Discussion Questions: Luke 11:45-54

  1. Who were the lawyers that Jesus addressed in Luke 11:45? In other words, what were they known for? What did they do?
  2. Jesus pronounced three “woes” upon these lawyers. The first is found in Luke 11:46. Please read this verse and discuss its meaning. Focus especially on Jesus’ condemnation of the lawyers for loading people with burdens hard to bear.  
  3. The second “woe” is found in Luke 11:47-51. Please read this passage and discuss its meaning one verse at a time. Especially discuss why the blood of all the prophets from Able to Zechariah would be required of that generation. 
  4. The third “woe” is found in Luke 11:52. Please read this verse and discuss its meaning. Especially answer the question, what is the key of knowledge and why must a person have it?
  5. What does the key of knowledge have to do with Luke 24:44-47 and Luke’s stated purpose for writing in Luke 1:1?
  6. Do you have the key of knowledge?
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Discussion Questions: Baptist Catechism 24

  1. What does the word ”Redeemer” mean? What does Christ redeem us from? What and who does he redeem us to?
  2. Who is Jesus? (Think person
  3. What is Jesus? (Think nature)
  4. Why is it important to say that the divine and human natures of Christ are not mixed so as to become a third thing?
  5. Why is it important to say that human nature and divine nature are inseparably joined in the person of the Son? (There are many reasons. One of them can be brought out by the question, did Jesus suffer from a multiple personality disorder?)
  6. What does the second part of the answer to Baptist Catechism 24 have to do with the first? In other words, what do the natures and person of Christ have to do with the fact that he is the only Redeemer of God’s elect?
  7. Why does our catechism say that Christ is the only Redeemer of God’s elect? What is meant by elect? For whom did Christ die? Who did he come to save? By the way, your interpretation of John 3:16 had better agree with John 6:25ff., John 10:7-18; and John 17. The is no contradiction between the statement of John 3:16 and the fact that Christ came to lay down his life for the elect. 
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Catechetical Sermon: Who Is The Redeemer Of God’s Elect?, Baptist Catechism 24

Baptist Catechism 24

Q. 24. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?

A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was and continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person, forever. (Gal. 3:13;1 Tim. 2:5; John 1:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9)

Scripture Reading: Galatians 3:10–14

“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’ Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:10–14, ESV)

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Introduction

You will probably remember that after a string of questions and answers having to do with the bad news concerning the sin and misery that all of humanity was plunged into by Adam’s first sin, we then encountered good news. Question 23 of our catechism asks,  “Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?” The good news is this: “God having out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.”

To redeem is to rescue. To redeem is to purchase back. To redeem is to regain the possession of a thing that was lost. And our catechism rightly teaches that God has provided a Redeemer – that is to say, a Savior – for fallen humanity. God, by his grace, out of his mere good pleasure, did not leave mankind to perish (which he would have been right to do), but determined to deliver some out of their estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.

The obvious question is, who is this Redeemer? And that is what our catechism now asks: “Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?”

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The Only Redeemer Of God’s Elect Is The Lord Jesus Christ

The answer that is given first identifies the Redeemer by simply naming him. “The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ…” Who is the Redeemer? Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. 

The word “only” is important. It reminds us of what the Scriptures so clearly teach. There are not many redeemers, many saviors, or many who are able to reconcile us to God. There is one only. This is what Paul says so clearly in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV). And Jesus himself taught this when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV). Jesus is the only Redeemer. There is no other besides him.

Here is an important question: Is Jesus the Redeemer of the whole world, then? 

Well yes, in a sense he is. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Indeed, it is true, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). Jesus is the Redeemer of the world. But it is important for us to understand what the Scriptures mean by the word world. These Scriptures texts do not mean that Christ came to Redeem every person in the world without exception. This interpretation of the word “world” would flat contradict other passages of Scripture that speak of Christ laying down his life, not for all, for “many” (see Matthew 26:28), or for the “church” (see Ephesians 5:25), or for “the sheep” (see John 10:15). In fact, in John 17 Christ prays to the Father and is quite clear that his mission was to save those given to him by the Father in eternity.  

When the Scriptures say that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world it does not mean that the sins of every person without exception have been taken away. That would mean that all are saved! What it means is that Christ came to Redeem, not Jews only, but people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. In other words, God did not send one redeemer for this people group, and another redeemer for that people group, and so on. No, there is only one mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Savior of the world. As Acts 4:12 says, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Our catechism is right to say that Jesus Christ is the “only Redeemer of God’s elect.” Our catechism teaches this because this is what the scriptures teach. God sent the Son, not to save every person without exception, but to atone for the sins of many from every tongue, tribe, and nation. This is the doctrine of predestination or election which was introduced to us in the previous question. This is also the doctrine of limited atonement, or better yet, particular redemption. Who did Christ come to Redeem? Who did he come to save? What was the will of the Father for him? Was he to atone for the sins of every person who has ever lived, or ever will live? Certainly not. Christ shed his blood for many, not all (Matthew 26:18), he laid his life for the sheep (John 10:15), and for the church, who is his bride (Ephesians 5:25). Christ came to do the Father’s will for him, which was to save for all eternity those given to him by the Father before the foundation of the world (John 17). 

This doctrine of predestination, or election, along with the doctrine of limited atonement, or better yet, particular redemption, is very clearly taught in the pages of Holy Scripture. And no, there is no contradiction with those passages that speak of God loving the world, or sending to the Son for all the world, provided those passages are interpreted properly. 

So, our catechism is very right to name the Lord Jesus Christ as “the only Redeemer of God’s elect …” 

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Who, Being The Eternal Son Of God, Became Man

After this, our catechism tells us more about who Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was and is. 

Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer of God’s elect, “who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was and continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person, forever.”

Here we have the doctrine of the incarnation briefly stated.  Who is Jesus Christ? He is the person of the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. 

A person is a subject who acts through nature. If I asked you, who you are, you would probably tell me your name. If I asked what you are, you would probably say I am human. You are an individual person acting through a human nature.  And I am a human person acting through a human nature. What do you and I share in common? We are both human beings. What distinguishes us? Well, among other things, we are different persons. 

Now I ask you, who is Jesus? He is the person of the eternal Son or Word of God. And if I were to ask you, what is Jesus? You would have to say, he is divine and human, for the person of the eternal son acts both through the divine nature and the human nature he has assumed. 

When our catechism says that the eternal Son of God “became man” it does not mean that the Son was changed into man, but that he took to himself a true human nature. God cannot become anything if by “become” we mean “was changed into”, for God cannot change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So whatever we think about the incarnation, we cannot think that God was changed into a man. No, he took to himself or assumed human nature without experiencing a change in the divine nature. The key to understanding this, I think (though mystery will always remain), is to see that it was not the divine nature that assumed a human nature (and neither was it the person of the Father or Spirit) but the person of the eternal Son. All of this is beautifully and clearly stated in the Scriptures, especially in John 1, and Colossians 2.

