Tag Archives: Luke 12

Morning Thoughts (Luke 12:51-53)

Luke 12:51-53, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay; but rather division:  For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.  The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

This morning, too often the world and society rubs off on God's people.  When the winds of change blow through modern man's thinking, those things have a tendency to subtilly distort the mindset of the saints to be more accepting of things that they would not have at other times and seasons.  Consider as an example the modern perception of homosexuality vs. 30-50 years ago.  Little by little and bit by bit the general perception of society has been shifted in thought regarding this particular sin.  People that would not have entertained nearly as accepting a mindset toward it 50 years ago promote tolerance and open-mindedness today.  The problem with being too open-minded is that eventually your brains will spill out.  The gears of the mind should be firmly rooted in the tenets of Scripture, for they do not shift and change like the doctrines of men and their cunning craftiness do.

One of the problems that modern-day Christianity faces (regardless of denominational affiliation) is that many professing Christians allow current thinking of openness and tolerance to blind them from appreciating real and absolute truth.  The tenets of Scripture are non-negotiable.  The way of Christ is changeless.  Tolerance in the world’s modern sense basically equates to swallowing something that should rightly disgust us.  Now, we should follow after liberty and not seek to bind people as slaves to our way of thinking, but in turn, we should not be bound by the fetters of tolerance to have to accept theirs whether we like it or not.  The liberty must be bi-directional.

One of the great misconceptions about the way of Christ is that He simply promoted peace and goodwill.  This is the same misconception about God in general when people only see the God of love.  To see Christ properly, we have to indeed see Him as the Prince of Peace, but in order to appreciate the peace that He is for us, we have to be grounded in truth as the truth was vitally important to Him.  To see and appreciate the God of love and mercy, we have to also understand the justice and judgment of God as well.  One without the other makes for short-sighted and dangerous ground for God's people as they contemplate God and Jesus Christ.  Christ in our study verses plainly says that His way will bring division, even down to the midst of families.  This is not something we have to actively pursue (trying to make people mad), but the nature of following Christ will anger others.

Generally speaking, when people disagree about the right thing, correct thought, or proper course, argumentative techniques are employed.  Many of these techniques add nothing to the conversation but rather dodge the real and main issue of the discussion.  Have you ever talked with someone and been met with any of the following responses: 1.  Can't we all just get along?  2.  Don't make such a big fuss over this.  3.  That just can't be right.  4.  You must be foolish to think that.  Each of these avenues that so often rear their heads during a conversation fail to seek the truth of the discussion but rather seek to win by way of ill-designed techniques (sometimes called logical fallacies).

When having a discussion with someone that uses #1, they make the plea that different mindsets should just be able to find some common ground to agree on.  While there may be common ground between two people, that still does not change the fact that there is disagreement over the portion of ground currently under discussion.  When Christ walked and talked here, He could have simply avoided the disagreement with the Pharisees and scribes by using the common ground that they had.  They could have used Moses as their example, and Christ could have said that Moses was a good man and example.  Then everyone would have gone home happy.  They properly taught the tithing of various things, and Christ could have said that those were correct teachings.  However, Christ showed them that there was something important missing and being neglected in not only their teachings but also in their perspective of Moses.

If someone uses argument technique #2, they are trying to say that the discussion point is not essential.  We must take special care to ensure that we are earnestly contending for something essential (that cannot be compromised without damaging the teachings of the Bible)1, and if we are not, then we should follow their advice and leave it alone.  If however, the point is essential to our view of God and our behaviour in return, then we should not yield the ground.  Again, using Christ as an example, He could have yielded ground by simply saying it was not important enough to continue on.  However, when the questioning came and He responded to the silencing of His interrogators, He showed that certain ground should be contended for.

When #3 raises its ugly head, the person is simply resorting to base opinion without grounds.  The reason something is right or wrong is because God has said so.  It matters not what some man's opinion might be.  God's mind is what truly matters.  Recently, I read a rather foolish article in which the writer asserted that the Bible was full of glaring contradictions and was based on confused 1st century Christians that scrambled to assemble a religious structure after discovering that Christ was not imminently coming back.  Due to their foggy recollections of the Saviour's teachings, they could not assemble an error-free creed as their doctrine was made in their minds and hearts.  Truly, if any group of disciples had less fuzziness than anyone else, I would stake the argument that those in those early days did.  Not only did they have the Master, but they initially had His apostles and the very men that would be divinely inspired to pen His Book.  What was written must be right, regardless of what any man (including myself) might think about it.

Technique #4 is perhaps the basest of the fallacious techniques.  It seeks not to arrive at the truth but rather to make a personal assault on the other party.  Resorting to personal attack rather than conceptual discussion not only detracts from the conversation but it quickly kills it.  However, what I have always found interesting about those that employ this technique is that they always accuse the other side of doing what they do all too often.  When arguing a principle, the other party will play like they are being martyred unnecessarily, though they are some of the first to launch personal assaults rather than raising valid points and logical reasoning.

Regardless of what technique(s) we are posed with in discussion, the point is clear from the Saviour.  It happened to Him and because of Him, and we can expect that same kind of division today.  People resorted to name-calling against Him, and we can expect the same against us.  They dodged the issue(s) time and time again, and no less should be expected today.  However, what should never rear its head among us is the slow but silent poison that affects our minds away from the Bible.  Yes, the teachings contained therein are still just as relevant today as ever.  Morality and immorality are still just as pointed and valid now as ever.  Sins then are sins now.  Righteousness then is righteousness now.

