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The Problem with Pharisees

Luke 16:14-18

Luke 16, middle of the chapter and we know that Jesus has been teaching his disciples about stewardship, stewardship. We, it’s been a couple weeks since we’ve been in the text, but I trust that your memory will serve you, as you glance at the text.  

You see the Jesus started with a parable. Grabbed their attention with this interesting parable. Interesting story about an unjust steward and, that, pointed his disciples toward a right use of stewardship. A right use of worldly means for the purpose of making friends for eternity. And through this section of instruction, after telling the parable, Jesus provided his disciples with some motivation for stewardship and instruction, on this matter of stewarding the life that God has given us. 

 I know for many of you that, because I heard from many of you, but, that was an enlightening and encouraging series of messages to learn more about our Christian stewardship. It certainly was challenging, provoking for me, encouraging for me, and instructive to learn more about stewardship. And, that is, really how Christians respond to the truth, and even truth, hard hitting, dealing with deep things about where our hearts are. Where our treasure really is. 

 That’s how Christians respond is with joy and gratitude. Eager to be obedient to what the word reveals. We are all eager. All excited to exercise a godly stewardship before God, for all that God has entrusted to us. And to use all the gifts that Christ is given to us, especially here around this church. 

 But not everybody listening to what Jesus said responds that way. Look at the next verse in the text, Luke 16:14. It says, “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money. They were hearing all these things and they were ridiculing him.” They were there listening to everything Jesus said and their response was to ridicule Jesus for his teaching. That figures right? Money lovers, fill argiros. Literally, silver lovers. Argiros is silver. They were lovers of silver. 

 Those who love money, that’s them: the Pharisees. Those who serve money. They bow before the altar of mammon. Member Jesus used that Syrian deity to kind of portray the idolatry aspect of loving money. He casts that love of money, verse 13. He casts the love of money in terms of idolatry. He said, “No servant can serve two masters.” There’s two masters involved here. He says “he will either hate the one and love the other, or he’ll be devoted to the one and despise the other.” He says you cannot serve both masters. “You cannot serve God and money.” 

 So, if you love money, you’re not gonna be too happy with what Jesus is saying here. You’re going to be too, you’re not gonna be too pleased with Jesus, because he is speaking against your little god. He’s offending your deity, which is money. And moreover, if you are like the Pharisees, which thankfully many of you are not, like the Pharisees. But, if you’re like the Pharisees, your cashflow depends on keeping all these people devoted to, and giving to your religion. 

 And, so, what Jesus has to say here, in a very real way, becomes a threat to your livelihood. Becomes a threat to your income. That’s why these Pharisees here respond to Jesus’s teaching on stewardship with ridicule. And in light of verse 13, we need to recognize that ridicule. It’s really an expression of hatred, of despising in their hearts. They despised him in their hearts. They hated him in their hearts. They were not neutral. And by the way, comma, nobody is neutral about Jesus. 

 Everybody may appear to be neutral, even fair hearted toward Jesus, on the surface. But if you start pressing the truth into their lives, very quickly, realize where their loyalties lie. That’s what happened here. We need to recognize their ridicule as an expression of hatred. The Pharisees despise Jesus in their hearts. They’re not neutral, and their ridicule is just one outward expression of that. 

 Obviously, we know that the crucifixion of Jesus is going to be another outward expression of their hatred and their despising. So, what we’re seeing in the text, today, is Jesus’s response to the Pharisees ridicule. His response to their hatred, and it’s very interesting. We just need to know, just a little parenthesis here, notice, that, when he’s reviled by them. When he’s ridiculed by them. When he’s made to look ridiculous by them, that’s what “to ridicule” is. 

 He did not revile in return, did he? He didn’t respond in kind. In fact, he responded quite in the opposite way. Instead of reviling, those who ridiculed him, he responded by teaching them. He responded by loving them. That’s his mission. That’s what his first advent is all about, is to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, and he never stops doing it. 

 It doesn’t matter what kind of hatred he faces. It doesn’t matter what kind of despising, what kind of ridicule, and sneering, and scoffing, and mocking. He looks straight at them and he preaches the gospel of the kingdom of God. So, that’s what he came to do. 

 So as Jesus teaches the Pharisees here, as it responds to their ridicule and their hatred. We have the privilege and the opportunity, of kind, of listening in. Thankfully, we, most of us here, I would say, are not the targets of this. 

 I know that there may be some, in a group like this, who may need to put, you may need to put yourself in the crosshairs here, if you are truly a lover of money. If, if God can bring you, by his grace, to that kind of honesty and reckoning with your heart. That you treasure something other than Christ. Well, then, maybe you need to stand in the crosshairs of Jesus’ direct confrontation here of the Pharisees. 

 But for many of us, we have this occasion to kind of listen in, as he confronts. We can learn from him and be instructed and encouraged, because of the things that he confronts them about. By God’s grace, he’s awakened us to these things. We’re not blind to these issues. But, instead, we’ve been saved by his grace. 

 By God’s grace, we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We have new hearts. We have a new nature. We have eyes to see and ears to hear. So, we understand the teaching. We’re drawn near to Jesus. We’re compelled to come near. We don’t stay at a distance. We don’t turn away. We don’t despise. We don’t hate. But for these pharisees, they had not been so affected, and they remained in their sins, and their rebellion, their hatred. And as Jesus confronts them, as we read the text, we’ll see on this particular occasion, and especially on this occasion, it’s like we’re listening to an ongoing debate between theologians. 

 And as we enter into it, we, we might be, just even, a little confused. It’s like we’re listening to this debate that, that, really, we’re missing some of the history, some of the context, some of the background of the dispute, that’s not fully known to us. Kind of comes across that way, as we read. So, keep that in mind, as we read, Jesus’ response to the Pharisees, verses 15 to 18. 

 We have to work a little bit today. OK? New year, got a fresh mind, cold outside, warm in here, so let the, let the heat kind of warm up your brain. Hopefully, you’ve had enough coffee, because we’re going to move through this and see if we can figure out the connections that are made from verse to verse and concept to concept. Notice as we read, let’s start back in verse 14 and read through verse 18. 

 “The Pharisees, who were lovers of money. They heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.’” Clear. Good. 

