Luke 11:37-54, Your Religion Needs Work

Luke 11:37-54, Your Religion Needs Work
1. Work On Relating To People Who Disagree (v37-41)
2. Work On A Real Walk With God (v42-44)
3. Work On Releasing The Burdens Of Legalism (v45-46)
4. Work On Receiving All That God Has Revealed (v47-52)
5. Work On Responding To Cross-Examination (v53-54)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Luke 11:37-54, Your Religion Needs Work

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Luke on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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Well, as we look at Luke Chapter 11 this evening, I've titled the Message Your Religion needs work and you need to know that your religion needs work now. Many times as believers today we kind of have a negative connotation with the word religion. And we'll correct each other. You know Christianity is a relationship. It's not a religion. And those kinds of thoughts and sentiments. We need to. Reframe that in our minds sometimes, and remember that religion in its. Self just by itself. The word. The idea is not necessarily bad or wrong and the idea of Christianity being a religion or a relationship it it's not like 1 cancels the other out out. You know the reality is it's a religion of relationship with God. The idea of religion. Can sometimes be just kind of. Captured by the idea of legalism, but that's not really the extent and the only understanding of religion James talks about. I think it's James, or maybe it's John but pure and undefiled religion. It's James, you know, being to care for the widows and and the orphans and those who are in need in that way similar to what we talked about. On Sunday, and so there there is the appropriate place of religion in our lives. The reason why there is this negative connection in our heads many times to religion is because a lot of times religion can just become the form and the outward expression of things and filled with hypocrisy and absence of the actual relationship with God. And where we need to understand the Lord here is that he's calling the people around him not to just abandon all ideas of religion, but to come back to what? Was originally intended and that is religion that is in fellowship with the father. Now in this encounter here in this passage Jesus is interacting with the Pharisees as well as the scribes. These are two groups that are related and we're friends with each other in many ways. They were religious leaders of the. And so as he's interacting with them, he's helping them to understand their religion in some new ways and give some new perspective. And these religious leaders are really beneficial for us. They serve as a good example of what religion can become and the dangers of it, because for every one of us there is this. Possibility this vulnerability to allow religion and our practicing of our relationship with God to just begin to transform into a merely outward religious practice or experience that it's kind of the tendency. It's kind of the danger. It's something that we all have to watch out. For as believers. That we can easily creep into a mode that is very much like the religious leaders of Jesus's day, and so it's very valuable. And Jesus interacts with the religious leaders when he challenges them on things you know especially for I. Don't know if maybe it's. I'm extra sensitive to it having grown up in the church. But like having you know my whole life in religion, I recognize how there's so many parallels, many times to the way that we behave as believers and and the way that the religious leaders were practicing their faith and and their religion as well. We tend towards the practice of religion and so there is the need for us to guard against that. So I could say we could work on that. We could work at that religion that that there is the appropriateness of religion of your relationship with God and there is some form. And function to that relationship with you that he wants you to. Have but also you. Need to work at it. Because, you know, it's like it's often been said if you're not moving forward, you're sliding backwards, right? If your car is not in drive, you're going to be in neutral. You're going to be coasting backwards and and you're going to move backwards. This is the way that religion works for us. If we are not loving God with our heart, soul, mind and strength and moving forward in that. And then we will gravitate towards. Just an empty. Form of religion that is not real relationship with God. Our rules and the way that that religion takes shape is different than the Pharisees, but but also has some many parallels. But what God desires most is that fellowship that relationship, and that includes forms and functions and things that he will tell us to walk in and ways that he will tell us to behave. And so there. Will be religion as you walk with God, but you need to remember that it needs work. You can't just coast in your spiritual life. You can't just rest and and that's it, you know. That you've reached. A certain plateau, a certain level, certain degree. Of Holiness or Christianity, there has to be this ongoing work and effort to walk with God and maintain that real, fervent relationship with God that he desires to have with you. Now all of the things that the religious leaders are challenged on I, I would suggest to you and I'm not going to get into that, but I would suggest that. You could walk backwards 100 years, a few 100 years in the history of the religious leaders, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, you could walk back and see how those things began out of a heart to know God, to please God, to walk with God. Many of the things that Jesus challenged them on. And necessarily bad when they started, but their practice of them. Left them in a position where they did not know God. They did not actually even really desire to know God. They just really wanted to be religious and so their religion needed work just like yours and mine needs work. Sometimes the work needed is repentance and coming out of that. Sometimes it's maintenance that we need to work on moving forward and pursuing so that we don't gravitate towards that empty form of. Pigeon that is so easy to fall into and so we're going to walk through some points here in Chapter 11 of Luke, five points to help us work on our religion and understand what it is that needs to be worked on what we need to be watching out for point #1 starting in verses 37 through 41 work. On relating to people who disagree. This is a good one for us to work on. This is important for us to develop in our lives and perhaps today especially, you know more than other seasons in life or other seasons in our history, we need to work on relating to people who disagree. Verse 37 says this. And as he spoke. A certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. So