Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Loyalty versus Compliance

Posted on January 16th, 2022

Luke 12:1-34

 

INTRO:  Good morning.  This morning our text is found in Luke chapter 12.   In this chapter Luke gives us the words spoken by Jesus Christ shortly after He walked out of the Pharisee's house.   Here Jesus gives them and us a warning and as examples He uses the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the lawyers and the scribes who were going about religion the wrong way.   This is a warning against what they were doing but also transitioning into discipleship.  In other words we are being warned of the things that can befall us.

 

In Luke 12 we find a series of nine warnings spoken by our Lord on one occasion.   What we'll find as we go through the chapter, and we will just consider verses 1-34 today, is that to be a true disciple of Christ we must not just have compliance, but loyalty.

 

Thinking about that we realize there's a difference between compliance and loyalty.   Compliance says: These are the list of rules I've got to keep.   I'm going to do the bare minimum to make sure I don't get in trouble.   I'm just going to follow them and be compliant with those rules.  That in itself is not bad.   If I have an employee that follows the rules I know they are going to show up on time.   They will do what it takes to keep from getting in trouble, for them to retain their jobs, or maybe to get the Christmas bonus at the end of the year.   They're going to do their jobs, and that's all fine and good in and of itself.  Yes, they are they're going to punch out right when it is time to leave.  But they will follow the rules of the company, the rules of the road and the laws of the country.

 

Loyalty goes above and beyond that.   Loyalty says I buy into the vision.   I buy into the mission, the overall mission.   I'm even willing to go above and beyond to accomplish the ultimate goal.  They're the ones that show up early.   They make sure they have everything squared away before the day begins.   They might even stay late, not even getting paid for it, but they want to finish up some stuff that they had going on during the day.   

 

As Christians, it should be that we are not just compliant, but loyal to Christ.   I suspect there are too many Christians who are just concerned about being compliant.

I went to Church on Sunday—check.

I said my prayers—check.

I read the Bible once this week—check.

 

Their whole approach to the spiritual life is just a checklist.   They just want to do what they believe they need to do to get to heaven.   As long as I’ve got that squared away, then I'm good to go.  What Luke in chapter twelve is going to teach us is that discipleship goes above and beyond that.   It's not about, I want to do just enough to make God happy so that I can go to heaven.  It's about being loyal, it's about being dedicated to Christ.

 

What is your relationship with God?   Think about your relationship with your spouse for those who are married, what’s better, loyalty or compliance?   You want your spouse to say they love you, so each time they go somewhere they are careful to declare their love.   You expect certain things from them so they do those things.

 

Or do you want a spouse who loves you, is devoted to you, loyal to you, would die for you if the occasion called for it?   They would go above and beyond to make sure that your life is better because of them.    Obviously, we want that, right?

 

Our approach to Christianity should be based on a relationship where, yes, I want to follow the expectations that Christ has for me, but more important than that, I want to dive into the relationship.    I want to give my all to Christ, I want to be committed to Christ.   I want to be dedicated to the vision, and I give myself wholly to Christ, even if that means adverse conditions.

 

  1. Now lets take a look at our text Luke 12:1-7 – “1. In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.     "For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.  3.  "Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.  4.  "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  5.  "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!  6.  "Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.  7.  "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

    1. This is a time when Jesus’ ministry is pretty popular and if we look at the last two verses of chapter 11 we see that the Pharisees were plotting against Him. A great many people came together, so many that they're stepping on one another just to get a glimpse of Jesus, to see what He is doing, and to hear Him.    While this is happening Jesus said to His disciples beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

