Luke 19:1-10 Jesus is the Son of Man Repentance is more than saying I’m sorry

Luke 19:1-10
Jesus is the Son of Man
Repentance is more than saying I’m sorry

Please grab your Bibles and turn with me to Luke chapter 19.
So, we took a brief break from Luke’s Gospel last week as we looked to Marks Gospel to see how the same stories in the Gospel are told and what some of the different angles and emphases are.
That story we looked at two weeks in a row was the story of the Blind Beggar, Bartimaeus on the Road outside of Jericho. And this is important because of what Jericho signifies in the narrative of Jesus earthly life and ministry. Jericho is where travelers would stage and prepare for the last leg of their journey to Jerusalem.
And Jesus and his follower, especially the Twelve, were heading to Jerusalem. They were going for two reasons. The immediate reason is the same as why Jerusalem was so overcrowded at that moment. The Passover was coming up. This yearly celebration was one where Jews from all over Israel come to Jerusalem. So, Jerusalem was overcrowded, and by extension, beforehand, so was Jericho.
The second reason they were going to Jerusalem was because Jesus knew that’s where he needed to go to fulfill his mission. He came, as we are going to see today, to seek and save the lost. He came to restore our relationship with God the Father. He was the long prophesied and promised messiah, the Christ. And that meant, as he has told the disciples numerous times, that he needed to die and be buried before he would rise again.
As Jesus was journeying to Jerusalem, he was continuing to teach, continuing to heal, continuing to call sinners to repentance, and continuing to turn peoples’ assumptions and expectations upside down.
So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 19, verses 1 through 10. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version and I encourage to follow along in your translation.
Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records:

He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Thus says the Word of God.

Now, one of the things we saw, especially the last two weeks, is that Jesus was known far and wide within Israel. People knew who he was. They had heard stories about what he had done, and what he was claiming. The Blind Beggar outside Jericho, likely never having travelled anywhere, knew who Jesus of Nazareth was and knew that He was the Son of David, the Messiah.
And we see that a man named Zacchaeus in Jericho, he knew who Jesus was too. People knew Jesus was passing through. They wanted to see him, they wanted to encounter him, hear him if there was any teaching that was going to happen. And Zacchaeus did too.
Now, Zacchaeus was not a beloved person. He was a tax collector. We have talked about the tax collectors before. Rome was a massive juggernaut at the time, the rulers of the known world. Their empire and their military took money to keep running smoothly and to keep the peace in their occupied territories. So, they hired locals to collect taxes for them. In that regard, especially among the Jewish people, tax collectors were looked at as traitors, working for the enemy against their own people.
On top of that, tax collectors “earned” their income by collecting above and beyond what Rome was ordering to be collected. They go to keep the additional amount. Now, Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. This is the only time we see this title in the Bible so what we know are all educated guesses. It appears that he would be a regional manager type. He would have likely been skimming from the amount the tax collectors brought in, of course, making sure that Rome got their cut and that He got his cut. I believe that the regional breakdowns wouldn’t work, but it is possible that Zacchaeus would have been Matthew’s boss, known then as Levi before Jesus called Him. Or at least Matthew would have worked for a Zacchaeus type.
No body would have liked Zacchaeus. And maybe that’s why he was having trouble getting a spot along the road to see Jesus as he and his disciples are passing by. He wasn’t the only one of course, the crowds were thick. Jericho was overfilled and many people wanted to see Jesus. And so, Zacchaeus couldn’t push through the crowd to get a view. It didn’t help that Zacchaeus was a wee little man either. He couldn’t see over the crowd.
So, Zacchaeus did what any normal person would do, he ran ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so that he could see Jesus. That is how driven, how desperate he was to see Jesus.
Something was compelling him. GO, see this Jesus guy. See what He is all about. Do it now because there might not be another chance, and there wouldn’t.
The Holy Spirit was telling Zacchaeus that the time is now. This is what’s known Effectual Calling, maybe better known, Irresistible Grace, the I in TULIP, which is an acronym for 5 tenets of Reformed theology.
One source describes it this way:
Irresistible grace” is a phrase that is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of sinners. 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

I don’t think there is any way to deny that this is what is going on in Zacchaeus at this point in time. Famed theologian Matthew Henry says: Jesus brings his own welcome. He opens the heart and inclines it to receive him.

So, the Holy Spirit is drawing Zacchaeus to Christ. He compels him to go and see him while Jesus is in Jericho. And the only way that he can see Jesus is by climbing a sycamore tree. These trees are known to be very tall, but with very low limbs, great for climbing. They are also very full, which would make it very hard to be seen if you were in the tree.
And yet, Jesus “just happens,” to look up and see Zacchaeus up in the tree. What a coincidence! We know that coincidences are God working behind the scenes. Things like this. Luck, coincidence, Gods invisible providence, all at work to bring a sinner to Himself.
Jesus happens to pass by under the tree, happens to look up, happens to see Zacchaeus, and happens to know his name. “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”
TO me, I hear him saying, C’mon on down here Zacchaeus. I can’t talk to you up there! We are going to your place now.

