Luke 16:19-31 Jesus is the Son of Man Rich man & Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus is the Son of Man

Rich man & Lazarus

 

All right! Turn with me, if you will to Luke chapter 16. As we continue our series through Luke, I ask that if you do not have a Bible or you need a Bible, please see me after the service and we can work on getting one into your hands.

We have been following and reading Jesus’ teaching and preaching to the pharisees, to the disciples, to tax collectors and sinners, to really, anyone who was around and would listen.

And its interesting, that unlike what we want to see, Jesus’ preachers’ different ways to different people and groups. He preaches one way to those who think they are good enough, who look down on those who did not act, believe, look like or live like they did.

To them, Jesus spoke and preached harshly. He still preached grace to them, but he emphasized that it was undeserved, it was unmerited, it was unearned, and it was totally divorced from their righteousness.

But when Jesus preached to sinner, to the oppressed, to those beaten down, those who were lowly, to those he preached grace and repentance, but he did so with grace (no pun intended) and with gentleness. He told them that they did not need to be burdened down, they did not need to earn God’s favor, they did not need to be good enough to achieve salvation, they just need to believe and accept God’s grace, believing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He preached not obedience to the law, but grace faith and repentance as the way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Part of what he Jesus was preaching and teaching, to both groups, because he was preaching the same truth, sometimes harshly, sometimes gently. But one of the common parts of his teaching was a complete and absolute adherence to, and belief in the inspiration to, the Word of God.

We see back in verse 17, which was part of what we looked at last week, Jesus said, it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void. Now, it was usually directed at the Pharisees specifically, but we see everyone on the receiving end of Jesus pointing out that all, everyone has misunderstood, misapplied, misconstrued and mistook the purpose, the application of the Law, the inerrancy of the law and therefore the Word of God.

So, we will pick here in our continuation of Luke’s Gospel, reading Luke chapter 16, verses 19 through 31. As usual, I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to read along in your preferred translation.

Luke was inspired by the Holy Spirit as he recorded the words of Jesus as we read Luke 16:19-31:

There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

 

May God Bless the reading of His Word.

 

 

So, we start here with another story that we can easily glide right past. Another story that we make assumptions that we know what it is saying, and we move right past it. More often, this is a story that we read and place our already set assumptions and beliefs and we lay them on top of this story, making it say things it never was trying to say.

 

AS we start here, this story reads like an actual event. It’s told like a story that actually happened, but scholars have agreed since Bible times that this is a parable. And why that’s important is that it means that Jesus is making a point. Not every detail is 100% transferable. For example, this parable does not tell us that in real life, Heaven and Hell are within speaking distance of each other. It also doesn’t tell us that there is or can be any communication between Heaven and Hell. Neither of those are Jesus’ point and so we have to be careful what details we pull out of this.

Now, we remember that Jesus is still speaking to the Pharisees at this point. He was making his point directly to them. They assumed their position in heaven and they thought it was because of their goodness, their obedience, their worthiness, their lineage and their righteousness.

And so, Jesus tells them this parable. And he starts with extreme contrasts. WE remember that this section of teaching started with the Pharisees getting upset that the sinners and tax collectors were spending time with Jesus, upset that they thought they might have a chance to be blessed by God. As if they were on the same level as the Pharisees who earned their blessing from God.

And so, Jesus uses that extreme contrast in his parable. This time between the rich and the poor. WE know of course that Jesus does not say anything as simple as Rich is bad, poor is good. WE see that there are righteous rich and righteous poor. There are unrighteous rich and unrighteous poor.

But we know that there are tendencies, which we see here. Wealth is often, not always, but often accompanied with arrogance and self-righteousness. We see some of this from the rich man when we see that he is clothed in purple, which is usually reserved solely for royalty.

We also see the context in which Jesus is saying this. First, we just saw Jesus talking about stewardship and how important that is. This is a story that shows very poor stewardship on behalf of the rich man.

So, we are introduced to this rich man first. Then we see the poor man, a man named Lazarus. He was poor, destitute, sick, couldn’t move on his own, was carried and dropped at the gate of the rich man in hopes that he may get the scraps from the table of the rich man. He would be seen by the man every time he left his home and came home. It wouldn’t even be a sacrifice on his end. But the rich man didn’t even care enough to see Lazarus plight, let alone to do anything that might help.

Scripture is clear:

1 John 3:17: But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

James 2:15 & 16:

 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[b] is that?

And lastly, James 4:17:

So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

 

In the end, both men died. Lazarus died and received a pauper’s funeral and went to Heaven. The Rich man also died. His riches couldn’t keep death from getting him. He received a fancy burial, his money providing him with at least that.

What we see is that what was on earth was not how it was in heaven. The Rich man has a fancy funeral and then he goes to Hell. He trusted his riches, he hoarded them. He was unloving and unrighteous. And now, he was being tormented. He looked and he saw that poor, diseased man, who was so obviously not blessed by God. He saw that Lazarus was with Abraham in paradise.

Paul says that in the end, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every single one of us, once we die, we will stand before Jesus, and we will know and acknowledge the truth.

The rich man sees Lazarus, in Heaven, greeted and enjoying fellowship with the saints who went before him. To the Israelites, there was no one bigger than Abraham, he was the literal father of their faith.

Lazarus was poor, he was oppressed, he was sick, he was forgotten, he was alone, he was hungry. And now, he was hanging out with Abraham. All while the Rich man was being tormented in Hell.

SO, the rich man cries out to Abraham and he either starts by begging for mercy or by still trying to order people around. He asks for some water to help quench his torment. He does want mercy from the pain he was going through.

God does grant mercy, but his mercy is not infinite. He tells us who is going to receive mercy in the Sermon on the Mount. Those who mourn will be comforted, those who are poor in spirit will enter in the Kingdom of Heaven. And those who are merciful will receive mercy.

The Rich man refused to be merciful in this lifetime. And now was being denied mercy. Regarding this passage, Augustine observes:

Jesus kept quite about the rich man’s name and mentions the name of the poor man. The rich man’s name was thrown around, but God kept quiet about it. The other’s name was lost in silence, and God spoke it…You see, God who lives in Heaven kept quiet about the rich man’s name, because he did not find it written in heaven. He spoke the poor man’s name, because he found it written there, indeed he gave instructions for it to be written there.

 

Lazarus was in Heaven because he received mercy from God. He did not receive mercy because he was in heaven. The rich man was in Hell because he was denied mercy, he was not denied mercy because he was in hell.

 Abraham tells the rich man that he has already received all his mercy on earth, and that Lazarus was now receiving all his mercy that was denied to him on earth. He also says that there is no crossover between heaven and hell. There is a chasm too great that none may crossover.

Once you are in one place, there is no chance to move to the other. There is no repentance after death. There is no appeal, no reversal of the judge’s decision. What’s done is done, once it is done.

This is why choosing faith, choosing repentance, choosing Jesus are so important to do here in this life. There is no such thing as too late in this life, but we don’t know when this life will be over.

Hebrews 9:27 it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

The Rich man realized that he was judged and that there was no hope for him. And then he has, what appears to be compassion for some brothers that he still has left alive. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the grave to tell his brothers the truth and give them a chance to not be in hell when they die, but instead to be with Abraham in Heaven.

Abraham’s response in one that we need to remember and cling to. The Word of God is sufficient. He says that the brothers already have the truth in front of them. They have no excuse. They have the Law and the prophets; they have the writings. In our time, we would say they have the Bible. They have all they need in order to believe.

One of the applications that we need to recognize is that there is no such thing as so-called Heaven Tourism. Nobody comes back from Heaven. Many books are out there that claim to have done so but the Bible says no. First it says here that there is no point. Second, as we read a moment ago, Hebrews 9:27. And also, this world would be just about a literal hell to anyone that had experienced heaven and had to come back.

The rich man responds to Abraham, “nu-uh! My brothers will totally believe.” If only they had signs, wonders, miracles! Somebody risen from the dead! Then they would totally believe!

But we have scriptures that tell us the truth.

Romans 1:18-20:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse.

 

We are spiritually blind, suppressing the truth until God opens our eyes. Romans 3 says that no one chases after God, no one pursues God, no one makes the first move to believe. Jesus says that he is the truth and the truth, that is He will set us free. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, Romans 10.

The point is that People reject what they don’t want to believe. We see it with all variety of subjects. Aliens, scandals of any sort, sports, guilt and innocence, every theme and subject of politics imaginable, whose lives matter, different opinions of the meanings of different passages of scripture, doctrinal and interpretational differences, God or no God, what must I do to be saved, the authority of scripture, heaven and hell.

All of it, we will reject the side and view of those subjects that we don’t want to believe, regardless of the evidence. God will change minds, and he can use discussions that we have to do so, but people will never be convinced, no matter how strong the evidence, no matter how strong the reason, we cannot convince anyone of changing their beliefs.

Dave Ramsey says, “Someone convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still.”

Abraham makes it clear that if they don’t believe all the evidence that scripture provides, neither will they believe any signs or wonders, it is not the lack of evidence that produces unbelief or a lack of faith, but a hard heart.

The solution is simple; read the Word of God, Believe the Word of God, apply the Word of God. To do one with out the others is null and void. James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Jesus lays it all out in one statement, summed up in John 5:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.

Lazarus believed despite his circumstances in this life. The rich man didn’t believe despite his circumstances in this life. Make sure you believe, in season and out, during the best of times, during the worst of times, in all times, God is on the throne and in control of it all.

 

Let’s Pray

Luke 16:14-18 Jesus is the Son of Man Law and Gospel

Luke 16:14-18

Jesus is the Son of Man

Law and Gospel

 

All right! Please turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 16. As usual, if you do not have a Bible, or you need a Bible, please see me after the service.

          So, in this section of Luke, Jesus has been talking about the gift of grace. Salvation by grace alone. He is reiterating and emphasizing that our salvation, our justification has nothing to do with our possessions, or our actions, or anything else about us.

          And anytime people, or in this case, the God Man, emphasizes the free gift of grace, they are going to get push back. The term that fits is “antinomian.” IT means against the law, or anti law. And when someone says that what they mean is that a person doesn’t care about the law, that they think you can do anything you want, and it doesn’t matter because God is grace and love and forgiveness.

          The Pharisees had seen sinners gathering around Jesus, tax collectors even!  Jesus didn’t care that they sinned and broke Gods law, in fact, by spending time with them, it was like he was telling them that they didn’t have to!

          The Pharisees would see this and think, that’s not right, its not fair, we are spending all our time obeying the laws, and even more laws that we added as well, and Jesus is saying it doesn’t mean anything!

          Then we see last week, were Jesus seemingly responds to that view from the Pharisees. Jesus essentially says that, although your salvation is not dependent on it or affected by it, how you live absolutely matters.

          God is God. God is Ultimate. God is your Master. WE are slaves, servants, bondservants of God. WE are called to be the manager or steward of what he has given us.  You have done nothing to earn or receive what God has given you, and in fact, he has not quite given it to you, instead he has entrusted it to you. Its still Gods.

          And so, use those gifts, whether it be influence, power, money, testimony, spiritual gifts, or whatever, use those things to serve and to please God. All things in this world should be held with open hands and be handed over to God.

          What God says should have more authority over our lives than anything and everything.

          So, with that established, lets go ahead and read the aftermath of what Jesus taught last week, as we look at Luke chapter 16, verses 14-18. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation.

          The Holy spirit inspired Luke to record his Gospel as we pick up, Luke 16:14-18:

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[e] 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

          Now the previous parable was told directly to the disciples, likely with the sinners and tax collectors right there to hear the message. And Jesus was telling them about how to follow and serve God.

          Now, the pharisees were hearing the teaching as well, obviously purposely by Jesus. Now, the Pharisees were Identified as lovers of money. They heard what Jesus was saying about not being able to serve both God and money.

          And the scriptures say that they ridiculed him, they derided him. The definition of the word is to turn up your nose, to sneer, to scoff at. That’s what the Pharisees did when they heard Jesus’s teachings that we looked at last week.

          Now, the question on all our minds, and I know Jim there has some things to say, but the question is why were they mocking/ What did the mocking consist of?

          What I mean, is, were they wondering, “Who is he talking about? Not us, of course! Must be the tax collectors. WE serve God. WE just happen to recognize what Jesus is missing, that us having money and power and so on is because we earned God’s Blessing.”

          One commentator imagines them saying, “Of course he is criticizing the rich! Poor people always do! Its jealousy!”

          The question comes down to, are they justifying their love for money? OR are they denying their love for money? Or are they dismissing Jesus’s teachings that love for money is wrong?

          The fact is that whatever the mindset or the motivation, this is what the world does when it does things like say that Jesus is simply a good teacher. O that he was a good moral example. When we throw empty compliments at God, we reject and mock his salvation plan just like the pharisees were doing with Jesus.

