May 7, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Embracing Jesus’ Identity & Following His Ways

Chris Patton
May 7, 2017
Luke 5:33-38
Sermon Audio

Main Theme: Receiving Jesus requires embracing Jesus for Who He Is and following His ways.

I. Jesus Identity (Who Jesus Is)

  • Jesus identifies Himself as The Bridegroom.
  • In the Old Testament, God repeatedly portrays Himself as the Bridegroom – and faithless Israel as the bride. The book of Hosea provides just one of many examples. And before those people on that day he said essentially, ‘I am the Divine Bridegroom. Indeed I am God Himself.’
  • Receiving Jesus involves more than simply reciting a prayer. It involves acknowledging who Jesus is – the heavenly Bridegroom, God Himself and submitting our lives to him.

II. Jesus Ways

  • His point to the crowd was ‘ If you are going to receive me, you can’t just add me to the Old Covenant given to Moses as well as all of your traditions.’ ‘You can’t just attach me to them. It won’t work.’
  • What He meant  in order for these Jewish people to receive Jesus – their outlook, their perspective, their values had to change. They had to become “new material” if you will.
  • Jesus is referring here to the New Covenant which he was bringing about through His life, death and resurrection.
  • The New Covenant is characterized by new life in regeneration.
    • It’s characterized by new hearts,as Ezekiel prophesied.
    • It’s characterized by people becoming new creations (2 Cor 5:17).
    • It’s characterized by faith, repentance, and the power to obey God.
    • It’s characterized by focus on Christ, His person and His work.
  • In order to receive Jesus it’s not enough to pray a prayer or to sign a card (as good as those things are), we must become New Covenant material, New Covenant wineskins.
  • That means change of heart, change of outlook, change of perspective, change of desires….change of everything….where Christ Jesus becomes the central focus of our lives; where living for Him and walking according to His New Covenant ways, His gospel ways becomes our main focus and our main priority, NOT other things. 
  • We don’t just receive Christ and embrace Christ once at conversion and then that’s it. The call of the Christian  is to embrace Christ daily. It’s  to make room for Him daily. It’s to walk in His gospel ways  and kingdom purposes daily.
  • The wineskins of our own hearts and lives can at times lose some of their elasticity, if you will, as we find any number of ways to crowd Jesus out and push Him, His ways, His purposes to the periphery of our lives. We can do this through sin. We can also do this through neglect of what is most important–our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Re-read the narrative (5:33-39).
  • What Old Testament passages do you recall where God is referred to as the ‘Bridegroom’ ?
  • The clear implication of the fact that Jesus is the Bridegroom is that He is God.
    • What does it mean to submit to Jesus as God?
    • How can we cherish Jesus is the heavenly Bridegroom?
  • What is the New Covenant? How is it distinct from the Old Covenant?
  • How does the whole idea of the New Covenant connect to becoming ‘new material’ or ‘new wineskins’?
  • The idea that one can be a Christian and yet fail to display any evidence of saving faith in the form of a change life has been called easy-believism. How does the idea of becoming new material or new wineskins speak to the “easy-believism” that is common today ?
  • What does it actually look like to make room for Christ daily?
  • What hinders us from making room for Christ daily?
  • What things might you need to adjust to make more room for Jesus — for Him and His purposes?

April 30, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Jesus Comes Looking

Jeremy Bell
April 30, 2017
Luke 5:27-32
Sermon Audio

Main Theme: Jesus comes looking for sinners, that they might repent and find life.

Jesus Went Looking for Levi (v.27)

  • Jesus looked intently, with compassion, at Levi.
  • Levi was a “low-level” tax collector. He wasn’t “elite” like Zacchaeus.
  • Tax collectors were known to be generally dishonest. They could charge a little extra to line their own pockets. They were view as unprincipled, greedy and traitors.  They were hated by the people of Israel.
  • Jesus loves to call sinners to be His disciples. In fact, sinners are the only kind of people that Jesus calls to be His disciples.

