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December 15, 2021 12:30 am
Today's podcast features Associate Director of Finding Purpose Jim Briggs. Listen as he shares what the good news of Jesus's birth and ministry really means.
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This is Robbie Gilmore from a Christian car guy I am king in pursuit where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build the kingdom your chosen Truth Network podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it and share it but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing The Truth Podcast Network network. This is the Truth Network do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill 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 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 in glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and finding purpose could visit us email@example.com connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. When we receive good news.
It's very rare that we we get angry. It's very rare that we become disheartened so I want to think about what it's like to receive good news is Jesus. Jesus asked his disciples, and leap nine. He said who do you say that I am and this is the most important question that you and I will ever have to contemplate and you know if we get this answer right then we will discover the greatest news that we never heard Alec's been meticulously taking us through the events of Jesus life and his ministry. And I think that he's given us a lot of information that helps us to answer two vitally important questions. One is who is Jesus and the other is why did he come who is Jesus and why did he come our study this year has already provided a lot of of the hard evidence for the first part of that.
Who is Jesus in our first four chapters presented Jesus as an anointed king as a as a mighty Savior as a suffering servant, and is a righteous judge. Testimonies affirming all of this information came from angels came from Jesus's mother came from an elderly priest and a prophetess. It came from shepherds. A group of shepherds recall on the hillside it came from John the Baptist course we read read that account very recently. It came from.
Luke himself and came from God the father, and last week we actually solve that the devil himself had to acknowledge that Jesus was the son of God, we learned that Jesus was born of flesh. He was a man know people have really no trouble accepting that Jesus was a man. He was an historical figure in fact there are number of people that we believe that Jesus was a good man but the angel that announced Mary's baby also said that her baby would be called holy son of God was it mean that Jesus is the son of God.
12 John the Baptist was identified as the voice of one crying in the wilderness proclaim the way of the Lord member that we just study that recently you remember that this quote was actually from the prophet Isaiah said that one day the Lord would come and show the nations. His glory and that a messenger would go ahead of him and prepare the way as it turns out John was actually preparing the way for Jesus lies is significant while you notice the Hebrew word translated Lord in our Bible is Yahweh as a personal covenant name of God. So Luke reveals that Yahweh God the father, God himself had come to earth in the person of Jesus, the God man and he came to bring salvation to his people and the forgiveness of their sins that we read about that in the 14 77 is the good news that the angel shared and announced to the shepherds this good news about Jesus.
Should cause everyone to to have great joy. Everyone everyone receives good news. This is great joy for all who would receive it.
Now listen if we don't get Jesus identity and his mission right would bound to relate to him in the wrong way and even reject them altogether in his gospel.
Lucas presented to the historical evidence that's necessary for us to recognize Jesus for who he really is and why he has the right to be Lord over our life. Luke 414 through 30 Jesus is that we we see Jesus. This return to his hometown of Nazareth is a homecoming. This is where he appears to start his ministry. In fact, some of you in your Bible. It may say Jesus starts his ministry of Jesus began his ministry, but actually this this event takes place in a good while after the temptation that we read about last week of verses 14 and 15 are actually a summary of what he had been doing in Judea before coming to Nazareth and if you go and take a look in John's Gospel, you'll actually see a number of those events that that that took place. So the question is why if Luke had been so meticulous in recording the events of of Jesus life. Why would he remove this story to the front before all of the ministry work that we hear about any other in the other Gospels. Well, I think one of the reasons that he does. This is because he's foreshadowing the kind of reception that Jesus is going to get during his ministry on earth. He's he goes from town to town of his P all his people, proclaiming the good news, and proclaiming that he is in fact the Messiah and time and time again.
He faces rejection and hostility until he's crucified on the cross. This passage help us to identify some of the reasons why primarily religious people reject Jesus and the gospel. Like all Jews, generations of people in Nazareth had been looking forward to the promised Messiah and God's word gave precise details about how and why he would come so a lot of these people who are longing for the promised Messiah failed to recognize and vehemently rejected.
How could they miss this well.
I believe we find two main reasons in our passage. The first reason is that religious people tend to reject Jesus because they don't want to submit to him as Lord, and the second reason is because they fail to see their desperate need for a Savior. It's strange to think, but being religious actually increases the danger that she might reject Jesus and his gospel. That's the issue that were facing tonight.
