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Luke 16:14-15 “And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”
The preaching of Jesus Christ is always based upon truth - truth that exposes the hearts of men; for this cause the Pharisees could not stand the preaching and teaching of Jesus. The truth of Christ’s teaching (a truth that undermined the works and ways of man) was the main reason the Pharisees crucified Christ.
The Pharisees presented a godly impression before others, but in actual fact they were consumed with themselves. The Pharisees loved possession and position, and did not want anyone interrupting their lifestyle. Their lifestyle proved what was in their hearts. God knew that the Pharisees put on a show to look good before the eyes of men. God knew that they had no heart for the truth. Luke 16:15 "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men..."
May God help us not to say and do the right thing simply to justify our ungodly living. God knows each of our hearts. We can put up a front with each other but not with God. God knows whether we are truly surrendered or just living a covetous, convenient Christianity.
The Pharisees heard Jesus and began to feel convicted, but instead of responding for good, they chose to reject the Truth. Luke 16:14 "...and they derided him."
The Word "derided" means “they turned up the nose at him.” Wow! They had a proud look toward Christ, who was only trying to help them see their disposition. Our reaction toward the Word of God will determine whether we really love the truth.
1Thess. 5:20 "Despise not prophesyings."
We must not treat the preaching of God's Word lightly. When God's Word is preached or read, it is to be adhered to with great seriousness and attention. We are to be ready to respond and not react.
We are instructed to love all aspects of preaching – rebuking, exhorting, reproving, and doctrine. The doctrines of "creation, prophecy, and eternal security" can excite us, but what we do with them determines how we behave. We can learn to submit to and obey the Creator God who is sovereign over all things. We can occupy in the Gospel till the Lord comes again. We can be content and thankful to the Lord because He has written our names in heaven.
The Bible is filled with the promises and blessings of God, but it is also rich with divine instruction in righteousness. We must receive both gladly. Our convicted hearts can either be humbled and respond, or be proud and walk away. Remember the account of the woman who was caught in adultery? She responded and fell at the feet of Jesus, but the others turned their back on the truth.
John 8:9 "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."
The same is true of the two thieves on the cross. One humbled himself and cried out to the Lord, while the other, moved with pride, died with no hope.
The way we respond to the truth of God's Word can either help us or hurt us. No matter how we feel or what we think, God's Word will always prevail; so it is better for us not to resist it as we hear it.
Luke 16:17 "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail."
Psalm 119:164-165 "Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
As we hear the Word of God week in and week out, let us have hearts like Ezra, hearts that are prepared to receive the Word of God so we can be changed by it, to live for God's glory, and not to live a covetous lifestyle.
Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”
Keep praying for each other.
2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears"
The Apostle Paul warns Timothy that there will come a time when people will not tolerate sound, divine teaching; but because of their lustful desire will follow after teachers that will tickle ears by preaching and teaching things that justify lustful, selfish living. They will even twist the Word of God to do it.
The most popular verses and messages people love to hear are those relating to personal blessings and possessions. But the unpopular verses and messages are those relating to separation, sacrifice, and surrender. People love to hear about the love of God, but when it comes to the Holiness of God and the righteousness of God they shy away. People love to hear about what God has sacrificed for them, but when it comes to sacrificing something for God it is hard to the ears. You will notice the loudest Amen’s are when we pray giving thanks for our food, but when a message is given on fasting it is usually shot down as a religious tradition that is only practiced by legalistic religious people.
The Christ-like life is all about Sacrifice and Surrender to the will of God. The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation is all about living to submit to the ways of God and striving to be like God.
Proverbs 6:23 “… and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
We are living in that “time” – the time when fewer and fewer people want to hear convicting and challenging messages, and instead labeling them as negative preaching. They are more comfortable in hearing positive messages that only appeals to fleshy and carnal nature. However, God gives us a reason why people turn away their ears from sound divine teachings.
2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts…”
They give in to their lustful ways. Instead of fearing God, obeying the Scriptures, and changing their ways, they would rather listen to a teacher that changes the Word of God to fit their comfortable, unholy lifestyle. They love themselves too much; so therefore they despise preaching that challenges them to live fully and wholeheartedly for God. They are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
Paul is encouraging Timothy and every preacher not to change the message to fit-in with people’s lifestyle, but rather to PREACH THE WORD as it is.
2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
Someone once said “We preach the Bible as it is; to men and women as they are.” “In season, out season…” At all times, and in every season, just PREACH THE WORD! whether people want to hear or don’t, whether you feel like it or don’t, JUST PREACH THE WORD as it is; and we as listeners that are disciples and students of the Word must endure sound, divine teachings that are the whole counsel of God’s HOLY Word. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 “Quench not the Spirit. Vs 20 Despise not prophesyings.”
Philippians 3:18-21 "(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: vs 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) vs 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: vs 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."