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Faithlife

44 Luke 11.37-54

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 “Radical Spiritual Reality”

v    Just finished preaching to the crowd

Ø     Invited to lunch

§        Good practice to start here at SWHCC!

READ v. 37

v    Jesus had just finished warning the crowd of the darkness within them

Ø     V. 35 ~ See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness

§        The next thing you know, a Pharisee invites Jesus to lunch

v    The motivation behind it was probably genuine

Ø     Powerful itinerant rabbi

§        They probably wanted to get to know him

·        Understand his teaching

·        Maybe even learn from him!

¨     Because it wasn’t until after this confrontation that they began opposing him

Ø     READ v. 53

 

v    But before this luncheon, they were curious, even accepting of Jesus

Ø     He was encouraging the people to become more religious

Ø     To put their faith into practice

§        And the Pharisees loved that!

·        The Pharisees, being the religious group in favor at the time…

¨     Prided themselves on living out the Law of Moses down to the littlest detail

¨     They were the class that the masses looked to as examples of how to live out Yahweh’s decrees

Ø     They were Perfect Practitioners

§        As verse 38 shows us

v    READ v. 38

v    To the Pharisees, it was a matter of ceremony (not Mosaic Law) to wash your hands in a specific manner before eating

Ø     Cf. John 2 ~ 6 stone jars full of water

Ø     Describe hand washing here

§        So when Jesus did not do this, it surprised them

·        And I am sure that they did not hide their displeasure

¨     Illustration:

Ø     I know when I have done something wrong

Ø     Carrie does not have to say a word

Ø     Eyebrows and eyes

v    I’m sure that the Pharisees were letting Jesus know in precisely that way

Ø     So he answers their quiet criticism

READ v. 39-41

v    Jesus showed grace, mercy, love and patience for everyone

Ø     Except those who should have known better

§        The Pharisees

·        Those who had the Law, knew the Law, taught the Law

v    So Jesus comes out swinging

Ø     Outside is clean, but inside is dirty

§        The Pharisees were so worried about the dirt on their hands…

·        They forgot about the dirt in their hearts

¨     They were Hands, not Heart believers

§        They made a good show of it…

·        But inside there was nothing

¨     Inside they were dark

v    In Christianity, the outside is to give evidence to what is inside

Ø     The outside is to line up with the inside

§        The Pharisees were so focused with looking devout, that they forgot to be devout

§        They were so concerned with the outside that they forgot about the inside

·        What a temptation for us!

¨     Our culture all about the outside

Ø     Weight loss, hair where should and should not, plastic surgery, teeth whiteners, 6-pack abs, etc

§        Our culture is overly focused with the outside!

Ø     And that was true of the Pharisees

§        They were light on the outside, but dark on the inside

§        They were all show and no go, as my brother-in-law Walt would say

§        They were Hands not heart believers

v    So Jesus says, Woe to you…

v    READ 42

Here Jesus identifies their…

Woeful Giving

v    Not that they were poor tithers!

Ø     The Pharisees were legendary tithers

§        Any synagogue that had a few Pharisees in it prospered

·        And the text shows that they were tithing in excess

¨     Even tithing mint, rue and other herbs not necessary to tithe!

Ø     Excessive tithing not wrong

§        But what Jesus is doing is identifying an issue we all deal with…

·        They were placing stress on the wrong area of their faith

¨     Just like when we put the stress on the wrong syllable words don’t make sense

Ø     So it is when we place too much importance on the wrong aspect of the Bible, our faith gets confused

v    One of the things that we have to realize with regarding Scripture is that everything is not equally important

Ø     1 Samuel 15:22 ~ Saul took choice sheep / cattle and sacrificed instead of destroying

§        Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

v    Jesus is saying to the Pharisees here…

Ø     Should have concentrated on the more important things in the Law

§        Major on the majors not on the minors

§        Illustration:

·        On the Waterfront

¨     Marlon Brando ~ “I could have been a contender”

Ø     You should have looked out for me, I was your brother

§        What Brando is telling his brother is that family is more important than money or the mob

·        There are priorities

Ø     You see…

§        Tithing is important, but justice for the people and love of God is more!