This was an incredibly joyful moments for Zacchaeus. Not all conversions are instantaneous, clouds open up, angels singing style conversions. Some are and praise God for them. But not all are. Some are subtle and gradual, a process that takes time. I believe this is the case for Zacchaeus and sometime in here, sometime during this story is when the gradual process came to its fulfillment. There is no way of knowing when, but we do know that he received Jesus joyfully.
Notice too, along with what we said earlier. Zacchaeus didn’t invite Jesus over. He didn’t do anything to earn Jesus’ attention. All Zacchaeus did was receive Jesus joyfully. And even that, the Holy Spirit had already done everything He had to do inside of Zacchaeus in order to prepare him so that He could receive Jesus. Even Zacchaeus receiving Jesus was not because of Zacchaeus.
Now, not everyone was happy that Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully. First of all, Jesus, why would you be caught spending time with that guy. Don’t you know who he is? Don’t you know what he has done. No body wants to spend time with him. Your reputation will be ruined by spending time with him!
Also, Zacchaeus is too much of a sinner to be saved. He’s not worthy of grace, of forgiveness and of recognition. How could he ever be saved?
And that’s the good news, isn’t it? Not that salvation exists. That would be great news if we were worthy of it, if we could earn it, if we in any way deserved it. But we aren’t, we can’t, and we don’t. So, salvation in and of itself is not good news.
But that Jesus came to offer and grant salvation, more accurately to procure salvation for those who could not do so on their own. Not only couldn’t do it on their own but could have no part in it whatsoever. In other words, you, me, and everyone else who believes. Its good news because he procures it for us who can’t do it ourselves. Like Zacchaeus.
That’s the good news. We can’t earn it. We can’t do anything, be good enough. Our works are like filthy rags to him. But we see the other side here.
Zacchaeus was saved. He was forgiven. He received Gods grace. His heart of stone was change by the Holy Spirit into a Heart of flesh. And now, he is showing outwardly what that change looks like.
Zacchaeus was convicted of his sins. He was able to see how grievous they were. His greed, his extortion, his manipulation, his bullying and so much more. He wanted to change, and he wanted to make it right.
But it’s not just as easy as realizing that what you did was wrong and saying your sorry. That’s the minimum and sometimes that’s all you are able to do for a variety of possible reasons.
But Zacchaeus was able to do more. And he wanted to do more. He wasn’t trying to buy forgiveness of those whom he wronged. He wanted to make it right. He was convicted of sin, so he stood and publicly confessed and made it right.
Through faith comes repentance.
Now, this is not an exact formula for all of us on how to repent. Zacchaeus made his wealth and his money by stealing, defrauding, extorting and bullying. And now, to show that money and possessions and wealth are no longer his gods, no longer his purpose, this is what he was to do.
His formula was to, first, give half of his wealth away to the poor and needy. Second, anyone he defrauded; he was going to pay them back four times what he took. This was going above and beyond what the Torah commanded of the Jewish people.
Our formula for repentance and restitution is, first, to be open handed in our generosity. We confess our sins, not only to God, but to the people we sinned against. We are to ask forgiveness, but also, we are to go beyond that, and we are to attempt to make things right, to make restitution and, if possible, to reconcile those relationships.
In verse 9, Jesus makes a joyous proclamation. We shouldn’t need to parse this too deep or try to find the nuances of the statement. Jesus says that salvation has come to Zacchaeus house, and he is a Son of Abraham. What grace! What joy!
What Jesus is not saying is that because of what Zacchaeus did, because he repented, because he gave away a bunch of money and possessions, because of those things, now he is saved.
But that, of course is wrong. That’s earning or buying salvation. Trying to be good enough. That’s work based salvation. And, Ill say this also, if that were the case, it would fit right in with what others were thinking, that Zacchaeus was unworthy if salvation, that he wasn’t worth saving.
Instead, Jesus is proclaiming that the repentance that Zacchaeus was showing was genuine. The repentance and actions being taken are genuine signs of salvation and the fruit of the Spirit show that he is a new creation.
Jesus also show that these things show that Zacchaeus is a true Son of Abraham. In this, with his salvation, he is adopted into the family of God and is now a part of True Israel. Paul wrote sin Galatians 3, And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
And Jesus tells us why he came. To seek and save the lost. To reconcile us to God. To make us children of God, co heirs with Christ.
Our natural born state is lost, and it is spiritually and eternally dead. We can’t and we won’t seek God, not the true, biblical God.
So, instead, because of his eternal love, he seeks us.
He saves us.
He calls us.
He helps us find our way.
He gives us the gift of faith.
He leads us to repentance.
He grants forgiveness and salvation.
He gives us eternal life.

We see often in the Gospels two stories put right next to each other in order for us to get the bigger picture. Before Zacchaeus we see the blind beggar and a main point was that he called out to Jesus. Here, Zacchaeus receives Jesus joyfully. Both true. Both accurate. Both showing a change in their lives in literally and spiritually following Jesus. Bartimaeus jumped up and literally followed Jesus, he probably saw all this play out. And Zacchaeus show publicly the change that occurs inside when we joyfully receive Jesus.
IF you have not called out to Jesus or joyfully received him, that’s step one, don’t get the steps out of order. IF you have, its time to show the world the joy and change in us that Jesus creates, asking forgiveness, making restitution, reconciling and following Jesus, both literally and spiritually.
Let’s Pray.

Luke 18: 31-34 Easter 2022 Jesus Died and Rose Again

Luke 18: 31-34

Easter 2022

Jesus Died and Rose Again

          All right! Please turn with me in your Bibles to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 18.

IT is very interesting indeed, if you pay attention, to see how the Holy Spirit directs and guides things. For those that may not know, our philosophy here is that we preach through entire books of the Bible. We pick a book, we start at chapter 1, verse 1, and we go through and look at every verse in the book, preaching line by line, keeping the verses in context, looking at the big picture, seeing the intended and purposefully included themes, patterns, lessons and so on that God included in the natural story of the Bible. This is called expository preaching.

Now, there are legitimate times and places to stray from that formula, where you have a point, or an event, or a lesson that you want to preach, and you find the text in the Bible that teaches that, and you preach on that specific passage. That’s called Topical preaching. As I said, there are times where topical sermons are right and appropriate. Christmas and Easter are the two most obvious and easy to see examples.

But sometimes the Holy Spirit lines things up just right. He will at times eliminate the need to pause our series. He makes it so that we naturally come to a text where Jesus once again tells the Apostles about his upcoming death as we come up on Easter Sunday.

Now, a real quick catch up on where we are and have been in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus has been teaching the masses, the Pharisees and the disciples, especially the 12 Apostles. And especially over the last few chapters, he has been teaching them that their expectations and their assumptions are going to be completely flipped on their heads.

