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Living Under Authority

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Open with Frank and Earnest Cartoon
Question Authority
Jesus’ harshest criticism for the “professed religious”
The Pharisee’s fell into this group … They had a veneer of religiosity … They had a “Form of godliness”
Isaiah 1:11–16 ESV
“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,
Isaiah 29:13 ESV
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
Isaiah 48:1 ESV
Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.
Jeremiah 7:4 ESV
Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
Jeremiah 7:8–11 ESV
“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.
In our text today we see Jesus addressing the religious crowd … the church goers if you will
People who were devoted to the external … the form of religion
The issue is clear in … WHO SPEAKS FOR GOD
Who speaks with authority … Jesus (who is and declares the Word of God)? or the Pharisees (RELIGION)
You see … Religious leaders in Jesus’ day sought to adjust God’s standards to conform to them
RATHER than conforming to His standard as the authority … These people RESISTED LIVING UNDER GOD’S AUTHORITY
Their actions reveal their motives … if we are not careful … we can all fall into this trap


Luke 16:14 ESV
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him.
16:14 Pharisees … loved money. In Luke’s perspective, this is one of the most severe criticisms Jesus can level. In light of v. 13, the Pharisees are accused of hating God.
Luke 16:13 ESV
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
These leaders were driven by a desire to get … so truth didn't rank high on their priority list
They came … and LISTENED to Jesus (14b)
But they were antagonistic to His Words
Note word RIDICULED = Lit. Turned nose up to;
What is your response to God’s truth?

They looked Good on the Outside

Luke 16:15 ESV
And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Whether overtly or covertly, the Pharisees are listening in on these teachings of Jesus. When their scoffing makes Jesus aware of their presence, he turns on them.
Card, M. (2011). Luke: The Gospel of Amazement (p. 191). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.
16:15 the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others. Those “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else” (18:9). What people value highly.
They sought to look Good to others … They sought righteousness before God (and others) by their works
They had a Zeal with out knowledge of the Truth
Carson, D. A. (2015). The Gospels and Acts. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (p. 2112). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Romans 10:1–2 ESV
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Romans 3:20 ESV
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:24 ESV
and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Romans 3:28 ESV
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Romans 3:
Romans 3:38
they sought HUman approval above all ...
Romans 3:
Galatians 6:12 ESV
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Mark 12:38 ESV
And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces
Matthew 23:5–7 ESV
They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
Matthew 6:1–2 ESV
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Matthew 6:5 ESV
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Matthew 6:16 ESV
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
BUT GOD KNOWS THE HEART … This kind of relationship with God … the simply external one that doesn't bend to HIS AUTHORITY is an abomination in HIS SIGHT
Abomination = Something that stinks
Matthew 23:27–28 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Kings 8:39 ESV
then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind),
1 Kings
By their actions they showed that they hated what God loved and loved what God hated


