Category Archives: Hypocricy

Whose Sons & Daughters Are You?


Sons & Daughters.jpg.001

The Setting (37)

Jesus’ public ministry was marked by increasing levels of conflict and opposition from the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees.

It was ultimately this conflict which God used to bring to pass his plan eternal plan for Christ—that he would suffer a violent death as the penalty for sin and become the substitute to anyone who comes to him in faith.

The Point of Conflict (38)

“I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” (John 8:38)

Jesus is drawing a connection between his actions and his father and between the actions of the Jews and their father.

What does Jesus mean by this?

In Jesus’ time and culture, it was common describe a characteristic of a person by referring to them as the “son of…” someone or something.  Some examples: Judas (the disciple who will later betray Jesus, his master) is called the “son of destruction” (John 17:12).  Joseph (a Christian in the early church) is was nicknamed Barnabas “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36).

By using this same idea, Jesus is challenging the stubborn unbelief of the Jews who were refusing to joyfully accept him as their Messiah.

The Spiritual Blindness of the Jews

They were foolishly trusting that their very ancestry made them right before God. “They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” (John 8:39a)

Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation. More importantly, God had made a special covenant to Abraham (symbolized by circumcision), that his descendants would become a great nation and would inherit the land of Israel.

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:1–3; see also 15:1–20)

However, God had made this promise to Abraham when he and his wife, Sarah, were childless and beyond child-bearing years. Yet God miraculously allowed Sarah to conceive and bear Isaac, the child of promise. God later tested Abraham’s faith in him again by asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise. Yet God intervened when it was clear Abraham was going to obey God. As a result of all of this, Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation was a hero and was held up as an example of belief in God and faith in his promises.

The Jews in our passage are thinking of all of this and are confident that they have a high standing before God because of their connection to Abraham and their membership in God’s covenant.

Jesus exposes the problem in their heart. He tells them that if they were really children of Abraham, they would be marked by the same faith and belief in God. “Jesus said to them,

“If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.” (John 8:39–40).

Why is their negative response to Jesus so significant? Because Jesus clearly demonstrated to them that he was the promised Messiah—the one who would come from Abraham’s descendants and be a blessing to all the families of the earth. John the Baptist had earlier warned Israel of the same error:

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:8–9).

“Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

“So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:7–9)

He warns that the God is not their heavenly Father since they are rejecting him whom he sent.

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. (John 8:42–43)

He shows them that the Devil (Satan) is their real spiritual father because they are doing exactly the same things that Satan does.

“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:43–44)

The Jews’ Wrong Perspective of Jesus

They instead imply that Jesus himself was an illegitimate child (8:41) and the accuse him of being possessed by a demon (48).

They refused to believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

Jesus makes a number of unmistakable claims to possess the same nature and power as God:

That God the Father is seeking to glorify him “I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.” (John 8:50) “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’” (John 8:54)

That he has the power to give eternal life “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)

That he is the fulfillment of Abraham’s messianic hopes “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)

That he is eternally self-existent, even from before the time of Abraham (who had been dead for two millennia). “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) The Jews fully understand what he is claiming and unsuccessfully try to stone him (John 8:59).

Our own response to Jesus

Consider your own actions; they testify as to who your spiritual father is.

Turn to God who is able to give you a spiritual new birth by the gospel through the same kind of faith which Abraham had in the promises of God.

———————-

Download the .pdf of Whose Son or Daughter Are You?

The Attack Continues…


truth how do you know_wide_t_nv

The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

Why does John keep talking about the opposition to Christ?

By the time you get to Chapter 8 this continued attacks on Jesus seems monotonous until you realize what the Pharisees are doing.

When a guilty party (Pharisees) wants to remove the influence of a witness (Christ) against them, there are three options they can resort to discredit him:

  1. They can kill the witness. (Attempted in chapter 7)
  2. They can discredit the witness. (Attempted in chapter 8:1-11)
  3. They can have the witness thrown out on a technicality. This is their plan in today’s text.

So what were the Pharisees referring to when they claimed Christ’s witness of Himself was invalid?

They were referring to Deuteronomy 19:15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”

This law was specifically designed for cases where one person had something against another.  Over the years however, this law had been interpreted by the Jews to mean that no testimony anywhere could be trusted unless two or three people agreed to it.

