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Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

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David Guzik :: Study Guide for Luke 12

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Attitudes for Followers of Jesus

A. The kind of attitude those who will face persecution should have.

1. (Luk 12:1-3) A warning to beware of hypocrisy.

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. 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.

a. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy: Hypocrisy is like leaven in the sense that it only takes a little bit of it to affect a great mass. A little bit of hypocrisy can be like a little bit of strychnine.

b. Some think that the only way to avoid being a hypocrite is to never aspire to a higher standard. But this is dangerous both for ourselves and for society. We should aspire to a high standard, yet be honest about our difficulty in fulfilling that standard.

c. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known: The art of being a hypocrite depends on concealment, but one day all will be revealed. We can only be hypocrites before men, but never before God. He sees through the actor's mask we put on.

i. In 1985, a nationally known evangelist and preacher wrote a book condemning sin in America, especially sexual sin and pornography. Just a short time later, he tearfully confessed years of involvement in these very sins, and promised repentance-but was arrested for similar crimes again a few years down the road. His hypocrisy may have surprised many people, but not God. He knew all along.

2. (Luk 12:4-5) Do not fear persecution.

"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!"

a. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body: Hypocrites will always despise true believers, so these words concerning persecution fit in well. In addition, when Jesus spoke to these disciples of His about martyrdom and persecution, He knew that all of them-except John - would die martyr's deaths for Him.

b. After that have no more that they can do: All your persecutors can do is kill you, and God has ultimate power over the life and death of the believer. Therefore, we shouldn't fear our persecutors, but have a healthy respect of God that makes us more concerned with obeying Him than any man.

c. There are literally millions of examples of people standing strong for Jesus through persecution. Following is the particular story of an Englishman named Rowland Taylor.

i. In a book first printed in 1890, John Ryle describes the death of Rowland Taylor, who was executed in England because he believed that priests could marry and that the bread and wine of communion did not become the actual, literal, body and blood of Jesus.

ii. On the last day of January 1555, Taylor appeared with two others before the Bishop of Winchester, and was charged with heresy and dividing the church. When they refused to change their minds, they were condemned to death. When condemned, they replied back to the Bishop, "We know that God, the righteous Judge, will require our blood at your hands, and the proudest of all of you shall repent this receiving again of Antichrist, and of the tyranny you now show against the flock of Christ."

iii. On February 4, Taylor was kicked out of the priesthood, and that night, his wife and son were permitted to eat dinner with him. After dinner they left, with much affection and tears. The next day, he was led out to Hadleigh to be executed, so that he would be burned to death in the city where he served as a pastor and in front of his congregation.

iv. When the left the London jail on the morning of February 5, it was still dark. Taylor's wife suspected he might be taken that morning, so she waited with her two daughters outside the jail. When she called out to him, the sheriff allowed her to come with her daughters for one last meeting with her husband. Rowland Taylor took his little daughter Mary up in his arms, while Elizabeth knelt with him and said the Lord's Prayer. They prayed together, then kissed and hugged, and Taylor said to his wife: "Farewell, my dear wife: be of good comfort, for I am quiet in my conscience. God shall raise up a father for my children." He kissed his daughter Mary and said, "God bless you, and make you His servant;" and, kissing Elizabeth, he said, "God bless you. I pray you all stand strong and steadfast to Christ and His Word." As he was led away, his wife called out, "God be with you, dear Rowland: I will, with God's grace, meet you at Hadleigh."

v. The journey from London to Hadleigh took several days, and all along on the trip, Rowland Taylor was joyful and merry, as if he were going to a banquet or a party. But on February 9, 1555, they came into Hadleigh. When they were still two miles from town, Taylor leapt off his horse and started on foot-but he was walking fast, almost as if he were dancing. The sheriff asked him how he felt, and he said, "Well, God be praised, good master sheriff, never better; for now I know I am almost at home … even at my Father's house... O good Lord, I thank You! I shall yet once before I die, see my flock whom You, Lord, know I have most heartily loved and most truly taught. Good Lord, bless them, and keep them steadfast in Thy Word and truth."

vi. When they came into Hadleigh, they put a hood over his head and came over a bridge. At the foot of the bridge was a poor man with five children, who cried out, "O dear father and good shepherd, Dr. Taylor, God help you, as you have many a time helped me and my poor children." The streets were crowded on both sides with people who wanted to see him; when they saw him being led to death, they cried and wept with all their strength. People cried out, "Ah, good Lord, there goes our good shepherd from us, that so faithfully has taught us, so fatherly has cared for us, and so godly has governed us. O merciful God! What shall we poor scattered lambs do? What shall come of this most wicked world? God Lord, strengthen him and comfort him." Taylor answered back, "I have preached to you God's Word and truth, and am come this day to seal it with my blood."