 Pharisees ridicule Jesus. We see, in verse 15, that his initial response, it seems very appropriate. It seems fitting. But, as we keep on reading, we kind of get the feeling we’ve lost the trail of the argument a bit, right? Or am I the only one? He starts by confronting the Pharisees error, in verse 15, of justifying themselves before men, and that seems, as I said, quite fitting. 

 But then, verse 16, he switches gears a bit. He starts talking about what we might describe as dispensationalism. Okay, how did that come up? The law and the prophets versus the kingdom of God? What’s going on? It’s like something happened in the white spaces between verses 15 and 16, that we don’t know about. I’ve checked the Greek. It’s not there either. It’s not in those white spaces. 

 And then we’ve got this comment about everybody forcing his way into the kingdom of God. We’re scratching our heads a bit on that. Okay, how does that, a reply to the Pharisees and their ridicule? How is that explaining anything? And then, we get to verse 17. Jesus seems to counterbalance what he said about the discontinuity between law and prophets in the kingdom of God.  

And we have the continuity of the law in verse 17. It’s gonna abide. Not one dot is gonna be void. Not gonna fail. Okay? So, it abides. It continues. And then in verse 18, he just chucks a word about divorce into the mix. Which is the only time, by the way, in Luke’s Gospel, that Jesus addresses divorce and remarriage. You can see it several times in Matthew’s Gospel. A big chunk in Mark’s Gospel. 

 In fact, because this is the only time in Luke’s Gospel, of verse 18, that he mentions divorce and instructs on it. I’m going to take next week and go through verse 18 in more detail. But for today, we’ll keep it brief and just put it into its context, it’s flow. Which it’s clearly got a flow. Can’t you see it. 

 If the flow, in the connection between verses 14 and 18 weren’t enough to perplex us, or cause us to scratch our heads a bit. When we look at the text of Chapter 16, itself, we recognize that Luke has intentionally kept verses 14 through verse 31, all of that, is together, as a single unit. And so, what we’re reading in verses 14 to 18, this is introductory to the parable in verses 19 to 31. 

 Somehow, what we’re covering today is going to be illustrated by the parable. What we’re covering today, it’s important that we get it, because it’ll help guide us through the parable. Help us get the most out of the parable. So, we gotta get this. What is the point then? What is going on in this text? Here’s the point. The Pharisees, though they were religious, Bible thumping conservatives, you might say. Because they are lovers of money. They are, no matter what the external appearance appears to be, they are idolators. They are religious, and conservatively so. 

 Today they would be evangelicals. Today they would feel, well, hopefully not totally, at home in this church. But they would feel at home in our evangelical churches because they believe the Bible. They’re Bible people. But in their hearts, they’re servants of mammon, and so, they’re blinded by pride. 

 And therefore, walking through the text, we see Jesus’ confrontation is spot on. He tells them that they are deluded about justification. They are completely excluded from God’s redemption, and they’re devoid of any sanctification. That’s what Jesus is confronting here. 

 He’s not doing it in spite. He’s not responding in kind to the ridicule with unkindness. He’s actually responding in very sincere love. He has affection for these blind men. He cares and has compassion, that though they are idolaters, and though they’re idolaters of the worst kind, wearing the mask of hypocrisy of true religion. He still cuts through all that. He looks beyond all of that, down to the heart of the issue and realizes these men need salvation. 

 And so, he loves them, and he confronts them in love. And he tells them a parable to warn them about the grave consequences that result from their dead spiritual condition. They are in trouble and he wants them to understand that. That’s what this section is, verses 14 to 18. That’s what this section is. It’s a clear, loving confrontation of the Pharisees and in terms that they, they, and whatever our misunderstanding is, whatever our perplexity is, I could tell you, these Pharisees understood it perfectly. They understood it perfectly. 

 If you’re taking notes, I’ll give you the points upfront, and then I’ll repeat them as we go. The Pharisees are number one, deluded about true justification. The Pharisees are deluded about true justification. That’s the first point. 

 Second point, because they’re deluded about God’s justification, true justification, they are excluded from God’s redemption. They are excluded from God’s redemption.  And then point number three, they are devoid of any sanctification. They’re devoid of any sanctification. They’re devoid of holiness. 

 So, here’s the first point. Returning to that, I’ll give these to you again, as we go. But here’s the first point. They are deluded about true justification. Deluded, in error, mistaken, blinded. Look again at verse 14, the Pharisees were lovers of money. They heard all these things and they ridiculed him. That shows their delusion. To ridicule, ridicule is an intensified form of the verb mukterizo, mukterizo. Mukter, mukter is the Greek word for nostril and, so you think, what does that have to do with, with ridicule? 

 Well, literally, mukterizo means to turn up one’s nose. Okay?  So, it’s a, it’s a figurative expression for mocking, for ridicule. Treating someone with contempt or sneering at them, and the, the nose is involved in that. It’s a turn up the nose, like you’re smelling something foul. Sneering at them, scoffing, treating them with contempt. 

 In view of everything Jesus has been teaching, we need to realize that he, what has been a blessing to all of us, instruction on stewardship. He has been stomping all over their hearts. He has been messing with them big time, because they are idolaters, because they love money, and they do not like their idols toppled over. Everything he’s saying is like him reaching out, grabbing their nose and twisting it. No wonder they turn up their noses at him. 

 No wonder. Because he’s hitting their consciences and he’s hitting them hard. His teaching is kind of peeling back outward appearances, this veil that they held up for everybody of their holiness and their righteousness, and exposed their heart level sins, which is a love of money. The more Jesus taught his disciples, how to find freedom from the love of money, the more he taught his disciples about the true use of unrighteous mammon, for the purpose of the kingdom. 

 The more their idol cracked the whip over them. The more their idol, mammon, money, stirred up the powerful impulses inside of them of greed and corruption. The more it drove them with an unrelenting ambition of covetous desire, and fulfilling covetous desire. Their covetous hearts are churning, as he’s teaching. They’re under conviction. 

 Now, although, the Pharisees are still trapped in their prison of greed and covetousness. They don’t feel trapped. Sinners, like fish, swimming in water don’t feel wet. Sinners, until they’re awakened, they don’t understand how bad off they are. In fact, these Pharisees, they loved their prison cell. They felt very comfortable in their chains of greed and corruption. Happy in their sins, and their covetousness. 