He essentially tells them, you might know that justice and righteousness are good, but you do not know what true justice, and real righteousness are. You might know that the kingdom of God is coming, but you have no idea how its coming or when or what it will look like.

Last week we saw the rich young ruler, and we saw that you might know that you need to inherit the kingdom, but you still think you need to earn that inheritance.

And as we come up on the words of Jesus this week, we are reminded what Jesus is telling Israel often, that they might know that the Messiah is coming, but your expectations and assumptions of him, what he will be, what he will do, and what he will accomplish are all dead wrong.

And so, with that, lets go ahead and read this morning’s text. We are looking at Luke chapter 18, verses 31 through 34. I will be reading, as I always do, out of the English Standard Version. I encourage, as always, to follow along in the version you prefer, as we will all be reading along with the Word of God himself.

Luke 18:31-34, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit:

 

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

 

May God Bless the Reading of Gods Holy Word.

 

What’s going in this passage is both simple and complex. Jesus takes the twelve aside, the 12 disciples that were the most committed and the closest to Jesus. These are the twelve who would become known as the Apostles and who would go on to build the early church after Christs ascension.

He takes them aside and reminds them that they are headed to Jerusalem. This journey to Jerusalem actually started back in Luke 9:51. And he tells them this again, because we see at the end of the passage, that the disciples are not immune to making their own assumptions and holding on to them as if they are absolute facts.

Jesus tells them that everything that was written about the Son of Man, everything that was written about the coming Messiah, all of the prophecies and the foreshadowing and the allusions that were written by the scribes and prophets, all of it will be fulfilled and accomplished.

IT started back in Genesis 3. Adam and Eve sinned, and God spoke to them, telling them the consequences of their sins. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to tell them that he is going to send someone who will crush Satan and redeem his people.

There were all sorts of prophecies throughout the scriptures pointing to who the coming Messiah would be and how He would come. Micah says that he would be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah says that he would born of a virgin. And so many more. He would go to Egypt. He would be raised in Nazareth. He would be of the line of Judah. He would be a king as a descendant of David. So on and so forth.

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem in order to prove that he was who he said he was. In verses 32 & 33, he says that he will be mocked, we will see in Matthew 27. He will be shamed and spit on, Mark 14 & 15. He will be flogged and beaten before being literally, physically killed. And he wasn’t dead like his heart stopped and was legally dead for a period of time and then brought back. He wasn’t in a coma or knocked out. He was dead. His body ceased to live.

Once he died, they buried him in a rich man’s tomb. On the third day he rose from the dead, was physically, literally brought back to life by God. All these things were prophesied. All these things were written about hundreds or thousands of years before they happened. And Jesus said they were on their way to Jerusalem to fulfill them.

On the surface, that sounds pretty clear, right? Not a lot of room for nuance and confusion. And yet, the scriptures say that the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Now, I think they had to understand the actual meaning of the words coming out of his mouth.  But it had it be in that kind of, “Jesus, I hear that you are saying your going to die, but…”

It’s like when Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ and Jesus told them then that he was going to die. Peter said he would not let that happen, and Jesus called him Satan for trying to get in the way of his and God the Fathers plans.

The problem was that the disciples never really believed some very important facts about the Messiah, about Jesus himself. The promised Messiah, who was to defeat and crush Satan, He was to die? How could that be the Messiah? How could that be Gods Plan? What would that accomplish?

 

But he did have to. It was a part of Gods plan from the beginning. God, The Father, the Son, The Holy Spirit, all knew before the creation of time, before they created the world, before mans creation that the only way to redeem mankind, to save Gods people was for the Son to die.

And it was written by the prophets. On the Road to Emmaus, on Luke 24, Jesus talked to a few disciples and starting with Moses and the prophets, told them how all that was written was about him and that he had fulfilled every detail with meticulous fullness, as RC Sproul says.

And, of course, the why matters. This is not just some guy who was brought back to life. That, in and of itself, would be amazing. But if that’s all this was, why worship Jesus instead of Lazarus, as we saw in John 11? Why not both?

And one of the most powerful, poignant and clear prophecies about the coming messiah was one that most in that day didn’t even think applied to the coming messiah, but they thought was about the nation of Israel.

Mike read the first part of Isaiah 53 earlier and I want to read the whole chapter now:

Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[
b] by men,
a man of sorrows[
c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[
f]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[
g]
when his soul makes[
h] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[
j]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[
k]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

 

So why did Jesus die and rise from the dead?

God created the world perfect, he created it at peace, in harmony. The Hebrew word is Shalom. But it didn’t last that way. Less than two chapters later, in Genesis 3, the enemy, the serpent, Satan, tricked Adam and Eve by twisting Gods word. They sinned. They had been walking, living, working in perfect relationship with God up until that point. Up until that point, it was exactly the way God wanted it.

Now, after sin entered the world, our relationship with God was fractured. God is a holy, perfect God. God could not be in relationship with sin. God cannot look at sin. When sin entered the human race, God could not be in the same relationship with us any longer unless something changed. They were no longer able to live forever, but now that sin had come in and corrupted our bodies, they, WE, would die. The first part of Romans 6:23 sums it up the easiest and most succinctly, “The wages of sin is death.”          

          God required that blood be shed in order for forgiveness of sins. So, starting with the Passover, and the blood of the lamb over the doorways of the Israelites, then when he gave the law to Moses in the desert as the Israelites were going to the promised land, God instituted a sacrificial system. This meant that the Jews could make an animal blood sacrifice to temporarily cover up their sins in the eyes of God. They needed to come back time and time again to make these sacrifices, to continually cover up their sin in Gods eyes.

God knew that this was temporary and after Adam and Eve sinned, he promised a permanent solution in the future. What could be a permanent fix for sin that also allows God to stay Holy, just and merciful? For the permanent erasure of our sins, it would require a perfect man, one who had no sin of his own. He would need to be willing to shed his blood to cover up all of our sins.

