Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 9
Thesis: The greatest danger facing people is their willingness to be dishonest.
Introduction: We have been considering the "seeds of Truth" that Jesus planted in His sermon on the mountain as recorded by Luke. We have seen that the first two beatitudes and the first two declarations of woe were metaphorical and parallel. We have also seen that the third beatitude and the third "Woe" address a fundamental attitude regarding the nature of Hope and its implications for Wisdom. Weeping over the losses which sin creates and laughing over the defeat of one's adversaries is heavily tied into the attitude which one takes toward the "Source of Life". If a person is not grieved by the violation of the Truth about Jesus, and if a person can laugh when that Truth seems to have been defeated, there is a huge eternal disaster awaiting: this is the denial of Hope. If, on the other hand, a person weeps over the impact of evil and anticipates getting to have the last laugh in regard to what proves to be true, Hope is established -- Blessed are you.
This morning we have come to the final declaration of "Woe". It is given in terms of how a person thinks about how others think of him/her. In the corresponding beatitude, the "blessing" was upon those who, for the sake of Jesus, are hated, ostracized, ridiculed, and slandered. In this antithetical announcement, "Woe" is pronounced upon those who are "well spoken of" by "all the men". We are going to give a few moments of thought to this issue so that we may better understand the true nature of the Kingdom of God. This is the eighth "seed" of Truth, and is the most crucial of them all.
November 25, 2007
- I. What Jesus is Addressing.
- A. The issues are multi-level.
- 1. Clearly, Jesus is addressing one's status in the eyes of "all men" in one most crucial regard.
- a. There is no indication that Jesus has "all reasons for men's attitudes" in mind (some people have a very high level of status in the eyes of "all men" because of their money, their skills, their reputations for accomplishment, etc).
- b. There is every indication that Jesus is highly focused upon "disciples" and their reputations because of their presentations of their message to "all men".
- 2. But, just as clearly, Jesus is addressing what one's commitment is to that "status".
- 3. And, just as clearly, Jesus is also addressing what actions one is willing to take because of that commitment.
- B. The issues are "problematical".
- 1. We are told by Matthew 27:18 and Mark 15:10 that the reason Jesus was delivered up to Pilate was that too many men "spoke well of Him".
- a. The biblical records tell us that Jesus was wildly popular -- even to the point of having thousands of people who were willing to go hungry just to attend Him.
- b. The biblical records tell us that the ire of the religious establishment was raised primarily because He attracted huge crowds in a way that the establishment had never been able to do.
- 2. If there is a "Woe" upon those of whom the masses "speak well", it would appear that Jesus was condemning Himself.
- a. This has to mean that Jesus was not, at root, addressing simply whether, or not, one is held in high esteem by masses of people.
- b. The real issue is whether that esteem is permitted to have any influence over one's decision-making.
- C. The "final issue" is one: whose "good opinion" do we want most?
- II. Why Jesus is Addressing This Issue At This Point.
- A. On one side of the issue is this truth: Faith is enabled or destroyed by the answer to the question of "this final issue".
- 1. In Romans 2:7 Paul declared that "eternal life" would be granted to those who "by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality."
- 2. In John 5:44 Jesus declared to the religious leaders that the reason that they did not have the "power" (dunamis) to believe His doctrine was rooted in their lust for man-dispensed "honor" (doxa) in opposition to God-dispensed honor.
- 3. In John 7:17 Jesus declared that the key to "knowing" (ginosko) whether a given concept is God's Truth or a subtle manipulation by some demon (doctrines of demons) was the issue of "desires toward His desire".
- B. On another side of the issue is this truth: Love is fulfilled or denied by the answer to the question of "this final issue".
- 1. In 1 John 5:2 we are told that the problematical issue of "just what is it that constitutes Love?" is resolved by one thing: whether, with an attitude of final commitment to God, we act in harmony with His revelation regarding how righteousness works out in practical terms.
- 2. In 1 John 4:20 we are told that we cannot legitimately separate the attitude from the actions.
- C. Thus, the foundations of Life are heavily involved: Love and Faith are the roots of all else.
- III. What is Methodologically At Stake.
- A. Jesus brought the way the fathers of "all men" treated false prophets into the mix.
- B. As "disciples", there is ultimately one mechanism of Love-driven Faith: Truth.
- C. As "disciples", there is an enormously crucial issue at hand at all times: Will I speak the Truth for Love's sake, or will I finesse my speech because of the possible ways that it will cause people to react to me?
- 1. Jesus demonstrated this issue in John 6:67.
- 2. Paul raised this issue in Galatians 4:16.
- D. The foundations of this "Woe" are revealed in Jesus' parable of the Sower: the Word of God is the "seed" from which all good grows.
- E. Thus, what disciples "speak" and why they "speak" is absolutely crucial in the context of the Kingdom of God.
- 1. People live and die by the Truth.
- 2. The "Woe" pronounced upon so-called "disciples" who finesse their speech in order to not damage their reputations in the eyes of men is final.