          So first, the Pharisees are saying that Jesus too lenient, and now we see them essentially saying that he is being too strict.

          Jesus responds to them; you can justify yourself all you want. You can deny all want. But God knows all. He sees through all of it. You can play the part. You can look the part. You can fool the audience, but you can’t fool the playwright.

          You can have men tricked into thinking that you are godly, that you are pious, that you are righteous. But at the core of everything, God knows who you are. He knows your heart. He knows your true identity, no matter the personality you portray. That is that we are sinners. That is our natural born identity before God, and one that only he can change in us.

          Jesus shows us that the things that men think are important, the things that make us high and mighty among this world, any human achievements. They are all dirty rags to God.

          This includes and is especially in regard to anything and everything NOT done to and for the Glory of God. As we ended last week, who is ultimate in your life and your decision making? You or God?

          Again, God sees all. Physical, emotional, spiritual. Jesus says that if its not done for and to God’s glory then it’s an abomination. OF course, that word is not really acceptable these days and to be fair, we tend to only use it for certain sins, in certain situations. Honestly, there have been times that we have used the word like a club.

          But we see what God’s word says, Sin is an abomination. All sin, as we see, but then especially some sins. Specifically, here, trusting in yourself instead of God, rejecting the Son, a self-righteous and rebellious heart, which we all have until God changes it, that is an Abomination unto God.

          In verse 16, Jesus tells them that the Law and Prophets lasted until the time of John the Baptist and ended with him. Starting with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, we see that it is now time of the Gospel. John and Jesus ministries overlapped as both call on their hearers to repent, as the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

          And then we see this interesting phrase. “Everyone forces his way into it.” Honestly, no one seems to know what it means, but of course, people are not short on opinions and theories. An alternate translation, as noted in the footnotes of most translations is “Everyone is forcefully urged into it.”

          One theory is that this is referring to the same idea we looked at in Luke 13:24. Strive to enter through the narrow door. Strive, exert, make every effort, do everything you can to ensure that you are in the kingdom of heaven.

          Of course, this is not to say Do this in order to get in, but do this as the fruit that you are already in.

          Another common and popular idea about this phase is that it refers to the momentum of Christianity as it spread, starting with the time that Jesus was here, speaking, teaching, miracling and many followed him. He let the flood gates open as the Gospel was presented first to the Jews, then the Gentiles. And after his death and resurrection and ascension, the Apostles brought the Gospel to the ends of the known earth, starting with Pentecost when many were added to the church. This would culminate in the 4th century when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the roman Empire.

          And Jesus tells them, just in case there is any misunderstanding, which we all know that there was on the Pharisees part. Just in case there was a misunderstanding, The law still matters.

          Now, how we mean that, how it applies is the key. WE are not under the Old Covenant, the covenant of the Law. We are under the New Covenant, covered under and sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are not saved through obedience to and keeping the law, we are saved by grace through faith in Christ.

          But that cannot and does not mean that the law is abolished, that it doesn’t matter. And in fact, if you look at the teachings of Jesus, especially in the Sermon on the Mount, he lays down a much more restrictive view of the law, a more demanding view of it.

          Having sex with someone not your spouse is adultery. Jesus says, even lusting in your heart after someone is adultery, a sin. Murder is a sin. But Jesus says that hate in your heart means that you are guilty of murder. God knows the heart and the heart matters.

          The point is that Christianity is not a “Do whatever you want and its all-good cause Jesus!”  religion. The problem is that most people who see and agree with that, figure that it must be what they see is the opposite. We have to behave and obey in order to earn the blessings and favor of God.

          The truth is that the higher view we have ourselves, the more righteous we see ourselves, the lower we practically see, the less righteous we view the law and the commands of God.

          The truth is that grace is freely given, undeserved and cannot be earned or kept. The truth is that grace, through the Holy Spirit, brings about a change of heart. It’s the change of heart that changes everything and includes a growing over time desire to follow the law and commands that God has given us and to do them to the glory of God. Jesus tells his followers, if you love me, keep my commands. This is the key to it; You can not sin to the glory of God.

         

          Now, we come to verse 18, and once again, we ask, why is this one single line, this single verse stuck right here, seemingly in the middle of everything else, seemingly unconnected.

          WE have before and we will teach on divorce in other sections. And we could here, but I want to focus on the context. Why did Jesus say this here and now? This was one of the biggest ways that the Pharisees got the law, its intention and the application wrong.

          Gods law didn’t address enough for them, it didn’t anticipate every contingency, it didn’t adequately cover all the reasons that a husband especially could get fed up with his wife and should be able to divorce her. So, they made their own laws regarding it. They decided to do what was right in their own eyes.

          Jesus is using verse 18 to prove his point and give an example of verse 17. Jesus said elsewhere that the reasons God allowed any divorce at all was because of the hardness of their hearts. Scripture gives exceptions, but the Pharisees had created a lot of so-called legitimate reasons for divorce, including if the wife ruined a meal or if the husband found a woman prettier than his wife.

          Jesus points out to us that when our heart is bad, when we have a hard heart, we will cling to outward behavior with rebellious hearts, or we will throw behavior out altogether. Both are wrong. They can seem opposites at first glance, but they are really two sides of the same coin. The cure to both of them is the same. The grace filled Gospel.

          The Law was given to us by God to guide us. It was given to us to make us holy. It was given to us to convict us. And it was given to us to reflect the very person and character of God.

          Right and wrong still matter.

          Right and wrong are still determined by the Law.

          Right and wrong are still determined by the Word of God.

          Salvation is still determined solely by God’s grace.

          Sanctification and maturing are determined by God’s grace

          Sanctification and maturing are determined by our continued and growing obedience to the Law.

          Sanctification and maturing are determined by the work of the Holy Spirit inside of us.
          Sanctification and maturing are determined by spiritual disciplines.

          In any real and practical sense, in real world application, there is no way that you can divorce the Law from the Gospel. They don’t and were never intended to serve the same purpose, so you can’t compare them as apples to apples, but instead are more like peanut butter and jelly, or any other two complimentary foods you want to use in the comparison.

          Jesus spends much of his time teaching actually interpreting and clarifying the Old Testament. He, being the Word incarnate, is the one who gets to determine and tell us what the Scriptures mean. But that’s getting into next weeks passage too.

         

          The fact is, God knows the heart. He knows your heart. Even if you think or portray obedience to the Word, if your heart says different, God says you are wrong.

You can say you use money to serve God, but God knows better.

          You can say you don’t seek the approval of this world, but God knows better.

          You can say you know that you are saved by faith in Christ alone, but God sees you trying to earn it and keep by your works.

          God knows.

          God sees.

          You don’t get into the kingdom of God by following the law, because nobody can, except Jesus who did. You get in by God’s grace gifting you repentance and faith in Christ. You show you are in by following the law, and more importantly and more accurately, wanting in your heart to follow the law.

 

Let’s pray

         

Luke 15:11-32 Jesus is the Son of Man The Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Prodigal Son

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

 

All right! Turn with me in your Bibles, if you will, to Luke chapter 15. As I say every week, if you do not have a Bible or if you need a Bible, please see me after the service and we can help get one into your hands.

Well, last week, we introduced the setting of this passage. Tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus, drawn to him, wanting to hear his teaching and to be on the receiving end of his grace. And as they saw this, the Scribes and Pharisees grumbled about it.

Whether they recognized it or not, they were grumbling at Gods grace. We see what had been happening in Jesus’ ministry. Sinners were welcomed. People were getting healed on the Sabbath. Jesus is claiming the power to forgive sins. Heaven was open to those who would repent and submit themselves to God. But those who think they had no need to repent, those who were self-righteous, they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

“That’s not fair! I did everything right! Why does HE get to get in!” That’s the mindset that Jesus is addressing in these three parables that he tells here. The first two we looked at last week, the lost coin and the lost sheep. And Jesus point was we don’t save us. We don’t even help Jesus save us. Jesus chooses to save us and its all grace, no merit involved at all.

The third parable is the one we will look at this morning as well, the parable of the prodigal Son. Again, Jesus showing that the themes of grace are at complete odds with self-righteousness and pride.

Let’s go ahead and read the passage, Luke chapter 15, verses 11 through 32. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 15:11-32, The Holy Spirit inspires Luke to record the Words of Jesus:

 

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to[b] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[c] 22 But the father said to his servants,[d] ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

 

Thus says the Word of God.

This is one of those well know Bible stories that we have been talking about. We think we know what the story is and what the story is telling us, and we do, partly, mostly, sort of. There are many lessons that we can learn from the prodigal son, the character of the son himself. And that who we tend to focus on. We can learn lessons from the how he deals with his father, his attitude, his heart, how he lives apart from his family and from God. So many of those lessons are right and good lessons, but not a single one of them are ultimately the point of this story.

We start out seeing that this man, this older man, had two sons. And in those days, in that society, using this example of two sons, when the dad dies, each son gets a portion of the dad’s estate, property, animals, etc. The older son, the first born would get a double share. This means that he would get 66% and the younger son would get 33%.

Now, in this case, the son doesn’t want to wait for his dad to die in order to get his share. So, he goes to the dad and says, “Give me my share of your estate now.”

Now we don’t know the exact thoughts going through the sons’ head at that moment. He could have been thinking “Why should I continue working in this apparent dead-end job? I’m not the one who is going to get it.” OR he could have been thinking, “This is too stifling, I have to be true to who I am and follow my bliss, follow my heart and my dreams.” The result is the same, not willing to step up and take responsibility for his life, his work or anything else.

So, he goes to the father and says, Give me what’s my mine! Now, this was not exactly unheard of, but it was pretty close. At the least in was incredibly uncouth for the son to do this. And the father did it. He separated his estate in two sections, 1/3 and 2/3s. He gave his youngest son his third of the inheritance and as one commentator said, and I know a lot of you can identify with this, “the father allowed him to make his own choice to go his own way.” As a parent, especially as the kids get older, that’s the only thing we can do. They need to live their life and unfortunately, make their own mistakes and bad decisions.

Verse 13 indicates that someone liquidated the inheritance. Either the father to make the division cleaner or the son so he could just get going and whoop it up. Either way the son took of a long way away, away from the eyes of family and people that would have known him. He goes far away, like leaving here and headed to Redding or Sacramento or even San Francisco. And he proceeds to spend his money foolishly. He squandered it with reckless living.

Sometimes we see in the Bible, things can be overstated, over emphasis used, telling us to go through the eye of a needle in order to make the point how hard it is to save ourselves. (Spoiler; its literally, physically impossible.)

But I think that here we are seeing the opposite. I think we are seeing some very serious understatement here. The son squandered his money in reckless living. It reads to me like those lottery winners that we all see the stories for. Winning millions and hundreds of millions of dollars and being bankrupt within just a few years.

Just in case things are unclear, especially with the ultimate point of these three parables we are looking at last week and this week, our decisions absolutely have consequences. Just because we cannot save or help save ourselves, that it is 100% God in every way shape and form, just because he is sovereign and predestined all things and controls all things from the grand universe to the tiniest of Atoms, and decrees all things, does not mean that we are puppets, that our decisions don’t matter. We make our decisions day by day, moment by moment how we live, how we act, how we respond to what’s going on around us and inside of us.

And this younger son, he made his decisions. He was willfully defiant. He was a lost cause who wanted to be lost. And he lost all his money. He spent it all. It was all gone. He had nothing. And then, after he had lost all his money, a famine hit hard. So, he had no food. Not things were tight. Not he had to go to the local food pantry. He had no food.

And so, he did the only thing he was able to do. He, a Jewish man, hired himself out to a gentile pig farmer. The pig, of course, being the symbol, the epitome of unclean animals. IT seemed like the lowest of lows.

His self-made circumstances, no money, no food, combined with Gods sovereign circumstances, the famine and so on, both combined to bring this main to what seemed like it was the lowest point that the man could ever get to.

He sacrificed his dignity. He sacrificed his respect. He sacrificed his religious convictions. And then it got so bad, that he was looking at the slop he was feeding the pigs and was jealous of how well they were eating. He wanted to eat as well as them, which was not well, make no mistake.

 

And then, what could be said next in the text, what is true and based on the context of the parables, I believe is implied, is “But God…”

The text says that he came to himself. He “came to” as if awakening from a spiritual coma. He woke up as “awoken from God, by the Power of the Holy Spirit.” He was at his lowest point, but God wouldn’t let him stay there. God brought him to his senses.

He thought, I remember the people that worked for my dad. I remember the servants. Even the servants! And they were eating good! They got everything they needed and more. I will go back to my dad; I will repent, and I will beg his forgiveness.

I will tell him, I’m not worthy to be forgiven. I’m not worthy to be called your son. I’m not worthy to be even a lowly servant. I have sinned against you and heaven. I can imagine God bringing a little piece if the scriptures to his mind and heart at that moment, maybe PS 51:4 where David says that all sin is against God.

