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The Inside Out Revolution of Jesus ~ Luke 11:37-44

May 10, 2015 ~ New City Church of Calgary ~ Pastor John Ferguson
Intro: During our vacation, I picked up the collected works of Flannery OConnor & revisited some of her short
stories which I love. OConnor was a Catholic writer in what she called, the Christ-haunted South, and her
writing often portrays characters who suddenly have their eyes open to who they really areusually stripped of
their self-righteous pretension in a moment of clarity. This is a gift, and its usually given in the midst of a violent
turn of events. And for the reader, its usually jolting, shocking.
She once explained her vision for writing by saying, you have to make your vision apparent by shock -- to
the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.
When you begin to look into the life of Jesus of Nazareth, there are times when he gets his point across by
shock, when by the use of his words he shouts to the hard of hearing, and by his word pictures he draws large
and startling figures to the almost blind.
Let me ask you this: whether you are new to Christianity or consider yourself a follower of Jesus, how open
would you be to hearing Jesus say some things that on the surface may be offensive to your sensibilities?
Like strong medicine, his words are designed to bring healing and wholeness to the deepest parts of your
being. And were going to see this medicine dispensed at a dinner party.
The Inside Out Revolution of Jesus ~ Luke 11:37-44
37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at
table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner.
1. The Pharisees were viewed as the most holy people of their society. Separated Ones
Their belief: if they could set the standard for purity, and call Israel to follow them, then they could
usher in the kingdom of God. This wasnt merely private devotion; it had political ramifications.

Their MO: They added countless regulations to the Law of God to ensure purity. To become a
Pharisee, you had to go through a probationary period (up to a year) to prove ones commitment to
keep their purity laws.

Ceremonial washing: they had water poured over their hands to remove the defilement contracted
by their contact with a sinful world (Morris).

2. Jesus move was calculated to provoke a reaction.

39 And the Lord said to him, Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish,
but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside
make the inside also?
1. Critical Error: There can be a disconnect between who you are in the inside and what you show on
the outside. At core, they believed that they can fool God by external purity / obedience, while
covering up the internal condition of the heart.

This is why weve grown so cynical over religious leaders who are one thing on the outside, but
another thing on the inside.

2. Jesus diagnosis: Its possible to fool everyone on the outside, but its impossible to fool God on the
inside. It is possible to have clean hands AND unclean hearts.

Luke 16:14, The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed
him. And he said to them, You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your

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Abraham Lincoln, You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the
time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

- Jesus: However much you can fool others most of the time, you cannot fool God at any time.

- But seriously, why would you want to?

- Bren Brown, We spend too much precious time and energy managing perception and creating
carefully edited versions of ourselves to show to the world.
41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.
1. Key Question: You want to be known as those who are radical in their giving? Then give your
heart to God your heart, soul, mind, & strength.
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, Give me all of you!!! I dont want so much of your time, so much of
your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU! No half measures
will do. I dont want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out!
Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams.
Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give
me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall
become your heart.

2. Part of the reason Jesus is so upset is that the religious leaderswith all their 1001 extra
biblical ruleswere actually enslaving people in a system that radically disconnects outward
behaviour and the inward condition of the heart. And the result? It actually takes people further
from God.
42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the
love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

1. Famous for meticulous tithing.

2. But infamous at neglecting the weightier matters of the law (Mt. 23:23).
They didnt care for issues of justice like defending the weak & protecting the poor, supporting the
widows or caring for the orphans.

And for all their talk about God, they didnt really love him. What they loved was what other people
thought about them

43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the

1. They loved having a good reputation among the communitythey loved the compliments, they
loved the recognition, they loved the preferential treatment. In fact, they lived for it.

John 5:44 (NIV), How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no eort
to obtain the praise that only comes from God?

44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.
1. This last woe was the nail in the con (no pun intended).
2. Under OT law, anyone who touched a grave was ceremonially unclean for 7 days (cf. Nub
19:11-22). Because of this, there was a yearly whitewashing of graves to make sure they were clearly
marked and clearly visible.

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But Jesus said the Pharisees were unmarked graves. What did he mean? Jesus is saying that their
brand of religionwhich is concerned only with creating carefully edited versions of themselves
while neglecting (or even excusing the inside)actually has a corrupting, defiling influence on
anyone who comes in contact with them. Instead of leading people to life with God, they actually led
people away from God.

- They were the most spiritually dangerous people in Israel (Ryken).

Mt. 23:27, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs
which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead peoples bones and all uncleanness. So
you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

And to the degree that we care about externalswhats on the outside that people can seethan we
care about the internalswhats inside that only God can see, to that degree Jesus rebuke of the
Pharisees is also a rebuke to us as well. The only question is, what will we do with these faithful
wounds of a friend (cf. Prov. 27:6)?
Why does Luke record this dinner clash & startling words of Jesus in his historical biography of Jesus?

Jesus is not interested in making people religious, but making people real.

The revolution of Jesusthe kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimedis an inside out revolution. God cares
about the heart b/c the heart is the real you. Religion is very good at helping you create carefully edited
versions of yourself to show the world, but Jesus has come to change us from the inside out.

Bottom Line: We can try to impress others with the outside, but God knows whats on the inside.
Jesus does not simply want to reform a bad heart, but to give us a new heart. And this heart is a gift of
his free gracepart of the inside out revolution of Jesus.

What if we didnt spend so much time, like the Pharisees, managing perceptions of us? What if we were
freed from wasting so much energy creating carefully edited versions of ourselves to show the world & God,
and instead, let God transform us from the inside out?

We can try to impress others with the outside, but God knows whats on the inside.

Revelation by Flannery OConnor. Mrs. Ruby Turpin was a very self-righteous person, the kind who thought
they had it all together and loved letting others know. One time, she was in a doctors waiting room just
tooting her own horn when a college girl threw a book at her.

To the white-trash college girl Mary Grace, What you got to say to me? she asked hoarsely and held her
breath, waiting, as for a revelation. The girl raised her head. Her gaze locked with Mrs. Turpins. Go back to
hell where you came from, you old wart hog, she whispered.

This was Rubys revelation. In spite of her self-righteousness, she actually was as filthy as a pig.

The closing depicts Ruby seeing a vision of peoplethe kind of people she despisedentering heaven. And
at the tail end were folks who like her had lots of good things, but those very traits were being burned away
from them before they entered heaven.

Homework: Answer the question: What is the real you really like?

NCC, may you be a people in whom there is no disconnect between who you are on the inside and who who
you are on the outside.

May you live out the inside out revolution of Jesus.

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