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Archive for the ‘Gospel of Luke’ Category

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Luke 2:8-14 says,

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Rejoice, the Saviour has come! Repent and believe in Him.

Rejoice, the Lord has come! Submit to Him.

Rejoice, the Saviour and Lord is coming again! Prepare for Him.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Luke 9:23. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The cost of being a disciple of Jesus is saying no to yourself and yes to God on a daily basis.

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As I read Luke 7, the extravagant worship of the woman who was a “sinner,” jumped out at me.

Luke 7:36-50 recounts how the Lord Jesus was invited to the home of Simon, a Pharisee, to have dinner. During the meal, a woman “brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume” (Luke 7:37b-38).

The woman’s activity didn’t sit well with Simon, who simply registered his protest probably only mentally (v. 39). It seems that he didn’t say one word. But Jesus knew what he was thinking and answered with a parable coupled with a question in verses 40 through 42. Simon got the answer right, but was rebuked by Jesus for his lack of hospitality and not worshipping Jesus, in my opinion (vv. 43-47). The Lord then forgives the woman’s sins and praises her great faith (vv. 48-50).

Make no mistake, what this woman did was an act of worship. When she anointed Jesus with that vial of perfume and then wiped His feet witht her hair, she was faithfully responding to His gracious revelation (which is the definition of worship). We’ve probably never seen anything like this in our typical Sunday morning “worship” service, but chances are we define “worship” a bit too narrowly (I know I have in the past), but it’s definitely worship.

Since we’re dealing with an act of worship in Luke 7:36-50, there are a number of principles involving worship that emerge from it.

Worship is for those who know they’ve been forgiven. Jesus said about the woman in verse 47: “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he is forgiven little, loves little.” If we know and are convinced that our sins have been forgiven by the Lord, we can worship Him sincerely and truly, which is why Simon didn’t in my opinion.

Worship is focused on the Lord. This should be obvious, but we need the reminder. The woman kept her attention on Jesus as she anointed Him, and kisses and wiped His feet. She didn’t focus on herself in order to draw attention, and neither did she, seemingly, pay all that much attention to anyone else in the house. Too often, worship seems to be about us, not the Lord.

Worship is concerned with giving to the Lord and not necessarily receiving from Him. It’s clear that the woman who anointed Jesus didn’t expect anything in return from Him – that she did was a bonus. She knew she was forgiven, was thankful, and loved Jesus, therefore she wanted to worship Him.

Worship takes planning, preparation, and intentionality. In other words, although some acts of worship are spontaneous, this one was not. An alabaster vial of perfume was, and is, expensive. The woman had to have known where Jesus was going to be and when He was going to be there. She would have had to carefully planned her activities, as well.

Worship includes the emotions. While she worshipped, the woman was “weeping,” according to verse 38. She includes what many of us – myself included – have neglected in our worship of the Lord, which is emotion. When God graciously revealss Himself to us, how can we not be emotionally touched?

Worship has a cost. Regardless of how much the perfume was worth, there were other costs involved in the woman’s act of worship. Embarrassment, ridicule, scorn, and abuse are just a few. As David said, “I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing.”

Worship isn’t only singing and music. It should be clear from this episode in the ministry of Jesus that worship is broader than singing and music. We have a tendency to equate worship with music and singing, but it isn’t. Worship involves everything that is a faithful response to God’s gracious revelation. That includes singing and music, but also giving (yes, the offering!), prayer, the Lord’s Supper, baptism, evangelism, service, obedience, hearing God’s Word read and preached, responding to God’s Word, and much, much more.

May we imitate the attitude and actions of the woman in Luke 7 and worship the Lord “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

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In my reading of the Gospel of Luke – now in chapter 6 – I was struck by the necessity of obedience and application.

In verses 20 through 49, the Lord Jesus gave an abbreviated version of the Sermon on the Mount. At the conclusion, as in Matthew 7:24-27, He says,

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

When we hear God’s Word, we’re obligated to do it – to obey it – and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can.

When I preach God’s Word, one of the hardest parts in preparing is drawing applications from the text. Sometimes the intended application is clear and sometimes it isn’t. I think that happens anytime we read and study the Word of God, whether we’re preaching or not. First, it can be hard to find the application. Second, once we find it, we’re responsible to actually do it.

James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

We all need to heed Jesus’ words (myself included). It’s imperative for us to obey and apply – to build on a good foundation. Lord, give us the desire and discipline to obey You and apply what we’ve learned from Your Word by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

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Why am I a Christian?

Good question. All of us who believe in Jesus Christ and seek to follow Him should be ready to answer it. On the one hand, I could answer that I’m a Christian because God, in His grace, rescued me and made me His child. On the other hand, though, I’m a Christian because I simply can’t get around Jesus Christ.

I cannot explain Him away. I cannot ignore Him. It’s impossible for me to be apathetic about Him. No one else is like Him in all of human history. The claims He made and the things He did have to be dealt with and explained. Jesus is precisely who He claims to be or He is not – there’s no other alternative. I’m a Christian because Jesus is captivating and I’m captivated by Him.

I noticed several things from this chapter as Luke continues to show us Jesus’ true identity.

First, Peter responded to Jesus in a way very similar to Isaiah.

