I. Beware of Hypocrites and Hypocrisy Chapter 12:1-3
A. Jesus warns his disciples in the midst of an overflow crowd. (vs. 1)
(This resulted from the events of Chapter 11) Beware of the “leaven” of the Pharisee: False teachings and doctrines and mannerisms
When Jesus cautions them to beware of "the leaven of the Pharisees," he means that they should be cautious about catching their spirit and becoming like them. True Christianity is the way of sincerity, humility, and truthful “Christ-like” living. The more humble a person in Christ, the more that person resembles the way Christ expect us all to conduct ourselves
Special Note: Why is Hypocrisy compared to “leaven?” Hypocrisy is like leaven or yeast, because:
1. Sometimes, hypocrisy can exist in a person without being immediately detected by others.
2. Hypocrisy and Hypocrites are insinuating. Just like leaven will eventually overtake the whole mass. hypocrisy will, if undetected and removed, soon shows up in all our works, feelings and expressions.
3. Hypocrisy puffs us up, and fills us with pride and vanity. Nobody is more proud than the hypocrite, and Pride “stinks” in God’s nostrils.
4. Hypocrisy focuses on the faults of others and ignores the faults of the fault finder. (Matthew 7:5) Usually the fault that the fault finder focuses on in others is minor compared to their own faults.
B. Jesus warns that nothing shall be hidden (vs. 2)
C. Jesus every word spoken in the dark every secret spoken in the ear will be spoken in the light and publicly proclaimed. (vs. 3)
II. Having Fear (Reverence) For God (the Father) Chapter 12:4-7
A. Who to fear and who not to fear (vs. 4-5)
1. Satan or Any demon is not to be feared "The power of your enemies is a limited.
2. Other men or women; Don’t be intimidated by the power of scoffers, not even of murderers, to drive you off from your work, for you that have learned to triumph over death may say, even of them, Let them do their worst, after that there is no more that they can do; the immortal soul lives, and is happy, and enjoys itself.
3. Fear God and have “holy” reverence (fear) for him because: God is to be feared more than the most powerful men: "I will forewarn you whom you shall fear (v. 5): that you may fear man less, fear God more. Moses conquers his fear of the wrath of the king, by having an eye to him that is invisible. By owning Christ you may incur the wrath of men, which can reach no further than to put you to death (and without God's permission they cannot do that
4. God will provide: The lives of Christians and God’s ministers are the particular care of divine Providence, v. 6,7. God’s Providence takes cognizance of the meanest creatures, even of the sparrows. "Though they are of such small account that five of them are sold for two farthings, yet not one of them is forgotten of God, but is provided for, and notice is taken of its death.
5. Know your real value to God: Now, you are of more value than many sparrows, and therefore you may be sure you are not forgotten, though imprisoned, though banished, though forgotten by your friends; much more precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of saints than the death of sparrows."
III. Publicly “owning” Christ Chapter 12:8-12
A. The Importance of Witnessing (Confessing Jesus) (vs. 8-9)
Note: "You will either be owned or disowned by Christ, in the great day (judgment),
Which one will happen to you depends on what you do today until death.
Remember: Confessing or publicly witnessing for Christ will put us in opposition with some in the public and from those who stand in opposition, we might lose or suffer losses in some area in our public life, but be rest assured if we do confess Him publicly, we will be owned by him in the great day before the angels of God, to their everlasting comfort and honor.
What will Jesus confess in our behalf?
1. Jesus Christ will confess, that he suffered for us.
2. That we are to have the benefit that came as a result of his sufferings.
3. Acknowledge that we also suffered for him.
4. Acknowledge that his kingdom and interest on earth were advanced by our sufferings.
5. We will be honored in heaven because of our confession of Jesus Christ in public witness.
What will happen if we deny him? (afraid to witness publicly or confess His name)
Remember: To deter us from denying Christ, and acting cowardly by publicly deserting his truths and ways, we are here assured that those who deny Christ, and treacherously depart from him, whatever they may save by it, though it were life itself, and whatever they may gain by it, though it were a kingdom, a position of power, money, etc.. will be lost at the end.
What will we lose in heaven?
1. We will be denied esteem before the angels of God.
2. Christ will not know us, will not own us, will not show us any favor.
3. We will suffer eternal loss. Departure as “workers of iniquity” from God’s very presence
Something to think about…..According to Revelation 14:10, a considerable part of the misery of damned sinners will be that the holy angels will abandon them, and will be the pleased witnesses, not only of their disgrace, as here, but of their misery, for they shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels), who will give them no relief.
B. Persecution (vs. 10)
Don’t worry about what to say God will give (teach) you what to say in the hour of persecutioin..
IV. The Church and Legal Matters Chapter 12:11-21
A. A man with an inheritance dispute (covetousness) (vs. 13-14)
B. Jesus response: Who made me a judge over you (this “legal” affair)
“The argument was the brother allegedly took all of the inheritance and would not divide it according to Jewish Law: The oldest got 2/3 of the inheritance and the rest of the children divided the remainder 1/3”.
Jesus knew if he got involved, the Pharisees would have accused him of overstepping his bounds. (though he was not bound)
Note: Neither the church nor the pastor should be goaded into presiding over personal legal matters. The Judicial Court system was set up by God in accordance of O/T laws to handle such affairs. (An area of separation of Church and state) The church should deal with “spiritual matters” not legal.
C. Covetousness and the abundant life (vs. 15-16)
1. Beware of covetousness: desiring the things that belong to others. (exodus 20:17) abundant life is “spiritual” and not based on accumulation of possessions
V. Parable of the Rich fool Chapter 12:16-21
A. Rich farmer has a “bumper” crop and assess what to do with it (vs. 16-17)
B. Chooses to “hoard” instead of “share” build bigger barns (vs.18)
C. Decides to eat drink and be merry believing he had many days to live off what he harvested (vs. 19)
D. Divine interruption : Death (vs.20)
E. Divine lesson: Self centered or Christ centered (vs. 21)
“Seven Lessons we can take away from this parable”
1. That wicked people are often signally prospered-their ground brings forth plentifully. God gives them their desire, but sends leanness into their souls.
2. Riches bring with them always an increasing load of cares and anxieties.
3. Trusting in earthly riches steal our away the affections from God. This is an insult to God and insinuating, and dangerous to our soul.
4. Covetous people are more concern with where they can hoard and store their wealth rather than what good they can do to the poor and needy by sharing their wealth.
5. No one who covets riches can keep them from their appointment with death. Riches cannot and do not prolong life. In fact, in many cases, can accelerate death.(Hebrews 9:27). Death will come upon them suddenly, and unexpectedly.
6. The person who trusts in his or her riches is a fool in the sight of God. At some point, they will become a fool in their "own" sight, and will go to hell with the consciousness that they were spiritually bankrupt and their life in reality was no more than wasted days and wasted nights.
7. The “true wisdom” of this life is first and “foremost”, seek the kingdom of God, (Seek Jesus Christ) then start making preparations to meet the Lord one day. In other words, be ready to die: Either way, when we leave here, it won’t matter how much we left, or even how suddenly we left here. If our affections are not fixed on our riches, we shall leave them without regret. If our treasures are laid up in heaven, death will be but "going home," and happy will be that moment when we are called to our rest.
VI. Living Life Worry Free (Practical Living) Chapter 12:22-31
A. Don’t worry about tomorrow (vs. 22-31)
B. Life is more than what you eat or wear (vs. 23)
C. God values us and will take care of our daily needs. (consider what he does in the bird kingdom) (vs. 24)
D. Why worry? It doesn’t help your situations. Be anxious for nothing. (vs. 25-26)
E. If God takes care of everything else. Surely, he will take care of you.
(vs. 27- 31) Seek the Kingdom of God first, then God will add everything else you need.
F. God wants to give you the kingdom. (vs. 32)
G. Lay your treasures in heaven (invest in the things of God) (vs.33-34)
VII. Difference Between A faithful servant and an Evil Servant (Chapter 12:35-48)
1. Working while waiting for the Master’s return.
2. On duty and on guard at all times, even while resting and sleep.
3. Knows that the Lord could come at any time of the day.
4. A faithful steward will have authority in the Master’s kingdom.
5. A faithful steward knows that the more his master gives him, the more stewardship is required from him.
6. An “unfaithful steward will be punished and beaten according to their unfaithfulness.
VIII. Christ will bring Division (Last Day Prophecy) (Chapter 12:49-53)
A. Christ to send fire (renovation) after the church is raptured (vs.49)
B. Christ’s Baptism Suffering and Crucifixion (vs. 50)
C. Christ brings peace to believers but division to the world (vs. 51-53)
Those opposed to Jesus Christ will reject him and become violent toward those who accepted him, even within families, and among friends.
IX. Discern the Time (what time is it?) (Chapter 12:54-56)
A. The Danger in looking for miraculous signs (Matthew 16:1-4) (vs. 54)
These are regular events. So you see my miracles; you hear my preaching; you have the predictions of me in the prophets; why do you not, in like manner, infer that "this is the time" when the Messiah should appear?
Jesus said in essence: you have been searching the scriptures, looking in the stars and everywhere else for an indicator when the Messiah would come. You have your signs and you still will not believe God has already sent the very one you have been searching for!
X. Settling Legal Differences with God (Do's and don't (Chapter 12:57-59)
A. Do all you can to settle differences with Christ as the Savior before Christ comes back as our Judge (vs.57-59)
B. `Don’t Make Jesus Christ an adversary.
C. Remember, an unrepentant sinner will die (Hebrews 9:27-28)