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February 17, 2019 - Warning the Pharisees which is a Warning to Us

Growing in God's Word through the Ministry of the Word

Bible Study

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Text: Luke 11:37-54

37. When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table.
38. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
40. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
41. But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42. “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
43. “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
44. “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
45. One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
46. Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
47. “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them.
48. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.
49. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’
50. Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world,
51. from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
52. “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
53. When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions,
54. waiting to catch him in something he might say.

After the flashback to Christ’s ministry in Galilee in Luke 11:14-36; verse 37 resumes with Christ’s ministry in Judea.

I. Invitation
    A. Pharisee didn't invite Jesus out of admiration or curiosity, but in order to find an opportunity to accuse Him.
    B. Jesus knew the intentions of the Pharisees.

II. No one will repent and trust in Christ unless first seeing their own sin and their desperate need for the Savior.
    A. Once our sin is exposed we have two options - get mad or (by the grace of the Holy Spirit) get saved.
    B. Many people would rather get angry at God than ask for His grace and forgiveness.

III. Washing hands
    A. Washing hand to remove germs before eating is a good habit.
    B. Washing hands as a ritual or tradition does not make you clean.
    C. Not washing hands before eating is not a violation of God’s Law.

IV. Inconsistencies of the Pharisees
    A. Luke 11: 39-40 The Pharisees did a good job of washing dishes, but then they filled them with food and drink which they acquired through “greed and wickedness.”
    B. Anybody who rips people off or ignores the poor for their own benefit may think what they have is nice, but it’s evil in the eyes of God because it was gained in the wrong way.
    C. Luke 11: 41-42 The Pharisees were not helping the poor as they should, but insisted people keep the tithe.
        1. The Old Testament describes three different tithes:
            a. Numbers 18 speaks of the tithe that was given to the Levites to support their ministry.
            b. Deuteronomy 14:22-27 speaks of a second tithe for religious festivals.
            c. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 says the third tithe was taken every 3 years and was strictly used to help the poor (same as the alms in Luke 11:41).
        2. Jesus isn’t saying that it was wrong to tithe, but not dealing with the poor justly and in love was very wrong.

V. Present controversy
    A. Some look at passages such as Hebrews Chapter 7 and say that the tithe is as obsolete.
    B. Others look at Luke 11:42 and Matthew 23:23 and say the tithe should still be observed.
    C. We have a different government with a different tax system and different social welfare programs, but at the same time our religious institutions are not funded by the government, but they still need our support.
        1. Ephesians 4:11-12 teaches us that the work of the ministry must be done and is worthy of our support.
                11. So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
                12  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
        2. 1 Corinthians 9:6-7 says,
                6  But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
                7  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
                    a. Giving is about doing it cheerfully for the Lord (through the ministry of His Church) because of how much the Lord has given to you. The more you give the more you will be blessed.
                    b. This doesn’t mean that if you give you will get that car or that house. The granting of worldly and selfish desires are not the blessing of God because those will only hurt us in the end. The blessings of God on the other hand should draw you closer to Jesus. And so the more you cheerfully give the more of those blessings you will receive.
        3. Acts 11:29 "The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.". The lesson is this: Give what you can give.
        4. 1 Corinthians 16:2 "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." This shows giving was a part of worship for the early Church and it was done on the Lord’s Day which is the first day of the week. And this means Churches today would be in the wrong if we didn’t provide an opportunity to give as part of our worship of the Lord.
        5. Controversies over the tithe are nothing new, but the important thing is that we give cheerfully and generously as we are able to the work of the ministry.


VI. Pharisees embraced and amplified their controversial stances.
     A. Luke 11:43 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces." In short the Pharisees loved getting attention because of their sinful sense of pride.
        1. Don’t toot your own horn, let others do it.
        2. Remain humble, because it’s only by God’s grace that you are where you are. You didn’t give yourself the gifts and talents that you have, God did.
    B. Luke 11:44 Touching a dead body or a grave made a person unclean according to Numbers 19:16. For this reason tombs and graves in ancient Israel were whitewashed with lime after the rainy season so that travelers would know whether or not a cave was a tomb (if they were seeking shelter) or if a perceived shortcut through a field was a cemetery. The comparison Jesus makes.says the Pharisees (which were teachers and preachers in Israel) were not leading others closer to God like people thought. Instead the Pharisees were unknowingly leading others further away from God by making them unclean through their false teachings.
    C. Luke 11:45 Most scribes or lawyers were Pharisees, therefore whatever criticisms Jesus had for the Pharisees would also apply to lawyers or scribes.
    D. Luke 11:46 Despite the scribes and Pharisees’ high view of Scripture that didn’t stop them from adding to Scripture many burdensome demands that God never intended.
        1. We see that today when churches advocate legalism at the expensive of the gospel of grace.
        2. We must be balanced in our teaching of both the law and the gospel, never undermining one at the expense of the other.
    E. Luke 11:47-51 The scribes and Pharisees made a show of trying to honor the prophets that their ancestors killed by rebuilding and or decorating their graves and monuments. But the scribes and Pharisees were just like the murderers because they rejected the Christ that the prophets predicted.
    F. Luke 11: 52 Taking away “the key of knowledge” is taking away the correct understanding of God’s Word. The preachers and teachers of Israel have become blind guides leading people to hell instead of heaven.

VII. Reactions
    A. Luke 11:53-54 The scribes and Pharisees begin plotting how to catch Jesus in His words so they can arrest Jesus and put Him to death.
    B. When convicted of personal sin in the face of God’s righteousness most people just get angry and want to think that God is dead or He doesn’t exist.

Don’t be like the scribes and Pharisees when the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Confess your sins, find forgiveness in His perfect blood, and the hope of eternal life in His empty tomb. Don’t be proud and get destroyed. Be humble and be saved.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is enough to cover every sin so long as you believe.

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Do you feel an emptiness in your life? Are you seeking answers but don't know where to look? Have you ever wondered if you are good enough? Please read the summary of the gospel message, "Four Things You Need to Know About God"

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