The Inner Life

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Luke 11:37-54 NIV

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. [38] But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal. [39] Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. [40] You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? [41] But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. [42] “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. [43] “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. [44] “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” [45] One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” [46] Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. [47] “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. [48] So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. [49] Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ [50] Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, [51] from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. [52] “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” [53] When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, [54] waiting to catch him in something he might say.

It’s easy to think how messed up the religious leaders are as we read these verses. Or maybe I’m thinking of other people when I’m reading this. However, this is a time for me to reflect on my own heart. Naturally, we all tend to focus our outside appearance rather than on the inside. This was true back in Jesus’ day as it is true today.

1. Foolish

Luke 11:40 NIV

You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?

Jesus calls this foolish. Think about it, if you are using a cup then you want to have it cleaned inside, first and foremost.

2. Inviting Jesus over for lunch

Revelation 3:16-20 NIV

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. [17] You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. [18] I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. [19] Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. [20] Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

When you invite Jesus over, it gets personal.

Luke 11:44 NIV

“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

In Matthew 23:27, Jesus called them white-washed graves, pretty and shiny outside but full of dead man’s bones inside.

We all tend to want to hide. God wants us to open up and invite Jesus in for lunch. Why not ask God to expose religious hypocrisy in our lives? How amazing could this meal with Jesus have been if the religious leaders had humble hearts?

3. Make the inside clean

Luke 11:40 NIV

You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?

God made the inside and the outside. We can’t separate them like oil and water. We need to let Jesus in to mix things up so that it’s one again. Jesus wants us to show mercy (Luke 11:41) and not just think about ourselves.

Let’s carry each other’s burdens instead of loading others up with more burdens and not even helping them.

Luke 11:46 NIV

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

Galatians 6:2 NIV

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Life is full of challenges and burdens. Let’s help each other to carry them.

We need relationships with people that tell us the truth.

Luke 11:47 NIV

“Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them.

The only prophets they liked were the ones that don’t talk. Let’s not shut ‘prophets’ up and out.

Let God’s word have an impact!

Hebrews 4:12 NIV

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Luke 11:52 NIV

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

They were no longer the key to unlocking God’s word to the people.

2 Timothy 3:15 NIV

and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

God’s word makes us wise. We hold that key. Let’s help others by unlocking the truth of the Gospel.

Questions for your personal review and Bible study

  1. In what ways can you be more concerned about the outward spirituality over the inward?
  2. If you invited Jesus over for Lunch, what would be some things he would challenge/address in your life?
  3. How can you be an unmarked grave(acting like everything is okay, when really beneath the surface you’re riddled with sin)?
  4. How can we help one another to ensure we are focused on the inner life (and not just playing religion)?
  5. How can you better help carry the burdens of those around you? What are some needs?
  6. Are we involved in each other’s lives, helping one another spiritually, ensuring that we are being renewed inwardly? How can you improve in this area?
By on 3rd June 2018 from the series
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2018-07-11T08:56:19+00:00