Levi Left All (v.28)

  • Jesus says to Levi two simple words – “Follow me.” That’s all it took for Levi to know Who was speaking to Him.
  • At Jesus’ invitation, Levi departed from his station — “And leaving everything, he rose and followed him (v.28)
  • Jesus offered Levi real joy. Levi saw this and was therefore willing to leave everything  to follow Christ.
  • “Follow Me” is an action. In order to follow Jesus we must forsake one thing in order to gain another. Jesus’ invitation to “follow me” is an invitation to forsake the lesser in order to gain the greater. That’s why in the gospels we read of a man would be willing to sell everything in order to buy a field (Matt. 13:44).
  • We can’t serve two masters. Either He’s Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all. Either we fully submit to Him, or we do not.
  • Levi obeyed in such a way as to declare to Christ: you are my Lord! I will leave it all! I will let you change my priorities, my desires, my everything! Levi puts his relationship with Christ, and his desire to obey Christ first in his heart and in his life.
  • God was changing Levi’s hunger and thirsts

Discipleship is more a matter of hungering and thirsting than knowing and believing. Jesus’s command to follow Him is a command to align our love and longings with His – to want what God wants, to desire what God desires, to hunger and thirst after God and crave a world where He is all in all.”  — James Smith

A Changed Man with Changed Priorities: Levi Throws a Dinner Party (v.29)

  • Now a disciple of Jesus Christ, Levi threw a big feast at his house with Jesus as the center.
  • He brought all his friends and wanted them to know the Jesus who had given him life and joy.
  • Now a follower of Christ, Levi is on mission for Christ.

The Religious Leaders Don’t Like It (v.30)

  • The Pharisees wanted nothing to do with sinners – Jesus came to love people – regardless of their social status.
  • Jesus extends Himself to those that the Pharisees reject, and in rejecting others, they are demonstrating their rejection of Christ Himself.
  • Luke is seeking to make clear that those who are considered to be outsiders are welcomed to be insiders in Jesus’ kingdom.
  • If this is Jesus’ approach to people, to welcome them, then the role of the disciple of Jesus is to do the same.

Jesus Is For Those Who Are Sick With Sin (v.31)

  • He says “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick (v.31).”
  • The Pharisees are pretty confident that, given all of their self-determined righteousness, that they are “well.” Claiming to be healthy, they were the “sick.”
  • In reality, the Pharisees were the ones on the spiritual stretcher, all the while whizzing right by the hospital.

Call to Repent (v.32)

  • “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (v.32).”
  • Using the medical analogy, Jesus understands that we all, by nature, are spiritually sick.
  • The call to repentance is a call to receive the forgiveness of Christ by acknowledging our sin and crying out to the only ONE who can bring healing, by his forgiveness.

Jesus is Looking for You

  • Jesus goes after sinners who sense their need for God, who view themselves as sick with sin and come to Jesus.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Re-read the narrative (5:27-5:31).
  • Levi was someone who was despised and hated by many, yet Jesus still sought after him. What are the implications for us?
  • Levi left all to follow Christ. What does that mean practically for us/for you?
  • What does it mean for Jesus to be Lord of our lives?
  • The Pharisees were clearly self-righteous. Why is self-righteousness so dangerous? What are some ways you can struggle with self-righteousness?
  • If we lived daily with a greater awareness of our desperate need for a Savior and the truth that in Christ, we have a Savior — what difference would that make in our lives?
  • What does it mean to repent? How do we see the fruits of repentance in Levi’s life? If someone you know claimed to be a Christian, yet failed to demonstrate the fruits of repentance in his or her life, what kind of things might you say to them in order to help them?

April 16, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Why Does the Resurrection Matter?

Jeremy Bell
April 16, 2017
1 Cor. 15:12-20
Sermon Audio

Introduction

The resurrection is the most important event in all of history.  If Jesus Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, then His life, His teachings, His miracles, even His proclamation of the forgiveness of sins lacks truthfulness and therefore loses meaning. If the One who gives life was stuck in the grave of death, then His words lack purpose, direction, and ultimately, they lack truth. Who would want to follow someone who lacked truth? But Jesus Christ doesn’t lack truth. He was risen from the dead, therefore we have every reason for hope and joy!

Main Theme: The goal of this message is to show five truths, from the text, that the resurrection of Christ proclaims.

Truth #1: The Bible and It’s Claims are True

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain (v.14).”

  • The content of Paul’s preaching was the Word of God. It was the gospel (15:1-4).
  • The redemption of people like you and me, made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the point of the Bible. Take away the resurrection, and it all falls down.
  • We can’t deny the reality of the resurrection yet simultaneously affirm other truths of the Bible.
  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ affirms that the message and the claims of the Bible are true.

Truth #2: Faith in God is Rewarding

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain (v.14).”