·        Wrong focus in life

Ø     We have to be careful that when we stand before Christ he does not say to us…

§        Why did you concentrate on head coverings and not loving me

§        Why did you concentrate on anti-alcohol stance and not loving me

§        Why did you concentrate on proper dress in church and not loving me

§        Why did you concentrate on ___________ and not loving me

·        Love for God takes precedence!

·        Illustration:

¨     My mother has served the Lord since she was 18

¨     10 yrs ago praying to the Lord what to do next

Ø     She had ministry to kids on hard drugs in the late 60’s

Ø     She started a home Bible study for 13 yrs while I was growing up

Ø     Always focused in evangelism

§        But now she wanted a new assignment from the Lord

·        All he said to her was

¨     “Just Love Me”

Ø     We think many times that we must do, do, do for the Lord

§        And that is an important…

·        Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands” (Jn 14:15)

Ø     But we can get so carried away with the outside expression, that we forget the inside reality

§        That is what happened to the Pharisees

v    They should have been leaders in showing the people what was important…the inside relationship

Ø     But instead they just concentrated on shining on the outside

§        While remaining dark on the inside

·        So he says…

¨     Woe to you who place the external show above the internal reality

v    And their love for the external is the concern in the second woe…

 

READ V. 43

 

Woeful Pride

v    The most important seats in the synagogue were those in front

Ø     It was here that the Pharisees were seen by all, revered by all

v    When they went into the marketplaces, they loved to be recognized as special

Ø     Acknowledged and separated from the rest of the rabble

v    Again, in was their prideful focus on the external

Ø     They cherished the praise and honor from the people more then that of God

§        What Jesus says in Jn 5:44 applies here as well

·        How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God

 

v    What Jesus was lamenting in John’s Gospel and here was the fact that…

Ø     The Pharisees were teaching the people through their example to focus on gaining praise from people instead of praise from God

§        Example is one of the most powerful teaching tools

¨     As parents, Carrie and I are well aware that our children will seek the acceptance of whoever we seek acceptance from

Ø     If it from the world, then they will seek that

Ø     If it from God, then they will seek that

Ø     It’s all a mater of priority

§        “Seek first the kingdom of God” Jesus says

·        And that is precisely what the Pharisees were not dong

¨     And so Jesus says in verse 44 that it will have a woeful Effect…

READ V. 44

The Woeful Effect

v    This describes the woeful effect of the Pharisees’ external faith

Ø     According to Numbers and Leviticus, even stepping on a grave defiled you

§        Made you ceremonially unclean

·        Unable to enter the Temple and worship Yahweh

¨     That is why around the time of the Passover, all grave markers were whitewashed

Ø     So the pilgrims to Jerusalem would not accidentally step on them and thus not be able to enter the Temple!

Ø     The reason Jesus was so outraged was that the Pharisees’ external show of faith not only damaged the them…

§        But it defiled the faith of all of Israel as well!

·        The People followed their hollow examples of tithing

¨     Mimicked their proud ways

Ø     And actually became defiled by them

v    The Pharisees were actually sources of spiritual contamination to unsuspecting Israelites

§        Illustration: Typhoid Mary

In the summer of 1883, the Warren family rented their house in Oyster Bay Long Island for the summer from Mr. and Mrs. George Thompson.  It was a large house, surrounded with ample grounds, in a desirable part of town.  The house was fully staffed with help, 2 maids, a gardener and a cook.  During the week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 3, six of the 11 people in the house came down with typhoid fever, including Mrs. Warren, their two daughters, the two maids and the gardener.

Worried they wouldn't be able to rent the house unless they figured out the source of the disease, the Thompsons hired George Soper, a sanitary engineer to find out the reason for the outbreak.

