Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm19980708.htm
LUKE: GOSPEL OF CERTIFYING THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Part XLIV: The Validity Of Christianity Seen In Christ's Call To Promote An Honest Faith
Lesson: The Christian faith is NOT a cleverly manufactured man-made religion, for its Founder, Jesus went out of His way before crowds of onlookers to assert that His disciples be HONEST!
- A charge made against the validity of Christianity is that it was forged by men who simply wanted to make converts. Reflecting this view, Peter A. Bien, Professor of English at Dartmouth College, once said, "I don't think we know who Jesus was. The Gospels, which were written for political purposes -- to convert people -- are after the fact." ("Who Was Jesus?" by Josh Simon, Life (Dec. 1994), p. 68)
- One of the evidences that the Christian Gospels were not forgeries is provided for us in Luke 12:1-12, and this section provides an encouraging directive to us Christians today as well:
- The Validity Of Christianity Seen In Christ's Call To Promote An Honest Faith, Luke 12:1-12.
- Luke's Gospel was written to provide evidences for the certainty of the Christian faith, Luke 1:3-4.
- A significant evidence for Christianity's credibility is the clear and public call that its Founder, Jesus gave for His followers to promote honesty in their witness and lives, Luke 12:1-12:
- Jesus called for honesty from His followers in the presence of many onlookers, Lk. 12:1.
- Jesus warned His disciples to watch out for the unwholesome influence of Pharisee hypocrisy, v. 1b.
- This statement was made before so many onlookers that they treaded on one another, Luke 12:1a.
- Since Christ's burden here was for His followers to avoid hypocrisy, He openly urged honesty, 12:12.
- To motivate men toward such honesty, Jesus gave an extended homily on why it was so worthwhile to be honest about one's faith, Luke 12:2-12:
- First, Jesus claimed that sooner or later every secret will be made public, so one might as well live forthrightly that which he knew was UPRIGHT right from the START! (Lk. 12:2-3)
- Second, Jesus noted that one has to give an account to God who judges both the soul and body, so he might as well do what is right though suffering persecution of the body by opponents, Lk. 12:4-5.
- Third, Jesus said that God values every believer, and watches over every part of his body so that whatever cost comes to his body by being persecuted for uprightness is God's concern, Lk. 12:6-7. Thus, he can be carefree in living and witnessing honestly as God will watch over his welfare.
- Fourth, Jesus stated that every person will give an account of his faith that will affect him eternally. Thus, he is best off being honest in his confession of faith, Luke 12:8-9.
- Fifth, Jesus asserted that those who reject Him reject the witness of the Holy Spirit who performed attesting Messianic miracles through Him; accordingly, rejecting Christ's credibility was not to be forgiven, making it imperative that one be honest in accepting Christ, now! (Lk. 12:10)
- Sixth, Jesus claimed that if one lives uprightly, he is helped by the Holy Spirit so that even in persecution for the faith, the Spirit equips him to live well. Thus, he is not to fear being forthright, and thus seek to manufacture correct answers before facing intimidating opponents, but let the H oly Spirit speak through him to answer even intimidating opponents when confronted, Luke 12:11-12.
Application: (1) God expects the believer to be wholeheartedly committed to the truth. (2) As motivation to do so, He has WARNINGS and ENCOURAGEMENTS for our being honest in that commitment: (a) negatively, we must know that ((a)) every secret stand will be one day manifest, so we might as well be honest now to avoid embarrassment later. ((b)) Besides, we need to fear God's judgment over man's persecution as motivation to be committed to the truth. ((c)) Also, we will give an eternal account of our faith in the end, so we might as well hold to the truth now. (b) Positively, ((a)) God values us so that He watches over what happens to us. Thus, we need not fear what men shall do to us for standing for the truth, but entrust our welfare to Him, cf. 1 Pet. 4:19. ((b)) Also, to make our holding to the truth worthwhile, being committ ed to truth will result in God's giving us the words to answer intimidating rulers even if our stand brings on persecution.