So, he gets up and starts making his way back to his father’s home. But before he gets there, we see something else. We see that the father, since the son has been gone, he has been actively looking, actively searching for him, actively waiting for him to come back home.

He saw his son while he was still a far way off, just as God sees us when we are still spiritually a far way off. The father saw his son in the distance and ran to him. He embraced him, and grabbed hold of him, again, just as God does to us, to every sinner who repents.

As we established last week at the end, we are loved and received by God before we ever make that decision to repent and trust in him. The son hadn’t even gotten there and hadn’t even said anything, but the father already loved him and received him back.  We always have a home with God if and when we are willing to repent and turn ourselves our to his grace and mercy.

The son, of course, started to recite his spiel that he had rehearsed. But his father wouldn’t have any of it. He sent for his best robe, for a ring, and some shoes. The son didn’t even have any shoes… But he was reconciled back and welcomed back a s a full member of the family.  He was welcomed, he was loved, and he was forgiven by the father. He was also rejoiced over.

The father tells his servants, go prepare the fattened calf for a partay! And to be clear, just in case it needs to be said, the party and the celebration, were in thanksgiving to God, not a godless, self-indulgence party. Just as verses 7 & 10 tell us that there is much rejoicing in Heaven over a sinner who repents.

The son was dead, now he is alive again! Just as Adam sinned and brought spiritual death to the human condition, so too did Jesus, the Second Adam, makes us spiritually alive, bringing us a new heart and a new spirit through the Holy Spirit.

We then are born again. Was dead, now alive. Was lost, now found. Time to celebrate.

 

 

But not everyone was happy.

 

The older son, remember him? He was out in the field working, as he always was. He was dutiful, he was responsible, he was hardworking. He heard the singing and dancing and asked what was going on. What’s the big hullaballoo?

“Your brother is back, and your dad is throwing a party because he is all the way back! He is safe and sound and back a part of the family!”

 

Well, make no mistake, the brother was angry! Just like the Pharisees grumbling about the tax collectors and sinners. The brother wouldn’t take part in the celebration. He couldn’t bring himself to be happy for the brother. The Father came out and tried to bring him in to join. Tried to get him to be happy for his father and his brother.

The brother lashed out: “It’s not fair! He left. He hurt my father. He squandered his opportunity. Not me! I never left. I have been loyal and steadfast. I followed the rules. I have been responsible.” “It’s not fair! You never threw me a party. You never slaughtered the fattened calf for me!”

But the fathers love and forgiveness were great and unconditional. He was brought back in the fold like nothing ever happened.

Now, when we look at application of some of these parables, one of the biggest things we need to remember is that we are not Jesus. We can’t and shouldn’t automatically do the exact and complete things that Jesus does in these stories.

Is this story an example of how we should always run a business? No.

Is this an example of how we should, without exception, run our family and personal relationships? No.

There are times and places to draw lines. There are times to remember that we are called to forgive, but not forget. There are times to reward loyalty and dedication and steadfastness.

 

But that’s not how God’s grace works in relation to salvation. God’s grace is scandalous. It is undeserved. It is unfair from the world’s perspective.

It reminds me of the parable of the workers in Matthew 20. In Sinclair Fergusons book, The Whole Christ, he talks about this parable and the scandalous Ness of God’s grace. He points out that its not until the workers who showed up early and worked all day long, not until they saw the workers at the end of the day get the same pay, they did, it was only then that they got upset. It was Gods grace that revealed hidden legalism in their hearts.

That mindset, “I deserve it! Especially because they didn’t deserve it and they got it. So, I should especially get it because I deserve it.” This subtle form of Legalism is heading in all of our hearts.

We see in verses 30 that the older brother won’t even calls him his brother, he just spits it out in disgust, “That son of yours…”

The Father responds, the grace I show him has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t affect you one bit. It doesn’t take away anything from you. Other people being saved doesn’t take away anything from your salvation. Them receiving grace does not take away from grace you already received.

We see in this part of the story that Jesus is still and will continue to call the Pharisees to repent and join him in the kingdom of Heaven. The offer never stops being presented. The plea never stops being made.

The father tells the older brother, it is right and proper to rejoice. It is right and proper to rejoice over your brother coming back home. It is right and proper to rejoice in each and every one of us who was lost and is now found. Each and every one of us who was dead and is now alive.

The father is telling the son, I believe, that if you repent and come to me, we will rejoice for you as well. For then you will have been brought from spiritual death to spiritual life and will be brought home.

God often will bring us through the far country in order to wake us up and bring us home. And we see this, and we see How Great the fathers love for us. That we will always be welcome home. That he will never stop actively looking for us, searching for us and waiting for us.

We also need to remember that as often as we put ourselves in the younger brothers’ shoes, more often Id says, we are actually in the older brothers’ shoes. God, I’m doing this work for you. I’m loving you and serving you and being loyal and steadfast. Why don’t I get more grace, more mercy, more whatever?

That heart of ours is an idol factory and that is one of them. That’s one of the reasons that Jesus tells us we need to remember. He is constantly reminding us of his grace and mercy and that it is freely given, as Mike read this morning, so that no man may boast.

And so, we remember. Constantly, regularly. We do it every first Sunday of the month. We remember and we know that we are in his hands because we have responded by faith to his death on cross and resurrection. God grace poured out on those covered with his blood, the blood of the lamb, come to take away the sins of the world. He instead he spares us from the wrath of God.

He condescended from Heaven, still God, was born a man, a human baby and lived the perfect, sinless life that we needed to and were unable to live. 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 15:1-10 Jesus is the Son of Man Lost, Then Found Pt 1

Luke 15:1-10

Jesus is the Son of Man

Lost, Then Found Pt 1

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

All right, please turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 15. As I try to encourage you every week, if you do not have a Bible or you are in need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we will work on getting one into your hands.

So, we are continuing our series through the Gospel of Luke, starting on chapter 15. Now, as we have been going through the teachings of Jesus, if we are not looking at context, a number of the last few passages could seem heavy, burdensome, or overly confusing.

The message, one of the points that Jesus is making is that not all who think they are going to Heaven, will actually go to Heaven. This could be misunderstood as us not being able to be assured of our salvation, how can you really know?

Well, Jesus answers that question and one of the answers is through the fruit that is produced in discipleship. He tells those listening to him that there is a cost to discipleship. This can be misunderstood as legalism, that our works are at least a part of what makes us righteous, that we work to either earn or to keep our salvation, which is also called legalism.

Jesus is teaching against and fighting against the self-righteous and the religious establishment and their misunderstanding if the purpose and application of the law. This can lead to the misunderstanding the law and our lives don’t matter, that we can live however we want, and it doesn’t matter. This wrong thinking is called Antinomianism.

And so here, at the beginning of Luke chapter 15, Jesus is going to tell 1 parable, one point, one truth in three different ways, almost seeming that they are three different parables. WE are going to look at the first two this week, and the third next week.

So, let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 15, verses 1-10. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version, though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation.

Luke, inspired by the Holy spirit, records the ministry and words of Jesus Christ. Luke 15:1-10:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

 

          May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

So, Jesus has been gathering crowds that have been flocking to him and following him, we saw that last week as well. Then, we looked at a few of the specific groups who were following him. This week, we specifically see that sinners and tax collectors are gathering and following him. People are drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Often, they don’t even know why. But there is something about Jesus. Those that need him, when they see him, when they encounter him, they go to him.

And yet, it is interesting, RC Sproul writes: Isn’t it interesting how Jesus drew sinners to himself? Yet sinners tend to flee from us. (Speaking of Christians and the church in general) He continues I wonder what they saw in him that they don’t see in us. Sometimes we think that God has appointed us not to be vessels of Grace but to be the Policemen of the world. But Jesus somehow was approachable by the sinner. They flocked to Him to Hear Him.

 

          Now, that could be one of the reasons we see what happens here. Perhaps, or maybe more certainly than perhaps), the Pharisees saw themselves as God’s policemen of the world. There was no grace. And the people didn’t want to be around them. But Jesus they flocked to. Interestingly, what the Pharisees couldn’t see, is that Jesus was actually teaching and preaching a more demanding morality that they were, easiest seen in the Sermon on the Mount. But because of them flocking to Jesus and not the pharisees, they could have been hurt and perturbed and jealous of Jesus.

So, of course, we see them grumbling about the situation, asking Why is He spending time with them? To them, Him doing so was affirming their sinful lifestyle.

Now, there are some biblical principles at play here that have to be acknowledged and balanced. Namely I think of 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul says that Bad company corrupts good morals. We do have to be careful with who we let influence us and influence our beliefs, our values, our morals and our behavior. But we are not called to be locked away from the world, using our church as a bunker in the culture war around us.

This is another warning and example that shows that we can take a good, right, biblical principle and take it to an unloving, unmerciful, graceless, sinful extreme. The scribes and the Pharisees used this principal to dismiss the dignity and worth and the humanity of those summed up here as sinners and tax collectors.

Instead of compassion and Evangelism, they dismissed them. They ignored them. They condemned them. And not only them, but anyone who would speak with them. Anyone who would dine with them. Anyone who would “hang out” with them. Namely Jesus and (hopefully us today) the message is “Don’t spend time with that type of person,” as if their sin is contagious. And it does take wisdom and discernment to know when and how to spend time with certain people and when and how not to spend time with certain people.

And yes, they believed that God would welcome repentant sinners, but the person had to first repent, change their ways and then they might be worthy to seek and approach God. This is the mindset that Jesus would demolish here with these parables and the one we will look at next week.  Jesus says, let me tell you something about those sinners…

 

We see today that he tells the story of the lost sheep and the story of the lost coin. Now, the cultural assumption is that the point of the story and the lesson of the story is that Jesus loves you. Jesus will leave everything for you. You, you, you…

You are not the point of these stories. Yes, Jesus does love you. Yes, he loved you enough to leave heaven and to give up his life for you. Those are correct sentences, IM not saying those are incorrect. But they are not the point of these parables this morning.

So, we look at who this story is being told to. IT is not being told to the lost sheep and the lost coin. Its being told to the others. Its being told to the scribes and pharisees. The point of these parables is two groups. The group hearing it, as we just identified. And the Shepard who went out and saved the one, the woman who searched for and found the coin. Its about Jesus.

 

Jesus is the savior. He is Our Savior. He is the savior of all whom the Father has given to him. He often wrongly describes Jesus as a Savior who wants to save but can’t or won’t. That he is dependent on us. That he is powerless unless we allow him to save us. But that is completely unbiblical. The fact of the matter is that if Jesus wants you saved, if he has determined you will be saved. You will in fact, be saved.

This is the doctrine that is sometimes called Irresistible Grace. Got Questions.org defines it this way:

Simply put, the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals. The Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the elect so that they inevitably will come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ (John 6:37-40).

 

We know that we are saved by faith. Among other places, we see this in Ephesians chapter 2. But, as is human nature, our tendency is to say that we are responsible for our faith. We boast in our faith. We take credit for our salvation by taking credit for our faith. And so, Ephesians also tells us that the very faith that saves us is itself a gift of God.

The fact is that Jesus will not give up until the job is done. He says later on in Luke’s Gospel that He came to seek and save those who are lost. He is actively seeking those who are lost. Those he came to save. An analogy he uses elsewhere, he comes after those who are sick, not chasing after those who are well.

Romans tells us that no one in and of themselves seeks after God. Instead, we actively suppress the truth. And so, we can’t come to Christ without him going out and bringing us to himself. The Shepard lays the lost sheep on his shoulders and brings him back into the fold.

The sheep here was unable to return on his own or by his own power.  Ands so the Shepard carries him where and when he is unable to go himself. Isaiah 53:6, God says:

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;

 

In the hymn, Come Thou Fount, we see in one verse, the hymn writer writes:

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed his precious blood

 

And then in the very next verse:

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

 

We are sheep and we wonder all places except into the loving arms of Jesus, our Good Shepard. We read this morning in Ezekiel 34, verses 11-16. I want to read it again, after what we have already looked at.

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.

 

          Look at that, listen to that. Who is the one taking care of the sheep, not themselves? Who is the one protecting them when they are in danger, feeding them when they are Hungry, who will gather them and make them lie down in green pastures? God says, I…I…I…I…I… 15 times right there, God says, I.

He loves us and is willing to do this for us. Not because we are lovable. Not because we are worthy of it. Not because we could ever repay him. But because of Himself. His goodness. His Love. His Glory.

We see at the end of both of these parables, Jesus rejoices in finding us. He rejoices in our salvation. He is our righteousness. He is our justification. He is the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the World.