But none of us is perfect. We all fall short of the glory of God, as Romans 3:23 says. None of our “goodness” is enough to counteract the sin in our lives. Martin Luther said, “The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man is that somehow he can make himself good enough to deserve to live forever with an all-holy God.”

We cannot reestablish our relationship with God on our own, by ourselves, because of anything about us. That’s the Bad News. God gave us Good News. We wouldn’t have to. He would send one who would take care of it for us. Talk to any practicing Jewish person and they will tell you that the entirety of their scriptures is God promising to send them a Messiah, one who would free them, rule over them and allow them to be back in right relationship with the one true God. The full text of Romans 6:23 reads:  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And so, Jesus lived a perfect life, and died for our sins. He paid the price we owed, that we couldn’t pay. He paid our debt so that we could be forgiven, covered in his blood.

And then God rose Him from the dead, defeating death. He proved he was God, showed that we will also be resurrected at the end when the Kingdom of God is manifested.

THE single most important day in the history of the world. The most important event in the history of the world. This is the day that is the culmination of all of the Old Testament writings, the birth of this man named Jesus, the Holy Week, the death of this man named Jesus. It all culminated on one Sunday morning almost 2000 years ago.

How important is that? I say this with all sincerity, and without hyperbole. If Jesus literally, historically, factually died on the cross and three days later rose from the grave, it is the most important thing that has ever happened on Earth.

It proves the Bible as true and trustworthy. And this is exactly what the Bible claims to be true.  It proves Jesus and the things he said as true and trustworthy. And it proves that the resurrection was the most important event in history.

 

Finally, I ask, why was all this hidden from the disciples? Why did they not grasp what was being said by Jesus here?

The disciples had certain expectations. All of Israel had very specific expectations regarding the coming Messiah. One of the hardest things in human nature is to change one’s mind. It is incredibly difficult to admit, especially to ourselves that there is a chance that we could be wrong. Our natural tendency is to reject anything that goes against what we already believe. Our natural tendency is to accept anything and everything that agrees with what we already believe.

The disciples are no different. We are no different than the disciples.

Today you have the Word of God in your hands. You have what Jesus plainly said. He is calling you to a response. He is calling you to understand. He is calling you to trust him above yourself.

Are you going to cling to your preconceived notions about God, about Heaven, about sin, about salvation and about Jesus?

Or are you going to trust God, trust his Word, trust the Bible? Are we going to trust that we are sinners in need of a savior? That Jesus came to save sinners?

 

Are we going to trust that Jesus came and offers the only way to salvation and to forgiveness by His grace alone, a gift that no one deserves, but is only given by his good will, his mercy?

And he delivers it by faith alone? We must believe, we must trust, we must depend wholly and completely on

Jesus Christ alone? He is the only one who could perfectly and completely fulfill the law and the prophecies. He had perfect righteousness, was the perfect sacrifice. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He is the only way to God the Father.

Do we trust that this is all told by the scriptures alone? God revealed all these things so that we would believe. He also says that faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of Christ. We must hear or read the Gospel in order to believe.

And do we trust, do we believe that all of this, all that we talked about this morning, all that is written in the Bible is all for the Glory of God alone? He is the only one worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy of worship. He alone is worthy; He is the Creator of all things. He is perfectly good, perfectly holy, perfectly perfect.  He alone is worthy for all things to his glory.

Are we going to listen and believe ourselves, sinners and fallen people? Or the God who created us, the Son who died for us, who redeemed us, the Holy Spirit who transformed us and inspired the very Words of the Bible?

Today is a day of great celebration. Today is a day that changed the course of history and saved the eternal lives of, probably billions of people, of all who would believe. Shout out, celebrate, sing praises and trust and believe in him more than ourselves.

He is Risen!

 

Let’s Pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke 18:15-30 Jesus is the Son of Man Questions about Eternal Life

Luke 18:15-30

Jesus is the Son of Man

Questions about Eternal Life

All right! Let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18. IF you need a Bible, if you do not have a Bible, please see me after the service and we will make sure to get on into your hands.

Now, as we have been going through the Gospel of Luke, I hope you have noticed that Jesus doesn’t waste time. He doesn’t waste energy. He doesn’t waste focus. He does what needs to be done, he spends time where it is important, and he teaches what is important.

And so, Jesus has spent his time teaching the important things to those who needed to hear it. He was telling them what they needed to hear and to learn. He was teaching them about the Kingdom of God. He was teaching them about righteousness, about justice. He was teaching them about humility. And he was teaching them trust wholly and completely in God’s grace and mercy for the forgiveness of sins.

And one of the reasons that Jesus spends so much time focusing on these things is not that the people at the time had no idea or concept of these things, but instead that these things and the way the would manifest and come about would be in direct opposition of the assumptions the conventions and the expectations that the people had about these things.

So, Jesus was stirring up controversy. And people are drawn to controversy. And so, they came to hear what Jesus was teaching. And they brought their assumptions and their biases with them. Many also brought their kids with them and many brought genuine questions with them for this great teacher to answer.

And that’s where we will pick up this morning as we look at Luke chapter 18, verses 15 through 30. I will, as always, be reading out of the English Standard Version, though I encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read straight from the Word of God.

So, Luke 18:15-30, Luke writes, inspired by the Holy Spirit,

 

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, as Jesus became more famous, many were bringing their babies and children to Him. Many recognized that Jesus was a holy man, that he was on Gods side, so to speak. They recognized that he was more than just a guy. They wanted Him to bless the kids and babies.

This was not a one-time event. This was a frequent event that happen often. Now, the common convention of the day was that children were a burden and a waste of time and resources until they became old enough to contribute to the family.

They were to be not seen and even more rarely heard. This was another example of people, in this case, children, needing to earn love and respect and to earn your keep, even within families.

Jesus showed that this should not be the case. Children, even as young as babies, even when they can’t contribute anything tangible to the family are blessings just in themselves.