 They didn’t recognize the jailbreak that Jesus is offering in his teaching. The doorway that he’s just opened and pointed them to freedom. The lie that they had come to believe is that they, rather than being enslaved to riches, they believed that they had been abundantly blessed by God, because of their riches. They pointed to their riches and said, “See God’s blessing. God has blessed me for my impeccable record of righteousness and law keeping.” Pointed to their wealth as evidence of God’s blessing. 

 It’s Alfred Plummer who writes, he says, “The covetousness of the Pharisees is independently attested. They regarded their wealth as a special blessing because of their carefulness in observing the law. And these people were fastidious. They would tithe even the condiments on the dinner table, mint, dill, cumin, the seasonings, the spices. They tithe the tenth even of that. They washed the dishes that they would use. They washed their hands, went through an entire ritual before all these different meals that they would hold. 

 “They were fastidious, at the same time, they believed, because of their fastidiousness, because of their meticulous attention to the law, and even making up laws in order that they wouldn’t break other laws. Because of that, God was so pleased, that he’s just dump money on them, just gave them more and more and more.” 

 I have a friend named Costi Hinn. Costi Hinn is the nephew of Benny Hinn. Benny Hinn, the infamous televangelist and prosperity preacher. And before Costi Hinn was saved, by the way, he’s now a preacher of the true gospel. It’s a fantastic story of God’s amazing grace. I got a text from him last week, said he’s planting a church, out of, out of the church that he’s been in. So, he’s doing so well. 

 But before he was saved, Costi Hinn, he used to travel with his uncle Benny on these prosperity gospel crusades around the world. They’d do some ‘ministry’, quote, unquote. Used to do ministry, I use that term loosely applied here, but they do that ministry a few days somewhere, in some location. Then they’d fly on the Gulfstream jet over to some exotic resort for a week or two. And they told themselves, they actually articulated this, it’s because our conscience is bothering them, that, this is a reward. God’s reward for their ministry laborers. They’d rake in the dough, rake in the cash, and then go blow it in a resort somewhere. 

 Same thing’s going on here. Same thing in the Pharisees day. Same kind of corruption. Same kind of scams. Alfred Plummer continues by saying, “The Pharisees considered themselves an abiding proof of the connection between riches and righteousness.” Well, that’s a slogan: Riches and righteousness. Who wants some?  

So, when Jesus, just in teaching his disciples, just instructing them in good and Godly stewardship, in his teaching, he exposes their self-justification as a lie, and it hits their consciences, and it hits it hard. And it’s under this discomfort of an accusing conscience, that the Pharisees then start ridiculing Jesus. They’re hoping to divert attention away from their own guilt. They’re hoping to justify themselves before all the crowds, who were listening to all this. Watching all this. 

 So, lest Jesus expose their covetous hearts, lest his teaching exposed to everyone what they really are. Lest they lose their status before this attentive crowd, Pharisees turn to ridicule. It’s really not too hard to figure out how they ridicule Jesus. How they may have tried to discredit him before others. Might have sound something like this: Yep, that figures he’d say that about money. 

 That figures, easy to preach against wealth, when you don’t have any. “Wealth and riches are in the house of the blessed,” Psalm 112. But you, you don’t even have a house. You’re poor. You’re jealous. You’re the one who’s covetous over money. That’s why you preach against it. Trying to cover over the fact that God hasn’t blessed you with prosperity like he’s blessed me. You ought to be ashamed of yourself before all these good people, talking like that. Trying to mislead all these people.  

You can imagine the ridicule, the scorn, the mocking, derision coming out of their mouths, as they turn their noses up at him. He’s unmoved, isn’t he, by their insults? He’s unaffected by their ridicule.  Doesn’t respond in kind at all, but he answers them. He doesn’t answer him to defend himself. He answers them to address the heart of their problem. Why? Because he loves them. Because he wants to see them saved. He wants to see them repent. He wants to see them free of their enslavement to money. 

 So, it goes right to the heart of the problem and what they’re doing and, there, in front of everybody, trying to justify themselves in the sight of men, verse 15, he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” 

 That we’re justify, dikaioo. It’s to declare one to be righteous, and in some context, like it’s being used here, it means to be vindicated, as righteous. It’s to be proven to be shown to be righteous. Viewed as upright. Really a beautiful word dikaioo. It’s a glorious theological concept, but it’s glorious and beautiful only when it’s rightly understood and rightly practiced. 

 In this case, this justification that they’re engaging in, before men, this is another terrible prison that they’re in. The need to be justified before men. The need for man’s approval. The need to keep everybody fooled. How exhausting. They don’t understand the need for divine justification. How deeply confused they are. How deeply deluded. 

 How are they justifying themselves before men? Well, I’ve already mentioned first, this public display of ridicule. That’s one justification. This is a deflection in order to avoid any sense of conviction of conscience and, and follow the, the road of conviction to repentance and confession of sin. They don’t want to follow that because they love their money too much. They want to hold on to that. So, they ridicule. They ridicule Jesus. 

 They ridicule his teaching on stewardship of money. They say, of course, you’re going to preach against money because you don’t have any. You’re just jealous. All the rest. Second way that the Pharisees justified themselves before men was to make an external show of religion. An attempt to gain and maintain a good reputation before man. A good standing before other people in the, in the community. 

 And so, the Pharisees were known for practicing almsgiving, but they didn’t practice almsgiving out of mercy and compassion for people, really. They made a show of their works, in order, to gain the approval and acceptance of men. In order, to gain their trust. In order, to hold the trust and maintain it. They made a show of their works. Jesus said Matthew 6:3, not to be like the hypocrites. The hypocrites who give in public and not in private. The hypocrites who sound the trumpet rather than keeping quiet about it. 

 We notice in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, that Lazarus was sitting at the rich man’s gates. Was he getting anything from the rich man? On the way in and out of the gate, nothing, zero. Now if he was sitting in the temple. In public, where there was a place to give and everybody to see it, that Lazarus might have done okay. Right out front his gate, not a dime. Not a cent, to alleviate his suffering. 

“If what you want is the applause of men, you got it. Paid in full.”