Many times people discount Christ’s statement that He is God because it does not line up with their way of thinking.

The methods  the world uses to evaluates truth, truth can never be known.  They have no basis for making a decision. Many end up becoming agnostic. An Agnostic concludes that if there is a God He is unknown and unknowable.

Christ’s answer for the source of His authority is vitally important for all of us. Christ answers in three ways:

Christ’s testimony is authoritative. (14)

John 8:14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.

Only God can testify of Himself, no man is an authority on God. We can know nothing about God that we are not told in the Word (Heb. 1:1).
Christ has revealed enough for us to believe Him in faith. What we need to know in heaven will be revealed there. But we will never know all as God does.

Christ’s testimony is impartial. (15-16)

John 8:15–16 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.

The Pharisees based their decisions on the flesh, the things that make a man – reason, intellect, logic.

  • These are often flawed.
  • These are often sinful.

Christ’s judgments are based on something much higher
His judgements are always right. They are always sinless.

Christ’s testimony was verified (17-18)

God the Father gives the following witnesses:

  • John the Baptist (5:33-34)
  • Christ’s signs (5:36)
  • OT Scriptures (5:39-47)

Christ changes the wording of the law from “witnesses” (Deut. 19:15) to “man” (17) emphasizing again God’s eternal viewpoint vs. man’s earthly view.

No one has the knowledge to challenge the testimony of Christ. He speaks what He knows!  We must either trust and follow Him or distrust and try and figure it out with our own limited knowledge.

So what does all this mean to us?

We cannot trust our own judgement of spiritual things. We don’t know enough. We can’t attempt to compare our finite minds to His infinite mind.

Proverbs 3:5–6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Consider what these verses are saying to us:

  • Lean – rest, depend
  • own understanding – what we would trust if not Christ
  • all your ways – everything now has a new purpose
  • acknowledge Him – He is in control
  • direct your paths – note it begins with trust, then direction (it cannot work the other way around).

Trust Christ’s word completely – for who He says He is. There will be things we don’t understand. There will be things we may not agree with. There may be things we wish we could change, but if Christ is God, He is the One who knows what is best.

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

If His word is true, we must acknowledge our own sinfulness, accept the salvation He offers, and follow Him as Lord.

R.A. Torrey once challenged an agnostic (a person who does not know if God exists) to make an honest search to see if Jesus was the Son of God.  If confirmed Torrey challenged the man to accept Him. Torrey told him he would need to pray and ask God to help him find the truth (in case God did exist). In addition, because Jn. 20:31 said there was proof that Christ was God, this man needed to read the proof from John as part of his search. The man agreed, but was confident that he would now be convinced. When Torrey came back from traveling a few weeks later, the man had been convinced and wondered how he had ever believed anything different. (Boice)

Where are you? Are you caught in the middle of a decision about Christ?

Are you wondering if God exists? Do you really want to know?

Honestly pray and ask to be shown. Read and understand John’s account. This can be your story if you will honestly examine the evidence.

Your Greatest Threat – It May Not Be What You Think!


peril of pride the_wide_t_nvDo you battle with pride like I do?  I bet you do (even if you are too proud right now to admit it! 🙂

Someone has said that they view pride is the source of all other sins… I think they are right. How about joining me in a little self-evaluation.  Consider the following:

  • Pride mocks others “The proud have me in great derision…” Psalms 119:51.
  • Pride lies about others “The proud have forged a lie against me…” Psalms 119:69.
  • Pride mistreats others “Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood…” Psalms 119:78.
  • Pride seeks to destroys others “The proud have dug pits for me…” Psalms 119:85,.
  • Pride oppresses others “… Do not let the proud oppress me.” Psalms 119:122.
  • Pride deceives others “The proud have hidden a snare for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set traps for me. Selah” Psalms 140:5.
  • Pride is communicated by lips and looks “A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,” Proverbs 6:17.
  • Pride uses the mouth to beat others down “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.” Proverbs 14:3.
  • Pride must display itself, cannot stay home. ““Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home…” Habakkuk 2:5.
  • Pride embellishes the truth “Let the lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.” Psalms 31:18.

