Good Works, Evil Works #2
by Fred R. Coulter
In going through this study on good works-evil works, or evil good works, or good evil works…because you see, what man is, man is a varying degree of the mixture of the knowledge of good and evil. And that’s what man is, all the way from the gross extremes to being devious. Now we’ll cover a little bit about human nature here in just a minute. But first of all, in order to kind of classify these different things that we go through, what I’ve come up with is this: for a work – any work, good or evil – I have "Origin, Motive, Appearance, Effect." So you could take those four categories…and you might want to add another one or two to it as you go along, ok.
Origin – who did this come from? Motive – what is the purpose behind the work? Appearance – what does it appear like? And we could put two categories there, "To People," "To God." And number four is the effect – what is the effect? Now just for example, let’s go to Hebrews 11, and let’s look…and I think when we are studying the Bible we’re going to find that this will help us understand so much in the Bible and help us understand our own circumstances and different things as we go along.
But here, Hebrews 11 it says concerning Moses, and verse 24, it’s talking here about Moses and why he did what he did. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;…" Now that appeared to be, just as far as the appearance of the court, in Pharaoh’s court, that appeared to be what? A stupid thing, a bad work. After all, who would want to reject being the son of Pharaoh? The motive though was good, because God was inspiring Moses’ motive. It was based on a good motive. The origin was good because it came from God. The effect was good because he was used to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt.
So he chose not to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, "…Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God,…" (vs. 25). Now you can categorize that too. The appearance is pretty bad: leave the court of Egypt to go live in Sinai desert. Now, you gotta be kidding. I mean, you think about it. If you had a nice home that was all air conditioned (I’ll just use a little modern parlance here), and you had people to wait on you, you had all the money you wanted, all the food you wanted, anything you wanted to do. And you get up out of that and you walk out to the Mojave Desert and you find an adobe hovel out there, and you go live out there and say, "Hey, this is better." It doesn’t make sense from a human perspective.
"…Than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;…" Now, to "enjoy the pleasures," the appearance is good. It appears good to have something that’s pleasurable. The effect can be either good or bad, just depending on how it is viewed, but the final effect is death: "The wages of sin is death." So though the appearance is good, the effect is evil – ends in death. Alright, the motive, if he chose to stay there, the motive would have been because of covetousness. And the origin would not have been of God, but would have been of Satan. So he didn’t do that. "…Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:…" (vs. 25-26). Now that’s the whole perspective. Remember, the end result of anything that is truly good has got to come back to God. And it’s got to be in the realm of the spiritual benefits which last for eternity. See, Job had a lot of good works. He did a lot of good things. And if you read through there, I would just have to say he was, as the Bible said, perfect. He was perfect. And I think if you read all the things that he did to help people, to counsel people, to give, to do all those – hey, he outdid everyone of his – a hundred times over. But see, God said that was not good enough for eternal life. Eternal life cannot be done, to be earned by a good work. God has to give it. He requires good works.
Now don’t anyone misunderstand. If you go listen to the sermons and you hear me say, "There is nothing you can do which you can do to cause God to give you eternal life," don’t think I’m saying, "Oh well, we can merrily go off and do anything we want to." No, no. That isn’t what I’m saying at all. God requires all the commandments to be kept. God requires that we do all the things that is required, and then go above and beyond and love God, and love the brethren, and love our enemies, and those are the things. God looks to the heart. You’ll see all the way through here God looks to the heart. That’s why there are different appearances, there are different motivations for different things as they come around.
So, "…Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible" (vs. 26-27). Now we know that Moses is going to have a tremendous reward in the kingdom of God. But he really had a miserable, miserable, miserable life for eighty years of his life. He lived to be a hundred and twenty – forty years in Egypt, forty years in Sinai with Jethro, and he married the eldest of the seven daughters, and out there shepherding sheep for forty years; and then another forty years leading the children of Israel around the wilderness of Sinai, you know. And he had to be out there another thirty-eight and a half years because the children of Israel didn’t want to go in when God said to go in.
So he had eighty years of misery. And then he got frustrated right at the last, you know, just before they were ready to go into the Promised Land. He got frustrated; instead of commanding the rock to bring forth water he beat the rock, and God said, "Now you’re not going into the Promised Land, Moses. Now, I’ll let you climb this mountain and you can look at it, but you aren’t going in." He had to count the riches of Christ greater than anything else. Now when we get through with all of this, this will help us to understand more about human nature and more about the things that we do. But you know what it’s going to help us do, brethren, it’s going to help us get along with each other a whole lot better. I mean, we have no problems getting along with each other. Thank God. I’m happy for that. Feel great for that. After some experiences we’ve had recently, all I can say is, "It’s good to be home." And all of those of you who were there, you know.
Now I want to give you two examples of good works – evil works. The first one is really terrible hypocrisy. And both of these are side by side. I’ll read the headline of the first one. It says, "Parents Who Went On TV to Plead For Baby Indicted In Her Slaying." They were indicted for the slaying of their baby. The other one is, "Utah Convict Sues Prison for Allowing His Escape." One is very sad, the other one is kind of hilarious. We’ll read the sad one first. "A couple who pleaded tearfully on television…" People look at that and it – you know, they’re sympathetic. "Oh, the tears. Oh, how they loved their…Oh, how wonderful." Ok, a good work. Yes, on the surface, a good work. But we will see that that was a mask, or a guise, or a ruse to divert from the sin that they committed. It’s called a…yeah – an ideological mask. All politicians use that all the time. I don’t know how many of you saw – what was it, on the Fourth of July they had "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." How many of you saw that? But it showed a little bit of the political hypocrisy that goes on. Right here is the worst classical example I’ve ever heard of, or even known of recently.
