Luke 6:46-49 Jesus is the Son of Man: What Wisdom Looks like

Luke 6:46-49

Jesus is the Son of Man

What Wisdom Looks like

 

All right! Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 6. As always, if you don’t have a Bible or need to give one to someone, see me after the service and I will get one for you.

So, in the midst of this portion of teaching by Jesus, he has showed us a number of things.  He has shown us the need for right and biblical discernment. He has touched on the how to rightly and authentically love our enemies. He has shown us the right way to judge and confront sin.

All of the things that Jesus has been teaching us, they all have some things in common. They are all issues of the heart as opposed to issues of outward obedience. Most importantly, and tied to the rest, these are all issues of needing wisdom.

Jesus address wisdom much more blatantly and outright here at the end of his teaching passage, the passage we are looking at this morning. And it’s important to know that this is the undertone of all of Jesus teachings; wisdom, discernment, and making sure you have a right heart through all of it.

So, let’s go ahead and read the passage for this morning, the last few words that Jesus teaches on the Sermon on the Plain, Luke chapter 6, verses 46 through 49. I will, as usual, be reading out of the English Standard Version. I love that we have so many different translations here in the congregation, and I encourage you to read along with your preferred translation, so that you are reading for yourself what the Word of God says.

Luke 6:46-49, Luke records Jesus finishing his teaching, writing:

 

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[c] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

 

 

Jesus is nothing if not blunt and straightforward. When Jesus asks this question, he is calling out the blatant and complete hypocrisy that is in the crowd. He goes into greater detail and gives harsher warnings in the Sermon on the Mount. Listen to Matthews recording, chapter 7:21-23:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

 

See, Jesus is not talking to unbelievers. He is talking to those who claim to know him. And its in two parts really. See, we have an epidemic in this country. Not only in this country, but throughout the world, and it has been going on since the first century. Jesus is speaking to it right now. Why do you call me LORD, but not do what I say?

He is not talking about the type of thing that Paul talks about in Romans 7. Paul’s says that the things he wants to do, he doesn’t, and the things he doesn’t want to do, he does. Jesus isn’t referring to this here. Honest, faithful, honest to goodness Christians, who have been saved by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, will sin. That is an unfortunate fact of life. Jesus talks a lot about that, but right here and now he isn’t talking about that.

Jesus is addressing to groups of self-identified Christians here. First group are those who claim the name of Jesus, but that’s it. I’ve quoted these stats to you before, but 91 % of Americans believe in “a god.” 91% believer that there is something or someone out there that is bigger than us.

Something like 76% of Americans call themselves Christians. That’s a lot. And if that was true, that 76% of Americans actually were Christians, this country would look completely different. But we all know that number is not accurate. You can walk up and down the street and talk to everyone you meet, and most of them would say, Yes, I believe in Jesus. I believe I’m going to heaven. I’m a good person. Every president we have had in this country has called themselves a Christian. All I know is that the last number of them have not shown any fruit of that.

They say they believe in Jesus, but he is asking, why wont you do what I say? Because they don’t actually believe. They don’t believe that they need a savior. They don’t believe in anything supernatural. They don’t believe that Jesus is God clothed in flesh, they don’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God and they don’t believe thy have to live by what it says.  God is love and he has forgiven us all and I don’t need to let it affect my life in any way. And so, they don’t. There is no fear of the LORD, which is the beginning of wisdom.

But that’s not the only group Jesus is addressing here. RC Sproul points out that Jesus is also talking to those “who claim, not just a passing knowledge of Jesus, but a deep, intimate, sincere relationship with Christ.”

Not every gathering that calls themselves a church is actually a church. Not every leader who calls themselves a pastor is actually a pastor. Not everyone who says LORD, LORD knows the true and biblical Jesus Christ.

Make no mistake, the LORD will not be mocked. We see these so-called churches, and so-called pastors being exposed left and right. Churches that have been teaching false doctrines, and heresy for many years. Pastors who believe they are above Gods law and can do whatever they want to whomever they want. Sexual abuse, affairs, corruption, abuse of power, bullying, arrogance, and so much more.

People who are deceived by these churches and pastors into doing what they believe is the work of God, in Gods name. But in reality, they are being taught and fed and false God, a false Jesus, false teachings, false works and unfortunately, a false salvation.

It is so important for us to define our terms when teaching and talking and witnessing. Who is God? Is it who the Bible says he is? Or who we feel and thing he is? Who is Jesus Christ? Is he who the Bible says he is? God, Man, both. Incarnated, Perfect and sinless, crucified, resurrected, ascended. Or was he who humans say he is, a good teacher, God in heaven, but no on earth, an example that we can become, doing miracles and healings, just like he did? What is the Bible? Is it the Word of God himself? IS it, God breathed, profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness? Or is its good rule book for life? A parable for living.

IF your understanding of the Bible, its authority and its inerrancy, is different than what the Bible says about itself, Your wrong. Your wrong about the Bible and you are going to be wrong about what it says. If your definition and your description of God differ from what the Bible says, you’re following a false god. If your definition and description of who Jesus is is different from who and what the Bible says he is, you’re following a false Jesus. And there is no forgiveness in a false Jesus. No salvation in a false Jesus.

Jesus has made it clear throughout our walk-through Luke’s Gospel who he is, his authority, his power and his deity. And so, after he questions those who are following him, he lays it out. Here is what it looks like to follow me, to be an actual and true follower of Christ.

Scripture is clear on what it is to be a follower of Christ. IN the context of what he is saying here, James tells us to be doers of the word, not hearers only. Jesus says elsewhere, if you love me, follow my commands.

Kent Hughes recounts a story of knowledge and action being more important than simple book learning. He writes:

A young Korean man traveled a great distance to the home of the missionary who led him to Christ, then announce the reason for his visit: “I have been memorizing some verses of the Bible, and I want to quote them to you.”

          The missionary listened as the young man recited, without error, the entire Sermon on the Mount. He commended the young man for the remarkable feat of memory. Then, being a good missionary, he cautioned the young man to not only say the Scriptures, but to practice them. The man responded, “Oh, that is the way I learned them. I tried to memorize them, but they wouldn’t stick, so I made a plan. First, I would memorize a verse. Then I would do it to a neighbor. After that, I found that I could remember it.”

 

          One of the morals of that story and of what Jesus is telling us is that anyone can say anything, whatever they want. What we say matters, but its not just about what we say. Our actions matched with our words are what matters most.

He speaks of the wise man, the one who hears what Jesus says, really hears him and then, gasp, does what he says. He builds his house digging deep down to the rock, building a firm foundation. That house will stand against the storms that come.

We all have a foundation upon which our life and our eternity are built on. Wisdom determines the foundation. Wisdom dictates that we build our foundation upon the strongest rock that there is.

Many of our best hymns speak to the fact that Jesus himself is our foundation. One we sing here often; Jesus is our firm foundation. I know I can stand secure. Another of my favorites, On Christ the Sold Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Jesus is the foundation we build our house upon. Specifically, we look at Ephesians 2:19-22, where Paul writes:

you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.

 

 

Scripture shows us that the foundation of the household of God is the Apostles and the Prophets, Jesus being the most important piece the corner stone, the piece that makes sure the rest line up, stay straight and do what they are supposed to do. The cornerstone anchors the foundation. He makes the foundation firm and stable and secure.

Revelation 21 shows us that the New Jerusalem is built on 12 foundations named for the Apostles and the prophets. We looked previously that the Apostles and Prophets ministry, the foundation that they built is the very Word of God. They went out and they shared the Word of God. That is the foundation of the church, of the household of God, the Word of God. And we know from John 1, that Jesus is the Word of God. The Word made flesh. It is equally true to say that Jesus is our foundation, and the Bible is our foundation because the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the Word.

 

I was talking to a former pastor this past week and one of the topics that came up was that the job of pastor can be incredibly discouraging at times. There are times, as one example, where pastors feel like what Jesus is saying here, you call him Lord, Lord but won’t do what he tells you to!

This week has been an especially powerful reminder of the times of discouragement and how the firm foundation of Christ will sustain you.

This week marks three years that Hope and I have been here in Bangor. Those three years have moved incredibly fast. The previous three years felt like a lifetime and were full of discouragement. At times, it felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall. There were good times too and some great friends that we made and continue with, but the ministry where we were was a lot of discouragement.

The three years we have been here in Bangor have been the exact opposite. As with any ministry, and anytime time humans are involved, there are trials, there are disagreements, struggles, and so on. And don’t ask, because I’m not going to get into the specifics of any of those.

It hasn’t always been easy, but Jesus has been our firm foundation. God has confirmed time and time again that he has placed Hope and I here. This is where we are supposed to be, and we pray that it is permanent. That assurance, that foundation has allowed us to be content, to be settles, even through the storms that come.

With a firm foundation, with assurance, anything is bearable. Any storm is tolerable and able to be gotten through. No one, especially Jesus said that it is going to be easy and with out harm. But it is able to be gotten through. We know where our hope comes from, God above, the maker of Heaven and Earth, His Word, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ and his Gospel, it is the power of God to salvation, for all who believe.

Our hope is in Christ. It is not in the church, whether the gathering of believers or the building. It is not in, of course, our selves or our good works. It is not in pastors and preachers.

As I said earlier, many churches and pastors are falling, it is coming to light often, sometimes it feels like every day another one comes out, that churches and pastors who are keeping evil hidden and failing to follow the words of Christ are being revealed to the World. Hillsong, Bethel, Harvest, Willow Creek. Churches that either taught blatant false teachings, following a false Jesus, or covered up pastoral abuses and corruption, watering down the Word of God. Men like Bill Hybels, James McDonald, Mark Driscoll, Ravi Zacarias. Men who took advantage of their position, let it go to their heads and covered up and hid sin, some incredibly heinous sins.

But Jesus tells us our hope, our foundation is not in them. But on the Gospel. Mark Driscoll was one who hit me hard. When I first started going o church, I listened to him a lot. I heard the true Gospel loud and clear. I heard great teaching and it helped me grow in my faith to the point where I can honestly say that I probably would not be a pastor if not for the influence his ministry had on me.

