- Sermon Notes
Live Now For Eternity
March 14, 2021
1. What will it be like when we stand before God?
2. Will it be like some of the posts on social media where the personal stories are framed in the best possible light along with the selfies?
3. Or will it be like reality TV, where the good and the bad are mixed together to keep it entertaining, and there’s always a good ending?
4. When you stand before God, with the light of His glory is shining upon you, as the story of your life is told, what will it be like?
5. Tonight, we will look to the words of our Savior for the answers in Luke 12, when Jesus shared with His disciples how to Live Now For Eternity.
1. As Jesus made His way towards Jerusalem from Galilee the crowds grew greater in number.
2. We noted last week that the crowd was comprised of three groups and each group had their own opinion of Jesus.
a. Some thought Jesus to be the Messiah.
b. Others were convinced that Jesus was the devil incarnate.
c. Still others wanted another sign from Jesus before they jumped on the Jesus bandwagon.
3. Towards the end of Luke 11, we’re told that a Pharisee invited Jesus to lunch and He accepted. But when Jesus did not ceremonially wash before the meal, the Pharisee was “surprised.” (37-38)
4. So Jesus addressed the Pharisee’s “surprise” by getting to the heart of the issue; He called the Pharisees hypocrites because they had mastered the outward appearance of religion but had failed to be authentic followers of God. (39-44)
5. In defense of the Pharisees, the lawyers told Jesus that His words offended them too. (45)
6. So, Jesus called them hypocrites and declared that on judgment day they would be held accountable for shedding the innocent blood of God’s prophets. (46-52)
7. After Jesus left that tension-filled luncheon, we’re told the scribes and Pharisees began “plotting against Him to catch Him in something He might say.” (53-54)
Transition – So Jesus was immensely popular but also intensely despised.
• And Jesus knew the appeal of popularity and the potential for persecution could pull His disciples towards their ruin.
• So taking His disciples aside, Jesus gave them the first principle to Live Now For Eternity, which is. . .
I. Be a Christian, Don’t Play One (1-7)
• In the first verse, Jesus warned His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
• Let’s breakdown this command from Jesus.
• The word “beware” means “to pay attention to,” “to keep on the lookout for,” “to be alert for,” or “to be on your guard against.”
• Here Jesus commands His disciples to be constantly and diligently on the alert; “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. . .”
• “Leaven” or yeast is something the Jews would be very familiar with.
• The Bible often associates leaven with evil or sin.
o Why? Because like evil and sin, leaven spreads, corrupts, and decomposes what it touches.
o That’s why the Law required the Jews to remove all leaven from their homes prior to eating the Passover Lamb.
o You see, the Passover Lamb represents our sinless Savior, Jesus Christ, who was undefiled by sin.
o If Jesus had been corrupted by sin, then He could not pay the penalty for our sin. But because Jesus never sinned John the Baptist said of Jesus. . .
John 1:29, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
o And when Paul corrected the Corinthian church because they had arrogantly accepted an immoral man who was sleeping with his father’s wife, he used leaven as a picture of sin to show how it corrupts and, therefore, must be removed.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8, Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
• Next, Jesus links His command to the specific leaven/sin of the Pharisees, hypocrisy.
• The word hypocrite literally means “to be an actor.”
• So, a hypocrite is one who pretends to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, or standards they really don’t have.
o Now, hypocrisy is not simply failing to fully practice those virtues that one preaches or believes in.
o If that were the case, then everyone would be rightly accused of being a hypocrite.
ILLUS – For example, do you truly believe that we should. . .
Ephesians 4:29, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification
APPL – Do you consistently do this?
• If you’re like me, you strongly believe this principle and truly want to master it, but you haven’t fully obtained it yet.
• Is that hypocrisy? No.
• There is some inconsistency in everyone’s life, including mine.
• True hypocrisy is the deliberate putting on of a mask, to make it appear that you’re one thing when you’re really something else.
ILLUS – “Where’s all the hay?”
• Today, it’s common to hear people say, “I don’t want to go to church because it’s filled with hypocrites.”
o But the church has never claimed to be an association of “perfect people.”
o Rather, the church is filled with sinners who walk in the forgiveness of their Savior, Jesus Christ, and are seeking to have Him transform their lives.
Quote – Billy Graham once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join it: you’d spoil it!”
Transition – Though the church is not filled with hypocrites, it’s not empty of them either.
• So these are great words for us to receive and apply to our lives.
• If you want to Live Now For Eternity and don’t want to be a hypocrite, then. . .
A. Live in the light of eternity (1-3)
1. The truth is everyone wants to be liked and no one wants to be persecuted; the Apostles were no exception.
2. Again, Jesus was preparing His disciples to resist the temptation to maintain their popularity while minimizing any possibility for being persecuted.
3. How does a person maintain their popularity while minimizing rejection?
4. They put on an act. They tell their “friends” and potential their “enemies” what they think they want to hear.
a. At church, they act like a Christian.
b. But everywhere else, they act like everyone else.
5. But there’s a problem with living like a hypocrite, God knows when we’re acting.
a. You can try to cover it up, but it will be revealed when you stand before God.
b. You can try to keep it hidden but on judgment day God will make it known.
c. You can even whisper in a dark inner room but that won’t stop it from being shouted from the housetops because God has night vision.
Galatians 6:7-8, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
APPL – It’s true that God’s people are called sheep, but that doesn’t mean we can pull the wool over God’s eyes.
• God knows everything and He will not be mocked.
• What we sow we will reap, both now and when we stand before Him.
APPL – Do you want to keep hypocrisy out of your life?
• Then live your life in the light of eternity.
• Stop acting and let your light shine.
Matthew 5:14-16, You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
B. Fear God not man (4-7)
1. Jesus gets to a root cause of hypocrisy in verses 4-7, our fear of man.
2. If we fear what people may think, or say, or do to us when we share what we really think about Jesus, then we will be tempted to put on an act.
APPL – So we must remember that hypocrisy is acting and this kind of act is a lie.
3. Jesus has the perfect answer for our fear of man, fear God instead.
4. It’s true that human beings can do and have done terrible things to one another.
5. But even after they’ve done their worst, they cannot destroy the soul. (4)
6. Jesus said fear the One who has power and authority over both body and soul, meaning, “fear God,” because He is able to send us to hell. (5)
7. Our bodies are temporary tents.
a. We came from dust and to dust we will return.
b. But the soul is eternal, and only God will judge each person’s soul.
APPL – If we have this eternal perspective it will change how we do life each day. It changed the Apostles. Notice their response to being flogged and told not to “speak in the name of Jesus.”
Acts 5:41, So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
Warren Wiersbe rightly observes, “The fear of God is the fear that cancels fear.”
APPL – Understandably, people are uncomfortable with talking about hell.
• Unfortunately, some pastors avoid the topic too because they’re afraid it will chase people away.
• I’m convinced it’s better to make people feel uncomfortable now so they can be saved from an extremely uncomfortable future in hell.
APPL – Others ask, “If God is a God of love, then why does He send people to hell?”
• First, it’s important to understand that God created hell for Satan and his fallen angels.
Matthew 25:41, Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels”
• Second, God will not send anyone to hell, they make that choice for themselves. In fact, God doesn’t want any to perish.
Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live!” declares the Lord GOD, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!”
• So, the Gospel is serious business and our response to it has eternal consequences.
• Fear God not man.
8. Now, even though we should revere the Judge of our souls, that doesn’t mean we have be fearful of God’s heart for us.
9. In fact, Jesus used two pictures to explain why we don’t have be fearful of God’s heart for us. (6-7)
10. The first picture is that of a sparrow.
a. In Jesus’ day, one could buy five sparrows for the equivalent of thirty minutes of work.
b. A sparrow wasn’t worth much but Jesus said that “not one of them is forgotten before God.”
c. So, if God values a sparrow, how much more does He value you?
Isaiah 49:15-16, Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands
11. The second picture involves a head full of hair. Jesus said, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
a. For some of us, myself included, we make that calculation easy for God!
ILLUS – The man with two hairs.
b. The point is God not only knows the total number of hairs, each hair is individually numbered, meaning, He knows everything about us and is mindful of all that happens to us.
Transition – The God we will stand before values us, is watching over us, and wants us to Live Now For Eternity.
II. Live Out Loud for Jesus (8-12)
• What do you I mean when I say, “Live Out Loud for Jesus”?
• Jesus told us in advance what is coming.
• The reality of standing before God someday should impact our todays here on earth.
• In essence, Jesus is saying, “If you’re My disciple, then be My disciple. If you’re in, then be in!”
Luke 9:62, No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
APPL – Live out loud for Jesus!
A. Confess Christ boldly (8-10)
1. It’s important to clarify what these verses mean.
a. If you belong to Christ, then let it be known.
b. Don’t put on an act. Don’t keep your faith to yourself. Live out loud for Jesus like the Apostle Paul did. . .
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes
2. But this doesn’t mean that if you should fail at some point and either deny Christ or fail to confess Him, that your salvation will be revoked.
ILLUS – The Apostle Peter denied the Lord three times and was not only restored, he was re-commissioned and sent out.
3. But it does mean that at the end of the day, your confession or denial will be honored. At some point the question will be asked, “Is that your final answer?”
APPL – May our hearts be encouraged to confess Christ boldly. How can we fear men when Jesus will confess us before Father God and His holy angels?
4. Next, Jesus taught that there is an unpardonable sin, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
5. It’s important that we discuss this because some people are concerned that they may have committed the unpardonable sin.
6. First, we must remember that God is a forgiving God; that His heart and desire is to forgive.
Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
7. Second, what is blasphemy?
a. Blasphemy is to slander, to say things about someone that aren’t true.
b. So to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to slander the Holy Spirit, to say something about the Holy Spirit that isn’t true.
8. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit occurred during Jesus’ earthly ministry when people, who knew full well that what they were witnessing through Jesus was the work of the Holy Spirit, had the unmitigated gall to ascribe the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan.
9. In the context of Luke 11:14-22, the sin of blasphemy is. . .
a. A sin of the heart not just the lips.
b. A sin committed despite great evidence to the contrary.
c. A willful sin, persistent unbelief, and a final rejection of Jesus.
d. This is the unpardonable sin, not being so angry with God that you tell Him so.
APPL – It’s very important to clarify this because if you have the slightest concern that you may have committed the unpardonable sin, it’s sure evidence that you have not.
• In fact, if a person had committed the unpardonable sin, they would be so hardhearted they wouldn’t have the slightest care or concern about it, like the Pharisees.
• That said, now that Jesus Christ has died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead, the only unforgiveable sin is to reject the Holy Spirit’s testimony about Jesus and not ask Him to be your Savior.
• If you reject Jesus, then you are rejecting the Holy Spirit’s testimony about Jesus. Your decision will not be forgiven.
John 3:18, He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
B. The Holy Spirit is with you until that day (11-12)
1. In verses 11-12, Jesus promised His disciples that when trouble comes the Holy Spirit will teach them what they need to say the hour they need to say it.
2. If they’re called to testify before the synagogue officials, the Jewish rulers, or the Gentile officials, the Holy Spirit will teach them what to say.
APPL – There is an important application for us in Jesus’ words.
• As Christians, we don’t need to fret or rehearse our lines when the world tries to cancel us because of our faith in Jesus Christ.
• The fact is Jesus Christ will never be canceled and the Gospel will never be silenced.
• We can rest confidently in Christ and receive from the Holy Spirit in our hour of need.
• That said, we must be ready to give an answer whenever the question is asked.
1 Peter 3:15, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence
APPL – As I began my message, so I ask again, “What will it be like when we stand before God?”
• The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you are called a saint at your funeral when you are standing before God and your life story reveals it was just an act.
• And let’s be honest, nobody wants to be called a hypocrite, especially by God.
• So be a Christian, don’t play one.
o By living in the light of eternity.
o By fearing God and not man.
• Live out loud for Jesus every day.
o By confessing Christ boldly.
o By being confident that the Holy Spirit is with us until that day when we see the Lord face to face.
• May we hear the Lord say. . .
Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your
Luke 12:1-12 NASB
1 Under these circumstances, after [a]so many thousands of [b]people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the [c]leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 3 Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have [d]whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4 “Now I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed someone, has the power to throw that person into [e]hell; yes, I tell you, fear [f]Him! 6 Are five sparrows not sold for two [g]assaria? And yet not one of them has gone unnoticed in the sight of God. 7 But even the hairs of your head are all counted. [h]Do not fear; you are more valuable than a great number of sparrows.
8 “Now I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before people, the Son of Man will also confess him before the angels of God; 9 but the one who denies Me before people will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who [i]speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. 11 Now when they bring you before the synagogues and the officials and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”