Nothing says Christmas like a water buffalo. For a poor family in Asia, getting a water buffalo is like getting a farm tractor to pull a plow, or getting a milk truck full of delicious milk, or getting a stand at the market to sell cheese. A water buffalo opens the door for work, food, and income. More importantly, it opens the door to talk about Jesus.
And nothing says Christmas better than that. This is Andy Thomas from the Masculine Journey Podcast where we discover what it means to be a wholehearted man. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds.
Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. 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. I've entitled this message, The Supremacy of Christ. In chapter 4, when Jesus visited his hometown of Lazarus, remember he read from the scroll of Isaiah chapter 61? And then he sat down and he declared to everyone that was listening, every eye in the synagogue was on him, all these religious priests. And he said, Today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.
What was he declaring? The great I Am is here. I am the Messiah. I am the Savior of the world.
Do you believe that? This brings us to verses 33, excuse me, 31. So where Luke is going to give us more evidence that Jesus is the one He claimed to be, deity veiled in human flesh. So you all track along with me, okay? And guys, I've been working on this all day, so I hope you see it, okay?
And it's not about me. It's about the Lord taking His Word and opening it up to us so that we can actually see Jesus for who He really is. And what I want you to see tonight is I want you to see Him like you've never seen Him before in all of His majesty and glory. And I want you to see Him as the supreme God who rules over the universe. By the way, the word supreme means highest, greatest, preeminent, transcendent, unparalleled, unmatchable, and unsurpassing. And I could go on and on.
There's not enough words to describe it. But this is why the highest and most important court in the United States is called what? The Supreme Court.
When the Supreme Court makes a decision, it is final because it is the preeminent court in the land. And Jesus is the supreme ruler in the universe. And one day, this is going to become abundantly clear when the trumpet sounds and He appears in the sky because the Bible says that every eye will see Him and the whole world will know then who He is. And then it says He's going to judge the nations and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that what?
Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. This is what all of heaven is waiting for. This is what I'm waiting for. I'm just down here in this body that's breaking down. I'm getting tired.
I'm getting old. But I'm going to try to do this as long as He allows me to. And then I'm going to be ready. So in tonight's text, I want you to see the supremacy of Christ in four ways. In His authority, in His power, in His love, and in His purpose. So first, let's look at His authority. Look at verse 31. Luke writes, And He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at His teaching. For His word possessed what? Authority. You know, the Jewish people had been listening for years to the Pharisees and the scribes preach and teach. So what were they hearing? Not much. You know I'm going with this. It's similar to what we hear in many churches today.
Well, y'all expecting that to come from me? Most sermons today are just short, little, cute homilies that are dry, dead, unconvicting, and powerless. And this is why tens of thousands of churches are closing right now in our country. In 2020, David Kenneman, the president of Barnard, which is a research institute, said as many as 20, and he said this back in 2020, as many as 20% of churches could close within the next 18 months. There are more than 300,000 churches in the United States. If his prediction is correct, and y'all are not going to believe I'm going to say this.
I hope it is. I want these dead churches to shut up and never open their doors again. But if his prediction is correct, 60,000 churches are going to close their doors.
Why is this? Because without the presence of the Holy Spirit in a church, combined with power, lifeless preaching, the people remain blind, lost, and spiritually dead. This is the atmosphere of men in many churches. Somebody showed me a picture of a church recently right here in Raleigh. I'm not going to tell you which church. It was on a Sunday morning.
The guy smiling who sent me the picture. I think it had eight people sitting around in a congregation that seats about 500. Eight people. This is the same situation that exists at the time of Christ in the synagogues. So what did the people need to hear back then? The same thing we need to hear today. A message from God's Word, men, that will change your life.
That has power and authority. The text says that Jesus went down to Capernaum. You know why he went down? Because I believe Capernaum is about 700 feet below sea level. And it was a small fishing village. I have the privilege of going there and standing right there in the city. There's a restored temple that we think stands upon this temple that stood there 2,000 years ago. And it looks right over the Sea of Galilee.
It's absolutely gorgeous. And then we took a little trip on a boat out around the Sea of Galilee. Do you know why Jesus went down to Capernaum?
Do you know what it says right here? To teach the people. You see, this was his mission. This is why he came into the world, to teach the gospel. So what did he teach? He taught the Word of God like no teacher they had ever heard.
Do you know why? Because he taught it with power and authority. And what was their reaction? Look at verse 32. It says they were amazed at his teaching because his message had authority.
They had never heard anything like that. And they were overwhelmed. Do you know why I believe the reason it had authority? I'm going to tell you the main reason in a minute.
But I think it's because of this. Jesus knew who he was. He knew why he was here. He knew what the people needed. And he knew he was the answer.
Furthermore, and this is the most important part, he preached from God's Word and he relied on the power of the Holy Spirit. See, I believe when you know the truth and believe the truth, you can speak with authority. The reason so many men and women who occupy today's pulpits do not speak with authority is because I don't think they know really who they are. I don't think they really understand why they're there.
And they really don't understand what the people need. And they don't have the answer for it. More importantly, they don't really preach God's Word. They may read Scripture. They may mention the name of Jesus. But they don't have the power of the Spirit.
Do you know why? Because they're not really proclaiming the Word of God. I don't think they really believe the Word of God. Here's what they do.
This is very subtle. Listen for the Word of God. What should they say? Listen to the Word of God. What they believe is that they say that some of this may be the Word of God. They want you to listen and possibly hear it. Hear God speaking to you somehow, mystically, as they read some really inspired words that were written by some human beings. See, I believe that God used those human beings to pen exactly what he wanted them to do, to pen. He used their personalities. He used their individual writing styles. But nonetheless, he guided their thoughts as they wrote Scripture. Thus, when you pick up the Bible and read it, you're reading God's Word.
Do you all believe that I believe that? Yesterday, you all are probably going to be crucified one day, but anyway, you Wolfpack fans. But yesterday, we had 24 young men who were in two different fraternities at NC State.
Twenty-four. Do you remember how pretty it was yesterday? They drove here at four o'clock in the afternoon to sit over there in that other building with two ball-headed men for an hour.
Do you know why they did that? I believe it's not because we have such fancy words so that we look so attractive, even though I do. It's because Jim and I, we opened up that study with prayer. We teach it by the authority of God's Word. And we rely on the Holy Spirit to change the lives of these men and change our lives. Do you know what happens every week?
I'm not kidding. Two more guys walk in. If all the guys show up who've been there once, we'd have 40 guys. And I believe that it's going to keep growing. Would you all pray for that ministry? I mean, the young people want to hear the truth. They're hungry for it.
If they'll listen to a 67-year-old ball-headed man from Bethel, they've got to be hungry for something. And they know I'm going to teach the truth to them. Jesus spoke upon the authority of God's Word and by the power of the Holy Spirit. And because of this, His message was clear and convicting. You see, it cut to the core of a man's heart. Have you ever been cut by the Word of God to the heart, to the core?
It hurt. Amy Carmichael, the great missionary to China, said, If you have never been hurt by a word from God, it is probable that you have never heard God speak. You see, the people were shocked to the core, and I believe they were divinely hurt. But you see, now their hearts were ready to believe the gospel. And Jesus, that's what He was going to lay it out for them. Listen, Jesus not only spoke with authority, but He backed it up with what?
Power. Look at verses 33 through 36. And in the synagogue, there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, Huh, what have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are, the Holy One of God. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, thrown him down, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed, wouldn't you be?
And said to one another, What is this word? For with authority and power, He commands even the demons to come out, and they do. And reports about Him spread all over the region, I guess so.
Man, I want you to understand this. All throughout Scripture, we see evidence of an unseen world, a world where the principalities and spiritual force of evil are waging war day and night against God and God's people. It's going on all over the world right now, guys, 24-7. That's why you see so much evil right now on television. And Hollywood is just putting out evil. You can't even watch it.
