Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 5
Thesis: Confusion over how one becomes a child of God leads to confusion over how one is to act as a child of God.
Introduction: There is enough confusion in the world to make everyone's head swim. In our study last week we looked into the problem of dealing with dilemmas -- confusing situations that arise because we do not have a sufficiently clear grasp of the relevant principles to know what to do. In that study we made the point that Levi's "reception" for Jesus was a part of how we get "clear" in the midst of confusion: we make sure that Jesus is the One Who has our undivided loyalty and we make that as clear as we can to others also.
This morning we are going to continue to look into the confusion that existed in Israel. It was such a great confusion that the God of Israel was unrecognizable to the vast majority of the Jews. Luke has already informed us of the vastness of the confusion that arose out of the blindness of Israel by telling us of the rejection of Jesus by those who lived in Nazareth. It is a major thesis for Luke that Jesus came to give sight to the blind. This means that Jesus came to eliminate the confusion. So, Jesus' response to the Pharisees and their scribes, when they accused Him of misbehavior, is a part of His gift of sight to the blind. It is this response to which we turn this morning.
July 15, 2007
- I. The Murmuring of the Pharisees and Their Scribes.
- A. What caused this murmuring?
- 1. Initially, Jesus' claim to the prerogative of God in 5:20 and His insistence in 5:24 that His execution of the power of instantaneous healing proved His claim set the Pharisee's teeth on edge.
- a. Their reaction in 5:21 was to attribute a capital crime to Him.
- b. Their inability to counter His "if you do not believe Me, believe My works" thesis made them both hesitant and angry [John 10:38 and 14:11].
- 2. In our text this morning, they are following a clear biblical guideline.
- a. In 1 John 3:7 John, writing to the confused, sets forth the principle that it is the actions of a person that tells the truth about the character.
- b. In 2 Corinthians 11:14 Paul acknowledges the problem of "fakes" who set themselves up as those who ought to be believed.
- c. Thus, the Pharisees thought they had sufficient reason to reject Jesus because He was "eating and drinking with publicans and sinners".
- 3. The rationale of the Pharisees and their scribes was that the evidence that Jesus was a fraud was revealed in His refusal to follow the Word of God in His daily life.
- a. James 1:26 establishes the principle.
- b. Before Israel was led into the promised land, God made a stringent demand upon them regarding their "associations".
- 1) Exodus 34:12 and Deuteronomy 7:16 both record that God demanded that His people destroy the Canaanites.
- 2) Joshua 9 records that Joshua made a major blunder on this point.
- c. This demand of God was altered over time in regard to specifics, but the main principle was always maintained...even into the Church.
- 1) Matthew 18 insists upon the ostracism of the impenitent.
- 2) 1 Corinthians 5 insists that the breakdown of this principle will lead to destruction.
- 3) 2 Thessalonians 3 continues the insistence upon separation from the rebellious.
- B. What was wrong with this murmuring?
- 1. It was a fundamental mis-application of the Word of God.
- a. 1 Timothy 1:8 clearly indicates that the words of God have to "fit" the setting in order to be applicable.
- b. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 also clearly declare that there is a significant line of demarcation between the "application" of the instructions of God to believers and to unbelievers.
- c. The Pharisees had made a very major blunder in respect to "application".
- 1) They considered themselves to be the leaders of the people of God.
- 2) They considered their followers to be the people of God.
- 3) Yet they rejected the fundamental methodology of regeneration by repentance.
- 2. It was the result of an arrogant blindness.
- a. Their theology and methodology of life had not achieved any level of godliness in the lives of the tax collectors.
- b. Jesus' theology and methodology had reduced the number of reprobate tax collectors in Israel by at least one.
- II. The Response of Jesus.
- A. He does not accept their wholesale "application" of the Word of God to everyone without discernment.
- B. He does not defend the tax collectors and sinners; He calls them "sinners in need of repentance".
- C. He shuts down any legitimate criticism, though nothing will stop the disgruntled from complaining.