A. Over 700 victims during the last 20 years
B. About 380 church leaders were accused and about 220 were either convicted or took plea deals.
C. Just one case of sexual abuse is sickening, but these numbers are atrocious.
D. This exposes the real danger we all face when it comes to the sin of hypocrisy.
Text: Luke 12: 1-12
1. Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[fn] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
3. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
4. “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
5. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
6. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
7. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
8. “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.
9. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.
10. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11. “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,
12. for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”
A. Crowds growing. Everyone listening, but Christ’s words in this text are first and foremost for His followers both then and now.
1. Watch out for hypocritical religious leaders.
a. Scribes and Pharisees 2,000 years ago insisted everyone tithe, but didn’t use tithe to help the poor. Instead used it to enrich themselves.
b. Craved recognition instead of embracing humility.
c Sought to honor the graves of the prophets, but rejected the Messiah prophets foretold.
d. Some good such as Nicodemus, but most said one thing yet did the other.
A. Houston Chronicle also reported six SBC convention leaders (either Presidents or Vice-Presidents) have been connected to cases of sexual assault since 1988.
B. Of the six: one resigned from SBC leadership because of what he admitted was an inappropriate relationship, another one settled a lawsuit against him by paying $450,000, and the other four all mishandled cases of sexual abuse that were brought to their attention.
A. Luke 12: 2-3 - Sin will not remain covered up, but will be made known. The evil we have spoken of in the dark will be brought to light. Bad things we’ve whispered will be shouted from the rooftops.
B. Ecclesiastes 12:14 says, "For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil."
1. This is humbling because Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2. It’s comforting because the plight of victims never goes unnoticed by Christ. Others may not notice, care, or do anything to right the wrong done to you. But Christ notices. Christ cares.
"And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God’s friend." James 2:23
“do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” Luke 12: 4-5
“do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
A. In a sin cursed world our justice system has been and always will be flawed to some degree. This doesn’t mean that we should give up on it or quit trying to make it better.
B. Romans 13: 1-5 teaches government authorities are appointed by God and they are designed by God to be His ministers for our good.
1. For this reason governing authorities must always be reforming
2. As citizens who have a vote on the people and policies that make these reforms we all must constantly strive to make our justice system as God-honoring as it can possibly be. The same is also true for the SBC.
3. But even when the government gets things completely backwards and upside down we need to fear God more than people. In a sin-cursed world with a sin-cursed government with a sin-cursed justice system you could lose your life because of Christ. But God is to be feared more because not only can He take your life, He can cast it into hell.
A. Greek word for “hell” used in Luke 12:5 is “gehenna” which itself is a reference to a Hebrew phrase meaning “Valley of Hinnom.”
B. Place where the Old Testament says many sons and daughters of the Israelites were burned as sacrifices to pagan gods.
C. Practice ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
D. When the exiles returned, the valley was turned into a city dump where people burned trash.
E. Jesus compared hell to the Valley of Hinnom, where like that valley being used as a dump, the fires never stopped burning and, like that valley during times of human sacrifice. it is full of pain, suffering, and screaming.
A. Even though all of us deserve to die and go to hell because of our sins the LORD says in Ezekiel 33:11, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
B. The curse of sin brings death to all (humans and animals alike)
1. This does not cheapen the value of human life. Luke 12: 6-7 and Matthew 10:29-31
a. God never forgot a single sparrow.
b. God also knows the exact number of hairs on your head.
C. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3: 9
A. Whether you wind up in heaven or hell for eternity depends on either what you confess or what you deny.
1. If you confess Jesus, He will confess you before angels and before God the Father also.
“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God." Luke 12: 8
"Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10: 32
2. If you deny Jesus He will deny you before both the angels and God the Father.
"But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God." Luke 12: 9
"But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10: 33
A. Forgiveness can be given for some seriously bad stuff . Peter denied Christ three times yet Jesus still forgave him.
“And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him.” beginning of Luke 12: 10
B. Unforgivable sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
“but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.” end of verse 10,
1. First talked about in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 after Jesus was accused of using the power of demons to cast out demons.
2. In Luke 12, Jesus is experiencing further hostility against Him at the hands of the scribes and Pharisees.
a. What we see in both passages is a complete, consistent, hard-hearted rejection of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
b. What makes that a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit s the Holy Spirit’s role in John 16: 8 of convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment which therefore shows us our need for Christ.
c. So if someone fully rejects the Holy Spirit when He convicts them to trust in Christ that sin is unforgivable because Christ is the only way we can be forgiven.
d. You may have cursed Christ’s name like a sailor, but forgiveness is still available. It all comes courtesy of the cross. It cost Jesus His life to save you. But He was willing to do it because of how much value you have in His eyes.
A. It can cost you your life.
B. You can be persecuted.
1. Luke 12:11 anticipated the fact that early Christians would be brought to synagogues for religious trials.
2. In America today Christians are regularly being called out in courts of public opinion where we are described as morally wrong at best and bigots at worst simply for holding Biblical views on marriage, gender, and sexuality.
3. Christian brothers and sisters in America right now have already been brought before judges and other government officials because of their faith.
A. Don’t worry about what you should say, instead trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.
1. Luke 12: 11-12 does not imply we should not study the Bible. God’s Word needs to be studied in some way every day.
2. But depending on the severity of persecution you experience you may not have time to prepare. If that happens don’t worry about it, but rely on God to give you the words.
B. The fate of the Southern Baptist Convention is a lot less important than your eternal fate but it is not insignificant.
1. We must grieve with the victims and we should help them however we can.
2. We should be taking additional steps at prevention both there and at individual churches.
C. Review of what was implemented locally a few years ago.
D. The future of the SBC
1. Hope that the SBC will deal with this controversy in a Christ-honoring way (already seen signs of that.)
2. The denomination’s commitment to Scripture - So for as long as this is the case may God help the Southern Baptist Convention be a gospel light for Christ.
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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"