Remember that God fights against the proud person and will destroy everything they attempt to accomplish. “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of the greatest dangers of pride is that it lies at the root of our rebellion against God.  Every refusal to receive Christ as Lord and Savior is driven by pride!  That is a sobering thought!

If the above list convicts you do something about it!  Humble yourself by gazing at Christ! Evaluate yourself, your achievements, your possessions and everything else in relation to God.  “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due season.”

Christ’s Credentials


Christ Credentials

Up until now we have had people who have responded positively to Christ and His work with little push back. Consider the flow of what we have seen so far from John’s gospel:

Jesus reveals Himself as God the Messiah to:

  • John the Baptist (1)
  • Andrew and Peter
  • Philip and Nathanael

Jesus then works a miracle:

  • Water to Wine – disciples believed 2:11

Following the miracle is conflict:

  • Cleans the Temple – some begin to question

This process is repeated! Jesus again reveals Himself as God the Messiah to:

  • Nicodemus (3)
  • Woman at the Well (4) and the men of Samaria
  • Galileans

Jesus then works a miracle that proves his deity:

  • Nobleman’s Son is healed from a distance

The miracle is followed by conflict:

  • Paralytic Man is healed on the Sabbath

Christ brings change!

Purpose of John – John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John brings the arguments and evidence to a climax. It is here that God has John record Christ’s direct evidence of who He is. Those who hear are placed in a position where they MUST make a choice. Either Jesus is God or He is one of the greatest cons in history. Either He was God or He was guilty of blasphemy and deserved death under Jewish law.

The Jews rejected the change Christ brought to their way of thinking and the claims Christ made.

First, why did Christ break the Sabbath? If He was God, it was His law. Why break it?

The Jews took great pride in being the chosen people of God. This pride showed itself in outward conformity to the law without an inward relationship to God. Jews had lost the meaning of the law.

The Jews had applications of this law that limited the number of steps they could take outside their property on the Sabbath (1,000 m). So if they wanted to take a journey on the Sabbath, they had to go the day before and leave some of their possessions at intervals along their route so they would not be traveling more than a Sabbaths day journey away from their “property.”

He points out their inconsistencies:

Luke 14:5 Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”

He points out the truth about the Sabbath:

Mark 2:27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

Instead of the Sabbath being a chance to focus on God, they started valuing the Sabbath more than the Creator.

Christ went right to the source of their problem. It was not the Sabbath or healing on the Sabbath, it was their belief in who He was.

So he confronts them with three facts about Himself:

Christ is Equal with God’s Nature (nature of God) vs. 17-18

Christ reminds the Jews that God has not stopped working for Israel since creation. The healing on the Sabbath was a continuation of what God was doing for Israel, only now they see God the Son continuing the work in their sight. Nothing has changed.

“Even the rabbis admitted that God’s work had not ceased after the Sabbath because He sustains the universe.” (MacArthur)

The Jew’s response shows that they understood He was equating Himself with God. They rejected His statement.

Christ is Equal with God’s Power vs. 19-21

Christ reiterates that He is working with the power of God the Father.

God was going to do more to cause men to marvel: He was going to restore life to the dead! There are three possible applications:

  • Dead legs (previous miracle)
  • Dead people (physically – chapter 11 – Lazarus)
  • Dead people (spiritually – salvation). In the context this seems most likely what He was referring to.

Notice – this was was not to cause belief!

Christ is Equal with God’s Authority (vs. 22-30)

The One who gives life will also judge (vs. 22-24).

People must honor the Son as they honor the Father (vs. 23).

To honor Him is to hear and believe Him – our response to Christ will determine how we are judged (vs 24).

  • everlasting life (present tense)
  • no judgement
  • passed from death to life – written in such a way that it indicates a finished work that is completed.
Christ has the authority to give life to those who chose to hear – hear and live (vs. 25-26).
Judgement is coming (vs. 27-29).
  • We will all be judged.
  • There are two destinations…reward because of Christ’s sacrifice or eternal judgment…we have to choose.
Judgement is decided from what Christ hears from us when we stand before Him. (vs. 30)

While we are alive, we are to “hear Him.”

When we die, He will hear US and give judgement.

What will we say if we are asked why we should enter into heaven? The only accepted answer will be that we have “heard him and believed” that we were sinners and Christ completely paid the penalty of death for us.