That's the issue that we see in this crowd, it's pictured in this passage that we study not only did the good people of Nazareth react negatively to Jesus shockingly actually left their worship service to try and kill and what is the first point, although they may accept Jesus as a moral teacher may accept them as a prophet.
They may accept them as a good example religious people refuse to bow before him as Lord while divided this passage up tonight. Not a primarily and when a look at verses 18 and 19 but the entire passage that we studied this week. I divided into three sections. Jesus returns. Jesus reveals Jesus rejected the less let us take a look at this exciting return to his hometown reports about Jesus and his ministry throughout Galilee had thus far been very favorable. In fact he was, according to verse 15 praised by all the people of Nazareth were probably proud of this local boy who's become famous and they're very excited about his homecoming and you can imagine the scene.
Can't you have the synagogue filling up with family and friends and neighbors of Jesus as is there waiting anxiously to hear what he has to say, well, a typical service of her synagogue would start out with some blessings and some prayers and then there'd be several readings of the Torah. The law and then Jewish leaders would typically invite visiting rabbi or person of distinction to read from passages from the prophets, so the law and the prophets, and on this occasion the local boy, the son of Joseph and Mary stood to re-take a look with me as we look at the verses 17 through 19 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him and he unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor how immediately the audience would recognize is very familiar passage from Isaiah, in which the Messiah speaks of himself and of his work so is probably dead silent. Probably people held their breath as they waited for what he was gonna say after this and what Jesus was about to reveal was pure dynamite. Verse 20 says he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down and sit down because he was finished, it was customary to stand when reading the word reading God's word and into sit when not when you gave the sermon when Utah as we sat down again. It says the eyes of all of the synagogue were fixed on him and he began to say today to them today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. Well, somebody made a comment before I started to said note. Let's try and keep it short and and this seems like a very short sermon here today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing anything and it says it and it goes on for this is actually verse 21, was actually a summary of probably a much larger sermon see Jesus would take the words that he read and then he would expound on he would carefully explain everything that he had just read so you can imagine Jesus after reading this passage within go back and unpack that passages is the same thing that Russ does is it the same thing that your pastor, your church should do is carefully examining God's word word by word, phrase by phrase to see what God is trying to say to us in helping us explain that help explain that to us and as he spoke. The audience became enthralled.
It says verse 22 by his gracious words literally. Words of grace that he was say of the initial response as you read is is favorable hometown hero has obviously impressed the crowd, but it wasn't long before the smiles and the warm feelings faded into puzzled looks and confusion. Isn't this Joseph's son now. If you are a Jew in Israel the time of Jesus. As I said you been waiting for a long time for this Messiah was promised in God's word and the message of Isaiah is rich in messianic prophecies and promises of release and reformation and freedom to the people and now using these very words of Jesus had just claimed to be the Messiah.
One might imagine that the crowd would go wild, leaping with joy and singing songs of praises. After all, Jesus just announced that he is the one that they been waiting for. But that wasn't the response in Nazareth. The tension increased as the crowd started to whisper into murmur unit. This is this is the same boy that we saw grow up a carpenter's son who does he think he is claiming to be able to fulfill Scripture and he seems to be implying that we are your poor blind slaves in it and that he's our Savior, who said anything about needing a Savior. Anyway, why doesn't he perform some of those miracles that he's been performing all over, all over the countryside. Maybe thin and then we believe in what was initially a favorable impression was starting to turn into anger and enrage and ultimately rejection.
Joe Jesus knew what was in their hearts and he reminds them of two important stories from Scripture. They get right to the heart of the issue.
The point of both of the stories that we read this week are the same, we see both these prophets Elijah and Elisha and and the stories about both of them. Help us to help Jesus to frame what is the problem that is happening here in this in the synagogue see Israel was gripped with idolatry and moral corruption and and they rejected God's prophets in the first story, God told Elijah to pray for a drought that lasted 3 1/2 years and it led to a very severe famine. In fact it was so severe that Elijah himself didn't have food.
Now God could have picked any number of widows in Israel to provide food for Elijah, but instead he picked the poor unnamed widow outside Israel in the region of side through this Gentile woman God provided for both her purse on and the prophet, and similarly during Elisha's time. Many lepers were living in and around Israel.