And this doctrine of the incarnation is clearly and precisely stated by our catechism which goes on to say, “and so was and continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person, forever.” You see, the divine nature and the human nature were not mixed or confused in Christ. The divine nature was not mixed with the human nature of Christ so that he was less than God but more than man. No, Christ is truly God and truly man. And yet Christ is one person, not two. The divine nature and human nature are joined together inseparably (forever) in the person of the Son. So, Christ has two natures but he is one person. He is the person of the eternal Son of God incarnate. 

The doctrine of the incarnation is mysterious, isn’t it? It is difficult to comprehend. But it is important for us to confess, for it is the teaching of Holy Scripture. May I suggest to you that one of the best ways to learn to speak about Christ, his person, and his natures, is to grow familiar with the language of our catechism. A lot more can be said about the incarnation than what is said here, but this is a good start and a sure guide. Our confession of faith (the Second London Confession) also provides a wonderful statement about the natures and person of Christ in chapter 8 paragraph 2. 

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Conclusion

Let me conclude this little sermon by making a connection between the first and second parts of Baptist Catechism 24. I’ll make this connection by asking the question, why the incarnation? Why was it necessary for the Redeemer of God’s elect to be bolt God and man? The answer is rather simple. Humanity had to be redeemed by a true human. Where the first Adam failed a second Adam had to succeed. But there is a problem. All of humanity was plunged into sin and ruin by the first Adam so that none who descended from him were capable of saving themselves, let alone, the rest. None could be the Savior because all were in need of a Savior. And for this reason, the Redeemer of God’s elect had to be God himself. This is why the Son of God, who is called the eternal Word of God in John 1, took on flesh by being born of a virgin. And having come into the world, not by the seed of Adam, but by the power of God working, Christ the God-man then lived a sinless life, suffered, died the death of a sinner, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father. This he did, not for himself only, but for all who were given to him by the Father in eternity. There is a reason that Jesus christ is the only Redeemer of god’s elect. There is simply no one else like him. 

I hope you can see that our catechism has a way of stating really big and really important truths in a very succinct way.

Q. 24. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?

A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was and continueth to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person, forever. (Gal. 3:13;1 Tim. 2:5; John 1:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9)

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Sermon: Woe To You Lawyers!, Luke 11:45-54

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 53

“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Luke 11:37-54

“While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.’ One of the lawyers answered him, ‘Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.’ And he said, ‘Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.’ As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” (Luke 11:37–54, ESV)

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Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

