Luke 12:4-12

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 23, 2001


Jesus has rebuked the Pharisees and religious leaders.  They are more concerned about how others see them than how God sees them.  The Pharisees become upset and begin try and trap Jesus by trying to get Him to say something worthy of arrest.  As a large crowd begins to gather, Jesus begins to speak directly to His disciples about the dangers of what the Pharisees have become.  He warns His disciples about the danger of hypocrisy, trying to be something you’re not.

:4  And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

friendsphilos – friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well; Jesus is talking to His disciples (Luk 12:1).

be not afraidphobeo – to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away); to put to flight, to flee; to fear, be afraid; to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm; to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience

There are people who will kill others for being Christians.  We’ve seen this in the book of Revelation, where a huge multitude is standing in heaven, having come through the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7), apparently having been slain for their faith.

They would be put to death by their persecutors, but they would end up in heaven.  In heaven, they could not be touched anymore by harm.

:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

powerexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

to cast intoemballo – to throw in, cast into

hellgeenna – Hell is the place of the future punishment call “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.

God is the judge who will cast people into hell.

(Rev 20:11 KJV)  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

(Rev 20:15 KJV)  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Hypocrisy comes from fear of man

Jesus has been warning His disciples about hypocrisy, trying to be something on the outside that’s different from what you are on the inside.
We do this “play acting” because we are afraid of people.  We are afraid of what they will think of us or what they will do to us.  Sometimes we are afraid of disappointing them or losing their “approval”.
Yet people only see what is on the outside, God sees the inside as well.


Hypocrisy ends with fear of God

Jesus is saying that if we have a proper fear of God, fearing Him above what we fear of people, then we would do what was right.
People only see what is on the outside, but God sees what is on the inside.
Joseph and Potiphar’s wife
(Gen 39:1-9 KJV)  And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. {2} And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. {3} And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. {4} And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. {5} And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. {6} And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. {7} And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. {8} But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; {9} There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

Joseph was able to withstand something that was wrong not because of his love for Potphar (which he had), but because of his realization that God knew all about what was going on.

The expression “face the music” is said to have originated in Japan.  According to the story, one man in the imperial orchestra couldn’t play a note. Being a person of great influence and wealth, he had demanded that he be given a place in the group because he wanted to “perform” before the emperor.  The conductor agreed to let him sit in the second row of the orchestra, even though he couldn’t read music.  He was given a flute, and when a concert would begin, he’d raise his instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers.  He would go through all the motions of playing, but he never made a sound.  This deception continued for two years.
Then a new conductor took over.  He told the orchestra that he wanted to audition each player personally.  One by one they performed in his presence.  Then came the flutist’s turn.  He was frantic with worry, so he pretended to be sick.  However, the doctor who was ordered to examine him declared that he was perfectly well.  The conductor insisted that the man appear and demonstrate his skill. Shamefacedly he had to confess that he was a fake. He was unable to “face the music.”
In the realm of Christian service, many professing believers go through the motions, but they are only pretenders.  Someday they will be called upon to stand before the Judge of heaven and earth, and their deception will be revealed.  God will then separate the “phonies” from the real Christians.  No one will be able to hide in the crowd.  Each will be made to “face the music.”

:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

sparrowsstrouthion – a little bird, esp. of the sparrow sort, a sparrow

soldpoleo – to barter, to sell

farthingsassarion – an assarium or assarius, the name of a coin equal to the tenth part of a drachma; a Roman copper coin worth about 1/16 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage).

forgottenepilanthanomai – to forget; neglecting, no longer caring for; forgotten, given over to oblivion, i.e. uncared for

:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

hairsthrix – the hair of the head; the hair of animals

numberedarithmeo – to number

are of more valuediaphero – to bear or carry through any place; to carry different ways; to differ, to test, prove, the good things that differ,; to distinguish between good and evil, lawful and unlawful, to approve of things that excel, to differ from one; to excel, surpass one


God cares about you.

