As we come to the end of the 11th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus going to dinner with the Pharisees, much like He went to dinner with the sinners and tax gatherers in Luke 5. Some miss this important point: Jesus is doing the same thing here in Luke chapter 11 as he did in Luke chapter 5. That is, Jesus is dining yet again with sinners.
Today, Jesus is dining with the “church people”— people who may have looked a lot like us. Today, the text gives us the story of Jesus coming to my house, to your house, for dinner.
And as He does, we are challenged to look for the presence of legalism in our own lives. We discuss the definition of legalism, the difference between God’s precepts and our personal applications of these precepts, how we bear with one another in love, and the truth that legalism is a deadly sin. It is always there; everyone suffers from the same tendencies of pride, arrogance, self-promotion, self-reliance. It may be more obvious in others (and it typically is, because we are so blind to our own sin), but we all do battle with this monster. And, legalism destroys relationship, it destroys joy, and it opposes the Gospel.
To help you with your study of this topic, we are also including the study questions prepared each week for our congregation. May the Lord use them, and the sermon, to be a blessing to you. You will find them, as well as a short prayer, directly below the audio link.
Series: Luke – A Prescription for Doubtful Souls
Pastor James McDonald
Father, our works often blind us from seeing the grace and mercy of Your Son. While, through the ages, men have constructed their own empty models of obedience, seeking to find favor with their lifeless “god,” too often, those who truly know You are tempted to do the same. At times, even Christians create their own pile of foul smelling dung—vain and deceptive works, wherein they seek to gain Your favor. Instead of walking in holiness by faith, while resting in your Grace and your love, they struggle to earn Your pardon through their own pitiful efforts. Father, we are too tempted to trust in ourselves, what we see as our strength, our ability, and even our liberty. Then we become prideful, self-centered, and arrogant, and we force our opinions on others. Lord, teach us, yet again, to simply trust in Jesus, His finished work, and may the Holy Spirit be our strength and guide, leading us through Your Word, to love you, and to love our neighbor, for Your glory. Amen.
- Discuss Jesus’ habit of eating with sinners. How were the Pharisees no different than the tax gatherers? What was Jesus’ focus at these dinners?
- Why was the Pharisee concerned with Jesus not washing his hands?
- What is legalism? Why is it so deadly?
- Discuss the differences between a personal preference and a biblical principle? How should we respond to Christians when their preferences are different than ours? How should we respond when a preference is seen as a law?
- What does the word “woe” mean? How should we respond to those with whom we are in conflict? Consider Col 4:5-6, 2 Tim 2:24–26, and 1 Pet 3:15 as you answer.
- Ponder each of the six woes that Jesus pronounced. Which one best describes you?
- How did the Pharisees respond to the words of Jesus? How will you respond to the words of Jesus?