Travis Allen

 Matthew 6:3. They blow a trumpet, they give in public, not in private, in the synagogues and in the streets. They want to be seen as giving. They want to be seen as generous. They’re making a show of their religion. They want to be justified and praised by others, is what Matthew 6:30 says, “Truly,” Jesus says “they’ve received their reward.” If what you want is the applause of men, you got it. Paid in full. No justification before God. 

 Pharisees totally missed the point of justification. Totally missed the point. It is not men’s approval that they need. So desperately they need God’s approval. They need to be justified by God, not by man. What does man matter?  As I read in Psalm 103, he’s just like a fading weed, grows, blooms, blossoms, withers, dies, and he’s gone and nobody remembers his place anymore. What does man’s approval matter? How many of us? How many of you? You’re very concerned about what people think about you. Very concerned about how you appear before others. Very concerned about your reputation. 

 Man, the Pharisees, they were enslaved to this. Why? Because their hearts were in love with money. In order to keep the money flowing, they need to keep a good reputation with other people. So, their reputation, their credibility, it’s what they fought for and maintained. 

 Man can only look at outward works. He can only look on what’s on the outside. He has no ability to see what’s going on in the heart. Only God can see that. And it says here, what God sees in the heart, Jesus says, it’s not good. It is not good. So, without the gift of God’s justification, the Pharisees are doomed. Worse, Jesus says in verse 15, they’re not even in the ballpark. What men esteemed so highly; God despises, what a man esteem. 

 What is it that is highly exalted among men? This isn’t hard for us to figure out, is it? What’s valuable in our world? What’s valuable in their world? What’s valuable in the world; appearance, fame, wealth? And you get enough wealth, after all, after a while, wealth doesn’t matter anymore. You’ve eaten all the meals. You’ve traveled all the places. You’ve done all the things, had all the experiences. Well now wealth goes even higher to another level and you become intoxicated with power.  

Man, do we see that on display, today, in our political system. Man, do we see that going on today. This lust for power, around the world and world leaders. Those who are so wealthy. They’re wealthy as Croesus, and yet there’s, they’ve run out of things to spend on, and so they spend on enslaving people to their own power and will. So, it’s what we have going on today. 

 What do other people value? They value reputation. They value education. They value accomplishment. They value rank and status and privilege and title and position. They value their numbers and their bank accounts. Everything that elevates them, big buildings, big accounts, big reputations, big fame. 

 What does Jesus say? What is esteemed among men? God looks at the heart. He doesn’t look at the puffed-up outward experience. He drives in deep to the heart of the matter, and he sees what’s on the inside; money, numbers, fame, power, all these things. It’s Jesus says here it’s an abomination in the sight of God. That’s a strong, strong word. 

 Bdelygma, very strong word. Refers to that which is detestable, disgusting. It’s abhorrent or, maybe, a stronger word, revolting. Revolting before God. The word’s traced back to Hellenistic Greek, Hellenistic times. Classic Greek originally meant that which greatly offends the nostrils. There it is again, the nostrils coming up. The Pharisees were turning up their nostrils at Jesus. God holds his nostrils, at them, figuratively speaking. 

 What they esteem is putrid to him. What they esteem is a revolting stench in his nostrils. In fact, if you trace the use of this word in the New Testament, bdelygma. In the New Testament, it refers to idolatry, usually, and of the most offensive kind. According to Matthew 24 and Mark 13, the word refers to the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel. That desecration of the holy place, that’s the word. Bdelygma, it refers to all the wicked works associated with idolatry. 

 In Revelation 17, the evil that’s promoted by the harlot, prostitute it says Revelation 17, “She was arrayed in purple and scarlet. She’s adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, and she held in her hand a golden cup full” h,ere’s the word, “of abominations.” Full of putrification. Full of that which is revolting, and causes us to vomit, just by smelling its stench. The impurities of her sexual immorality, Revelation 17, that’s the word; bdelygma

 Revelation 21:27 says, that all who engage in idolatrous works, they are excluded from the New Jerusalem. They will not enter into that city. That’s a place where nothing in, unclean will ever enter into it, nor anyone who does what is bdelygma: detestable, abominable, or false. We tend to think of terms like abomination applying to rank idolatry, of a pagan kind. We picture some kind of occult ceremony. You know, goats heads and blood and all that kind of stuff. 

 That’s how we tend to think of it. Or in our day, we might think of the most, you know, vile secularism and this antichrist spirit, we see in our day. We need to realize, though, that Jesus doesn’t apply this term, it applies to that, but he doesn’t apply this term to secularism or the most ranked paganism. He applies this term, in his day, to the most highly regarded class of religious leaders: the Pharisees. The most respected men in society. 

 But bdelygma, that ought to get our attention today, shouldn’t it? As we sit in our churches. As we look to our evangelical institutions. How much of that, before God, as he sees the heart of it, is bdelygma? And I’ve seen it, in some places, I’m sad to say. But this same covetous, idolatrous spirit of loving money, it’s infiltrated evangelical churches and institutions, as well. Brothers and sisters, we’ve got to be on our guard. It’s in our hearts. Temptation is in our hearts. 

 Paul tells young pastor Titus, in Titus 1:16, there are those who “profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.” These are false professors, not of some other religion. They’re false professors of our religion. They’re members in our churches. They attend our churches. They sit in our pews. And Paul warns against them. He doesn’t commend them. He warns against them. He says they are detestable. That’s the word again. Now turn into a noun bdelyktos

 They are disobedient. They are unfit for any good work. Those who “profess to know God, but deny him by their works.” So, when Jesus says, “What is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God,” he’s saying, that one, what men esteem most highly, the most exalted religious leaders, the most exalted religious institutions, the biggest churches, the best-looking people: God sees right through it. 

 He sees to the heart of it. He knows it at its heart. It is covetousness and idolatry and greed. It’s a stench in his nostrils. Because it masquerades as true religion. An idolatrous heart hides behind a mask. It veils its covetousness with hypocrisy. It’s putrid before God. It’s a smell that God cannot and will not tolerate. He’ll expose it. He’ll confront it. He’ll condemn it. He’ll curse it. 

 Paul realized that God sees everything clearly. If we recognize that he has seen all of our sins, including where any of us have erred in loving money, in treasuring things of this world, and things of this earth. If we know that God sees our heart, he’s omniscient, he, he fully understands everything that’s there. And that he invites us to come and find salvation anyway. 