vii. When they came to the town square, he heard a great multitude and asked where they were. When they told him they were at the place he would be executed, he said "Thank God, I am even at home," and he took the hood from his head. When the people saw his face, there was an outpouring of emotion. They wept and cried out, "God save you, good Dr. Taylor! Jesus Christ strengthen you; the Holy Spirit comfort you," and many other such things. Taylor wanted to speak to the people one last time, but as soon has he opened his mouth, a guard put a spear right up to his open mouth, and made him stop.

viii. He started giving away his clothes-first his boots, then his coat and jacket, till all he had left was his pants and shirt. He then cried out with a loud voice, "Good people, I have taught you nothing but God's Holy Word, and those lessons that I have taken out of God's blessed Book, the Holy Bible; and I am come here today to seal it with my blood." But then one of the guards clubbed him over the head and said, "Is that keeping your promise of silence, you heretic?" So, seeing he could not speak, he knelt down to pray. A poor woman came to kneel beside him and pray, and the guards tried to push her away but she would not go.

ix. When he had prayed, he came to the stake he would be tied to and he kissed it, stepped into a barrel, and stood with his hands folded in prayer and his eyes towards heaven as they tied him to the stake. After some agonizing delays, they finally lit the fire, and Rowland Taylor prayed out loud: "Merciful Father of heaven, for Jesus Christ my Saviour's sake, receive my soul into Your hands." Then he stood perfectly still as the fires arose around him, without crying or moving, until a guard clubbed him on the head and his brains fell out, and his dead corpse fell into the fire. A marker was left that simply said, 1555: Dr. Taylor, in defending that which was good, at this place left his blood.

3. (Luk 12:6-7) Realize your great value to God.

"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. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

a. Not one of them is forgotten before God: If God remembers the sparrows, He isn't going to forget you-so don't lose heart. As Rowland Taylor shared in some final words to his family:

i. Before he left London to be executed, Rowland Taylor wrote his final thoughts in a book and presented them to his son: "I say to my wife and to my children, the Lord gave you unto me, and the Lord has taken me from you and you from me: blessed be the name of the Lord! I believe that they are blessed which die in the Lord. God cares for sparrows, and for the hairs of our heads. I have ever found Him more faithful and favourable than is any father or husband. Trust, therefore, in Him by means of our dear Savior Christ's merits. Believe, love, fear, and obey Him: pray to Him, for He has promised to help. Count me not dead, for I shall certainly live and never die. I go before, and you shall follow after to our long home."

b. The very hairs of your head are all numbered: They say that a red-head has about 90,000 hairs; a dark-haired person has about 120,000 hairs, and a blonde has about 145,000. But God knows exactly how many hairs you have-and if He knows that about you, He knows all the important things also!

c. You are of more value than many sparrows: Those who are persecuted are tempted to give in to the feeling that they are worthless and no one cares for them. But someone does care about you, a loving God in heaven.

4. (Luk 12:8-10) The importance of a good confession.

"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. 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."

a. Whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God: Thousands upon thousands of Christians through the ages have met the challenge of publicly confessing Christ, no matter what the cost.

i. In the early church, the "confessors" had special honor, they were those who had endured suffering for Jesus, yet had been spared death.

ii. You yourself may often be "put on trial" before the world. It is essential that we are able to confess Jesus at that time.

b. There are all sorts of ways that we can confess Jesus; it is important to be able to do it if ever put on trial, but it is also important to do it through our godly lives every day. Just by living for Jesus, we confess His name.

c. A word against the Son of Man probably refers to a moment of weakness (especially in public testimony), which can be forgiven. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a settled rejection of God's truth, which will not be forgiven.

i. This idea of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has troubled many; there are many who feel totally defeated and hopeless before God, convinced that they have committed this unpardonable sin.

ii. We must recognize the terrible danger of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and our need to avoid this sin at all cost-yet, at the same time, guarding our hearts against the unwarranted accusation of this sin.

iii. What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? We understand this by first understanding what the ministry of the Holy Spirit is all about. Jesus said, and when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8); and that He will testify of Me (John 15:26). Therefore, when we persistently reject the work the Holy Spirit wants to do in us, when we have a continued, settled rejection of what He wants to tell us about Jesus, then we have blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

iv. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven-not because it is a sin "too big" for God to forgive, but because it is an attitude of heart that cares nothing for God's forgiveness. It never has forgiveness because it never wants forgiveness God's way. It may want forgiveness on its own terms, but never God's way.

v. The way to not blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to receive Jesus Christ today, to stop rejecting His work of bringing you to Jesus.