After the miraculous catch of fish, Peter “fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). When Isaiah was in the presence of God, he cried, “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the king, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). When we encounter God, which both Peter and Isaiah did, we become more aware of our sin and unworthiness before God. That’s true in my experience, too.

Second, Jesus had the right to demand obedience from other people.

The Lord Jesus called Simon Peter, James, John, Levi (better known as Matthew), and probably Andrew as His disciples in this chapter. In other Gospel accounts of this event, Jesus simply said, “Follow Me” to them and they did! Verses 11 and 28 record that these called men “left everything and followed Him.” That’s a great lesson, which we should imitate.

Third, the healings and miracles of Jesus show His uniqueness.

Jesus healed a man with leprosy (verses 12-16) and a paralytic (verses 17-26). People responded by being amazed, intrigued, and fascinated. Certainly not all of them believed in Jesus and followed Him, but they couldn’t get around Him. Neither can I.

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My reading in Luke’s Gospel has brought me to chapter 4. Obviously I could be reading it a lot quicker, but I’m listening to a sermon series on it as a supplement, too (and I don’t necessarily want to listen to as many sermons as it takes to cover three or four chapters every day!).

Luke 4 shows, among other things, what Jesus came to do – obey His Father, proclaim His Father’s Word, and heal some of the sick (not all). Several things jumped out at me from this chapter.

First, Jesus Christ perfectly obeyed His Father.
In verses 1-13, we have the account of Satan’s temptation of Jesus. The Lord Jesus, unlike Adam, resisted temptation and obeyed His Father. By doing so, Jesus is known as the “Second Adam” or the “Last Adam.” Adam was the federal head (or representative) of all mankind – he represented each and every one of us in the garden of Eden. Christ is the federal head (or representative) of His people – He represents each and every person who will ever repent of their sins and trust Him alone for their salvation.

Just as Satan tempted Adam, he also tempted Christ. (By the way, I’m not forgetting about Eve. She was tempted, too, but Adam was the responsible party in God’s economy.) The most important difference is the result – Adam disobeyed, failed the test, and was banished from the garden. Jesus, on the other hand, obeyed, passed the test, and restored paradise lost.

This episode points to the fact that Jesus perfectly obeyed His Father for every moment of His life. Perfection is what God demands from us because He is righteous, and none of us – “no not one” – can give it to Him. We fall dreadfully short of God’s standard. But here’s the good news – the Lord Jesus Christ has obeyed in our place! He has satisfied the Father’s demand for perfection and lived the life we can’t live – all because of His grace, mercy, and love. Then, when we believe in Christ, that perfect righteousness of His is imputed to us.

Second, Jesus Christ was faithful in attendance at worship.
“And He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day” (verse 16). Did you catch it? The little phrase “as was His custom” jumped out at me several years ago. The point being made is that Jesus was a regular synagogue attender. He attended worship services on a consistent basis because he was a faithful Jew. He didn’t “forsake assembling together” with the people of God. When the Sabbath came, He was there.

Think about that! The synagogues of Jesus’ time weren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. They were full of sinful people, many of whom had the same attitudes and actions that the Lord condemned in the Gospels. I’m certain that none of the synagogues did things exactly the way Jesus knew they should. Their doctrine wasn’t perfect. They had misunderstandings about the personality and the role of the Messiah in Israel’s history. Not only that, but the synagogue system wasn’t commanded in the Old Testament – it developed during the periods when the Jews were exiled away from Israel.

So why did He go every week? Because that’s what people who are faithful to God do. They regularly gather together with other believers in order to sing, pray, give, read and obey Scripture, and minister to one another. He went every week because He perfectly obeyed His Father (see verses 1-13).

There’s a great lesson in that little phrase “as was His custom.” Everything said about the synagogue of Jesus’ day applies to the church of today. Why should we go every week? Because God commands it and it’s what people faithful to God do. If “as was His custom” was good enough for Christ, it should be good enough for us, too.

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Luke 3 deals primarily with the identity of Jesus Christ. He is preceded by John the Baptist (3:2-20). He was baptized and given the Father’s verbal blessing (3:21-22). His genealogy proves He is the Son of God and God the Son (3:23-38).

John said that Jesus is “the Lord” (verse 4) and the One who will bring “the salvation of God” (verse 6). He procalimed that Jesus was “mightier” than he was (verse 16) and the One who will “baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (verse 16). In short, Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior.

Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by God the Father in verse 22 – And the Holy Spirit descended on him (Jesus) in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Finally, Jesus is proven to be the Son of God and God the Son by His ancestry – His genealogy. This is Joseph’s line, not Mary’s (which is recorded in Matthew’s Gospel), which explains an objection some have raised (specifically, that it seems that Jesus has two different genealogies).

John’s statement and attitude of submission in verse 16 jumped out at me. John said, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” John was an extremely important part of God’s plan to prepare the way for the Messiah – he played a key role. In fact, Jesus said that there was no one greater than John in His kingdom (Matthew 11:11). With all of that being said, John did not see himself as anything or anyone important. He said he wasn’t even worthy to do the most menial task for Jesus – untying His sandals. John realized that he was the messenger and that Christ is the Message. That’s a tremendous example of submission and servanthood. John says it another way in John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.” I need that attitude today and, I suppose, some of you do, too.

Lord, may the Lord Jesus Christ increase and may I decrease. He’s mightier than I, and I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals – the One in whom You are well pleased.

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