But when he was disqualified from ministry, that did not negate my salvation, it did not cause my growth to be erased. For my hope and my salvation is not based on him, but the firm foundation of the Gospel that I heard preached over and over again.

Our house in the kingdom of heaven is built upon foundation that cannot be shaken. It is not built on our power and righteousness, but on Christs. Even when the storms come, if a wall gets knocked down, if the wind rips the roof off, if windows get broken, because of our sin. Even then, our foundation is still built on solid rock. We can rebuild and repair the house because of that foundation.

Without that foundation of Christ, we will fall, our hope and our house will fall. Without Christ, we have no hope at all. With out that foundation, we have no hope for eternity. With no foundation we will continually try harder and lean more on ourselves trying to keep a sinking house above ground, something we cannot hope to accomplish. So, we trust in our behavior more and more, our ability to follow the rules, like the pharisees we read about, but our heart hasn’t changed and does not abide in Christ.  It’s a vicious cycle that can only end when Jesus saves us.

Bruce Larson writes:

Watchman Nee talks about a new convert who came in deep distress to see him. “No matter how much I pray,” said the man, “no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to be faithful to my LORD. I think I’m losing my salvation.” And Nee said, “DO you see this dog here? He is my dog. He is house trained; he never makes a mess; he is obedient; he is a pure delight to me. Out in the kitchen, I have a son, a baby son. He makes a mess, he throws his food around, he fouls his clothes, he is a total mess. But who is going to inherit my Kingdom? Not my dog; my son is my heir. You are Jesus Christs heir because it is for you that He died.” So, it is with us. We are Christs heirs, not through our perfection, but by means of his grace.

 

We are able to rest easy, to put all our burdens on Jesus Christ, for his yoke is easy, his burden is light. With Jesus as our foundation, we stake our hope on him, and rest easy, knowing that we are secure in his hands, by his grace.

 

Let’s Pray.

Luke 6:37-45 Jesus is the Son of Man: Biblical Judgment

Luke 6:37-45

Jesus is the Son of Man

Biblical Judgment

 

          All right! Let’s grab our Bibles and turn to Luke chapter 6. If you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service so we can get one into your hands.

So, we left off last week looking at Jesus’ teaching that we are to love our enemies. Specifically, we looked at what it meant for us practically as we live our lives as followers of Christ. We are to do good to those who hate us. Bless those who curse us. Pray for those who abuse us. And how looked at how difficult how hard this is.

What we didn’t look as much at what this is not. What loving our enemies is not, it is not never confronting anyone in their sin. It is not affirming sin and the lifestyles that the Bible denounces. It is not being a doormat. It is not being a pacifist.

As we look ahead to the passage this morning that we are going to look at is that there is a balance between last weeks passage and this week’s passage. There is a context that we need to see this week to properly understand last week and vice versa.

 

So, lets go ahead and read this week’s passage and jump on in, Luke chapter 6, verses 37-45. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 6:37-45, Luke records the teachings of Jesus, writing:

 

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure, you use it will be measured back to you.”

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

 

May God bless the reading of His holy Word.

 

 

Judge Not. Sometimes, Judge not lest ye be judged. That is all that many people know and can quote regarding the Bible. And they love to use that against us when we express anything related to sin or false teaching or whatever. Many will even say, “Only God will judge me…” to which I want to respond, “And that should scare you!”

But there is a lot more to this passage than those two words, Judge Not…

This passage, in context and along with the rest of Jesus teachings, is clearly not telling us not to make judgments, full stop, end of statement. Instead, it’s telling us how and why to judge, what to judge and how to do so in context of Love your enemies. He is also reminding us, not so gently that we also will be judged.

RC Sproul writes on this passage: Jesus elsewhere teaches that his disciples must sometimes judge what others do (Matt 18:15-17) and that the character  of a persons heart can be recognized from the actions that flow from it (vv.43-45; Matt 7:15, 16) What he warns against here is the hypocrisy of those who condemn others for what they themselves are guilty of (vv. 41-42) and the failure to show mercy. (v. 36)

 

Its all a heart issue. With Jesus, its always a heart issue. We are not to judge with the wrong intentions. We are not to judge hypocritically. And we are not to judge by our own standards, making up our own rules, laws or traditions.

 

Most sin is black and white. People often ask, By What Standard? The Bible is clear. Some sins it is crystal clear about. Many sins it is crystal clear about. However, sometimes, individuals are called to, what is usually a stricter standard, called, usually to abstain from things that are not sins for other people to partake in. Because of these occasions, we cannot judge if someone is living up to our standard, because our standard is not what they are called for. Gods standard is what we will all be judged by. Not our own personal standard.

When we make judgments based on our own standard instead of on Gods standard, we fall into judgmentalism. Kent Hughes describes it this way: Judgmentalism is an unwitting revelation of one’s own soul, because people rush to condemn their own sin in others.

          Instead of a heart and a disposition of judgmentalism, we are to have a heart and disposition of forgiveness. The two are diametrically opposed. You can’t have both. That forgiveness, both that Jesus tells us we have received and that we are to give, is what allows us and requires us to rightly judge.

We are not to judge someone’s heart. We are not to judge someone’s spiritual status. We are not to judge someone’s eternal destiny. Those judgments are left to the one who can see the heart. The one who determines the eternal destiny.

Just like love, as we looked at last week, judge is an action word, a verb. We are not the judge or the jury regarding those around us. We do not make a decision on where someone’s heart is. We do not make a decision on whether one is saved or not. We’ll get to a bit later how we can look at the evidence, the fruit produce and ask questions based on that, but we do not make a decision as to where they will go.

One of the aspects that Jesus touches on here is the idea of weights and measures. With the measures and judgments, we use, so will be used on us. Don’t us false measures or inaccurate accounting of people’s sins, or of their heart, or even their motivations and intents. Because that opens the door for them to do the same thing right back.

 

Now, there is something that is very hard for us to remember and some people would argue with me on this. But I believe the Bible is very clear that we cannot hold unbelievers to the same standard, the same expectation as we hold ourselves to, or as the Bible holds us to. As I said last week, we are held to higher standards than the world holds for itself.

It’s because we know and believe the Bible. We know and believe the standards it has set for us. We know and believe that Gods standard is right and pure and true.  The world doesn’t know this. They trust in themselves. They don’t believe in Gods standards, instead they lean on their own understanding, looking for the way that seems right to man, but leads to death.

But because of that, because there is no acknowledgement of Gods standards of right and wrong and because, as Jesus is making it clear, all of these things boil down to a heart issue, there is no way to legislate morality. WE can make all the laws we want, and we should. Make no mistake that this not an excuse for the world, for non-believers to do whatever they want. There is universal right and wrong and we should make laws establishing that. But we should not fall into the mistake that if someone follows all the rules, keeps all the laws that their heart is right. We are easily tricked and if we judge by that standard, we will be wrong more often than not.

As we saw earlier, Jesus is also telling us that we are not to judge hypocritically. We are to make sure that we are looking at ourselves, concerned with our own holiness, pursuing our own righteousness, instead of accruing self-righteousness.

Jesus reminds us that we are the disciples, and he is the teacher. We are not above him. But we strive to be like him. WE defer all authority to him, especially in regard to judgment, all while we strive to emulate him as much as possible.

We are led, first by Jesus, but of course after Jesus, below Jesus, there are others whom we follow as well. Jesus tells us not to follow those who are not following him. They are spiritually blind. They have no authority to lead us spiritually. So, don’t follow them because they will lead us into the pit.  Follow those whoa re following Jesus, those whose eyes have been opened, who are no longer spiritually blind.

 

Jesus used parables here to teach us this, but he also uses the absurd, he uses humor to make his point as well. He talks about us having to deal with the plank in our own eye before dealing with the speck in others. This visual this idea is the height of foolish, and absurdity. This is the same point that he makes with the Golden Rule. This is the same point he makes 1 Peter 4:8,   where Peter writes Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

The biggest point in this section is that we need to protect and watch out for hypocrisy. Nothing shines so bright to unbelievers and to the world out there as a Christian living as a hypocrite. From National leaders claiming to be Christians in order to get our vote, to ministry leaders, pastors and the anybody walking through those doors and sitting in the pews every Sunday morning. The World is watching, and nothing turns them off quicker than hypocrisy.

A major way for us to ensure this is repentance. Constant repentance. Martin Luther famously said: When our Lord and master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” he willed that the whole life of believers should be one of repentance.

          Repentance gives humility, grants us humbleness, reminds us of the plank in our own eye. We focus on ourselves and our sins before we nitpick every little sin in those around us. Paul calls himself the chief of all sinners. That is how each and everyone of us should see ourselves.

Because our natural tendency is exactly what we are warned about here. We always tend to think that we have the splinter and those around us have the plank.

Now, this is what this does NOT mean.

This does not mean that we have to be perfect in order to recognize in in others.

This does not mean that we have to be sinless to confront others on their sin when needed.

This does not mean that we don’t discern right from wrong.

There is a time, a place, a method for confronting sin, and most importantly, a heart. With the wrong heart, the time, place and method will automatically be wrong. With the right heart, we need to discern when the right time is, where the right place is and what the right method will be when we lovingly confront people in their sin.

Now, while we should not judge hypocritically, unlovingly or with a wrong heart, we can and should judge the fruit that we see produced in the lives of those around us. And even them carefully, and usually without using the word judge…

 

If we truly are humble, repentant, and discerning. If we are truly saved, if we are following our teacher Jesus, as his disciples, we will produce good fruit. Conveniently, Paul gives us a list of spiritual fruit we should be bearing in Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

          Now, again, we will not have perfect fruit. But over the course of our spiritual walk with Christ, we will produce good fruit. Notice too, that good fruit does not always come from the prettiest trees, or the most polished, put together and manicured trees. But it comes from good trees. Good trees, trees grafted into the people of God, produce good fruit, the fruit of the spirit.

 

`On the flip side, if we are unrepentant. If we are full of self-pride and self-interest and self-righteousness, if we are not saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we will produce bad fruit, evil fruit, anti-fruit, as we read the parallel passage in Galatians 5, the fruit of the flesh, or as I sometimes call them, the vegetables of the flesh.