"A couple who pleaded tearfully on television for the life of their missing four month old daughter were indicted Friday on charges that the father sexually abused the infant girl before the mother beat her to death. The six count indictment returned by the Providence County grand jury also charged George G. and Donna J. Richard with lying to police investigating the November slaying of their only child, Jeri-Ann. Mrs. Richard, 33, was charged with first degree murder. Her 34 year old husband was charged on sexual assault of a child under 13. Both were also charged with filing false police statements, two counts of conspiring to obstruct justice, and obstructing justice. Arraignment is scheduled for July 24 in Superior Court. The murder and sexual assault charges are capital offenses carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison." That’s too good for these people.
"The Richards…" here’s what they did, "…reported that their blue-eyed daughter was kidnapped November 11, telling the police she was snatched from her crib by an intruder who apparently entered their apartment through a window while they slept nearby. Four days later, hours after the tearful couple had made television appearances to plead for their baby’s safe return, Jeri-Ann’s beaten and raped body…" Now a four-month old…four-month old. I mean, four-month old! "…Beaten and raped body was discovered in an alley a block from the family’s apartment. An autopsy showed the infant had been a victim of chronic sexual abuse. A later FBI analysis of the crime scene determined that the body was placed in the alley in a manner to indicate that there was a close, personal relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. The police reported the body was carefully positioned with a folded diaper under its bettered head, its arms crossed on its chest, and tree branches covering it."
So to cover up what they did, they get on TV, they lie, and they say, "Oh please return our baby." Now there is a very good example of an apparent good work on the surface, what it looks like. So what we’re trying to do, the appearance of everything that you see is not necessarily the reality of what’s occurring. And some people are very good liars. You could not tell when they’re lying or when they’re telling the truth. And you would think, "Oh, yes, I’m going to look for that…" Just picture yourself now as someone who viewed that. And maybe you’re sitting there clutching your four month old baby. And the parents just tearfully cry, "We were sleeping in the bedroom and someone just came and stole our daughter away from us. Oh, whoever it is, whoever you are, please bring it! Bring it back!" And they knew very well that they had done the things that they did and killed the baby and left it out there. An ideological mask.
Alright. Here’s the other one. This is a little more humorous. "Utah Convict Sues Prison for Allowing His Escape: Salt Lake City – A killer who claimed the Utah State Prison allowed him to escape with two other convicts is suing the prison for trauma suffered while free. Walter J. Wood contends his constitutional rights were violated when he inadvertently wandered into an escape-in-progress situation. Wood, fellow murderer Wesley A. Tuttle, and kidnapper Darrel E. Brady strolled from the prison in civilian clothes." Oh, the clothes just happened to fall on them, huh? And that was August 21, 1984. "Tuttle and Brady were captured within hours, but Wood eluded authorities for six months. Wood complained in the lawsuit he filed this week that his reluctant escape…" so reluctant he stayed away for six months. I wonder who on earth his attorney is. This has gotta…this is so bad, you know, you can’t believe it.
"…Put him in several life-threatening situations…" Poor little baby. "…’Because of extreme fear of being shot to death, I was forced to swim several irrigation canals…’" Poor kid. You know, kids do that all the time. I imagine they were all of twenty feet wide at the most. Isn’t that about what most of these huge ones are, twenty feet wide? I know that area up around Salt Lake City, and I don’t think they could be more than ten feet wide, up around there. "‘…Attempted to swim a raging Jordan River…’" Now, I know the Jordan River up there is not raging. I mean, even in a terrible, terrible, terrible rainstorm it’s not raging. "…And exposed himself to innumerable bites by many insects." (Laughter) Oh boy. "‘At one point I heard a volume of gunshot blasts, and this completed my anxiety,’ wrote Wood, acting as his own attorney." Oh, well, no wonder. He’s acting as his own attorney. Can you believe that?
"The lawsuit seeks $2 million in damages…" Yes. I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison and spend my two million. No. Gotta be kidding. "…And just punishment for all prison personnel involved in allowing inmates to escape." This went…you know, we’re going to use the good court to take this…here’s a perfect example of taking something evil, alright? Escaping from jail. He’s a convicted felon anyway, a killer. He killed someone, and now the poor little dear has his nerves all just torn apart. How is he going to survive the rest of his life, you know? Terrible. Now maybe you understand what I’m talking about, an evil good work. This is an evil good work. It is using the good court, the good laws for an evil purpose. This other one here is a good work on the surface to cover up evil. So that is in both cases an evil good work.
Now in order to understand about good works-evil works, and so forth, we need to understand about human nature. So let’s go to the Bible and do just a few things on review about human nature, and where it puts us with God. Because you see, God does not deal with each person exactly the same. And we’ll see the reason why. God is interested in the heart. Let’s go to Jeremiah17:9. This is one you should all have memorized. You all know, it tells about human nature and it tells about the way that human nature normally is. Now there are degrees of severity of goodness and evil that – or evilness and goodness that people have in their own personality. But, you know, just to give you an example, today we have so many people that are going around looking to cause trouble.
Now recently here at Great America in Santa Clara they would not allow a girl in who had her hair cut and all pegged up in these spikes, with half of her face black and half of it green, and looking like a weirdo, they wouldn’t let her in. So now there’s a lawsuit. But they gave the example of what happened down in Magic Mountain in Los Angles when they had the all-night graduation party for seniors in high school. There were twelve people stabbed. Because there were gangs of kids out there looking for trouble. Now you see, once a person gets into evil and continues in it, they must – in order to justify what they are doing - become more, and more, and more, and more, and more evil. And that’s they way Satan leads a person into it.
The ultimate is here, Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things,…" And the easiest thing in the world to do is lie to yourself. And the easiest way that you justify something that you are doing which you know is not right, you justify it by accusing someone else of doing something worse. And we’ll see a couple examples of that here in the New Testament. So, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Alright, that’s the extreme. There are people who sell themselves to evil. There are people who just give themselves over to it. And we can think of many kings that are listed in 1 and 2 Kings. We can think of Ahab, we can think of Jeroboam, we can think of Manasseh. And Ahab and Manasseh both repented after they had done all of the evil things that they did. Some of the others never repented of any of the things that they did. So there are degrees to which human beings will be involved in evil.