But this was not how people thought at the time. Even the disciples thought that these kids coming up and taking up Jesus’ time were a waste of time for him. They might not have thought about it in those terms, but at minimum, they were thinking and probably saying to Jesus, “C’mon, Jesus, you’ve got more important things to do with your time than play with these kids.”

Jesus rebukes them, tells them how wrong they were. He says, let them come to me. He says that to such as these belongs the kingdom of God. Now, he is not saying that every child is automatically in the kingdom of God, that’s not the point he is making. Instead, he is saying that those who approach Jesus with faith and trust and dependance like this child will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

You must receive the kingdom like a child would. Not stay a child, not a childish faith, but a childlike faith. This is the faith and trust that kids have in their parents. When parents tell their kids things, the kids believe it. Kids trust in their parents, the have faith in their parents. That their parents will make them better, that they will protect them, that they are the biggest and the strongest and all of that. That’s how we are to approach Jesus.

And kids can’t earn it. They can’t do anything to contribute. We can’t earn God’s love. We can’t earn his salvation. The kids can’t contribute to their family in a tangible way. We can’t contribute anything to God’s kingdom in any tangible way. Those with simple faith in Christ and those who depend completely and solely on Christ the way that children depend completely and solely on their parents, only those will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Those whose faith is partial and who try to earn to love and respect of God will not enter the kingdom.

After this, we see that a man comes up to Jesus. A man whom the Bible describes as a rich, young ruler. This was a seemingly good man. He was absolutely a good moral outward man. He was focused on the right things. He was asking good questions.

He was wondering about the life after this one. He knew there was more to it than just simple obedience. For him, the treasures of this world did not satisfy as he expected them to.

He has heard about Jesus of Nazareth, this amazing teacher, full of wisdom, dispensing miracles, healings and answers. And so, he approaches him with deference and respect, calls him Good Teacher and Asks him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

For me, the two most telling words in that question are I and inherit. Those two words tell us what the young man believed. From that, we see two things that the young man thought he knew.

First, the kingdom of God, eternal life is inherited, not merited. And he was right about this. And second, that there was something that he had to do in order to inherit eternal life. On that note he was wrong.

Now, from the outside, you might see these as two contradictory views and beliefs, and you would be right. But you must remember and hopefully recognize that often in our lives there is a disconnect between a correct biblical, intellectual theology and a poor, practical, real-life theology.

We saw this from the Pharisee last week, as he prayed, “Thank you, God, that I am so good.” That intellectual affirmation that God is the reason and the cause of all good things, yet he practically takes the credit for his goodness.

There is a different attitude between the Pharisee and the rich young, and that is important. However, it’s the same disconnect between head knowledge and practical living.

 

So, this man asks Jesus this question and Jesus will respond to him, but not at all the way he expects. He starts by challenging and dismantling his mindset. If you are going to use words, make sure you use them correctly.

The rich young man did not see Jesus as God, as the Messiah. He saw Jesus as a good, wise man. Jesus says, why do you call me good? Only God is good. In this, Jesus is denying that He himself is God. Instead, he is telling the rich young man that he needs to recognize that yes, he is indeed a good teacher, but it doesn’t end there. He can not be only a good teacher. But if he is a good teacher and the only one who is good is God, then first, recognize Jesus as God. Make sure that you are giving God the credit that he is due.

Now that that is out of the way, Jesus tells him, you know all the laws, you know the moral commands that God has given down. You know what you are supposed to do and what you are supposed to obey.

The man says, yup. Been there, done that. Ever since I was a kid, I obeyed God, I did all that I was supposed to. He says all his life he has kept the commands. He has followed the law. He has done good. He has earned the rewards he has been given. He is thinking, basically saying, what am I missing? There has to be something more.

Jesus doesn’t even address that point. We all know that this young man didn’t keep the law as well as he thought he did. And even if he did, Jesus makes it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that it is not just our outward moral behavior. But if we lust in our hearts or we murder someone in our hearts, then it’s the same as acting on it.

Jesus doesn’t deal with that issue, not because its not true. But because tis not relevant to his point here. Nothing everything that is true, not everything that can be said, always needs to be said.

Instead, Jesus tells him, you have all those things, you have all those rewards. But no matter how good you have been, or how many laws you kept, there is still one thing you lack. You still don’t have the kingdom of God. You still don’t have eternal life. You still don’t have salvation.

Jesus tells him specifically, not all Christians, but this man specifically, sell all you have and give it to the poor and come follow me. Now, is Jesus saying, DO this and live? No, of course not. He was not giving the guy extra rules to follow in order to get into heaven. What he was doing was showing the rich young ruler where his sin was. He was showing him what commands he was breaking. He was showing him what repentance looks like.

The rich man saw what Jesus was saying. He knew what Jesus was pointing out. And he walked away sad. He did so because he was unwilling to give up his riches, his wealth, his comfort and his living. He was holding his wealth with a closed hand, not willing to let go.

He was idolizing his wealth. He was keeping the outer, physical, moral commands, but he was breaking the first commandment, to have no other Gods before the one true God. He was also breaking the greatest command, to love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul. He walked away because he put his wealth above God. He walked away because he was unwilling to pay the price of discipleship. He was unwilling to repent and to open his hand and let go of his idolatry.

Jesus watched him walk away, and sadly spoke about how hard it was for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. And he said something that people have been trying to rightly interpret ever since. He says, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

And we have created all sorts of ways to read this statement, all sorts of ways to have it make sense. And I’m sure some of them will be brought up on Wednesday morning. But I think that Jesus point is that there is no way for this to make sense. There is no physical possible way for a camel, one of the largest animals the people would have been aware of, could go through the eye of a needle, so thin and tiny and small. I think Jesus was using hyperbole, intentional exaggeration in order to make a point, that this was a physical impossibility.

