God knows your heart – your true heart. He loves you and longs to rid you of your sin and fill you with His grace and mercy so you can shine for Him. Will you submit to Him today? (Luke 12:1-12)
Welcome to Walking in the Word, the biblical teaching arm of the Women World Leaders’ podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins, and it is my honor to walk with you as we open scripture and ask God what He wants us to know today.
If you are new to Women World Leaders, I’m glad you have joined us! Women World Leaders is God’s ministry, and the mission He has given us is to help others walk in their God-given purpose as we all lead for Christ. Leadership can be tricky, and our leadership skills are to be honed throughout our lifetime. We are constantly amazed as God continues to bring women to this ministry who are blessed with different skills. Women World Leaders is truly a picture of the body of Christ – none of us can do everything, but together, we are perfectly equipped to empower each other to lead in God’s grace and love and accomplish all that He has ordained. The fact that we are a body means that we are incomplete without you. Will you pray about where He is calling you to jump in? Perhaps it is your mission to join with us in prayer or to grow in leadership by attending our Leadership connect. If God is nudging you, I encourage you to visit womenworldleaders.com to get a better idea of who we are.
Today, on our Wednesday podcast, we are continuing to walk through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in an effort to get a more complete picture of Jesus Christ and His teachings for us. Today’s teaching comes from Luke 12:1-12. If you are somewhere sitting quietly, I encourage you to open your Bible as we study together. Perhaps you want to have a pen handy to jot down thoughts that God might want you to pursue deeper later. But even if you are listening as you are driving, walking, or doing chores, I can’t tell you how much God is smiling at the fact that you are including Him as you go through your day. Before we begin, let’s pray.
Dear Father God, we are in awe that you are with each person listening to this message! Thank you for meeting us each where we are. We know that you have a word for us today, and I ask that our hearts be receptive to hearing your voice. Father, even as I prepare for the honor of reading and expounding on your Word, I ask you to be with me. Guide my thoughts and let my words be pleasing to your ears and be exactly what you would have each listener know from your heart. We thank you and give you all the praise and glory as we begin. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As we have been studying, Jesus has been traveling and teaching to the crowds, and his disciples have been following and watching with awe and excitement. Now the disciples were small-town guys, and they were being thrust onto a very public platform. Perhaps you have found yourself in that situation – where suddenly everyone is looking at you. If you are or have ever been in a leadership role, you likely know what I am talking about. I got my masters in Biblical Exposition because I love the Bible. But I am also very much an introvert who is happy sitting at my desk with my dogs by my side. Something funny happens when we start getting noticed. Although we may feel uncomfortable in the limelight, or maybe BECAUSE we feel uncomfortable in the limelight, it is tempting to put forth a “face” that may take off the rough edges of who we are on the inside. Jesus understood this. He understood that the disciples, who had before only watched others in charge, were now being scrutinized because of their close connection with Jesus. And Jesus understood that this “fame” and “recognition” could threaten to plunge them into the sin of hypocrisy – that is, acting like more than they were. And that this hypocrisy could very well lead to pride and be their undoing. So as the crowd presses in, stumbling over each other, Jesus draws his disciples aside and speaks directly to them.
Perhaps this is our first lesson in today’s scripture – When crowds or concerns press in, we should react by spending one-on-one time with Jesus.
Let’s begin reading in Luke, chapter 12, verse 1 from the New Living Translation:
Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. 2 The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 3 Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
The Pharisees were the authorities in the Jewish faith, and yet it is clear that their power had gone to their heads…and more importantly, infected their hearts. They were more concerned with looking like powerful leaders than being true leaders. True leadership can only stem from obedience and submission to God. Always. As we grow in leadership and people begin looking to us, the devil attacks us with a crowbar, looking for any crevice where he can insert self-righteousness and self-doubt and then use it to pry us apart until all kinds of evil can rush in.
Jesus is warning His disciples, preparing them for the day when they WILL take the lead. He teaches that hypocrisy – that is leading out of self-service and self-righteousness while acting the part of doing good for others – infects the leader in the same way that a tiny bit of yeast affects a whole batch of bread.
Further, Jesus teaches that God sees everything – even that which we think is hidden. And what is hidden in our hearts is the core of who we are.
I have often told my children, and I often remind myself, BE who you want to be. No one else holds the keys to what you have in your heart. If you harbor ugliness, and we are all confronted with feeling ugliness from time to time, confess it to God. Ask for His forgiveness and then ask Him to release you from its bondage. Ask Him to replace any sin in your heart with pure love, to erase any pride and replace it with humility. Petition Jesus to help you see others with HIS eyes, to infuse your heart with HIS compassion, to allow you to care about the things HE cares about, and to be who He has called you to be.
It can be tempting to try to “hide” our sins and impure thoughts, but while we may be successful at hiding those from others, we can never hide them from God.
What is it that tempts a leader, or any individual, to proclaim he or she is something they are not or believes something they don’t? One thing is fear. As humans, we fear the reaction and treatment of others. So, Jesus further guides His listeners that the only fear we need to bow to is the fearful respect we should feel for God Himself.
4 “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. 5 But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell.[a] Yes, he’s the one to fear.
Only God has the power to decide our eternity. Therefore, God is the one we need to be right with and the one we need to fear when we are not.
And though we should reverently acknowledge God’s wisdom and power, we should also accept His grace and mercy. Because our God, who knows the inner workings of our lives, also loves us so much that His forgiveness, when we are transparent and repentant, covers us in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.
6 “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins[b]? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
God loves you! And He will shout it from the mountaintop! God undoubtedly knows you better than anyone else, AND He loves you MORE than anyone else does. Take a moment to bask in that. God knows you better than anyone and He loves you more than anyone else does. I hope that gives you a jolt of joy! And I hope it empowers you to allow the good that He has put in your heart to blossom and shine for all the world to see.
Allowing our radiance to shine for Christ is NEVER bad!
God WILL shout His love for you from the mountaintop – and He wants nothing less in return. He wants us to shout our love for Him right back, for all the world to hear.
8 “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man[c] will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels.
That moment, I guarantee, will be better than ANY recognition or award. …verse 9..
9 But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. 10 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Please don’t get hung up on that last verse… Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Let’s take a moment to look at this. The first phrase says Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven. This is HUGE! When we repent, Jesus forgives us of even speaking against Him. That is grace!
But it’s easy to stumble a bit over the second part of verse 10… but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Let me explain…the Holy Spirit’s mission is to reveal God to us. The Holy Spirit alone can bring us to salvation in Christ Jesus, sealing us for an eternity in God’s presence. Our part of the equation is to listen and obediently respond to the Holy Spirit – that is what brings us salvation. The Holy Spirit guides us into repentance and empowers us to claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior. But we have to take that step into salvation ourselves. When we don’t, when we refuse to listen to and be infused with the power of the Holy Spirit, God cannot and will not forgive us.
Hear me out. If you have given your life to Jesus, you are absolved of any and all sin. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
But if you refuse the call of the Holy Spirit and do NOT give your life to Jesus, nothing else can save you. There IS no forgiveness outside of submission to the Holy Spirit.
Followers of Christ do not need to let that verse cause personal fear, although it will likely give you a burden for those around you – and that’s not a bad thing. And if you are listening and are NOT a follower of Christ, I believe that the Holy Spirit is trying to reach you right now. I pray that you will pause and take Him seriously. Hold out your hands to God, repent of your sins, and experience the freedom of salvation. If you would like someone to talk to regarding this decision, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, in verses 11 and 12, Jesus tells us that when we ask God to rule in our hearts and then allow His goodness to blossom, we can trust that He will lead us through every circumstance.
11 “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”
Our God is so good, and He is ever-present. He will never leave us alone or allow us to fumble for words. When we give our lives to Him, we can be sure that He will walk with us through every trial, danger, and even success.
Remember – He knows you better than you know yourself and He loves you more than anyone else will ever love you. He wants to release you from any ugliness in your heart and give you permission to shine boldly on His behalf. And then He wants to celebrate YOU with all the saints and angels.
What an amazing God!! Let’s pray…
Dear Most Holy God! Thank you! Thank you for drawing us to you. Thank you for forgiving us of our sins and guiding us on a path of righteousness for your glory. Father, we give you today. We give you our will and ask you to guide us as we commit to lead and live for you. In Jesus’ name, I pra