Now let’s see the least degree of an evil heart – John 1:47. Now we know that children, God calls them innocent children. But the evil in children can be stirred up at a very early age by exposing them to a lot of evil. That’s why you can find young kids in the streets of the cities who are hardened criminals, say, at age ten and twelve, because they have been brought in to that situation. Now you can say in some cases they were forced into it. But you know, in almost every case a person has to agree with it to go along with it. Otherwise they come up with a silly sounding thing like this convict, suing the prison for "allowing" his escape.
John 1:47, "Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Now if you look it up in your Interlinear you will find that this is the same word that is used for "deceit." There is no deceit. So a person can, just of their own choice, choose to be honest, choose to be ethical. And of course when they do, whose laws are they following in the first place? They’re following God’s laws. So that good, though it’s in a person who has the law of sin and death in them, and though there’s a mixture of good and evil in every person, has more good about their character and more good about their personality than they do evil. And we’re going to see some other examples here about evil people, or sinners, or whatever. And we’re going to see just exactly how that fits into the whole overall perspective.
Now let’s go to Matthew 10:40. Now here we have by choice – a person decides to do something. "He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me." Obviously, then, God the Father. "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward." Now God is going to take care of all of those things. See, God is going to ultimately judge the hearts of everyone. We know that – Romans 14. Now here in Matthew 10:42, "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." Now there are varying degrees of things that God is looking to. But notice, in every case it has to do with what? A pure motive. Or, we could say, a right heart.
Now this is why, even in dealing with our children, if they do something that is just out of a motive to have fun, and there’s no evil intent to it, though evil may result out of it – you know, they get out and they snuck some firecrackers, or something like this, and they get out and they blow some out in the garage, and lo and behold, the garage catches afire and it burns down the garage. There was no evil intent in that. They just – one thing led to another, and, "He-he-he, let’s have some fun," and lo and behold, the garage is gone. But if they, on the other hand, said, "Ok, we’re going to take care of this. We’re going to spray gasoline all over here, and then throw a match in there and run." Alright, that is an evil intent. And God is interested in the heart and in the intent. And we’ll see this all the way through as we go along.
So if a person is going to help someone and do good, and to really go good. Not thinking, "Aha. I will do good and then be thought well of by other people." You see the difference, if you do good to really do good? That’s fine. God will honor that. It may or may not count for salvation. That depends on the rest of your life. Obviously here He’s talking about those then who are called to salvation in the way of receiving a reward. Because there are many good things out here in the world that are going on now – people doing good things for one another. There may be someone, there may be a lot of people right now helping out the sick, helping out the widows, helping out the poor, and that’s fine. Whether that counts for salvation or not, God is the one Who’s going to have to judge that. Whether God has called them, what their heart is, all of these things involved.
Now let’s go to Matthew 7, and let’s see then on the other hand something that looks really good that people think, as you view it, is good. Matthew 7:21. So Jesus is saying virtually the same thing that we’re saying right here, right now. "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth [is doing] the will of My Father which is in heaven." Now that’s right after the section where it says in verse 15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing,…" So here is a work. The origin is evil; the appearance is good, because they’re coming in sheep’s clothing; the result is evil, because they will lead you from God instead of to God. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Now, we need to catch the inward part. What is your heart? "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).
But you see, you can’t just accept something that is on the surface that looks good. I mean, some of the nicest, most friendly people you’d want to meet are the real connivers. How do you think con men do the work they do? They have a multitude of trickeries that they use to con people out of money. Or con people out of property. It looks good. So…and you can’t always go by on what you think the record is. Therefore, you have to really just ask God for discernment and understanding. Because something that looks good and sounds good on the surface may not be good at all.
Now here’s the opposite example in verse 21. "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;…" Now isn’t it true that unless you acknowledge that Jesus is Lord you’re not going into the kingdom of heaven? That is true. You have to acknowledge that He is Lord. To the glory of the Father, correct? Alright, here are people who are saying, "Lord, Lord." And Jesus said they’re not going to enter into the kingdom of heaven, "…but he that doeth [is doing] the will of My Father which is in heaven." So in other words, even if you acknowledge that Christ is Lord, it isn’t going to do you any good unless you’re doing the will of the Father. Then He gives an example. "Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?..." (vs. 21-22). Now on the surface that looks good. Sounds good. "I bring to you these prophecies in the name of Jesus Christ!" And maybe some of them come to pass. Let’s read on.
"…And in Thy name have cast out devils [demons]?..." Stand up there and say, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command the demons to come out of this person now!" Whisk – they’re gone. They are gone. "…And in Thy name done many wonderful works?" So here’s the appearance – wonderful works. Casting out demons, prophesying in the name of Christ. I mean, you can’t have it any better, can you? I mean, for the appearance, it can’t be any better than that. Verse 23, "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:…" That’s going to be a strange twist of events, isn’t it? See, because Christ is looking to the heart, not looking to the outward appearance, not looking to the things that have been done. But to the person’s heart. "…I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." Or as the Greek is, anomos, which means, "against law."
Now there are a lot of people who preach in Jesus’ name who say, "You don’t have to keep the commandments." Are there a lot of people who cast out demons who say, "It’s all by grace"? And it’s true – it is all by grace, you see. But what is the motive behind it? It’s kind of like this prisoner here. Once saved, always saved? I talked to a man who deals with me in my business connections, and he found out through someone else that I was a preacher. And this fellow’s a good religious person, graduated from Brigham Young University, and is a good, righteous Mormon. So he was asking what we believed in. And I said, "Well, we believe in the Bible." And so I had to go through and explain a few things, and then I got down to really what God is looking to as your heart and your standing before God. That’s the most important thing. That is the very most important thing.
