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Bible Study: Luke, Chapter Twelve

  • RHM Bible Study, Luke Chapter Twelve from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Transcript: Today we are going to continue our interactive Bible study and we are going to cover Luke Chapter 12. After the meeting today, or sometime this week, please take the matching Quiz that I have prepared on the website. Thanks to all that have taken last week’s quiz. Let’s get started:

    Luke Chapter 12 beginning in verse 1 reading from the World English Bible: Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 

    As Jesus headed towards Jerusalem, the crowds grew. In this area, many thousands had gathered together, so many that people were injured because they trampled on each other. This was a huge gathering and Jesus began by speaking to His disciples first of all - They were not “above” the crowd and not allowed to sit idly by and listen as if they were on the ministry team. His teachings were for them to learn as well. 

    Jesus told the disciples to beware of the leaven, or yeast of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Leaven was a fermentation agent, in the Bible leftover dough (sourdough) was mixed with new dough to help it rise. Yeast has replaced sourdough today and some translations use yeast instead of leaven. In wine making, you can add a spoonful of yeast to a 5 gallon bucket of grape juice and it will ferment the entire bucket. The point is, that a tiny amount is all it takes. In that way, hypocrisy is like yeast in the sense that a little bit will affect a great mass, and it will spread to others once it begins. The word hypocrite simply means “actor.” It is pretending to be something that you are not. For example, the pharisees pretended to be holy, but inside many were full of hatred and they sought for ways to kill Jesus. 

    2  But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3  Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

    There is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known: the art of being a hypocrite depends on concealment, the truth being hidden, but one day everything will be revealed. We can only be hypocrites before men, but God sees right through the actor’s mask. You can just look over the history of the church and its past scandals to see God exposing hypocrisy, when people preach one thing, but secretly live another. 

    4  “I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5  But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

    The teaching of the Pharisees judgement leads onto a more general discussion on the fear of God. The fear of God is not talked about much these days but to me is a deep respect and recognition of the awesome greatness and power of the almighty God. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18) but not the fear of God. We are to fear / respect / reverence / obey God. Think of standing in front of a supreme court judge who has the power to sentence you to death, or to set you free, and then scale it up to the Creator of the universe. 

    The word “gehenna” here is derived from “Valley of Hinnom” which is southwest of Jerusalem. It is often translated as hell. In the Old Testament it was a place of child-sacrifice to Molech (2 Chronicles 28:3, Jeremiah 7:30–31, 19:1–6, 32:35). King Josiah stopped that and it later became a garbage dump for the city. In the days of Jesus it was a garbage dump where people burned trash, the dead bodies of criminals, and the fires were said to never go out. It became associated with eternal, fiery punishment. In other passages (Revelation 19:20, 20:1–3), it is called the Lake of Fire, a place for God to burn the trash.

    6  “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God. 7  But the very hairs of your head are all counted. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.

    Jesus did not want to frighten His friends and He reassured them with a story of the little birds. He balanced His message by saying that not even one sparrow was forgotten before God, and we are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29 tells us that you could buy two sparrows for one copper coin. Here we learn that five sparrows cost two copper coins. So there was a discount for buying more, buy four, get one free. Even the hairs on our head are all numbered, and it is said that we have around 120,000 of them. 

    8  “I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, the Son of Man will also confess before the angels of God; 9  but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of God’s angels. 

    Jesus gave a warning that whoever acknowledged Him would be acknowledged before the angels of God and whoever denied Him, would be denied. He had just got done talking about the fear of man, and now He says that whoever denies Him before men would be denied. He did not say, whoever denies Me in their heart, or denies me in their mind; Jesus said plainly, whoever denies Me before men. There is a real and important place for a public declaration of allegiance to Jesus. For many people, this is the most difficult thing of all and it is usually difficult because of a fear of man, the exact thing Jesus warned us about in verse 4. In many parts of the world, this is a very relevant verse today. 

    10  Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 

    The unpardonable sin. Jesus told the crowd that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven. Here is what I understand about that: blasphemy means to vilify, defame, rail on, revile, or speak evil about someone. Jesus talked about this in Mark 3:22 after the Pharisees said that He cast out demons by the power of beelzebub. They intentionally attributed the power of the Holy Spirit, to the devil. They called good, evil - and they were not confused, they knew exactly what they were doing. People in such a situation cannot repent and seek forgiveness because they lack the conviction, or a sense of sin at all. They felt right about it. It is this continuing attitude that is the ultimate sin. It is not in the words, but in the heart. God’s power to forgive is not abated, but this kind of sinner no longer has the capacity to repent and believe. Hebrews 12:17 tells us that Esau sought a place of repentance diligently with tears, but he could not find it. People can say stupid things, but then repent of it later. Then there are others who become hardened and beyond reach. 

