Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God that he knows the ways of man, that nothing is hidden from him. Praise God that he knows that we are sinners. Praise God for the salvation that he has given his people in Christ. Praise God that when we sin, we can come to him and ask for his forgiveness and know that the sin will be forgiven. Psalm 139, I John 4:10, Psalm 32:5.
Acknowledge and confess specific sin in your life, knowing that when you do so you will obtain forgiveness and find compassion. Remember, if you say that you have no sin, then you are deceiving yourself. Proverbs 28:13, I John 1:8.
Please read Luke 12:1-3 Be sure your sin will find you out.
Seek the help of the Holy Spirit as you turn to read his Word.
Unlike other chapters, where Luke frequently moves from one event to another, which took place at different times, the contents of this chapter all happen in the same place, at the same time. To quote one commentator, “The whole chapter is a consecutive whole.”
How many people were gathered around Jesus? I ask the question because often we can read something, move on, and not give time for the information to register. The Greek says, ‘myriads of the multitude’. This is a huge number of people, so huge that people are in danger of being trampled upon because of the confined space of the streets which are hemming them in.
Jesus speaks with his disciples who, as always, are in close proximity. His words are words of warning – “Beware”. There are things that we need to ‘beware of’ in life. Things that will pose a real and serious threat to us. Foremost in the list we need to beware of is Sin. It is the most critical thing we need to beware of because it poses the greatest threat to us. Sin is real and sin is bad. A failure to grasp the reality of its presence is very unwise. A failure to misunderstand just how bad is dangerous. Beware of sin in your life, as you would be of a black bear or a cougar if you were walking alone on a mountain path.
In this instance, Jesus tells the disciples to beware of the ”leaven” of the Pharisees. What does that mean? Well, bread makers will know that to get the dough to rise, you need to add to the mix a little yeast or some other substance that will cause that to happen. That substance is the ”leaven”. The key point is that you only need a little bit of the ‘rising’ substance to make the dough rise up and change from a flat bread into a loaf. You only need a little bit of sin to affect the whole of one’s life. A little bit of sin. That’s why sin cannot be played with. It offers us pleasure, thrill, escapism, on the basis that it’s just between you and sin. It is never just between you and sin; don’t believe that lie.
Jesus underscores this fact when he focuses on one of the well-known sins of the Pharisees – “hypocrisy”. Hypocrisy is the sin of saying one thing, but actually believing and, then arising from that believing, doing something different. It is a sin that has dogged the church for centuries. People saying they love Jesus with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, but actually believing something entirely different, which then naturally comes out in their lives. It is the reason people used to say they wouldn’t touch religion, why be bothered with something that is full of hypocrites. Now, admittedly that was often used as an excuse, but not always. There were ‘good’ godless people, people who had a sense of honesty and integrity, who simply couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy of many so-called Christians. ‘Christians’ who would live like them during the week, and then dress up and go to church on a Sunday. It’s not as big an issue today. Why? Because Christians today are more honest, less hypocritical? No, because so many churches have become aligned with the world and its social agendas that the gulf between the church and the world, which should be an ocean, has been reduced to a river, and in some places to just a stream. Which means that the charge of hypocrisy is no longer needed or relevant. ‘Christians’ are seen as people who live, for the most part, the same as everyone else; it’s just that their Sunday hobby is getting together to sing songs, drink coffee, pray, and hear an interesting and uplifting story from the Bible; oh, and give a bit of money for the pleasure of doing so. Radical godliness that calls the world to see and repent of its sin, is what we must crave and prayerfully work together towards.
The point with hypocrisy, as with all sin, is that it can never be hidden. It just can’t. No matter what steps you take to cover your tracks, “be sure your sin will find you out,” Numbers 32:23. The Pharisees were masters at the art of concealment. They knew the laws to use to play the system and had a close circle of friendships that made it possible, in terms of encouragement to participate and providing plausible, collective denial. So, they would discuss and devise ways in which they could avoid some of the demands of God’s Law, whilst retaining their air of religiosity, with all its external accoutrements of ostentatious praying, tithing for show, etc. These discussions were entered into openly and freely among themselves because they were convinced that they would never be aired. How could they be, they were all in it together. No one was going to break their code of silence. It’s like the Mafia’s throttle hold on New York in the 1970s and 1980s. From the concrete that was used to build the high-rise towers, the construction workers, all the vices on the streets below, and even the garbage that was taken from those buildings when they opened, they owned and controlled it all, and they were untouchable. The five crime families who ran it were governed by the five bosses, who formed ‘The Commission’, and nothing was going to interfere with their enterprises. If you spoke, you died, simple as that. All that was hidden, all the secrets were locked in on the threat of death. Impenetrable. Yes and no. Yes, for years the FBI got nowhere, but then it changed, and following a two-year investigation based on the RICO act, and a trial which drew international attention on the 13th January 1987, the bosses of those families were each sentenced to 100 years imprisonment and fined $240,000. The fine was symbolic, they had been raking in billions; the key point was that their freedom was over. That which was supposedly impossible to do, had just been done. That which was covered, hidden, said in dark places, whispered in private rooms, was brought into the light, and proclaimed across the world from the housetops. No matter what steps you take to cover your tracks, “be sure your sin will find you out,” Numbers 32:23.
We often sing Psalm 51, a Psalm written from a contrite heart, which speaks of sin owned, then confessed, and the grace of repentance sought. A psalm written arising out of the events of 2 Samuel 12. A chapter that is written because of the events of 2 Samuel 11. When David looked and saw Bathsheba, if he had stopped to think – no matter what steps I take to cover my tracks, ‘be sure my sin will find me out’, then how different not only his life would have been, but the lives of those who were affected by his actions.
I do want you to get the point that Jesus is making. Do not allow sin, even a little sin into your life and think that you can take steps to cover your tracks to hide it. You can’t. “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known. Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and whatever you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” “Be sure your sin will find you out,” Numbers 32:23. But I also want to make sure that you know that when you do sin, that when it is found out, as it will be, and is proclaimed from the housetops, then, unlike the Mafia bosses, if you confess with your lips and seek the grace of repentance, you will be set free to continue your life in Christ. Forgiveness is real. If it were not, then no one would be in heaven.
Remember and pay close heed to the warning. Remember the promise, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 73C - Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,"
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 85 - What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
Answer - To escape the wrath and curse due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and repentance leading to life together with the diligent use of all the outward means by which Christ gives to us the benefits of redemption.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for the warning that he gives us, his word about the fact that our sins cannot be hidden from him. Pray that God would lead us to confess our sin and seek the grace of repentance.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC