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.

Mark 10:46-52 (Part of our series through Luke) Eyes will be opened

Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is the Son of Man

Part of our series through Luke

Eyes will be opened

                     Good morning. Let’s go ahead and open up our Bibles to Mark chapter 10.

No, I’m not confused, we are going to take a brief detour in our series through Luke. Last wee we looked at Luke 18: 35-43, the story of Jesus healing the Blind Beggar. I mentioned that this story was recorded in 3 of the 4 Gospels and Mark told us the beggars name, Bartimaeus.

Now, we had a great discussion about this passage on Wednesday morning at Prayer meeting and I’ve have numerous good discussions bout it throughout the week with some of you. So, I wanted to go back and reread the same story in the other Gospels.

As I did, I remember that I also preached through the Gospel of Mark previously, so I took out my notes from preparing for that sermon. It was fascinating to see what was so similar and what was different in the two telling’s of the story. So, I decided to go ahead and preach on the same story as we did last week, but from a different Gospel, from Marks Gospel.

 

So first, a brief overview of where this story takes place in Marks Gospel.

Recently, James and John went to Jesus, and they want him to give them a place of honor and glory in heaven next to him. Jesus sets them straight with some uncomfortable truths about the way things will work, telling them that however would be first among them, must be a slave to all. What we are going to see here this morning is that put into practice.

 

Interesting that, in Marks Gospel, just like we have been seeing Luke, Jesus is turning assumptions, beliefs and preconceived notions on their heads.

 

Now, Mark has been recording Jesus’ ministry. Jesus is a few years into his ministry here, the disciples and large crowds had been following him pretty much since the beginning. He started with some teaching and a lot of signs and miracles to show people that he is who he is saying he is, proving that he has authority from heaven, that he is the long-awaited Messiah. Once the disciples realized that he was who he said he was, Jesus’ ministry changed. There would still be some miracles, we will see one today. But his focus was on teaching and preparing the disciples for the time when he would leave them with the Holy Spirit, and they would build the church on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. During this time of teaching and preparing, Jesus was making his way to Jerusalem for the last time and was telling his disciples that he was going there to be killed, to fulfill his purpose, to suffer and die and rise again. And they just couldn’t quite grasp what he was saying.

I think that about catches us up, so let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Mark 10, verses 46. As usual, I’ll be reading out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you all to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the Word of God.

Mark, inspired of by the Holy spirit writes:

 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

 

         

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of his Holy Word

 

So, the first thing we see here is that Jesus is in Jericho at this point. He is getting ready to start the very last leg of his journey into Jerusalem. Jericho was roughly 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem and was often a staging area for the last part of people’s journeys into Jerusalem. It was a busy city, lots of people coming and going. Lots of traffic. At this point there would have been even more travelers than normal because they would have been on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the upcoming Passover.

We see that, looking to take advantage of the amount of people and, hopefully the amount of grace and mercy that amount of people bring with them, Bartimaeus, a blind man, was begging to make enough money to eat and live. This man was in the very lowest caste of the Jewish culture. Now, he might not have been as unclean as a leper for example, but no one in Jewish society would listen to him or take any notice other than to possibly throw a few coins to him.

He was a man that was 100% dependent on those around him. Now this man is sitting on the side of the road, listening to the hustle and bustle, hearing the crowds, the constant buzz in the air. The he hears something extra, some extra excitement, something different. I’m sure he was asking those around, “What? What’s going on?” And then he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was walking by.

This blind man, sitting on the side of the road, every day of his life, listening to the people walk by, hearing them talk. He knew who Jesus was. He had to have heard people talking about him. Recounting his miracles, his healings, his teachings. He knows who Jesus was.

And what we see is that he doesn’t only know who Jesus is as a man going around, doing miracles and such, but he sees who Jesus is. We see him cry out, ““Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Bartimaeus had a correct view of who Jesus was. He calls him the Son of David. This is a messianic term from the Old Testament prophets. One website explains the term this way:

 

 

 

 When people referred to Jesus as the Son of David, they meant that He was the long-awaited Deliverer, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.

Jesus was addressed as “Lord, thou son of David” several times by people who, by faith, were seeking mercy or healing. The woman whose daughter was being tormented by a demon (Matthew 15:22) and the two blind men by the wayside (Matthew 20:30) all cried out to the Son of David for help. The titles of honor they gave Him declared their faith in Him. Calling Him “Lord” expressed their sense of His deity, dominion, and power, and calling Him “Son of David,” expressed their faith that He was the Messiah.

 

 

 

 

This blind man on the side of the road had more sight, more vision than even the disciples did. They heard him calling out to Jesus and they tried to stop him, to quiet him. We see in Marks Gospel, just a few paragraphs earlier, when the parents were bringing their kids to Jesus. The disciples tried to stop them, thinking they were freeing Jesus to do the important work. Jesus told them to let the children come to him.

Here is a similar happening. This blind is calling out for the Messiah to have mercy on him, and the disciples are trying to quiet him, presumably to free Jesus up for his journey to Jerusalem, to once again do his Messiah-y stuff. Jesus hears the man calling out, and then calling again to him, calling him the Messiah, the son of David and asking for nothing more than mercy.

So, Jesus stops and tells the disciples to have the blind man come to him. The disciples go to the man and tell him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” Notice that they very people who were trying to hinder Bartimaeus from calling out to Jesus, were the very ones Jesus used to bring Bartimaeus to him.  

And what does the man do? Does he slowly get up and make his way cautiously to Jesus? No, he throws off his cloak and sprang up and came to him. He was invited by Jesus, and he didn’t wade into the pool, one step at a time, but jumped right in with both feet.

Jesus asked him a familiar question. He asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” Now that question should sound familiar. In the previous section of Marks Gospel, right before this, James and John came to Jesus and said they wanted Jesus to do something for them. Jesus asked, in verse 36, “What do you want me to do for you?” We saw the Sons of Thunder answer very poorly last week. We see Bartimaeus give a much different answer here. Verse 51 shows that he responds to Jesus, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”

          We have seen people in the Gospels call Jesus Rabbi, or Teacher before. The rich young man a few weeks ago, he called Jesus Good Teacher. But Bartimaeus goes a step further here. The word he uses, in Aramaic, is Rabboni. We only see it in one other spot in the Gospels and that is in John’s Gospel, after Jesus raises from the dead and appears to Mary. There she calls him Rabboni. This is like Rabbi but with mass amounts of extra respect and honor. It means “My LORD and My Master.”

And Bartimaeus doesn’t ask for honor. He doesn’t ask for privilege or power or anything like that. He simply asks to see. He asks for mercy. He hears Jesus, he is talking to Jesus. He wants to see Jesus. He wants to see the crowds walking in and out of Jericho. He wants to see the sights of the smells and sounds he has been experiencing. He wants to see.

And what is the first thing he sees? I know I used this last week too, but it just fits so perfectly, I think. Fannie Crosby was a prolific hymn writer that was blind. She wrote many, many hymns. Most people saw her blindness as something that held her back or something she needed to overcome.

One well-meaning preacher once told her, “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you,”

Fanny Crosby responded at once, as she had heard such comments before. “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?” said the poet, who had been able to see only for her first six weeks of life. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

          She knew that all of creation pales before the face of Christ. The face of Christ is the first thing that Bartimaeus saw. He saw the man that gave him sight, that gave him life, that saved him. Jesus told Bartimaeus, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”

          Bartimaeus knew that, in spite of all his troubles, all his problems, all his hardships, Jesus could take care of him. We get in this story, once again, that blending of physical blindness and sight being literal in its own right, but also standing in for spiritual blindness and sight. He was saw that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, without being able to see.

Jesus had already opened the eyes to his heart, his soul. The Holy Spirit had already healed him from his eternal affliction and given him the gift of faith. And Jesus commends him, saying that it is his faith that made him well.   With this point, we want to be clear. We want to be specific and true to the Word. Jesus said Bartimaeus faith made him well.

One commentator exposits this way:

Faith can make us well. This is not magic, or superstition, or some simple fix of course. It seems clear, to me at least, that when Jesus says, “Your faith has made you well” he is not saying that these people somehow believed their way into wellness. Rather he is pronouncing their wellness, declaring it, making it happen for them. It is Jesus who heals, and faith that receives that healing. And so it is, or can be, for those who hear this story and this good news. Faith can make us well. Faith can open our ears, unstop our ears — even raise us from death. This is the power of the promise wherein faith and forgiveness, faith and wellness, meet; this is the power of Jesus’ word for salvation.

To be clear, Jesus and only Jesus heals. Jesus will heal our broken faith if we ask. He will not always heal our broken bodies, not when we ask. But our broken bodies will be healed when, because of our broken faith being healed, we are together with him for eternity in heaven.

See, we find what we are looking for. If we are looking for the Christ, the God of the Universe to reveal himself to us, he will. If we are looking for a god that we pick and choose what he is like, that’s what we will find, no real God at all.

Many of us can acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, that he is God, and yet we are still blinded to what that means. We say we acknowledge Jesus as our LORD and Savior, but often, practically, we only see him as one or the other.

We may act as though he is our savior. We are forgiven of our sins, we are saved from hell, we are redeemed. But how do we act. We don’t act like Jesus is our LORD. We don’t do what he tells us. We don’t follow his commands, turn away from sin, love your neighbors. We don’t allow him to be the LORD of our lives.

Our we go the opposite side. We live with Jesus being our LORD, our king, our authority. We follow the rules, we obey. We live good, moralistic lives continually trying to live up to some impossible standard that we cannot meet. Trying to live up to that standard because, if we do, we might just be good enough, we might just be better than out neighbor enough to get ourselves into heaven.

The truth is not that Jesus is our LORD or he is our savior. The truth is both. We see Bartimaeus practically living, knowing that Jesus is both. After he gets his sight ack, what does Bartimaeus do? He followed Jesus. This is the same thing we see Peter, Andrew, James, John, Levi all do when Jesus calls them. They follow him. This is what we see the Rich Young Man called to do and then walk away sadly, to follow Jesus.

Bartimaeus sees and acts like Jesus is his LORD and Savior. He saw this spiritually before getting his physical sight back and he saw this physically after being healed. Bartimaeus asked to see and what he saw was Jesus’ face. The face of his LORD and savior and he followed him. He was following him at what ended up being the hardest time in Jesus’ life to follow him.

Jesus was getting ready to enter Jerusalem to live the last week of his life. Knowing he was going to suffer horribly and die, he finished teaching his disciples, saying goodbye and spending time with them, his friends. He would be praying so hard, under so much stress that he would sweat blood. And then he would go and fulfill his purpose, to give his life as a ransom for many. He would prove that he is not only our LORD but our savior as well.

Are you living, knowing the full Jesus, the Whole Jesus? Is he just your LORD? Is he just your savior? Or is he both? Have you asked him to heal your broken faith? So that you can know the full Jesus? Or do you know the Jesus that you created? The Jesus that fits who you think Jesus should be.

Jesus says in Matthew 7, verses 7 & 8:

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

 

We will find what we are looking for, and we will find the Jesus we are looking for. Are you looking for the Jesus that fits your mold? Or are you searching, seeking, asking to see the real, true, biblical, historical Jesus. The Jesus that transcends our expectation, which transcended his friend’s expectations. The Jesus that was and is who he said he was. The Jesus that is both LORD and savior? Which Jesus are you finding, which one are you looking for?

The only right answer is for Jesus to be our Rabboni, our LORD and our Master. RC Sproul points out: Jesus had just taught his disciples to about the importance of being servants. To be a servant is to serve a master.” The way you serve a master is by doing, not what you think you should do, but instead by doing what he tells you to do.

Bartimaeus gained his sight and the first thing he did, the only thing it says he did, was that he followed Jesus into Jerusalem. He left everything he had, which was little, but he was so excited to be a servant of Jesus and that he followed him. That’s what Jesus expects from us, what he demands from us. Be aware of the gift he gives us, the gift of spiritual sight. From there, acknowledge him as both LORD and Savior and jump at any and every opportunity he presents to you to serve him.

The gift is free and clear. The responsibility after wards is clear. Which Jesus are you willing to see? The one you created in your mind, in the mind of society. Or the Jesus who is your LORD, your, your Master?

Jesus tells us what to do if we believe in the true, biblical Jesus. We are to recognize 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 18:35-43 Jesus is the Son of Man Jesus heals the Blind Beggar

Luke 18:35-43

Jesus is the Son of Man

Jesus heals the Blind Beggar

All right! Please turn in your Bibles with me to Luke chapter 18. Of course, if you need a Bible, please let us know and we can help get one of your own for you to be able to read for yourself.

We are continuing our journey through Luke’s Gospel, as Jesus and his disciples are continuing their journey towards Jerusalem. Jesus purpose in getting to Jerusalem is to die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and to rise form the grave to defeat death and in both these things, ensure that we see that he is truly human and that he is truly God.

On his way to Jerusalem, he has been preaching truth and performing miracles. He has been showing all those who were around that he had the God given authority and the God granted power to do all those things. And all of those things as well, are to show that he is who he said he was, God incarnate.

And so, as they are traveling to Jerusalem, we pick up Luke’s Gospel in Chapter 18, verses 35 through 43. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to grab your Bible, in your preferred translation and follow along as we read through the Word of God.

Luke 18: 35-43, inspired by the Holy Spirit, reads:

 

As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

 

 

May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

          So, again, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, and they come upon Jericho. As they do, there is a blind man begging on the side of the road. The way that the Bible records these things is that there tended to be a number of beggars, the blind, the lame, the sick, the elderly, whomever couldn’t provide for themselves, and they would crowd the sides of the roads at the entrances and the exits to the villages and especially the cities.

They would gather where people would be, and they would beg and ask for alms, money, food and whatever passersby would be willing to give. They had no way to provide for them selves and there was no safety net for them. They were literally at the mercy of those who passing by.

This beggar, who is named Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46, he heard the crowd passing by. He knew there were more people there than normal. There was something happening that he couldn’t tell.

So, he asks the crowd around him, “Hey, what’s going on? What’s all the commotion?” Those that were with him that could see, those who were lame, or sick, they answered. They told him “Jesus of Nazareth is coming.”

And one of the amazing things that we sort of talk a lot about, but I don’t think we really understand the magnitude of, this blind man knew exactly who they were talking about.

I read this week that the travelling distance between Nazareth, where Jesus grew up and started his ministry and Jerusalem, where he would end his earthly ministry and his life. Now, he walked a whole lot more than that of course, but there was a large amount of space that Jesus covered in his ministry and did all these things with no newspapers, no radio, no internet, no Fox News or CNN. And this blind guy, on the edge of Jericho new exactly who Jesus of Nazareth was.

And so, this guy who was blind, seems to have been waiting for this day to happen, waiting for his chance and he is not going to let it pass. He cries out for Jesus, “Jesus! Son of David!”

Now this is not an ordinary title for Jesus. This was a very specifically messianic title. This was just a title of identification. It was not just a title of respect. This was not just a title of authority. This was again, a messianic title.

And so, he cries out, Son of David, Have mercy on me!

 

BArtimeous knew who Jesus was. Like really knew who he was. And he trusted Jesus, trusted that he could heave mercy on him. AS I said, it does seem as though Bartimaeus was prepared and maybe even waiting for this very opportunity.

The people around him, his fellow beggars, they told him to sit down and be quiet. They didn’t want to hear him yelling for Jesus. This is just conjecture, but I suspect the beggars knew Jesus didn’t have any money, and so couldn’t give them any, so Jesus wasn’t worth begging from.

But Bartimaeus wouldn’t have it. The more they told him to be quiet, the more he cried out. Again, Son of David! Have mercy on me!

They would not silence him. He had faith in Jesus, and they were not going to keep him from expressing it, from crying out to Jesus in his time of need.

Its interesting that this is contrasted with the rich young ruler we looked at recently. In his case, his riches prevented him from seeing who Jesus really was, from doing what he needed to do and from recognizing that he needed Jesus to save him. Bartimaeus on the other hand, had his blindness and poverty emphasize his needs, making them clearer to him and helped him to recognize that Jesus was the only one who could help him.

Now, Jesus, being Jesus, heard him crying out above the din of the rest of the crowds. He heard him despite the people around him trying to quiet him. And Jesus, of course, had Bartimaeus brought to him.

And Jesus questions him. You ask for mercy What is it that you really want from me? You succeeded, you got my attention, now what? What exactly are you asking for? You call me the Son of David? TO what end? For what purpose? Do you know what that actually means?

Now, of course Jesus already knows the answers to these questions. But he is challenging him. Just like the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good, and you don’t believe I’m God…”

Why do you call me Son of David? Do you actually believe that?

 

BArtimeous responds. What do I want? LORD allow me to see. Give me my sight!

Wednesday morning, during prayer meeting, we were talking. And it was pointed out that Jesus just talked to his disciples, and we saw the spiritual blindness that was at work there and now here, we are dealing with Jesus addressing physical blindness.

While our spiritual blindness is lifted when God opens our eyes to who he is, to who Jesus truly is, we still have a way to go in terms of having our eyes fully opened. The Apostles were still partially blind because they could not see what Jesus was saying. They could not understand what he was supposed to do. There is a progress to our spiritual sight being restored. And it is a conscious choice on our part if make progress in that or not.

Bartimaeus was self-aware enough to know that he needed Jesus’ help. And he was going to leave it all on the table in crying out to Jesus. Lord, let me recover my sight!

Good News for Bartimaeus, Jesus healed him both physically and spiritually. Bartimaeus recovered his sight. He was blind but now he could see. A bona fide medical miracle. As I read a multitude of commentaries this week on this passage, each one of them had a different story of a blind person recovering their sight. And I appreciate what they are doing with those stories, showing that God still works miracles today, even through medical means, and to show the responses and the reaction from these people to the ability to see for the first time. But I don’t think any of these stories really gives the weight or the spectacle of what happened to Bartimaeus here.

Jesus was passing by. Bartimaeus cried out to him. Jesus healed him, gave him his sight! Fanny Crosby, the great hymn writer who wrote, among hundreds and hundreds of others, Blessed Assurance, was also blind. She praised God for her blindness, famously saying, If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind. Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.

And that awe and wonder of seeing Jesus’ face to face is something that we all, all of us as believers in Christ get to look forward to. Clarence Macartney wrote:

And for you and me too, that will be the greatest of all sights. When we awake from the dream men call life, when we put off the image of the earth and break the bonds of time and mortality, when the scales of time and sense have fallen from our eyes and the garment of corruption has been off and when this mortality has put on immortality and this corruption has put on incorruption and we awaken in the everlasting morning, that will be the sight that will stir us and hold us.

We all get to look forward to that glorious day. As I believe each and every one of us have seen, as believers get closer to death, that upcoming meeting face to face with Jesus is what sustains them and allows them to end the race well, to have a great testimony. It is what allows those great saints who are dying to suffer well and be ready to go home to be with and to be with our glorious savior. Because they are going to see Him, they are able to say goodbye this world.

After he restores his sight, Jesus then he tells him something even greater than that. He says, your faith has made you well. Jesus didn’t just heal him physically, but this man was also brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. He was saved from the wrath of God brought on by the sins he committed. He was forgiven. And Bartimaeus glorified God and seemingly became a dedicated disciple.