 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God

 

          Remember that not all bad fruit comes from a tree that look like it produces evil fruit. Sometimes it’s the prettiest trees that produce the worst fruit. Those who are outwardly moral with good old-fashioned values but no love for Christ, those are the ones who produce the worst fruit.

There is in this of course, the obvious connection that we can’t judge a book by its cover. It is especially those individuals, those communities and those nations that have a crisp, hard moral outward shell, that will be rotten on the inside, producing bad fruit.

What kind of bad fruit?  Here is one example.

 

Over a half century ago, Presbyterian minister Donald Grey Barnhouse offered his own scenario in his weekly sermon that was also broadcast nationwide on CBS radio. Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took over Philadelphia, all of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached

 

 

          Any fruit that is not rooted in Christ is bad fruit. That’s what it all comes down to. In Christ or out. Those are our two options and only two options.

Will we be blind, or have our eyes opened?

Will we be spiritually dead or spiritually alive?

Will we be goats or sheep?

Will we be and do wrong, or right?

Will we be bad trees producing bad fruit or good trees producing good fruit?

There is no middle ground. No partial Christianity. No mediocre fruit.

We are not justified; we are not saved by our fruit. We are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We do nothing and can do nothing to in anyway earn our salvation.

You al know my favorite Jonathon Edwards quote: You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary. So, the fruit does not earn us any good will towards God or earn our way through the pearly gates. Instead, the fruit we bear is an outwards sign of our spiritual standing. Good fruit is Christs work through us. Bad fruit is the absence of Christs work in our lives.

Jesus underlying message throughout all these teachings so far is Check your heart. Outward obedience is not enough without a heart of flesh, a heart changed by the Holy Spirit. Don’t judged where someone else’s heart is and don’t judge others on things we haven’t fixed within ourselves yet. We may not be where we are going, we may not be where we want to go, but thanks to the grace of God, and the work of Christ in our lives, we are no longer where we were.

 

Let’s Pray

Luke 6:27-36 Jesus is the Son of Man: Love your Enemies!

Luke 6:27-36
Jesus is the Son of Man
Love your Enemies!

All right! Let’s turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 6. As usual, if you do not have a Bible, or if you know someone who needs a Bible, please see me after the service and we will get a Bible into your hands.
So, we are looking at Luke’s Gospel, we started this past fall. We are in a section now of Jesus teachings that is referred to as the Sermon on the Plain. There is a lot of crossover in content between this section and the Sermon on the Mount on Matthew chapters 5-7.
Luke has spent a lot of time establishing the authority that Jesus had, including but not limited to his Authority over the scriptures. He has the authority to interpret scripture correctly and the authority to show us the correct understanding of what the scripture means.
Now this is not usually in doubt, not usually contested, at least with in the church. But there are some you may come across who think that only the words in red are Jesus words. Therefore, in that line of thinking, the rest of the Bible, usually speaking of Paul’s letters and the Old Testament, these are not inspired, there are contradictions and only what Jesus said in the Gospels counts. We know of course the this is a gross heresy. All scripture is God breathed, 2 Timothy 3:16 and Jesus is the word of God, John 1.
In the passage we are going to read and look at this morning, we are going to see Jesus, not add to the commandments, not contradicting what the Old Testament says, but instead explaining the full and complete intent of them.
So, lets go ahead and read this mornings scripture, Luke chapter 6, verses 27 through 36. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you to go ahead and read, follow along in your preferred translation reading for yourself.
Luke 6:27-36, Luke records the teachings of Jesus, writing:
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Thus, saith the LORD.

Ok, so when Jesus delivers similar content in the Sermon on the Mount, he repeatedly tells the crowd, “You have heard it said one way, but I say to you, this is the true meaning.” And one of the ones he addresses is the one we are looking at this morning. He says in Matthew 5:43, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
And here in Luke, Jesus tells the crowd, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Now, some of the things that Jesus is telling them that they heard wrong are misunderstandings of things found in scriptures. However, this is one where this statement is not found in scripture. Nor, if read in context, is anything that can be misconstrued as that.
But it was. It was a misunderstanding, possibly purposefully, at least at first, of who is my neighbor. The Jewish people thought that it was only those in the Abrahamic covenant, circumcised Jews. The ones who had the most open view, thought that it pertained to all of Israel, but no further. It was a very limited view. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, but Jesus makes it quite clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan that our definition of neighbor is not to be limited.
But it sounds so inviting, doesn’t it? Love your neighbor but hate your enemy. It just makes sense. It’s easy to see, to feel and to understand. It’s what we all want to do. There is nothing else that makes sense to do except hate your enemies. It’s hard enough sometimes to love those close to us. Why should we have to do it to those that hate us, fear us, sin against us, those that don’t love us? We deserve to be able to hate those people. And we limit our definition of neighbor is limited because it’s easier to live life with a limited definition. It limits who we have to love.
Jesus says NO. We don’t get to take the easy way out. We don’t get to live the easy life, our best life now. We don’t get to hate our enemies. We don’t get to just feel animosity to those who hate us. But we are to love our enemies. Whether or not they love us. And we are to pray for those who persecute us. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who do you harm. That’s the definition of the hard way. That is Jesus raising the bar well above, both what we thought it was and what we are comfortable living.
This is not optional; this is a necessary result of being called a child of God. And if we are saved, if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our LORD, as our Savior, if we have been transformed by the Holy Spirit, then we are told that we need to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Now, of course, just listening to this so far, we know that this is one of the hardest passages of scripture to obey. This calls us to obedience not only in our physical acts, but even more than that, in our heart. This requires a change in heart, from worldly and sinful, from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. This is something that no one but Christ can change.
RC Sproul says that this is one of the most radical teachings that ever came to us from Jesus lips. We are called to love our enemies as Christ loved us when we were his enemies. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.
Now, of course it doesn’t say that the kind of love we are talking about here is the warm, fuzzy feeling love. Nor is it of course, romantic love. This love is a verb. Its s action. As Jesus said, do good to those who do you harm. Act loving to them and it will change the situation.
We may never change the people who curse, who want to do us harm. We may never change the way they treat us or think about us. But we are called to be in the world, but not of it. We are called to be better than the standards of the world. We are called to fight hate with love. We are called to expel darkness with the light of the Gospel. We are called to higher standards than the world has set for itself.
Its hard. It doesn’t seem fair. But if things were fair, we would have no grace, no salvation. WE can’t control fair. We can’t control other people. WE can only control ourselves.
If we can control ourselves, we take power away from those wish us harm. The pleasure they can get from treating us poorly is greatly diminished when they see that it doesn’t bother us.
Any one with multiple kids can tell you, at some point, one or all of them will provoke their siblings just for the fun of it. And of course, the siblings fall for it and lash out at the sibling. How many times have I had to tell them, don’t react, don’t give them the attention they are looking for? The same goes for adults. Don’t give them the attention they are looking for. There’s the old saying, don’t wrestle with a pig in the mud, it just makes you dirty and the pig likes it.

A couple of scriptures to consider:

Proverbs 25:21-22: If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
22 for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.

Romans 12:21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In fact, leading up to that, Romans 12:14-21:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
And part of what we had Frank read this morning, 1 Peter 3:9:
9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

In verse31, Jesus shares with us a version of the Golden Rule, And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Every example of this concept we have recorded in history before Jesus was worded negatively. Don’t do to others what you would not want them to do to you. Jesus, as he is wont to do, and is really good at, turns everything on its head. Actively do good to others as you would want them to do good to you. Not as they are doing to you. Not as they promised to do to you. But as you would want them to do to you. This has huge and radical, relevant implications for every conceivable situation you could ever be in. (That’s not too big of a statement, is it?)
As I talk with Pastor friends of mine, we often discuss things we agree on and disagree on. One of them, his name is Ryan, put into words better than I could some thoughts on this passage, starting with the Golden Rule that I want to share with you:

Those who use wrong B to avoid the implications of wrong A are seeking to do unto others as has been done to them. This is a corruption of Christ’s teaching. An inversion. It is a form of returning reviling for reviling- something condemned from stem to stern in scripture. It is a form of avoiding accountability and is the opposite of a heart of humility and repentance. If a wrong is papered over because of a) it’s comparison to another wrong, or b) because of the good that the offender(s) have done, we pervert righteousness in Christ alone, and are measuring righteousness by works (either of others or of the one/s being addressed).

So many papered over his grotesque sins because of perceived benefit to the Kingdom. The kingdom is not advanced by our actions- but through our actions by the hand of God. More souls are saved as a result of proper humility before the Lord than through the smooth words of a gross hypocrite.

Think of all the examples in the OT of those who would corrupt their means to achieve the perceived righteous ends. And those who didn’t. (Gideon, for one example.) God *can* work through the evil that is done under the sun. However, we who are believers are called to live lives of holiness, lives of not returning reviling for reviling, but trusting that the Lord will require justice for the evil done in the world. We are to be holy, as He is holy. This means that we are to have tongues, hand, and feet which rush to acts of righteousness, not tongues, hands, and feet that rush to acts of sin. James’s sections on the tongue are a HUGE part of this. How can both bitter and sweet come from the same spring?

Those are wise words we would be wise to consider and meditate on.

And it touches on the last part of what Jesus said that we are looking at this morning. Verses 32-36, Luke records:
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

How easy is it to fall into the easy way? I’m the same as those I disagree with and make fun of. They do it, so why can’t we? Social Media especially makes it really easy to fall into this. Memes and pictures with quotes that are sometimes true and in context, but more often, out of context or just completely made up. And we see these, and they are designed to paint the subject in the most negative light possible. And we share these with glee, laughing at the person and the people that agree with them and not giving it a moments thought on how these actions line up with Gods commands.
Even if we are on the receiving end of this sort of treatment, we are not to respond to it. We are not to give back what we are receiving. WE are called to suffer humiliation over and over again on behalf of Christ. WE look to him as our example, When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly, 1 Peter 2:23.