Romans 5 tells us exactly who Jesus is and who we are in comparison. Romans 5:6-11:

  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

 

And so, when I say this story, this passage is not about you, that is not to take anything away from Gods love for us, his willingness to do what it took to save us. Indeed, its to magnify it. Because it is God, through the Son Jesus Christ, for Gods Glory, through Gods perfect love came down and fulfilled the law, fulfilled the Old Covenant and then paid our penalty for the breaking of that covenant. He died the death that we were justly supposed to die He rose from the dead, so that we too could be resurrected and one day, ascend into heaven to receive our glorified bodies and spend eternity with Him, rejoicing and worshipping in Him and through and at him.

God rejoices in our salvation and our repentance. He rejoices over Jesus seeking and saving us, even when we don’t want to be found, or think we already were found.  There is more joy in heaven over one who was lost and is now saved, who have believed the Gospel and repented of their sins, than for 99 who think they are righteous and have no need to repent.

Jesus continues and tells the story of the lost coin. Same purpose, same point, same Hero, and same rejoicing. The coin that is lost cannot will itself to be found. It cannot seek or search for the woman looking for it. Instead, the woman actively and diligently seeks this coin. And there is great rejoicing and partying when a coin that was lost is now found.

Again, we can not repent in and of ourselves. WE can be sorry. We can feel guilty. We can be remorseful. But we cannot repent, not without the Holy Spirit’s work inside of us, in our heart and in our spirit.

God seeks us, not the other way around. God loves us and he does so perfectly, with his perfect love. But even his loving us and saving us is ultimately and primarily done to bring glory to himself. Soli Deo Gloria, To the Glory of God Alone. One of the Five Solas of the Reformation.

I am reminded, I know, I’m reminded of it often, but in this passage, and this message, I am reminded of the Jonathon Edwards quote: The Only thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that makes it necessary.

The scribes and the Pharisees in this passage, it can be hard to see, but they are us BEFORE God intervenes. And this should remind us again, about how we should treat others. That just as you and I are valuable in Gods eyes, so are all sheep and coins (and people if that wasn’t clear) valuable in Gods eyes.

And just as they can’t, nor could we go back and look for the Shepard. Instead, the Shepard seeks us out, he picks us up and carries us to eternal safety. Just as they can’t, and we couldn’t look for the woman who lost us. It is the woman (Not that Jesus is a woman) that lights up the room and diligently seeks after us.

And when we are found, through no work of our own, through nothing to boast in other than the work, and life and cross of Christ, there is much rejoicing in Heaven as a soul is adopted into the Kingdom.

We are going to end in a moment with Amazing Grace and I just encourage you, even if it means not singing, see the words that were written. Hear the words that are being sung. Feel the truth that Gods grace is amazing to save us wretches, Once lost, now found, once blind, now seeing, all through, because of and for the Glory of God. Amen

Let’s Pray.

Luke 14:25-35 Jesus is the Son of Man The Cost of Following Jesus

Luke 14:25-35

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Cost of Following Jesus

 

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

          All right! Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 14. As I try to say every week, if you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service so we can get one into your hands.

So, we are continuing to look through Luke’s Gospel, following Jesus as he minsters to the people of Israel, teaching the religious leaders the right understanding of the law and what the love of and love for God really looks like. He has come to proclaim the forgiveness of sins and the coming of the kingdom of God.

Big picture, Jesus is slowly making his way to Jerusalem, since Luke 9. He is making his way there because that is where his earthly ministry is going to come to an end, as he will be tried and crucified, put to death for the forgiveness of our sins. He stops at numerous towns and villages along the way, preaching, teaching, healing, casting out demons and preforming many other types of miracles. That’s where we were the last few weeks, Jesus stopping in a town and having a Sabbath dinner at the home of one of the Pharisees.

He shared some parables about the kingdom of Heaven, and among the points that he made was one that he has been making over and over again in Luke’s Gospel. Not everyone who thinks they are saved actually is. Not everyone who assumes they will go to heaven actually will.

He was getting people to think, to investigate, to look, to believe, to trust in him and him alone. Many religions, especially ones that consider themselves Christian, will encourage you to trust and follow Jesus, but only true, biblical Christianity says to trust in Christ alone.

With all that in mind, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 14, verses 25-35. I will, of course be reading out of the English Standard Version, though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 24:25-35, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, Jesus is back on the move, and we see that great crowds are following him. Now, we have seen throughout the Gospels that the people who are following him fall into a few different categories.

There are, of course, the genuine disciples, including but not limited to the Twelve. There were also, non-genuine disciples, of which there were multiple categories. There were those who just wanted to see the miracles and hear the teachings. There were those who wanted to be a part of something, something they could tell their grandkids about. “I was there when…” And there were those who wanted to be fed, wanted to be healed, wanted to be the recipient of Jesus miracles.

Jesus wasn’t looking for followers in that sense, followers just to be popular, just to be an influencer. He wasn’t looking just for spectators. He was calling for recruits, for dedicated disciples.

And so, Jesus addresses the crowd. He tells them what they need to hear, to make sure they have accurate expectations. He is more interested in quality than quantity. Basically, the thought is, “Don’t waste my time. If you are not interested in paying the price, don’t spend time filling up your cart.”

But how do you know if you’re willing to pay the price I you do not know what the price is? So, Jesus tells them. First, to follow him, he says, you must hate your family. Now, this is commonly misunderstood when Jesus says this. What can he mean by hate?

First, a quick run through of some verses that record things that Jesus has said, and the scriptures tell us.

Matthew 7:9-13, Jesus tells us to honor, or love our parents. Ephesians 5:25, Paul tells husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Matthew 5:24, Jesus tells us to be reconciled to our brother. Luke 6:27, Love your enemies. Mark 12:32-34, Love your neighbors. John 13:34, Love one another.

So, from that small sample, we can know that when Jesus says that we are to hate our families, he is not meaning in the way that it is meant today, in English in our culture and society. But there’s good news! We can look at scriptures to get an idea of what Jesus means.

Back in Genesis, when Isaac married both Leah and Rachel (long story, different sermon) in one verse, it says that he loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. In the very next verse, it says that he hated Leah. So, we can see that the biblical meaning for hate is basically to love less.

And what we see too, from the Rachel and Leah example, that fits so perfectly with what Jesus is saying, is that if we don’t love him 100%, completely, totally, then its as if we don’t love him at all. If we love less than 100%, it is to hate.

And so, to put it all clearly, when Jesus says that to follow him, we must hate our families, he is saying that to follow him, we must love him more than we love our families. We should love our families, but we are to love Jesus more. If we are not committed 100% to him, then we are not committed at all.

This also has allusions to the parable we looked at last week. If Jesus is not the number 1 priority, then we are on the outside looking in.

I love what one commentator wrote about this, Ill go ahead and read it. He writes:

The paradox is that the proper way to love our children is to “hate” them because our greater love for God will enable us to love them with a greater love! Disciples are the best lovers of God and of family and friends. Disciples must always be ready to “hate”- to give second place to everything and everyone else. The relational cost of discipleship may seem harsh at first, but in the right perspective and priority this focuses our lives and makes them richer and fuller.

When I’m reading and studying and preparing for the sermons, I take notes and sometimes, when reading through one of the commentaries, Ill see a quote like this that I want to refer back to and Ill write in my notes which commentary and what page and then a few words to remind me what it is that I read or to help me find on the page what I wanted, and for this one, my summation was Love Better by Hating.  And as I was going back through my notes, I saw that, and it made me laugh.

Its true though. To best love our families, to best love our spouses and our kids, to best love our neighbors and our Christian brothers and sisters, and to best love our enemies, we must first love and fully love Christ.

Ad as we saw last week, our families can be an idol to us. That’s a very easy one. Our spouses, kids, our parents, our grandkids, it can be so easy to put them above all, including God. But its not just our families. So many other things can easily become idols in our life.

Our lifestyle can be an idol for us, not willing to give up certain aspects of our way of life. Our comfort, our home and our house are some of the subtlest idols that come our way. Our location, our job, our possessions easily become idols. And maybe for many of us, the most subversive of them all, the one, along side family that would get the most pushback, our freedoms are an incredible idol here in America.

All of these things, we must hate in the biblical sense, if we are to love and follow Jesus.

Jesus continues and says that whoever follows Him must bear his own cross. This was before Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, remember. He told them, though they didn’t fully understand, that he was going to be put to death. And they of course knew what the cross was in terms of it being a tool used by the Roman government to put criminals to death. The point that Jesus is making here is that we are to deny our impulses and not give in to our temptations. The way to follow Christ is not to follow our hearts and our dreams and our desires. Those too often go directly against what Christ has for us.

Instead, we are to deny our self. We are to put to death the sin that lives inside of us. WE are to submit our dreams, desires and plans underneath what God has instore for us. Our dreams, desires and pans are not as important as what Gods desires and plans are for us.

In verses 28-32, Jesus gives us an example of why it is important to know what to expect before getting into it. We, as a church, cannot, or at least should not, just call up someone and have them come out and install a new heating and air system, just like that. We need to get an estimate, check the budget, make sure we can afford it, do some fundraising if needed and decide whether the price is both possible and worth it to get what we are looking for.

Essentially, Jesus is saying, don’t be surprised if troubles or obstacles pop up. He is telling us that they will pop up.

Briefly, this is not the point of this passage, but is supported by this and many other passages. When Jesus tells us don’t worry about what is going to happen, when he says not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear and all those other things, he is not telling us to not be prepared and not to plan. Those are good and biblical things that we are to do, be responsible and be good stewards and what God has given us.

Back to this passage. There are preachers and churches out there that will tell you that if you follow Jesus and trust in him and have enough faith that He will fix all your problems and that he wants you healthy, wealthy and wise.

Wrong! Those people are selling something. They say, have faith in him and all your dreams will come true. He will heal all your afflictions. You will get your dream family, your dream home, your dream job, etc. These people are appealing to those things that we mentioned earlier that we have made idols of in our lives. Are those bad things in and of themselves No, except when we elevate them high enough and sometimes say, Jesus Ill follow you if you give me these things.

If we follow him, dedicatedly, like he is saying here, then he will change our dreams, our desires to line up with his. He will heal the most important affliction, death due to sin separating us from communion with God. We will be content with the perfect will of Him at work in our lives.

Scriptures are quite clear that not all of Gods people are called to be successful in the way the world measures it. Not all are called to be wealthy in terms of physical possessions. Not all are called to have perfect health in this life. Some are called to have much and to be faithful with much. Some are called to have little and to be faithful with that little.

Another one of the points we take from this, is don’t start a fight you can’t win. And don’t come back at me and use Gideon or David as proofs that we should do just that. They didn’t. God did. They are the exceptions that prove the rule. God did that and he often does it in order to show us that we can’t.

Jesus is asking us, he is telling us to ask ourselves, can we finish the race? Now, we of course, cannot without his help, we can’t by ourselves. But we need to make sure that if we claim to follow Him, we are not just making a hasty decision.

Our goal, our desire, is to get to the end and to hear that we ran the good race, that we finished the race strong, Well done, good and faithful servant.

We don’t want to be like three of the four seeds on the parable of the Sower. Even if we convince ourselves and others that we are following Christ, if we fall away, if we don’t finish the race, we lose our witness, we lose our testimony. We discredit the name of Christ, and we tarnish the reputation of his bride, the church. Worst of all, we damn ourselves to Hell.

In verse 33, we see the third complimentary description of total commitment to Christ. Jesus says to renounce all, to put EVRYTHING under Christ. One commentator says it this way. Christianity is not religious justification to keep doing what we were already doing. If we are not changing our lives to out Christ 1st, we are not his disciples.

Jesus finishes up our section this week saying this: Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear

Jesus often uses salt to describe his disciples. In Matthew 5:13, he calls us the salt of the Earth. Salt back in that day was not pure salt. It was a mixture of salt and other minerals that it was harvested with. They didn’t know how to sperate the salt from the other stuff, so it was all sold as one. In that, sometimes that actual salt part of the salt would get used up and the salt had lost its saltiness. At that point, it had absolutely 0 value.

Salt preserves. It adds flavor. It is precious. But if it can no longer do what it was designed by God to do, then its is worthless. Just as we, if we claim to be disciples, if we can not do what it was that God designed us for, namely worshipping, serving and living for Jesus 100%, then we are worthless as well, specifically, spiritually worthless.

Ultimately, Jesus is asking us a question we have to answer for ourselves. Are we doing what we are called to do? Are we doing what God designed us to do? Are we following Christ and prepared for what he warns us it will cost?

Now, if you hold no claim to be a follower of Christ, there will be consequences for that decision, but the Bible says, that’s better than claiming to be a follower but not really being. James writes that teachers will be subject to harsher penalties and that principal applies wider than just teachers. There will be harsher penalties for those who claim it and don’t do it than for those who don’t claim it and don’t do it.