God could have healed any of them, but instead he chose to heal Mammon. A powerful general in the army of get this.
Israel's enemy, although both stories came directly from Scripture. These would've been stories that these people were familiar with these stories offended this audience deeply and I think they were offended for two reasons. First, stories teach that God sovereignly chooses those on whom he grants his mercy, God is sovereign and he can choose those on whom he grants his mercy is not obligated to anyone because all are undeserving. What centers all of our undeserving sinners. If you decide to go out outside of Israel to bestow his blessings on a destitute civilian woman or powerful, wealthy Syrian general while withholding his blessing from Israel, but he's totally free today that he is sovereign. After all, and the Jews in Nazareth believe themselves to be deserving of God's favor and they were outraged, outraged by the suggestion that God would grant such blessings to outsiders.
This is a picture of religious pride religious pride causes people to think that they are entitled alone to God's blessings. But the Bible teaches Bible teaches something very different.
It teaches that there is no one righteous, not one God owes nothing to sinners except judgment. Scripture declares he has mercy on whom he desires and he hardens whom he desires us. Romans 918. This message is incredibly offensive to out to people who don't understand God's true character of Martin Lloyd Lloyd Jones observed one time that the best corrective against pride is to know God, know his character, and the truth about them in the second reason that these stories offended this religious crowd is because they show that God blesses outsiders not just the inside crowd but outsiders specifically in this case outsiders a civilian widow in the Syrian general were both Gentiles outside of the covenant blessings of God's people, Israel, Jesus uses both stories here to show that those who believe God's word and received his blessing were in fact Gentiles outsiders and they were outsiders considered inferior, but he was saying it because they knew that they were helpless. They had a superior faith was interesting as we talk about Dominic tonight. This Sidonia woman was destitute. Absolutely poor and same was was the fact with that with Dominic and yet all of us. All of us as sinners are the exact same we have absolutely nothing that we can give to God. There is nothing that we can do for our own salvation. Start message here is that unless the audience became as desperate as these Gentiles they would never experience Jesus ministry of freedom, when the crowd realized what he was saying they became enraged.
I was believers, it is absolutely essential that we guard against this attitude that we have some special position or favor from God and that we are deserving somehow of his blessings and salvation. We can only experience grace we can only experience grace when we realize how desperate we are.
We need to remember that salvation is by grace alone and we need to maintain the faith and fear before the God of kindness and severity as a realize that God desires to show his mercy on all sinners, we should reach out with compassion. Those that we know are lost. It was easy to accept that God loves us and the Jesus cares for us, that he cares for all our needs and while that is true. Jesus teaching confronts our religious pride in our self-righteousness today.
We may try and avoid the hard truths of Jesus teaching by attending churches that that preceding incomparable messages that meet our needs and satisfy our desires. We might imagine a warm and friendly. Jesus, who is basically a good teacher or moral example and keep him at arms length. As we pursue our own agendas. Following Jesus forces us to confront the ugly truth about ourselves and bow before him as our Lord seeking to understand his priorities and follow his will narrow the second point here is that oftentimes are refusing to meet to admit their need for a Savior. Religious people will also reject Jesus take another look at this passage and see what Jesus is claiming about himself.
Did you notice the three persons of the Trinity in verse 18 Jesus says the spirit that's God the spirit of the Lord is on me because he that's God the father has anointed me in the Hebrew word for anointed one is Messiah. So what he's really declaring here is God the son had sent was sent by God the father and empowered by God the spirit to proclaim good news to sinners good news of salvation and to usher in the year of God's favor and deals with was proclaiming good news to the poor to the captives to the blind and to the oppressed Jesus would demonstrate his authority and his power in healing and restoring those who suffered blindness and other physical infirmity their infirmities and even cast out demons to free people from bondage of evil forces. In fact, he does that in this very chapter will study that in the coming weeks is good news is also for poor enslave sinners who will stand before God unable to plead their own case on their own merits, the year of the Lord's favorite root refers to the year of Jubilee and you may have read about this in your study this week found in Leviticus 25 through 28. During this particular time of celebration prisoners and captives were set free slaves would be released. Debts would be canceled in both land and people could rest Jubilee Jubilee is a picture of God's salvation of redemption and forgiveness was interesting as I was studying this passage I found that the same Greek word that is translated freedom, liberty, and release, maybe deliver deliverance in your your Bible that same Greek word can also be translated forgiveness.