    So how can you know if you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit? The simple fact that you desire to know Jesus today is the sign that you are not guilty. If you are concerned at all that you have ever committed an unforgivable sin, you have not, because the one that is able to do it would not care one bit. They will continue hardened, unrepentant, and unforgiven to the grave because that is their choice, not God’s. The way to not blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to receive Jesus Christ, and to put our trust in Him today. It means to stop rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit who is just trying to bring us to Christ.

    11  When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, don’t be anxious how or what you will answer, or what you will say; 12  for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that same hour what you must say.”

    Jesus told the disciples that they would face persecution for following Him. Many did not fear the pain or humiliation, but being able to properly present their case, to show Jesus in the proper light while being questioned by the highly educated scribes and pharisees. Jesus put them at ease and told them that the Holy Spirit would teach them in that hour what to say. For a great example of this, look at Acts 7 when Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin and about to be stoned. He went into a very powerful speech and verse 54 reads: “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart.” This does not excuse poor preparation in the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, but when you are put under pressure for the sake of Christ, the Holy Spirit will speak to you and through you. 

    13 One of the multitude said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.”

    Someone in the crowd interrupted Jesus with a financial dispute. Rabbis customarily gave decisions on disputed points of law, and this man saw Jesus as a rabbi. Jesus looked past all of this and addressed the attitudes of the ones involved. The word translated “Man” here is used for “Stranger.” 

    According to the law of the day, the elder brother received two-thirds of the inheritance and the younger brother received one-third. This man did not ask for a fair decision, just for Jesus to decide in his favor. Jesus made it clear that He came to bring people to God, not property to people. The phrases “Guard yourselves”, “Take heed”, “Beware” against every type of greed has the seriousness of blocking attacks with a shield in battle. It would come at you with force, but a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. When we live with the attitude that our life is measured by what we possess, we live in covetousness, and according to Colossians 3:5, covetousness is idolatry. 

    Covetousness is like a dog choking down a piece of meat without even tasting it just so he can get the next piece before someone else does. Jesus now tells a story to illustrate:

    16 He spoke a parable to them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man produced abundantly. 17  He reasoned within himself, saying, ‘What will I do, because I don’t have room to store my crops?’ 18  He said, ‘This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19  I will tell my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20  “But God said to him, ‘You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared—whose will they be?’ 21  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

    Jesus tells a parable about a very selfish farmer who used the words: “Me, Myself, and I” a lot. He has a huge harvest come in, but he had no concern of serving God, helping others, or even providing a better life for himself. He seems only concerned with hoarding and looking out for number one, himself. My crops, my barns, my grain, my goods, my soul. The Almighty God called this man a fool. That is a very strong word in scripture. The man was a fool because he focused only on the here and now, the natural realm, with no view of eternity.

    No one knows what tomorrow holds for them, but this man felt that he was in control of his future. Jesus concludes the story with a contrast of laying up treasures for self, and not being rich toward the things of God, which matters the most. Instead of laying up treasures in heaven, this man left the earth poorer than the poorest beggar because the only thing that you take with you, is what you have given away. “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”: The man’s problem was not that he had treasure on earth; but that he was not rich toward God. I know Godly men that have both.

    1 Timothy 6:17–19 (NKJV) — 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

    John Wesley taught and lived wisely regarding riches. He said that you should earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can. He himself lived on 28 British pounds a year and gave the rest away, even when his salary went to 30 then 60 then 90 then 120 over his lifetime.

    Continuing on… Verse 22:

    22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life, what you will eat, nor yet for your body, what you will wear. 23  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 

    Greed and worry are closely connected and wealth can be a danger to those who do not have it, as well as those who do. Greed can never get enough, worry is afraid it will never have enough; neither have their eyes on Jesus. It’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me. The worry Jesus spoke of here brings man down to the level of an animal who is merely concerned with physical needs, but your life is more, and you have eternal matters to pursue.