he went in and sat down. To eat. I'd like you to think about that for a minute. As he spoke, so picture the ministry here that's happening. Jesus is there. He's teaching. He's doing some good miraculous works. The crowd's asking things of him sometimes he's. Granting the request, sometimes he's saying no more signs that that we saw earlier just a few verses before that. He's there, teaching he's ministering. He's been around for a little bit at this point. He's it's not his. You know first day of public ministry, so he's had some interactions with religious leaders before he's gathered the disciples and appointed them. He's sent them out to preach the gospel and prepare the way so so this is not Jesus coming out of obscurity. This is Jesus. Well known teaching ministering. And as he spoke. A certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. So he went in and sat down to eat. I think it's amazing. To consider. That a Pharisee would invite Jesus over for dinner. The Lord has already by this point had some pretty strong encounters with the religious leaders. You remember it was earlier in Luke when there was the man with the withered hand in the synagogue gathering, and they were trying to trap Jesus and after Jesus healed him and kind of proved the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, they went out after church service. They went out to lunch and plotted how they could kill Jesus because they were so frustrated. By him. There, there's already been this kind of clash. These sparks that have flown between the religious leaders and Jesus. But here's this pharisee. He would be 1. In that group. And of course there were many different kinds of Pharisees, and some of them were walking in right fellowship with God, and some of them weren't. I think we could definitely understand that but but here's this guy who generally speaking. His friends, all his buddies all the other Pharisees around him. Have been upset, offended, frustrated. And plotted to kill Jesus. But here's this guy. He said, Jesus. How would you feel about coming over for dinner? Part of this, of course, is cultural. There was a strong hospitality culture, you know amongst them, and so that that could contribute to this. But at the same time, we understand that you look at the rest of the passages. All the other Pharisees. They weren't clamoring to invite Jesus, there wasn't, you know, a dinner every night. That Jesus was invited to you, it was. Something unique here? That this pharisee. Is not one of those Pharisees who is completely right in line with the things of the Lord, because we can see as the. Passage unfolds, the Lord is going to bring some strong words. This guy, his heart is not right with God. He invites Jesus over for dinner. I think this is something interesting to consider because Jesus. Related to people in a way. That even. One who would be perhaps counted as an enemy. Would feel the opportunity. To invite Jesus over for dinner. Would be interested in the opportunity to have Jesus over for dinner. Would would be willing to sit down and have a meal with Jesus. Even though there's been some strong clashes, and even though there's going to be some strong words said in the verses that come. Jesus related to the religious leaders in a way that did not block them off from ever connecting with him. Talking to him, walking with him or even giving him a dinner invitation. Jesus related to the Pharisees. Many times we read through the Gospels and it's like the Pharisees are the villains of the story, right in some ways, and there's appropriate reason for that. The villains of the story. Felt compelled. Felt like they were capable of felt like they. Could invite Jesus over and have him in for dinner. And then you think about how. Amazing that is. Right, that's that's something to think about, but then it says at the end of verse 37, so he. Went in and sat down to eat. Jesus said, OK, sure I'll come over. And you know, if it's amazing for a Pharisee to invite Jesus to dinner, maybe what's even more amazing is for Jesus. To respond to RSVP and say yes, I'm in count me in. I'm going to come down and have some dinner with you. I'll sit down to eat. We can have some good conversation. It would be great. Jesus was willing. To relate to this Pharisee. Even though there was some serious issues, some serious problems even though they were going to disagree, even though there had been clashes and and and clamoring before, even though there had been issues. Jesus behaved himself. He related to people around him, even those. Who were far from God? Even those who could be classified as enemies. They were OK to sit down and have a meal together. You know there's. Not much of that happening in the world around us. There's a lot of animosity between us, even as believers even you know, amongst groups, different churches, different, you know denominations or different doctrinal positions. There there can. Be so often such tension and drama between us. As brothers not even just us and. Our enemies, right, but. I think what Jesus is showing us here that there is a type of religion where we are walking with God in a in a way that we are able. To relate to. To connect with. People around us even who could be counted as our enemies. Work on relating to people who disagree. This is. Jesus here, setting the example for us. It doesn't mean he compromised the truth. And we'll see that as we move forward, let's go ahead and jump into verse 30. Eight, when the Pharisees. Saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed before dinner the 1st. He didn't marvel at Jesus came over. That wasn't really a surprise. I invited Jesus to dinner, he came. But what else would happen, right? But what? What this Pharisee marveled at is the way that Jesus sat down to eat. Now, I'm not going to get into the details of their washing ceremony, but this is not about hygiene. This isn't that you know Jesus had been working out in the garage, and so his hands were dirty. And then he just sat down and started eating the chicken, you know, and touching it with his greasy hands. Like that's not what's happening here. There there was a ceremonial washing, a particular formula that they would. Although and it was part of their expression of. Religion and they felt that if I didn't wash in this particular way, if I didn't do it just right and and follow this procedure, that God would not be pleased that I would be out of fellowship with God, that I wasn't quite holy. You know that there would be this breaking of their religious traditions, and So what is happening here in verse 38? As the Pharisee is marveling that Jesus is not practicing the religious traditions. And so they're going to have a disagreement because he's, like, you can't do that. You can't just sit down and eat without doing the proper