  • God created us with this desire for relationship with Him, because He knows we long for Him, to know the hope of someone who never fails. Our sin broke that relationship.
  • Jesus came to give us hope and restore that relationship with God—a relationship that most satisfying and rewarding.
  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ declares that our faith is not in vain, but our faith in God is rewarding.

Truth #3 This World is Not Our Home

 “If in Christ we have hope in this world only, we are of all people most to be pitied (v.19).”

  • Following Christ is not easy. Paul’s own experience of the Christian life confirms this.
  • And so he says – if Christ came only to affect our lives on earth, then of all people in the world, people should look at us with pity, like we are fools.
  • But that is not true!

 “For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17).”

Truth #4: Our Sins Are Forgiven

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (2 Cor. 15:17).”

  • There can be no worse sentence than to hear that our sins are not forgiven.
  • While Paul was in Athens, he preached that “[God] now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
  • How would Christ be able to judge us if He is still dead? The resurrection reminds us that one day Christ will judge every person that’s ever lived.
  • But that’s not all that it reminds us of. It also declares a bold and wonderful truth over every believer in Jesus Christ – YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN!

Truth #5: We Will Rise Again!

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (15:20).”

  • Because He rose again, all who have faith in Christ will rise again too!
  • “We are more sure to arise out of our graves than out of our beds.” —  Thomas Watson

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Re-read 1 Cor.15:12-20. Why does Paul say ‘our faith futile, if Christ is not raised?’ What does he mean by that?
  • Paul writes in vs. 19, “If in Christ we have hope in this world only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” What does Paul mean by that? How are you living today, that makes no sense at all if Christ has not been raised?
  • How does the resurrection give us an eternal perspective regarding the present?
  • Who is someone who is an example to you of living with an eternal perspective?
  • Suffering is clearly part of life in a broken fallen world. How does Jesus’ resurrection give hope in the midst of suffering?

 

 

April 2, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Christ and the Leper

Jeremy Bell
April 2, 2017
Luke 5:12-16
Sermon Audio

Introduction

This is a picture of physical healing, and of spiritual cleansing as well. Jesus’ action towards those who have nothing is indicative of the kind of ministry he said he would have – ministry to the poor and setting the captives free. This hearkens back to Luke 4:18 and His reading in the synagogue.

Main Theme: Jesus gives cleansing mercy to all who come to Him in faith.

What is leprosy? 

  • Leprosy is an infectious skin disease that causes skin lesions, nerve damage and  terrible physical pain.
  • In that time, to have leprosy was to be an outcast. You were both sick and ostracized–out of the circle of family, friendship.

The leper took a bold step and approached Jesus (vs.12).

  • The leper came humbly.
  • The leper came in faith.

Jesus Responds – “I will; be clean!” (vs.13)

  • Jesus’ touch leads to immediate healing (vs.13).
  • The once sick, outcast, has been made well, and his relationships, though once broken by contamination, will be restored once again.

Go to the Priest (vs.14)

  • The priests had to officially declare formerly unclean people clean. It was a 7 day process, and sacrifices were necessary.
  • The former leper is officially restored back into the community.

The fact of Jesus’ power to heal was spreading–more and more people came for two reasons (vs.15):

  • To hear his authoritative teaching
  • To be healed of their infirmity

Jesus regularly withdrew from the crowds for fellowship with his Father through prayer (vs.16).

  • Amidst the busyness of ministry, Jesus needed time to pull away from people and pray and think and be apart for the purpose of fellowship with God in prayer
  • Spurgeon liked to tell his church to pray long and to pray often. He would say “the shortening of our prayer will be the weakening of our power.”
  • If our Lord needed to commune with God in prayer; we will be wise to do as He does,  otherwise, we’ll be impoverished of power. Our power comes through prayer!

Take home lessons:

  • Jesus is still healing today.
  • In the gospel, Jesus has moved with compassion towards us.
  • Through his person and work, Jesus offers full cleansing today.