 We do stand condemned before him. We come into this world born in sin with a sin nature, longing for, and lusting after all this stuff. So, if we’ll, instead of trying in vain to justify ourselves before men, if we’ll humble ourselves instead. If we’ll be humble and contrite before a God, who sees all, its wide open before him. We’ll confess our sins. If we’ll repent of our sins. Embrace, Jesus Christ in faith. You know what he does? Justifies us. He declares us righteous. 

 Such as he says, okay, all that’s sin that was there is gone. Watch yourself, ’cause there’s tomorrow. No, he says, all the sin is wiped away. Cast as far as the east is from the west. He doesn’t look up on it any longer. It’s all been paid for in Christ and his death on the cross. He’s atoned for you, if you put faith in him. 

 Not only that, but he takes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and he covers you with it, like a garment. And so, when he looks at you, he doesn’t just see innocence, no, he sees righteousness. He sees perfection. The perfection of his Son, because you’re hidden in him. That’s the justification we need. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace. Not by earning it, but as a gift. Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forth as a propitiation by his blood.” That is to say, a satisfaction for our sins by his blood, to be received by faith. 

 The Pharisees, at this point, they didn’t discern any of this. They didn’t understand anything. They couldn’t see any of this. Why? Because they are blinded by their greed. Because they are in love with inanimate money. A dead idol. We need to stop here and just give thanks, that God has opened our eyes to the truth, amen. 

 We’re not deluded about justification. We’re not trapped in a prison of covetousness and greed. We’re not enslaved to this constant burden, to find approval before others, to justify ourselves before men and women and people. No, we realize, God’s taught us. He sees our hearts. He knows our sins. All of them.  

Calls us, in grace and kindness and love, to confess our sins, repent of them, be rid of them, put our faith in Jesus Christ. The one who died to secure our salvation. What good news? And if we trust in him. God justifies us. He declares us righteous in his holy sight. The one who can see everything. He is omniscient. All knowing, His eyes pierce into the darkest chambers of our hearts. He sees it all and he declares us righteous, because of Christ. It’s gospel. 

 Because the Pharisees were deluded about justification, they’re totally blind to the gospel. So, they had a second related problem. Here’s point, number two. They’re excluded from God’s redemption. The Pharisees are excluded from God’s redemption. So, we see in verses 16 to 18, the fullness of God’s redemption, and it’s a redemption that encompasses personal salvation, but it, also, includes personal sanctification. That’s what we’re going to be seeing in verse 18. And then there’s a full and final glorification in the kingdom of God. 

But let’s start with verses 16 and 17, just wrapping up this whole theme of redemption. “The Law and the Prophets were until John, and since then, the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. But it is easier for heaven and Earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.” 

 Now, I said earlier, we need to realize that we are kind of looking over the shoulders of Jesus and the Pharisees in this scene and we’re kind of entering into this ongoing debate about theology. About the law. About the significance of John the Baptist. About the law and the prophets, on the one hand, and the messianic age on the other hand, that Jesus and John the Baptist represent. 

 There’s a religious context to this. So theological context to it, we’re kind of on the outside we’re, we’re strangers looking in from a great distance. Two thousand years of distance, on the other side of the world, another language, another culture. A lot of this is foreign to us. But while this may strike us as strange, you need to realize, as I mentioned before, what Jesus says here. It is hitting every nerve of the Pharisees. It is rubbing them raw. It is exposing nerve endings.  

“Pharisees were practicing easy divorce. Violated the spirit and the intent of the law.”

Travis Allen

It’s confronting what they prided themselves in, because the Pharisees were the self-appointed custodians of God’s law. They considered themselves keepers of the book, guardians of the truth. They kept the scripture. They kept its morals. They protected its values, conservative in every way. Prided themselves in their fastidious, meticulous attention to the most useless, unimportant details of law keeping. 

 Like I said, giving one tenth of even the seasonings on the table, mint, dill, cumin. Why? Why did they do that? Because they didn’t understand. God gave them the law and the prophets to reveal their sins. To point them to the promise of salvation in the coming Messiah, which the law and the prophets attest to. They did, they just totally missed the point. 

 They’re clutching the book so tightly they forget to read it. So instead, in their pride, in their self-deception, being themselves, unconverted men, they treated the law and the prophets, not as pointing to their salvation, but as the means of their salvation. In their pride, they believed they could fulfill the law and the prophets in their own works. 

 What does Isaiah 64:4 say? “All our righteous deeds are as filthy rags, a stench before you.” What they so highly esteemed, in their own righteousness, in their personal righteousness, God held his nose and said, get it away from me. It’s foul. It’s festering. It’s putrid. That’s the smell of death, you’re putting before me. I’ll try to seek my approval with your works.  

Paul wrote, Romans 3:19, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that,” here’s the point, “so that every mouth may be stopped and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” 

 So, in verse 16, “the law and the prophets were until John.” In other words, John the Baptist was the final prophet of the Old Testament, who preached summarizing the content and the purpose of the Old Testament. What was the purpose of the Old Testament? It was to point everyone to the salvation coming in Jesus Christ. Ever since John’s coming, ever since his preaching, ever since his ministry, the kingdom of God is preached. 

 Jesus came right on John’s heels, preaching the kingdom of God, right? We’ve seen this in Luke’s gospel. Just trace a couple texts for you. You can jot them down, if you’d like, or you can flip through it. Starting in Luke 4:43, Jesus said in Luke 4:43, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well.” That is, Capernaum. I can’t stay here. I can’t stay tucked away in your town. Be your resident truth teacher. I need to travel. I need to get the word out. Get the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns, as well.” For why is that, Jesus? “I was sent for this purpose.” 

 Luke 8:1, “Soon afterward he went on through the cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him.” Luke 9:1 and 2. Now he’s going to send them out. He called the twelve together, gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 

 Later, in Bethsaida, he welcomed all the crowds who came looking for him. Verse 11, says he spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and he cured all of those in need of healing. Kingdom came with kingdom preaching, came with kingdom power, kingdom mercy, kingdom grace.  

Luke 10:1, in addition to the Apostles, that he appointed, he appointed seventy-two others. He sent them on ahead of him into every town and village and city that he would travel to, sent them ahead of them. They’re, they’re gonna herald the good news and herald the coming of the king. So, he gives them their mission. 