Soper’s investigation drew on for almost a year with no leads until he found an interesting coincidence.  He discovered that the family had changed cooks on August 4, about three weeks before the typhoid epidemic broke out.  The cook, Mary Mallon, remained with the family only a short time, leaving about three weeks after the outbreak occurred. The cook was described as an Irish woman about 40 years of age, single, tall, heavy but in perfect health.

Soper began to tracking down Mary Mallon in order to question her and what he found astonished him.  6 years previous she worked in Mamaroneck, NY where there was an unexplained outbreak of Typhoid.  He then tracked her to Manhattan where another outbreak occurred that same year. In 1904, Soper discovered that she gained employment again as a cook on Long Island where a family of 10 came down with the disease.

4 years later, Soper finally caught up with her in 1910 and confronted her with the accusation that she was the cause of all the outbreaks.  She responded by picking up a meat clever and threatening his life.  After a series of tests, it was found that her gallbladder was teeming with typhoid bacteria.  She was identified as a healthy carrier of the deadly disease, but she refused to accept the fact!

The state of NY quarantined her on North Brother Island, a small island in the east river, for the next 5 years where she learned the laundry trade. In 1915, promising to remain a laundress and never return to cooking, Mary was released.

Almost as soon as she was set free, she changed her name to Mary Brown and got a job as a cook. For the next five years, she went through a series of kitchens, spreading illness and death, keeping one step ahead of the frustrated Dr. Soper.

In 1915, a serious epidemic of typhoid erupted among the staff of New York's Sloan Hospital for Women, with twenty five cases and two deaths. City health authorities investigated, learning that a portly Irish-American woman had suddenly disappeared from the kitchen help. The police tracked her to an estate on Long Island and took her into custody.  She was returned to quarantine on North Brother Island where she became famous by her nickname, Typhoid Mary, responsible for 100’s maybe 1,000’s of cases and many deaths.  For the next 23 years, until her death in 1938, she flatly denied that she was the cause of any of the outbreaks.

Ø     Mary Mallon had no idea that she was spreading Typhoid for years

§        She looked healthy, acted healthy

·        On the outside she was fine

¨     But inside she carried the deadly disease and spread it to all who came in contact with her

Ø     Jesus points to the Pharisees and says…

§        You have become a “Typhoid Mary” to my people

·        Having the look of health on the outside

¨     But inside you are teeming with deadly spiritual bacteria…

Ø     Infected, dead, dark

Ø     Jesus says to them…

§        Woe to you, for infecting my people

Ø     And today he says the same thing to those of us…

§        Who posture on the outside

§        Who shine up our exterior

§        Who seek outside recognition

§        Who like to whitewash the outside

·        But leave the inside dirty

v    Today Jesus says to us…

Ø     I am the God who made the outside and the inside

Ø     Don’t tattoo yourself with the culture around you

§        But let the Christ within mold who you are on the outside


Notes:

·        The left hand knew what the right hand was doing

·        Forgot 1 Sam 15

Ø     Their external posturing drew unsuspecting people to them and then ruined them

Ø     We see this today in legalism

§        This external type of faith that depends on doing and not on being

·        It is empty and vacuous

¨     And eventually caves in on itself

Ø     The Pharisees were perhaps unaware that they were infecting the people with such a deadly disease

Ø     One of the biggest trends today is Tattoos

§        TV: Miami Ink

·        This is a focus on what the outside looks like

§        I’ve often wondered why the Lord forbade the Israelites from getting tattoos in Lev 19:28

·        2 reasons…

¨     Separation

Ø     Not to be like the culture around them

¨     Devotion

Ø     Christianity is an inside-out faith

§        The Lord wants us to show devotion from inside out

·        He wants our inside to explode outward

Ø     Illustration:

§        Like volcano

§        So much pressure that it explodes

·        That is how we are to show our devotion

·        Exploding from within

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