ceremonial washing. Now it's not exactly the same, but you know, sure, you've had that experience where you're the one who. Sits down amongst a bunch of other Christians and you start eating before the group prays right and then everybody just kind of looks. At you like what is. Wrong with you, you can't. Eat before you pray. Are you some kind of heathen? What's what's your problem? Of course, over the years we've developed some understandings because sometimes not everybody gets their food at the same time, and so we've decided it's OK. God doesn't mind if you eat your fries before you pray. That's OK, you just can't eat your hamburger. Before you pray, wait till everybody gets their hamburgers and then you pray and then it's OK to dig into whatever. God wants you to have hot fries. That's the moral of that. That that lesson there. But but we have our own ceremonies, right? We have our own kind of things like that one so so here he is. Looking at this and he's thinking. What is wrong with Jesus? He didn't wash? He must not be right with God. He must not be holy. Look at how terrible he is because he didn't practice the right ritual before dinner. And the Lord knows what's going on in his heart and verse 39 the Lord said to him. Now you Pharisees, make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Jesus draws a very clear illustration here exactly based on what's happening. You didn't wash your hands. You must not be right with God. That's a terrible thing. How could you be? You know, such a vile person in my home. So Jesus says, well, let's think about dishes. The way that you guys approach religion. Is like washing the outside of the dish but never applying any soap or scrubbing to the inside of the dish. So you spend a lot. Of time cleaning and polishing the outside so it looks really good. But inside it's gross. It's full of greed and wickedness. I think you could imagine it's not hard to imagine right? What if you adopted this? For a week you only wash the outside of your dishes you know, see, see what your food is like at the end of the week. See what your appetite is like at the end of the. Week it it would make you sick. To have all of that junk and gunk. Inside your dishes. That's not a good thing, and. That's what the Lord is saying. You guys are doing it wrong. You're so focused on the outside, you're missing the heart. You have the outward form that religion part, but but there's no work on the inside. No work on the relationship with God. Foolish ones, he says in verse 40. Did not he who made the outside make? The inside also. But rather give alms of such things as you have, and then indeed all things are. Clean to you. It's foolish the word foolish means. This doesn't make sense guys. It's without reason senseless. Without reflection, you haven't thought this through all the way is what? Jesus is saying. And I think that's. An interesting approach to take. Jesus is addressing. The problem that this guy is having towards the Lord and his. Not washing before the meal and. He says. I wonder if you've thought this. All the way through. I don't think you've really applied this logic and and thought through to the end what this means. God created the outside. He also created the inside. So don't think that you can wash the outside and fool God about what's happening on the inside. No, the Lord sees your heart and so you can't wash on the outside and think, OK, I'm right with God because look how clean my hands are. That doesn't reflect the cleanliness of your heart. The Lord sees both, and so it's foolish you haven't thought it through. If you're practicing things outwardly but leaving these. Issues within your heart. You're not thinking correctly. It's foolish to do that because in doing so, you're. Thinking that you can fool God. You can fool people by washing the outside, washing your hands. You can fool yourself by washing your hands by cleaning the outside, but. You can't fool God. That doesn't make sense. You haven't thought this through. All the way and.

I think this is.

Something for us to pay attention to. I think there are sometimes sometimes things in our lives, things that we as believers talk about, hold to and practice that we just haven't thought through all the way. And and sometimes we need. To work on. That and thinking through things. All the way in understanding that. The realities of what we're saying in those tenants that we hold on to so tightly. But I think Jesus here sets a model for us. Here's something to work on in our religion, work on relating to people who disagree. Being the kind of person that even someone who might be classified as an enemy could say, hey. Would you come over for dinner? You want to go grab a bite to have a meal for a moment so you know. Would you be willing to? To take a few moments and have a conversation. That you would be approachable and and. Able to be. Related to by people around you. And also. Be able to sit. Down with them and have a conversation about things you disagree about. And and not, you know, sometimes those conversations. Are really, you know, terrible in the course that they take and like we get frustrated with one another and so then we just start name calling. We start shutting out completely. We start just, you know, breaking off the relationship. And we're not. We're not able to just talk through things. Listen, we can have really strong and serious disagree. Comments and still be able to have conversations. I think this is something that we need to watch out for when our religion when we get so you know, worked up because someone defiled something that we hold so precious. That then we're not able to have a conversation about it then, then we're in a. A position that. Perhaps we need to work on our religion. And follow the example of Jesus. Now that doesn't mean we accept everything that we just put up with. Everything you know. There's there's some balance to this, but I think we could all use some effort in that direction that that there is room for us to grow in. Being relatable to the people around us, even those or perhaps even especially those. Who disagree with us well? I need to move on, otherwise I won't make it through the rest of the passage. So verses 42 through 44 gives us point #2 work on a real walk with God. Work on a real walk with God. Here Jesus is going to really give some strong words to this Pharisee who's invited him over for dinner and the Pharisees as a group collectively in calling them to a real walk with God, verse 42 says. But woe. To you Pharisees. For you tithe mint and Roux and all manner of herbs and pass by justice. And the love of God. These you ought to have done without leaving the others undone. Woe to you Pharisees for you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Would he use scribes and Pharisees