    24  Consider the ravens: they don’t sow, they don’t reap, they have no warehouse or barn, and God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than birds! 

    This is the only place in the New Testament where the word “raven” appears. It was the common black crow that people were familiar with. I wondered about this verse for a while. Why did Jesus use a raven as an example? According to Leviticus 11:15 they were considered unclean and could not be offered as a sacrifice, like a dove or a sparrow could. After thinking a while, I believe this bird had a lot of failures in life. In Leviticus it was grouped with the buzzards. In Genesis 8:7, Noah first sent out a raven to see if the water had dried up, but it failed, so the next two times he sent out a dove. Now everyone remembers the fortunate dove that brought back the olive leaf, but it was the raven that went out first from the ark. In 1 Kings 17:4 God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah by the brook. Psalm 147:9 “He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry.” This all speaks to me of a common working class bird, raking and scraping to get by, trying to do what God tells it, and not always succeeding. Well God feeds them to, and we are more valuable than the ravens.
    25  Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his height? 26  If then you aren’t able to do even the least things, why are you anxious about the rest? 27  Consider the lilies, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28  But if this is how God clothes the grass in the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith? 29  Don’t seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. 30  For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. 

    Worry accomplishes nothing and we can add nothing to our lives by worrying about it. God takes care of the grass and provides what it needs. There is a giant oak tree in our yard that I have never watered or fertilized. God provides what it needs to grow. To think that the Lord who takes care of the grass that we walk on, would leave His children who are praying to Him naked, is more than a little lack of faith, that requires a large lack of faith. Also, God cares for the flowers, but that means that every day for the flowers is not sun and sweetness. If every day were sunshine, and there was never clouds and rain, the flowers in that field would die quickly. Our Father knows what we need to live, and He will provide.

    31  But seek God’s Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you. 32  Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. 33  Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. 34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

    After discussing the negative and what not to do, Jesus moves on to discuss what you should be doing. His message was basically “Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and God will provide the things that you need.”  In verse 33 Jesus instructs His followers to sell possessions and give to the needy which would provide them with treasure in heaven. To summarize this, giving is how you lay up treasure in the bank of heaven - and it cannot be stolen. This scripture portrays giving as an antidote, or a cure for covetousness.

    I had a friend who was very wealthy, and he told me that when he first came to the Lord, he was pressured by the Holy Spirit to give big sums of money away, repeatedly, and it hurt him badly each time. The Lord would tell him to give this person $1,000, then that person, and the next person. It hurt a little less each time, and soon he began to actually enjoy giving, then the prompting slowed down. God cured him of covetousness. God is OK with you having money, but not with it having you.

    Now there is a balance, apparently Jesus was not against people owning houses, because the beloved disciple took the mother of Jesus into his home in (John 19:27), and Jesus sometimes stayed at Martha’s house when He was in Bethany (Luke 10:38). I believe that there is a balance here in that the rich man in the previous parable who had to build even bigger barns to hold his wealth. When is enough, enough? When would you be able to help someone else? In the case of the rich fool, never. Jesus’ good news is simple. You don’t have to hold on to the things of this world with a death grip. Jesus let go of everything and was happy with a simple trust in God.

    35  “Let your waist be dressed and your lamps burning. 36  Be like men watching for their lord, when he returns from the wedding feast; that when he comes and knocks, they may immediately open to him. 37  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord will find watching when he comes. Most certainly I tell you that he will dress himself, make them recline, and will come and serve them. 38  They will be blessed if he comes in the second or third watch, and finds them so. 39  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40  Therefore be ready also, for the Son of Man is coming in an hour that you don’t expect him.”

    After the teaching of the right way to use wealth, Jesus reminds them that earthly possessions are temporary but that His return is sure and we should be ready for it because He will come at an hour that we do not expect. He tells a parable about a master that has gone to a wedding feast and the servants are at home waiting on his return. The second coming is certain, but the time is unknown, so live ready to die. In this parable, the Master dressed them Himself and served those that were watching. What an honor.

    41 Peter said to him, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everybody?” 42 The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? 43  Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. 44  Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has. 45  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken, 46  then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn’t know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the unfaithful. 

