Summary: The Fear that Defines Us Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke) Brad Bailey – September 15, 2019
The Fear that Defines Us
Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)
Brad Bailey – September 15, 2019
Text – Luke 12:1-12
Welcome to Fall. I know that here in Southern California…some of you from other parts of the country may dismiss that we have seasons here. But I’m born and bread here…and I feel it… the dramatic nuances. This week one morning I felt the briskness… and exchanged my flip flops for shoes. That is a a true sign that Fall is here. So I can officially welcome to the Fall season..
It’s the season in which as we feel the brisk air…it can sharpen our senses… as we’re getting our minds honed in again.
And so as we continue in our series Encountering Jesus through the Gospel of Luke…we come to a point in which Jesus engages his followers…and us… with the defining issues.
Today we must consider…do we have a center … something within us that we live our lives in relationship to…. or are we just living in response to whatever expectations may arise around us?
So lets take a deep breath… and pray.
Luke 12:1 ?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.
Imagine… such a crowd…”many thousands”.
If such a crowd grew to come hear Jesus…we would think that his attention on the small group of disciples next to him would diminish. But in this moment… there is something that must be addressed. 
He must sharpen one issue…that of hypocrisy.
As you may recall from many references we have engaged in the past…
The word “hypocrite” was used in Greek society to describe an actor who gave performances to make money. It means acting like someone who you really aren’t in order to get people’s approval.
We tend to cast it upon those who are simply too self-righteous… and not see it as our problem. A common way we react to the very word “hypocrisy”…is to think of the most overt and offensive figures that have claimed one thing and been found to be such frauds.
The examples are plenty…but there is the irony in our love to denounce hypocrites. As soon as we speak of “those hypocrites”…who are so obvious in their inconsistencies… we might not see that we are just creating a new type of sinner to judge … and embrace the same type of self-righteousness and superiority that we have been judging.
Everyone loves to speak against the hypocrites… feel less hypocritical in doing so.
That helps us understand the significance of how Jesus raises this issue. He clearly raises this as an issue that doesn’t effect just few obvious offenders…but rather it’s a dominant dynamic for us all.
This may help us understand why he speaks to disciples. While we tend to consider it as something that can be relegated to the real frauds out there… Jesus turns to his most faithful disciples because he knows that are perfectly capable of this hypocrisy. They will those who are entrusted with a different way…the life Jesus brings… and he must help them to guard themselves.
And he says… “Be on your guard. . .” (Luke 12:1). What hypocrisy represents is not something you can just assume isn’t at work …you have to stand against it. It flows from the natural impulses of life.
And it spreads like yeast.
This problem is not simply the hypocrisy of the Pharisees… the religious leaders of the day…but it is the “yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy.”
The whole point of the illustration, of the fermented dough being incorporated into the next bunch when you’re making the batch of bread is that it's designed to spread throughout the whole.
It’s a disease… a disease to please…and like all diseases…it is something which corrupts the way we were created to function. We were not created to perform to one another. We were create for living in response to God as our center.
And in fact the crowd was not competing for this talk…it was the context for this talk.
And this may explain why the crowd was not a distraction to his point…but the very backdrop. They were the temptation that rose before the disciples…the symbol of success… the stage they could perform for.
Hypocrisy is about who we truly live in relationship to.
The religious leaders claimed to be living in relationship to God ...but their lives were actually defined by their relationship to people.
?At the root of hypocrisy is the primary audience we live our lives out to… the approval we seek most.