  1. Introduction
    1. Last Sunday we considered Luke 11:37-44 and the three “woes” that Jesus pronounced up the Pharisees. Today we will consider the three “woes” that Christ pronounced upon the lawyers as recorded in Luke 11:45-54. I will repeat what I said in the introduction to the previous sermon. We ought not to consider the “woes” pronounced upon the Pharisees and lawyers to cast stones at them but to carefully examine our own hearts and minds to be sure there is no Pharisaical or legalistic spirit within us.  
  2. The Lawyers Condemned (vs. 45-52)
    1. In verses 45-52, Jesus condemns the lawyers. These lawyers were not lawyers in the way we think of them but were experts in the law of Moses. Many of them belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, so there is substantial overlap between the two groups. You should know that these lawyers were highly educated, religiously devout, and respected by many. And yet Christ condemns them. We should be concerned to know why.
      1. In verse 45 we read, “One of the lawyers answered him, ‘Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also’” (Luke 11:45, ESV).
        1. Jesus had just finished speaking words of condemnation against the Pharisees. Evidently, the Pharisees did not know what to say. It was a lawyer who protested on their behalf saying, these words that you speak against the Pharisees apply to us also and they are insulting.  
        2. Interestingly, the lawyer referred to Jesus as “teacher”. This reveals two things: One, they did not regard him as the Messiah as Jesus’ disciples did (see Luke 9:20). Two, they did acknowledge him to be great. The lawyer referred to Jesus as “teacher”, a term of respect, no doubt.      
      2. I smile a little every time I read verses 45 and 46. Jesus’ attention was on the Pharisees. The lawyer protested, saying, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” Christ did not apologize. Rather, he turned his attention to the lawyers and pronounced three “woes” upon them as well. I guess it would have been better for the lawyer to have kept his head down. 
      3. Let us now consider the three “woes”:
        1. The first is found in verse 46. There we read, ​​“And [Jesus] said, ‘Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers” (Luke 11:46, ESV).
          1. What does this mean that lawyers loaded people with burdens hard to bear? Two things, I think:
            1. One, the lawyers had a bad habit of adding laws to the law of God. In other words, not only did they teach men to obey God’s law, but they demanded that men obey the traditions of the elders too. The lawyers, mind you, would have been perfectly right to teach men and women to obey the law of God given through Moses. The law of God given through Moses was meant to be obeyed. But it was heavy enough! No one was able to keep it perfectly. This is why the Old Covenant had a sacrificial system. Through the sacrificial system, men and women could be made clean in an earthly sense according to the terms of that covenant. Also, the sacrificial system pointed forward to Christ who would actually atone for the sins of his people to make them truly clean and right before God for all eternity. The Old Covenant law of Moses was heavy enough. It made people aware of their sins and their need for a Redeemer. The extra laws and manmade traditions of the elders that the lawyers imposed upon the people were exceedingly heavy.
            2. Two, the lawyers loaded people with heavy burdens when they taught that a person was justified before God through their law-keeping. Can you imagine what it would be like to believe that eternal life has to be earned through obedience to God’s law? That might sound good and true for a moment. But anyone who knows what the law truly requires and forbids will soon see the problem. We do not keep God’s law perfectly but break it daily in thought, word, and deed. You see, it is one thing to strive to keep God’s law because you love God and are assured that God loves you, knowing that he has forgiven all your sins through faith in the Messiah and clothed you with his righteousness. It is another thing to think that God’s favor must be earned through obedience to the law. The first kind of law-keeping is a light and joyous endeavor. The second kind of law-keeping is a terrible and heavy burden. 
            3. These lawyers were legalists. They added manmade traditions to the law of God and they taught that eternal life had to be earned through law-keeping. This is why Christ said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear…”
          2. After this, Christ said, “…and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.”
            1. I think the meaning is this: through your teachings, you place these heavy burdens on the shoulders of the people, but you do not live up to these standards yourselves. More than this, you judge the people harshly but you do not provide any help or relief to them. You are heavy-handed with people. And when you see them buckling under the weight of the burden of the law of God (misapplied), you do nothing to relieve them. You do not even touch their burden to lift it with your finger.     
            2. So then, in this first “woe” these lawyers were condemned by Christ for their misapplication of the law of God, their adding of manmade rules and regulations to the law of God, their heavy-handed and judgmental treatment of the people, and their hypocrisy.    
        2. The second of the three “woes” is found in verses 47 through 51. There we hear Christ say, “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.” There is a lot that is said here. Notice a few things about this second “woe”. .
          1. Firstly, Christ reminds us of the sad history of the Israelites. The true prophets who ministered within Israel were rarely honored.  In fact, they were often persecuted as they proclaimed the Word of the Lord. That is the history that Christ reminds us of when he spoke to the lawyers saying, “For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.”  
          2.  Secondly, Christ condemned the lawyers for being just like their fathers. Their forefathers opposed and even killed the prophets, and they were about to do the same thing with Christ and his Apostles. Christ was and is the Prophet of God. The Pharisees and lawyers opposed him, rejected him, and would soon crucify him. They would mistreat and even kill the Apostles of Christ too. When he said, “So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs”, he meant, you are just like your forefathers. You honor them because you are just like them.
          3. Thirdly, when Christ said, “Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute’”, he was predicting his own martyrdom and the persecution and eventual martyrdom of his Apostles at the hands of these religious leaders. More than this, Christ was confessing that his death on the cross and the persecution and martyrdom of his Apostles were all according to the Wisdom (or plan) of God. God in his infinite wisdom had decreed from before the foundation of the world that Christ would be crucified to redeem his people (see Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:20). And it was also according to the will of God that his disciples would suffer, some to the point of death, after his ascension (see Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 1:5). The crucifixion of Christ and the sufferings experienced by his followers, are not outside of God’s will, but fall out according to definite plan and foreknowledge of God. God has decreed in eternity to permit these sins and sufferings to bring about ultimate good for his redeemed ones.
            1. Christ’s words, “Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute’”, should remind us of what the Apostle Peter said when he preached to the Jews on the day of Pentecost after Christs’ resurrection and ascension. Among other things, he said, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:22–24, ESV). I do believe that when Peter looked back upon the crucifixion of Christ and described it as Jesus being, “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”, he was saying the same thing that Christ said before his crucifixion concerning these things being done according to the  Wisdom of God. Friends, Christ was not crucified against God’s will but in accordance with it. God decreed in eternity to permit the crucifixion of Christ so that through it he might bring many sons and daughters to glory (see Hebrews 2:10).
          4. Fourthly, when Christ said, “so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation”, he revealed that the judgment of God, which had been stored up as it were for ages, would fall upon the Jews of that generation.
            1. The reason should be clear. It was this generation that would persecute and kill, not an ordinary prophet of God, but the promised Messiah himself. In the past, the forefathers of these Jews had killed the prophets, but the persecutions and killings of these righteous prophets in ages past anticipated (typified) the killing of the Righteous One himself, Christ the Lord.
              1. This reminds me of what Steven, the great evangelist, deacon, and first martyr of the early church said right before the Jews stoned him to death. He concluded his message to Jews with these words: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it” (Acts 7:51–53, ESV).
              2. I have now quoted the words of Peter from Acts 2 and the words of Steven from Acts 7. They both sound a lot like Jesus from Luke 11, down. You almost get the impression that these men walked with Jesus and learned from him! 
            2. When Christ said, “so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation…”, he was teaching that all of the persecutions and killings of righteous men in the past would, in a sense, culminate and find fulfillment in the crucifixion of the Righteous One, the Messiah, Christ the Lord.
              1. I think we should also remember what the unbelieving Jews said when they demanded Christ be crucified. Do you remember the story as it is recorded in Matthew 27? Pilate, the Roman Governor, had questioned Jesus and found that he was innocent. He urged the Jews to release him, but they were insistent that he be crucified. In Matthew 27:24 we read, “So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified” (Matthew 27:24–26, ESV).
              2. The nation of Israel would be judged in that generation. When Christ was raised from the dead, The Old Covenant passed away and the New Covenant began. The kingdom of God, which was typified or pictured in Old Covenant Israel, was taken away from them and given to a people producing its fruits (see Matthew 21:43). And in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was besieged and the great temple of the Old Covenant order was destroyed never to be built again. We are to interpret these events as being tightly linked with the Jews killing their own Messiah at the hands of lawless men.     
              3. Christ predicted his martyrdom. His death was decreed according to the Wisdom of God. But it was these unbelieving Jews, many of them Pharisees and lawyers, who acted unjustly, “so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, [would] be charged against [that] generation…”,