Luke 16:16 ESV
“The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.
I want to introduce this last point by teaching very briefly on the Law of God.  If we are to discover Christ’s deep teaching in this section, we must understand that the moral Law of God is as binding on the New Testament Church as it was on Israel.
John Calvin in his Institutes asks the question: What are the Ten Commandments to us? (Book 2, Chapter 8).  He answers by explaining that the moral Law of God is obvious, binding, and severe.  It is God’s minimum expectation of His people.  Because Adam sinned, no one has been able to keep the Law but because God is altogether Holy and Righteous He cannot lessen any of the Law’s demands.  God doesn’t grade on a curve.  According to Calvin, it is this unforgiving moral Law that shows God’s complete holiness and our desperate need of a Mediator…One who has kept the Law perfectly, namely, Jesus Christ.
The Law invites Grace.
David Wilkerson writes; “Many ‘Grace’ preachers do away with the Law before it can do its work of convicting of sin. We are not saved by the Law—but we are convinced of our sin by the Law! “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin” (). The Law was sent “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God”(verse 19). “The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (). “The law is holy. . .and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceedingly sinful”(). Paul was saying, “I couldn’t really confess my sins until I knew they were sins! I couldn’t seek after the holiness of God until I saw how far from Him I was! The law hit home to me, destroying my nonchalance about sin. “When I saw God’s holiness by His Commandments, sin became utterly sinful to me!” That is the conviction that drives you straight into the arms of Christ, crying “Mercy, Lord! I can’t save myself, I can’t fulfill Your Law. I have seen the sin of my heart!”
The Prince of Preachers Charles Spurgeon said, “The Law demands perfection, but man has already fallen short of it; and therefore let him do his best, he cannot accomplish what is absolutely essential. The Law is meant to lead the sinner to faith in Christ, by showing the impossibility of any other way. It is the black dog to fetch the sheep to the shepherd, the burning heat which drives the traveler to the shadow of the great rock in a weary land”.
We focus on the failure of divorce. Yet the Bible says we have sinned and broken each commandment. None of you have loved the Lord God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength every moment of every day. We have secretly loved money and depended on it, we have lied, we have cheated, we have stolen, we have longed for that which does not belong to us. Salvation is by grace alone, totally apart from the works of the Law. Grace by its very nature is what is needed when we fail to keep the law of God.
Paul wrote, “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (). Listen carefully, no one, no one has ever—not ever—even come close to being saved because they kept the Law of God perfectly.
Only Jesus has done that. We have all sinned. We have all fallen short.
We must never forget the Law is good. The Law is founded on God’s grace. The law reveals the standard of righteousness—perfection. Jesus fulfills the Law—He is perfection—we are righteous “in Him”. We fulfill the function of the Law in Him.
Back in - Jesus’ hearers are confronted with HIS Kingdom … The Good News … or the Gospel offers opportunity to enter HIS Kingdom
The time of the Kingdom is Here now … come share in His Reign
But to do so one must submit to his authority and cease scoffing it.
Luke 16:17 ESV
But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.
This authority is based on the fact that God’s word IS the final authority to which we must SUBMIT
Not our traditions or authorities
One Dot -
Matthew 5:18 ESV
For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Matthew 5:18 NET
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place.
Matthew 5:
Great statement on authority and enduring nature of God’s word … Get this
Iota (Smallest letter in Hebrew alphabet)
Dot (Stroke of a letter) - Smallest part of a letter in Hebrew Alphabet - F --- E; R---B
Matthew 24:35 ESV
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Isaiah 40:8 ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
Matthew 24:55
Isaiah 51:6 ESV
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.
Psalm 102:25–26 NET
In earlier times you established the earth; the skies are your handiwork. They will perish, but you will endure. They will wear out like a garment; like clothes you will remove them and they will disappear.
Psalm 102


Luke 16:18 ESV
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
In Jesus gives his hearers an example …
This was something the Pharisees conveniently ignored
Pharisees didn't condone adultery
But they did divorce and remarry at a whim
Some Pharisaical reasons for divorce:
Bad cook
Disrespect Mother in law
failing to give a son
Being less than beautiful
ISSUE - They were unwilling to live under Scripture’s authority … In it’s entirety
They picked and chose.

Four characteristics of those who resist authority (Even the authority of God)

CONTEXT - CHS. 13-14
Saul in Battle … Saul making foolish decisions … Now it seems that the Lord is seeking Saul’s restoration … Ch. 15 … But His True colours show through
IN Chapter 15 we see four characteristics of a person who really struggles to live under authority

Desire to do things MY way instead of GOD’S way

1 Samuel 15:1–3 ESV
And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
1 Samuel
Pretty Clear … no spin
See Saul’s Response ---
1 Samuel 15:7–9 ESV
And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
God said utterly destroy ALL
1 Samuel 15:10–11 ESV
The word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night.
Saul had other plans …
That attitude is the same one that lurks in our hearts … God says … But I think otherwise … watch out … it’s insidious


Look at
1 Samuel 15:12–13 ESV
And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
1 samuel 15:
People who struggle under God’s authority are masters at disregarding truth and denying sin
Look at the passage … He sets up a monument for himself … and then tells Samuel … I have performed …
Notice how God calls strikes … when we rationalize and deny that the ball was over the plate!!!!!!!! God is clear

DEFENSIVENESS when confronted with the truth

remember verse 13 … I have performed …
Samuel now confronts …
1 Samuel 15:14 ESV
And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?”
1 Samuel
Look at Saul’s response
1 Samuel 15:15 ESV
Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.”
1 Samuel
Saul did the same thing back in chapter 13 when he offered a sacrifice (Only Priests to do)
1 Samuel 13:11–13 ESV
Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.
1 samuel 13:11-
Instead of coming clean … and confessing his crime … Saul merely gets defensive and makes excuses … do we?

RESISTANCE to accountability when wrong has been committed

Samuel had heard enough
1 Samuel 15:16–21 ESV
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak.” And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
Saul again passes the buck and throws everyone else under the bus but himself.
He even throws in RELIGION … Better use the animals for sacrifice to God than be destroyed
Samuel doesnt buy Saul’s reasoning
1 samuel
1 Samuel 15:22–23 ESV
And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”
Finally like an alcoholic admitting “I am an alcoholic” … Saul is brought to his knees
1 samuel
1 Samuel 15:24–25 ESV
Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.”
Sadly For Saul there were irreversible consequences
Do you see any characteristics like these in your life …
Instead of Saul … Be like david
Psalm 51:1-
Psalm 51:1–12 ESV
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
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