August 14th 2016
Introduction: Don’t we just love a gentle Jesus? Let’s call to mind some pictures we have seen of Jesus. Soft, with a gentle glow around him. Head shots of a smiling savior. Even laughing. Don’t misunderstand me, I love that image of Jesus! How about holding a lamb, perhaps on his shoulders. Sitting with a child on his lap and smiling. How about this image, baby Jesus being cuddled by his mother, Mary.
Now let’s shift the image to the Jesus of the crucifixion. Tragic, poignant images of his body beaten and broken. Head bowed and slumping as he makes the ultimate sacrifice for my sins and yours.
What we don’t generally envision is an angry, irritated, even contemptuous Jesus! Oh, there is that out burst thing with the money changers in the temple but that was understandable wasn’t it? It was justified and exceptional where Jesus is concerned.
The Jesus we tend to ignore, is the one who clearly proclaims, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!” For peace loving Christians, such as ourselves, the violence of these words is deeply disturbing and we want to dismiss them and move on. Perhaps we don’t want to hear them preached on or even talked about after all they are uncharacteristic of our Lord. We want a Jesus who heals, who reconciles, who unites us, don’t we? We don’t want the Jesus who will stir up, divide, and agitate.
There is no anger or animosity, no malicious intent in what Jesus is saying here the way I understand it. He is simply speaking the truth and explains what happens any time people are faced with making a difficult choice. We all want Jesus to fit into our lives the way we want to live them and have him bless what ever it is we do, even our emotional moments of joy or anger. This, however, just isn’t the way it is. His presence changes everything, and I mean everything about who we are. I have talked about it before, it is putting Jesus on the very throne of our hearts and lives as individuals and as a community of faith, and literally dying to self and selfish pride. We are living in a period of time, not unlike some other periods of time in the past, when the sin of selfishness and pride were running ramped through out the societies of the world.
Jesus always challenges people to make a choice! He offers a way that is different from the way of the world. He calls us to be people of mercy and compassion, forgiveness and justice, kindness and respect, these are different from the ways of the world! We can continue to follow the religious path that is corrupted by culture and a misguided hierarchy or break from tradition and create a radically different kind of community and practice. From our founding 300+ years ago, we have held to radical discipleship that stands up to religion corrupted by culture and sought to be faithful radical disciples, following Jesus to the extreme.
Jesus here is speaking truth to power, political and religious, and invites his followers to do the same. There can be no neutral ground. Every follower must make the choice for themselves. Accept the Gospel and awaken spiritually to new life or reject it and stay true to the old ways. We are facing the same choice in our world today!
I.) Jesus spits out the word, “hypocrite.”
A.) Luke 12:1
1. Jesus warns about the Pharisees and “their hypocrisy.”
2. He challenges the Pharisees for being outwardly impeccable but inwardly “full of greed and wickedness.” 11:39
3. For holding tight to the law but forgetting “justice and the love of God” 11:42
4. For angling, for respect, for position, and for power, while being “unmarked graves.” 11:44(making people unclean in the eyes of the law)
B.) The pharisees are known for outward cleanliness, religious observance, and hierarchical self-promotion, yet, really, they are filled with greed, support injustice, and do not love God!
1. The crowds, the people, the culture and society, have let themselves be influenced and deceived by the Pharisees, Jesus says.
2. We all like winners right?
3. But sometimes we don’t bother to check their background, vet them, as they say in the news of today.
4. But when the truth comes out we jump off the bandwagon, so to speak, and say we never really trusted them anyway.
5. People then and now make assumptions about leaders without bothering to check them out as to their motivations.
II.) “ Hypocrite,” the very sound of the word slaps us in the face and we do not want it sent our way!
A.) Jesus is slapping the people in the face with the use of this strong word.
1. Stop what you are doing and wake up to the reality of the kingdom of God!
2. You can tell when rain is coming, can you not see the signs of times in which you are living?
3. Division in the family is a sign of social crisis.
Ill. Jesus knew the writings of the O.T. prophets. He almost quotes the prophet Micah 7:5-7, where it says, “Put no trust in a neighbor, have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. But as for me, I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
III.) God wants to break into our lives and to change us completely!
A.) The increase in stress, anxiety, and division in our lives and in the world today are all signs of the in-breaking of God!
1. How do we not interpret “this present time?” Jesus is asking us.
2. There are two Greek words for “time” in the N.T.
3. Chronos: which refers to “chronological time.”
4. Kairos: which is the word for time in our text for today, it refers to the in-breaking of God.
5. Perhaps it would be more correct to say, “God’s time.”
6. God’s time calls for a response from us.
Conclusion to message: We think that by following the ways of the world and following after the latest fashions and trends of culture that we will know happiness, power, joy, and peace, but we are wrong! Only by observing God’s time, God’s ways, living the life God calls us to will we truly have these things and more! God calls us to live holy lives dedicated and committed to his in-breaking into the time in which we live.