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Share it. But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?
I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.
For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at FindingPurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Now, let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. If you have a Bible, open your Bible to Luke chapter 11. Luke chapter 11. And we're going to pick it up in verse 29. And we've got a tall order because we're going through the end of the chapter.
So we're going to move very quickly. But what you have to understand is right here, this is the height of Jesus's popularity. This is when the crowds are at their biggest. This is when Jesus has the largest following. People are interested in him. And people are really curious about what his ministry is about. From an outsider's perspective, things are going swimmingly well.
From an American evangelical perspective, things are going swimmingly well. Because what do people look at first and foremost? Numbers. Numbers.
We call them the killer bees. Bodies, budgets, and buildings. People look at tangible results.
So it looks like things are going really well. But the problem is this, is that Jesus knows what's in the heart. And he knows that people are actually following him for superficial reasons. And rather than feeding that, and rather than going along with that, he confronts it.
But he knows that they're not interested in divine grace. That they just want a free meal. Remember in John chapter 6, after Jesus feeds the 5,000, he confronts them. He said, look, you just want me to multiply more bread and fish.
You want another happy meal. I think that's the new living translation. And he confronts this. He doesn't go along with it. So look at verse 29. Look at how he confronts the following. He says, when the crowds were increasing, he began to say, this generation is an evil generation. End quote.
I guess he hadn't read Del Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. But here you get at the heart of what Jesus is about. That Jesus is about the true religion of grace. And he is going to confront what was taking place in Judaism at the time, which was a religion of works.
Here's what you need to understand. If there's one takeaway that you need to take away from tonight, is that there's two religions in the world. There is the true religion of grace, that salvation is offered through Christ alone by grace through faith. That's one religion. And the other religion is Satan's religion. And that religion is a religion of works righteousness.
Satan loves to keep people busy as moralist. He loves to keep people checking boxes, but that's the world's religion. That's the religion of work.
So look, you need to teach your children, your grandchildren. You need to teach them that there are two religions and only one religion. The religion of grace takes you to heaven.
Every other religion takes you straight to hell. This is how Judaism always operated. From the very beginning, Judaism and then Christianity, which is Judaism fulfilled, has been a religion of grace by faith. From the very beginning, Paul quotes Genesis 15.6 in Romans 4.3.
Paul says, for what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. So Abraham believed in faith and God's promise. And grace was given to Abraham. Did Abraham deserve divine grace?
No, he did not. It was a merited divine favor. Listen, that's what grace is. If you could earn grace, it would no longer be grace.
It would be something else. Grace, by definition, is unmerited favor from God. It's unmerited. And so it is in the new covenant.
Paul says, Ephesians 2.8, for by grace, you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. So that no one can boast. You can't boast if it's a gift.
You can't boast if it's grace. And this was the great discovery of Martin Luther over 500 years ago. Does anybody know who Martin Luther was? Martin Luther became a monk to his father's chagrin. He entered a monastery. And if anybody could have been saved, Luther said, through monkery, it was him. He was a works righteousness guy. And when he would sin, he would confess even the most minute sin.
He would stay in the confessional for hours. The other priests, when they saw Luther coming, would go running because they knew they would be tied up for the rest of the afternoon. His teacher, Von Stauppet, said, Luther, stop confessing so many peccadillos.
Because Luther was afraid that he might just miss one sin. And he was trying to earn his way to heaven. And he said, one day, he started, you know, what do you do with a crazy guy like that?
Well, you asked him to go teach college students. So he was teaching college students the book of Romans. And he came across Romans one, seven, teen.
And this is a quote. He said, at last meditating day and night by the mercy of God, I began to understand that the righteousness of God, so that's our justification before God, is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God. That's grace, namely by faith. Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise.
Had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open. Much like Luther before he was converted, the Jews in Jesus's day, specifically the Jewish leaders, basically taught that you could earn your way to heaven by keeping the law. By virtue of the fact that you were born a Jew, by virtue of the fact that you kept the law as best you could, you could stay right with God. And what Paul confronts and what Jesus confronts is that the law can never save you.
I want to get that through your head. The law will not save you. The law was given as a diagnostic so that you would know that you are a sinner before God. When you go to the doctor and you have a hurt arm, the orthopedic will take an x-ray of your arm. The x-ray is a diagnostic. It shows you that you have a problem. It doesn't fix your arm. When the doctor comes back in, you don't ask him for another x-ray. You ask him for surgery or a splint or something. The law of God is a diagnostic.
It will not fix you. Jot down Galatians 2 16. Galatians 2 16.
Listen to what Paul says. We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. A person is not justified by works of the law. He says, so we have also believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law because he says it again, by works of the law, no one will be justified. So when you have a conversation with someone and you say, okay, you know, one day you're going to have to stand before God when you die and God asks you, why should I let you into heaven? If their answer is something along the lines of the first person, well, I did this, I did that, you know that's not a good answer because it implies what?
I kept some sort of law or regulation. That's not grace. The answer is this is what Christ has done for me.