            3. It is interesting, I think, how Christ spoke of the blood of the prophets shed in ages past. He identified “Abel” as the first prophet martyred and “Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary”, as the last.
              1. You probably know who Able is. He was the younger son born to Adam and Eve after their fall into sin. Cain was his older brother. It should be remembered that it was promised to Adam and Eve, that a descendant of Eve would crush the head of the serpent, Satan, who had tempted Eve, and therefore, brought sin, misery, and death into the world. There is some evidence in the text that Adam and Eve were hopeful that Cain might be the one. He proved to be a wicked man. Able was a righteous man. Cain, being provoked by jealousy and moved to anger, rose up and killed his own brother, Able. Christ tells us that Able was a prophet. This means he was a man of faith who understood the promise of God concerning a coming redeemer, and he proclaimed the word of the Lord. Able was the first prophet to be martyred. His martyrdom anticipated the martyrdom of many more prophets of God in the future. Ultimately, the martyrdom of Able anticipated the martyrdom of Jesus Christ, the true seed of the woman promised to Adam and Eve so long ago (see Hebrews 11:4). And if the murder of Abel anticipated the murder of future prophets, the murderous Cain anticipated the murderous impulse of those who would, spiritually speaking, be born of the seed of the serpent in the future.             
              2. Christ identifies Zechariah as the last of the Old Covenant prophets to be martyred. The story of Zechariah’s martyrdom is found in 2 Chronicles 24:20–22. God’s word says, “Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, ‘Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.’’ But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, ‘May the LORD see and avenge!” (2 Chronicles 24:20–22, ESV).
                1. Some have wondered why Christ named Zechariah as the last of the Old Covenant prophets to be killed. After all, the prophet Uriah was killed by King Jehoiakim nearly 200 years after the murder of Zechariah (see Jeremiah 26:22-23).
                2. The answer is that Christ was not concerned with the chronology. Zechariah is mentioned for at least three reasons. One, his martyrdom was most terrible. He was slain in the temple itself in the courtyard of the priests between the altar for burnt offerings and the holy place. Think of the symbolism. Zachariah the prophet was offered up as a kind of sacrifice. Certainly, this anticipated the offering up of Christ, the great Prophet of God, as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. Two, Zechariah’s last words fit with what Christ was here saying. “And when he was dying, he said, ‘May the LORD see and avenge!” (see Jeremiah 26:22-23). The Lord did see, and he would avenge. Christ declared that the time for vengeance had arrived when he said that “the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, [would] be charged against this generation…” Three, it is important to know that the Jews organized the books of the Old Testament differently than we do. We have Malachi as the last book of the Old Testament. In Jesus’ day, the Jews had 2 Chronicles as the last book. So, Zechariah was the last prophet to be martyred, not chronologically, but canonically. Taken in this way, Jesus meant that the blood of all the prophets whose martyrdom is recorded for us in the pages of Holy Scripture, from Abel at the beginning to Zechariah at the end, would be charged against this generation.
        3. It is in verse 52 that we find the third of the three “woes” that Christ pronounced upon the lawyers. I find this third “woe” to be most interesting. I also believe that it is the most devastating of the three. There we read, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering” (Luke 11:52, ESV).
          1. What is this “key of knowledge” of which Christ speaks? It is the key of the knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
            1. Keys open doors. And it is this key – the key of knowing that salvation comes only through faith in the Messiah (and not by law-keeping) – that opens the door to the kingdom of heaven. Without this key – the key of the knowledge of Christ – no one will enter the kingdom of God. 
          2. Notice that Christ condemned the lawyers for taking away this key of knowledge. How did they take it away? They took it away through their misinterpretation of the law of Moses and their false teaching. They taught that righteousness was to be gained by law-keeping. But the Old Testament Scriptures teach otherwise. The Old Testament Scriptures teach that it is those who trust in the Messiah who are made righteous.  The key of the Old Testament is Christ. Christ is the central figure. Christ is the key that unlocks the door to heaven. But these lawyers – these so-called experts in the law of Moses – could not see it. They did not have the key themselves. They misinterpreted the Old Testament Scriptures. Therefore, they took the key of knowledge away from the people by their false teaching. 
          3. This is what Christ meant when he said, “You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
            1. You know, this principle that faith in Christ is the key that opens the door to the kingdom of heaven can be proven by going to one of the many Old Testament texts that point forward to him. Isaiah 53, which we read earlier, is one such text. Verses 10-12 of Isaiah 53 seem to be very much related to what is said here in Luke 11. This passage is about the Messiah or Christ. It says, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:10–12, ESV)
              1. This Old Testament passage reveals that God’s will, knowledge, or Wisdom, was to make many righteous through the death, burial, and resurrection of God’s Righteous One, the Christ. It is this Wisdom or knowledge that opens the door to the kingdom of heaven. No one will be made righteous and be able to enter the kingdom of heaven apart from faith in the promised Messiah. This was as true under the Old Testament as it is today.  But many of the Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers could not see this truth in the Old Testament Scripture. They did not have the key of the knowledge of Christ. Therefore, they could not unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven for themselves, much less for those they taught. They taught that the key to the kingdom of heaven was keeping the law of Moses and the traditions of the elders. They had the wrong. The door to the kingdom of heaven will never be opened by that key. Though many in their day regarded these lawyers to be wise scholars, in reality, they were lost fools who were shut out from the kingdom of God unless they repent and believe in Jesus.   
              2. Friends, the key that opens the door to heaven is faith in Christ. There is no other key. The New Testament Scriptures point us to Christ to be saved. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him (see John 14:6). He is the door. “If anyone enters by [him], he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9, ESV). Faith in Christ the key to that door. 
              3. But the Old Testament Scriptures also point to Christ as the key that opens the door to the kingdom of heaven. In a way, this is what Luke’s gospel is all about. Luke began his gospel, remember, by stating his objective to provide another “narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1:1, NKJV). The word fulfilled, or accomplished, is significant. Luke wants us to know that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again to fulfill the Old Testament Scriptures. His gospel is a demonstration of this fact. And we should remember how Luke’s gospel concludes. It concludes with Christ appearing to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead to teach them how all the law, prophets, and Psalm find their fulfillment in him. He rebuked them for their unbelief, saying, “‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25–27, ESV).
              4. Stated differently, before Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, he appeared to his disciples to be sure they had this key of knowledge firmly in their possession.
                1. With this key of knowledge, they would be able to rightly interpret the Old Testament Scriptures. 
                2. With this key of knowledge, they themselves would be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. 
                3. And with this key of knowledge, they would unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven for others through their preaching of the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone, and not by the works of law (see Romans 3:19-26; Galatians 2:16). 
    2. Luke concludes this story about Jesus conflict with the Pharisees and lawyers with this remark: “As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say” (Luke 11:53–54, ESV). They had it out for Jesus. They wished to do away with him. This would end with their crucifying Christ, all in fulfillment of the definite plan, foreknowledge, and Wisdom of God.   
  3. Application
    1. I have only one point of application to press upon you. Friends, be sure that you have the key of the knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ alone.
      1. I’m afraid that there are many who wish to enter heaven who hold in their hand the wrong key. Have you ever tried to open a door with the wrong key? It is a frustrating experience. You insert the key and you expect it to turn. But it will not turn. And so you are shut out of the house. Your heart sinks when you realize you have the wrong key. 
      2. How sad it will be on the last day for those who attempt to enter the door of heaven with the wrong key in their hand. Many, I’m afraid, will bring with them the key of their own self-righteousness. These are the ones who when asked, why do you think you will enter heaven when you die?, say, it is because I am a good person. I’m moral. I do good to others. I’m religious. These will be sorely disappointed to find that the door to heaven cannot be opened by the key of self-righteousness. The Scriptures are clear, “by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20, ESV), and, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, ESV), and “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23, ESV).
      3. The only keep that can open the door to heaven is the key of faith in Christ, for Christ is the one who lived and died to pay for the sins of his people. He clothes them with his righteousness to make them worthy to enter into God’s presence. Christ is the key that opens the door to heaven. To enter the kingdom of heaven, we must have Christ. And Christ is obtained by faith alone.    
      4. The Apostle Paul was not present when Jesus spoke these condemning words to the Pharisees and the lawyers, nor was he present when Christ taught his disciples after his resurrection that the law, prophets, and Psalms pointed to him, but by the grace of God, Paul was given the key of knowledge. And so he wrote, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21–26, ESV)
      5. Faith in Jesus. That is the only key that opens the door to heaven for sinners. Friends, I pray that you have it and that you hold it tightly in your hand, by God’s grace.  
Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Sermon: Woe To You Lawyers!, Luke 11:45-54

Sermon: Woe To You Pharisees! Luke 11:37-44

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 51

“TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID, WHEN NATHAN THE PROPHET WENT TO HIM, AFTER HE HAD GONE IN TO BATHSHEBA. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” (Psalm 51, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Luke 11:37-54

“While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.’ One of the lawyers answered him, ‘Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.’ And he said, ‘Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.’ As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” (Luke 11:37–54, ESV)

*****

Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

  1. Introduction
    1. Here in the passage that is open before us today, we learn about a confrontation that our Lord had with a group of Pharisees and lawyers. The Pharisees were a sect within Judaism known for their strict religious devotion. The lawyers were experts in the law of Moses. They were Old Testament scholars and teachers. Many of them were also Pharisees. Here in this passage, Jesus confronts both groups for their hypocrisy and their misinterpretation and misapplication of the law of Moses.
    2. This confrontation between our Lord and these men should be of interest to those who follow after Jesus Christ, for we are called to be religiously devout, and we are called to know the Scriptures. But in our religious devotion and our handling of the Scriptures, we must be careful to avoid the errors of the Pharisees and lawyers. 
    3. One thing I want you to see this morning is that Christ did not condemn the Pharisees for their religious devotion, but for their hypocrisy. And Christ did not condemn the lawyers for their study of the Scriptures, but for their misinterpretation and misapplication of it. 
    4. You see, I am afraid that some, after learning of Jesus’ confrontations with the Pharisees, will error in thinking that all religious devotion is to be avoided by the Christian. They assume that religious devotion equals legalism. But this is not true. The Christian is to be religiously devout. The Christian is called to worship God faithfully in obedience to the Scriptures. The Christian is called to obey God’s moral law. The problem with the Pharisees was not their religious devotion, but their hypocrisy. Their devotion was merely external. It was not from the heart. 
    5. And some, after hearing of Jesus’ confrontations with lawyers, might assume that Christ was condemning their study of and reverence for God’s law. But this is not true. What Jesus confronted was not the study of God’s law, but the misinterpretation and hypocritical misapplication of it. The Christian must “know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,” (1 Timothy 1:8, ESV). 
    6. Let us now carefully consider this text together. We will only make it through verse 44 this morning. We will consider Jesus’ condemnation of the lawyers in verses 45-54 next Sunday, Lord willing. 
  2. The Pharisees Condemned (vs. 37-44)
    1. In verses 37-44, Jesus condemns the Pharisees. As we consider Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees, we must do it, not to cast stones at the Pharisees, but to, with fear and trembling, examine our own hearts to be sure that the Pharisaical error does not reside within us.
      1. In verse 37 we read, “While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table” (Luke 11:37, ESV). What was the motivation of the Pharisee when he invited Jesus to dine with him? The text does not say. So far, there is no hint of hostility.
      2. But in verse 38 we read, “The Pharisee was astonished to see that [Jesus] did not first wash before dinner” (Luke 11:38, ESV). Modern readers might assume this was about hygiene. In our culture, it is assumed that people will wash their hands before dinner, especially if they have been working with their hands or out in public. For us, this is about hygiene. But for the Pharisees, this washing was about ceremonial purity. It was about religious devotion, not hygiene.
        1. One question we should ask is, did the Old Covenant law of Moses command these washings? The answer is, no. If it did, then Jesus would have washed, for he was careful to obey all the laws of the Old Mosaic Covenant. It must be remembered that Jesus was a Hebrew who lived under the Old Covenant. He was bound to keep the law of Moses, therefore. For him to disobey the law of Moses – yes, even the ceremonial laws – would have been a sin. And we know that our Savior was without sin.
          1. To be clear, the Old Mosaic Covenant did command certain washings. The priests, for example, were to wash their hands and feet with the water of the bronze basin that stood in the Tabernacle before they ministered at the altar (see Exodus 30:17-21). But the washings mentioned in Luke 11:38 are nowhere to be found in the Old Testement. These were manmade traditions (see Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:3-4; John 2:6). Matthew 15 makes it clear that Jesus and his disciples did not follow these manmade traditions, and it bothered the Pharisees. In that text, we read, “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat” (Matthew 15:1–2, ESV).
        2. Here is another question: Would it have been wrong for Jesus to participate in this tradition? This is a difficult question to answer. On the one hand, we may say that some traditions are inconsequential. We all have family traditions, and that is fine. Societies and cultures have their traditions, and it is not typically wrong to participate in those. In fact, there may be times when it is right to honor manmade traditions out of respect for the home or culture you are in. I think of how Paul was willing to “become all things to all people, that by all means [he] might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22, ESV). To the Jew, he lived as a Jew, and to the Gentile, he lived as a Gentile. I take this to mean that Paul was willing to adopt and conform to certain inconsequential customs and traditions so as to not unnecessarily offend. There are, of course, limits to this. Never should a Christian do what God has forbidden in his Word, or fail to do what God has commanded in his Word. Never should the church compromise on matters of doctrine or worship in an attempt to please the culture. But there are some customs and traditions that are, in and of themselves, neutral and inconsequential, morally speaking. The tradition of washing hands before a meal might seem to fall into this neutral and inconsequential category, but Jesus and his disciples did not participate as a matter of principle. Why? Because they were aware of the terrible theology that undergirded this practice. These Pharisees were notorious for piling up law after law upon the law of God and teaching that men were justified through the keeping of these manmade rules and regulations. For the Pharisees, these washings were religious. Jesus and his disciples were resolved to have nothing to do with these manmade traditions that were contrary to God’s law.
          1. Perhaps a modern-day equivalent would be a Christian participating in the Roman Mass. The Mass is no inconsequential tradition but is a manmade religious ceremony rooted in errors that undermine the very gospel of Jesus Christ and erode the very foundation of the Christian religion. No follower of Jesus Christ should participate in the Roman Mass.   
        3. When Jesus skipped the wash basin, he knew exactly what he was doing. He was acting according to his conviction. And by disregarding this custom, he was sending a message. I think it is right to assume that Christ intended to spark the conversation that followed.  
      3. Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s astonishment begins in verse 39. “And the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness” (Luke 11:39, ESV).
        1. We should remember that Jesus was seated at the dinner table with this Pharisee (and others). You can see, then, where Christ drew the metaphor from. He drew attention to the cups and plates on the table and said, “You Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness” (Luke 11:39, ESV). If you had to choose between the inside or the outside of your cup or dish being washed, which option would you pick? I’m sure you would pick the inside. Here, Jesus compares the Pharisees to dishes and cups and he condemns them for their preoccupation with cleaning their outsides (their bodies) through their manmade purification rituals while leaving their insides (the heart or soul) filthy. And what was the filth of their soul? Christ condemned them for their greed and wickedness.
        2. I wonder if you can imagine the tension in the room. I imagine my Lord and Savior speaking with calmness, coolness, power, and strength. I imagine that the Pharisees and lawyers were deeply offended. My guess is that they were visibly agitated – wide-eyed, and red in the face. I doubt much food was eaten at this meal. The meal that was served instead was the spiritual meal that Christ was pleased to serve.
      4. In verse 40, Christ calls the Pharisees fools. We ought not to imagine our Lord hurling insults at the Pharisees while being driven by passions. No, but he did speak the truth. These men were fools. They were senseless and unwise to think that washing the body with water would do them any good while their hearts and minds were full of filth. They were fools, and Christ told them so.
        1. Those lacking maturity in Christ might take this to mean that they should make it their mission to call every fool a fool at every opportunity (thanks to social media, opportunities abound!) After all, they reason, Christ called the Pharisees fools, and so we should do the same. Well, there are a few things to consider. One, you are not Christ. It may not be your place to call every fool a fool. Two, Christ did not call every fool a fool at every opportunity. If he did, I suppose that is all he would have talked about! There is a time and place to call a fool a fool, and this was the right time and place for Jesus to say it. Three, it requires maturity and self-control to call a fool a fool without falling into sin yourself. Those who confront folly in others must take the log out of their own eye before trying to remove the speck from the eye of another. And those who confront sin in others must do so patiently and gently. Even firm rebukes can be delivered in a spirit of love and gentleness (see 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 3:23; Hebrews 5:2; James 3:17; 1 Peter 3:15). The delivery of a rebuke must fit the circumstance. Jesus was a master at this. He was perfectly right to turn over the money tables in the temple, to call these Pharisees fools, and to tenderly speak to the woman caught in adulty saying, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11, ESV). His rebukes were always timely, fitting, and well-delivered. 
      5. The rebuke Jesus delivered to the Pharisees, as recorded in verses 40-41, was just right. “You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you” (Luke 11:40–41, ESV).
        1. The question, “Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?”, is a reminder that God is Lord of the body and the soul and that he is more concerned with the actual purity of the soul than the ceremonial purity of the body, as implied in verse 39 above. 
        2. When Christ said, “But give as alms those things that are within”, I think he meant, that what God truly desires is not the ceremonial purification of the body, but a pure heart, and love for others issuing from a pure heart. I take the phrase, “But give as alms those things that are within” to mean, do you wish to be pure before God? Then you must start with the heart. The heart must be pure, and then you must give worship to God from the heart, and do good to others from the heart. Perhaps you can see that we keep coming back to the first and second greatest commandments as stated back in Luke 10:25-28. You see, the problem is that the religion of these Pharisees was only skin deep. They were preoccupied with external things. They had forgotten that God is most concerned with the heart.
          1. I think it is interesting to note how this teaching from our Lord about true religion being heart religion finds its way into the writings of Christ’s Apostles.
            1. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:5: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” The Christian reliogion is about love. Firstly, it is about love for God. Secondly, it is about love for neighbor. But this love, if it is to be true, must issue (spring forth) from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.  
            2. And listen to the Apostle Peter in Peter 1:22-23: “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…”
              1. I see both of these passages as being very much related to the teaching of our Lord found here in Luke 11. The Apostles of Christ had learned that true religion and true purity must spring from a pure heart. What good does it do to wash the outside of a cup or dish if the inside of the cup or dish is filthy? The cup or dish that is clean on the outside may impress from a distance, but if it is filthy on the inside it will, one, eventually be known, and two, they will forever taint the food and drink they deliver. 
            3. Jesus was right, these men who practiced a merely external form of religion while harboring the filth of greed and wickedness within their hearts, were fools. They knew the Scriptures and they should have known better.
              1. Certainly, they were familiar with Psalm 51:16-17 where David says, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” What does this text reveal except that God is not impressed with external religion if it is heartless? What God desires is a repentant heart – a heart that looks to God and to God’s Messiah for cleansing. 
              2. If these Pharisees were to practice true religion, they would first need to be forgiven and cleansed through faith in Jesus the Messiah. Psalm 51 also teaches this. That Psalm begins with the words, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions”. In this Psalm, David pleads with God, saying, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” A little later he says,  “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”  Finally, David prays, “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
        3. These Pharisees who were preoccupied with external religion and ceremonial purity while neglecting the heart, were fools, and so Christ exhorted them, saying, “But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.” The meaning is this: if the heart and mind are pure then everything will be pure, for it is from the heart and mind that we speak and act. These ceremonial washing do nothing to cleanse the heart unless they are accompanied by repentance and faith. 
      6. Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees continues in verse 42: “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Luke 11:42, ESV).
        1. When Christ said that Pharisees tithed “mint and rue and every herb” he drew attention to the fact that they were very careful to offer up their tithes at the temple. They did not only give a tenth of their large crops but a tenth of the little household herbs they grew in their gardens. Again, we see that they were very particular about the performance of external religious duties. Notice that Christ did not condemn them for their contributions but for their preoccupation with the particulars of external religion while neglecting much weightier matters such as justice and the love of God.
          1. Justice is the good and right treatment of others. Justice is required by the second great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. And as you know, love for God is what the first great commandment requires. The Pharisees were fools to focus on the minutia of external religion while neglecting these much weightier things, and so Christ pronounced woes upon them.
            1. Again, the Pharisees knew the Scriptures, and so they should have known better. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
        2. At the end of verse 42 Christ tells them what they should have done. “These [the offering up of tithes at the temple] you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
          1. So, external religious devotion does matter. “These [the offering up of tithes at the temple] you ought to have done”, Christ said. It was right for the Pharisees to give a tenth of their mint and rue and herbs to support the ministry of the priests at the temple. It was right for them to do this, for the law of Moses said, “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year” (Deuteronomy 14:22, ESV).
          2. But this they “ought to have done, without neglecting the others”, namely, justice and love for God. 
      7. In verse 43 Christ puts his finger on the problem. “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” (Luke 11:43, ESV)
        1. Notice the word love. This word keeps popping up, doesn’t it? The essence of the law of God is love – love for God, and love for neighbor (see Luke 10:25-28). And love is also the essence of true religion.
          1. Does God command his people to perform external religious duties? Yes, of course. From creation, God’s people were commanded to set one day out of every seven apart as holy unto the Lord. The day is to be observed and kept holy. It is a day to rest from common labor and recreation. It is a day for public and private worship. On this day, God’s people are to remember God’s work of creation and his work of redemption. It is a day for holy convocation (see Leviticus 23:3). This means it is a day to assemble with the people of God for worship. From Adam to the resurrection of Christ, the sabbath day was the seventh day. From the resurrection of Christ to the end of the world, the sabbath day is the first day of the week. The old Jewish sabbath has passed away having been fulfilled by Christ. The Lord’s Day has taken its place (see Revelation 1:10). The Christian Sabbath is to be observed and kept by the people of God (see Hebrews 4:9). It is a key component of the Christian religion. God’s people sin when they neglect this external religious duty (see Hebrews 10:25). If you think that we, who live under the New Covenant are without external religious duties, you are badly mistaken. God’s people, to this present day, are to keep one day out of every seven as holy unto the Lord. But do not think that God is impressed by your sabbath-keeping if your heart is far from him. The essence of true religious devotion is love.    
          2. And what are God’s people to do when they assemble for public worship? What is our religious duty? We are to give ourselves to the reading and preaching of the Holy Scriptures, to prayer, the breaking of the bread, and the fellowship (see Acts 2:42). These are religious duties commanded in God’s Word. We sin when we neglect them. But do not think that God is pleased when you attend public worship without love in your hearts for God and for one another. The essence of true religious devotion is love.
        2. The word love keeps coming up. Here in verse 43 Christ says, “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces” (Luke 11:43, ESV). It’s as if Christ said, Woe to you Pharisees! For you love… yourselves. You are meticulous in your performance of external religious duties – some of them are commanded in God’s law; some are merely the traditions of man – but you perform these duties because you love, not God or neighbor, but yourself. You love to be honored at church and given the very best seat. You love to be greeted in the marketplace. You love yourself. But your love for God and your fellow man is sadly lacking. And God is not pleased with this.
      8. In verse 44 Christ pronounces these third and final woe. “Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it” (Luke 11:44, ESV).
        1. Here Christ compares the Pharisees to graves. On the outside, things look nice. On the inside, there is nothing but uncleanness. In Matthew 23:27 we hear Christ say, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27, ESV). Though Christ says less here in Luke 11, the meaning is the same. 
        2. Furthermore, it should be known that under the Old Mosaic Covenant, if a Jew came into contact with a grave, it would make them cerimonially unclean (see Numbers 19:16). A ceremonial right of purification would then be required. The practice of whitewashing tombs in Jesus’ day was actually for the purpose of highlighting the graves so that the Jews could avoid contact with them, especially as people journeyed to Jerusalem during the holy days. The last thing a person would want is to become unclean by coming into contact with a grave. That would greatly hinder their participation in worship at the temple. 
        3. When Christ referred to the Pharisees as “unmarked graves” and stated that “people walk over them without knowing it”, he meant two things.
          1. One, though the Pharisees thought they were clean on the basis of their external religious devotion, really, like graves, they were filled with uncleanness. They were in need of true cleansing. 
          2. Two, though the Pharisees thought they blessed others and made others clean through their teachings and example, the opposite was true. In reality, they made others unclean through the influence they had on them. Just as Jews would unknowingly become cerimonially unclean as they walked over unmarked graves, so too, many were made unclean by the contact they had with these hypocritical Pharisees as they were influenced by their false teachings and followed their hypocritical ways. The meaning, I think, is that hypocrites beget hypocrites and uncleanness begets uncleanness.
  3. Conclusion
    1. When I first started to write this sermon, I intended to continue through verse 54. Clearly, verses 37 – 54 go together. In verse 45 Jesus turns his attention to the lawyers, that is to say, to the supposed experts in the law of Moses, and delivers a string of rebukes to them. I do not wish to frustrate you today with an exceptionally long sermon, nor do I wish to shortchange verses 45 through 54. There is much for us to consider in that text. And we will consider it together next Sunday, Lord willing. 
    2. Let us now move this sermon toward a conclusion by considering applications.
      1. Firstly, I must urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to have a clear view of what God’s law actually requires and forbids.
        1. You do not live under the law of Moses. The ceremonial laws regarding sacrifices and washings and the offering up of tithes and offerings at the temple through the priesthood do not apply to you. They have passed away with the Old Covenant, for they have been fulfilled by Christ Jesus, the mediator of a new and better covenant. 
        2. But the New Covenant is not without law. The moral law is still binding on us. And to the moral law, Christ has added positive laws to regulate New Covenant worship and to govern life in his New Covenant kingdom. 
        3. To say that the Christian should be concerned about knowing God’s law and keeping it is not Pharisaical or legalistic. It is simply orthodox and biblical. Christ said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, ESV). Every true Christian should desire to know what those commandments are and strive to keep them.
      2. Secondly, I must urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to avoid the legalism of the Pharisees. Legalism takes different forms.
        1. Often, the legalist will add manmade laws to the law of God. The motivations for this are varied. And here is another reason for you to know what God’s law actually requires – to distinguish between God’s law and manmade customs. God’s law is to be received and obeyed. Manmade rules and regulations must not bind the conscience of the believer.   
        2.  Legalists will also err in believing that they can be justified before God through law-keeping. This is not true. We are all lawbreakers. We stand guilty before God, therefore. This is why we need Christ. Christ kept the law for us and in our place. He also died to atone for the sins of his people. These Pharisees thought they were clean because of their law-keeping. They were not clean. Like you and me, they needed a Savior. The Savior is Christ the Lord. 
        3. Finally, legalists will often assume that religious rituals will purify them. They will not. The ceremonies of the Old Mosaic Covenant did make men clean in a temporary and earthy way. But those ceremonies could not cleanse the soul. In fact, those ceremonies – the washings and sacrifices offered at the temple – pointed to the fact that true cleansing was needed. The ceremonial laws of the Old Testament pointed to Christ! And something similar must be said about the ceremonies of the New Covenant. The water of Baptism does not cleanse you. The blood of Christ is what cleanses you. And he is received by faith alone. Baptism will not benefit you at all if there is no faith in the heart. And the same is true of the Lord’s Supper. The Supper does not save you. Christ’s broken body and shed blood saves you. And the supper is a sign of these things. Do not approach baptism and the Lord’s Supper in a legalistic way thinking that these signs function ex opere operato – “from the work performed” or “by the work done”. No, these are sacraments that point to the work that Christ has done. We must receive Christ by faith as we approach the sacraments as a means of grace.
      3. Thirdly, I urge you to pursue religious devotion with a love for God and your fellow man burning strongly within your heart.
        1. A true love for God will involve loving God’s Son, Christ the Lord. Those who love God will know that God is holy and just, infinite in his perfections, and worthy to receive all praise. Those who love God will fear him, knowing that they are sinners who stand before him condemned. And yet they will be drawn to him knowing that he is merciful, gracious, and kind. And where is God’s love and grace manifest? It is shown in his sending of the Son, Christ the Lord. Those who love God truly will love the Son dearly for the Son is the Savior God has provided. These Pharisees were fools indeed. They claimed to be religious. They claimed to be lovers of God. And yet they warred against the Son of God incarnate even as he reclined at the table with them. Truth be told, they loved themselves. They were concerned with their own glory, not God’s. And so they could not bring themselves to receive Christ the Son.  
        2. Lastly, a true love for our neighbor will involve exulting God’s Son for all to see. These Pharisees exalted themselves. They exalted their traditions and laws. They exulted their own self-righteousness. And in so doing, they hindered others from seeing Jesus, the Messiah. Dear friends, the best thing we can do for others is to exult, not ourselves or our traditions, but Jesus Christ. May we walk humbly before God and man and draw attention to our marvelous Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
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Catechetical Sermon: Did God Leave All Mankind To Perish In The Estate Of Sin And Misery?, Baptist Catechism 23

Baptist Catechism 23

Q. 23. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?

A. God having out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer. (Eph. 1:3,4; 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom. 5:21; Acts 13:8; Jer. 31:33)

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3–10

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:3–10, ESV)

*****

Introduction

The catechism has been all bad news from questions 16 through 22. In those questions and answers, we learned all about Adam’s sin and its terrible effects on the whole human race. Here in question 23, we hear good news.

Again, the question: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery? 

Before we go to the answer, it should be acknowledged that God would have been right to leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery. God would have done no wrong –  he would have been perfectly right and just – to leave men and women in their sins and to give them what they deserve. 

Now, for the good news. 

*****

The Good News

The first word in the answer to our question is “God…” That is significant. If mercy and grace were to be shown to man, if salvation were to be provided, God had to take the initiative. Man in sin is in a helpless and hopeless state of being. If salvation were to be provided, God had to act. 

Next, our catechism says, “having…” “God having…” Having is past tense, notice. So, we are about to learn about something that God did “before” Adam fell into sin. I say “before” knowing that that is not a completely accurate way of speaking about God’s determination to offer grace to fallen man, for God is not bound by time in the way we are. Soon, we will learn that God determined to show grace to man “in eternity”. That is the more accurate way to put it.  

Back to our answer: “God, having out of His mere good pleasure…” our catechism says. The words, “out of his mere good pleasure” speak to what motivated God. What motivated God to show grace to sinful man? Was it something deserving in man? Did someone convince, or pressure God to show grace? No. God determined to show grace from within himself, “out of his mere good pleasure.”  The most famous of all Bible verses, John 3:16, speaks to this when it says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). What “moved” the Father to send the Son to accomplish redemption? The perfection of his love “moved” him to provide a Savior. In other words, it was not something outside of God that moved him, but something from within, namely, the perfection of his love and mercy. 

When did God determine to show grace to fallen man? Here it is stated with precision. “From all eternity”, our catechism says. This truth that God determined to save sinners “before” Adam sinned and “from all eternity” is found in many places in the Scriptures. In my mind, the clearest of these passages are the ones that contain the phrase, “before the foundation of the world”. Clearly, these texts are speaking about something that happened before the heavens, earth, and even time itself, were made. 

In Ephesians 1:4 we learn that God “chose [those who believe]  in [Christ]  before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4, ESV). 1 Peter 1:20 says that “[Christ] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you…” (1 Peter 1:20, ESV). In John 17:24 we hear the prayer of Jesus to the Father, wherein he says, “I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24, ESV). Lastly, in Revelation 13:8 we hear about “the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” that was “written before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, ESV).

All of these texts clearly teach that God determined to show grace to sinners and to bring them to salvation through a redeemer, Christ the Lord, before the world was made, before man fell into sin, and in eternity.

What in particular did God do in eternity? Our catechism is right to say that he “elected some to everlasting life…” This is the doctrine of election or predestination, which is clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures. 

Again, Ephesians 1:4 says that God “chose us in [Christ]  before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4, ESV). Verses 5 and 6 continue, saying, “he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:5–6, ESV).

There are many other places where this doctrine is taught. In John 17 Jesus speaks of those given to him by the Father in eternity. In Colossians 3:12, those in Christ are called “chosen ones”. Romans 8:33, 9:11, 11:7, 2 Timothy 2:10, Titus 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1, and 2 Peter 1:10 all use the language of election to refer to the believer. Those who are united to Christ by faith are said to be the elect or elected by God. This is another way of saying that those who place their faith in Christ in time were first chosen by God in eternity

And I suppose now would be a good time to remind you of what motivated God to choose, elect, or predestine some (and to leave others in their sin).  It was not something deserving in the creature, but out of God’s mere good pleasure. In other words, this election was by the grace of God alone. There is no room for boasting, therefore. And this is what Paul famously says in Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9, ESV).

So we have learned about what God did in eternity. Now we will learn about what God has done in time. “God having out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.”

When and with whom was this Covenant of Grace made? Not within God in eternity, but between God and man in time.  

If we wish to be more precise (which is, in fact, important here) we must say that this Covenant of Grace was ratified when Jesus Christ lived, died, rose again, and ascended to the Father. That is when the Covenant of Grace was made. But we must also admit that the saving power of this covenant was present in the world before Christ’s death and resurrection. Indeed, the saving power of this Covenant of Grace was present in the world even in the days of Adam. Shortly after Adam fell into sin a promise was made that God would provide a Savior who would, in the fullness of time, arise from the offspring of the women. 

All who have ever been saved from their sins – be it Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, or any other who lived in their days – were saved by faith in the promised Messiah.   

The Covenant of Grace is the New Covenant of which Jeremiah 31:31 spoke. The Covenant of Grace is the one mediated by Jesus Christ. It is the one that was instituted on the night Jesus was betrayed, when he said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And taking a cup, and having given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26–28, ESV). It is this covenant, the New Covenant, that is the Covenant of Grace. This covenant alone provides for the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ, who is the mediator of this covenant, and who atoned for sins through the shedding of his blood. 

We have already learned about covenants. Remember, a covenant of works was made with Adam in the garden. It is called a covenant of works because Adam had to work (or obey) to obtain the blessing of that covenant. Why then is the New Covenant called the Covenant of Grace? It is because in this covenant the work has been done for us by Christ. The only thing for us to do is to believe, and we have already heard in Ephesians 2:8 that the ability to believe is itself a gift from God. 

This covenant – the Covenant of Grace – is not a covenant of works for us. It is a Covenant of Grace. In this covenant, God has promised to “deliver [his elect] out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.“

Please allow me to make just a few remarks about the phrases, “to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.”

One, notice the language of “estate” again. Man was created in an estate of innocence. When man sinned, he fell into an estate of sin and misery. But those who have faith in the promised Messiah are brought into another state of being. They are transferred into an estate of salvation. 

Our confession of faith calls this estate “the state of grace”.  Listen to the way 2LCF 9.4 describes this state of being. “When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he frees him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he does not perfectly, nor only will that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.”

Two, our catechism does not only talk about the estate that the elect are brought into when they believe upon Christ, but also the estate from which they are freed, namely the estate of sin and misery.  Again, in the Covenant of Grace God promises to “deliver [his elect] out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.”

Thirdly, notice that this salvation is obtained, not by works, but through faith in a Redeemer, Christ Jesus the Lord. 

*****

Conclusion

So here is the good news. Though man fell into sin and was hopelessly lost in an estate of sin and misery, having “lost communion with God”, being “under His wrath and curse”, and being “made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever”, “God having out of His mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.” The Redeemer is Christ the Lord. “whoever believes in him [will] not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16–18, ESV).

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Discussion Questions: Luke 11:37-44

  1. Why was the Pharisee astonished that Jesus did not wash before dinner? Why did Jesus choose not to wash?
  2. Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees begins in verse 39. What did he mean when he said, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39)
  3. What did Christ mean when he said, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Luke 11:42)
  4. What did he mean when he said, “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” (Luke 11:43).
  5. And what about these words: “Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.” (Luke 11:44)
  6. The trouble with the Pharisees was not their religious devotion. Every Christian should strive to be religiously devout. Where then did the Pharisees go wrong?
  7. How does this text apply to you? What have you learned from the bad example of the Pharisees? How does this text point to our need for Christ?
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Discussion Questions: Baptist Catechism 23

  1. Why is it significant that the answer to Baptist Catichem 23 begins with the word, “God”?
  2. What “motivated” God to save sinners? When did God decide to save sinners?
  3. Through which covenant is salvation from the estate of sin and misery made available? When was this covenant formally enacted? 
  4. When were the blessings of this covenant made available? How were the blessings of this covenant made available before the making of this covenant?
  5. In the Covenant of Grace, sinners are delivered out of the estate of sin and misery. Review Baptist Catechism questions 20-22 and discuss all that Christ has saved us from. 
  6. In the Covenant of Grace, sinners are brought into an estate of salvation. The blessings of this state of salvation will be presented in questions 35-43. You may preview those questions and discuss the blessings that Christ brings his people.
  7. Who rescues us from the estate of sin and misery and brings us into this estate of salvation?
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"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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