Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Luke 12 - Teaching the Inner Circle

LINK: Luke 12 (read over the next two days)

BACKGROUND

139. Jesus speaks against hypocrisy: Luke 12:1-12

The word hypocrite comes from a a Greek word that means "an actor." Jesus spoke of hypocrisy being something that starts small but grows quickly, infecting the whole person. Hypocrisy puffs the ego up like bread dough (1 Corinthians 4:6; 18-19; 5:2).  Jesus taught that the cause of hypocrisy was the fear of man. We fear what others will say about us or do to us, so we work hard to impress them and gain their approval. Pharisees focused on their reputation, but God wants us to focus on our character! He wants us to fear Him, not man!

Jesus was preparing His disciples for a time when they would be persecuted for following Him and continuing the work of the kingdom on earth. They need not fear man but God and depend on the Holy Spirit to give them words when the hour of their testing comes. 

140. Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool: Luke 12:13-21

This is a parable about greed. Gordon Gekko in Wall Street was wrong: Greed is NOT good! Richness toward God is what is important. 

141. Jesus warns about worry: Luke 12:22-34

Jesus gave a similar teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34). This is one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible. We need never be anxious because it accomplishes nothing. Our cure for anxiety is seeking God first!

142. Jesus warns about preparing for His coming: Luke 12:35-48

We need to be ready for the Son of Man when He comes. This is also a way to conquer hypocrisy, greed, and anxiety because when you are living with eternity in mind, the things of this world grow "strangely dim" in the light of our future with Him!

143. Jesus warns about coming division: Luke 12:49-53

His coming divided even the most intimate of circles. 

144. Jesus warns about the future crisis: Luke 12:54-59

The people did not interpret the signs that pointed to Jesus being the Messiah. They needed to understand who He was and be reconciled to God.  

REFLECTION

The fear of man always brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25)! I had some interactions the past couple of days that made me realize how much I still fear man rather than God. I must walk in fear of God today and not be ensnared by other's opinion of me. George Muller once said:
There was a day when I died, utterly died — died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends — and since then I have only to show myself approved to God. 
George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith by A. T. Pierson. 
APPLICATION

Evaluate your day. How much of what you did was motivated by a fear of man rather than God?

PRAYER

Lord, help us to die to man's approval so that we might live for YOU!

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