Christ died for me, rose again on the third day for the forgiveness of sins and that I might be seen with his perfect righteousness. Jesus came not to save the righteous, but to save sinners. John 3 17, for God did not send his son in the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him, he came on a grace mission. And so what Jesus confronts, and I want you to look now at verse 29, and I want you to write in the margin that evil generation, the evil generation, is he confronts this, really this entire generation that refuses to repent and seek divine grace. That's the big issue. The big issue is that the Jews do not seek divine grace.
That's it. They are trying to earn their way to God. And you just look at the examples Jesus uses. He says, this generation is an evil generation.
What do they want? Do they come to me for grace? He says, no, they seek for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. Verse 30, for as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the son of man be to this generation. The sign of Jonah. What's the sign of Jonah? Well, if you remember Jonah, Jonah was an Old Testament prophet.
And unlike most of the prophets, Jonah was not sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel or the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Jonah was commissioned by God to go to Israel's worst enemies, the Assyrians. The Assyrians would have barbecues with Israelites. Skinned them alive. They were sworn enemies. They were wicked people, awful people. And when Jonah gets this commission, he says, nah.
I want those people to burn. And he heads in the opposite direction to Tarshish. He gets on a boat and starts going into the Mediterranean.
You know the story. God sends a storm. Jonah's asleep below deck. Eventually, they go get Jonah. They're asking him why the storm's there.
They draw straws. He admits that he's been running away from God. And Jonah says, throw me into the sea, which they do.
And God sends what? A fish. I'm glad none of you said whale. People always said whale, but the Bible doesn't say that.
It says a fish, a great fish. Could have been a whale. Could have been a whale, but a great fish swallows Jonah. And Jonah is in the belly of that fish for three days and three nights until that fish spits him back out on dry land.
Now, here's a question for you. Is that story true or is that story myth? Jesus said it was true.
Did you know that? This is what Jesus says. He says in Matthew 12 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish. So will the son of man be three days in three nights in the heart of the earth.
So that's an apologetic point that you need to remember. I've had lots of conversations with guys that say, yeah, I believe in the resurrection of Christ. I don't believe that Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days. Look, one, I've seen.
Did anybody see the video of the guy? Uh, off the East coast who was swallowed by a whale last year, or maybe it was two years ago and spit them out. It happens.
It can happen. Two, uh, what's, what's crazier? A man swallowed by a fish and then spit out or a man comes back from the dead. The second one, right? So why do you believe that and not the first one? And third, Jesus said it's true. If we, if we can't trust the Lord Jesus Christ about a historical event, who can we trust answer?
Nobody. So Jonah goes to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and he preaches a message of works. No, he preaches a message of mercy and grace. He says, God is going to rain down judgment, but if you repent, there's hope. And the King of Nineveh says, everybody we're, we're all repenting.
And they repent and sack cloth and ashes, much to Jonah's dismay. And God relents. God has mercy. God gives grace. They turn from their sin. It was grace.
Next example. Look at verse 31. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with men of this generation and condemn them. The queen of the South is the queen of Sheba.
She came from what we would say is the modern day Arabian peninsula. And she came up to hear Solomon. And apparently when she came and talked to Solomon, she heard the message of divine grace. We know that because Jesus says that in the judgment, she's justified. She came and she heard from Solomon the truth of who God is. And she became a Gentile God fear and she understood that salvation is by grace. And Jesus said, she will rise up at the judgment and condemn you because someone greater than Solomon is here. Verse 32, the men of Nineveh also will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it. For they repented at the preaching of Jonah and behold something greater than Jonah is here. In other words, look, these people, and by the way, both examples are what?
Gentiles. Jews would not like that example. But both of the examples repented at a lesser preacher than Jesus, right? Lesser preacher. Jonah, Solomon. But Jesus is saying, look, greater than is your condemnation because you refuse to repent.
You're asking for signs. You're not coming to me asking for divine grace. Now, the reason for this is really explained in verses 33 to 36. I want you to write in the margin above verse 33, man's spiritual blindness, man's spiritual blindness.
Here's the problem. Here's why the Jews didn't believe in Jesus. Here's why people stay in works, righteousness, religions. The reason why people reject divine grace, the greatest news in the world, is because they are spiritually blind. Another way of saying it is that man is totally depraved. Man is not born good. Man is not born loving God. Man is born hating God. Man is born an enemy of God. Paul says in Romans 3.10, none is righteous. No, not one. No one understands. No one seeks for God.
I heard one preacher say total depravity is the doctrine that God creates all things good, and man manages to mess it all up. That's our story. Man left to himself. Does he improve or does he descend? Descend.
Anybody read Lord of the Flies? That's man. That's man. Paul says Romans 3.23, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Everyone has sinned. Everyone has broken the law.
James says you break the law, and one point you're guilty of the whole thing. So the problem is, though, is that man doesn't realize the predicament that they are in. You ever talk to somebody, you give the gospel to them, you lay it all out there, and their life's a mess, and they're like, yeah, I'm good where I'm at. You're like, what in the world?
I'm giving you this message of free grace, and you don't want it? What's going on here? Well, what's going on? They're blind. They're blind.