hypocrites? For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them. Here Jesus gives 3 woes. To these religious leaders. To those who are practicing this outward but empty religion. First, she talks about tithing. The tithe, he says. Mint and Rue in all manner of herbs. This is Jesus saying look, you're very particular. You go out to your garden and you're counting seeds to make sure that you. Get every little. Detail right in that regard. But at the same time you pass by justice. And the love of God. So you're you're. Super focused on this minute detail of this one aspect. Of the law. But you're completely ignoring these other huge things that God wants you to pay attention to. Now justice and love are two important things, and we could spend a lot of time talking. About them But but I would call your attention. To here is his, he says, justice and. The love of God. The love of God. That is loving God. That is their love towards God. They didn't love God is what Jesus is saying. They they weren't walking in a relationship with God. They ignored the idea of connecting with God, knowing God, loving God, having fellowship and relationship with God. They they passed by that. But they were very particular and very careful to make sure they counted all the herbs in their garden to make sure that they tied it. 10% of those. Now Jesus says. The tithing part of it. That's right, that's appropriate. You can do that, that's great. But but you can't do that and leave the other stuff undone. You can't do that and neglect a real relationship with God and and pursuing the love of God. Knowledge of God, the pursuing, the heart of God. You're not redeemed by. Your particular Ness to counting every penny and tithing on it. You're redeemed? Your religion is based on your fellowship with God. And and the Lord. Might lead you to do some counting of verbs, and of course respond and. Walk with the Lord in that. But but you can't do the outside and neglect the rest and think that that's good, that that's enough. That's not a real walk with God. That's hypocrisy. That's putting on the outward outward the external, but not really having a heart towards God. He calls out another issue in verse 43 he says you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. What they really loved about their? Religion was the attention that they got. They loved the best seats in the synagogue. Now the best seats in the synagogue were were not like front row seats in a theater, or you know a center field on a. There you go. I was trying to think of, you know, my sports is not great but. Those are different kinds of best seats, right? The religious leaders, the best seats in the synagogues were considered the seats that were visible. For everybody else, not where you could see the whole thing and have good view, but where everybody could see you. Those were the best seats as far as they were concerned, and so the the best seats were on the platform. Now we used to have this, not. I mean not. We like right here but but it used to be not too long ago. A generation before where there would be. Seats on a church platform and there would be people who would sit, you know, on the stage during the service and participate in various ways throughout the the different parts of the service. That was a pretty common thing, a normal thing and and not necessarily a bad thing, but I think for us who haven't grown up in. That it's kind of a weird thing, right? Like would would you want to like if I put a chair up here you would be like? I'll yeah, I'll just sit here and let everybody look at me. The whole service like no, that's that's unusual for us, but. The religious leaders wanted that they desired that they wanted to be the center of attention. Now we might feel weird about having a chair on stage and being there, but of course you know we have our own other ways of being the center of attention and getting peoples eyes on us and wanting to have that kind of recognition and praise from people around us. It's not that the whole idea is foreign to us, it's just this. Particular form of it. But they loved the outside. They loved the praise, the recognition, the honor that people would give them. He says you love the best seats. Remember you don't love God. In the previous verse, but here's what you do. Love you love people to praise you and to greet you and to be, you know, over the top and elaborate in their greetings. And giving you that honor and prestige that you desire. The issue is not in the seat itself or the greetings. But that's what they loved. That's what they lived for, and that's what they got up in the morning for that's what they looked forward to all day for. For those moments, those. Times of recognition and praise. Pastor David Guzik puts it this way. These people thought it was no good to be walking right with God if others didn't know they were walking right with God. Like it's not what's the use. If I walk with God. If other people don't know how tight I am with God, you know, and how good our relationship is and how things are going and what the thing what the Lord showed me and. You know it it's. Not really valuable if other people don't know. And it reflects a heart that is, well not involved in any real walk with God. In Matthew Chapter 5 in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught a few different ways about this idea of that personal private relationship with God. Pray in secret fast in secret. Give in secret that that there was to be this focus on pleasing the Lord more than pleasing people around us. Well, next we go to verse 44, woe to you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. For you are like graves which are. Not seen and the men who walk over. Them are not aware of them. He calls them hypocrites. Now this is a word that was used to describe an actor and they would put on a mask in the play to impersonate a character. They were being hypocritical that was in the good sense that they were putting on a show and taking on a character taking on a persona. For the sake of the play. That was going on. Well, Jesus here is saying the religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. Their lives are putting on a show that they're not performing for entertainment value, but they are performing. They're they're presentation of themselves to the world around them was just a show. It was a fake thing. It wasn't the reality, but there was a mask. Hiding what was really happening within and so Jesus compares it then and gives the illustration of graves which are not seen. Now there's some Jewish culture background to this that helps us to understand what the Lord is saying here that they were to mark their graves so that people would be able to identify there's a grave there and not defile themselves by coming in contact with the grave numbers. Chapter 19. They're 16. The Lord lays out this uncleanness