 

Continuing the pint Jesus has been making over and over the last few chapters of Luke’s Gospel, inspect yourself, and see, do you really believe? Do you trust and obey? DO you have faith in Christ alone? Are you willing to pay the price for discipleship? Is he number 1?

If you don’t believe in the historic teachings of the Bible.

If you don’t believe in Biblical inerrancy

If you don’t believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement

If you don’t believe in the deity of Christ

If you don’t believe in a real, literal, physical Heaven and Hell

If you don’t believe in the inherent sinfulness of man

If you don’t believe that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

If you don’t want to pay the price to follow Christ as he calls us to follow him

 

Then don’t lay claim to the title of Christian.

IF you don’t believe, you don’t believe. Although we would implore you to believe, though we love you enough to try to show you the truth of the Gospel, no one can make you believe, and God can see through fake belief.

 

 

Lastly, when you count the cost, as with everything, not just with following Christ, when you count the cost, don’t forget to count the value you receive back as well. Jesus says He who has ears to hear, let him hear. If you hear what Jesus is saying, and you know the cost, and you are willing to pay the price, don’t forget that you get something back. Something of infinite value.

You get Jesus Christ himself.

 

Let’s Pray.

Luke 14:12-24 Jesus is the Son of Man Dinner Party in Heaven

Luke 14:12-24

Jesus is the Son of Man

Dinner Party in Heaven

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

All right! Let’s go ahead and turn with me in our Bibles to Luke chapter 14. As I always try to say, if you don’t have a Bible or you need a Bible, please see me after the service.

SO, in some ways, this morning’s passage is a part two to last weeks. Same setting, same audience, same parable subject even. Jesus is at a dinner party at the home of one of the rulers of the Pharisees.

We have already seen some conflict arise due to Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath and calling the Pharisees on their hypocrisy regarding biblical rules and traditional rules. He points out that the underlying issue is the need for them to see others outside their small little circle as also having dignity and being worthy of respect. He also points out their hypocrisy in wanting to be seen as greater than, as better than those around them.

Jesus tells them to treat others as better than themselves. He reminds them that the first will be last and the last will be first. Not everyone who thinks they are in Christ actually are. The truth is that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. Not works, not morals, and not their Jewishness.  When we get to Heaven, we will be surprised at who we see and who we don’t see. The key to remember is verse 11, where Jesus tells them, and us, that they exalted will be humbled and the humbled will be exalted.

So, let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 14, verses 12 through 24. As always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. Luke 14:12-24, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit records this parable by Jesus:

 

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers[b] or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant[c] to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you,[d] none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

So, we see that Jesus is still talking to those who were at the dinner party, and he continues to drive the points home, sharing uncomfortable truths with them. And Jesus both uses the setting, of this dinner party, and the imagery that the Old Testament uses of the wedding banquets and wedding feasts as a symbol of that eternal glory in Heaven that we get to share in with God.

Isaiah 25:6-9:

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
    He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

 

And so, Jesus continues to use the wedding feast as the setting of the points he is making to this group. First big point he makes, don’t do the things you do in order to receive back. Its great to have dinner and spend time with friends and family, and sometimes its at their house and sometimes its at your house and you take turns and that’s fine. But don’t only ever invite those who can repay that invitation. Don’t only be generous with those who can be generous back.

This is the same principal we see in Luke 6, verses 32-36:

“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.

 

Jesus contrasts that with love those who persecute you and pray for your enemies.

So instead of only inviting those who can invite you back and repay your generosity with their own, be generous with and invite those who can’t repay you.  This is another, specific and practical way of recognizing peoples worth and dignity as image bearers of God.

Jesus himself is a great example of this. He was the epitome of generosity and love to us. He died on the cross, paid the penalty for sin that we owed, and we couldn’t pay. He did for us that we couldn’t do for ourselves. And he didn’t do it with us able to repay him. We can’t, of course, ever come close to repaying him. We can’t even stay debt free after he has already paid it. WE continue to accrue more and more, but Jesus has paid it all, with no expectation of repayment.

This is the true fruit of the spirit. This is true love, generosity, true mercy, true respect. As opposed to the pharisees and their hypocritical, “Don’t cost me anything,” show others how great I am, false, pretend fruit.

 

 

Now, at this point, Jesus had laid some pretty harsh lessons on them. It seems like he probably left the room in shocked silence. They were all insulted and worse, it was all true. So, what were they going to say?

But there is always that one guy, or gal, but there is always that one guy who will speak up and break the awkward silence. And we see that here. One guy breaks the silence, intending to lighten the mood and he shouts out, Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!

Amen! Right? That’s easy to agree with. And I can understand what this guy was doing. IT was uncomfortable. Jesus just said, “Take care of the poor,” and “Quit being hypocrites.” So, Let’s say something that everyone can agree with.

 

Yeah Heaven!

I don’t know anyone who would disagree with that statement, right? And what this guy said was technically right and true and accurate. But especially in the context of what Jesus has been preaching and teaching, it didn’t actually mean anything, especially what the people would have heard when he said it.

Cause we have two opposite ways to take this, and both are wrong. The Jewish leaders thought that they didn’t need to do anything, and they were guaranteed a spot at the Banquet table in Heaven. They were Jewish and they were righteous, and they were the ones that would be seated at that table.

The other side is summed up in the movie Ratatouille, where the one character mentions his mom died, the other guy shares (obviously insincere) condolences. The first guy says “That’s ok, she believed in Heaven, so she’s good, you know, afterlife wise…”

 

Jesus uses this statement as a jumping off point to share more uncomfortable truths. The main point being Not all who think they will eat bread in the kingdom will actually dine at the banquet table.

 

This point is obviously a big one and it must be important. The way Luke’s Gospel is laid out, we keep seeing Jesus make this point over and over again. Obviously, it keeps coming up because the people Jesus is talking to don’t get it, despite the constant repetition. Just like us so often, we read the same thing in the Bible, we hear Biblical truths over and over again, and sometimes, we just don’t get it. It doesn’t sink in. Or we keep forgetting after we learn it again and again.

So, Jesus shares this parable regarding the Kingdom of God and who will be there.

 

So, this man was holding a great banquet, a wedding feast. And he sent out invitations to those whom he wanted to attend. The banquet was, at first, only revealed to these. And the way that parties and invitations took place in those days, we know that each and everyone of these accepted the invitation. The way it worked back then, was that two invitations were sent. First, what we see first here, invitations sent out, basically a Save the Date thing. It would confirm the amount of people who would be there so the host knew how many animals to slaughter and prepare for. When you responded to this invitation, it was a commitment.

Now, when the time came, when the day arrived for the actual party, the host sent out his servants with the second invitation, essentially, ok, here’s what time to show up for the party you previously committed to.

God originally shared the knowledge of salvation with the nation of Israel, with the Jewish people. And they responded. They wanted to go to heaven. The believed in God and wanted to follow his commands and they wanted to do good enough, be righteousness enough. God sent his messengers to share the news about the party.

And now, Jesus was here, saying, the time has come, the Kingdom of God is here. The time is now. The day of salvation is today.

 

The people said they would attend. But now, when the time has come to actually do it, when it was time to put words into action, they refused. They all had excuses as to why they couldn’t come.

Nobody in that culture would have ever refused that second invite. It would have been beyond rude. It would have been an incredible insult. Sorry, I know I committed, but I’ve got more important things to do. And we see the three examples that Jesus gives here are possessions, work and family. These are all things that we still struggle with putting ahead of God.

The end result, Jesus shows us, is that those who declined the invitation will not be allowed in so sit at the banquet table. The prophets were the original invitees from God and now Jesus was here, saying now is the time. He makes it clear, if you reject the Son, you reject the Father. So, it doesn’t matter how religious the Pharisees were, no matter how much they follow the rules, if they reject the invitation, come up with excuses why not, then you don’t get to go.

And we end up seeing the host says, No. It doesn’t matter, those who gave excuses, will not be allowed to attend. And we might think that’s not fair, they might change their minds, or whatever, but the truth is, looking at human nature, those who gave excuses and didn’t not want to attend are banned from the banquet, are banned because that’s what they willingly choose.

Now, we remember that with parables, not every single detail parallels and translates. Instead, we are to focus on the main point and how it shows us truth. In that, we know that the invitation for salvation was not only intended for the Old Testament Jews and God got angry when they rejected Jesus and so hurriedly came up with a plan B.

Instead, we know that the invitation, while only revealed to them at first, was always and always intended to be open to all who would respond favorably to the invitation, and they are the ones who will be seated at the banquet table.

In the parable, we see that the master sends his servants out to invite more people to the banquet. Instead of the higher crust, popular, influential and important crowd, Now is inviting the lower people in society, the “unworthy.”  The invitation was sent to the poor, the crippled, the lame. It was the ones who couldn’t pay the host back for the invitation and the banquet. And then the invitation as sent out to those on the hedges and the highways. This would be God opening up and making the invitation of salvation known to the gentiles as well.

I love how RC Sproul sums up this section, Writing:

Here you can sense Jesus’ meaning: “GO over the borders of Israel. Go to the Gentiles. Go to those people who are no people and let them now be known as My People.” To you and Me, the invitation is now Given.

The love, the generosity, the invitation is offered by God to all who may believe. IT is through his grace alone that this invitation is given. And the acceptance of this invitation is through faith alone.

But not just any faith. Not “I believe in Heaven, so I’m good,” faith. Not “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe,” faith. You can sincerely believe something and be sincerely wrong. Instead, God is looking for a saving faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

So, we want to attend this banquet, we want to receive salvation, so we look at the bible and what it says. Repent and believe. Respond by and in faith. Trust and obey. Believe and be baptized.

John 3:16-21:

“For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

 

What we see here today is how important it is to have our priorities straight. We see the excuses that the invitees gave. Possessions, Work and Family. Things that are good things, in and of themselves. But when they get in the way of us serving and following God, they have then turned into idols.

Warren Weirsbe says that if good things keep you from enjoying the best things, they turn into bad things. And so, we focus on what our priorities are.

Work? Out of the Kingdom

Possessions? Out of the Kingdom

Family? Out of the Kingdom

 

God? Welcome to the Kingdom! Sit at the banquet table and eat! Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

 

Let’s Pray

Luke 14:1-11 Jesus is the Son of Man How we treat (and see) others

Luke 14:1-11

Jesus is the Son of Man

How we treat (and see) others

 

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

All right! Turn with me, if you will, to Luke chapter 14. As I continue to say, just in case; If you do not have a Bible, or if you are in need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we can work on getting one into your hands.

SO, in our narrative of Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus continuing to travel around, preaching, teaching, performing miracles, showing those who are willing to see that He is the Messiah, the Christ.

He has left Galilee, where he was in the passage, we looked at last week. And what we saw and will continue to see is that Herod last week and many of the pharisees, many other righteous religious folks in Israel at the time, they didn’t like the teaching and the preaching that Jesus was communicating. They didn’t like who he chose to heal or when he chose to do so. It didn’t fit with what they expected and understood from the law and tradition of the Jewish faith of the time.

They thought they knew better. They thought they new it all. They thought that they were better. Jesus’s message was that they were wrong, and they were not better than anyone. And as I mentioned last week, we, as a people, generally do not like being told we are wrong.

So, we are going to spend this week and next at the home of one of the rulers of the Pharisees, at what appears to be a dinner party. And we are going to see Jesus being smart and crafty and sharing hard truths.

So, without further ado, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 14, verses 1 through 11. As usual, I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the word of God.

Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records:

One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son[a] or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Word.

 

So, we start by seeing that trigger word, that word that keys us into an upcoming friction between the Pharisees and Jesus. We see this word, when it’s used in the Gospels, brings us Jesus correcting a lack of understanding, or in this case, I believe, a lack of consistent logic in their thinking. That word, of course, being Sabbath.

On this one Sabbath, Jesus goes to the home of one of the area’s prominent Pharisees and is getting ready have a meal with them. Jesus was always willing to sit with whomever he had the chance in order to share the truth regarding the Kingdom of God. And in this case, he knew he was going to get just such and opportunity.

But first…

But first, we see the pharisees watching him closely. They were watching to see if He was going to do something that they thought he shouldn’t be doing. Maybe they even set this scene up. Or maybe not… But it sure seems like they did…

There just happened to appear before Jesus a man with a brutal, painful disease. This man had a disease called dropsy. This was where fluid would collect in the cavities of the body and would have eventually led to death. This is only mentioned in the New Testament in this one place.

Jesus sees this man and instead of addressing him or healing him right away, he turns and addresses the Pharisees, the guests that were there. And this is part of what makes it look to me like this was a setup by the Pharisees and that Jesus knew exactly what was going on.

He asks them, “IS it lawful to Heal on the Sabbath or not?” A simple Yes or No question. A simple, question that they could not answer. Because they truth was that it was not against the Mosaic Law in the scriptures. God did not say it was against the law to heal on the Sabbath. However, the laws and traditions of the elders that had been passed down for generations, said that medical treatment was prohibited on the Sabbath unless the condition was life threatening.