Conclusion

Jesus is eager and willing to heal, both sin and sickness. The man asked if Jesus was willing and Jesus said “I will; be clean.” If you’re asking the same question as the leper, our Savior hasn’t changed. Come with your sin to the personal touch of our Lord. Come with your sickness to be ministered to by Jesus Christ.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Re-read the narrative (5:12-5:16).
  • What would it have been like to live life as a leper in Jesus’ day?
  • Why was it such a bold step for this leper to approach Jesus and ask Jesus to heal him?
  • The leper’s example illustrates the importance of approaching Jesus with our requests both humbly and in faith.
    • What does it look like to pray both humbly and in faith?
    • In your own life, what prayers are you seeking to pray both humbly and in faith–for yourself? for others?
    • What things have you perhaps stopped praying for that you believe God is leading you to start praying for again?
  • The leper was ceremonially unclean.  Likewise, we are spiritually unclean because of our sin. Jesus made this man clean, and through His blood we have been made clean. How does it make you feel when you think about that?
  • Re-read vs.16.  How does Jesus’ example here of prayer, inspire you?

March 26, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Joining God’s Mission

Jeremy Bell
March 26, 2017
Luke 4:42-5:11
Sermon Audio

Introduction

Jesus was a man on a mission – He wanted to spread the Good News (4:43).  As we come to chapter 5, we see a literary turn in Luke as He tells of Jesus beginning to build His team, starting with Simon Peter. This story has to do with the call of Peter

Main Theme: Our gracious, holy God came to forgive us and call us to a life of joyful mission in Christ

How the story unfolds:

God’s Instruction‘Let down your nets.’

  • Peter – join me in a great catch! I want to show you Who I Am!
  • There something spectacular I want to do, and I want to involve you in it!

Peter’s Obedience‘Really?  Ok, I will.’

  • Really? I’m the fisherman and you’re the carpenter, right? We’ve worked hard all night, I’m tired – we caught nothing. But ok, you are my Master, so I will.
  • Notice the title Peter had given to Him – He responded to Jesus request by calling Him Master (5:5)
    • Remember, Jesus had healed Peter’s mother in law of her fever, so He knew something of the power of this Jesus
  • Despite his own experience of toiling all night with no results, despite the fact that he knew these waters well, despite the fact that he was tired, Peter obeys Jesus and trusts Jesus and lets down the nets.

God’s Power – Amazing bounty – only God could do this!

  • When Peter obeyed the Lord and dropped the nets, the response was a bigger catch than he’s ever had!
  • At some point Peter stops the feverish work aware that there another power at work here(5:8). Peter begins to recognize Who is in the boat with him.

Peter’s Response – ‘I am unholy; You are holy.  I am not worthy!’

“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (5:8).’”

God’s Response – ‘Do not fear, I am a merciful God.  By the way, you’ll now be catching people with good news, not catching fish with nets.  Follow me!’ (5:10)

Peter’s Response – ‘I’m leaving all and coming with you right now!’ (5:11)

Conclusion

This story is about God’s love and God’s desire to use people like us to accomplish Kingdom work.

A few take home lessons:

  1. Jesus came to us to forgive us, love us, and to call us to join Him in His mission
  2. A Holy God uses imperfect people to build His kingdom
  3. To follow Jesus in joyful mission, we must trust and obey

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Re-read the narrative (5:1-5:11).
  • What does this miracle reveal to us about the character and identity of Jesus?
  • In vs. 5, we see that despite his own experience of toiling all night with no results, despite the fact that he knew these waters well, despite the fact that he was tired, Peter obeyed Jesus and trusted Jesus and let down the nets. What does Peter’s example here mean for us when it comes to the mission Jesus has given us to proclaim Christ to the lost people we know?
  • What about what took place on that day caused Peter to fall on his knees before Jesus saying “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (5:8).” Why did Peter say that?
  • Read Isaiah 6:1-6. What parallels do you see between Peter’s response to Jesus and Isaiah’s vision of the Lord?
  • How does this story in Luke 5 reveal Peter’s need and our need for a Savior?
  • PRAY: Take time to thank God giving us a Savior, making it possible for us as sinful people to have access to the holy God of the universe.

March 19, 2017 — Sermon Recap

Jesus’ Authority Over All

Jeremy Bell
March 19, 2017
Luke 4:31-45
Sermon Audio

Introduction
Last week, we saw how in Nazareth, Jesus made a claim, he rendered a verdict about Himself. He said He said He is the Anointed One who fulfills Isaiah 61. In our passage today, we begin to see the evidence that supports Jesus’ claim.

Main Theme: Jesus has authority over every evil force and any enslaving foe!