Within that however, it can be easy to get beaten down, cynical, frustrated. But we can not let their hatred break our spirit, our love, and our generosity. WE also need to remember that being right is only half the battle. (I really want to say that knowing is the other half of the battle, Yo Joe!) But we are to not only speak the truth, we are commanded to speak the truth in love, Ephesians 4.
We are to give generously, without conditions or expectations. We can’t outgive God. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we are not to be responsible, but that we are to trust God and give cheerfully and sacrificially. One practical example, I don’t lend out books that I couldn’t live with not getting back. Now, of course, I want to get them back, unless I specify otherwise. But If it would be a big deal to not get them back, I just won’t lend them out.
We are to be kind to ungrateful, unjust, and unmerciful people. We are to show grace, just as God showed us grace.
God’s grace is by definition, undeserved. When we think of God’s grace, we mainly think of his saving grace. We think of his forgiveness, his mercy, the promise of eternity in Heaven with him. Those things that we cannot even begin to deserve. The truth is we deserve the exact opposite, but God has given us his saving grace through faith alone in Christ to His glory alone.
And that is an accurate and right thing to think of when we think of his grace. But there is another grace that he pours out. It’s called common grace. His saving grace is poured out on those who are called his children, those who are covered in Christs righteousness. Those who are followers of him. Common grace is poured out on all people indiscriminately.
The sun rises and sets on both the good and the evil. The rain falls on both the just and the unjust. We see things like doctors and medicine that all people are able to benefit from, jobs and income that all are able to use to provide for their families, music, sports, art, food, all given to all people to enjoy. Even nature itself, given for us to enjoy and for us to see God revealing himself in. Given to all people.
As the saying goes, this is the closest to heaven that unbelievers will ever get. They get glimpses. They get signs, they get common grace designed to point them to who God is and to His Son Jesus Christ. But without believing in him, this is as close as they will get. On the other side, if you are a believer, if you are a follower of Christ, a disciple. This is the closest to Hell that we will ever get.
But, again, we don’t get to take the easy road. Jesus makes sure that we understand that he is raising the bar. He wants us to have no mistake that we are expected to be better, to live up to a higher standard. He says it’s easy to love those who love us. Everyone does that.
He has raised the bar. The standard that God has is perfection. What the scriptures do, what Jesus does, what we are to do is to show, both, the impossible standard that that is to live up to, and the wholly undeserved grace that is poured out on all who believe and follow Christ.
And how we treat others is one of the ways that we show that. We show the love of Christ by the way we love others. The parallel, the correlation is clear. The way we treat others is not dependent on how they treat us. Just as, the way that God treats us, the love that he shows us, the grace he pours out in us is not dependent on how we treat him. Because if it were, we would all be in hell. Not destined for hell, but upon our first sin, we would be immediately sent there. We are in constant rebellion against Gods sovereign reign over his creation. God says, I love you anyway, here is grace.
The choice we have to make is whether we settle for common grace, and often if we choose this, we will raise the things that God has graced us with, we will raise them up as idols. We can settle for common grace or we can accept his true loving, sacrificial saving grace. And when we choose that path, Gods saving grace, we need to remember that it was while we were unlovable, while we were yet sinners, that Christ dies for us.

Let’s Pray.

Luke 6:20-26 Jesus is the Son of Man Blessings and Woes

Luke 6:20-26

Jesus is the Son of Man

Blessings and Woes

 

Good Morning! Let’s grab our Bibles and turn in them to Luke chapter 6. As always, if you do not have a Bible or know someone who needs one, please see me after the service and we can get a Bible into your hands.

So, we are going through Luke’s Gospel and we have now come to a section of a chunk of Jesus’ teachings. Luke has been showing the readers, Theophilus and us, been showing us Jesus authority over all things. And we have seen Jesus had just finished calling his 12 Apostles out of his numerous disciples.

This teaching we are going to look at has very similar content as the Sermon on the Mount that we see recorded by Matthew in his Gospel, Matthew 5-7. But we saw, according to scriptures, “on a level plain.” Because of this, some have nicknamed this passage, “The Sermon on the Plain.”

We also have seen that people had come from all over to see and listen to Jesus. From Judea to Jerusalem, from Tyre to Sidon, people came from all over to hear him. And what they are going o hear, is Jesus reiterating, rephrasing and subverting their expectations for the rules of life.

So, lets go ahead and read this week’s passage, Luke chapter 6, verses 20-26. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. Please follow along in your preferred translation, reading the Word of God for yourself. Luke 6:20-26, Luke records the very Words and teachings of Jesus, writing:

 

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

 

Thus, saith the LORD.

 

So, we start by seeing this word, “Blessed” used by Jesus. This word is often thought of to mean “happy,” but it really means so much more than that.  Blessed is so much deeper than happy. RC Sproul says that it is more to be brought into an intimate relationship with God. He writes, “When the Bible pronounces blessing, it doesn’t mean, “Be Happy.” It means, “May you understand in the depths of your soul, in the deepest chamber of your heart, the sweetness of the presence of God as you live before his face every moment.”

          And so, we will go through these Blesseds that Jesus speaks of here, and afterwards, the opposite, he pronounces Woes that correlate to these same Blesseds.

First, Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Now, in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records Jesus as saying, Blessed are the Poor in spirit. The point Jesus is making at that point is that none of us are able to be righteous enough or to be religious enough to get ourselves into the Kingdom of Heaven.

And I don’t think that the too things that Jesus says are exactly the same, nor are they unrelated or opposites of each other. Luke is very concerned with those who are physically in need. Those who are poor, those who are sick. Those who are oppressed. We saw with the scripture that Jesus read to introduce his ministry in Luke 4:18, that he is also concerned with the very same groups. And so, Jesus could have and obviously, that he is also concerned with the very same groups. And so, Jesus could have and obviously address both those who are spiritually poor and those who are materially poor.

And poverty, poorness is a very humbling experience. That’s what it is intended to provoke. And so, this is not a proof text for so called, “poverty theology.” Poverty theology says that those who are poor and those who have little to no material possessions are more spiritual and righteous than those who do have material possession.

We know that’s not the case, as we see both rich and poor can be both righteous and unrighteous. The point that Jesus is making is that we are to be fully reliant on God, for both the material and the spiritual.

On the flip aside of this, Jesus cries out, Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Nowhere in scripture does it say that having money is wrong or sinful. What it does say is that money, comfort, and material possessions make it much more difficult to recognize our spiritual poverty and our need for God and his grace. Martin Luther observed: Rich folks’ children seldom turn out well. They are complacent, arrogant, and conceited and think they need to learn nothing because they have enough to live on anyway.”

          His point, when we don’t have any needs, when we don’t need to rely on anyone or anything, then we reject reliance on our God and He who judges our soul and determines our eternal destiny.

Building on that, I believe, Jesus gives his next Blessed. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Again, different but related, in order to fully flesh out the idea behind what Jesus is saying, we look at what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

What did you think about the Bible before you became a Christian? Was it nothing? Was it a book to be on your shelf, your side table or coffee table, but never to be opened? Was it a good idea, full of nice stories to teach us to behave? For me, it was the truth, but never read, never looked and therefore, never known what it said. How can you think it’s true if you don’t know what it is? But most people, before they are Christians don’t really have an interest in what the Bible says, especially in understanding it.

Can you remember one of the biggest changes that came about when you became a Christian? What about opening that Bible that was sitting in the shelf and collecting dust? What about, now that you believe in Jesus Christ, that he is God, finding out what he said? Having a hunger and thirst for knowing what his word says? Right along with that, I would argue unable to be disconnected from that, is a drive to please God, to obey his commandments and to do his will? Those are things that come along with having your heart changed from stone by Him and being brought to life out of death.

The problem comes that we cannot achieve this, we cannot satisfy these hungers and these thirsts fully in this world and this life. We hunger and thirst for righteousness, but we have no righteousness of our own. We can grow in righteousness as we mature and grow in the LORD, but as we do so, how easy is it for this to morph into self-righteousness, or to morph into judgmental ism, or legalism. Our passion and our heart are to learn more about God and to do the will of God. But we cannot see or know perfectly. Paul says in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, that for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

          There are times we will get the will of God wrong. There are things in the Bible that we won’t understand. But our new heart, our changed nature gives us a hunger and thirst to now God better, to know his word, to try to live up to the Holy standard that God has set. And when we enter the Kingdom that hunger, that thirst will be satisfied. We will know full, see clearly, just as we have been fully known. We have no hunger, no thirst for righteousness without God. We desire to fulfill our own fleshly desires. We want what we want, and we want it now.

Jesus tells us that not only spiritual hunger, but physical hunger exists to point us towards God. We need to rely on him for all that we need, physically and spiritually. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:26, Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

          God provides for our physical needs and our spiritual needs. He does so out of his grace. But when we lose that hunger, we forget that it is God who provided. We get comfortable. We get complacent. We refuse to step out of our comfort zone.

I know I’m guilty of this sometimes. We don’t always think it consciously of course. “I’m just going to sit here in my comfortable bubble, here at home, or here at our church and wait for people to come to me instead of going out there…”

So, we need to keep that hunger, that hunger for righteousness and the hunger to fulfill Gods Will. For it is only by fulfilling our calling in Christ that we will be truly and fully satisfied.

But we won’t be satisfied immediately, not in the sense that Jesus is talking about here. Next, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” We all know that there is a lot to weep about in this world. RC Sproul writes about this verse. “The context indicates that these are mourning over sin and evil, especially their own, and over the failure of mankind to give proper glory to God.”

Now, let me ask you a question, can anyone who does not know God, truly know him, know him through his Son, Jesus Christ, can they truly mourn about sin, and about the failure for humanity to give glory to God? Now, the answer is no, but before you give that answer without thinking, I want to point something out. I want to point out how the enemy doesn’t have to tell us complete lies. He doesn’t have to point us 180 degrees away from Gods truth. He just has to get us 1 degree off.

Do you see the people today who are decidedly not Christian, who are protesting social problems? Do you see those fighting against injustices? Do you see how passionate they are to make things right? They see that there are things broken in this world, that this is not how it is supposed to be. They see the effects of sin, on people, on families, on society, on the world. They don’t see that it is sin that does it. They see people as generally good, or at least some are good, and if they could only convince the others, who are bad, that what they are doing is wrong, then they will be good too. There are bits of truth mixed into the ball of lies.