for seven days. When you know you come in contact with a a dead body, the bone of a person or a grave. And so there was this requirement that God had set this separation from do not be engaged with things that are dead and then just go about life. As usual, there was to be this ceremonial uncleanness for seven days, and so they would clearly mark the graves so that you wouldn't be walking through the field and accidentally walk over someone's grave. And you know, suddenly be defiled. And So what Jesus is saying here is, you're like graves, which are not seen. They're not marked, they're not visible, and so you have people. Coming in contact, they're not aware of it. They're defiled, but they don't know it. And so the reality is, Jesus is saying you guys have this grave, this wickedness, this disease, this decay within. But you've got a. Really good mask on so people are coming in contact with you. They're having conversations with you. They're making deals with you. They're making plans with you, they're they're interacting with you, and they they can't see how messed. Up you really are. You're hiding your corruption. And so people are being defiled. They're being impacted. They're being affected. Because you're hiding the truth. About who you really are. And so Jesus says your religion needs work. You need to work on a real walk with God to move away from the hypocrisy, the faking it, the, the falsehood, the mask that we hide behind and work on being genuine and real. Having a real pursuit of the love of God. Having a desire to please God more than pleasing others than the praise and recognition of others, but really putting God first in our lives. That's part of our religion that we need to work on. We're moving on to verses 45 and 46. We get point #3 Work on releasing the burdens of legalism. Verse 45 and 46 say. Then one of. The lawyers answered and said to him, teacher by saying these things you reproach us also. And he said, woe to you, also lawyers for you load men with burdens, hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. This is kind of a funny interaction, right? The lawyer says, Jesus, I'm I'm sure you didn't mean to because you know, I know you understand how great we are but us scribes US lawyers. The way that you're talking to the religious leaders, the Pharisees. Like that like that. Kind of spills over. On us too. And I I'm sure you don't mean to. Defend us and and kind of slander our names you know, and the things that you're saying. You're kind of approaching us to you're, you know you're going a little bit. A little bit crazy there in your correction and kind of went white like I get I. I'm on your side, Jesus this pharisee like he really you you you need to tell him and put him back in his place. That's right, that's right, but but you kind. Of went too wide and you. Hit me too and and I'm. Not a fan of that and I'm sure you didn't intend that because I'm pretty great. So the lawyer responds. Teacher, you're approaching us also. And Jesus says. Oh, did you think I wasn't trying to talk? I was let me just make it more clear here won't to you. Also no, I am including you Jesus is saying. Part of the problem here, lawyers, you think you're great because you're a lawyer. Now, lawyers for them were different than lawyers. For us. They were experts in the law of God. Not in you. Know the social law like the the civil law. So they would teach and interpret the. Mosaic law And they were supposed to be experts in helping people apply the scriptures to their life. The Pharisees were practicing what the lawyers told them to practice. They they were living out the things that were, you know, instructed of them by the lawyers. And so the lawyer thinks, hey, I'm the expert on. The Law of God. Surely you don't mean to speak against me. Surely I can't be part of this group that. You're addressing here. But Jesus says no woe to you, also lawyers. And here he addresses the issue of legalism. Now again, legalism and religion can go hand in hand, but again. We can't just. Reduce the idea of religion to only you know the negative connotation that we might. Have of it. Legalism though is. Negative, there's not a another positive version of it, it is. A focus. On enforcing the rules, laws and ceremonies. With the ignoring of. The heart and the spirit. Of what God has said. And desires. And so legalism, again, it's part of the thing that we can often gravitate towards, and we can find ourselves in. It doesn't usually happen. You know, like a willful choice, that we decide I'm going to be legalistic from now on. It's usually. Really, something that we slip into many times because we have good intentions we we want to develop and grow. And so oftentimes we think you know, in order to deal with this issue in my life, I need to really make a strong commitment here and be devoted to and make sure that I always do this. And never do that, and so we develop our own laws. Accidentally and we can find ourselves caught up in legalism. And so this is what happened. Again, I. I think you can kind of track the legalism of the religious leaders back couple 100 years and find you know they were probably trying to help people there was there was a good motivation there but. It degrades pretty fast when you start. To make laws. Because, well, laws cannot change the heart and cannot. Cause you to. Be the man or woman that God wants you to be and. That you want to be. And so he says, woe to you lawyers, for you load men with burdens, hard to bear. This is what legalism does. It it loads us down. So then there's a weight. Life is heavy. Life is hard because there's all of these things to do. Burdens to carry. It weighs us down and brings misery to us when we're caught up in legalism. He says you do this to people and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. You do this to people and you don't provide any help. You do this to people and you don't even submit to the own to the to the same rules and laws that you're. Throwing at the people around you, there's many examples, of course, of the burdens that they brought upon the people. Just one example that we've seen recently is the healing on the Sabbath. The guy with the withered hand, you know that you could see the burden there. You can't even heal somebody you can't even work miraculously in the power of God on the Sabbath day, like you know that the people were under this heavy burden of you have to practice. All of these things just so in order to have right standing and to be accepted in society and in culture. It was a heavy burden that Legalism brought. Really what it's doing is it's adding to the clear instruction of. God's word. It's what the religious leaders did in Jesus's day, but it wasn't limited to that time. This still happens. It happens in churches. It happens in denominations. It happens in families. It