So, they had no actual way to answer this question. I see them like I see our kids, and I know you all know what I’m talking about.  When you catch them doing something and you ask them about, but they have no answer, so they don’t answer. They just stay quit, often just kind of looking at the ground or something… That’s how I picture the Pharisees here as Jesus asks them this question.

They had no answer. It was not “against the law,” It was against their rules. Now, we could do this as another sermon on Sabbath healings and the better understanding on what the Sabbath is, but we have done that a few times here in Luke and recently too, back in Luke 13:10-17. But I don’t think that’s actually the point of this passage.

The Pharisees remained silent, and Jesus healed the man and sent him on his way. That’s all Luke says about that. Luke, who was a doctor, does not give any details. Again, I think this is because the healing here was not the actual issue here. Instead, the point of this passage is the hearts and attitudes of the Pharisees.

Jesus addresses this when he brings up what we have to assume is a non-life threatening, hypothetical situation. He says assume your son or your ox falls in a well. They are alive, but are you really gonna wait until tomorrow to try and pull them out?

Now, if you and I disagree, but you have a consistent logic behind your arguments, we can still discuss things and listen to each other and get along. But if one has an inconsistent logic, where you can’t even follow their process in how they come to their conclusions, its like talking to a brick wall.

You can have a valid argument and come to a different conclusion than I do about things. WE can talk. You can have a terrible, illogical, invalid argument and come to the same conclusion that I do. I can’t talk to you.

 

I think that’s what Jesus was dealing with here. The Pharisees are being inconsistent and hypocritical with their logic. They are saying that these rules that they have enacted are for a certain reason and then they go and undercut those reasons with other traditions and rules that they enact. Jesus is saying you can’t have it both ways.

As it closer for dinner to be served, Jesus watches everyone around him. Jesus is a great noticer. He observates very well. And he looks around and he sees how all these guests are all jockeying for position. They are looking to establish their social standing based on where they will end up sitting.

See, they are each thinking of themselves as best and they figure that if they are at the center of everyone’s view, if they are sitting in the position of honor, then others will all think better of them as well.

Jesus’ message is clear. Don’t assume the best positions. Don’t assume that you are the best and specific to this context, don’t assume that someone who isn’t more prominent than you will not show up as well. It does not matter the criteria that you use, there is always someone above you, better than you, more prominent than you.

Instead, humble yourself. Paul writes Philippians 2:3: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Jesus just said, back in Luke 13:30 that the first will be last and the last will be first. Jesus says elsewhere that he came to serve, not to be served.

And so, set yourself low. This is not about necessarily thinking worse about yourself. Jesus is not trying to get you to beat yourself up and have all your faults weigh yourself down. But think better than you usually would about others. Don’t think of yourself as better than or more righteous than others but think of them as better than you want to.

We have a tendency to think the best of ourselves. We dismiss our mistakes. We justify our sins. We make excuses for our bad days. And we tend to think the worst of others. We judge them by their mistakes. We focus on their bad days and forget the other days. Jesus says turn this around. We are all sinners. There are none righteous, no not one.

When you put others ahead of yourself, you will find yourself blessed. So, Jesus says, sit at the end of the table, in the seat furthest from the place of honor, lowest on the totem pole. When you do that, your host can move you up higher and honor you instead of when you sit higher, and they have to ask you to move down. God humbles the proud and exalts the humble.

Now, when we are trying to put this into action, we have to be careful. This can easily lead to us fooling ourselves or to cases of false modesty and false humility. So, lets be clear. Jesus is not saying that the reason to treat others well is to be rewarded. We are to treat others well for two main reasons. First because we want to. This is what comes with a new heart, when we are new creations in Christ, is a desire to treat others well and to love one another. But also, even when we don’t necessarily want to, we know that it is the right thing to do, whether we get rewarded or not. WE know that all who are born are made in the image and likeness of Christ. They are all made with inherent dignity and worthy of respect. And so, the right thing to do is to treat them as such.

And so, we need to be careful. Continually examine ourselves and our motives. Jesus is clear in the Sermon on the Mount that the action we do, and take are only a part of the story. More important and the rest of the story is the heart with which we   do it.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve needed to learn in my life is that the right thing done for the wrong reasons is still wrong. The wrong thing done for the right reasons is still wrong. We need to do the right thing for the right reasons.

 

 

Now, Jesus is using the setting of wedding feasts and banquets. This is a common imagery used to be symbolic and to describe the kingdom of heaven, the eternal afterlife with those who are children of God.

That’s what Jesus is really getting at here in this passage, as well as the parable that we will look at next week. Norval Geldenhuys makes the connection here when he writes: Just as at the wedding feast the occupying of seats of honor does not depend on a person’s self-assertive attitude but on the discretion of the host, so also a place of honor in the kingdom of heaven does not depend on self-assertiveness or on a man’s opinion of himself but on the righteous judgement of God.

 

Jesus sees what’s going on in the world around him, and he sees what’s happening and he uses those things, teaching in parables, to communicate the truth of eternity.

And we all have some of that truth in us. Romans 1 tells us that we know the truth but suppress it in our unrighteousness. But it comes out, here and there. Not enough, in and of itself, to be a saving faith.

But the truth that God has shared with us all drips and spills out in all sorts of ways. As I was studying this week, it struck me just how many stories in our culture and society (and so many other cultures as well) where the hero of the story gets knocked down and knocked down hard. He gets humbled, he gets humiliated. And then, he gets back up, he overcomes. The glory, honor and success come, and our hero saves the day. Just like Jesus…The truth of it comes out in all sorts of pop culture ways.

God humbles the proud and exalts the lowly. IT takes humility to recognize that we have a need for a savior. The proud think they are good enough, that either they have no need for salvation or that they are good enough to save themselves.

 

The proud are self-sufficient.

The proud don’t need help.

The proud are “better” than those who need help.

The proud are hard hearted.

 

On the other hand, the humbled, they know they need help.

The humbled know that others need help as well.

The humbled know to look for help.

The humbled are soft hearted

The humbled know that their humbleness doesn’t make them better than the proud.

 

 

Jesus is reminding the people at this dinner party what is said in the Old Testament. The scriptures that they had memorized. That they claimed to live by. Proverbs 25:6 & 7 reads:

Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

 

 

 

That’s a nice reminder that if we claim to Love God, if we claim to love Jesus and to be a follower of him, we need to study his word and put it into practice. As often as you are able, in whatever ways you are able, study and read Gods Word.

And then look inside yourself, at the heart with which you do the things you do. How you treat and see others is a direct reflection of you, your heart for God and following that all people are image bearers of God and are worthy of dignity and respect. Treat them as such.

Ill leave you once again with Philippians 2:3

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves

 

 

 

Let’s Pray

Luke 13:31-35 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus’ Heart for the Lost

Luke 13:31-35

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus’ Heart for the Lost

 

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

All right! Please turn in your Bible with me to Luke chapter 13. As I always say, just in case, if you do not have a Bible, or if you have a need of a Bible, please see me after the service so we can work on getting one into your hands.

 

So, we finish up Luke chapter 13 today and we see Jesus show us his heart. He has been strongly warning the people who have assumed their standing with God, those who have trusted in their works or their ethnicity or anything else. He has been warning them that they need to repent, to turn away from their trusting in other things. They need to repent and turn to Christ alone. They need to turn away from their own righteousness and trust simply and solely in Christ’s righteousness.

But we also know that this is only one side, one extreme of the pendulum. This is the good, moral, righteous, “Of course I’m in…” crowd. Jesus does not take joy in their destruction. Jesus is showing his heart for these who won’t listen and are therefore lost, and we see that here in today’s passage.

WE will be reading Luke chapter 13, verses 31 through 35. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. As always, I greatly encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. What is important is not my reading, or which translation but that you are in fact reading the Word of God.

So, Luke 13:31-35, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

 

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

 

May God Bless the reading of his Word.

 

We start at verse 31, where Luke writes, “at that very hour…” We see the same thing we looked at the last few weeks. This phrase shows that this takes place at the same time, in the same setting as what we looked at last week.

Now, on first glance, it appears that at least a few of the Pharisees liked or at least cared about Jesus. They are warning Jesus that Herod wants to and is going to try and kill Jesus.  That’s awful kind of them, right?

Except the problem is that when we read the rest of the Gospels, including just the last few chapters of Luke, this seems very out of character from how they usually act. RC Sproul speculates that they were actually trying to scare Jesus into leaving where they were, where Herod had control and authority and having him go to Judea, where the Pharisees had the control and authority.

Now, Herod remember is almost more of a title than a name. There were multiple Herod’s. This is not the same one who was in charge when Jesus was born and the wisemen came. This was the Herod who had John the Baptist killed. And he had heard about Jesus and had heard about his teachings and his miracles. And he feared that Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life. This was the Herod who would end up being instrumental in Jesus’ death, during the illegal trials that took place the night leading up to his crucifixion.

So, this threat would not have seemed completely legitimate and credible when the Pharisees delivered it. One other commentator combines that with RC Sproul’s idea and wonders if Herod told the Pharisees to tell Jesus about the threat, without intending to follow up on it, hoping that the threat would be enough to move Jesus on. This commentator speculates that Herod had already lost much of his political capitol and public support after he killed John that he would have been hesitant the actually kill the very popular Jesus.

No matter what the thoughts, intents and motivations of Herod and the Pharisees, Jesus knew that he was not going to be killed then and there. He calls Herod a fox. This was animal that was not look kindly upon by the Jewish people. They were associated with being deceitfully cunning. Jesus was showing and telling the people that he the utmost contempt for Herod. And Herod had the authority and the ability to follow through in this if Jesus were not on a mission from God.

But Jesus tells them to send a message back to Herod. And he uses the present tense to show that his ministry is not over, he is not stopping or running, but it is continuing until it is meant to be over. It is for a limited time, that what the phrasing he uses means. But the limitation on that has nothing to do with Herod, or any other Human being for that matter. Jesus is going to continuing teaching, preaching and healing and casting out demons until he gets to Jerusalem and is put to death the way and at the time that the Father has determined.

When Jesus mentions the third day, he is, again, using phrasing that was well known to mean that there was a finite amount of time to his ministry. But he was making a very clear, at least in hindsight, allusion to his death and resurrection, that he would be put to death and then rise again on the third day.

Now, in verse 33, Jesus does say that he needs to continue his travels and not just hunker down right where they were. However, he clarifies that this is because of God’s plan, not because of Herod or the Pharisees or anyone else.

Jesus had a very specific timeline to follow. All the specifics of Gods plan were laid out and figured out, all the details were set up well before hand. Jesus had to go and die in Jerusalem.

It was at the end of Luke 9 that Jesus set his face upon Jerusalem. His entire ministry from that point forward was bringing him to Jerusalem, in the right place, at the right time, to fulfill the plans of God.

And what Jesus was saying here was not that every single one of the prophets whom God had called were killed inside of Jerusalem.  Rather, what we are seeing is that Jerusalem, as shown throughout the history of the Jewish people, was the center of the Jewish religion and worship.

What Jesus was saying was that those religious hardliners, the ones that Jesus has been teaching and preaching against, the ones he has been warning not to assume their admission to heaven, the religious establishment. These men were much more dangerous to a true prophet of God than any threats from Herod in Galilee or anyone else from anywhere. These men wanted more than anyone else to shut Jesus up and ruin and end His ministry.

Jerusalem was the very symbol of the Jewish religion. It was synonymous with the Jewish religion. It was very similar to the way the Pope is the symbol of and is synonymous with the Catholic church.

These types of symbols, as heads of establishments, they often gain power and influence, they establish the rules and the standards and if anyone goes against them, the hammer comes down swiftly and hard.

That’s what we see happening with Jesus here. That’s what we saw with the Catholic Church during the Reformation. Martin Luther was the face of it, but there were so many more men who were fighting for the Word of God and were being persecuted by the church at the time. Zwingli, Tyndale, Hus, Calvin, just a few of the names.

Speaking the truth of God, straight from the Word of God, speaking the true Word of God will often lead to persecution from those who have power and a warped view and teaching of the Word of God.

Luke ends this section with Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem in verses 34 & 35. Some believe that these verses did not happen here chronologically. That Jesus didn’t say these words right here during this back and forth with the Pharisees. If that’s the case, Luke includes them here because they fit perfectly with the theme, they fit exactly with what Jesus is saying. In that case, this lament would have been spoken by Jesus as he enters Jerusalem as also recorded in Matthew 22, verses 37 & 38. Of course, its also possible that Jesus shared this lament on multiple occasions and ultimately, makes no difference in meaning or application when these words were spoken, only that they were spoken.