5. (Luk 12:11-12) Don't worry about what to say-the Holy Spirit will help you.

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.

a. Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities: Few of us have had the need to trust God because we have been hauled before magistrates and authorities for the sake of Jesus. Yet all have our own arenas where we need to trust God to give a bold witness.

b. Do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say: This is an exhortation to trust in God, not your eloquence. It is not an excuse for poor preparation in teaching or preaching.

c. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say: Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will help when you are "put on trial"; He will give you the right words to say.

B. Attitudes in regard to material possessions.

1. (Luk 12:13-15) The overall principle regarding material things.

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."

a. Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me: Jesus has just taught on the importance of standing for Him, and on our great value to God. Yet, in the midst of this teaching, a man interrupts Jesus to ask that He take his side in a financial dispute.

i. According to the law of the day, the elder brother would receive two-thirds of the inheritance and the younger brother would receive one-third. But this man isn't asking Jesus to listen to both sides and make a righteous judgment; he is asking Jesus to take sides with him against his brother.

ii. Obviously, Jesus' words about the need for full commitment and God's care for us didn't penetrate this man's heart!

b. Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you? It isn't that Jesus is unconcerned about justice; but that He is all too aware that this man's covetousness will do him more harm than not having his share of the inheritance.

i. We may fight and fight for what is ours by right; and in the end, having it may do us worse than if we had let it go and let God take care of the situation.

ii. Here is where the deceptive nature of the heart is such a challenge. We often mask our covetousness by claiming we are on a righteous crusade.

c. Beware of covetousness: "Actually beware scarcely does justice to the force of phylassesthe, which is rather 'guard yourselves'" (Morris) The idea is that we all are under attack from covetousness, and we must protect ourselves from it.

d. To be kept from greed, there is one overall principle we must be persuaded of: one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. Apart from this, we live in covetousness, and covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

2. (Luk 12:16-21) The parable of the rich fool.

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

a. But God said to him, "Fool!" There is little doubt that everybody but God thought a great deal of this man; but in fact (and for eternity), this man is a fool. It isn't only sin to give material things too high a place in your life-it is stupid also.

b. See the heart of the rich fool: my crops … my barns … my goods … my soul. Everything is about him, and nothing is God. In the end, it was proved that nothing was his-even his own soul was subject to God. He didn't have any crops, any barns, any goods, and his soul was dead.

c. Whose will those things be which you have provided? They will not belong to God, because the man never surrendered those things to God. They will not belong to the rich fool, because he can't take it with him. Perhaps they only belong to the Devil!

i. "Poorer than the poorest beggar he had to leave this world." (Geldenhuys)

d. So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God: The man's problem was not in that he had treasure on earth; but that he was not rich toward God.

i. How do we become rich toward God? First, by sacrificial giving to those in need (Luke 12:33, 18:22; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Also, by trusting in Jesus for every necessary thing (Revelation 3:17-18).

ii. We can't obscure the fact that earthly riches often keep us from going after heavenly riches as we should. Paul wrote: But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Timothy 6:9) Most of us are afraid of poverty; we should be afraid of wealth.

iii. John Wesley's taught and lived wisely regarding riches. He said that you should earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give as much as you can. He himself lived on £28 British pounds a year and gave the rest away, even when his salary went from £30 to £60 to £90 to £120 over his lifetime.

3. (Luk 12:22-28) A warning against worry.

Then 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. 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? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 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. 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?

a. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life: Greed and worry are closely connected. Greed can never get enough, worry is afraid it will never have enough-neither have their eyes on Jesus.

b. Do not worry is a loving command. We often fail to appreciate what damage worry does in our lives.

i. Research clearly shows that stress deteriorates our immune systems; people under constant or high stress show lower T cell counts, essential for immune response. Stress has a definite affect on fertility. Prolonged stress has been shown to affect the brain, making a person less able to respond to future stress. And stress also is related to sudden heart failure.

ii. 20% of Americans say they feel stressed out every day, and 60% say they feel stressed out once a week. Only 10% say they never feel stressed.

