January 7, 2018

What I Think About God Determines
How Well I Relate to Others

Luke 20:41-47 (NASB)

Then He said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’

Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord,’ and how is He his son?” And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Every relational dysfunction in your life originates with wrong thinking about God. Theology is defined as “the knowledge of God.” A relational problem is at heart a theological problem. Grace and truth are the twin fires of God’s presence, and any relational dysfunction can be traced back to either a lack of truth or a lack of grace. Relational dysfunctions are not the same as personal problems. We all have problems, but few of us relate well to one another in problems. In our text, we see some people who treat others poorly because they think of God wrongly. We’re going to look first at how the Pharisees treated others.

  1. Self-absorption is the root of relational dysfunction.
    The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were self-absorbed and thought about life in terms of themselves.
    1. They dressed to enjoy the glances of othersThey liked to walk around in long robes (v.46).
      The long robes spoke of educational achievement and prestigious positions of power. The long robes of ancient days, which drew attention to the mind, has been supplanted by a different style.
    2. They spoke to evoke the praises of othersThey loved respectful greetings in the market (v. 46).
      Conversation was not to encourage or help others but was rather all about others giving respect and communicating praise and flattery. Self-absorbed communication is about me.
    3. They postured to elicit the respect of othersThey loved seats and places of honor (v.46).
      These “chief priests, scribes and elders” of Israel lived life to garner the respect of others. Rather than giving honor and respect to the people of Israel they manipulated to get the respect of Israel.

  2. A self-absorbed person will end up doing the very things they are thinking.
    Thinking and doing always go together in life. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
    1. Self-absorbed thinkers end up taking, not giving.
      “They devour widows’ houses” (20:47). Think about this. The widow, the person in need (indeed), is taken advantage of by the religious leaders of Jesus day. But lest we condemn them, how many times have we done those things in our relationship that make us feel better rather than those things that are truly a help to others? To desire to be most-liked is the height of self-absorption.
    2. Self-absorbed thinkers regulate how things appear, rather than rest in reality.
      “For appearance's sake, they offered long prayers” (20:47). What is regulating how things appear? Manipulation. I care what you think about me, how you feel about me, and what you say about me rather than giving you freedom to think, feel, and say exactly what you think, feel, and say.
    3. Self-absorbed thinkers who are religious receive a greater condemnation.
      I don’t have time to show you that sinners receive various degrees of condemnation (that’s for another time), but just know that in Scripture self-absorption wrapped in spirituality is anathema.

  3. The cure for self-absorption is right thinking about Jesus Christ.
    King David, in Psalm 110:1-2 writes The LORD (Yahweh) says to my Lord (Adonai), “Sit you at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool under Your feet.” The Messiah is called “David’s Son,” but why is it that King David calls his son Lord? In effect, Jesus is saying, more important than Jesus being David's son is that He is David's Lord. The point is the Messiah's authority over us. Jesus Christ is Lord.
    1. When I understand that Jesus is Lord, my life revolves around His purpose for my life.
    2. When I hear the Lord Jesus speak, I unhesitatingly do what He says because it’s always best.
    3. When I live my life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, my relational dysfunctions disappear.

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.