Let’s go on. Let’s look at some other examples here. Now let’s go to Luke 11, and let’s see what Jesus said to His disciples. Now when we get done with this you’re going to understand why Jesus said, "When you do your righteousness [which I covered last week], don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing." In other words, do it from the heart, spontaneously, and don’t plan for any result that’s going to come back to you. That’s what it means. Ok, Luke 11…this is right after – now notice this, we’ll just summarize beginning right here, the first part of the chapter. The disciples came and they said, verse 1, "…Teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." So He taught them. And then He gave them a couple parables about being persistent in prayer.
Now I mentioned something last time about how that people use vain repetition in prayers and have great long lists that they just go over, and over, and over, and over; and without a clock and without a list they can’t pray, and a lot of that can get into vain repetition. But here, it’s talking about that you be earnest, and that you keep importuning God until you get the answer. But so many other things just can be so much rote. So Jesus gave this promise here in verse 9, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you;…" And God will give and provide. I think we’re learning to walk more and more in faith as we’re going along; walk more and more in the grace of God as we go along. And each of us trusting that God is going to lead and help the other in the way that God sees fit, then we don’t have to worry about interrupting anybody’s life to tell them how to live. I mean, if someone is truly sincere, truly seeking God, truly wanting what God wants them to have, then you don’t have to be "buttinsky’s" and tell everybody "Do this," or "Do that," or "Do the other thing." You teach them what God’s word says and if God’s Spirit is in them, and if Christ is in them, they’re going to what? They’re going to want to do it. You can’t force it into them by fear. It just can’t be done. We’ve seen that, we’ve experienced that.
Ask and it shall be given, "…Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth [now that’s a promise]; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Now notice the next three verses. Because this is very important in relationship to understanding human nature. And that means we also have to understand ourselves. "If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? [No] or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?" (vs. 9-12). Now this tells us, for all of those who are conscious about health, that bread, and that fish, and that eggs are good to eat. Now notice verse 13. Notice what Jesus said to His own disciples. Now, you had to have a certain good motive of heart to follow Christ, wouldn’t you? I mean, He said some pretty tough things. You’d have to have a certain good motive, wouldn’t you?
Alright, verse 13, "If ye then, being evil,…" Now that’s a pretty tough saying, isn’t it? Telling His own disciples they’re evil. "If ye then, being evil…" And that is what? Evil by nature. And any human being, given the choices of evil, will end up in the same deprivation as any other human being. You may not have chosen that so far. Or a person may have decided to reject that kind of behavior, and so their degree of evil is not that intent. But Jesus said, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" That helps us understand why there are ideological masks, why people like to cloak themselves in the things that look and sound right. This is why people hire agents, you know. They hire agents, and what do the agents do? They dress everything nice. They have a spokesman.
Now Ronald Reagan could not get along without a spokesman. It’s interesting, the guy’s name is Speaks. Speaks is the spokesman for Reagan. Because Ronald Reagan would get up there and say things that are not good for his image. "And we can’t have that, so we have to have everything all filtered out and planned out and stated ahead of time, because you aren’t going to show yourself off as good as we would like to project you." And I imagine there are times that he just grits his teeth over it, but he goes along with it because he knows politically that is true. But you see, no one’s going to fool God. The only "agent" you have for you to God is Christ. And He is the best agent because He is going to deal with you in truth and He is going to deal with God the Father for you in truth, so there won’t be any ideological masks there.
Now let’s go back to Matthew 12, and we will see just a reiteration of something that we read a little bit earlier, but with just a little bit different slant on it. Matthew 12:33, because there are certain things that we can do. We do have choices. And that might be the next logical sermon to give. I know I have two…I owe Ed two sermons, one on choices, and the other is covetousness. So would it be ok if I went through and brought those two the next two times, choices and covetousness? Ok – I’m not saying choose covetousness, now. Don’t anybody on the tape misinterpret what I’m saying.
Matthew 12:33, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good;…" There comes a point when you need to have things done right. How do you make a tree good? That’s a parable referring to human beings. Because the tree has what? The tree has roots, and if the roots aren’t any good, and if the roots are not having good nourishment then the tree and the fruit is no good. Where should our roots be? Our roots should be grounded in Christ. Then it will be a good tree. Then it will bring forth good fruit. Otherwise, it won’t. See, then it will be just like these two accounts I read of here. What good are either one of them?
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?..." Now we’ll see a little bit more about the Pharisees, and Christ has an awful lot to say about the Pharisees. "…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man…" So a person can be called good. Here, remember Jesus said, "Call no one good; there’s none good except the Father." But He’s talking about a person, then, who chooses good and is good by the fact that they choose what is good and what is right, not that they are inherently good of their own. "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things" (Matt. 12:33-35). And that certainly is true. We saw two examples of it right here today.
Let’s go to Luke 10. Let’s see an example of good, then. This is the account of the good Samaritan. And of course, the Jews had nothing to do with the Samaritans, right? Now we’re going to see several examples of good and evil, and evil and good, and apparent righteousness, and righteousness before God, which is true righteousness. Let’s go to verse 25 so we can get the story flow. "And, behold, a certain lawyer…" And oh boy, they’re some people are just picky. And we had that Bible study a while back, and they’re just real – you know, arguing with God. And I said at the beginning of the Bible study there are those people that take scriptures and argue with God. And guess what? Someone came back and started arguing with God. It’s just amazing. Sometimes you can’t believe it.
"And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?" You know, one of these times I’m going to get the point. I think I’m almost at the point now, to when I’m provoked I’m going to ask questions instead of a frontal assault. I’m just about – I think I got that almost in my head now. Jesus always asked a question. Here’s a frontal assault.