We're trying to find something, and we have to go back to shows like, Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith Show. Guys, Jesus bore more of the brunt of this war than anyone who has ever lived. Do you know why? Because when He came into this world, it was a frontal assault on enemy territory. The day He was born was D-Day. In this text, we see Jesus come face to face with one of Satan's minions, a demon who had entered a man, and now he had had control of his mind and his body. And when the demon saw Jesus, he knew exactly who he was.
And look at what he says again. He said, Hi, what have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are, the Holy One of God. So what was going on here? The man was speaking, but he was under the control of the demon who had control of his vocal box and his tongue. And he uttered out this language, and everybody heard it.
Everybody was listening. So what was he really saying? Well, this word hi is an expression of disgust, displeasure, even hostility. In essence, he was saying, Why are you here?
This is none of your business. Leave us alone. In other words, he wanted Jesus to get out of there. I think the demon also was filled with some fear and dread because this word also can mean dread. And this is why he asked Jesus if he'd come to destroy them. Now notice that he used the plural word us. Why did he do this?
Do you know why? Because the Bible says that at some point, God is going to destroy Satan and all of his demonic forces, and he's going to cast them where? Into hell. Did you all know the Bible says that God created hell for one reason? To send all the angels beginning with Lucifer who rebelled against him and who brought all this evil upon our world. That's who he created hell for. He did not create hell for mankind.
But what's the problem? If you belong to Satan and you refuse God's grace and mercy all your life, then you're going to go live in hell with him. It's going to be worse than being in a concentration camp with the Nazis running it. That's the worst image of hell I can think of. And guess how long it's going to last?
Forever. Jesus says it'll be a place where the worm devouring the wicked never ceases. Do you know what I believe that is? It's symbolic of the fact that you will have a guilty conscience that will never let up. It'll just gnaw away at you forever.
It'll drive you insane, but there's no pills to take. There's no freedom. Can you all imagine what the people were doing? They're sitting there watching this.
Front row seats. And they couldn't believe what they were hearing. I believe they were totally silent, watching the conversation and listening to the conversation between Jesus and basically this demon. What did Jesus do? Did he jump up and down and shout? Did he follow his knees and pray?
No. He uttered seven simple words. Be silent. Come out of him. And immediately, just as when he spoke creation into existence, he said let it be, and it was. The moment he said come out, that demon came out. And that man fell to the ground, convulsing in an epileptic fit.
And then he just lay there, silent and unharmed. But here's what I want you to understand. He had been held captive by that demon for years. And Jesus did what?
Set him free. Remember what Jesus said? The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Because I have come to set the captives free. Have you ever been set free from a sin? I'm talking about one that you're entangled in. Lee, you ever been set free?
I'm not picking on you. I've been set free. Jim, you ever been set free? Guys, some of you tonight, I believe, are still entangled in what the Bible calls a stronghold. It's a sin that you try to quit and you just can't seem to do it. This can even happen to believers. Not that you can't be possessed by a demon. But you can be controlled by a sin that's got you entangled. And there's only one who can set you free.
What's his name? Jesus. Do you need to be set free tonight? Come to Jesus. See, I believe the first thing that God wants to set us free from is our spiritual blindness. Have you been set free from spiritual blindness? Come to Jesus. And once you come to Jesus, He'll begin to set you free from your addictions. Paul, that happen to you? How many years you been dry?
Thirty-seven years. Do you mind how many stories I hear about men who are having to enter detox centers or your wives know that they're drinking in the middle of the night and they wake up and they can smell alcohol in their breath? I had a friend recently who told my wife that she knew her husband was drinking and she confronted him this weekend. And he's a believer struggling with alcohol. You guys, I want us to move to the next thing about Jesus that we need to really see tonight, and that's His love for us. Look at verse 38. It says that he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now, Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.
And immediately she arose and began to serve them. Now, when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick, they were looking for their loved ones, with various diseases brought them to Him. And He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, You are the Son of God. But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that He was the Christ of God. I don't have time to talk about that, but real quickly, notice that the demons believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be.