And as they saw this, all the people there praised God. That’s something to remember and to look at. Jesus was popular with the people of the day. We are going to see in a few weeks his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. They cried out to him, Hosanna! Hosanna! Jesus was very popular with the people. And Jesus is very popular with people today. The Jesus of their own making anyway. Not the Jesus of the Bible.

The people today, and in that time of course, in every time since then, they love a specific Jesus. They love the Jesus who heals and loves and encourages and lifts up, which is true. But they also love the Jesus who asks nothing of us, which is false.

They love the Jesus who stands up for the oppressed and the poor, those who can’t stand up for themselves, those who are downtrodden and heavy laden, which is true. But they also love the Jesus who doesn’t define or confront sin, which is false.

That Jesus who is our friend, who is our spiritual guru, who is a great moral teacher, who accepts everyone as is, who is one of many different paths to God. That Jesus is popular with the people. That Jesus also doesn’t exist.

Make no mistake, Jesus does those things mentioned earlier. He is our friend. He does accept anyone as they currently are. But he does not accept people to stay as they are. He does not dismiss sin and refuse to define or confront sin. He does not sweep sin under the rug. Jesus thought sin was a big enough deal that he willingly and voluntarily took our place and died on the cross to pay for the sins of all who would believe.

That Jesus is, shall we say, a little less popular.

I’m going to end with a couple of applications for this passage, as listed out by Kent Hughes. First, we need to see and recognize our need. Of course, the most important is that we have a need for Jesus Christ as our savior, but also, our need to see our blind spots, our sins, our apathy and so much more.

Second, we need to recognize Jesus as the one who care take care of our needs. Our salvation, our sanctification, even our repentance and our faith are all given to us by Jesus.

Third, we need to ask or cry out, Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me! James makes it clear in his letter that we don’t have because we don’t ask. That’s not a blank check for whatever we want, but it’s a call to cry out to Jesus and ask for what he has already promised.

And what he has promised is salvation. Eternal life. Forgiveness of sins. Life abundant. If we cry out and ask for it. If we respond to him in faith, by his grace this will be granted to us.

One of the things that Jesus calls us to and he himself modeled to us is, after we are saved, we get baptized. This is not an act that save us but shows those around us that we identify with and follow Jesus. The dunking under water symbolizing death. Jesus died and went into the ground. We die to our sins and go under the water. Jesus rose from the grave, as we celebrated last week. And we come out of the water symbolizing the new creations that we are in Christ.

Today, we get to celebrate a baptism as Randy has expressed his desire to be baptized. Turns out, I found out yesterday that today is National Day of Baptism. So, there are many, many churches celebrating the same thing today that we are doing. It also means that many, many churches are praying for all those being baptized today, which means that they are praying for us and for you Randy as well.

I’m going to close us in prayer and as Dave leads us in our closing song, Randy and I will change and be ready for us to do this.

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

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus is the Son of Man

Rich man & Lazarus

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

May God Bless the reading of His Word.

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scripture is clear:

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

James 2:15 & 16:

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

And lastly, James 4:17:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But we have scriptures that tell us the truth.

Romans 1:18-20:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Let’s Pray

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

Luke 16:14-18

Jesus is the Son of Man

Law and Gospel

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thus says the Word of God.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Right and wrong still matter.

          Right and wrong are still determined by the Law.

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

          Salvation is still determined solely by God’s grace.

          Sanctification and maturing are determined by God’s grace

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

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

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

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

         

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

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

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

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

          God knows.

          God sees.

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

 

Let’s pray

         

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

Luke 15:11-32

Jesus is the Son of Man

The Prodigal Son

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Thus says the Word of God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

But not everyone was happy.

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He condescended from Heaven, still God, was born a man, a human baby and lived the perfect, sinless life that we needed to and were unable to live. HE paid the penalty, paid the wages for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. He paid that penalty with his life. In an act of pure, perfect love, Romans 5:8 says:  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Luke 15:1-10 Jesus is the Son of Man Lost, Then Found Pt 1

Luke 15:1-10

Jesus is the Son of Man

Lost, Then Found Pt 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

          May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

And then in the very next verse:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Pray.

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