 In Luke 10:9, he says, “Heal the sick in that town and then say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you.’” And go on and on. And those are just, that’s just a smattering of references. But we go on and on. We’ve seen this through Luke’s gospel. Jesus came to preach the good news, the gospel of the kingdom of God. 

 Point is here in verse 16, ever since John the Baptist came, he did what he was called to do. He fulfilled his mission. He summarized the teaching of the Old Testament, the law and the prophets, pointing to Jesus Christ. And now, ever since John, the good news of the kingdom is being preached. 

 The Scribes and the Pharisees, they rejected John’s teaching. If they reject the herald, they’re going to reject the king who follows. If they reject John the Baptist and the summary of the entire law and prophets, that they themselves held onto, well, guess what? They don’t have a clue about any of it. They don’t get the preaching of the kingdom either. 

 They’ve rejected Jesus as the Messiah, as well. Trying to find justification before men, means they’re not justified before God. And by refusing the forerunner of God’s Messiah, they refused God’s Messiah himself. They refused God’s redemption in the kingdom. Not just their personal redemption, the forgiveness of their sins, but the entire thing, personal salvation, personal sanctification, glorification, as well, but, also, the entire triumph of Christ. His rule over all things. They wouldn’t enter in. They’re excluded. 

 By refusing to accept the message of John the Baptist, they’ve rejected the message of the Messiah, as well. Creates a snowball effect of, of negative consequences for them, no Messiah, no salvation. No salvation, no ability to understand the purpose of law, and prophets altogether. They didn’t get it.  

In verse 17, Jesus here is, we see him emphasizing this abiding authority of the law, right? Heaven and earth, they’ll sooner pass away, than one little stroke is going to pass away from the law. Pharisees agree with that. The abiding authority of the law. The continuity of the law and its authority. They agree with that, in principle. But they failed to practice it in many, many ways. Most notably, in verse 18, how they treat their wives. How they treat their marriages. Divorce is a hot topic in Jesus’s day. 

 Pharisees were practicing easy divorce. Violated the spirit and the intent of the law, and so the Pharisees disregard for their wives and their marriages shows a disregard, a blatant disregard for keeping covenant. Shows a disregard for God’s law, at all. Reveals a disregard for God himself. The covenant keeping God. Covenant making God. Simply put, these men are in big, big, big trouble. They’re oblivious to the danger that they’re in. That’s why this confrontation. 

 Now, we skipped over a phrase, end of verse 16. In the ESV, it’s translated “and everyone forces his way into it.” That translation comes about, because there are some who, think it should conform to what they, believe is a parallel verse in Matthew 11:12. Expression, even that word is used there, in Matthew 11:12. 

 It’s true that some of the same terms are used in both places. It’s true we find similar content in both places. But we need to realize these are two different times, two different contexts, and Jesus is making two different points. So, we should not conflate them. We should not use Matthew 11:12 to interpret what’s here in Luke 16:16. In Matthew 11:12, Jesus says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence.” 

 Notice, not as being preached, has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. In that context, in Galilee, Jesus is explaining the sig, significance of John the Baptist ministry. In view of the fact, that John has just been imprisoned by Herod and will soon be beheaded by Herod. So, there’s violence against John the Baptist, violence against the messenger, the herald of God’s kingdom. Violence is coming against Jesus, as well. 

 So, in that context, “violence against,” is an appropriate translation. One commentator says, “Christ is a sign spoken against Luke, as Simeon said, Luke 2:34 John the Baptist is in prison and it’s a characteristic of the kingdom of God on earth to be oppressed by the violent, just as the church is attacked violently by the gates of hell.” End Quote. It’s true. Violence is the controlling idea and concept in Matthew 11. But not here. 

 Here in Luke 16:16, the controlling verb is the verb, preached. It’s actually the verb, not kerysso, it’s the, which is preached and proclaimed. This is the verb euangelizo, to preach the gospel. To announce good news. Sounds a little clunky, but here’s the literal translation, “The law and the prophets were until John, from them the kingdom of God is being announced as good news.” 

 In view of the controlling verb, euangelizo, to preach the gospel. We can render this next verb, this way, “The law and the prophets were until John; and from them the kingdom of God is being announced as good news and everyone is being pressed into it.” That’s the idea. It’s the passive voice rather than translating as a middle voice. And smooth it out a little bit and say it this way, long in the prophets were until John, from then, from John’s time, from John’s ministry, the kingdom of God is being announced as good news and everyone is being urged to enter into it. That’s the idea. 

 That’s how the CSB, the Christian Standard Bible translates it. It’s how the New English Translation, also, renders the verse. That’s the idea. Jesus’ point, is he’s saying this to the Pharisees, is that John the Baptist summarized the entire purpose of law and prophets. Which is to point everyone to him. To point everyone and urge everyone to enter into the kingdom of God through him. 

 And now that he, the Messiah, has come, the kingdom of God is being preached. The kingdom is being announced. The good news is being announced and everyone is being urged to enter into it. It’s evangelistic here. Jesus is explaining the e, evangelistic compelling impulse for people to draw near and enter into the kingdom. Why is he saying this to the Pharisees, at this point? Where does this fit in the flow of his argument? Because the tax collectors and the sinners are all drawing near, and they’re grumbling and complaining about it. He’s explaining, of course they’re coming in. 

 Verse 15, Jesus tells them, they’re under divine condemnation. What they highly exalt; money, status, power, reputation before men, God sees all that as an abomination. Now, verse 16, he takes a second aim at their insidious deep-seated pride, which is their law keeping. That they think they can attain their salvation by their merit, by their works. 

 He exposed the fact that they have no idea what the purpose of God’s law is. No idea what the law and the prophets are for, namely, to prophesy to, to point to, to promise about, the redemption of God. They’re thinking they can keep the law and the prophets, and in doing so, by their supposed obedience, they’re going to be included in the redemptive program. 

 In God’s kingdom, they count themselves citizens already. They’ve got their badges. What are their badges? Wealth. They assume their citizenship in the kingdom. They fail to realize they’ve already been excluded. They’re out. Contrary to what they thought, the kingdom of God is being preached and everyone, look around you, he’s saying. Look around, everyone is being urged to enter into it, like tax collectors and sinners, not just you guys, everyone.  