      1. We know that hypocrisy is a literary term used in connection with Greek drama and means `play-acting'. Usage of the word in a Christian context connects it to insincere pretensions of religious piety.   The person practicing hypocrisy will put on the air of being sophisticated, dedicated, and committed to God, but in reality, they're not.
      2. Jesus combines two terms here, leaven and hypocrisy. Leaven is the emblem of every active principle, good or bad, which possesses the power of assimilation.  In this case the leaven refers to the Pharisees teachings and the hypocrisy of their actions.   As one put it;  "The essence of their doctrine was hypocrisy and that combined with the leaven of their teaching had its inevitable effect to make hypocrites, to reproduce itself."    
    2. Why would Jesus warn the disciples to "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”? I suspect there are two warnings in this simple phrase.  
    3. First, that a successful teacher can end up being a hypocrite and by doing so spread hypocrisy. Can that happen today?   Of course.   In the business world there is a saying “nothing breeds failure like success”.  
      1. That is something even Christian leaders need to be watchful for. Hey, we are having an influx of people coming to the building, popularity is growing.  That can lead you to the temptation to become a hypocrite like the Pharisees, because in popularity, there's a temptation to play to the crowd.   You want to increase your popularity, to want people to come, not for the Kingdom of God, but because you're trying to build up “your Church”.    Maybe your goal is to build a mega Church or something, or you're all about just pleasing the crowds.   You're acting like you're working for the Kingdom, but you're really working just for popularity. 
      2. The Apostles would experience this possibility in Acts chapter two. After one sermon preached, basically, 3000 people are saved, and then that number increases by 5000 later on.    However the Apostles kept their focus on the Kingdom. 
    4. Second, the warning told them that as they went out to proclaim the gospel, when they were preaching and teaching, they would come across Pharisees. They were not to take at face value what the Pharisees said.  Those Pharisees are likely to deal with you in a hypocritical way.   
      1. They even did this with Jesus. How often do we have a Pharisee or a lawyer or a scribe coming to Jesus and saying, oh, teacher, we know that you teach things rightly, and they butter him up and they act like they're really genuine in the questions that they're asking.  
      2. They were asking him questions to try to entrap him and to try to get the crowds to split over Jesus.
    5. In verse 2 Jesus says; "For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.”
      1. The connecting word “for” tells us that the hypocrisy of the Pharisees will one day come to light and their true motives will be exposed. There's a warning here for us as well, because if we become hypocrites, if we are just play acting, if we are just putting on a show, that will come to light.  

        1. You can only pretend for so long. You can only put on a show for so long and then people are going to recognize the fact that you are not consistent.   If you are or have been a parent you are probably well aware that children will notice when you are not consistent. 
        2. When you're just putting on a show, that will come to light. It would happen with the Pharisees and it could also happen with us as disciples of Christ.   The idea is that we should be loyal to Christ through and through and be careful not to put on pretense.
      2. In verse 3 He says; "Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” Another connecting word “therefore”.  It is to no purpose to hide things, for, sooner or later, truth will come out; and a lying tongue is but for a moment. If you speak in darkness that which is unbecoming and is inconsistent with your public professions, some way or other it shall be discovered.   Ecclesiastes 12:14 says; “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.”   First Corinthians 4:5 tells us; “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts; and then each one's praise will come from God.”   In other words, spurn the leaven of worldly praise and wait for the true praise from the Father.
      3. In verses 4 and 5 Jesus says; "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”   
        1. The disciples are not to fear people because the only thing that people can do to you is affect you in a temporary way. They might hurt you physically, or they might slander you, try to injure you emotionally.   
        2. They might even put you to death, yet all those things are temporary because the God we serve is the eternal One and with Him are the eternal consequences. It is Him we need to respect and put first.
      4. I suspect that from time to time we may run into situations where we might hide our commitment to Christ for the sake of other people. We can call it fear, or we can call it being made uncomfortable.   “If I show my stand on this I don’t know how they will respond.”  “It might make things difficult at work, maybe cost me my job.”   “I do not want to alienate my relative.”   “My friend will take serious offence.”   Do we lay off the throttle a bit because of fear of other people?   Again, we're going back to commitment, loyalty, right?
        1. The good thing is, if you fear the Lord, if you respect Him above everything else, He's got your back. He's going to take care of you and provide for you.   Jesus says in verses 6 and 7; "Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.    "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. D o not fear therefore; “you are of more value than many sparrows.”   
        2. In other words, you don't have to fear in connection to these temporary things because you've already made the commitment and put God first in your life. Therefore God's going to honor that by providing for you.    He knows what you're going through and even a small Sparrow is not forgotten by God.
        3. “you are of more value than many sparrows.” We are like that little bird.   We're not the highfalutin, internationally acclaimed preachers or televangelists or anything like that.   We're just normal people going out and trying to serve the Lord.   Probably forgotten by the rest of the world.   You know what?   We're not forgotten by God.  God sees everything that we're going through.   
  • Go with me now to the next section of our text, Luke 12:8-12 – “8. "Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God.    "But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.  10.  "And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.  11.  "Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.  12.  "For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.''”   

    1. In verses 8 and 9 what is meant is more then just saying the words, “Jesus is Lord”. Obviously, when we come to the Lord, we confess Him as Lord, as Christ, as the One that we're committing our lives to.    However if we just say, I confessed Him way back when I was baptized and that’s it, we have an incomplete understanding of the confession Jesus is talking about here.