So here is what this all means to you and me:

Christ brings us to the same place He brought the Jews: either He is God God or He is the greatest con man who ever lived. There is no middle ground left to us. Christ can’t just be a good man and say these thing about Himself if they are not true.

Have you “heard the voice of the Son of God”? vs 25

What will he “hear” from us when we stand before Him? vs. 30

You can download the pdf of Christ’s Credentials by clicking the link.

Religion & The Gospel


The Dome of the Rock is a Moslem mosque that sits on the historic site of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock is a Moslem mosque that sits on the historic site of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem

The Problem of Sin affects us all.  Seeking fulfillment, self-worth, and identity in anything or anyone other than God is sin.

  1. Every person is seeking for identity – the sense of being distinct and valuable.  God calls us to love Him supremely and to build or identity upon Him.  Anything other than this is sin!
  2. “Sin is the despairing refusal to find your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God.”

Even when we achieve our goals and dreams we will find that they do not bring us fulfillment.  Look at how many successful celebrities, sports stars and successful business people thought they would find happiness and peace with success but found it empty. When we offer excuses by pointing a finger of blame for our problem of sin somewhere else we shut the door for finding a solution to the problem. Until we can admit that we are flawed human beings, i.e. sinners, we will be caught in a hopeless cycle of bondage to sin that ultimately leads to hopeless emptiness of eternity in hell? So how can we be delivered from this cycle of bondage?  How can the emptiness be filled?  How can we be saved? There is a profound fundamental difference between the way that other religions tell us to seek salvation and the way described in the gospel of Jesus.

  • Religion – salvation through moral effort
  • Gospel – salvation through grace

Why must the solution to the problem of sin be Jesus and Christianity?

TWO WAYS WE TRY TO BE OUR OWN LORD AND SAVIOR

Irreligion – I will live my life the way I want

  1. One who lives a life of rebellion – moral decadence (Romans 1:18-31)
  2. Breaking all the rules
  3. I’ll be my own god – “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”   (Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.)

Religion – I am going to avoid sin and live morally so that God will have to bless me.

  1. Being good – keeping all the rules (Mt.19:20)
  2. You are trying to save yourself by following Jesus
  3. If you are avoiding sin and living morally so that God will have to bless and save you then you may be looking at Jesus as as a teacher, model, and helper but you are avoiding him as Savior.  You are trusting in your own goodness rather than Jesus for your standing with God.

Self-salvation though good works may produce a great deal of moral behavior in your life, but on the inside you are filled with self-righteousness, cruelty, and bigotry, and you are miserable. You cannot become a good person through an act of will.  You need a complete transformation of the very motives of the heart.

EXAMINING THE PHARISEE

The appeal of Pharisaism (Moralism)

  1. Pharisees build a sense of worth on their moral and spiritual performance.  (Lk 18:9-14). They had a spiritual resume to present to God and others and were quite sure that God approved of their righteousness.’
  2. Pharisees are empty on the inside. Down inside they never knew if they were doing enough, praying enough, giving enough. (Mt. 23:23-28)

Results of Pharisaism

  1. An attitude of self-righteousness that condemns others (Lk. 18:9-11)
  2. Develop an exclusive attitude with little tolerance for those who are not like them. They are insecure & angry.

This kind of Pharisaism is extremely repulsive.  Many people who have been raised in churches with these kinds of people reject Christianity because of their experience.  They become inoculated against Christianity.

Important Clarification:  Pharisaism is a “religion” it is not Christianity!

THE DIFFERENCE OF GOSPEL GRACE

How can we put things right?

Religion and Grace have very different starting points

  1. Religion says, “I obey – therefore I am accepted by God.” (Moralist)
  2. Grace says, “I am accepted by God through what Christ has done – therefore I obey.” (Genuine Christian)
  3. Religion – if I live up to my standard I then feel superior, if I fail I am filled with self-loathing.
  4. Grace – I know I’m accepted by grace, by Christ and in Christ.  I cannot feel superior to anyone, yet I have nothing to prove to anyone.

The difference between religion and gospel grace is motivation!

Two people sitting next to each other – both pray, give generously, try to live decent lives, but from radically different motivations!

So what is gospel grace?