happens to each of us individually where we take something beyond what God has clearly said and we make it a law. We give it equal weight to the. Law of God. And there are times where we turn our likes into our laws that my preference becomes the law it becomes. You know what I must do and what makes it, even when it becomes even worse is when I take my preference and I say that's what everybody else must do. That's how everybody else must be and try to force other people into the legalism. That I've developed for myself. And so we develop our own legalism. Our own burdens around things like alcohol, movies, television, prayer, Bible study, dress speech. Diet worship votes. I mean, we have all kinds of legalism where we make laws. We give them the same weights as the word of God, but they're not things actually that God has said, and we say these are things that I must do. These are things that others must do in order to be pleasing. To God. And it's a burden. And so Jesus says, woe to you lawyers. For putting this burden on. But he goes on to say in verse 46 you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Now this could be understood in a couple of ways. 11 way is to understand that you're giving them these burdens, but you're not helping them to relieve those burdens. You're just letting them try to fulfill that on their own, letting them scramble for themselves, but. From the. Rest of the interactions that we see with the religious leaders there's there's another way to understand this, and that is that they did not touch the burdens themselves because the way that they taught and applied the law allowed loopholes for themselves. So, so the idea of Corban, you might remember that when Jesus said you know anything that you know, you might benefit from me is Corban. It's devoted to the Lord. That's what Pharisees religious leaders would tell their. Parents to relieve themselves of the obligation of providing for those who are in need, their parents who. Had provided for them earlier. But now I'm not going. To provide for you, because everything that. I have is devoted to the Lord and so unfortunately Mom Dad. I can't help you out. It can't be used for I can. Use it, I can go. To jack-in-the-box with it, but. I can't buy. You dinner, I'm sorry it's it's devoted to the Lord. And so they they, in their legalism, developed these loopholes for themselves to relieve themselves and escape from the burdens that they were placing on everybody else. And Matthew chapter 23, verse 3 Jesus tells the common people, he says. What describes, and the lawyers tell you to observe. Observe and do it, but don't do according to their works for they say and do not do so. They would teach the law and of course their traditions and things on top of the law. But but they would not themselves seek to practice the law. They found loopholes and ways out for themselves. Not to do the things that God had actually said, and so they're requiring things that God had not said. By people, while meanwhile they worked out ways for themselves to avoid doing the things that God had actually said, and so it's a heavy burden. This legalism that they practice and they brought upon others. For us We need to work on this. We need to work on releasing the burdens of legalism. Legalism can develop and creep up in our lives and and start to become a heavy. Right upon us, and it's going to take some effort. We're going to have to deliberately make sure check our hearts, check our practices to see that what we are doing and what we're holding to aligns with the word of God, that that we're not taking our preferences and our thoughts and what we want and giving that. Equal wheat as the word of God and so work on releasing the burdens of legalism for yourself. You know, sometimes we do this. We see this very often in, for example, the Bible reading plan. Not so much with the three-year plan, it's a. Little bit lighter. And it's not. As hard to follow. But many times people would start the one year Bible plan with us many years. Ago and and then there would just it was just this burden of legalism that would. Come with it, it's like this. Heavy weight and so I started telling people and. I still tell people. Listen, commit to a Bible reading plan. But never try to catch up when you miss days when you miss weeks never let it go. It's gone. Because not because you can't have any value or God can't speak to you in those things, but because there's this burden of legalism where it's like I can't read the Bible today because I'm three days behind and I don't have an hour to sit here and to catch up, and so I can't read today because I didn't read yesterday or the day before or the day before. And now there's this heavy burden, and so I'm not going to read tomorrow, because now. I need an hour and 15 minutes and then the day after that I need an hour and a half to catch up and then I need an hour and 45 minutes the next day. And so there's this crushing weight of. Legalism and so people would start. Out great, I'm going to. Read the whole Bible in a year. It's going to be amazing. And two weeks in. It's like I'm so far behind I'm never gonna catch up. I just gotta quit because there's so much guilt over this. Burden that I have this legal isn't. That's not how God wants it to be, no. Just let it go if you miss. The day listen. You already missed what God wanted to say to you on that day anyways, so just let it go and start today. Work on releasing those kinds of burdens. Those kinds of. Things that keep you away from God because. You feel like I didn't measure up. I didn't do the right thing, and you know? And so it. Drives you away from the Lord, that's not. From the Lord. God's always driving you back towards him. And so it's a clear indication that there's some legalism that there's a burden that has developed listen relating to God is easy. God has designed it to be easy to relate. To him, it's grace. For crying out loud like. Like how much easier can it beat? Not have works, lest anyone should boast it's by grace and and he designed it this way. Paul says in Romans it it was designed to be by faith so that it could be according to grace, so that it could be accessible. To anyone. Now God may call us to do some very hard things in life. He may call us to walk through some very hard seasons, but relating to God, knowing God, walking with. God, that's always easy. That's what Jesus taught right in Matthew Chapter 11. Come to me if you're weary and and heavy laden. If you have these burdens. I will give. You rest. My yoke is easy, my burden is light. It's easy to talk to Jesus. It's easy to pursue Jesus. It's easy to know Jesus. You don't have to work hard to get him to finally let you. You know have a conversation or submit a prayer request or call out to him or experience his work in your life. You don't have to, you