For many, maybe most, people who has wealth and riches, and today in America, compared to the majority of the world’s population, we are all the rich and the wealthy. But for most, the money and wealth give stability. It gives comfort. It gives assurance. It makes us think we are self-sufficient. We rely on it and ourselves. And it makes us not rely on or depend on anyone else for anything. Including God. And that means no kingdom…

 

On the heels of this, we get another great question in verse 26. Who then can be saved? In those days, wealth was consciously considered to mean that you had found favor with God, that he was blessing you because you had done good. Its still the same today only it’s much more subconscious. And so, if even the rich young man couldn’t get into the kingdom, what hope is there for the rest of us?

And that question is the whole need and reason for and the whole point of the Gospel. Jesus says it right there in response to the question.

What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Who can be saved? No one by themselves. No one can do good. No one can earn merit. No one can keep enough of the law. Using the normal measures that man tries to use, no one can be saved.

But God can save. And only God can save.

 

Once again, Jesus is showing that expectations will be different from what will actually happen and take place. Here is what you expect to happen. Heres what will actually happen.

Now, of course, the disciples were a little nervous. They wanted a little reassurance. Jesus! We did what you told us too! Again, Jesus’ point was not to tell every believer that they had to sell all their possession and give them away, but instead that we all need to be willing to if called to do so. We need to be willing to hold all things with an open hand. We need to be willing to give up anything for the sake of God. We are to make sure that nothing is getting in the way of our walk with God.

We are to be willing to leave all and give up all in order to pay the price of discipleship. And Jesus also reassures. He says that all who give up what they are called to give up here in this life will be rewarded. What you give up for God, for Jesus, for the Kingdom, will be repaid many times over in eternity.

Ultimately, we need to remember that just because we know the truth, just because we can speak the truth, doesn’t mean that we will automatically act on the truth. The rich young man here was told the truth and he knew it, yet he walked away sad because he would not act the truth.

And it was because he was holding on to his wealth as an idol, as something he would not let go of, even if God asked. And so, holding on to his wealth in this world, cost him even more wealth and immeasurable riches in the life to come.

Introspection and a dedicated, purposeful desire to do the will of God and to sacrifice for Him are what God asks for. What are those things we are holding onto? What are those things we don’t want to give up? What are those things that, despite knowing and speaking the truth, we don’t really believe or act on? That’s what we need to be looking at.

Let’s pray.

 

 

 

 

Luke 18:9-14 Jesus is the Son of Man The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

All right, let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 18.

So, this section of Luke, the last few chapters, has been a long section of teaching by Jesus. There has been some travelling involved and a few miracles sprinkled in, but Jesus has mainly been talking and revealing truth to all those who would listen.

He has been addressing and teaching the Pharisees. He has been addressing and teaching the disciples. And he has been addressing and teaching all of those who were around and could hear him, those who were curious and interested.

And Jesus has been teaching about some very specific things. However, He has especially been teaching that the things that we all know to be true and that we all expect to happen and so on, they are all going to take place in ways that we don’t expect.

2 weeks ago, we looked at the Kingdom of God and Jesus showed that it will not manifest itself when or how we expect it to. Last week we saw Justice. It won’t come easily or naturally here in this world. But it will come eternally, granted by God. We also are reminded that not all who grant some justice in this world are actually on Gods side in eternity.

This week we see the parable of the Pharisee & the Tax Collector, where Jesus flips on its side our expectations and assumptions of righteousness, self-righteousness and salvation.

So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 18, verse 9 through 14. As usual, ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. I cannot encourage you enough to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the active and living word of God.

Luke 18:9-14, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke writes:

 

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word

 

 

Now, the good news first. For the second parable in a row, Luke tells us up front, what the meaning and the purpose is. Despite outward appearances, outward behavior and out loud words, some trusted in themselves that they were righteous and treated anyone else with contempt.

 

Two men went down to the temple to pray, or up more accurately. The closest thing today would be that two men went to church. Two apparent believers. Two very different men. But only one looked the part. One Pharisee. One Tax Collector.

One, the Pharisee, looked the part perfectly. He was put together. He was a family man. He was successful. He knew the right words to say. He knew the right things to offer. He knew to acknowledge God’s power and authority.

And so, he prays. And on the surface, at the beginning, it sounds legit and proper. He starts by thanking God for all the great things about himself.

“God, thank you. Thank you that I’m not like all the other sinners out there and in here. Thank you that I’m not a Tax Collector. That I’m not an adulterer. I’m not a drugee. Thank you, God that I’m, not a Republican or a Democrat, depending on your views. God, thank you I’m not a city dweller, or country folk depending on where you live. Thank you, God, that I’m not black, white, red, yellow, whatever race we aren’t. Thank you, God, that I’m not like anyone that I’m not like and anyone I don’t like… Thank you that I’m not like Joe over here in the next pew.

And he lists out all his commendable attributes and works. He fasts twice a week. The Old Testament only commanded 1 or 2 days a year. He tithes on everything. And not just his net income, but gross as well. He is saying all the things about himself. He says I 5 times in this prayer to God. He is saying. God, I hold myself to an even stricter standard than you do! So, thank you that I am so good!

The Pharisee was giving verbal affirmation to God’s power and his ability and responsibility. But his Words reveal the truth of what he thinks. There is no acknowledgement of any of his own unrighteousness. No repentance or confession of sin. As Luke told us at the beginning, the Pharisee was trusting in himself to be righteous.

Intellectually he knew. He knew that it was because of God. He knew the rules to follow. He knew the words to say. He knew when to raise his hands during worship. He knew when to say Amen during the sermon. He knew where all the books were located in the Bible. He knew all the Sunday School stories. He knew his favorite book, favorite, character, favorite verse. He knew how to fit into the culture of the church and how to play the part of a disciple of Christ.

But he was focused on himself. He lacked love for people that were not him. He compared himself to others who were not as good as himself. And he was contrasted in this parable with the second guy.