Supporting Evidence #1 – Authority Over Death 

  • Verse 28 – “When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.”
  • They drove Him out of the town, brought Him to the edge of the cliff and with an amazing brevity of words, Luke simply declares:
    • “Passing through their midst, He went away (4:30)”
  • People themselves cannot bring Jesus to His death. The crowd was intent on killing Jesus , on throwing Him from the cliff. But it wasn’t Jesus’ time, and He wasn’t going to have His life taken from Him, rather, He would lay it down at the moment of His choosing19
  • “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father (John 10:18).” 
  • Jesus has authority over His own death, and the timing of His death. No crowd, as wrathful as it may be, was going to dictate to the Son of God when He would die.

Supporting Evidence #2 – Authority In His Teaching

  • Jesus’ teaching had authority like none other, because he possessed authority, like none other — “and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority (4:32).”
  • Jesus “taught as one that knew the mind of God, and was commissioned to declare it.” — Matthew Henry
  • Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).”
  • When we declare the gospel to people, we can know that we are ambassadors of the King of the World.
  • Jesus is often said to be a good teacher, a moral man–but we insult the cause and reason for Christ’s coming to say he is merely that. Jesus is not a warm, motivational speaker or philosopher. No, Jesus has the power to reverse evil! He spoke with divine authority. When He speaks, things happen! What He says, He will do! What He declares, will be so!

Supporting Evidence # 3 – Authority Over the Demonic Realm

  • Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 1:9), and demons are his “henchmen” if you will.
  • Jesus rebuked demon and took authority over it’s action (4:35).
  • The demon obeyed the voice of Christ – and it came out.
  • The demon, though it threw the man down, did not have the ability to do the man harm
  • Demons flee at the power and presence of Jesus!
  • The man was set free! Here Jesus demonstrated both His power over all forces of darkness and His desire to set people free from what they could not free themselves.

Supporting Evidence # 4 – Authority Over Sickness

  • Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (4:39) of a fever.  When she was cured, she immediately (showing the completeness of the cure) got up and began serving them.
  • Following this, many were healed (4:40).  Jesus personally “laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.”

Conclusion

  • Let us approach our Lord with confidence
  • Jesus is God
  • Jesus has authority over all things
    • Authority over sin
    • Authority over sickness
    • Authority over any enslaving foe
    • And may we respond to our Lord with faith in Him

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • In these three scenes, what observations do you have regarding Jesus? What are some of the things we learn about Him from these scenes?
  • Why does it “insult the cause and reason for Christ’s coming” to say that Jesus is simply “a good teacher” and “a moral man” ? How is Jesus’ teaching different from any other individual in all of history?
  • Jesus’ teaching was uniquely authoritative. Jesus spoke the very words of God. How should this encourage us as we represent Him and seek to faithfully speak the gospel to others?
  • In this narrative, we see Jesus’ authority over the demonic realm. How should this encourage us?
  • In this story, how do we see Jesus’ authority over sickness? How does seeing Jesus heal Peter’s mother-in-law and then numerous other individuals as well strengthen and encourage your faith?
  • When it comes to praying for the sick, we want to have faith that God delights to heal and still does heal today. We also want to have confidence in the goodness and sovereignty of God when God, for reasons unknown to us, chooses not to heal. How do we cultivate faith in both God’s healing power and faith in His sovereign goodness?
  • In this narrative, we’ve seen that Jesus delights to heal. He delights to set free those in bondage. In what ways do you desire to see the power of Jesus made known? What desires for healing and/or personal “breakthrough” (sin you want to overcome etc..) do you have that we can keep before the Lord in prayer?

March 12, 2017 — Sermon Recap

The Anointed Savior

Chris Patton
March 12, 2017
Luke 4:14-30
Sermon Audio

Introduction

We might liken our narrative today to watching a dramatic scene from a movie before actually sitting down to watch the whole thing. Luke is showing us an episode if you will of an event that took place somewhere around the mid-way point of Jesus’ ministry, not at the beginning. He is doing so because he wants to draw us into the story as a whole about the life and ministry of Jesus.

Main Theme: Empowered by God’s Spirit, Jesus brings salvation to all who will but receive Him.

