you need to stop worrying about what everything thinks of you and just do it?

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”  He cares.

Fear Him and fear no one else.

Maybe you need to speak out this week and share the Gospel with someone.

Share Jesus with someone.

That’s where Jesus goes next.  He goes to Real Witness.

#3.  REAL WITNESS.  DON’T BE ASHAMED OF JESUS.  V.8

“I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.  But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.  And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”


Don’t Be Ashamed of Jesus.

In verse 8, Jesus promises to acknowledge (or confess) us before the angels of God–the heavenly courtroom of God Himself–if we acknowledge (or confess) Him before men.

Our tongues are tied to our hearts.  So, if our faith in Christ is real, we will give testimony to Jesus.

Romans 10:9&10.  “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

That’s one of the reasons why we do public baptisms.  When you step forward and give your testimony, you are acknowledging Jesus before men.

I’d like to do some baptisms in the late Summer this year.  Maybe in August or September?  If you have not been baptized yet as a faith-follower of Jesus, talk to me about acknowledging Him before men.

The opposite is scarey.  V.9

“Be he who disowns me before me will be disowned before the angels of God.”

That’s scarey.  If we say, “Forget you, Jesus!” then He will forget us.

That doesn’t mean that one can’t be forgiven for disowning Him at some point.

The Apostle Peter did that, didn’t he?  But Jesus forgave and reinstated him.

So, don’t read this and think, “Well, I guess there’s no hope for me, I won’t even try to repent.”  V.10 speaks to that, too.

“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven.”  If he repents, of course.

There is grace. Come and get it.

But, the second half of verse 10 is just as scarey if not more so than verse 9.

“...but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

There’s the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.

What is this blaspheming the Holy Spirit?

Two years ago, we did our long series of sermons on the Holy Spirit and we learned what is the chief ministry of the Spirit to us.  Do you remember what it is?

It’s pointing to Jesus.

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit seems to be the obstinate rejection of the Holy Spirit’s witness to the person and work of Jesus.

If you ultimately reject what the Holy Spirit says about Jesus, then you cannot be forgiven.  Because you will not accept His forgiveness.

This is more like Judas than Peter.  Peter repented, believed in Jesus and was forgiven.

Judas had all of the privileges of a disciple, but He renounced them and betrayed Jesus and walked away from everything the Spirit was saying about Jesus.

And He was lost.  Doomed.

Don’t be ashamed of Jesus.

Don’t turn your back on Him.

Don’t walk away.

Don’t be ashamed of Jesus.

Don’t be ashamed to speak up about Jesus!

God will give you the power and the words!  That’s the point of verses 11 and 12.

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit [there He is again!] will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Don’t worry about it.

Don’t be afraid of what other people will think or do or say.

Fear God and don’t worry about it.

Just speak out and talk about Jesus.

Now, verse 11 doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t prepare when we speak to others.

I spent a lot of time this week preparing this message to speak to you.

But there will be times that we can’t prepare for, and we don’t need to worry about them.

Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will teach us at that time (not before and not after) what we should say.

Don’t be ashamed of Jesus.

Be a real witness.  Talk to someone about Him this week!

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