April 18, 2021

Religion and Hidden Sin

Passage: Luke 11:37-54
Service Type:


  • Looking at religious hypocrisy
    • Can often give a good impression but harbour many hidden sins
    • God will judge the religious hypocrite - whether in this or the next life
    • Sometimes a religious hypocrites cover is blown and this can lead others to mock
    • This brings great sadness to the Church of Jesus Christ
    • This can damage the faith of weak believers
  • Jesus deals with religious hypocrisy differently
    • Consider how Jesus treats the sinner in the streets vs the religious leaders
    • He pronounces woes against the religious leaders
    • What would God have thought of the funeral yesterday?
  • The passage in context:
    • Jesus invited for a meal in a pharisee's house
    • Perhaps Jesus saw this as an opportunity to speak against their religious hypocrisy
    • Jesus did not obey the religious customs
      • Example - ceremonial hand washing
    • Jesus know what the pharisee was thinking - v38
      • Jesus speaks into the situation
  • Jesus speaks against three sins:
    • The sin of inward miserliness
    • The sin of outward show
    • The sin of corporate oppression

The sin of inward miserliness

  • The pharisees loved to impress others
    • Examples
    • They were very good at covering up their inner life
  • Jesus did not follow their outward show - v39
    • The pharisees should have known the Scriptures:
      • Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart
    • Jesus had said that sins proceed from the heart
    • Jesus told them it is what comes out of a man that defiles (not what goes in)
  • Can you imagine saying this to your host?
    • The Greek word for 'greed' means robbery and extortion
    • Examples
  • Jesus showed them to be unclean
    • v40-41
    • Gives alms from within - charity, pity and kindness
    • You need a changed heart and transformation on the inside
    • Giving to the poor does not automatically you clean
    • Salvation is by faith and not by works
    • A changed heart will affect you outwardly
  • God knows our hearts
    • What are we like?
    • Questions
  • Tithing
    • Jesus says that the pharisees should tithe
      • But they had lost perspective and gone beyond the law of God
    • What about us? Do we major on minor matters?
    • Christianity is not just about tithing or attendance at church - but a relationship with the living God
    • Micah 6:8, Zech 7:8-10
    • Example of lawyer and doctor

The sin of outward show (v43-44)

  • Our society encourages outward performance
    • Give honour where honour is due
    • We have gone beyond this
    • We love the praise of men
  • The pharisees
    • Loved the best seats in the synagogue
    • Loved greetings in the market place
  • The pharisees and scribes are hypocrites
    • Like play actors
    • Explanation of white-washing graves
    • How many people today are being polluted by religious teachings?
  • What was the mood and feeling in the pharisees house - cf v53-54
    • Jesus was concerned for the pharisees
    • Jesus was concerned for the masses that they would not be duped by false teachers
    • Scripture warns against false teachers
  • Who are those that we should be wary of today?
    • Those who don't preach the gospel
    • Jesus was unafraid to speak the truth

The sin of corporate oppression

  • Loading people with burdens (v46)
    • Example of some pharisaical laws
    • We must not reduce Christianity to a set of rules
    • It is about knowing and loving God
    • It is about the work of God in our lives
    • The commands of God are not burdensome
  • Approving of their father's sin in killing the prophets (v47-51)
    • The pharisees thought they were the children of the prophets
    • Jesus says they are part of the group that killed the prophets
  • Taking away knowledge (v52)
    • Imaging Jesus saying this to religious leaders today
  • Strong words from the Lord Jesus Christ

Our Response

  • Not pointing the finger at others
  • Ask the Lord to search and change our heart
    • Consider that many of the pharisees and priests did believe when the apostles preached
  • How do you respond to this message?
  • Ask God to show us our sin and come to the cross
  • Ask God to fill us with His love