One final thought that will hopefully bring some of this together is how the world has affected many Christian's view of Biblical doctrine.  They often today claim, "Doctrine divides, Christ unites."  Their message is transparent – don't stand for doctrine as that will run people off; let's just all follow Christ together.  However, the problem becomes manifest in our verses above.  Christ Himself divided people.  The doctrines of the Bible such as salvation, redemption, justification, glorification, the church, etc. will divide people.  However, they are worth contending for, even if that means standing in opposition to our own natural families.  Again, this is not something to necessarily go and seek out, but if we try to follow the way of Christ, rest assured dear friends that it will find us.  We will have to deal with the heartaches that come with division as a result of it.  However, all the heartaches we might experience when trying to follow the way of Christ all pale in comparison to one smile from the portals of glory.  As the hymn writer wrote, "And the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul."

In Hope,

Bro Philip 

Morning Thoughts (Luke 12:25)

Luke 12:25, "And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?"

This morning, man continually likes to ignore limitations and restrictions. Today's world could aptly be described as "unrestricted pleasure seeking." Today's motto seems to be, "If you want it, get it. If it feels good, do it." Some today even cry out about their "rights." Society cannot function for long with unrestricted bounds, but whether man likes to admit it or not, we have them even if we do not admit them. Restrictions come in different forms: mandated or automatic. Whenever we drive a car, there are automatic restrictions that we cannot control. For example, there is a top speed that the vehicle cannot exceed, but there are speed limits that we can choose to ignore. One restriction is automatic (cannot be changed), while the other is mandated by enforcers of the law. While man today ignores the mandated restrictions more than he ever has (due to lax or non-existent consequences), man cannot circumvent automatic restrictions, even though he may claim to.

Christ speaks in our study verse about man's automatic limitations. Whether man admits it or not or likes it or not, there are certain bounds we cannot cross. For example, man cannot live underwater without an air supply for him to breathe. Ignoring that principle will not bring about anything short of a swift death. Yet, Christ shows something that is rather small in His own eyes that we are limited in. The next verse after ours (Verse 26) shows that the limitation upon us in verse 25 is something that Christ terms "least." In other words, adding one cubit of stature is power that is "least" in the eyes of an Omnipotent God.

So, Christ attributes man's automatic limitations in things that are least. Therefore, if man has limitations that cannot be undone in small things, what conceivable authority would man have in things that are great? Have you ever seen someone that proudly described their "right decision for Christ" to secure their eternal destiny? Some of these same people have shambles for personal lives. If it really was conceivable that man had authority to dictate his own eternal home in heaven with God, should not we expect the lesser (least) thing of his personal life to follow suit?

Paul makes a simple yet powerful point about the qualifications of a bishop in I Timothy 3:4-5. If a man cannot rule his own house well, how can he be expected to handle the care of the church in a decent and orderly manner. Being unable to ably control his house in a Godly manner (fewer people), why should one expect that adequately control matters in the house of God (more people)? The same problem emerges in natural life compared to spiritual life. If one cannot adequately keep his natural affairs in order, what conceivable reason does he have to think he can keep his spiritual affairs in order?

Not having enough natural might and ability to add height to our stature shows the automatic limitations that we mortals are bound to. Moving from the thought of being automatically ill-suited to make our eternal home in heaven, consider what other limitations we should see from our verse. If I cannot make myself taller naturally, then how would I expect to be able to increase my spiritual stature just by taking thought? The old adage, "Where there's a will, there's a way" is annihilated by Christ's thought. As a young boy, my dream was to play professional basketball with Larry Bird for the Boston Celtics. No matter how much I wanted it (willed it), I just was not able to get tall enough or agile enough to go far in basketball.

Just simply taking thought would never make me any taller. Just simply taking thought will not make us spiritually any taller. For us to grow and have increase in a spiritual way, God must be the giver of it. (I Corinthians 3:6) So, instead of taking thought to increase spiritual might, we must beseech God to give us increase as faithful soldiers of the cross. Just by examining natural limitations, we see that we are severely hampered to do what many today claim to be doing.

However, consider the glory of the thought as it fits within the context. The previous verse says that God cares for simple animals (ravens). Even though they roam the range and sky, God cares for them, and how much more precious are we than birds? Are the birds just as limited as man? Perhaps moreso since man can think in ways that fowls cannot. Yet, if God is able to provide those least things for birds, so can He also provide the least and our all needed things to us. Verse 27 then describes simple plants (lilies) that are similarly cared for by God.

The point of seeing and admitting our own limitations with open honesty is not to have some kind of pity-party about them. We should not wallow in them any more than some proudly choose to ignore them and try to do what they could never do. Rather, we should point our faith upwards to the One that adds those necessary things to us. Have you ever seen lilies during a rainstorm? Those beautiful buds are pointed upward to drink that sweet dew from heaven. So should our hearts and minds be turned upward to receive the wonderful dewdrops of heaven when the Lord graciously showers down those things that we need. Can we just take thought and get these things? No, we are limited, but our thoughts and prayers should continually ascend for those things that we need and thanksgiving for those things that we could never do. I could not pull myself up to heaven by taking thought, nor can I get those things that I need just by taking thought. Yet, my thoughts can thank Him for the former and beseech and thank Him for the latter.

In Hope,

Bro Philip