Yes, sin has broken this world. There are social problems. There are injustices. We should be that passionate about fixing those problems and injustices. But the truth is, the Bible tells us there are none good, no not one. That all our “goodness” doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to God. And after we see things with open eyes, when the Holy spirit lifts the veil from our eyes, it is only then that we can see the truth, and how bad things truly can be, and how bad, how unrepentant of our sin, our lack of honoring and giving glory to God that we truly are.

Once our eyes are truly open, the effects of sin should break our hearts. The hordes of lost souls walking down the wide and easy road down into hell, going of their own choosing, following their feelings, following their friends & following the culture and society, that should break our hearts, that should cause us to mourn. Nehemiah, when he heard that Jerusalem had been destroyed, he sat down, and wept and mourned for days.

The good news is that those who are truly, rightly, mourning, those that have had their eyes open and the veil lifted, they will be in the Kingdom of Heaven, where Jesus tells us through John at the end of Revelation, there will be no tears, no more death, no mourning, nor crying nor pain. In other words, no more sin, no more social problems, no more injustice, no more brokenness. We are comforted in that we know that’s what God has waiting for us, we know that God has won the battle already, we are just waiting for time to catch up with God. And we will be comforted when we enter the Kingdom of Heaven because there will be nothing to mourn. Instead, we will laugh and rejoice and dance in worship to our king.

 

Lastly among the Blesseds, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

 

          Now, this is a favorite among Christians when things seem to be going the wrong way in society and the culture. And its true, Jesus testifies to it multiple times that the world will hate a right understanding of what the Bible says. Many will and are trying to make it say something that it never said and never meant.

But here is the thing I want you to take away from this. This Blessed cannot be reverse engineered. If people hate, revile exclude you, that does not automatically mean that you are being biblical or Christlike.

I know someone needed to hear that, and sometimes its me.

Verse 26 has the parallel woe, 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. Each of these Blesseds have a balance to them. This one for example. Yes, the world will hate us, given the right understanding of that. But we balance that with the context of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, especially verse 7, when listing the requirements for an elder, Paul writes, Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

          That’s not an easy balance to strike. I like how I have heard it before. The Gospel is offensive, there is no way around that. People do not want to be confronted with their sin. But just because the Gospel will be offensive, does not give us the right to be offensive.

 

Overall, Jesus is making the point that if you want the benefits and rewards of and in heaven, you’re going to have to go through some stuff here on earth.

We have the choices to make, between the Blesseds and the Woes. The choice is not between blessed or neutral. It is not beloved or ignored. Our choice is between blessed or cursed, forgiven or punished, grace or wrath.

Woe to those who are full, who are rich, who laugh now, who people speak well of. Just like we sometimes misunderstand Blessed, we do so as well with Woe. Woe is not used here as a threat of judgment, but more along the lines of what we said about blessed are those who mourn. This Woe is more of a sadness regarding what is going on, Basically, in this context, a mourning over the choice that was made.

We need to remember to look at these sayings on context. Remember what I said at the beginning, one of the things Jesus is doing is showing us the true meaning of Gods commands and subverting the expectations of those who were listening to him. What Jesus is teaching here in our passage today and through out the rest of this teaching passage, is not about strict obedience to the letter of the law. Its not about Finding loopholes either. You know, when we think to ourselves, “How close can we get… or How much can we do and still not sin…”

J.C Ryle wrote “We must take good heed that we do not misunderstand our LORDs meaning when we read these expressions. We must not for a moment suppose that the mere fact of being poor, and hungry and sorrowful, and hated by man will entitle any one to lay claim to an interest in Christ’s blessing. The poverty here spoken of, is a poverty accompanied by grace. The want is a want entailed by faithful adherence to Jesus. The afflictions are the afflictions of the Gospel. The persecution is a persecution for the Son of Mans sake.

 

          Listen, of course its not wrong to laugh. Its not wrong to have material possessions. Its not wrong to have a full belly or to be well thought of by those outside these walls. It is wrong when it comes at others expense. It is wrong when it’s at the expense of righteousness. It is wrong when it comes at the expense if God and the Gospel.

 

What does it profit a man to gain the world, yet lose his soul?

A lot of us need to remember this when we watch the news or follow current events. The Bible is clear, we are not going to “Christianize” the nations. There is no such thing as a Christian nation in the physical world.

Instead, we serve a King of a different kingdom, one not of this world. One whose citizenship requirement is simply the faith granted to us by the Grace of God through his Son, Jesus Christ. His death on the cross, his resurrection, his ascension, made possible the forgiveness of our sins, enabling our eternal souls to be reconciled to God the Father. We will come back to that in just a moment.

First, A blessing and Woe that I put together from what I read from Jesus, something I think the church needs to hear in America today.

Blessed is he who serves the Kingdom of God above all others. Blessed is he who recognizes and serves no King but Jesus. Blessed are they who are exiles in a land not their own, who work for the welfare of the city, but whose eyes are looking forward to the city built and designed by God, for they will receive eternal life with Christ.

        Woe to those who put their faith in politicians and parties. Woe to those who put their faith in the outcome of elections. Woe to those who villainize people who disagree with hem, who vote opposite of them or see things differently from them, for they have their reward already.

 

Now, each month we remember Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood and his death on the cross. HE paid the penalty, paid the wages for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He paid that penalty with his life. In an act of pure, perfect love, Romans 5:8 says:  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Before he did this, Jesus told us to remember this and to celebrate it as often as we get together. We do this in a monthly basis, we celebrate communion as a church family.

We remember and we follow the commands of Jesus that he gave his disciples during the Last Supper.

Luke’s Gospel records the Last Supper, and he writes of Jesus telling his disciples in chapter 22, verses 19& 20: He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after super, he took the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” 

We do this in remembrance of Him. Paul speaks about communion in 1 Corinthians 11 and before we get into it, I have one thing to share that Paul tells us, first, communion is for believers. It is in remembrance for what he has done for us. It is us obey his commands by our faith in him. Communion itself does not save. It does not forgive sins; it does not impart righteousness or cleanse your soul. If you are not a follower of Christ, we just ask that you pass the elements along and then, if you have any questions or want to take that step, you can talk to myself or one of the deacons after the service.

 

Now, we are going to do things a little bit different this morning, due to taking some precautions. We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.

First, we will take the wafer together. Afterwards, we will take the juice together and we will be united together under the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. I will pray and we will come to the LORDs table.

 

 

 

Luke 6:12-19 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus’ Followers

Luke 6:12-19

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus’ Followers

Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Luke chapter 6. If you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service so we can get one for you.

So, Luke has shown us the start of Jesus ministry, which so far has included, but has not been limited to healing and preaching the Word and calling a few new followers.

In this, Luke has been, since the start of Chapter 4, establishing Jesus authority for his readers. And his authority is All encompassing. We have seen his authority established over Satan, we have seen it over sickness and diseases, we have seen it over physical ailments. We have seen his authority established over sin, established with the ability to forgive those sins, authority established over the Sabbath and the authority to speak and interpret the Word of God.

This week we see some of his authority in who he then gives authority too. The first part is going to make official what had likely been know, at least in part, beforehand, who amongst his followers had authority. The second part is going to be an introduction to a section that will take up the rest of Chapter 6, a teaching section where Jesus shows us his authority to speak and interpret the scriptures and what they truly mean.

So, before we go any further, lets go ahead and read this week’s passage, Luke chapter 6, verses 12 through 19. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. I greatly encourage you to read along and follow along with your preferred translation so that you can read and see for yourself what the Word of God says, instead of just talking my word for it.

So, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records the following, Luke 6:12-19:

 

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

May God Bless the Reading of his Word.

 

 

Now, we already know that Jesus was a prayer warrior, but we see that reaffirmed right here from the beginning. He often went off to desolate places, places to be alone and to focus and to spend a large amount of time in direct prayer with God the Father. This is the third such time that Luke has shown us this in as many chapters. He would sometimes us this time to rest, sometimes to recharge, but always to seek and confirm the will of the Father.

In this case, Jesus likely spent over 10 hours of intensely focused prayer. He was specifically meditating and praying on the choices he was making. In the Greek it says that “all night he continued.”

Of course, one of the big takeaways for us is that whenever we have a big decision, whenever we have something important to determine or decide, we should always take significant time in prayer. If Jesus, of all people, needed this time, how much more do we?

In one of his poems, Hartley Coleridge writes the following:

He sought the mountains and the loneliest height,

For he would meet his father all alone,

And there, with many a tear and many a groan,

He strove in prayer throughout the long, long night.

Why crave in prayer what was his own by might?

Vain is the question- Christ was man indeed,

And being man, his duty was to pray.

 

A reminder to us all that, as Paul tells us as well, we are to be in constant prayer.

And in the morning, when Jesus is done praying and comes down, he names 12 of his followers to be his Apostles.

So, some things that we see, and we know here in this. First, we see in the Gospels, there are three levels, or maybe categories would be a better term, of followers of Jesus. The first was just that, followers. Jesus had many of them. They would follow him around; they would listen to his teachings and they would want to see healings and miracles that Jesus was quickly becoming famous for. However, for the most part, they were not particularly committed to Jesus.

Next were his disciples. We don’t know how many of these he had, but we know they were many. We will see one instance later in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus sends out 72 of his disciples to spread the word. These disciples were committed to following Jesus and believing his teachings and trying to get others to believe it as well.

The final category was the 12 names that Jesus listed here in Luke chapter 6. The Apostles. These are not just followers, but the Apostle means sent ones. They would be given the authority to act and speak on His behalf. Their very words would carry authority. This is why, when the canon of the New Testament was being confirmed, one of the requirements was that the Gospel or letter had to be, either written by one of them (later to include Paul as well) or to be told by one of them and written by one of their closest acquaintances.

These 12, the Apostles, would become Jesus inner circle. They would be the ones he would confide in. They would get the extra teaching and explanation. They would become his family during the next few years, during his earthly ministry. And they would act just like our families do today. They would be the ones that would believe in Him, and he them. They would be praying with and for each other. They would be holding each other accountable. Just like our families, there would be those who would disappoint and betray him, and he knew that from the beginning.