Take a look at Luke three verse three for a minute. Luke three verse three John the Baptist goes into all the country around Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance and forgiveness of sins. Underline the word forgiveness. There you have to turn to admit in Luke 24 verse 20 verse 46 just before Jesus ascends.
He tells the apostles that are just about to go out and preach the gospel. He says he wants them to understand the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem is word translated forgiveness is the same word translated freedom and release by offering himself as God. Sin bearer as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins. Jesus paid the price to set sinners free in the really good news about Jesus. Declaration of the year the Lord's favor is that it includes people from all nations, all people from all nations can be released from the bondage of sin.
But you know to accept God's good news.
You must accept Jesus as he is and as he claimed to be Lord and Savior. How much are you and I like these Nazarenes. How much do we think about ourselves.
We think that we are basically good and able to come to God on our own terms. They went to synagogues like we go to church. Many of us are all of us. Hopefully week by week. They were kind and decent and they weren't nearly as bad as some sinners but not realizing that there poor blind captives incapable of helping themselves.
They don't know that there in desperate need of a Savior is is that us is that you and I and was sinners, we are spiritually bankrupt.
We have nothing. Nothing to offer for our salvation were spiritual captives enslaved to sin and unable to free ourselves and were spiritually blind, unable to see the light of the gospel until Jesus Christ opens our eyes. Is this how we see ourselves will never relate to Jesus in the right way. If we fail to recognize this about ourselves, and we fail to recognize him as he truly is in the irony of this story is that even before they finish their religious service. These good people angrily rush Jesus to the edge of the cliff to kill them is because Jesus had exposed the murderous intent of their hearts.
In this this is the default heart condition of all of us.
I don't want to kill Jesus you say I don't have any don't have any desire to throw them off a cliff means okay but you know friends every time every time we rebel against Jesus.
We symbolically drive him to the cliff and cast him off his rightful place on the throne in our lives. The tragedy in this story is that once the crowd had driven Jesus off. Jesus miraculously passed through their midst and he went away, perhaps never to return to Nazareth in protest it and fight back. He just walked away.
Well here a couple of applications as we finish up tonight you like me maybe grew up in a church and have become very familiar with Jesus you might be able to explain the gospel in a very convincing way to your friends and family, but unless you and I have applied this teaching to our hearts were just a rebellious rebel and tonight, I urge you is that you repent and ask Jesus to reveal himself as he truly is and then tell them you want to make him your Lord second. If you put off Jesus today. You might not have another opportunity. Jesus says today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing the word today conveys an urgency of responding to the to the gospel. Jesus proclaim the year of our Lord the year of salvation and you know this year. Unlike of the calendar year. This year goes on until Jesus returns. Interestingly, Jesus stopped reading the Isaiah passage found in verse 19 in verse if you go back to Isaiah. The verse actually reads.
He came to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance for our God is a Jesus came first to offer good news of salvation.
And when he returns he will return as a righteous judge over all of those who rejected his offer.
The author of Hebrews offers this warning today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. Do not be a rebel. Have you got the identity right. Have you correctly discerned his mission. If so, have you responded today is the day of salvation.
Gentlemen, have you received and as your Lord and Savior may not be a tomorrow rejecting Jesus quiet Christ has eternal consequences elicited is the only escape. The only way out. Of these, of the eternal condemnation is to recognize just how desperate we are. We are poor we are captives we are blind we are oppressed poor. We have nothing to offer captives. We are in bondage to sin blind, we can't see the truth of the gospel. The light of the gospel until our eyes are opened and oppressed. We are under the control of the god of this age that Satan we are desperate. You and I until we make Jesus our Lord. Until we ask him into our heart. So the question is have you done and if you haven't night would be a great night.
While it still today because there may not be a tomorrow 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 Sanders glorifying God by helping men and their purpose for living.
You discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources finding purpose.net connect to finding purpose on Facebook pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him in over 300 other local men study God's word together every Tuesday night at 7 PM in downtown Raleigh. Find out more finding purpose.net. This is the Truth Network