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Sermon #5382

Leaven of the Pharisees

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Luke 12:1-12 ESV NASB KJV
In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (ESV)


In his sermon on Luke 12:1–12 titled “Leaven of the Pharisees,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones visits the topic of hypocrisy and how it relates to Christians today. He asks, “What is the enemy to the Christian life?” and the answer is hypocrisy. It remains a terrible liability to the believer’s walk because, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones defines, it is a desire to be both Christian and non-Christian. Good hypocrites, like the Pharisees, take pleasure in defining themselves by their own self-satisfactory terms. This mindset is a direct reflection of the heart, Dr. Lloyd-Jones says, and the believer has a responsibility to look after his or her heart. Here, Dr. Lloyd-Jones breaks down the three archetypes for Christian hypocrites: the intellectual, the emotional, and the practical. Each has its own habits, but are similar in their desperate need for the Spirit. What is the opposite of hypocrisy? Dr. Lloyd-Jones states that it is the admission of weakness and acknowledging that a person cannot live both a Christian and non-Christian life. In turn, this admission creates a dependence on God that dispels this dishonest duality and replaces it with even more of His Spirit. In closing, he reminds to not let the fear of people drive Christians to hypocrisy, but rather to trust in the heavenly Father and His plan for the fullest life.


Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.