Look in verse 16:17. Verse 17, is a verse that strengthens their understanding of the abiding authority of the law, and he’s doing that. He’s strengthening their understanding of the law, far beyond what they understand. He’s strengthening that. So, because he’s getting ready to apply more pressure to their consciences in verse 18. 

 Okay. “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached. Everyone is being urged to enter into it. But it’s easier for heaven and Earth to pass away than for one dot of the law to become void.” Lest you think that Jesus has abrogated the law. No, he’s fulfilled it. 

 Verse 16, seems to be about the discontinuity between the old and the new. Verse 17, about the continuity between the old and the new, and it’s not old versus new eras. It’s Old versus New, Testaments. The law and the prophets, that’s how the Jews referred to the body of biblical revelation that we call the Old Testament. The good news of the kingdom of God, that’s the body of revelation, that we call the New Testament. Both testaments remain both testaments. 

 Parallel thought over in Matthew 5:17, the sermon on the mount, where Jesus says this, he says, “Do not think I’ve come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota.” That’s an ‘I’ in Greek. “Not a dot.” Same word we have here. “Not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” 

 Let’s make the same statement here. He’s not here defending his ministry. I haven’t come to abolish the law or the prophets. I haven’t come to get rid of Moses. He’s not defending his ministry. Rather, he’s declaring the durability of the law. The efficacy of the law, not a single dot of the law, would fail. Not a single dot will become void. Not a single dot will fail to come to pass. Everything will be fulfilled. 

 That reference to a dot, it’s the word keraia. Keraia is a little horn. Refers to any, in script, any hornlike projection on the end of a letter. So, he’s talking about the small strokes in the Hebrew script. The tiny little dot, that used, it was used to finish off a Hebrew letter and sometimes to distinguish, even though it is very small and seemingly insignificant, on its own it would be easily missed, but that tiny little dot on a particular Hebrew letter, could change it from one letter to another. 

 Number of examples, like that, in the Hebrew alphabet. That little dot is the only mark that distinguishes one letter from another and that proves to be very, very important. So remarkable statement, verse 17, about the eternality and the durability of God’s word. The absolute, the abiding authority of God’s word. 

 And, if you like to, you can imagine a little bit, in your mind’s eye, as Jesus is basically setting two weights on a scale. I mean, you know, like a balance. Get the balance of the scale. You put weights on one side and you balance it out with weights on the other. So, on the one side, he puts this tiny little dot, single mark, from the Hebrew script. On the other side, he puts the weight of the entire created order. Heaven and earth, in the balance on the other side of the scale. 

 Take just a portion of the created order. Ones we’re most familiar with: Earth, Sun. I realize, our solar system, there is only one of several thousands in our galaxy. And, I also realize, that our galaxy is only one of about one hundred twenty-five billion galaxies in the observable universe. That is, that’s a construct available through observations, through the Hubble telescope, one hundred twenty-five billion galaxies. 

 Let’s just stick with our earth and our sun to make this a little more manageable for us. Mass of the earth is 5.92 times ten to the twenty-four kilograms. Got that, alright? But it puts the weight of the earth, you understand, weight is a measure of Earth’s gravity pulling us down to the, so, some of us it pulls a little more than others. But the weight of the earth, 5.92 ten to twenty-four kilograms of mass. 

 The weight of our earth is 1.3 times ten to the twenty-five pounds. Or if you prefer more than thirteen septillion pounds. It’s the number 13,170 with 21 zeros after it. That’s the weight of our earth. I’m ignoring the rest of the planets in our solar system, just to keep this simple.  

But let’s take the sun. The sun is about 333,000 earths. So, multiply the earth’s mass and the earth’s weight by 333,000. Earth and sun. Realize, I’m probably making all kinds of errors in physics and mathematics, but you get what you get. So, more than thirteen septillion pounds, plus another 330,000 times thirteen septillion pounds, plus the other planets of our solar system; Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.  

Then pile on the mass and the weight of the rest of our solar system. Along with the other three thousand two hundred solar systems in our galaxy. Along with the other one hundred twenty-five billion galaxies, in the observable universe, and put that on one side of the scale. On the other side of the scale, weighing more than all of that combined; single dot from God’s law. And the balance, of that side, slams to the floor. 

 What’s Jesus’ point? All that’s been prophesied. All that’s been promised, in the law and the prophets. All will, most certainly, be fulfilled, because the law and the prophets, they will not return void. They will accomplish everything, for which, he intended it. Why is he saying this to the Pharisees? This point? Because even though they consider themselves to be the custodians of God’s law, guardians of the truth, upholders of morality, they routinely and profoundly violate Gods law, as a way of life. 

 Which brings up a third and final reason for gratitude in our hearts. But a, but a condemnation for them. What is it? They are devoid of any sanctification. They’re devoid of any sanctification and, yet, we see sanctification in us. Justification by God, that is the entrance requirement into the kingdom of God. To be included in God’s kingdom program and the proof of our citizenship is our sanctification. You will know them by what? By the love that they have one, for one another. 

 You’ll know them by the fruit of the spirit welling up from within and coming out to the outside. You’ll see the sanctification and you’ll know kingdom citizen. No fruit, no love, no works, not a kingdom citizen. Proof of citizenship is sanctification. It’s to live in perfect accord with God’s righteousness. That’s the character of all kingdom citizens, which will be realized one day in glorification. Perfect righteousness. 

 Right now, our sanctification is of a progressive nature. It’s a growing nature, imperfect at times, but growing. By God’s grace, we have the privilege to start practicing holiness now. And by his grace, we’re going to continue to practice holiness, in perfect righteousness. And we’re going to enjoy that, as a constant unbroken pattern in our state of glorification. Where sin is no more. 

 Sanctification, a life of holiness, need to realize that for these Pharisees that was utterly absent from them. And really, abs, absent among all the religious leaders of Jesus’s day. The Sadducees, they were the, the landed gentry of Jerusalem. They were the ones who were nobility. They had control over the temple and they made tons of money through the temple. 

 The Sadducees were wicked and corrupt. They were the liberals. Disbelieving elements in the law of Moses and all the rest. The Pharisees, they were on the conservative side, but they’re equally as corrupt. They’re backed up by their theologians; the scribes, also, corrupt. No hliness among them, no sanctification, and Jesus goes right to the heart of the matter, by going to their marriages. He says, “Everyone who divorces his wife,” verse 18, “and marries another, commits adultery. And he who marries a woman divorced from her husband, commits adultery.” 

 We’re going to unpack that more next week. There’s more to say. More to fill that in with, but, as I said before, in Jesus’ day, divorce is a hot topic, as it is in our day. Many people, they followed the example of the Pharisees. Followed the teaching of their favorite rabbis. They were practicing divorce. Don’t like that wife? Get rid of her. Get another one. Don’t like her? Get rid of her. Get another one. 

 Serial divorce. Remarriage. Rather than seeing the permanence of marriage, they believe Moses, in his law, verse, or chapter 24, Deuteronomy, they thought Moses provided them an escape hatch from difficult marriages, or from just unpleasant marriages, or, just, marriages where they just didn’t like the lady. They thought Moses was given them permission for divorce and remarriage and divorce and remarriage and divorce and remarriage. 

 As I said, we’ll dive into this further next week. But just a quick overview, one rabbi, Rabbi Hillel, he believed a man could divorce his wife for burning his dinner. Get rid of her. Another Rabbi Akiva, he believed a man could divorce his wife, if he found another woman who is more attractive to him. I think your wife is getting a little unpleasant to you, just get rid of her, find another one. 

“Everyone who divorces his wife, marries another, commits adultery, and who marries a woman, divorced from her husband, commits adultery.”

Luke 16:18

 What’s the point? Why does Jesus go here? He could have picked anything to talk about, any example of their lack of holiness. Why does he go to this issue of marriage and divorce and remarriage? Because our marriages are the most fundamental of all human relationships. Because our marriages are the most fundamental and basic of all human institutions. We’ve seen this in our day, haven’t we? You unravel marriage; you unravel society. You attack the family; you destroy society altogether. 

So, if they, the Pharisees, keepers of God’s law, manifest walking examples of holiness, if they don’t have any sanctification, in that most basic relationship, have the most basic institutional level of a marriage, that is to say, if they lack holiness at the root, man, they lack holiness in the trunk and the branch and all the fruit, as well. If they’re the teachers of Israel what about all of Israel? They are lost. 

 So, in this verse, Luke 16:18, Jesus doesn’t just contradict the most respected rabbis on the topic of divorce and take a side. It’s not what he is doing. He’s exposing the absolute bankruptcy of their religion, in its lack of holiness. And, at the same time, he’s pointing them to the genuine holiness that can come about in their marriages through the gospel, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. 

 “Everyone who divorces his wife, marries another, commits adultery, and who marries a woman, divorced from her husband, commits adultery.” He’s not being strict. He’s being faithful to the original intent of the law. The Pharisees went back to Deuteronomy 24. Jesus said no, no, no, no, you need to go back to the very beginning, Genesis 1 and 2. What is God’s intent? Did he create one man and a whole bunch of women to try? No. One man, one woman, brought them together in the first marriage, for life. 

 Not being strict. He’s being faithful and he’s being gracious, and he’s pointing them to the truth. So, in his preaching here, gospel preaching, fulfillment of law and prophets preaching. Not one dot will pass from the law. In fact, it’s going to be fulfilled and in a way that you have never even imagined, never even practiced, never even been familiar with.  

In so doing, he shows the beauty and the joy and the true freedom in the law and the prophets. Fully realized. Made known completely. Given true power, only, by the coming of the gospel, of the kingdom of God. The beauty of it. It’s the gospel that produces all the virtues in those who believe. That they can fulfill and obey and walk in everything that the law and the prophets point to. 

 Teaches us to obey the law and the prophets, not just by external, not just by rote, but from the heart. Comes out from inside, like a spring of living water, quenching our souls. Bringing life to everybody around us. Through keeping commitments. Through be, keeping covenants. Through keeping promises in the everyday routine mundane love between husband and wife. So much more to say. 

 I’m gonna have to cut it off there, for now, but just to summarize. Justification, by God’s grace. That’s been granted to us. He’s declared us righteous by faith. He’s declared us righteous in Christ. Yes, forgiven, but so much more. Covered in righteousness. Perfect in righteousness, no condemnation.  

Because we’re justified, we are qualified now and we enter into, taking our citizenship as kingdom citizens. Citizens of God’s kingdom. Citizens of the kingdom of Heaven. We are included in his full plan of redemption. It’s not just about personal salvation. It’s not just about my own personal forgiveness of sins. It’s not just about me getting to heaven.  

And it’s about the whole full orb picture, of all that God decreed, in his plan of redemption, from before the foundation of the world. It’s everything that’s being fulfilled, in time and space, and everything promised about the future. There’s a millennial kingdom coming, where Jesus is going to rule and reign here on earth. He rules and reigns, now.  

He’s going to come to earth and sit on the throne of his father, David. And 1000 years, he’s going to rule and reign over the earth, and righteousness is going to cover the land, as water covers the sea. You look forward to that day? I do. And that is a prelude of entrance into the eternal state. Where we’ll be with the Lord forever. The New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. Folks, we have so much to look forward to. We are part of so much more than we can understand. Certainly, more than we can cover in an hour. 

 Were included in the plan of redemption, because he’s justified us, made us citizens of his kingdom. And we get to practice that kingdom ethic, right now. Start in your marriages. Start in your homes. Start where holiness counts. Where righteousness can be seen. And then, that’ll work itself out into all other relationships in life, as well. This is our privilege. This is our joy. 

 Let’s pray.  Our Father, we thank you so much for Jesus Christ. He has pointed us to you, Father. He’s revealed you the, the visible making known the invisible God. We thank you that he has, by his obedience, secured our salvation. We belong to him. We live and move and have our being under his grace, under your favor. And your favor is not demonstrated in something as cheap and passing and temporal as money. 

 Your grace and your favor is demonstrated in our sanctification. In the joy we have of learning and understanding, and the joy we have of suffering for your namesake. Father, you’ve enriched us, beyond measure, beyond our comprehension. We just ask, that you would help us to walk in sanctification and holiness. Most particularly, in this matter of marriage, in our home life, where our families can see us for what we really are. Let us live that out to your glory, in the name of Jesus Christ, our savior, by the power of the Holy Spirit, amen.