In the last section of Luke 12, we discussed hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something that we’re not. There are lots of people who profess to be Christians. There are those who like to say things like, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” but they do not really pray. They do deeds of kindness and say, “God bless you,” but they do the deeds of kindness only to make themselves feel good.
To these hypocrites, Jesus will one day say,
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22–23)
Why would Jesus chase away people who had done wonderful deeds and even cast out demons in His name? Because they were hypocrites. They were only pretending to love Jesus. They were only pretending to be Christians because it made them look good or feel good.
In this next section, Jesus goes further in destroying hypocrisy. How does He that in Luke 12:8-9?
8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8–9)
A hypocrite will only pretend so long they are not in danger or inconvenienced. When they are put in danger because of Jesus, they will deny Him. When it might prove embarrassing to know Jesus, they deny Him.
But a true believer will stand up for Jesus in good times and in trial.
Robert Redford was walking one day through a hotel lobby. A woman saw him and followed him to the elevator. “Are you the real Robert Redford?” she asked him with great excitement. As the doors of the elevator closed, he replied, “Only when I am alone!”1
There’s something insightful about Redford’s statement. We all are really only who we really are when we are alone. The people closest to us see most of the real us, but there is still more hidden underneath.
And then, there’s Sunday morning, when our faces are smiling and our clothes are clean—when we can be the furthest from who we really are.
We are all hypocrites to some degree. The question is whether or not we admit to that and see the hypocrisy in our lives or if we continue to pretend that we are someone who we are not.
In Luke 12, we will explore hypocrisy. Let’s start with…
In the last lesson, we saw that Jesus was invited to dinner by a Pharisee. Jesus completely ignored the ritual hand washing before dinner, and when Jesus saw the Pharisee’s disapproval, Jesus let him have it with three woes. We looked at these as the marks of a Pharisee:
1) Pharisees Focus On Externals (11:38-41)
2) Pharisees Major On The Minors And Forget The Majors (11:42)
3) Pharisees Focus On What Gets Them Attention (11:43)
But there was more than just a Pharisee (and probably other Pharisees) at this dinner. There were also lawyers present. They weren’t too happy with what Jesus said about Pharisees.
Luke 11:45 Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also.