And "He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Now those are the classic good things that a human being should do, right? Right. And it’s found where? In the Law – in the Law, folks. In the Law, ok? "And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live." But notice the lawyer: "But he, willing to justify himself,…" (Luke 10:25-29). And that’s where people cling on to their evil. They justify themselves…Let me just turn the tape over here on this side. We’re just about at the end. I don’t want to run out on this one.
"But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering…" Now notice how He answered him. Now one of these days maybe I’ll get some "schmarts" "…A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way:…" (vs. 29-31). Now you go back and you read all the laws of what a priest is to do. If he’s on duty he’s not to touch any dead body; he’s not to touch anything that has any blood on it; he’s not to contaminate himself, lest when he make the offering that he be profaned. Are those the laws of God? Yes, those are the laws of God. True. He gave them. You go back and read the laws.
I’ll tell you what he should have done when we get to the end of it, because it would have been very simple. Jesus is telling him that the priest should have helped the one who was wounded. So what should the priest have done? He should have gone back and said, "I helped a man who was wounded. Just count me out for duty this week, I’ll pick it up next week." No problem. See, but when people get so nitpicky in doing right, even though it’s the Law of God, when there is a greater need beyond a ritual or a statute or a judgment, a greater need, then that greater need falls into the category that Jesus said, "I want mercy, and not sacrifice." Here is an example of sacrifice, of ritual: "I will do the sacrifice rather than show the mercy." That’s what happened with the priest.
"And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side." "Ooh-hoo," and walked away. It doesn’t even show he called the Highway Patrol. "And likewise a Levite [who was the priest’s helper], when he was at the place, came and looked on him,…" Walked over and looked at him! And he saw someone who was naked, who was wounded, who was obviously in need, "…and passed by on the other side" (vs. 31-32). Now you see, in the Jewish society, or in the society with the temple, the two most respected citizens were the priest and the Levite. They held the two highest offices in the land. And they were to what? Lead people to God. Isn’t that correct? How on earth can a priest or a Levite lead someone to God when they don’t have the right kind of heart toward their fellow man? So this is why He gave the parable.
"But a certain Samaritan,…" Oh, now, you couldn’t have said anything worse to a Jew. Because you know that the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Here comes this dirty, slimy, greasy, Samaritan on his ding-dong donkey, trailing down the trail. You know, just kind of picture it in your mind. Maybe even flies hovering over his head as he goes along, who knows? "But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,…" See, God is interested in your heart and your emotion. He had compassion on him."…And went to him, and bound up his wounds,…" And I just imagine that the guy who was lying there, the priest looked from a distance and walked on. I don’t know if the victim saw him, but the Levite went over and looked right at him, and the guy probably, "(Groan) Help," you know. The guy said, "Oh, well, I have to go offer a sacrifice," you know, he goes on his way. And here comes this Samaritan. He saw his wounds, had compassion on him, "…bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him" (vs. 33-34). Now that takes a lot of effort. That takes a lot of work. Brought him to an inn, his own expense.
"And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence,…" Denarius, as it should read in the original. In the King James it is "pence." You could hardly do it, even…well, couldn’t even do it at the "Six-Pence Motel" with two pence. Ok. "…Took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." Then Jesus asked the question, "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said [so the lawyer got the point], He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise" (vs. 35-37). In other words, don’t stand there and ask a stupid question, "Who is my neighbor?" Anybody that has need. That’s your neighbor, whether you know them or not.
Now let’s look at another example here. Let’s go to Matthew 9. And all the way through…now when you read and study the New Testament, go through and see that every time Jesus has an encounter of some kind He deals with the motive - the origin, the motive, the appearance, and the effect. Let’s keep those four things in mind: the origin, the motive, the appearance, and the effect, and it will really help you see the love and compassion that Jesus Christ has, and that’s how He wants us to act. That’s how He wants us to be.
Matthew 9:10, "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat [to eat]…" The phrase there "sat at meat," it means He came to eat, "…in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples." Now this looked bad, you know; for those righteous Pharisees, this was bad. Like I mentioned last week, this woman who was a sinner touches Him, and "if this Man were a prophet, He would know…" And then Jesus asked him a question, he said, "Yes, Master?" The purring, fawning, "Oh, yes, yes, yes."
"And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them [now, He didn’t answer the question either], They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:…" (vs. 11-13). In other words, all those little ritualistic things that were added to the laws of God to separate people and destroy love, and mercy, and compassion are against the laws of God, though they appear righteous by religious leaders, are just so much dung. Now you can understand why.
Here, hold your place right here, and let’s go to Isaiah 58. I know when I first read this, boy, it was hard for me to understand it but it’s crystal clear now. Let’s just begin here in verse 1. "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily,…" Isn’t it interesting? People still seek God even though that they are just living in sin. "…And delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God" (Isa. 58:1-2). Oh yes, "We’re going to offer a sacrifice today, everyone, we’re going to have a feast;" or, "Now today’s the Day of Atonement, the most holy day of the year."
"Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and Thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness:…" And boy, that’s sure true of human nature. Here’s human nature, religious human nature in the raw, right here. This is why Jesus went and ate with sinners and publicans. He didn’t go…well, He did eat with some of the Pharisees, and scribes, and so forth. We’ll see that a little later. But that’s all they were doing. They were fasting for strife, and debate, and the fist of wickedness. And "…ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high" (vs. 3-4).
Let’s take a look at one other place here for just a minute. Let’s go to Isaiah 64:6. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;…" Now you’ll understand why the righteousnesses of the scribes and Pharisees were as filthy rags, because their heart was not right. See, the whole thing is, God does not care what the outward appearance of what you may be doing. He’s interested in the motive and in the heart. That’s the whole key thing, motive and heart. Otherwise it’s just like filthy rags. "…And we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." And when you find that we should keep the commandments and they are righteous, and then you go back and read that all of our righteousnesses are as an unclean thing and a filthy rag, and then you read the book of Job, you think, "Boy, how’s anyone ever going to make it?" And I’ve read the…when I read…honestly, when I first read the book of Job I thought God was wrong. Really. And I knew that wasn’t right. That took me a long time before I really have understood the book of Job. I think I understand more than I have in the past.