Jesus laments over Jerusalem and their rejection of Him. Webster defines lament as “to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something.” Another definition I saw, “a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.”

Jesus poured his heart out during this lamentation. He is speaking to Jerusalem, the very symbol of the Jewish people. He says, I have invited you to be a part of my kingdom. I have sent prophets and messengers to extend this invitation to you.

And you keep rejecting them!

You keep rejecting the message and invitation!

You keep rejecting me!

Jesus says that this breaks my heart! He says, how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Now this is a word picture, it doesn’t mean He’s a bird. But he uses this word picture in a way common to scriptures and the culture at the time. The hen as a mother was a common metaphor for loving care.

Jesus is showing his heart and his longing here. Kent Hughes writes that Jesus longs for us to find sustenance, warmth and especially security in him. Under his wings, as it were. He does not delight in the death of the unrepentant, of the unrighteous.

Ezekiel 18:23 & 32:  Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

But Jesus says, you have rejected me. You have rejected the Father. You have rejected the offer of salvation. And so, there is no hope for you if you do not repent and believe.

 

 

We are all responsible for our own selves. We are all individually responsible for not experiencing the love of Christ and the salvation that comes with it. WE cannot depend on our family, our household, or nationality or ethnicity, even the way it is used today, we cannot depend on our religion to save us. IT is only in response to our own acceptance or rejection that we can depend on and determine our eternal fate.

Jesus tells Jerusalem, your house is forsaken. The offer that you thought was exclusive to you, has been withdrawn. To clarify, that exclusivity has been withdrawn. The offer and invitation are now open for all to hear and respond to. Now, a new surprise to them, only those Jewish people who confess Jesus as LORD will go through the narrow door into Heaven.

This is not a plan B or a surprise reaction by God. “Oh no, they rejected me, hurry, come up with another plan. This is all a part of the same plan of redemption that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit come up with and implemented before the beginning of time.

One commentator likens us today to Jerusalem then. IF we do not come to him, repent from our sins and believe on him, we too will be forsaken and destroyed.

I cannot emphasize enough here that we are truly seeing Jesus’ heart for the lost. HE is not an emotionless, stoic guy walking through and just saying, believe or don’t, makes no difference to me, just choose. He does not want any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Of course, not all will come to repentance, some will and have perished. But that doesn’t mean that Jesus does not grieve for those who have.

I love how Kent Hughes describes Jesus and his heart here, as he writes:

WE also see his extraordinary human spirit. The relentless terror of the cross daily loomed higher over his life, but his love for others drove him on. He was truly sympathetic with those who came to him, totally engaged when they spoke. He was tender with every need. He wore himself out ministering to others. And all the while he moved closer to his cosmic excruciation. 

 

And we need to think abut this. If Jesus was able to love, to have genuine, pure love for even the worst of sinners, those who completely rejected him, how also, should we have that same heart for the worst sinners we know, those who choose the worst sins in our eyes.

I saw someone say last week, and I couldn’t find it again so I’m paraphrasing, that if Jesus died for people who reject him, beat him, killed him, the least I can do is treat people I don’t like with dignity and respect.

 

Now, Bruce Larson, on the end of Luke chapter 13, writes:

The chapter ends with a poignant lamentation. Jesus must accept, though with sadness, the fact that there are people who will not accept the kingdom. His agony over Jerusalem and its hardness of heart is the same agony He has now for the hardness of heart of those of us in the New Jerusalem. Jesus, then and now, is in anguish over those who cannot accept the life He is offering, who have hardened their hearts to the plea of God to come into his kingdom.

The reason I keep mentioning the heart of Jesus and his love for those who reject him is just in case. The passages we have looked at the last few weeks can sound discouraging. If I have done a pour job, they might come across as very heavy and may cause us to feel beaten down. When Jesus says not all who think they are in, will be in, our human tendency is to either completely ignore him or to think he is telling us we are not in.

 

And so, if you have felt any of that over the last couple of weeks, Jesus is here to say There is hope. The invitation of salvation is extended to all. You can accept it right now. And if you already have, then do not fear, for he will never forsake you. Turn those burdens over to him. Rest in Him.

Quit trusting in your works. But also, quit condemning yourself for sins that have already been forgiven. Quit condemning yourself for your sins and accept the forgiveness and rest that’s being offered and let Christ gather you as one of his children just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

 

 

If you are in Christ, one of his chicks, to continue using the word picture, then on the first Sunday as we celebrate communion. We are going to this now with partaking of bread and juice symbolizing his body and blood and with reflection.

If you have not truly repented and trusted in Christ, please just pass the elements along. There is nothing magical about it. There is nothing special about it for those who do not believe that Jesus Christ gave his broken body and his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. There will be no pressure and no judgment.

Stemming from that, Communion does not save us, it does not cleanse us, it does not do anything along those lines. It has no power to keep us clean or to restore our relationship with God, only Jesus can do that. This was given to us by Jesus for the purpose of remembering. Remembering who Jesus was. Remembering what Jesus did for us. Remembering how much he loved us and remembering just how big of a deal our sin really is. It is meant to be sobering and somber, but at the same time it is meant to be a celebration.

Thirdly, we are told that we need to come and participate with the right heart. As I said, we do this in remembrance of what he gave up for us, the sacrifice he made. We do this because we remember how big of a deal our sin is, that he died on the cross for it. We need to make sure that our hearts and minds have their hearts set on what’s important and that we seek God’s forgiveness and make our relationships are right with him. In addition to a tradition becoming too important and placed above the word of God, tradition can become bad is by it losing its meaning and becoming simply a ritual. Please take some of this time to reflect on what this tradition means and to make sure that you are prepared to receive. There will never be any judgment if you choose not to participate, and just pass the plate.

Paul recounts to the church in Corinth what I now tell you as well, in 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26:

 

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for[e] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[f] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

          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.

Lastly, I want to read the words of RC Sproul and plead on last time for anyone who has not repented as of yet. HE writes:

If you have lived this long without ever having truly repented of your sins or fled to Christ for your forgiveness and your healing, today may be your last chance. You may not have next week or even tomorrow. Don’t presume on the grace of God. IF when you lay your head on your pillow tonight, you remain unconverted, I pray that you would not sleep until you are on your knees before the living God, taking advantage of the blessed redemption that he has given to all who repent and believe in the LORD Jesus Christ.

 

Amen. Let’s celebrate Communion.

 

Luke 13:22-30 Jesus is the Son of Man The Narrow Door

Luke 13:22-30
Jesus is the Son of Man
The Narrow Door

 

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

All right, Lets go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 13. As always, if you do not have a Bible or need a Bible, please see me after the service and we can work to get one into your hands.
Jesus has been teaching and preaching over the last few chapters that we are to focus on the right things. This is specifically that you should believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and to repent of your sins or you shall perish.
We are to focus on having a right understanding of scripture, a right understanding of who Jesus is and was. We are to focus on having a right understanding of why He came and a right understanding of the purpose and application of the Law.
Having a right understanding of who Jesus is and why he came will bring you to salvation. Belief in that, faith in the work of Christ and Christ along will make you citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and the adopted children of God.
Many people didn’t like this. They wanted the benefits of salvation without the work or the limitations or the exclusivity of true salvation. They and most people today and in all of history want inclusion onto Heaven through any door they choose to walk.
And many believed that this was the case then. Certainly, the Roman Empire believed in many gods. The Jewish people believed that they would gain entrance just simply by the fact that they were Jewish, with rare exceptions. And they believed no one else would gain entrance, again with very rare exceptions.
But Jesus came and told them that their understandings were all completely wrong. They were looking at things from the wrong perspectives. And I don’t know if you have noticed, I know I have, especially with myself, but people don’t like being told they are wrong.
But Jesus told them just that. And they didn’t like that. But they thought on it. And that’s where we are going to pick up this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 13, verses 22 through 30. As Always, Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation.
Luke 13:22-30, Luke inspired by the Holy Spirit records:

He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

So, as I mentioned last week, we see the setting in the first few words. This week starts with, “And he went…” This is a transition phrase. We are moving on from the previous setting, but in time and in space. People had time to think about Jesus had said. They had time to reflect, and they came to the realization “What he says is hard!”
As Jesus is journeying and people are following him, someone finally gets up the nerve to ask him this question. I picture it like one of those scenes, there is a group, and they are arguing with each other. “You go up!” “I don’t want to go up, you ask him!” “Uh… Jesus uh… Levi here wants to ask you a question…” “Gee, thanks Judah…
“LORD, will those who are saved be few?”
Now, there were a couple things that were going into this question. First, as I said, the things Jesus was saying were difficult. IT made people wonder and think. It made them question their underlying assumptions. The assumption in Israel at that time was that all Jews, with a few extreme exceptions would enter into Heaven. The assumption also was that, with a few extreme exceptions, all gentiles would be excluded from the kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus was teaching that less Jewish people and more Gentile people would enter the Kingdom than had been previously assumed. And Jesus responds to these questions, but not in a way that the people wanted. He didn’t give them a straight yes or no answer. And I think its because the answer is both yes and no.
He answers them, strive to enter through the Narrow door. This phrase is very understated in English. The original language gives the understanding of not simply to try, but to strive, to do everything possible, to physically exert yourself. Do everything you can to try to get through the narrow door.
The narrow door is very similar to the mustard seed we looked at last week. The narrow door is a very small opening that leads to a large, vast, grand kingdom.
The door is narrow because there is only one way through it. Popular opinion is that there should be many ways, many doors, many paths to heaven. That’s what would be fair. And there are many doors to walk through, but only one leads to the Kingdom of Heaven. The other doors are lies.
RC Sproul writes that if you believe the Gospel, “Then you have chosen the narrow path, and you have said this way and none other. Ove Christ, no more. Jesus is the monegenes, the only begotten of the Father. All the rest are thieves and robbers. But there are thieves and robbers at every gate that is wide. They are beckoning, inviting, seducing, controlling, and saying, “Come through my gate. Its plenty wide for all of us. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you believe. The gates big enough for everybody, so you all can come.”
It is interesting to me, what Sproul is saying here. The temptation to the wide gates is super string. And one would think that it would be our own sins that would tempt us to the wide gates. And I think that’s accurate for many of us. But I have seen other phenomena and seen it come very largely into the public eye over the last number of years.
I see many who were brought up in the church, many who claim belief in the name of Christ (we will get to that later) many who know exactly what the Bible says about sin. And its not often the sin that they commit that tempts them, but the sins and unbelief of their friends and family. They see their loved one caught up in a life of sin, a specific one often. And the loved one doesn’t believe or go to church because they know the Bible says that their sin is wrong. We don’t want to think about our friend and loved one not believing and going to Hell. And so, we reject what the Bible says about sin, and we go with the thought that our friends and family are good people, there is no way that God would send this person to Hell, and I wouldn’t want to be in a Heaven that doesn’t have them in it. It is at this point that we are tempted to the wide gates, with their robbers and thieves.
Jesus point here is simple. Focus on yourself and your salvation. Quit worrying about everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for that, of course. We are called to share the Gospel with all who will listen and to make disciples of every nation. But Jesus is telling us that before we worry about anyone else’s salvation, let’s make sure we know our own salvation.
Paul tells us in Philippians 2 to work out our faith with fear and trembling. Jesus also tells us to take the plank out of our own eye before we deal with the speck in our neighbors.
One commentator says: What was and is essential is the destiny of one’s own’s own eternal soul. Rather than trying to figure out what god will do with someone else, the most important question for me to address is my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ: Am I certain that I have walked through the door that leads to eternal life? Do I know for sure that I will be saved? Whether God saves many people or only a few, the important thing for me is to make sure that I have eternal life.
Again, one of the points is that we must not assume salvation, weather for us, or for anyone else. Many will assume their salvation and be wrong. This is Jesus next point. Salvation is a limited time offer. IT has an expiration date. When we die or when Jesus returns, we will stand before him, and our opportunity will be over.
Many will be on the outside. Many will be on the outside and think they “deserve” to be in.
Some think they deserve to be in because they are Jewish or because of their nationality.
Some think they deserve to be in because they live a good, loving, moral life.
Some people think they deserve to be in because of their church attendance or church service.
Some people think they deserve to be in because of love and goodwill towards men.
And some think that they deserve to be in because they have faith.
Now, wait, that last one… Isn’t faith what saves us?
Yes and no. First of all, God is who saves us and nothing else. He has communicated to us that they method he chooses to save is through faith in the work of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross. Nothing else. By his grace alone, he saves us through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Not only is our salvation through faith, but that faith is a gift from God as well. So, we don’t even have that to boast on. If we think that we deserve salvation because we have faith, we have entirely missed the point of it all!

Monergism vs synergism

The people on the outside, they will say to Jesus, but we were with you! We ate and drank with you! We told people about you! And Jesus will respond, I do not know where you come from! Go away!
This is of course another instance of Matthew 7:21-23, where Jesus says:
“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.’