c. God feeds them: However, this isn't just "don't worry, be happy" or "hakuna matata." Worry doesn't stop because we close our eyes, but because we know a loving God is greater than all our needs.

d. If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Worry is completely counter-productive-the stress it brings in our life does nothing but destroy. But trusting in God makes sense; if He takes such good care of the birds, the flowers, and the grass, won't He take care of His children?

i. Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Jesus may be saying, "worry can't make you live longer" or He may be saying, "worry can't make you any taller." Both are true; and if it is futile to worry about small things that are out of our control, it is even more futile to worry about big things even further out of our control.

ii. We can't add one cubit to our height by worrying, but a Japanese teen-ager who wanted to be a summo wrestler had 6 inches of silicone implanted under his scalp so he could meet the 5' 8" height requirement for summo wrestlers.

e. How much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith: Instead of worrying, Jesus wants us to have a child-like faith in Him. Children don't worry about paying the bills, or such things. They live lives of simple trust in their parents. You can't accomplish little things by worry; what makes you think you might accomplish great things by worry?

i. God cares for the flowers, but that means that every day for the flowers is not sun and sweetness. If every day was sunny, and there was never clouds and rain, the flowers would die quickly.

4. (Luk 12:29-34) God's intention is that your attention be on His kingdom and His treasure, not the kingdom and treasure of this world.

"And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

a. Do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind: Jesus' good news is simple. You don't have to hold on to the things of this world with a death grip. Jesus let go of everything heaven itself held and was happy with a simple trust in God.

b. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you: God wants us to be more focused on Him than on these necessities of daily life; when we seek Him first, all the other things are added unto us.

i. We have sometimes thought that the only way to really seek the kingdom of God is to put away every other pursuit and go to some monastery or desert cave. But we can seek God in what we do every day; you can seek God at your job if you work unto the Lord and His glory.

c. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also: The correlation between where your heart is and where your treasure is isn't a suggestion; it is a simple fact. If you regard your material possessions as your treasure, then your heart is set here on this earth.

C. Attitudes in regard to Jesus' return.

1. (Luk 12:35-40) Be ready and waiting for your Master's return.

"Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

a. And you yourselves be like men who wait for their master: If Christians are to not be greedy or worried, they are to put their focus on the return of Jesus. This is something worth putting our lives into. "These words of the Saviour are closely linked up with the previous warnings not to be worldly minded but heavenly minded." (Geldenhuys)

b. Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning: The idea behind this phrase is well expressed in the NIV: Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.

i. The idea behind waist be girded is clear enough, but what did Jesus mean with the idea of lamps burning? You can be ready to work all day long, but if you don't have the proper equipment (such as illumination), your readiness doesn't matter at all.

ii. We are also reminded that Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path (Psalm 119:105). You may have an inner willingness to serve God (your waist is girded) but not have the illumination you need to serve Him well (the light of God's word burning brightly).

c. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect: We all know the embarrassment of being called on when unprepared. Jesus tells us to be prepared for His coming-which is the most important thing you could ever be ready for!

i. A thief never announces his coming; he comes at a time when you would not expect him. The way to be on guard against a thief is to live in constant readiness, and the way to be ready for Jesus' return is to live in constant readiness.

d. I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them: The ready servants will be served by their Master and blessed; there is rich reward in living a life ready and expectant for Jesus to return.

2. (Luk 12:41-48) Be good stewards in your Master's absence.

Then Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?" And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

a. Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people? Jesus answers Peter, saying that this is addressed to every one, that all are to be like a faithful and wise steward (manager).

i. In this sense, we are all in the Jesus Management Training school. He is teaching us all how to be good, godly stewards for Him.

ii. All who are servants of Jesus must be ready for His return, but those who are ministers among His servants must all the more be ready. "Ignorance of the Divine shall not wholly excuse the sinner, he shall be beaten, but his stripes shall be few, his damnation shall be gentle compared with a minister's, that knows his Master's will but does it not; teaches it to others, but does it not himself … God looks upon wicked, loose, and scandalous and mischievous ministers as the greatest transgressors, and he will deal with them as such." (Poole)

b. But if that servant says in his heart, "My master is delaying his coming": A poor steward lives without the expectation of his master's return. He mistreats other stewards and he wastes his time and resources on unprofitable things.

i. The servant who says, "he hasn't come soon, so he isn't coming at all" has makes a fatal mistake.

c. And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few: This shows that we are not only responsible for keeping from evil, but we must also do what we know God's will is.

3. (Luk 12:49-53) Jesus brings purifying fire and division.

