Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 33
Thesis: The ruin of the hypocrite is always very great.
Introduction: At least three times this week I have seen the same news footage on the television of a large house that happened to be on a rise that caused swiftly flowing flood waters to turn. But, as the river of flood waters turned, it ate at the restricting bank until it had eaten away half of the earth upon which the house was built. When that point was reached, the cameras caught one of the most graphic illustrations of Jesus' words in Luke 6:46-49 that we are ever liable to see. The house literally ripped in half and half of the structure was washed downstream, leaving a total ruin behind. I'm pretty sure of two things: the house had been built up to "code"; and those who owned the house at last recognized how great is the ruin of ignoring ancient wisdom.
This morning we are going to wind up our studies of Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" by looking at what He decided to say at the conclusion.
June 15, 2008
- I. The Background: the Reality of Absolute Truth.
- A. Reality contains a vast myriad of details that, very often, allow a great number of variations in "results" from any given particular action.
- 1. This makes particular "prediction" very difficult.
- 2. This also makes some statements of "truth" seem to be lies simply because, in the limited grasp of the observers' "expectation possibilities", the "expected" thing(s) did not take place.
- B. Reality also, however, makes a significantly great impression over time that can be described in "general" terms that are easily recognized as "truth".
- 1. The scope of linguistic expression runs from the very particular to the extremely general.
- 2. In the realm of the "general", many particulars "fit".
- C. When Jesus said "the ruin of that house was great", He was using "general" language.
- 1. On the one hand, at the level of the actual physical destruction, the words meant that the structure was sufficiently undone so as to make the house uninhabitable.
- 2. But, there are so many levels of "ruin" mixed into the physical reality that it is easy to miss the import of Jesus' words.
- a. The impact of "ruin" is highly dependent upon scads of particulars (did the "ruin" occur before the building was finished? was the project "insured"? was the "ruin" a matter of long attachment? were there highly valuable objects within that were also "ruined"? were there people whose lives were snuffed out in the collapse? and, probably most pertinent, did the "ruin" happen to me or someone else?).
- b. Jesus' caution regarding "ruin" assumes a "tailor-made" fit at the individual level [Illustrate the difference between the young carpenter who fell and broke his back and the older man who committed suicide because of the same result].
- 1) In the realm of "truth" we are dealing with a God of absolute and particular sovereignty.
- 2) In the realm of "truth" we are also dealing with a God of compassion Who can be pushed into a towering rage.
- II. The Foreground: the Reality of Serious Hypocrisy.
- A. It is interesting that Jesus, addressing His disciples, wound up His "sermon" on a very negative note.
- 1. On the one hand, He held forth an extremely positive picture.
- a. The majority of Jesus' words describe the situation of the person who "comes, hears, and does".
- b. This majority description concludes with the declaration that a "well built" house would not be ruined by a massive attack.
- 2. But, before and after this majority picture are the highly prejudicial words that tell us what Jesus' perspective really was.
- a. Before the "positive" is the accusation of serious hypocrisy.
- b. After the "positive" is the declaration of "great ruin".
- B. Jesus' accusation of serious hypocrisy.
- 1. He "assumed" the large reality of human hostility.
- a. Throughout both Jesus' teaching and His recorded experience is one major fact: people do not buy into His perspective in droves.
- b. Throughout the Bible there is a "doctrine" of a "remnant".
- 1) The clearest statement of it is Romans 11 [even 7,000 is a very small number in comparison to the population of the nation].
- 2) The clearest proof is that what ought to be the "norm" is so unusual that people write books and sell them by droves when faithfulness is demonstrated (they even say things like "Well, I'm no Job, or Paul" when challenged to use these men as an example).
- 2. He "declared" that the way the majority of the extreme minority would "handle" His words would be extreme hypocrisy.
- a. They would call Him "Lord".
- b. They would contradict His words at almost every point of the compass of His words.
- III. The Issue: Serious Hypocrisy Always Leads to Great Ruin.
- A. There is such a thing as a divinely engineered application of absolute truth to every specific human being on the planet.
- B. There is no such thing as "blessing" upon hypocrisy.
- C. There are no shortcuts in the escape from hypocrisy.
- 1. There is no such thing as a non-hypocrite among Christians.
- 2. The only reality is the progression into, or out of, hypocrisy as a long-term reality.