Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 36: Hypocrisy – Part 1 of 2

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 36 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with this question, “In what ways can a Christian be guilty of hypocrisy?”

Read: Luke 11:14-36

When Jesus concluded His instruction on how to pray, He emphasized that the best thing the disciples could ask for would be more of the Holy Spirit. Then, as if to showcase the importance of the Holy Spirit, Jesus cast a demon out of a man who was both blind and dumb. At that point the Pharisees accused Him of working the miracle by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons. Jesus’ reply to their accusation would begin an ongoing firestorm of opposition from the Scribes and Pharisees, exposing the hypocrisy (they claimed to be godly men but their words and actions proved otherwise – see also Lesson 11), that would last until His crucifixion six months later.

Jesus’ first response dealt with the issue of blasphemy or speaking against the Holy Spirit, the unpardonable sin. Essentially this sin consists of calling what is good . . . evil or what is evil . . . good and is directly referenced in Isaiah 5:20.

From a Biblical mindset the idea of calling “what is good . . . evil” takes on a much greater significance than we tend to think of in our modern society. According to the Scripture there is only one who is truly good . . . God (Matthew 19:16-17).

So when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out a demon by Beelzebub (a good thing which can only be done by the power of God) they had in fact said, “The Holy Spirit is evil and Beelzebub is good.” By this it was evident to Jesus that His opponents were not of God. If they had been then, they would not have been able to speak against the Holy Spirit because a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:25, Luke 11:17). Jesus quoted another familiar idiom to make the same point, a tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 7:15-23, Luke 6:43-45).

Jesus went on to say that the Pharisees were a brood of vipers. By this He was implying several things:
  • That their father was Satan, the serpent of old.
  • That being Satan’s offspring they were liars and deceivers just like him (John 8:44).
  • And not only were they serpents, but vipers, which are deadly serpents. Hence they cause destruction of people through their lies and deceptions.
  • Satan was lifted up in pride against God and so were they.
  • Satan blasphemed against God and so did they.
  • Since they are Satan’s offspring they too are evil.
  • And since they are evil how can they speak (“speaking with a forked tongue”) what is good.
After that, the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign, completely ignoring the fact that He had just got through performing a major miracle; casting out a demon and restoring the eyesight and speech of an individual. Jesus declined their request, called them an evil and adulterous generation and told them that the only sign that would be given to then was the sign of Jonah.

In part 2 of this lesson, we will be challenged by Jesus’ instruction concerning people who teach about righteousness but are devoid of the Holy Spirit: “Exposing Hypocrisy”.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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