Here is something that I think we need to hear. Jesus chose these men to be his Apostles, just like he chose each of us who are called to become the children of God, each and everyone if us who are saved by Gods grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus chose each and every one of us. And he knew everything that would happen before hand.

He knew they would act. He knew how they would sin. He knew their failings and he still called them and chose them, in spite of all that. HE knew before he chose us. He knew how we would act. He knew how we would sin. He knew how we would fall.  He knew it all. And he chose you anyway. He chose me anyway. He chose each of us, despite knowing that we would fall and sin. He knew and he died and rose again in order to purchase our salvation and to forgive us of our sins.

I heard one pastor say, years ago, and the way he said it really hit me. God is the only who can forgive sins. And if he has chosen to forgive us, who do we think we are if we say we can’t forgive ourselves? We think we are above God. Pair that with, If God says that he has forgiven us, but we don’t believe that he has or could forgive our specific sins, then what are saying about the Word of God? We are saying that it can’t be trusted.

The Bible is clear. Jesus is clear. God the Father is clear. The Holy Spirit is clear. If you are a child of God, if you are in Christ, by grace, through faith, then your sins have been forgiven. You have been cleansed. You have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. You have been clothed in Christs righteousness. You have been justified, are being sanctified and will be glorified. All of that is Promised by God and its all true, whether you feel like it or not. Take comfort in that. Rejoice in that. Let that light shine in the dark corners of shame that comes om naturally when we sin and don’t feel worthy of the forgiveness that he has already said is ours.

Now, we see the names of the twelve that Jesus called to be his Apostles. Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Now, every time we see a list of the twelve in scriptures, the middle is in different order, but each list starts with Simon Peter and ends with Judas Iscariot, the traitor. That’s not a coincidence. It’s obvious that because he is a traitor and will end up being replaced in the book of Acts by Matthias, that’s why he is listed last. Peter is listed first because he would end up becoming the de facto leader, the first among equals of the Twelve.

Now, some of these twelve, we know some about based on the scriptures. Names like Simon Peter, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Thomas, Matthew who was Levi, and of course, Judas Iscariot. These guys, there are things written about them in the scriptures so we can get a sense of who they are.

The others, Andrew, Simons brother, Philip, Bartholomew, the other James, Simon the Zealot and the other Judas, them we don’t know much about. I’ve included in the back, some of you have it already, a printout on the twelve. This is what we know from scriptures about each of them. This was compiled by RC Sproul and I copied it out of his commentary on Luke’s Gospel. I think its an excellent resource and a great way to get to know the Apostles maybe better than we do now. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, please do so on your way out.

These twelve, Jesus chose them. The ordinary, the mostly uneducated, the poor. The everyday man. Just like you and me. With the authority and the responsibility to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ after his ascension. We read in Ephesians 2 this morning, the Apostles are a part of the foundation that the Kingdom of God is built on, with Christ as the chief cornerstone. Revelation 21:14 tells us that the New Jerusalem that the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Now, whether we see that imagery as symbolic, metaphorical, literal or whatever, I think we can all agree that it shows how important and how vital to the kingdom of God, these men were.

They were chosen, not because of anything about themselves, but because of Gods sovereignty and his omniscience. Nearly all the commentaries I’ve read this week on this passage reference the same quote by Oswald Chambers. He says:

God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power and resources or the abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on him made possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chose and used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.

 

 

Next, we come to Jesus descended with the Apostles and getting ready for a lengthy teaching session. There are a lot of similarities to the Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew 5-7, but this is very clearly not on a mount, so some call this the Sermon on the Plain.

We see that there is a great crowd around him already, both his disciples, those committed to him and followers and curiosity seekers from all over the country.

Many came and looked to be healed. Those who had unclean spirits were cleaned. His power was on display as many were cured and healed. Jesus authority over the physical realm was established and his spiritual authority was about to be on display with the teaching that is coming.

In this, I think that Jesus is showing us a choice that we have to make. As I mentioned earlier, we see three categories of followers here and so, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, you have to look at which of these three that you fit into.

Are you partially committed? Looking for the healings and miracles, the emotional highs that can some with worship? Is your assurance in your church attendance and your moral life and is the church a social club where you here good teaching?

OR you could be fully committed to the worshipping and listening to Jesus. Knowing that he is Christ, that you saved by his grace and its not because you attend church and live right but that your worship and sanctification are fruit from that salvation. That’s great. I wish there were more that were that committed.

Lastly, are you completely and totally committed to doing and living the teachings of Jesus Christ. Listening and reading the Words of God. Putting them into practice in our every day lives. Committed to loving our neighbors and enemies with grace and forgiveness, making disciples, teaching them all that the LORD has commanded, not being perfect and sinless but walking in the fruit of the spirit, being that one that Oswald Chambers was speaking of, renouncing dependence on natural abilities and resources?

These are questions that we have to ask ourselves honestly and often.

 

Let’s Go ahead and pray.

Luke 6:1-11 Jesus is the Son of Man: Jesus is our Sabbath

Luke 6:1-11
Jesus is the Son of Man
Jesus is our Sabbath

Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Luke chapter 6. If you do not have a Bible or know someone who needs one, please see me after the service so we can give you a Bible as our gift to you.
As we have been walking through Lukes Gospel, we have already seen that Jesus ministry is coming into conflict with the Pharisees. Remember we look at who they were, those who help Gods Word in the highest esteem. Those who heold to the highest standard of holiness and Gods law, so much so that many of them added onto Gods Words and his law so that they could be even more holy and righteous, above the everyday, normal Israelite of the day.
We have already seen that Jesus was not saying that the law needed to be lessened, but instead, he was the fulfillment of the Old Testament law. And he was not saying that the Pharisees were wrong in wanting to hold strictly and faithfully to the law of God. But hew is stating that the Pharisees had a fundamental misunderstanding of the law, its purposes and its fulfillment.
Today, we are going to see two more instances of this misunderstanding, in the context of the Sabbath. We will see two examples of Jesus and his disciples acting, in the eyes of the Pharisees, against Gods laws regarding the Sabbath and keeping it holy.
So, lets go ahead and read this mornings passage, Luke chapter 6, verses 1-11. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to read along in your preferred translation. Luke 6:1-11. Luke, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit records the following:
On a Sabbath,[a] while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.
6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Thus says the Word of God.

So here, on a Sabbath, we see Jesus and his disciples. The Sabbath at that time especially was of utmost importance, was of vital importance to Israel, to the Jewish people. The Sabbath was instituted as the last day of the week and by the way days were recorded, that meant from Sundown Friday night to Sundown Saturday night. That’s still considered the Sabbath in the Jewish religion.
Now, we as Christians today, formally acknowledge the Sabbath as the 1st day of the week, Sunday. This occurred because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ taking place ona Sunday morning. Luke tells us in Acts that the church would meet on the first day of the week. So, if there is any question, that’s why we meet in church on Sunday mornings instead on Friday nights or Saturdays.
Back to the story, Jesus and his disciples were walking on a Sabbath, and they were walking along a grain field. As they got hungry, the disciples pick some of the grain around them and rubbed it between their fingers and ate the grains.
Now, the scriptures were very clear that this was lawful. We read back in Deuteronomy 23:25: If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.
This was a provision put in place by God to help take are of those who were hungry and needed help. Obviously, there were limits to it. You couldn’t take your scythe and start harvesting the grain, but you were legally allowed, and the way I read it, encourage to grab a handful of grain, if you wanted to.
Now, that they did this wasn’t a problem. The problem that the Pharisees had was that the disciples did this in the Sabbath. We see that the Sabbath was included in the 10 commandments. Looking at Exodus 20:8-11, it reads:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Now, its important to see that this law regarding the Sabbath was rooted in creation, rooted in Genesis. We will get back to that in a few moments. But the idea was that there would be a day of rest, a day of not working. And so work was not allowed on the Sabbath. Rest was commanded.
No one would have, or should have thought that what the disciples did in this instance was working in the Sabbath. But the Pharisees did. They were so worried about breaking Gods law that they added 39 clarifications to their understanding of the law. This would include grabbing the heads of grain being harvesting and this would include the rubbing the heads of grain as threshing. Work being done on the Sabbath. Therefore, against the law.
You know, chalk another one up in the “Reasons Im not Jesus,” but if I were him, Id be pretty tired and frustrated with the Pharisees at this point. I might even have smited them at this point. Smited? Smote? Whatever. The point is that Jesus is able to see through all the things being done to him and against him and see that the Pharisees, first and foremost, sinners in need of Gods grace and forgiveness, and second, they were serving a purpose of Jesus teaching us the truth of these situations that we don’t completely understand.
So the Pharisees expressed their outrage over the disciples working by harvesting and threshing on the Sabbath and Jesus responds by bringing up a story about David from 1 Samuel 21. In short, there was bread that was not supposed to be eaten by anyone but the priests. David and his army were on the run from King Saul and his men and had no food. The priest gave David and his men the holy bread and they ate of it. The point, as RC Sproul says, is that “ceremony does not outweigh the fundamental needs of human life.”
David and his army, not to mention the disciples, they did not commit vandalism. They were not acting frivolously. They acted out of genuine hunger. Mercy was given, both by the priest in the temple and by God in putting these provisions into the law.

Luke 5:27-39 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus Changes us

Luke 5:27-39

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus Changes us

Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me this morning and turn to Luke Chapter 5. As we continue to look through and journey through Luke’s Gospel, we continue to look at the reasons that Jesus came down from Heaven, and the reasons that Luke wrote his account of the Life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to save sinners. The Gospels record what he did while he was here. Luke’s specific purpose as we continue to remind ourselves is so that we can believe what we have been taught regarding Jesus and his purpose and actions.

We have seen his birth and the prophecies leading up to it. We have seen him grow up and become and man, growing in wisdom and knowledge of God. We saw his ministry start, with the preaching of the word, and with performing of healings and driving out of demons. WE also saw him calling the first couple of his disciples.