They can't see. I remember one time my aunt and uncle, I was visiting them out in El Paso. We drove over and in New Mexico to Carlsbad Caverns where the bats all fly out, and you get on an elevator, you go way down. It's like 50 floors down. You get down there, and you're going on the guard rail. It's all lit up, and then all of a sudden, they just turn the lights out.
They just turn them out. You can't see a thing. You can't see a thing. Now, the issue is with man, it's not that the light is not there. It's that man, morally speaking, hates the light. So when you're explaining the gospel to somebody and they say, nah, I don't want it, the issue is moral. The issue is that they don't want to come to the light.
Listen to what John says. John 3, 19. This is the judgment. The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light lest his work should be exposed. So the issue with man is an issue of blindness.
It's an issue of hating the light. Paul says in Romans 11, 8. God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear down to this very day. So what Jesus does, look at verse 35, is Jesus warns them. He says, be careful, and this is a very elongated way of warning them, but he basically says, be careful that you are not spiritually blind.
Verse 35. Be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright as when a lamp with its rays gives light. He's saying, make sure that you're not in darkness. Make sure that you are not blind.
Make sure that you can see. Make sure you understand divine grace. Here's the thing. The only thing that can wake somebody up from their stupor, and open the eyes of the spiritually blind is the word of God. It's the only thing.
It's the only thing. If you're dealing with a lost person, the only way that God is going to open the eyes of the blind to divine grace is through the word of God. For I'm not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, the word.
For you were born again, not of perishable seed, but imperishable seed, the living and abiding word of God. God opens blind eyes through the means of the word of God. God, that is how you bring a sinner who's blind, who's in their sin, who's practicing works righteousness into the religion of grace, is you have to bring the good news of the word of God.
You have to confront them with the truth of who they are, that they're sinners, and you have to confront them with the reality of what Christ has done. And unfortunately, so much of ministry, what I see in America, so much of what I see is organizations and churches trying to win lost people with lost things. If somebody is spiritually blind, and you get them to your church because you're having a Harley Davidson show, you might draw a crowd, but you're not going to help them spiritually. You don't get people saved with blacklight and fog machines and a spiritual, emotional experience.
That doesn't save anybody. What saves sinners who are blind is the word of God. And so what Jesus is saying is he says, make sure you're not blind. Make sure you've understood the word. Make sure that you've understood that salvation is of divine grace. Now, the problem of that day was a problem with the religious elite, the teachers, the false teachers, we should say, because they led the people astray. Write down confrontation with false teachers there next to verse 37. Jesus, you know, you're tempted. I'm in this situation. I want to be nice.
I want to come alongside these guys and say, hey, guys, let me just talk to you about where you're at. Jesus takes these guys head on. Look what he says. He says, while Jesus was speaking of Pharisee asked him to dine with him. So he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Now, what you have to understand is that the religious leaders, the scribes, the loggers had added all sorts of religious laws onto the old Testament laws. And those laws were called the Mishnah. It was an oral tradition of laws that they basically extrapolated and taught, but they were supposedly to help the people keep the old Testament law, but really they just taxed the Jews of the day with extraneous superfluous laws that really became a massive burden on them.
And one of those laws was that you had to do a ceremonial washing of your hand before every meal. Now, Jesus, did he come to fulfill the Mishnah or did he come to fulfill the old Testament law? Old Testament law. He's not, he doesn't have to keep the Mishnah. And so he doesn't do that.
And they're astonished that he doesn't do that. The Lord said to him, verse 39, look at verse 39. Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish. You're worried about externals, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. In other words, you're depraved. You're lost. You're blind. Verse 40, you fools. Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? In other words, you neglect the most important thing.
You make up extraneous laws on the outside, but on the inside you're as lost as a duck. That's your issue. It's kind of like the modern celebrities today. What's their big hobby horse?
Almost every one of them. Climate change. Almost every one of them is on a climate change crusade, but yet look at their personal private life.
What's going on? Moral bankruptcy. None of them can keep a marriage. None of them are, you know, so many are not sober and all these other sorts of things. They're worried about the outside. They're not worried about the reality of their own souls. And Jesus saying something similar. He's saying, look, you need to be worried about the inside. Verse 41, give us alms those things that are within and behold, everything is clean for you. So if you're purified on the inside, then you will be pure on the outside.
What does that sound like? You must be born again. You must be washed on the inside.
You must be born of water and the spirit and then everything will be clean. Beginning in verse 42 through the end of the chapter, he's going to give six woes, six woes, three to the Pharisees and three to the lawyers. The Pharisees were the, the more legalistic sect in the Sanhedrin.
They were the ones who really went about enforcing these laws. And these first three woes are to them. And I've kind of summarized each of these woes. The first woe that Jesus gives is hypocrisy in laws.
Hypocrisy in laws. Look at verse 42. He says, but woe to you Pharisees for you tithe, mint and rue in every herb and neglect justice and the love of God.
These you ought to have done without neglecting the others. Here's what's significant about what he's saying. What they were concerned about is making sure that the temple had money. They were concerned about money.
That's what they, that's, that's what false teachers, 99% of the time, that's what they're about. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
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