I. The anointing Jesus experienced 

  • In the narrative thus far as well as in our text today, Luke is trying to say something to us about the uniqueness of Jesus in relation to the Holy Spirit as well as his personal need for and dependence upon the Spirit’s presence and power (1:41, 3:22, 4:1, 4:14-15). “He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee (v.14)” and the result was Spirit empowered preaching and teaching in the Jewish synagogues that Luke says vs.15 had begun to make him famous everywhere.
  • In the scene of Jesus visiting his home town in Nazareth, the theme of Jesus’ relation to the Holy Spirit continues to be explained and emphasized.
  • Aside: In verse 16, Luke says “as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day.” If Jesus went to his local synagogue, his “local church” every week to hear the word of God read and expounded upon, we certainly do well to follow his example.
  • In the synagogue, Jesus stands up to read from Is.61:1-2. Notice yet again the emphasis-Jesus–anointed by, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • Luke is part 1 of a two-volume work. This gospel is part 1 and the book of Acts is part 2.
  • Luke is extremely intentional to emphasize the vital role of the Holy Spirit in the start of both Jesus’ ministry in Luke 4 and the start of church’s ministry in Acts 2.This parallel exists because Luke wants us to know and more importantly God wants us to know that the way the ministry of Jesus advanced in the earthly life of Jesus, and in Acts, and to this day is the same–it’s in and with and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus needed the power of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill His mission.
    Likewise we as the church need the power of the Holy Spirit to continue the mission of Jesus in the world today.

II. The goal (purpose) of this anointing

  • God anointed Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit as Isaiah says in order that he might preach the gospel (V.18)! He anointed him with the Spirit for mission!
  • This prophetic utterance from the mouth of Isaiah had its initial fulfillment with the people of God exiled in Babylon.
    • Isaiah was prophesying their deliverance from captivity.
    • Isaiah was also prophesying our liberation from sin as well as the year of the Lord’s favor (the age to come–the new heavens and new earth).
    • He was prophecying all the blessings that God in Christ has secured for us both in this life and in the life to come.

III. The choice we face

  • Initially the people responded well to this brief sermon from Jesus. verse 22 tells us that “all spoke well of him.” At the same time, they were cynical and skeptical. They didn’t believe Jesus fulfilled Is.61 and in their unbelief, they wanted him to “show his stuff (see vs.23).”
  • Jesus shares two pointed illustrations from the ministries of Elijah and Elisha that demonstrate God’s blessing doesn’t come to those who remain in unbelief, but to others who have faith.
    • This deeply offended the Nazareth congregation.Instead of repenting of their unbelief and hardness of heart, they angrily attempted to kill Jesus by throwing him off a cliff (Verses 28-29).
  • This whole narrative is a powerful preview of the Cross which represents the ultimate rejection of Jesus.
  • The main take home: It is possible to be in close proximity to Jesus — to be familiar with and well acquainted with Jesus and yet to still at the end of the day reject Jesus–to push Him away– to say in your heart “I don’t need Him”.
  • This narrative presses each one of us to make a choice: will receive Jesus or will we reject Him?
  • This episode emphasizes the importance of receiving and embracing Jesus personally.

Conclusion
An encouragement from John 1:9-13

[9] The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. [11] He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. [which is what we’ve seen in our story today] [12] But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)

  • Many of us, by grace and grace alonehave received JesusWe have embraced Him with our whole hearts as Savior and as Lord. As a result, we have been adopted into God’s family and become children of God. What an incredible blessing!

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • What lessons can be drawn from Jesus’ personal dependence upon the power of the Holy Spirit?
  • What does it look like to live every day dependent upon the Holy Spirit? What would it look like for you to take a step of growth in the area of daily dependence upon the Spirit?
  • In verse 16, Luke says “as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day.” What can we learn from Jesus’ example here ?
  • Read Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus reads from Is.61. What does Isaiah’s prophetic utterance teach us about what Jesus came to do? How does it make you feel to think that Jesus came to bring us these amazing blessings Isaiah talks about?
  • The people in Nazareth were familiar with Jesus but didn’t believe in Him personally. How does this dynamic of being familiar with Jesus yet not truly receiving Jesus play out in our day?
  • How does this story emphasize the importance of receiving and embracing Jesus personally? When did you first receive Jesus and embrace Him as your Savior and Lord?

March 5, 2017 — Sermon Recap

The Living and Active Word

Jeremy Bell
March 5, 2017
Luke 4:1-13, Hebrews 4:12
Sermon Audio

Introduction

Jesus used the Word as His weapon against the lies of the enemy.  This sermon highlights the connection between what Hebrews 4 says about the living and active Word of God and how believing it can help us, like Jesus, to defeat the enemy’s lies.

I. The Enemy’s Attack – Unbelief and Doubt 

Consider from Luke 4 how Jesus used the Word to fight against the twisted deceptions of the enemy.