    Peter asks Jesus who the parable of the watchful servant was meant for and Jesus answered with another parable. A master appointed a servant as manager over his household and then apparently went on a journey. The servant had considerable freedom over the estate. A diligent servant whom his master found working efficiently when he returned would be promoted. But if the master stayed gone a long time, then a careless servant may begin to feel independent. He may forget that he is actually just the servant, and not the master. It is a bit like the sheriff of Nottingham in the story of Robin Hood. The longer the king delayed coming, the more wicked the sheriff became. The master’s sudden return would surprise him and the wicked servant would be cut in pieces and put with the unfaithful (46). 

    Some thoughts here: Jesus was talking to Peter and His disciples (Luke 12:41). He plainly told them that they were to serve faithfully, watchfully and to feed the other servants while He was away. If they abused the freedom they were given and became wicked servants, they would be put with the unfaithful on His return (46). The disciple who knew His Master’s will but did not get ready or act on it would receive a severe beating. God’s unconditional love will not be a get out of jail free card if they chose to continue in disobedience. Some get weary of waiting for Jesus to return, or cynical about the return of Jesus because it hasn’t happened yet. This is the exactly the attitude Jesus warned against here.

    47  That servant, who knew his lord’s will, and didn’t prepare, nor do what he wanted, will be beaten with many stripes, 48  but he who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

    Again we have a variance of the punishment given, some were beaten with many stripes, and some with a few. 

    49  “I came to throw fire on the earth. I wish it were already kindled. 50  But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51  Do you think that I have come to give peace in the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.” 

    There is a sense in which Jesus came to bring peace. But some things are more important than peace, and sometimes His message and the way it is received mean division. Jesus spells this out. (50) The baptism that He spoke of was death, which He mentioned when James and John asked Him to sit beside Him in His kingdom in Mark 10:38. To die on the cross was the very purpose of His coming and it hung over Jesus like a shadow.

    52  For from now on, there will be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53  They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against her mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” 

    Jesus brought inner peace, but not outer peace. His message brought division. Jesus told His followers to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23; 14:27). When people do not do this themselves, they become critical of those who do and this divides them. These divisions often will occur in families. Also, the family of five in verse 52 have not grown to six in the next verse, for the mother and the mother-in-law are the same woman. The family of five is: father, mother, son, son’s wife (who would come and live with them), and daughter. 

    54  He said to the multitudes also, “When you see a cloud rising from the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it happens. 55  When a south wind blows, you say, ‘There will be a scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56  You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how is it that you don’t interpret this time? 

    Jesus’ listeners knew that when clouds formed in the west over the Mediterranean Sea, rain was on the way. They knew that when the warm wind blew south from the Arabian desert, a heat wave was coming. Jesus told the crowds that they could read the signs and winds of the earth, but completely ignored the winds of God. Even though they were very religious, they completely missed seeing the significance of the coming of Jesus. He rebuked the people of His day because they did not discern this time. They should have understood more about the prophecies regarding the first coming of Jesus and appreciate the obvious signs confirming Jesus as the promised Messiah.

    57  Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58  For when you are going with your adversary before the magistrate, try diligently on the way to be released from him, lest perhaps he drag you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59  I tell you, you will by no means get out of there, until you have paid the very last penny.” 

    Jesus encourages those listening to make peace with God, to settle the case before it went to court,before the trial comes, before the day of judgment, because if they wait to the end, they will have to pay the full price. Everyone will face a resurrection, the good and the evil - all live eternally. Jesus said in:

    John 5:28–29 (NKJV) — for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

    Take the Quiz on Luke Chapter Twelve!


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Sylvia Todd likes this
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Deng Tembreza
Deng Tembreza

Thank you Pastor.  I could hardly hear your voice.  Please give more sound to it.  I have brought this mater before and told what to do.  I did it but it seems it is back.  I read what ever is written and listen to you but there are some word that are not written and could hardly hear it.  It is like a whisper to me.  Thank you for addresing my concerns. 

December 4
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Dion Todd
Dion Todd

Hi Deng. I just listened to the video here, and it is plenty loud. If you click the video, you should see something that looks like a set of steps going up at the bottom of it, Be sure that is completely maxed out, all blue. That is the video volume. Also if you are on a phone, turn it up or maybe try some head phones. I hope this helps, but I do not believe the video itself is the problem.

December 7
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Deng Tembreza
Deng Tembrezaedited: December 7

I already did that Pastor.  It is already to the max, all blue.  I do not have a head phone and I am on my desk top.  I have already put the volume of my computer to the max too.  I will try to buy a head phone Pastor.  Maybe this will be of help.  Thank you

December 7