      1. This is an ongoing confession, living a life of confession if you will. Each and every action that I take, every word that I speak, every intention of my heart proclaims Jesus is Lord.   We are reminded of this in Colossians 3:17 where it says; “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” 
      2. When you do everything in Jesus name you are confessing He is Lord before men. If everything you do or say is in Jesus name, you are loyal to Christ, and He will confess that loyalty before the angels of God.   Of course if we deny Him, if we shy away, then we are not really Christians, are we?   Jesus says, then I’ll deny you.   That’s only fair, right?  
      3. When we confess Christ, when we're living Christ in our lives, we're demonstrating the fact that we are truly committed to Christ, it's done through the strength of and the power of the Holy Spirit. Now look at verses 10-12.   It says that when a person speaks a word against the Son of man it will be forgiven him but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.   Christ instructed that people should confess him, the converse of that being that some would deny him.
    2. Go back to the Old Testament and we will see people rejecting God. They rejected the prophets and then in the New Testament when Christ came, they rejected Him.   Israel had the habit of denying God through ages, and now of denying the Christ Himself.   
      1. Here He gives the warning that there was a final and irrevocable sin about to be committed by them in denying the gospel that would be launched through the apostles, under the power of the Holy Spirit. This warning here was brief, but Matthew and Mark both repeat it in Matthew 12:32 and Mark 3:29.
      2. "The Holy Spirit with his teachings is the last that God has to offer man; and, if one blasphemes the Holy Spirit by rejecting the New Testament, the gospel, there is no chance for forgiveness." Jesus is God's last word to men.
      3. Someone may think, “Are there times that I've blasphemed the Holy Spirit, and now can I not be forgiven?” I would suggest that because that person knows they have sinned they have not rejected the Holy Spirit in their heart. 
    3. Why is that the unforgivable sin? Because in such a state, repentance is impossible.   If a person does not even realize that they are sinning, if goodness no longer has any appeal to them, then they cannot repent.    God has not shut them out; by their repeated denial of God they have shut themselves out.  That means that the one person who can never have committed the unforgivable sin is the person who fears that they have, for once a person has committed it, they are so dead to God that they are not conscious of sin at all.
  1. As disciples we should know that when we confess Christ, we will receive adversity. Jesus continues; "Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.  "For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.''  

    1. I wondered why in this chapter we are shown loyalty in the midst of adversity? I believe that it's in adversity where our true loyalty is manifest.   Going back to our job analogy, I have found you can tell the difference between the people who are just compliant and people who are loyal when things start to go awry in the company.  

      1. The ones who are just compliant are going to be looking out for number one, and they will jump ship as long as they believe it's advantageous to them.
      2. That's what they're going to be concerned about, but the loyal employees are going to be the ones who stay aboard, even when the ship seems to be sinking, because they're loyal to the company, they believe in the company's vision and they want to see it through, even if it means hardship and trials.
    2. The same thing is true in our dedication to Christ.   It's when the fire comes, when the difficulty comes, that the sheep are divided from the goats, the ones who are truly committed versus the ones who are just trying to be compliant.  
      1. Here in America, and I pray that this doesn't happen, but if it does happen, if we really, truly begin to become persecuted in a very real way and a very harsh way, I think that's when this division is going to start taking place.
      2. We are already kind of persecuted you might say. Certainly not like in some places on earth where our very lives may be forfeited.   If that happens here we will certainly see the division take place between the sheep and goats.  If that happens we will see which of us are really committed to Christ, and which of us are playing Christian just enough to be compliant in order to benefit ourselves.    
    3. Yes, to a degree we are persecuted here, and John explains this in John 3:19-21 – “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.   "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.''”   In our loyalty to Christ and His word, we are going to be a light that will make many uncomfortable and even some that think themselves Christians.
  2. Jesus explains that our loyalty plays into the way we deal with the worldliness around us, including possessions and money. We pick that up starting at verse 13Luke 12:13-15 – “Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.''   But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?''  And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.''”    
    1. Under Jewish law, the older brother would have inherited two-thirds of the estate, and the younger brother one-third; since the older brother would have been executor of the estate, the appeal here would seem to be that of the younger brother, implying either of two problems: (1) either the elder brother had not given him his share, or (2) the younger brother was thinking of breaking the ancient custom which gave the double portion to the oldest son. We are not told. 

      1. Jesus refused to be involved either way. As the commentator Boles viewed it, the man "probably thought he had a just claim," or he would not have taken it to Jesus. 
      2. These verses teach that Christ's kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world. Christianity does not intermeddle with what we call rights.    It is too often that the church is asked to step into disputes, but the Master knew that would not solve people's problems as long as their biggest problem, sin in their heart, was within them.   Christianity is not an arbitrator, it is a light. 
      3. There was no fault with this man's request, but Christ absolutely refused to accede to it. Jesus did not approach the problems of social injustice by an assault upon established institutions. He did not take the man's part against those who had wronged him.  Just as Jesus refused to accept criminal jurisdiction in the case of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-11), or take sides in a political problem, as in the question regarding the tribute money (Matthew 22:17).  He carefully avoided the snare and the rock upon which so many Christians have stumbled.  
    2. Yet, Jesus did answer him. Jesus showed that young man, and us, that there is a higher standard, a better way of approaching life.  We are surrounded by materialism and we can end up thinking our happiness, our self worth, and indeed our very life is connected to our possessions.  That is not so, and though material things may be used to accomplish some purpose or goal, that is all they are.  What we have in Christ is spiritual, it is eternal, it is our heart and soul.   It fills our deepest needs. 
      1. Jesus explanation continues now in the parable of the rich man starting in verse 16. He uses this to amplify the point that material possessions will never be enough for us and they are not that important when compared with the things of God anyway.  
      2. What Christ has to offer are things that are eternal, things that will bring you into an abundance of spiritual wealth, eternal life, immortality. That will happen whether you die today or if you die 50 years from now, it will still be valid.  It will still be good, and it will go beyond this life.   Material possessions are just temporary.  They may put a smile on our face for a moment, but in the end they won’t.
    3. At verse 22 and He said to his disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. "Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.”
      1. Here we are in the first month of this New Year and as we go into this New Year let us implant that into our brains, into our minds, into our hearts. Life is not about food.   Life is not about clothing, even the most basic necessities.   They temporarily may brighten your life a little bit.   

        1. You might live another day because you ate or you might live a little bit longer protected from the elements. Yet, that's not where your true life comes from.
        2. Even the most basic things, He says, “24. "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?    "And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  26.  "If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?  27.  "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  28.  "If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?  29.  "And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  30.  "For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  31.  "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.  32.  "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
      2. Jesus is not saying we should not do the things that are needful. For indeed 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 says; “… If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  And 1st Timothy 5:8 admonishes; “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
        1. Jesus wants us to keep our focus, our perspective. Do not lay awake nights worrying, planning and scheming.   Use your energy to do the things of life, working, providing, all those things—in the name of the Lord. 
        2. Jesus is pointing that out here in these verses to look at nature. Nature isn't stressed out.   Nature isn't worried about this or that, but God is always constantly supplying what nature needs to continue.
        3. Notice in verse 34 Jesus says; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” He is focusing on our heart and our loyalty.  Jesus wants us to be loyal to Him from the heart, even when it comes to worldly goods and possessions, the things that we often desire the most.   Where is your heart? 

 

CONCLUSION:

We realize that loyalty is what Christ is seeking from us, not checking off a list.  Lists are good reminders but they can become a trap when we think that is all there is.   One negative thing that a list can do to us, is tempt us to desire to adjust it to fit our desires in life.   Many religious organizations fall into this trap.   Remember the lawyer in Luke 10:25 asking about eternal life?  Jesus asked him what was written in the Law and the lawyer responded “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and `your neighbor as yourself.”   Jesus told him that he was correct.   Then the lawyer asked “And who is my neighbor?”

 

Loyalty means that even when we're in adverse conditions, when people are coming out against us, whoever they might be, we stand firm, confessing Christ, living a life that declares Christ as Lord.

It means living a life that is not caught up in material possessions and the things that this world has to offer.   I want to tell you, this is a good life.    How much less stressful is it when you realize you don't have to follow after the world, you don't have to spin the wheels that the world is spinning.

 

We can live our life to the heavenly Kingdom which transcends this world.   It really puts your mind at ease to realize God's taking care of you and the basic necessities.   You focus on the Kingdom and everything works from there.

 

It's a life that we invite you to this morning.  If you want to give your life to Christ, yes.

He's going to ask some things of you… maybe to put away some things in your life.   That's what repentance is all about.   That's definitely a part of coming to Christ.

What He's really asking from you though, is your heart, your loyalty.  Are you willing to give your heart to Him today?  He doesn’t say to confess Him yesterday, but confess Him for the rest of your life and to give your life wholeheartedly to Him…be committed to Him, committed to His cause, dedicated to the Kingdom and living your life with that in mind.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

 

We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church. 

 

If anybody needs to respond, either to dedicate themselves to Christ and be buried with Him in baptism, or to ask for prayers on their behalf, won’t you come forward as we stand and sing our Invitational song.

 

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Reference Sermon: Joseph Vaughan

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