Christ speaks directly to His disciples about the futility of facade and how faithless fear is for those who have surrendered their lives to The Gospel. In Christ we don’t have to manage fear, we can banish fear because God is in control.
1 Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy.
- This message is to disciples of Christ (first)
- Fear of people is what makes people into hypocrites
- Yeast infiltrates whatever it is joined to…metaphor for corrupting influence
- The temptation is to live a life that is a facade for the approval of people
2 The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 3 Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
- God is in control of exposing what we try to hide
- The idea that we have control of what is known, or not is an illusion
- The more you try to hide the more you have to fear…
- Facade & Fear go together and feed each other
4 “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. 5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the one to fear.
- These are Christ’s words to you in love, as friends…
- God tells us not to fear whatever can only kill our bodies
- What is rational to fear is the ONE who can kill Body and Soul
- Only God controls your eternity
- To fear about losing this life means you have not given it up (Gospel)
- This is the only way to move from managing fear to banishing fear
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Can you surrender your life without trusting that God can & will give you eternal life?
6 “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
- God is intimately involved in everything! He wants to be intimate with your soul
- We can live without fear because values us!
- Can you trust that God applies His ‘Omins’ to your care?
- The only true value and identity we have emanates from God
8 “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. 9 But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.
- God defines truth: Christ is crystal clear on this point
- There are no such things as ‘Undercover’ Christians, just undercover fakers
- God know where you are with Him, if you are with Him you cannot deny it
- Giving fear place, trying to manage it, is not acknowledging Christ as your Lord
- Valuing this physical life more that Christ’s eternal Kingdom does not end well
10 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
- Misunderstanding Christ’s person & teaching is forgivable; discipleship process
- Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit: denying that God exists and defines the universe
- Why is it ‘The Unforgivable Sin’?
11 “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”
- When faced with opposition for openly acknowledging God / Christ: Trust God!
- If you have given your life to Christ His Spirit can & will lead you
- He doesn’t promise to lead you to physical safety and comfort
- Without God’s Spirit you cannot banish fear, only manage fear
- If you have His Spirit you must learn to ‘Leverage your relationship’
- Yield to and walk in the power God has placed in you (Holy Spirit / Salvation)
- Spirit empowerment happens for specific needs & times (Situations)
Jesus is offering us a life of hope rather than a life of fear: if you surrender your life!
We find the fullness of what that means in our ‘Body Life’ known as Discipleship!
Beware the effects of religious hypocrisy, it will infiltrate YOUR entire life.
In His time GOD will expose what He will, YOU can’t hide anything from Him
As Christ’s surrendered follower YOU have nothing to fear except GOD!
If YOU belong to Christ YOU can entrust YOUR life to His care & purposes for it.
If YOU belong to Christ YOU are called to live openly trusting YOUR life to HIM.
YOU can be forgiven for not following Jesus properly, denying GOD is unforgivable.
GOD, by His indwelling Spirit, will lead YOU in times of trouble and opposition.
If you are not a Pharisee, why should you be wary of their hypocrisy?
Do your actions and attitudes serve to manage fear or banish fear?
How might you change your life to more fully express your awe & respect for God?
In what ways are you unable to be at peace and rest in God’s control of your life?