In the OT the word used is ‘hesed’

This word is most often translated mercy = the outpouring of an unfailing undeserved love.  This is a mercy that flows from love not obligation. Out of His steadfast love God called people where were nothing and had nothing. (Deut.7:6-9)  He delivers them and gives them His law (Ex.20:2-6). This grace calls men to covenant loyalty to God (Num.14:18-19) and graciousness toward one another (Mic.6:8; Ps.109:16). Psalm 136 tells us that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

In the NT the word used is ‘charis’

This speaks of God’s un-coerced initiative reaching out to form a people from all nations through God’s appointed agent, Jesus. (EBD) Grace has been called: God’s unmerited favor.  Others have described it as God giving to us what we do not deserve and what we could never earn. God’s grace is inseparable from His love expressed in Jesus Christ (Ro.1:7, I Co.1:3) The Grace of Jesus is through the cross (Gal.2:20; Eph.1:20; Ro.5:9). God freely justifies all who believe. By grace through faith we are rescued from the Problem of Sin and placed into the family of God. (Ro.3:24-25, 5:1). Grace is received by faith (Eph.2:8).  But the grace that is offered is not received because of legalism on our part (Gal.2:21; 5:4) or negligence on God’s part (1 Co.15:2; 2 Co. 6:1) Grace is completely abundant and adequate for every sinner (I Ti.1:15-16). The gospel is a declaration of Grace! (Acts 20:24,32)

THE THREAT OF GRACE

  1. Grace & Gratitude – If we receive His grace we will be so grateful that we will be more subject to the sovereign Lord than ever!
  2. The motivation for this is all joy!  ILL: Marriage – you fall in love, eventually ask, “Will you marry me?” and she says yes.  You don’t say:  “Great, I’m in.  Now I can live any way that I want!”  There is no coercion or obligation, yet your behavior has been radically changed by the one you love.
  3. One word of caution:  You may think that if this is true, then people would all jump on board and then go live any way they choose – no one who has received gospel grace thinks like that!  Because of the overwhelming grace poured out upon a person the heart response is to love Him, to desire to obey this lover of our soul!

CONCLUSION:

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued and that Jesus was glad to die for me.” – Keller Illustration to summarize Grace:  Jesus healing the lame man by the pool of Beth-‘hesed’a.   Bethesda means “house of mercy.” ( John 5:1-14)

  1. This man was paralyzed.  He was helpless and he knew it.
  2. Jesus came to him, the man did not come seeking Jesus
  3. Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed
  4. Jesus healed him

This is how grace works! You realize that you are hopelessly lost in sin, there is nothing you can do to save yourself.  Jesus comes to you, seeks you out like a lost sheep and pours out upon you His lovingkindness, His unlimited favor! Have you accepted His grace?  Have you turned from your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone to save you? ————————- You download the PDF version of Religion & The Gospel by clicking the link. This Bible Study comes from the book The Reason For God, by Timothy Keller.  This study can be found in Chapter 11.

“I’m Not A Christian Because There Are Too Many Hypocrites In The Church”


We all know people who claim to be Christians but when we observe their life it is clear that their talk does not match their walk. If we are honest, all too often we too are hypocritical in some area of our lives. It’s not that we want to be, but we find ourselves struggling to be consistent. If you are using the excuse: “There are too many hypocrites in the church” as your reason for not attending, consider the questions below and give an honest answer. I would love to chat with you about this or anything else you have a question about. You can contact me in Kitwe on 0976153466. – Phil Hunt

Theo-sophical Ruminations

The next time you hear someone say they are not a Christian because there are too many hypocrites in the church, here are a handful of tactful ways to respond: 
  1. What do you mean by “hypocrite?” (You want to make the point that a hypocrite is not merely someone who is morally imperfect, but someone who says he believes X but purposely fails to practice X)
  2. Yes, there are hypocrites in the church.  Jesus told us there would be.  But Jesus wasn’t a hypocrite.  What do you think about Jesus?
  3. Yes, there are hypocrites in the church.  Jesus told us there would be.  But there are also genuine Christians who are following Jesus.  Why do you choose to let the hypocrites dictate your response to Christianity rather than the true followers of Jesus?
  4. What does that have to do with you?  Couldn’t Christianity still be true even if a lot…

View original post 96 more words