Why do so many people not believe? And do you know why He didn't want them to speak? Because it was not yet His time to be fully revealed to the public, because it was not time to be crucified.
Jesus was on a divine time schedule, and it was not yet His time. But what I want you to see here is the love that Jesus has for the world and for you and me. I want you to notice how He dealt with this poor woman, Simon Peter's mother-in-law. She was suffering from a very high fever.
She probably thought she was dying. Do you know what He did? As soon as He heard about it, He walked into probably her bedroom. He walked up to the bed, and it says He stood there looking down at her.
I actually believe He probably knelt over, and He looked right into her eyes. And what did He say? What did He do? What happened?
Well, you know, all the Bible, all it tells us here is this time eight words. He rebuked the fever, and it left her. He did the same thing He did to the other demon. He told the fever to leave her, and what did the fever do? It left her. And then she got up. She was fully well. One minute she's shivering with a fever. And the next minute, she's walking around serving everybody. And as soon as this happened, everybody, did you all see that?
And it got out of the house, and next thing you knew, it was all over Capernaum. And all night long, they brought the sick from all over the city. And what did He do? He healed every one of them. And I believe He touched them. He touched them personally. Do you think He was tired all night long? As long as they came, He healed them.
And news of this spread throughout the town, and I believe all over the region. In Ephesians 3, 17 through 19, Paul attempts with words to describe the love of God. He says, Look at you, and I pray this for all of us men, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp, catch this guys, how wide, think of His hands, how long, think of how long He's put up with you, how high it cost Him His life, and deep is the love of Christ. You see, it doesn't matter how deep you've sunk into sin. He will reach down there and rescue you.
I'm living proof. And He says, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, we can't really, the love of Christ is beyond our comprehension. And the only way that I can wrap my head around it is to focus on the cross.
This is the greatest picture of the love of Christ that I can see. And the other day, I was listening to Chuck Swindoll, great preacher on the radio, and he was actually teaching on flippings too, which describes Jesus, you know, this self-emiliation where, and I began, he began to describe what Jesus gave up. And I started thinking about that today.
You think about it. He was in heaven in His, all in His beautiful, powerful body, where He had existed with the Father and Son for eternity past. And He reigned in heaven. And all the millions and millions of angels worshipped Him.
It was a place of joy and light. And yet, He humbled Himself and became obedient to His Father and volunteered to come into earth and be confined in a human body that is frail and dying, and He experienced hunger and pain. And then, guys, He surrendered Himself in the garden to Roman soldiers when He could have called down all those angels in heaven. He restrained the use of His power. And He allowed them to mock Him, to spit on Him, and discourage Him to the point where He was basically skinned alive. And then, He allowed them to make Him march up to the top of Golgotha, where He laid out, He stretched out His arms voluntarily and basically said, Do it. And they nailed Him to that cross.
I can't imagine what He went through. Do you know why He did it? Love. For God so loved the world that He gave His Son. On April 23, 1962, Karl Barth, the renowned German theologian, spoke at the Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. And during the Q&A session, a student asked Dr. Barth if he could summarize his theology in a single sentence.
In essence, what the guy asked him, he says, Dr. Barth, in all of your years of studying the Scripture, what's the most amazing truth that you've ever learned about God? He said, Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Let me close with the purpose of Christ. Why did Jesus come into our world?
Look at verses 42 and 44. And when it was day, He departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought Him and came to Him and would have kept Him from leaving.
They were trying to restrain Him, but He said to them, I must what? Preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well, for I was sent for this purpose. This was His life purpose. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. Jesus was sent into the world to preach the good news.
What is the good news? It's the gospel of Jesus Christ, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have what? Eternal life.
That's what He wants for us. Eternal life. Do you know that you have eternal life? If you were to die tonight, do you know that you would light the thief on the cross, open up your eyes in paradise a few minutes after you die?
Do you know that? People are dying right now all over the world. Tonight I was coming over here listening to a pianist play, People Need the Lord, a song that Steve Green sang. People need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, people need the Lord. 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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