When we talk about learning to fear God, there is a balance to keep in mind.  We fear Him because of who He is, but we love Him because He loves us.
He treasures us.
He knows about every detail of our lives.
I love my wife, but I don’t have a clue about how many hairs she has on her head.

:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

confesshomologeo – to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent; to concede; not to deny; to confess; declare; to profess; to declare openly, speak out freely; to profess one’s self the worshipper of one; to praise, celebrate

Jesus is telling His disciples that if they will be willing to tell men that they follow Jesus, then Jesus will be willing to tell the angels about them.

:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

denietharneomai – to deny; to deny someone; act entirely unlike himself; not to accept, to reject, to refuse something offered

shall be deniedaparneomai – to deny; to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone – a stronger form of the word

One of the easiest ways to be affected by the fear of man and become a hypocrite is to not talk about your relationship with Jesus in front of people.

When the great persecution of the church would arise under Nero and Diocletian, the Christians were questioned about their allegiance to Rome.  They were urged to stop saying that “Jesus is Lord”, and to say, “Caesar is Lord”.


Auxensius was a great commander under the Emperor Lycinius.  Lycinius came one day into the court of his palace, where there was a great bath, and some vines growing about it, with the image of Bacchus set up among the vines.  The emperor commanded Auxensius to draw his sword and cut off a bunch of grapes, which, as soon as he had done, he ordered him to offer it at the feet of Bacchus, which was as much as to acknowledge him to be a god.  Auxenisius answered, “I am a Christian; I will not do it.”  “What!  Not do it at my command?”  saith the emperor; “then you must quit your place.”  “With all my heart, sir,” said the Christian soldier, and, in token of it, put off his belt, which was the same as giving up his commission, and departed rejoicing that he was enabled to withstand the temptation.


Fear and Love

We talk about Jesus because we have a fear of God, but we also know that God loves us and cares about us.

:10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

forgivenaphiemi – to send away; to let go, let alone, let be; to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit; to give up, keep no longer

blasphemethblasphemeo – to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme; to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at


The Unforgiveable Sin

Jesus had spoken this phrase earlier in His ministry
(Mark 3:22-30 KJV)  And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. {23} And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? {24} And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. {25} And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. {26} And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. {27} No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. {28} Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: {29} But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: {30} Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

These religious people were watching the things that Jesus was doing and they were attributing Jesus’ miracles to the power of Satan instead of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus warned them that they were in danger.  They could be forgiven of lots of things, but they wouldn’t be forgiven if they blasphemed against the Holy Spirit.

(John 15:26 KJV)  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
The Holy Spirit’s main job is to point to Jesus.  He tells people that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  When people blaspheme the Holy Spirit, they are rejecting the things that the Holy Spirit it impressing on their heart.  They are rejecting Jesus as their Messiah.
When a person refuses to accept Jesus as the Messiah, they are rejecting God’s chosen means of salvation.  They are rejecting salvation.  If a person continues to reject Jesus, they will not be forgiven.

:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

bring you untoprosphero – to bring to, lead to; one to a person who can heal him or is ready to show him some kindness, one to a person who is to judge him

take … thoughtmerimnao – to be anxious; to be troubled with cares; to care for, look out for (a thing)

answerapologeomai – to defend one’s self, make one’s defence; to defend a person or a thing; to give a full account of

:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Some people have used this to mean that a pastor or teacher shouldn’t take time to prepare a message, but Jesus is talking about being arrested and making a defense in front of a judge or someone who is questioning you about your faith.

I don’t think this means that you can’t learn more about your faith and to know why you believe what you do.


Let the Spirit use you.

Let Him speak through you.
You see this in the life of the apostles –
(Acts 4:7-13 KJV)  And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? {8} Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, {9} If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; {10} Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. {11} This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. {12} Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. {13} Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Peter had something to say because he was filled with the Spirit.

But he also had something to say because he had “been with Jesus”.

I think that if we work at keeping our daily time with Jesus, and we learn to sit at the feet of Jesus and let Him teach us out of His Word, we’ll be in a great place for the Spirit to work through us.

Then, when we find ourselves in a place to talk about Jesus, stop and catch your breath, pray, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you.  Then carefully begin to speak.