Now let’s go back here to Matthew 9:13. See, here’s this righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees would not eat with publicans and sinners. And what good did all of that righteousness do them? None. So Jesus said, "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:…" That’s the whole key thing – mercy and compassion and doing the things that God wants and not the sacrifice of religious ritual. Or we could say, not the sacrifice of "playing church" today. There are a lot of people that play church – Protestants, Catholics, Church of God people. They play church. That’s sacrifice. "…For I am not come to call the righteous,…" And you know who is righteous. Paul said none is righteous, "…but sinners to repentance." And we’re going to see that’s the key all the way through.
Now let’s look at an example of a good work, a righteous sacrifice, a proper judgment. Let’s go to John 8. Now, you know the account, so I’m not going to go through and cover it all; but it’s the first eleven verses, where they came and they brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery – the very act. Brought her; and here, they’re taking God’s Word to use as a club again, right? And it’s right – it did say that adulterers and adulteresses were to be what? Stoned. Didn’t the Law of Moses say that she was to be stoned? And you know the result of it. Jesus then said, "He which is without sin cast the first stone." Now to them they thought, "Boy, we’re going to catch Him, because we are right! We have the Law of Moses behind us to back us up and prove it is right!" But what did Jesus do? He went right to the heart, and He said, "The one who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." And then you know the rest of the account. No one was there. It was a crowd around, like this, and then Jesus and the woman, and surrounding Jesus and the woman was a circle of Pharisees and scribes who brought the woman. Just picture it today. Police catch someone red-handed and bring him right in. "Now what are You going to do about this?"
So when there was no one there and Jesus said, "Is no man condemn you?" Verse 11, "She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." And sin no more – that’s the key thing. I imagine she was scared to death. Imagine how she felt. Let’s answer this question: did Jesus change the law here? No. They evoked the law of Moses which said, "Stone the adulteress," but you also have to stone the adulterer. A - They didn’t bring him with her. They caught her in the very act, but how are you going to catch her in the very act without him? That’s a little strange. So maybe one of those shining-robed, broad-phylactery priests was the one who tricked her into it. And maybe that’s the whole thing behind it – they tricked her into it. They said, "Aha, we’re going to get this guy." So no, it isn’t that Jesus did away with the law of Moses, because He told her to go and sin no more. He said, "I don’t condemn you; no one condemns you. Go and sin no more." And He couldn’t condemn her, because what? Legally you needed two or three witnesses: "Everything shall be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses" (Deuteronomy 17:6, paraphrased). That’s Old Testament doctrine.
So there were many things wrong in their case. So rather than Jesus getting onto an argument over the rightness or wrongness of the case, He got to the heart of the matter by saying, "The one who has no sin, let him throw the first stone." And then He told the woman, "Go and sin no more." So this is showing that adultery is still sin, and in a sense the wages of sin is still death, but it’s going to be administered in a proper way. So I just imagine how that poor woman felt, even though she may have been what she was, dragged up there…See the whole bottom line is in this, they were using this incident as a means to trap Christ. In other words, they were taking something that God had given to Moses which was to be used for good - to keep adultery out of the land, to eliminate it, to keep it to a smaller degree – and they were using this then to try and trip up Christ. It was an evil motive behind what they were doing. Had nothing to do with truth and fact. So that’s why He answered the way He did.
Let’s go on here. Let’s go to Romans 2. And again, this will tell us about the heart, the conscience, and what God is looking to. Romans 2, and we will see in this chapter…here we get down to the heart and the core of the whole problem in Romans 2. I won’t go through every verse, but it’s talking about judging and condemning, and using the judgment of God. But then he goes on to show that unless your heart is right, it doesn’t matter what your judgment of another person is going to be, God is going to reward you according to your heart: whether you are led to repentance by God and seek honor, and glory, and truth, and immortality, then you receive eternal life; or whether you’re hard-hearted and won’t repent, then you’re going to receive anguish and wrath and so forth.
Now we come down to verse 11. "…For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law [that means separate from the knowledge of the law] shall also perish [separate from the knowledge of the law] without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom 2:11-13). But what is he talking about? What kind of doers? How should you do it? To do it in a ritual? To do it just because the Bible says, "Do it"? Well you should do it because the Bible says do it, but that should not be the only motivation. You should do it because it becomes a part of you. What is the whole purpose of the New Testament to do with God’s laws? To what? To write them in your heart, and in your mind, and in your inward parts, so that it becomes a part of you: Christ in you, the laws of God in you, the love of God in you.
Now notice verse 14. Here again, Paul uses the example of the Gentiles. "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law,…" They weren’t given the laws of God. God never went to any other nation and said, "I am God, here are My laws; follow them." Only to Israel. Notice what he says: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law,…" In other words, these things are always a law unto themselves. "…These, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew [here’s the key thing] the work of the law written in their hearts,…" (vs. 14-15). Now of all the mixture of good and evil that people have in the world, there are some who have reasonably decent societies. I know when I first saw the movie on the pygmies I was impressed. They don’t commit adultery, they believe in one god, and they don’t steal. Now, they don’t have the laws of God, but believe me, I’m sure God honors them for that much of what they do and what they know.
"…Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience…" So God is interested in what? The heart and the conscience. Because that’s the only thing God can truly deal with because these are spiritual things. God cannot deal with a stick, or a stone, or a hard-hearted person. He’s got to deal with someone who has some conscience, someone who has some heart. "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)…" Now Paul says, "…In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (vs. 15-16). So then he went on showing here very clearly about what a true Jew was - one of the heart, not of the letter. Where the Pharisees Jews by nature? Yes. By physical circumcision? Yes. By heart? No.
Let’s go to Luke 5. Let’s take a little bit of survey in the book of Luke and see if we can cover some of these. The book of Luke is really full of some of these examples of an evil work, a good work, an evil motive, evil imputation to a person, and so forth. Ok, Luke 5, and let’s pick it up here in verse 17. "And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching [now notice], that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem:…" So here were all the nitpickers all gathered around. There they were. "…And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in [to Jesus] because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus" (Luke 5:17-19).
Now if you can picture some Middle-eastern type up there, they’re taking away the tile, and here’s everybody gathered around there. And then they start letting this fellow down, right in the middle of where Jesus was teaching. And remember, there were what sitting around? The scribes, the doctors of the law, the Pharisees. And here’s Jesus teaching. And all of a sudden, right down in the middle of this, here comes this man being let down. I imagine everybody looked up and said, "I wonder what on earth this is? Look at that." So he let him down.
"And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." Very simple statement. Now notice: Aha! Self-righteous antennae go up – ding! "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying,…" Instead of saying, "That’s marvelous. Look at this man, it’s…that’s wonderful. Why, that’s old George. We’ve known him for a long time. Look – he’s healed! He can get up and walk!" No, they began to reason, "…Saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts,…" (vs. 20-22). Now that must have been interesting on Jesus’ part. He knew their thoughts. Sometimes I wish I knew that. That might save me from a lot of grief, to know the thoughts of people. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to do that. No, no. You wouldn’t…you’d have to be God in order to handle it. I mean, truly, the human mind is so wicked, you wouldn’t want to know everybody’s thoughts. No. Only God could handle it. You think on it a while, and no, you really wouldn’t want that. No. You think at first, "Boy, that would be good in some circumstances." But if you knew everybody’s thoughts all the time, you wouldn’t want…no.
So Jesus perceived their thoughts. "…He answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?" Now that must have been interesting. Here, they’re sitting there and trying to have a pious look on their face, and Jesus is reading their thoughts, and then He turns to them and says, "Now why are you thinking this?" I imagine they’d swallow once or twice. You know, sometimes it makes you wonder, you wonder what on earth went on in the minds of these scribes and Pharisees. I mean, we yet have that sermon to bring about scribes and Pharisees. We’re getting part of it here.
"…What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (He said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay [in other words, just wrapped it all up], and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day" (vs. 22-26). So then He went by and He told Levi to follow Him, who was then later called Matthew.
Now notice verse 29, "And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples,…" Here, these perpetual critics. All they did was grumble and murmur and gripe. And didn’t all their criticism cause a lot of problems in the New Testament church, when supposedly the Pharisees were converted? Oh, yea, verily yea. "…Saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And they said unto Him, Why do the disciples of John fast often,…" (vs. 29-33). Now He has a little to say about John. It’s just like a technocrat. They’ll even use something that they hate. They didn’t like John. They wouldn’t…John called them vipers, and "who warned you to come and flee the wrath and be baptized?"
Then they said, "…Why do the disciples of John fast often…" See, they were so beady-eyed jealous with them eating and having a good time, and having a feast, they stood out there, and when they couldn’t answer back to Jesus then they said, "Now, why don’t You fast? Look – this meal…and why eat all the time?" "…And make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but Thine eat and drink? And He said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?" (vs. 33-34). So again, He answered with a question. Very clever. He never really answered their questions. Because why? He knew their hearts. He knew the motive. So they would take a good thing – is it good to fast? Yes. Is it good to pray? Yes. So what was the origin? It was the Pharisee, right, who was self-righteous. The motive was to try and use something good, that appeared good - fasting and praying – the motive was evil to use a good thing in an evil way.
Now can people use a good thing in an evil way? Sure they can. That’s right. Yes they can. We’re going to see that God will use an evil thing in a good way. One time He said, "Let’s send a lying spirit down to deceive Ahab." I don’t know if it was Ahab, or maybe it was some…a lying spirit. Now you can imagine God commanding a spirit to go down there and lie? Saying, "You go down there and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all these false prophets." You know God said, "I create good and I create evil." I covered it on a tape the week before, so be sure and get a copy and listen to it. God does create evil to enforce the penalty of sin. He does create it. I know when I first read that, Isaiah 45:9, "I God create good, and make evil." I couldn’t believe that; tippy-toed around it, said, "Well, God allows it." Well then does God allow good? No, He blesses the good. He’s determined what is good and what is evil. But He will create the evil to enforce the good. So when someone sins, He’s decreed "the wages of sin is death," that’s an evil result, He enforces the penalty of it, "I create evil, says the Lord." But you see, God can do that because He has the power to undo it if there’s repentance. That’s so very important.
Let me just clarify what I said, lest someone misunderstand me. God is God, and He is righteous, and in Him is no sin at all. Isn’t that correct? We all agree to that. God has given His laws, which are holy and righteous and just and perfect and good and true. Isn’t that correct? We all agree to that. We also know that God is not sin. God cannot sin. But does that mean that God cannot enforce the penalty for sin, which is evil? Now it does not mean that. God can enforce that. So God creates a law, and says, "This is good. The transgression of it is evil." You go through Deuteronomy 28. "You’ll be blessed if you do what is right, you’ll be cursed if you do what is wrong. I, the Lord, do it." So He makes the blessings happen by blessing, correct? He brings about the result of sin by bringing the curse, which is evil. He is creating the evil.
Now in that, He can use the agency of Satan the devil, the demons, human nature, or God Himself do it directly. But He is enforcing the wages of sin, which even God says He does not like to see the death of the wicked. Then it’s an evil thing. But He does it because the righteousness of God and God’s plan is so fantastic and so great that there is no room for that kind of thing. Now I know we’re getting into a rather deep area because our concept of God is more limited than we would like to admit. Far more limited. I mean, God has made the fantastic…say, the universe, that’s true; but probably what we know of it is so infinitesimal from what God has done.
So therefore, when God says, "Behold, I create evil," He does just that. Because if you make a law that is blessing on one side, cursing on the other side, you have to create it, and you have to enforce it. God does not like to enforce the evil. God loathes enforcing the evil. But He will do it. Even when it came time for the flood, what does it say? It repented God the heart that of all the evil that was there, and He was sorry that He made man because of all the…God does not like to enforce the evil. But He eventually will. So God, in enforcing the penalty of sin with the evil, and enforcing it, does it so that in hopes that the wicked would repent and turn to God. (Audience comment)…And that’s why the Tribulation. God is going to take care of a lot of things at the Tribulation. I mean, it is…God has a way of storing up His wrath, and look out. That’s why Jesus said, "Why do you desire the Day of the Lord?" We’re to pray, "Thy kingdom come." That is true. But why do you desire the Day of the Lord? It’s a terrible, terrible, terrible day. Even Jesus said it was. And it doesn’t rejoice God at all to go through it.
Let’s just take the case of David and Bathsheba. God does not stop anyone from sinning, does He? No. All that took place: the conniving, the planning on Bathsheba’s part, because she bathed right out underneath his window, and then on his part to send down and get her, to have her husband killed, and all that that went on, and then the correction from Nathan the prophet came and said, "You are the one." And he repented, and God said, "Ok, I’ve put away your sin. But because you have done this, and because you’ve caused the enemies of God to blaspheme, I am going to wreak havoc in your family the rest of your life." I’m just summarizing what He said. And that’s what happened. God ensured that havoc was reaped in his family. It was terrible. But when by the time David got old he was worn out with all the strife that went on. Look at Absalom. Look at the rebellion that took place. All because David did this sin. Had he not sinned he wouldn’t have had any of that.
There are some people right now who are going through terrible trouble because in righteousness they sinned. And they’re reaping all of this…their families are just being absolutely being torn asunder, and sickness and things. Because in the name of God the perpetrated evil. And I’m not going to wish anything upon anybody. Boy, I tell you, we’ll learn a lesson. Let’s go to Luke 6, then, and we’ll end here in Luke 6. And we will see that God is interested in our hearts, and interested in what we do. Let’s pick it up here in verse 20, and then we’ll go ahead and end this. And I’ll take one more sermon on these on the works, good-evil, the motivation, the appearance, and so forth. In the mean time, if we can get tapes out to everyone who didn’t hear it last week, then I’d sure appreciate that.
Luke 6:20, "And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company,…" Sometimes you can be thankful that that’s a blessing. "…And shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!..." (Luke 6:20-26).
And people can use…a compliment, isn’t that a good thing? How nice you are, how good you are, how wonderful you are, how….But beware when everyone speaks well of you. Beware, because your vanity can be gotten into sin just as much on compliments as in sin. That’s how deceptive human nature is. "…For so did their fathers to the false prophets" (vs. 26). "Oh, that was a wonderful message." Imagine everyone when the lying spirit came from God to be a lying spirit in the mouths of the false prophets, and all the false prophets got done and said, "You’re not going into captivity. You’re not going to see the evil that’s going on. We’re the prophets of God." And they all come up and, "Oh, bless you. That was marvelous…Oh, that was nice. Oh, you’re such a good boy." It didn’t happen that way, did it?
"But I say unto you which hear,…" Now here is where it comes. This is what we need to aim for: "…Love your enemies,…" Why does He say "Love your enemies"? So you don’t end up with the same kind of heart that your enemy has. Oh, if they could do that in the Middle East today. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine the Arabs and Jews embracing? The Shiites and the Rabbis, the Hamal and the Rabbis hugging each other, kissing each other, on their knees repenting to God? Love your enemies. Well they will one of these days. Not now. Now’s not the day. "…Do good to them which hate you,…" (vs. 27). Why? Because if you turn around and do bad to them, you’re going to put yourself in their same shoes. That’s why Jesus said to the woman – to those who caught her, "You who are without sin, throw the first stone."
"…Do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again" (vs. 27-30). That seems on the surface not a good thing to do. Well obviously, if it comes down to a threat on your life, let them have it. Don’t worry about it. God is able to supply it. How about all these poor people who have had all their homes burned out? They’re right there, aren’t they? There’s nothing – nothing. Don’t worry about it. God will take care of it.
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Here’s the key verse. "For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye?..." In other words, what have you done that is gracious? The "thank" is the word charis is the Greek, which means "gracious." "…For sinners also love those that love them." (vs. 31-32). So even a false love one to another is not good enough. God wants to make sure our hearts are sincere. It’s the hypocrisy of human nature that is the root of all the sin. You know, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks"? Jesus said all these evils proceed from within. So therefore if you come to God and ask God to get rid of the hypocrisy, and the guile, and the deceit, He will.
Verse 33, and we’ll finish here. "And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again." Or we could put in parentheses, "and more." "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil" (vs. 33-35). It’s quite a statement, isn’t it? Quite a statement. Our whole perspective of God has got to be broadened out tremendously. God is not going to be narrowed down into some little confines of a set of doctrines that people may have. You want ten? Twenty? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred? Doesn’t matter how many sets of doctrine you have. If your heart is not right with God, and Christ is not in you, then it’s all just so much playing church and so much good work to be seen of men, you’ve had your reward.
So that’s what we’re talking about here, with the good works and the evil works. Alright. I’ll finish it off with the rest of the survey of parts of the book of Luke next time.
Good Works – Evil Works #2
Matthew 10:40, 42
Matthew 7:21, 15-23
Luke 11:1, 9-13
Luke 5:17-26, 29-34