"I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."

a. I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! The purifying power Jesus spoke of-the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives-could only come after He had accomplished His work on the cross (I have a baptism to be baptized with).

i. The fact that Jesus speaks of His suffering as a baptism is instructive. He wasn't "sprinkled" with suffering; He was immersed in agony. In the same way, we are to baptized into Christ and baptized with the Holy Spirit, immersed and overflowing.

b. How distressed I am till it is accomplished! Why was Jesus distressed until His work on the cross was accomplished? Not because He relished the agony of the cross, but because He knew all the good that would come of it, as a woman in the late stages of pregnancy looks forward to giving birth.

c. The fire of Jesus may be at work in your life right now; burning away the pride and impurities that keep you from being a faithful steward.

d. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother: This may be the price one has to pay for being a faithful steward. When you follow Jesus faithfully, there may very well be division for His sake.

4. (Luk 12:54-56) The urgency to discern the times.

Then He also said to the multitudes, "Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming'; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, 'There will be hot weather'; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?"

a. You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? Jesus rebuked the people of His day because they did not discern this time. They should have understood more about the prophecies regarding the first coming of Jesus. Would Jesus rebuke Christians in this day for the same lack of insight? Are we aware of just how completely the stage is set for the end?

b. The stage is set for a rebuilt temple, necessary to fulfill the prophecies of the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

i. Israel is a nation again, and efforts to rebuild the temple are for real. The main Jewish group leading the charge to rebuild the temple is an organization called Faithful of the Temple Mount, who say they will continue their efforts to re-establish the Jewish temple on the Mount. One leader in the group said, "We shall continue our struggle until the Israeli flag is flying from the Dome of the Rock." In Israel, there are students being trained for the priesthood, learning how to conduct animal sacrifices in the rebuilt temple.

c. The stage is set for the sort of world-dominating confederation of nations, heir to the Roman Empire to arise (Daniel 2:36-45, Revelation 13:1-8, Revelation 17:10-14).

i. The European Community is for real, and key governments that oppose more unity often don't do well. The Euro, the common European currency is a reality. If you go to Europe, it isn't strange to see more European Community flags than national flags in some places.

d. The stage is set for a political and economic "superman" to arise, the sort of single political leader who will lead this world-dominating confederation of nations (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, Revelation 13:4-7).

i. The world wants-and needs-a superman badly, and is ready to fall in love with a human personality like never before. In much of Europe, there is a longing for another strong leader who will lead nations to glory again.

ii. Our own American personality cults are frightening enough. After all, why should it be news if someone get married for the eighth time? History shows that nations of hundreds of millions of people can be induced to worship a person-like Lenin, Stalin, or Mao. This shows us just how strong a personality cult can be when the government gets behind it wholeheartedly.

e. The stage is set for the kind of false religion the Bible says will characterize the very last days (2 Thessalonians 2:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, Revelation 13:11-15, Revelation 17:1-6).

i. Society is becoming more spiritual, yet less Christian every day; there is a deceptive fixation on signs and wonders as proof of the truth, as well as the church's willingness to imitate the world leaves churchgoers open to deception also.

ii. Efforts to make a one-world religion gain momentum all the time, under the idea of "open-mindedness." The Michigan Episcopal Diocese refused to vote upon the resolution "Jesus is the Christ, the only name given under heaven by which we may be saved." The resolution was rejected as being "flawed," "divisive," and "demeaning."

f. The stage is set for the kind of economic system predicted for the very last days (Revelation 13:15-17). The technology is available, and the need is present.

5. (Luk 12:57-59) Knowing the times, get right with God now.

"Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite."

a. Why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? If you know what time it is, you know that now is the time to get right with God, before you come before the Judge. If you wait until you stand before His throne, then it's too late.

b. So, make every effort to settle out of court! How do we settle out of court with God? By accepting God's offer to settle our account at Calvary, before the day of judgment.

i. Of course, this passage also has relevance to common sense regarding how Christians should regard the courts. If there is a dispute with someone, we are to do all that we possibly can to avoid going to court.

c. If we believe Jesus is coming soon, what should our response be? We must get our account settled with God now, through Jesus' work on the cross. We must live ready and waiting for Jesus' return.

i. And, ask yourself a question: why is He waiting at all? Because His mercy says, "I want more to come to Me before I return in judgment." Aren't many of us glad that Jesus didn't come one, two, or five years ago?

© 2000 David Guzik-No distribution beyond personal use without permission


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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