Today, we will see Jesus call another disciple to follow him and an emphasis on the changes that Jesus produces in us, the before and the after, the old and the new.

So, in that, lets go ahead and read this mornings passage of scripture, Luke chapter 5, verses 27 through 39. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version. I deeply encourage you to grab your own Bible and follow along in your preferred translation.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes the following account of Jesus ministry:

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”[e]

 

Thus saith the LORD.

 

So, we finished up last week with Jesus healing and cleansing and forgiving sins. Then he gets up and walks and comes across a tax booth on the side of the road with a tax collector named Levi. Levi who would become batter know as Matthew, the same Matthew who authored the first Gospel in our New Testament.

But that’s not who Levi was at this point. At this point, Levi was hated. He was looked at as the worst kind of person. He was looked at as a traitor to his people.

Now we often hear from scriptures, the term “sinners and tax collectors.” Now, I know we all have our issues with excessive taxation and the IRS, but most of us wouldn’t put the everyday workers at the IRS on par with the very worst of the evilest of people in the world today.

So, why were tax collectors so hated in that day in Israel? That’s a great question!

Rome was in control of Israel and had enacted some pretty high taxes.  And to collect those taxes, they contracted out to those who would do the job. Tax collectors would collect the amount that Rome declared and also as much as they were able to extort from the people to put into their own pockets. They would get rich by collecting money that was used against his own people and used to hold them down and occupy them and on top of that, get themselves rich doing it.

In his commentary on Luke, RC Sproul likens how tax collectors were view by the Jewish people to how Nazi collaborators would have been viewed in the years after World War 2.

Now, again, to be clear, this is talking about excessive taxation and extortion. The Bible is clear that taxes in and of themselves are not evil or unbiblical. This is where I ducked behind the pulpit to avoid the rocks you all through at me! Jesus himself tells those around him to give unto Caesars what is Caesars. He was saying this about taxes. But these tax collectors took what the Roman government declared and took over that as well and kept the difference for themselves, building great wealth in many instances, such as Levi’s.

Jesus sees him and goes up to him and says simply, “Follow me.” And he does. Levi gets up, leaves everything, leaves his table and follows Jesus. In this case, he literally pays a high price to get up and follow Him. The language that is used here is that he completely burns his bridges.

Once he got up and left, he was not going to be able to go back. In that day, you can’t just up and leave the employ of the Roman government and then come back, try to retain your job and act as if nothing happened. The first disciples we saw Jesus call were fisherman who owned their own business. If something went wrong, if they decided that following Jesus was not worth the price that it would cost, they could have gone back to their previous career and continued on. Levi didn’t have this option.

Now, we see no details on Levi’s conversion, no details other than his immediate obedience.

Now, as a celebration of his new life and his new friend and teacher, Levi throws a massive celebratory party. This would have been like a big ol community BBQ, or a social event of the year dinner party.  Everyone knew this was happening, even those who were not invited or who decided not to attend.

Jesus was the guest of honor and Levi wanted to introduce him to all of his old friends. “This guy Jesus just changed my life! I am following him now! Come see him and see what he is all about!”

I love a story Bruce Larson relays when he is writing on this passage. He writes:

My wife and I visited a well-to-do California cotton merchant who is presently selling cotton to China. When two hundred Chinese dignitaries came to town on a cotton buying mission, he invited them for dinner at his house. He and his wife set up small tables in the garden and at every table they planted a Christian neighbor to be a kind of leaven. All of those merchants from mainland China were introduced to some lively Christians at a party with good food and fun. It’s a great way to evangelize. If that’s your style, you can consider Levi your patron saint.

 

Now, of course, the pharisees didn’t like any of this. In their intent to walk in holiness, they take things to the extreme. Ephesians 5:3, Paul tells us, but sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

And they saw any association with sinners, with tax collectors, with those who were unclean. Like leprosy, they thought that if you got too close to someone who was unclean, you would become unclean, if got to close to sinners, you would become a contaminated sinner.

Jesus of course, calls out their hypocrisy and their self-righteousness. First, it is our job, our call, our responsibility to bring the Gospel to those around us. We are to bring the Gospel to those who need it. And it will only be accepted by those who recognize that they need it.

If and when we knowingly or unknowingly withhold the Gospel from anyone, we are in direct disobedience to the Word of God. To out it clearer, if we think or act on the thought that someone or someone’s should not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, we are in blatant and flagrant sin. We don’t choose who responds. We don’t choose who God decides to choose. We can have our own judgments on who is righteous or who is worthy to hear the Gospel or who is likely to respond, but God is clear that this is not our place.

Jesus point here is that those who think they are healthy, those who do not think they need a doctor, will not listen to one. But those who know they are sick, those who know they are in terminal danger, they are the ones who will go see and listen to a Dr. So, who is the doctor there for? The healthy or the sick?

One commentator sums it up, saying, “There are no good people, no bad people, only those who know they are bad and those who don’t.” And Bruce Larson, again, in his summation, “To sin is man’s condition, to pretend that he is not a sinner is man’s sin.”

          In these interactions with Jesus, the Pharisees problem, more than anything else is that they thought they were not sinners. They thought they were righteous and were able to keep Gods law and were worthy of Gods grace. Jesus would often and continually show them that nobody is or ever will be worthy and we are all sinners in need of Gods Grace.

So, next, the Pharisees try a different tactic, they basically try to argue back against Jesus and prove that they are righteous, and His disciples are not. They speak. All of our guys fast often, even Johns disciples fast. Jesus, your guys don’t fast, what gives?

So, both for their point, showing that they were extra righteous and against there argument, there was only one day laid out in the Old Testament that God call his people to fast. Leviticus 22:22 lays out the fasting requirements of the Day of Atonement.

The Pharisees decided to be extra holy and fasted much more often. As we see later in Luke, they even took pride in tithing on their spices. There was a sort of “Theology of suffering,” amongst the Pharisees. The idea was that the more you suffer, the more serious you, then the more holy you are. There is a sense when you read the Bible that the thought was that “You’re not supposed to enjoy life!”

Jesus was the first to show us that we absolutely should be enjoying life. We are filled with Joy, we are to live happily, joyfully. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, and so on, these are the fruit of the spirit. We are not to live angrily, paranoid, violently, rebellious or any of the other things that we are looking around and want to side with today in our world.

Jesus says that there is no reason for his disciples to fast right now, because he is with them. Fasting, when we see it in the Old Testament, was mostly for and during mourning. Jesus says, once I’m gone, then they can fast, but there is no reason right now.

 

Jesus then gives them two examples of… well, its not easily, superficially, clear what the two examples are trying to say. Old and new patches and fabric don’t mix, and old and new wine and wineskins don’t mix.

All right, thanks Jesus, that’s helpful.

So, we look a little deeper. We look at what is going on around this. What else is Luke writing and what message is Luke trying to convey. We see the paralyzed man on the mat from last week. We see Levi get up this week and follow Jesus, leaving everything behind. We see that Jesus disciples are not going to fast while they are following and spending time with Jesus.

Scripture, Luke specifically right now, and Jesus throughout his ministry, is very clear that when we encounter Jesus, there is a clear and distinct before and after. IF we are saved by Gods Grace and repent of our sins, we are a new creation in Christ.

We have a new and different life with Christ than we had before. And in some ways, we will still have some same friends and we will continue to be around some of the same people, but we should and will be fundamentally different.

We should avoid the appearance of sin. We should share the Gospel with said old friends. They should see that things have changed. We cannot put our new life and new nature into our old life. The two don’t mix.

Naturally your relationships will change. Some friends won’t want to spend time with you anymore. You may not want to hang out with some of them anymore. Interests, hobbies and things will change. Your new life will never fit nice and tidy into your old life.

Christ makes it clear that there is no room for your old life and old ways in the Kingdom of Heaven. Scripture is filled with examples of before and after, just like we start to see with Levi here.  We saw a hint and a bit of with Simon Peter a few weeks ago. Ephesians 2 is a big one, Galatians 6, contrasting the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. But one of my favorites is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

 

          I believe that if we look just a bit closer at this passage that this is what Jesus was communicating with the two examples of the patches and the wineskins. The Old and the New do not and cannot mix. That doesn’t mean cutting ties with anyone and everyone, though some selective pruning may be in order. But there will be a clear and distinct, new creation in us when we are in Christ and we are expected, nay commanded by God to live that new life and the new creation, and not continuing on with the same old same.

This is the grace of God. WE are saved by Gods grace and by Gods grace alone. No one single word, no one single attribute can fully communicate about God, but the closest one would undoubtedly be Grace. That God is willing to look at us, our terminal disease that is sin, and send a proverbial doctor in Jesus Christ and change us, through faith in Christ and sanctify us and wash us in the blood of Christ. That is Grace.

In that mold, I’m going to finish with some of the lyrics of Amazing Grace and then Ill close us in Prayer.

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

 

 

Luke 5:12-26 Jesus is the Son of Man: Jesus Cleanses

Luke 5:12-26
Jesus is the Son of Man
Jesus Cleanses

Good Morning! Please grab your Bibles with me and turn to Luke chapter 5.
We are continuing through our series looking the Gospel of Dr Luke. He wrote this Gospel, as he says in the first few verses, so that, in regards to Jesus Christ, that we may have certainty in what we have been taught.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen Jesus start his earthly ministry. HE started preaching the Word in Nazareth. He started performing signs and wonders. He started healing.
And this morning, we are going to look at two specific and different healings that Jesus performs and the deeper meanings behind them and how people reacted to them.
And one of the first things to look at is that we often have inaccurate expectations of God. Even when he promises to fulfill certain things, he always does them differently than we expect, and if we look on a long enough timeline, he always fulfills and exceeds or expectations.
So lets go ahead and read our text for this week. We will be look, as I said, at two different healings, spanning from Luke chapter 5, verse 12 thorough verse 26. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. As always, most important is that you follow along in your rpeferred translation, reading the Word of God for yourself.
Luke 5:12-26, Dr Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, interviewing eyewitnesses, writes:
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy.[b] And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus[c] stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.[d] 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Thus says the Word of the LORD.