II. The Remedy — the Powerful, Effective Word of God

Hebrews 4:12 helps us to see how –

    1. The Word Effectively Protects Us From Unbelief
    2. The Word is Living and Active
      • There is power in this living, active Word of God
        • The Word fights for us
        • The Word discerns truth for us
        • The Word brings light to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts
        • The Word separates what are lies and what is certain

“The written Word does more than merely communicate truth about God; it also mediates the very person and power of God.” — Sam Storms

II. We Have the Help of the Holy Spirit

  • Two things to notice about Christ in this fight against Satan (Luke 4:1)
    • Jesus was filled with the Word
    • Jesus was filled with the Spirit
  • The Spirit of God moves when the living Word of God is read. There is dynamic power in this Word, as the Spirit works to reveal God Himself in conjunction with the Living Word.

“The Bible is no magic book, but a strange, enigmatic power stirs when we reach for the Scriptures. Something influential, though invisible, is happening as we hear God’s Word read or spoken, and when we read or study.  Something supernatural, but unseen, transpires as we see the text in front of us and take it into our souls.  Someone unseen moves. He is a personal force, fully divine yet full of mystery – more a person than you or me, and yet no less indomitable and ultimately irresistible in power. He makes the seemingly simple into something supernatural, as reading the Bible takes us beyond the realm of our control. He loves to strengthen human souls in obvious and subtle ways as they encounter God’s Word…He imperceptibly shapes us this morning to make us who we need to be this afternoon, and next week. His hands act untraceably as He molds minds, hews out our hearts, whittles at our wills, and carves out our calluses. He not only hovers over the waters (Genesis 1:2),…He also hovers with special vigilance over the divine Word, standing ready to awaken dead souls and open blind eyes and warm cold hearts.…When we get alone with the Bible, we are not alone. God has not left us to ourselves to understand His Words and feed our own souls.  No matter how thin your training, no matter how spotty your routine, the Helper stands ready.  Take up the text in confidence that God is primed to bless your being with His very breath…He is the Holy Spirit.”   –David Mathis, Habits of Grace

Conclusion:

  • Jesus availed Himself of the Word and the Spirit to fight off the deceptive lies of the enemy.
  • We too must fight these same lies, so that the deceitfulness of sin doesn’t settle in our hearts and make us callous to God’s promises.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • What is unbelief? How do we as Christians sometimes struggle with unbelief in God’s promises? In what ways do you struggle with unbelief in God’s promises?
  • Re-read Hebrews 4:12. What does this verse teach us about the Word?
  • Describe a time when the Word of God cut to your own heart–either encouraging and strengthening you or perhaps convicting you in some way?
  • Re-read the Mathis quote above…how does what Mathis says encourage you in relationship to God’s Word?

February 26, 2017 — Sermon Recap

The Victory of Christ in Temptation

Jeremy Bell
February 26, 2017
Luke 4:1-12
Sermon Audio

Introduction

The first Adam failed in his temptation by Satan back in Genesis 3. In stark contrast, Jesus, the second Adam does not fail. The faithfulness of Jesus Christ to resist the Enemy’s temptations has secured eternal hope for us.

Main Theme: Jesus is our sin-defeating Redeemer.

Three temptations Jesus faced:

I. The temptation to doubt God’s goodness (4:3-4)

II. The temptation to take the easy road (4:5-8)

III. The temptation to make God prove His love  (4:9-12)

  • The challenge is a test of God’s protection.
  • The temple is the place of God’s closeness, and His temple is a refuge of His protection and care.
  • At the very center of God’s protection and care, Satan is demanding that Jesus put God to the test.

Questions for Discussion / Application:

  • Re-read verses 3-4.
    • How was this attack an assault on the goodness of God?
    • In what ways does the Enemy tempt us similarly?
    • How can you be tempted to doubt God’s goodness?
  • Re-read verses 5-8.
    • Here the Enemy tempted Jesus to take the easy road. What is the road Satan was tempting Jesus to take? How is that road different than the road his Heavenly Father was calling him to take?
  • Sin often promises an easy way out in trouble; an easy way to find relief–yet that easy way out never delivers. It always leads to destruction and devastation.
    • In what ways can you relate to feeling the temptation and pull in your own heart to try to escape the road God has you on for some other road that can seem easier?
  • Re-read verses 9-12 — Satan tempted Jesus to doubt God’s protection, care and love. How can you be tempted to doubt these same things?