The second guy didn’t look the part. He was dirty. He wasn’t dressed up. He wasn’t taking the right position. He wasn’t giving thanks to God. His profession was inherently dishonest. It included extortion and it is entirely possible, and even likely that he extorted and collected taxes from the Pharisee that he is being compared to here. He was not a lovable loser who was down on his luck. He was not designed to be a sympathetic character.

He either didn’t know or didn’t care about the language of the church. He didn’t know or care about the form. He didn’t know when to raise his hands or say Amen. He didn’t know how to play the part.

 

And none of that mattered.

 

The tax collector cried out to God.

Have Mercy on me!

I am a sinner!

I don’t deserve your grace, but I ask anyway.

He didn’t look at anyone else. He didn’t compare himself to anyone else, better or worse. Just he and God. And the Words matched the heart.

 

 

If someone were a first-time visitor, or a passerby, only one of these two would appear to be in Gods good graces. Only one of them would appear to have few, if any, vices. Only one of them would appear to have many commendable attributes. Only one would appear to be saved, and to be righteous and to be dedicated to God.

However, God says in 1 Samuel 16, For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Jesus shows us in verse 14, in a reversal of expectations and assumptions, that it is the second man, the tax collector, is the one who would enter into the Kingdom of God.

Two men. One is justified, one is not. The one who is justified is the one God chooses, not the one who man chooses. The one who leans on and depends wholly on God’s grace for salvation.

Here is the thing. The second one knew he was a sinner and threw himself on the mercy of the heavenly courts. The first one knew that it was God’s power, but he thought that God gave him the power to save himself, to be good enough to be saved. The second knew he had no ability, God given or not to do anything to be saved.

These two views have historical names. Monergism and synergism. Synergism is what the Pharisee was falling into. God saves, but he does so with out help and our permission and he gives us the ability to do it. We work with in conjunction with God regarding our salvation.

The second of those, monergism is the one the tax collector was praying on. That is salvation by the grace of God alone. God chooses. Man has nothing to do with our salvation. We contribute nothing. I refer back to the Jonathon Edwards quote, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that makes it necessary.”

          Salvation by grace alone to the glory of God alone.

This is what the Bible teaches, and I think very clearly.

 

Jesus, in the last line of verse 14, he repeats what he also said in Luke 14:11, For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

          And because he repeats it, it is something that he wants to make clear. It is extra important. When the Bible says something once, that is enough. If the Bible says something once, that is not a valid argument for ignoring, that it was only mentioned once. Once, written as the very Word of God itself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, God himself, is enough for something to be true and accurate and sufficient.

But when something is repeated, it is purposely being emphasized and we would do well to bear that in mind.

Now, as we look at the Pharisee and the tax collector, we see that Jesus focuses on the heart and the humility of the tax collector over the moral goodness and obedience of the Pharisee.

Now, this is not to say that the tax collectors’ sins didn’t matter. In fact, just the opposite. See, it doesn’t work to speak our sins out loud and they go away. But rather, God tells us that it is our heart, it is the desire to be rid of sin that shows us our heart. It is the hatred of our sin and what it does to God. It is the desire to turn away as fast as possible and run as far away as possible from our sin that shows us our heart.

It is a factor of abiding in Christ instead of abiding in our sin. It is recognizing who we are and who God is and not mixing them up. And that’s what we recognize right now with communion. We recognize and remember what Christ has done and what he has accomplished for us.

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 17:1-10 Jesus is the Son of Man Sin, Temptation & Faith

Luke 17:1-10

Jesus is the Son of Man

Sin, Temptation & Faith

All Right! Let’s go ahead and turn in our Bibles to Luke chapter 17. As I say often, if you do not have a Bible or need a Bible, please see me after the service and we can help get one into your hands.

So, in the section of Luke that we have been looking through, Jesus has been talking about the eternal consequences of our earthly decisions. And of course, the key to it all is that we are saved by the grace of God alone. WE are not and cannot be saved or be kept saved or earn any amount of favor in Gods eyes, through our own righteousness. It can only be through and from Christ’s righteousness.

We are called to be good stewards of the gifts that God has given us. Money, gifts, time, talents, even faith. WE are to use what he has given us for his benefit, for his glory and for his profit.

But he is the one who saves, not us. He is the one in control, not us. That does not absolve us of our responsibility to live right, to be good stewards and to strive for holiness, but He is the one who is sovereign and who is on the throne.

So, let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 17, verses 1-10. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation. We read, as the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write, Luke 17:1-10:

 

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b] Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Will any one of you who has a servant[c] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[d] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[e] we have only done what was our duty.’”

 

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

So, Jesus here is back to speaking to his disciples. He had been speaking to the Pharisees and now has turned back to the disciples. If you are Disciples, that means you are followers of Jesus. Disciples want what He wants. They want to do what He wants them to do. They want to please Him.

So, want that means is that they don’t want to sin. They want to be holy. They want to follow the words of Jesus, who said be Holy as I am Holy. Be prefect as your father is perfect.

Disciples recognize how horrible, how crushing, how devastating their sin, is and how it affects both Jesus and ourselves. The wages of sin is death. This is true both spiritually and physically. Physical death was brought into this world because of sin. And we are dead spiritually because of our sin, in fact we are physically born spiritually dead and thus the need to be born again as Jesus tells Nicodemus.

A disciple has a changed heart, a dead heart changed from stone to a living heart of flesh. A Disciple has been reborn, born again, brought from death to life by the Holy Spirit. And because of this, a disciple hates his sin.

The flesh, default human nature loves and craves sin. The unconverted, the unsaved love their sin, desire their sin. And there is some of that that sticks around in the flesh of a believer, in the flesh of the disciple. For more insight into this, Romans 7 is very clear. WE will continue to fight against our sin nature as long as we are alive on this earth.

Romans 8 tells us that we are to put to death the deeds of the flesh, or sin. Because if we don’t, that sin will be the death of us.