know, reach some impressive level of spirituality or Bible knowledge. We need to work on relieving the burdens you know. Sometimes we lay burdens on people, ourselves or others around us. That are just not from the Lord. People show up at church and they haven't been here for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks. And so we lay on the burden where you should have been here weeks ago where. Have you been what? Is wrong with you. You know? Like what are you doing? It's easy. Welcome back. That's what the Lord says. Here's to say, good. You're finally here. Let me scold you about all the ways that you've messed. Up that's not. The way the Lord works. Welcome back, glad you're here. Sure we missed out on some things. I got some. Great things ahead though, so stay here. Stay with us, you know, stay, stay with what the Lord is doing. Work on releasing the burdens of legalism, moving on to verses 47 through 52, we get point #4 And that is work on receiving all that God has revealed work on receiving all that God has revealed this one's interesting. Verse 47 says woe to. You for you build the tombs of the prophets and your fathers killed them. In fact, you bear witness that you approved the deeds of your fathers, for they indeed killed them and you build their tombs. The Lord here got on a little bit of a tomb kick, right? Talking about them as tombs, but now talking about the tombs of the prophets, and then also the tombs of their fathers. So two sets of tombs here in point #4 and verses 47 through 52. The tombs of the prophets and Jesus here is highlighting the fact that throughout Israel's history, prophets have not been well received. The prophets have always had a hard. Life hard time. Because the prophets. Were called to minister to rebellious people and they were called to bring, you know, to announce the need for repentance, to declare their issues and call them to turn and get right with God, and so that was not a popular thing throughout all of Israel's history, prophets. Were persecuted. Very few celebrated very few were welcomed and and you know, blessed by all of the people. The majority of the prophets suffered greatly because they were called to ministered to people. Who were rebellious? Stephen, the first martyr of the church. In acts Chapter 7, verse 52 challenge the religious leaders. Saying which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? Can you find one example that was not persecuted? By our heritage. By our legacy. They were all killed. They were all persecuted. There's a dangerous line of work. There were messengers of God. And Israel killed them. And so Jesus says, woe to you for you. Build the tombs. Of the prophets and your fathers killed them now. They would build the tombs of the prophets just to make up an example. Ooh, the prophet Isaiah. Here's his tomb. You know it's not really a fancy tomb. It's not very nice. Let's let's build a better tomb for ice. I mean, Isaiah was such a powerful prophet of the Lord. Let's build something magnificent for Isaiah. I have no idea if they actually built a tomb for Isaiah. I'm just making up. An example, but but this. Is the idea they were building and beautifying the tombs of the prophets? All the while thinking you. Know if I was in Isaiah DI, would have heard Isaiah's message. I would have received it. I would have honored him. Just the way I'm honoring him now. But the Lord saying, you're just like your fathers. You would have rejected him. As demonstrated by your rejection of Jesus. And So what they're actually doing in building the tombs of the prophets is they were bringing on a stricter accountability upon themselves. You're investing all this time in the. Prophet Isaiah's ministry. And so you're clearly saying, I know and understand about Isaiah's ministry. I've read his book. I've heard his words. And I reject it and regard my own ideas as better. But I want to. Make his tomb beautiful like that's the idea they're they're acknowledging. They're esteeming the prophets, but ignoring the message they're saying, yes, I know the prophets. I've heard the message. I know what they say. But I have a different path and I want to walk that and so woe to you for you build the. Tombs of the prophets. But you're like your fathers who killed them. And in fact, Jesus says you bear witness that you approved the deeds of your fathers for they killed them and you build their tombs. So OK, so now it's not Isaiah we're talking about, but it's the guy who killed Isaiah and you're also honoring him alright. Here's the king who killed Isaiah, and so we are, you know, honoring him and building his tomb and and giving him a a noteworthy place. The new living translation puts the verse this way. In fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets and you join in their crime by building the monuments. You build the monuments of those who. Killed the prophets. You esteem the prophets, but you also esteemed those who killed them again. It's all outward. It's all fake. It's not real. And so the tombs of the prophets. The tombs of the fathers. Show that you continually reject what it is that God has said. Verse 49 therefore, the wisdom of God also said I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will. Kill and persecute. That the blood of all the prophets which just shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. As I say. To you it shall be required of this generation. God knew that the prophets would have a hard time that they. Would suffer and be persecuted. But he still sent them. The message still needed to go out, some would receive, some would repent. And so it. Was worth it, but but here's what Jesus saying. Think about from A-Z, the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah. From the very beginning, Genesis 4 to the last Prophet killed chronologically. Second chronicles Chapter 24 is zechariah's, and so here is from A-Z. The prophets have been killed and Jesus says all the prophets in between. Even starting at the beginning in the. Book of Genesis with. Abel, their blood will be required of this generation. Because all of those prophets spoke of Jesus. And now, as this generation that Jesus is addressing rejects Jesus, they're rejecting all the messages of every prophet that has gone before them. Now here's what's really interesting. To think about with that. Would you think that today you are less accountable than the people of Jesus's day? I would suggest we're not less accountable. It wasn't that it was like that generation is especially guilty of the blood of Abel through Zechariah. We are all accountable for everything that God has said and recorded. We're just as accountable and more. We have further revelation further understanding of Jesus. Further writings of prophets like Peter and James and Paul. We have more revelation from God. Listen, we are more accountable than the religious leaders. Because God has revealed so much, and so that's why I make the point. Work on receiving all. That God has. Revealed we can like the religious leaders esteem the word of God and ignore the message we can esteem. You know those who have gone before but ignore what God has. Delivered through them. He says in verse 52, woe to you, lawyers for you've taken away the key of knowledge you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering, and you hindered. The lawyers set themselves up as the only ones who were capable and qualified to understand the scriptures, and so they missed out. They completely missed the point. Laying these burdens and being distracted by all the legalism rejecting what God had revealed. And they convinced everybody else around them. You can't understand the scriptures on your own. You need me to explain it to you, and so you hindered others and you did not yourself. Make it in. I quote from Pastor Warren Wisby a lot. He's a great Bible commentator, pastor, and teacher. Here's something he says about this idea. He says it's helpful and necessary as theological studies are the most important requirements for Bible study are a yielded heart and an obedient will. Some of the. Best Bible teachers I've known in my own ministry were men and women who have learned the truth of God's word on their knees and on the battlefield of life. They were spirit taught, not man taught. We need to work. On our knees. On the battlefield of. Life to receive all that God has revealed. Work through the whole Council. Psalm 1. Meditate on it day and night. Joshua one. Meditate on it. Day and night. Second, Timothy, to you. Be diligent to present yourself to prove to God a worker does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth we need. To work. Engaging with what God has revealed and receiving it and letting it impact and make a difference. In our lives. Well, the final point. We'll just touch on this briefly point #5 work on responding to cross examination in verse 53 and 54. Here's what it. Says and as he said these things. To them, the scribes and the Pharisees. Began to assail him vehemently, and to cross examine him about many things lying in wait for him and seeking to catch him in something he might say that they. Might accuse him. Cross examination statement is made. Now someone comes and questions it right? We can be quite. Offended when this happens to us? I would suggest to you going back to point #1 working on relating to people who disagree. Jesus maintained that. But you know who didn't do greats being cross examined, the scribes and Pharisees. They they responded. Like we often respond. And they began to assail him vehemently. You dummy, you're ignorant. What do you know? And they were trying to trap him there, trying to pressure him. They were lying and wait for him. They were attacking him. They made it personal. They were trying to kill him. They they. Went on the attack because how dare he question something that they might think or believe or understand or teach? I think we need to develop. Some really thick skin. And Workman responded to cross examination. It's OK. If questions are asked, it's OK for us to have some real discussion. We need to be not so easily offended like these religious leaders. And now go on the offensive. Go on the attack. And make it. Personal and you know, want to inflict harm on somebody because they. Don't see things the same way they have questions about what we say, what we believe, what we think, what we're doing. We need to be able to. Behave like Jesus. There's no record of what Jesus does exactly here. It just says they're on the attack. But notice the implication. He's responding, he's interacting with it like they're trying to trap him. The conversation goes on. We don't know the details of it, but it continues on and Jesus is he's not flipping his lid. He's not, you know. Now in the flesh and say like I'm you know so frustrated with you guys. And this is not when he starts throwing tables around like that's a different scene. That's a a righteous indignation, right like? He's able to take some fire. He's able to take this attack. He's able to handle it. Respond graciously. Honestly, truthfully, sharing the truth in love. Good example. Of what it looks like real religion. Fellowship with God. It's not fragile. It's not so you know. Such a brittle thing that oh man, a question just breaks the whole thing apart. Now if that's the way that your religion works, your religion needs work. And so this evening here, looking at Luke Chapter 11, I encourage you to work on relating to people who disagree. It's something we need to get better at we. Need to do well. Like Jesus related to you and was. Invited by an enemy a Pharisee to dinner because that enemy, even though he disagreed with Jesus and knew Jesus disagree with him. He knew he could have a meal. He knew he could invite him over and Jesus would come to dinner. He was relatable, he was accessible and approachable. We're kind of real walk with God. Don't just be working on the outward the form just looking good. Putting on the show. Work on releasing the burdens of legalism when you get caught up and weigh down Ohhh man's relationship with God is so hard. You you've you've. Gone astray somewhere there's there's some things that are out of line, yes, life gets hard but relating to God and knowing God and walking with God. That's easy. Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is like. Work on receiving all that God has revealed, not just picking and choosing you're accountable for every word in the Bible. You're accountable for everything that God has said and recorded. For us, you're accountable for it. You're more accountable than the religious leaders were in Jesus's day because you have much more revelation and much more opportunity, much more accessibility. Work on receiving that work on developing a walk with God that receives from him through his word and lets it impact your life and your heart and the. Way that you behave. And then work on responding to cross examination. As you walk through all that and there's serious questions and attacks and it's OK. Work on being able. To be criticized. To be questioned to be slandered. And then not jumping into the flesh to try to resolve it. But instead walking in the spirit. Demonstrating the love and patience and grace of God to the world around us. Lord, we thank you. For the way that you relate to us and how your example is here for us to to set the pattern to teach us how you want us to live, to behave, and to make an impact in the world around us. Lord, I pray that you. Would lead us by your spirit. Make us more like you help us Lord to work. On a religion that honors you that knows you that is fulfilling and pleasing to you. We pray this in Jesus name Amen.