Integrity Revisited

Luke 12:1-12  Click here for Bible Verses

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Luke 12:1-12.  Let’s go!

Luke 12:1 (NIV) 
 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 on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 

On verse 1:  Why did Jesus make a point to privately warn his disciples about hypocrisy while a crowd of many thousands had gathered to see Jesus?  I think it’s because when your influence grows and when more and more people are looking at you, your potential to encourage people with your good example or confuse people with your bad example grows as well.  Like “yeast”, a hypocritical example can spread from one influential person to those around that person, as what had happened with the Pharisees.  We need to remember that, whether we asked for it or not, there are people who look to us as an example, and thus we have a responsibility to set the best example we can.

Luke 12:2-3 (NIV) 
 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.
 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.

On verses 2-3:  Part of living with integrity is doing the right thing and saying the right thing even when no one is watching.  God will hold us accountable for what we do and say in private, not just what we do and say in public.

Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)
 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

On verses 4-5:  From these two verses I learn two lessons.  First, we should fear God a lot more than we should fear people.  For followers of Jesus, to “fear God” doesn’t mean that we should be terrified of God (later on in verse 7 Jesus says to his disciples, “Don’t be afraid”).  Rather, for the Christ follower, to fear God means to respect God’s authority, to revere God’s majesty, and to seek to honour God with our lives.

Second, Jesus acknowledges here (as he does repeatedly elsewhere in the gospels) that hell is a real place and that God has power to send a person there.

Luke 12:6-7 (NIV) 
 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.
 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

On verses 6-7:  Whereas verses 4-5 speak of God’s power, verses 6-7 speak of God’s love for all living things, and in particular for people.  Verse 7 tells me that God loves you with a detailed and protective love (“the very hairs of your head are all numbered”).  When Jesus says “you are worth more than many sparrows” (v7) it’s Jesus saying, in a lovingly understated way, that you mean a great deal to God.  It’s like when people tell me how cute my infant son Caleb is, and I’ll reply, “Yeah, we like him too.  I think we’ll keep him 😉”.

Luke 12:8-9 (NIV) 
 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.
 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.

On verses 8-9:  Acknowledge Jesus publicly before people on earth and Jesus will acknowledge you before the angels in heaven.  There are various important ways that we want to acknowledge Jesus before people, such as being active in sharing our faith with others.  But one of the simplest and most beautiful ways you can acknowledge Jesus before people is to get baptized.  Baptism is simply you publicly acknowledging that you need a Saviour and His name is Jesus.  If you claim to believe in Jesus but refuse to obey Jesus’ command to get baptized, you need to question whether you really believe in Jesus as you are running the risk Jesus describes in verse 9.

Luke 12:10 (NIV) 
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.

On verse 10:  What does it mean to “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit”?  I believe the best interpretation for “blaspheming against the Holy Spirit” is where a person repeatedly rejects the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and their heart becomes so hard and calloused that they consciously deny their need for Jesus and never turn back to Jesus.  A person who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit in this way should not expect to be forgiven or saved in the end. So if you are concerned that you need to turn back to God, chances I think are good that you haven’t committed the sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit because your heart is still soft enough to consider turning back to Him.

Luke 12:11-12 (NIV) 
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.”

On verses 11-12:  Jesus is preparing his disciples for a time when they will face persecution and be brought before various public councils to defend themselves.  Jesus reassures them that the Holy Spirit will be with them to teach them what to say.

What can we learn from this?  In high pressure times when your faith is being questioned, don’t just rely on your own strength and wisdom to get through, but rely on the Holy Spirit, who is present to help you.

Heavenly Father, please help me to live my life always with integrity, to fear You and to rely on Your Holy Spirit for wisdom.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!