And Jesus starts here, and he says that temptations will come. The opportunity to sin will be there. The desire to sin will be there. The inclination to sin will be there. That battle will be a part of this life. You must be aware of these temptations; you must notice them in order to be able to resist them and to fight against them.

And so, Jesus tells us that the temptations will take place in this life. But the fact that these temptations are there and will take place is not an excuse to give in to them. Temptations existing are no excuse to sin.

But Woe to you who the temptations come through. 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 both tell us that causing a fellow brother or sister in Christ to stumble then we are in Sin. Temptations exist but you can’t be the cause of that temptation.

Now, to be clear, you are not responsible for other persons sins. Period. Full Stop. End of Sentence.

But also true is that you are in sin, you are wrong if you are the temptation or if you put the temptation in front of someone. You are in sin if you are a stumbling block to others.

I’m reminded of Romans 1:32, where Paul writes, at the end of a long list of sins, Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Jesus says if you are a stumbling block, if you are the temptation that causes someone to sin, it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and drowned. A Millstone was big enough and heavy enough that it was not able to be moved be a person, with the sole exception of Samson, and Oxen were usually used instead. Suffice it to say that if one were around, one’s neck it would not be good.

Jesus’ point is that it would be better to receive the worst punishment in this world than to receive the eternal punishment, like the rich man in Hades we looked at last week, which awaits you if you cause one of Jesus followers to stumble in sin.

When Jesus uses the term Little Ones, we often thing of this where Jesus talks about children being the little ones. But it also applies more generally to all believers and followers of Christ, especially young, immature followers. In the context here, this longer passage of Jesus teaching starts in Luke 15, where sinners and tax collectors were gathering around and trying to follow Jesus.

 

Jesus says in verse 3 that we are to pay attention to ourselves. We are to worry less about other sins than our own. Yes, we are to rebuke sin when we see it, specifically in our follow brothers and sisters. Matthew 18 lays out some of the clearest principles in that.

But it doesn’t end there. If a fellow Christians repents, we are to forgive them. The two statements here are connected. Galatians 6:1 & 2, Paul writes: Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

One commentator writes, “The duty to rebuke is attached to the responsibility to forgive.” The reason we rebuke sin, the reasons we confront it is to bring about forgiveness and repentance.

And Jesus doesn’t just say to forgive, but if one comes to and says, I repent, you forgive over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. He says that if one comes to us 7 times in one day, we are to forgive them each time. & of course, being a symbolic number representing heavenly perfection, representing God himself.

In 1 Corinthians 13, when Paul writes about what Love is, says that Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Now, one of my first questions is why would we have to forgive someone so many times? And IM sure many of you had the same question.

Think about you and God. Think what happens if and when the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin. 1 John tells us that if we confess our sins then God is faithful to forgive them.

As a Christian, if and when you sin, God will forgive you as many times as you repent and go back to him. IF you are a Christian, a disciple, you will repent every time you give in to the temptation of sin. That’s why Martin Luther said that a Christians life is one of repentance. We will be continually repenting through out this life. So, we will repent. And God has already forgiven us.

When Jesus died on the cross, his blood, his death bought the forgiveness of all sins, past, present and future of all who will believe by faith in Jesus Christ our LORD.

We are to follow that principle in all that we do. Our innate desire, our natural tendency is to repay evil for evil, to do to others what they do to us. We want to change the Golden rule from Do unto others as you would have them do unto to, and make it instead Do unto others before they do unto you. Some of the hardest words to believe in the Bible is, Vengeance is Mine says the LORD.

A couple of things I want to say about forgiveness. First, we need to remember to forgive ourselves. Think of it this way. If we are sorry and we are repentant, but we don’t forgive ourselves, we are putting ourselves above God. We are putting our opinion above Gods. We are saying that his forgiveness isn’t enough. His forgiveness is secondary to out own.

Second, a few things about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not Forgive and Forget. Forgiveness is not no consequences from your actions. Forgiveness is not letting them continue to hurt you.    Forgiveness is not letting someone back into the very same spot in your life as before, not automatically at least. That’s reconciliation, which takes two. Forgiveness just takes one.

 

Now, the disciples heard what Jesus was saying and they cried out, “LORD, increase our faith!” This is right in line with Mark chapter 9, where the dad says, “I believe! Help my unbelief!”

Things that we should all be praying and crying out each and every day.

All those things that Jesus has been telling them, all the things he just said; resist temptation, repent, forgive, forgive over and over. None of those things are things we can do without faith. None of those are things we can do without the Holy Spirit. None of those are things we can do without the strength of God.

Remember we are to pay attention to ourselves. And faith is not of our own doing, but our faith is a gift from and of God. We need faith in order to do the things God has told us to do.

And Jesus talks about faith. And when he speaks this way about faith, it is often misunderstood. First, it is not the size of our faith that matters, but the fact that we have any faith. One commentary says that the issue is not the size of faith but its presence.

Second, Jesus’ point is not for us to be able to uproot mulberry trees or to literally move mountains, or any other physical supernatural thing like that. But instead, his point is that our small faith, if it is genuine faith can be enough for us to be able to forgive others over and over again.

And then he starts talking in a mini parable in verses 7-10. His main point is that we are unworthy servants of God. He doesn’t owe us anything. The master is not going to serve the servant. The servant still has more work to do.

We owe him everything. Including and especially our lives. We are to be faithful to our duties as a servant of God no matter what the demands may be.

Jesus says that the Master will not serve the servant, at least not here in this world. And yet, in eternity we see what will happen. At the kingdom feast, at the eternal wedding feast, all the servants of Christ will be seated and served. As we saw back in Luke 12:35-37:

“Stay dressed for action[f] and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants[g] whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them

So, we get to celebrate eternity with the King at the eternal wedding feast thanks to the grace of God and his forgiveness of our sins. We have our heart changed by the Holy Spirit and we repent of our sins and by faith we are saved.

Jesus reminds us constantly that we have been forgiven and that it is he that accomplished it. HE tells us to remember.

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 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 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 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.

 

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