Summary: JESUS WARNS ABOUT THE SIN OF HYPOCRISY.
1Meanwhile, 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. 2There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What 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.
4"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5But 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. 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies£? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. 10And 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.
11"When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
IF WE WERE TO TAKE A SURVEY TODAY, AND ASK THE QUESTION, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CRITICISM OF THE CHURCH, WE WOULD HEAR ANSWERS LIKE THESE; ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS MONEY, THEY’RE NOT FRIENDLY, THEY ARE CLASS CONSCIOUS, THERE ARE CERTAINLY OTHERS, BUT, I BELIEVE THERE IS ONE THAT IS EVEN BIGGER. HOLD ON, AND I WILL TELL YOU IN A MINUTE. AS WE OPEN THIS PASSAGE UP, WE WILL SEE SOME SHARP WARNINGS, SOME OF THE THOU SHALT NOTS, AND IN CONTRAST, WE WILL ALSO SEE SOME VERY POSITIVE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT.
A CROWD OF SEVERAL THOUSAND HAVE GATHERED AROUND JESUS, SO MANY THAT THEY ARE TRAMPLING ONE ANOTHER. EVERYONE WANTS TO HEAR THIS TEACHER. PEOPLE PUSH AND CROWD TO HEAR AND TO SEE BETTER. AS THE CROWD MOVES CLOSER, JESUS BEGINS TO SPEAK.
HE SPEAKS FIRST TO HIS CLOSEST FOLLOWERS, THE DISCIPLES. THESE WERE THE ONES WHO WOULD CARRY OUT THE WORK. THEY NEEDED TO HEAR HIS INSTRUCTIONS.
JESUS BEGINS BY GIVING HIS FIRST WORDS OF WARNING. THESE ARE VERY PERSONAL IN NATURE. BE ON YOUR GUARD. THIS RELATES TO SELF EXAMINATION. THIS IS LOOKING IN THE MIRROR, CAREFUL EXAMINATION. DO IT CONSTANTLY, ALWAYS BE ON YOUR GUARD. CONSTANTLY CHECK THIS.
I MAKE SURE MY OIL IS CHANGED EVERY 3,000 MILES, I AM VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THIS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I AM NOT AS CAREFUL ABOUT IS, CHECKING MY OIL BETWEEN. I KNOW I SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL, BUT I’M NOT. JESUS IS SAYING, PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS CHECK. NOT OF OIL, BUT OF THE YEAST OF THE PHARISEES. YEAST IS VERY SMALL, HARDLY NOTICEABLE , BUT THAT LITTLE BIT OF YEAST RAISES THE WHOLE LOAF.