So we look first at this first healing that Jesus does, and in that, we see that this is more than just a healing. We see a man that is leprous. Leprosy was a big deal and it was a catch all for a number of different skin diseases. The most common one, what is today known as Hansen’s Disease, cause the extremities to lose all feeling and sensation, meaning that they would accumulate injuries, and not heal, causing fingers, toes, noses and so on to die and rot off the body. I don’t mean to gross anybody out but this is what most people with leprosy would look like at this time.
The Old Testament had some very clear and specific methods on how to deal with leprosy, how to move from unclean to clean and what was needed for this to occur. Because of the Torahs clear directions on leprosy being unclean, people of that day equated leprosy with sin. If someone had leprosy, that meant that they had done something to offend God, they had sinned grievously.
Now, we see at this point, that people were already responding to Jesus. This man with Leprosy came to Jesus. He saw him and broke every rule by going up tp him. Because he had heard about this Jesus guy and he had heard what he could do. And he sees him, And he is so desperate from his disease that he falls on his face and he begs Jesus to cleanse him.
Remember that Luke is a doctor. So we can take his descriptions as accurate. And when he says that this man was “full of leprosy,” he did not just have a rash or a skin irritation. He was very likely near death and would have been living with this for many, many years, maybe as long as he could remember. His desperation was very, very real.
And look what he does. He appeals to Jesus’ will. In this, he acknowledges Jesus authority. He acknowledges his ability. Jesus is able to heal. And he is able to make us clean. But this man does not appeal to his ability. He appeals to Jesus will. HE says, “If you will…”
Jesus reaction also goes against everything that should be. First he touches the unclean, leprous man. This would make anyone else unclean. The Old Testament forbade the touching of unclean people. But Jesus is different. He touches the man, the first human contact he would have had in years. Not from a distance, but touches him.
And Jesus says, “I will, be clean.”
What Jesus touches becomes clean. All things. You and me included. We were unclean, until Jesus touches, makes us new, cleanses us. This man, he doesn’t just heal him. That would have been a miracle enough. But Jesus does more than that. Jesus does more than heal him. Jesus makes him clean.
Jesus says, “Be Clean.” We see here again that Jesus Words carry the very power of God. This starts from the very beginning of the Bible. The Word of God is all powerful. Genesis 1, all of Creation, starting with ‘Let there be light.” Shows us how powerful the Word of God. Jesus words carry this power. He speaks. It happens. Period. It is finished.
So we see Jesus say, Be Clean and it happens immediately. Immediately the leprosy leaves this man. This is very much like our salvation. We are saved by the grace of God, by faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit calls us and only whom he calls respond to him by faith. When we respond by faith in Christ and only by faith in Christ, we are saved, we are forgiven, we are made clean, our sins are wiped away. It is not a process, though our awareness of it may well be gradual. But one moment we are not forgiven and the next moment we are forgiven.
Now, as I said, Jesus did so much more than heal this man. But in that, we should not ignore the healing as well. Being healed necessarily comes before being cleansed. And there is a whole lot to being cleansed. Leviticus 14 details all that goes on in being declared clean. This would include blood sacrifices. These blood offerings were a foreshadowing of Christ offering his own blood to cleanse each of us from our sins. But the people weren’t ready to hear that yet.
Jesus tells the man to go to his priest and have him follow the law as laid out in scripture in order to declare you clean. See, some of the things Jesus was being accused of, breaking and ignoring the law, he was in fact, being very purposeful in not doing. IN fact, he was doing the exact opposite. He even says famously in Matthew 5:17 & 18:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 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.

Jesus did not break the law. One famous so called preacher a few years ago gained a lot of attention by equating God sending Jesus to die on the cross the same way we would speed and run red lights to get our kid to the hospital. He break the rules for love. He broke the law for love. And it was all very inspirational and nice sounding on the surface, except its complete and blatant heresy. God kept the law for love.
Blood needed to be shed for the forgiveness of sins. Death is the necessary result of sin. We are contaminated, “full of sin.” We don’t have ability to atone for our sins. Our blood is not worthy of being shed for the forgiveness of sins. And So, God the Father, in his eternal wisdom and love, sent his Son, eternally God, born a human, to live the perfect life, unstained and uncontaminated of sin. He shed his perfect blood for the forgiveness of all of our sins. That forgiveness, and act of perfect love, was all the grace of God. The vehicle that this grace is poured out on us by faith in Jesus Christ. His blood wipes us clean, clothes us in his righteousness and we get to stand before God the Father, healed, cleaned and forgiven.
Now, Jesus told this guy whom he had just cleansed of leprosy that he was to go to the priest, to go through all the law requirements and he was not to tell anyone what happened. But, somehow, they heard. And they gathered around Jesus, as the crowds were wont to do. Some were there for the right reasons, some where there for the wrong reasons. Some wanted to hear the teaching, some wanted to be healed. Jesus made sure that he would pull back when things could be getting to crowded and make sure to spend time with the Father and in prayer.

We see in verses 17-26, the second healing that Jesus does. Jesus was teaching and many were gathered. Luke tells us specifically that Pharisees and teachers had come from all over to hear what he had to say.
Scribes and Phairsees, Pharisees and teachers are terms that we see throughout the Gospels and we throw them around but we don’t always know what they mean. We just mean them as they are bad guys who hated Jesus. But real life is rarely that simple. RC Sproul gives an over simplified description of who they were. He writes: Pharisees saw them selves as God’s “separated ones” and sought to serve him well. Many were godly, but their emphasis on outward acts and ritual taboos made others hard and formal. Such men opposed Jesus vigorously.
And about the scribes, or teachers of the law, he says they were: Scribes whose work centered on interpreting the law of God. Many were Pharisees.

So these men had come to hear what Jesus was teaching in regards to the scripture, whether he was a false teacher, if he was interpreting things wrongly. There were probably no one in Israel who knew the Scriptures better than these groups. And they gathered from all over.
As Jesus was teaching, a group of friends brought a friend of theirs to get close to Jesus. He was unable to walk by himself, so he sat or laid on a mat. His friends carried him around and they were hoping that Jesus could heal him.
But because of the crowds, they were unable to get near him. The Pharisees and teachers and the rest of the crowds had formed an impenetrable barrier. Jesus was in a house as he was teaching, and so the friends climbed onto the roof, and lowered their friend down in front of Jesus.
The faith and dedication that these friends showed, going through all they did to bring their friend to Jesus, it impressed him. Verse 20 says that when Jesus saw their faith, he told the man on the mat that his sins were forgiven.
This was blasphemy! How dare he say that? He cant forgive sins. Only God can forgive sins!
Aha! The Pharisees and the teachers were mad because Jesus was calling himself God. He was putting himself on the same standing as God himself. This is the very definition of blasphemy. Putting yourself on the same level as God, or lowering him to your level. This is one of the worst sins you could commit at that point. It was and still is the quickest way to lose any credibility. Unless its true, as it is with Jesus.
Jesus would try to prove this to those who were there. He says, which is easier? TO say your sins are forgiven, or to heal this man of his infirmities? Jesus is saying, anyone can say that a persons sins are forgiven, but there is no physical outward signs to prove that their has been any thing actually happening.
But to show you that he had the very power of God, that it wsnt just blasphemy what he was saying, here is some physical proof. He tells the man, “Get up and walk. And guess what the man does… He gets right up and walks. No taking time to heal, no muscle atrophy, nothing. He gets up and he walks away glorifying God for what just happened to him.
All the crowds around them were amazed. They knew they had seen something incredible and were filled with Awe. Do we stand in awe of God often enough. In talking to you all, I know we give God credit and we thank him for his grace and his doings, both natural and miraculous, but do we take enough time to just sit in awe of him?
And do we really believe, like not just with our words, but with out actions, with our life and with our thanksgivings that the forgiveness of sins is greater and more awe inspiring than a miraculous healing?
We often pray that way. We pray for healing and we should, but sometimes we forget to pray for the forgiveness of sins, repentance and faith.

You know, the visual we are presented with of the man with leprosy in the first healing this morning, is a strong visual parable for our standing before God without Christ. We are born spiritually dead. Even our best deeds, our best works are nothing but filthy rags when we place them before God. Without Christ, we are unclean, rotting flesh, dead.
Jesus showed that no matter what has made you unclean. No matter how long, no matter what you need to be healed of, no matter what you need to be forgiven of, He is God and he offers cleansing of our souls. He offers the forgiveness of our sins. He alone offers salvation.
No matter who you are or were…
No matter what you have done…
No matter where you were…
Hope in him…
Repent…
Rest in him…
Cover yourselves in his blood, for it alone can cleanse us from our sins.
This is what we celebrate each month, Jesus sacrifice, his shed blood and his death on the cross. HE paid the penalty, paid the wages for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He paid that penalty with his life. In an act of pure, perfect love, Romans 5:8 says: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Before he did this, Jesus told us to remember this and to celebrate it as often as we get together. We do this in a monthly basis, we celebrate communion as a church family.
We remember and we follow the commands of Jesus that he gave his disciples during the Last Supper.
Luke’s Gospel records the Last Supper and he writes of Jesus telling his disciples in chapter 22, verses 19& 20: He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after super, he took the cup, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
We do this in remembrance of Him. Paul speaks about communion in 1 Corinthians 11 and before we get into it, I have one thing to share that Paul tells us, first, communion is for believers. It is in remembrance for what he has done for us. It is us obey his commands by our faith in him. Communion itself does not save. It does not forgive sins; it does not impart righteousness or cleanse your soul. If you are not a follower of Christ, we just ask that you pass the elements along and then, if you have any questions or want to take that step, you can talk to myself or one of the deacons after the service.

Now, we are going to do things a little bit different this morning, due to taking some precautions. We have individual cups that contains both the wafers, which symbolize Jesus’ broken body on the cross. His Death that pays the penalty for our sins. It also contains the juice, symbolizing the shed blood of Christ, which purchases our eternal life in Christ, through faith.
First, we will take the wafer together. Afterwards, we will take the juice together and we will be united together under the cross and blood of Jesus Christ. I will pray and we will come to the LORDs table.

After Christmas 2020

Sorry!

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