Now, notice that Jesus doesn’t say, I don’t know you anymore. Or You are no longer welcome in the house. He says, I don’t know where you are from, and I never knew you.

And he says” Depart from me!” These people are pounding on the door, the door they refused to enter, shouting let us in! And Jesus will say, No! You had your chance, depart! This carries very strong allusions to the scene in Genesis 7 where God closes the door of the Ark and starts the rains and the people who had been mocking Noah and his family are now trying to climb on board, but they are too late.
Those who are on the outside will be spending eternity with weeping and gnashing of teeth. The gnashing of teeth is a sign of the severe hatred that they will have for those in Heaven, for the many who will assume eternal glory. Those in Hell will see Abraham, Isaac and all the prophets. And they will see those if us whom God has chosen to save by faith. And they will seethe. As Sproul says, they will say: “That’s not fair God! You put me here I’m a good person!”

C.S.Lewis wrote a book called the Great Divorce. It’s my favorite of his books. It’s a parable about Heaven and Hell and shows many who end up in Hell and they are offered another chance. Its not a theological textbook of course, but a story that shows some points. And one of the groups of people that are offered a second chance into heaven are not able to enter because they cannot let go their anger that “so and so was let in and I wasn’t!”
That’s what I am seeing here. We are going to very surprised at some of the people that we don’t see when we get to Heaven. Some of the most religiously dependable, some of the most charitable, some of the most faithful attenders, some those who do the most and the best works, some who speak up against sin and injustice and fight for religious morality the most. Some of those will be nowhere to be seen in Heaven. Because they did not trust in Christ alone for their salvation. They trusted in those things we just listed instead. They trusted in themselves even while some believe in Jesus, they never truly knew Jesus.
But there are many who are not expected, many who, from the outside, don’t look the part or live the right life, there are many who don’t get things quite right that will dine with Christ in his Kingdom while the Father sits on the throne.
Jesus says that people will come from all nations, from all corners of the Earth. Jesus says that Salvation does not belong only to the Jews. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Paul says in Romans 9 that Not all Israel is Israel. He writes in Galatians 3 that believing Gentiles, that’s you and I, are heirs to the promises that God has made to Israel. Salvation belongs to the LORD and all who believe in Christ, all who have a saving faith in Christ, all whom God calls, all who repent of their sins and call on Jesus and he alone for salvation will be a part of true Israel.
We can look around when we get to Heaven and be surprised, “God saved that person?!?!” (By the way, many will be saying that about you too, and me most of all!) But Yes! What Glory to God, What Grace that they and we are saved!

We don’t know who or when God will save. WE don’t need to. We need to make sure that we have responded to the invitation that Jesus has extended. For we are the only person we are responsible for.
And when we experience God salvation, we can’t help but share with as many people as possible. WE are not responsible for them, but we are responsible for extending the invitation.
I’ve shared it before, but I’m reminded of what Charles Spurgeon wrote:
If the Lord had put a yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, I’d go up and down the street lifting up shirt tails, finding out who had the yellow stripe, and then I’d give them the gospel.
But God didn’t do it that way. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature that ‘whosoever will may come.’

Strive to enter the narrow door. It is the only way. Any other way is not of Christ and is not the way to salvation. The narrow way is a vital part of the Christian identity.
I’m going to end with a story that Kent Hughes shares about Alistair Begg. He heard Begg speak at a conference and Begg shared this story from Cambridge Massachusetts.

Hughes writes that Begg was in a coffee shop and he “Looked across the aisle and saw an Asian girl intently reading what appeared to be a Bible. He watched further and saw that she was indeed studying the scriptures. SO, he asked, “I see that you are reading the Bible. Are you a Christian?” She smiled and replied, “Oh yes. I’ve found the narrow way.”
Her answer was remarkable. Neither he nor I in all our years in ministry had ever heard anyone answer like that. In the ensuing conversation she explained that she had come form Korea to study at Harvard, and she was the only Christian in her family. Here was a young Christian woman 10,000 miles away from her Buddhist home (with its 3 million gods, the antithesis of “the narrow Way”) in the midst of Harvard’s aggressive pluralism (which tolerates everything except for the narrowness of the gospel) who so profoundly understood her Christian faith that she expressed it with unabashed acumen as “the narrow way.”

The narrow way is the only way, but Jesus makes clear that the narrow way is what provides hope. The narrow way is the only way, but it is open and available for all to enter. Any who would respond to the call of the Gospel. All who trust. All who obey. All who respond to the invitation. All who believe.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)

Let’s Pray

Luke 13:18-21 Jesus is the Son of Man Big God in a Little Package (X-Mas)

Luke 13:18-21

Jesus is the Son of Man

Big God in a Little Package

 

(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)

All right, please turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 13. As always, of you do not have a Bible or have a need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we can see if we can get one into your hands.

As I was praying and reading over the last few weeks and months, I was trying to figure out which passage of scripture to go over for Christmas. I looked at all the traditional Bible passages and some non-traditional ones as well. They were all good of course, but I was having trouble making a decision, feeling called to a certain passage.

Then I looked ahead and saw this passage in Luke, where we would be, what the next text in our series was and it was too good to be true. This morning is not going to be one of the traditional Christmas texts, but we can see the coming of and the importance of the birth of Christ here this morning.

To set the context of where we are in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus has been focusing and prioritizing telling us where our focus should be and what our priorities should be. They need to be on Jesus, on God, on the Kingdom of God and having a right understanding of those things. And he shows us that having our priorities and our focus right will apply itself in our lives through belief, or faith and repentance, leading to eternal life in Christ.

 

And what easier time for us to focus on, our maybe renew our focus, or maybe focus rightly for the first time, focus on the object, the person, the God that The Bible points us to and tells us to focus on, Jesus Christ.

So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s short passage. Luke chapter 13, verses 18-21. Ill be reading, as always, out of the English Standard Version. Please grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read Gods Word.

Luke 13:18-21, Luke inspired by the Holy Spirit records the Words of Jesus:

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, a couple of “First-of-all,” s. First, we see that the word, therefore. And as we have seen, the word therefore is a connecting word. That means that this passage is directly connected to the preceding passage or passages. TO contrast, we look ahead and next weeks passage, where it says, “HE went on his way.” That is a transitional phrase. We take a break and move on from the previous passage. There still connected of course, as scripture, but not in a direct connection, inseparable.

And so, last week we saw Jesus miraculously heal a woman, correct a misunderstanding about the Sabbath and before that, the importance of our faith bearing fruit and before that the importance of repenting of our sins.

Now, therefore, he reaffirms the central message of his teachings. Bruce Larson writes:

As varied as his teachings are, the central message is always there. He keeps underscoring that He came to establish a kingdom, the kingdom of God. In that kingdom, there is a new way to live in relationship with God.

 

And here, Jesus gives two examples, two answers to the question, what is the Kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?

 

First, He gives an example of the mustard seed. Proverbially the smallest of the seeds. IT was the smallest of the seeds that were sown in Israel. It is one of the smallest seeds out there, though some take issue with the phrasing, thinking that because there are seeds that are smaller, that Jesus was wrong, and the bible is untrustworthy. Jesus often speaks proverbially though. The key is to understand context. To Israel at that time, for all intents and purposes, there was no smaller seed than the mustard seed, certainly not one that mattered.

Jesus uses the mustard seed in another context as well. In Matthew 17, Jesus extols the power even that small amount of faith, faith the size of a mustard seed. He compares the kingdom of God, and he compares our faith to a mustard seed.

It starts small, tiny in fact. And it grows from so small to very large. The mustard seed grows from the seed up to a very large tree. Big enough to cover the ground and for the birds to nest in its branches. This is also an allusion to Old Testament language where God will encompass not only the nation of Israel, but also the gentiles. The Kingdom of God grows this way. As RC Sproul says it starts with small beginnings and it grows to yield great and vast fruit.

Our faith grows from a small initial, immature, beginning faith and it develops, over time, also yield fruit, into a mature, full grown faith in Christ.

And it all starts with Jesus. It all started in a manger all those 2000 years ago. The most important person, the truest religion, the most monumental started in the most humble and small way possible.

Philippians 2:5-8:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

He started as a baby, a human baby, God clothed in flesh. And his ministry grew to encompass everything. Started in Nazareth, well Bethlehem really. It spread to all of the region of Galilee. It spread out to all of Israel and over time it spread over the whole world. All over the known world within 3-400 years and it has been brought across the globe over the last hundreds of years. And the scriptures show us that it also spreads between this world and the next.

One commentator writes that “From a small and seemingly insignificant beginning, the kingdom of God grows- at times invisibly almost imperceptibly- until it reaches all nations with its transforming power.”

 

          Seeds like the Kingdom of God will grow. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes outwardly, like a seed to a tree. Sometimes inwardly like the yeast in the dough, as we are about to see. But always growing.

And like God, clothed in flesh, like the seed that is buried underground and starts to sprout, it all starts with an inward change. The change starts with the Holy Spirit changing your heart, it happens first on the inside, without being seen. But making us different from the inside out, instead of what we often try, which is to show the change in our outward behavior without actually changing us inside.

And Jesus gives another example showing the inner, unseen changing and comparing it to the Kingdom of God. He talks about a little leaven hidden in a large amount of flower. Basically, this is yeast being mixed through some dough.

To me this is a very interesting example that Jesus gives because, again, the leaven being spread throughout a batch of flour is used elsewhere in scripture. Only in other parts its used to show the corrupting power of sin. Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 5 how a little bit of sin corrupts much. The principle is that a little bit goes a long way.

It’s that principle that Jesus is using here. A little bit of Jesus goes a long way. It changes everything. It doesn’t take much. A little bit of Jesus transforms a whole person. OF course, it won’t continue to stay a little bit of Jesus. The amount of Jesus in your life should continue to grow and expand, but that’s more in line with the mustard seed.

The kingdom of God is the same way. It starts little, it starts with a small incursion, and then it spreads, and it will end up transforming the entire world. Transformation happens. The old passes by, and there will be a new creation. Our old selves are dead, and we are newly made alive in Christ.

Heaven comes down and invades this world and changes the culture. And we think that we need to fight this war on behalf of the kingdom of God. Yes and no. We are both winning and losing this war. We are destined to both win and lose this war.

We can’t succeed here on this earth. We will not “Christianize” the nation or the world. But we have seen what happens when the church decides that their main mission is to win the culture war. We end up moving to one extreme or the other. We move to the left, embracing friendship with the world over biblical fidelity and holiness. Or we move to the right, and we embrace power, especially political power over love and compassion.

But Jesus tells us that neither of these is right. He came, not to win a culture war, not to be the political leader like Israel was looking for at the time, or like we look for today. He came, not to allow and accept and embrace sin.

No, he came to ransom himself for the needs of the many. He came to acquire and offer salvation to sinners like you and me. He came to bring those who are dead and make them alive. He came to introduce the Kingdom of God to this world. And he succeeded.

RC Sproul writes: Within 40 years from the time Jesus spoke that parable, the kingdom of God had penetrated every locale in the Roman Empire. He started with a handful of people, and they leavened the whole lump. The little seed that was planted by Jesus has since grown into a tree that keeps us in its branches today, 2000 years after the life of Jesus.

          Small things can grow and will grow. The gates of Hell cannot prevail against it because it’s the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of men. With God, all things are possible. With Christ all things are possible. A woman bent in half can be made straight and a culture twisted and distorted can be turned right side up when the people of God act like the people of God.

         

 

          Jesus of Nazareth was born, come down from Heaven, God with us, born all those 2000 years ago. He came to introduce the Kingdom to us and this world. That’s what Christmas is. Celebrating and remembering Jesus’ first coming. We celebrate and remember his birth.

He came, he died on the cross. He rose from the dead three days later and then ascended into heaven. He calls us to respond to the offer of forgiveness and salvation by faith. He calls us to repent of our sins as we become new creations.

And he will be coming back. He introduced the kingdom, and he will return to consummate the kingdom. He will return to recreate the world. The New Heavens, the New Earth, all will be filled with us, His New Creations.

Christmas is the first advent, God come into the world to save sinners. Emmanuel, God with Us. He came to bring the Kingdom of Heaven. And it points us to the second advent, which we look forward to with, among over things, hope, faith, love and peace.

As we celebrate the first advent, the first coming, the introduction of the kingdom, we see the mustard seed sprouting and growing onto a large tree. We see the leaven being mixed into the flour and transforming it from the inside out. And then we will see the final and full manifestation of the kingdom, the transformation of the world completed when he comes again.

Joy to the World is one of the most famous Christmas songs although its not actually written about Christmas, Christs first coming. Instead, it was actually written about his second coming. Look at the lyrics with me as we finish up and then pray.

 

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

 

%d bloggers like this: