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Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. This baby Jesus was the promised Messiah. He was the promised seed of the woman. In Genesis 3.15, God told the serpent, and you will strike his heel. Some translations say you will bruise his heel. So when did this happen? It happened when those Roman soldiers took those wrought iron nails and drove them through the wrist of Jesus and through His heels. And it was a bruising blow, but it was not a fatal blow.
Why? Because three days later, Jesus was sent in the Why? Because three days later Jesus did what? He arose from the grave. You see, at the cross, Jesus was victorious over sin, death, and Satan. Finding Purpose is a triangle-based ministry for men offering small Bible studies, biblically-based counseling, and more. Visit findingpurpose.net.
That's findingpurpose.net. 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.
I've just entitled this Lessons Learned at a Dinner Party. So, beginning with verse 1, Luke writes, One Sabbath when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not? But they remained silent. So, taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. Then he asked them, If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?
But again, they had nothing to say. So, I mean, here we see that Jesus has been invited to attend a Sabbath day dinner, which was a big deal, a dinner of a very wealthy Pharisee at his home. And this wealthy Pharisee had also invited a number of his other well-to-do teachers of the law. It just so happens that a man suffering from dropsy also had been invited.
What a coincidence. By the way, dropsy is an illness of the kidneys or liver that leads to the retention of fluids in the body to the point where your chest or your stomach can become extended. And so, it is often symptomatic of kidney failure or heart failure. And so, this man was severely ill, perhaps even to the point of dying. And yet, he finds himself invited to the home of a prominent Pharisee. So, why was this man invited? Well, keep in mind that the text says that Jesus was being watched carefully. Why were they watching Him?
Well, they were observing Him carefully to see if He did anything that they could say, Aha, we caught you. Now we can take Him to the Jewish ruler council and try Him. So, it's fairly obvious that this was a trap to see if Jesus would break their Sabbath laws, which forbade conducting any work on the Sabbath. And it appears that healing of a person was considered work by the Pharisee.
So, here's how the trap was set. First, if Jesus refused to heal, then the people would see Him as being unsympathetic towards poor sick people, just unmerciful. And word would get out.
He'd become unpopular. This is the way the Pharisees were thinking. On the other hand, if Jesus healed this man, then the Pharisees could accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath law, and then they had Him.
At least they thought they did. There was no way out. He was in a trap. But it's interesting that with one simple question, Jesus turns their trap around on them. He asked them, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not? I can just see Jesus asking this question and then just carefully watching for a few minutes, their eyes, their faces, and deafening silence begin to hang in the air.
But Jesus didn't stop there. He asked Him another question. If one of you has a son or a daughter, if one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull them out? They had nothing to say. You see, with the first question, they did not want to answer. With the second question, they could not answer because they were guilty as charged and they knew it. Their hypocrisy had been exposed because each one of them knew that if their son or even one of their animals fell into a well on any other way, even on the Sabbath, they were going to pull them out. In fact, probably one of them that had happened to them that very day.
And thus, if they admitted that they would pull them out, they would be violating their own Sabbath law. So they just sat there in stunned silence. Now, what did Jesus do next? He reached out, I love this, and He touched, He took hold of the man and He healed him. And then He sent him on His way.
I find it interesting if you observe Jesus throughout the Gospels, whenever He healed someone, typically, even someone with a leprosy, He would reach out and touch that person, would He not? Why did He do that? Because He identified, He identifies with people who are lowly and hurting.
He's gentle and lowly at heart. I find it also interesting that Jesus just sent this man away. Why do you think He did that?
I think it's probably two reasons. One, to let the man go home and celebrate with his family they've been healed. But I think also He didn't want this man to face any more humiliation. This man no doubt knew that he was not invited to this Pharisee's home because he was a prominent citizen, but only to be used as a poem to put Jesus in a difficult situation. And so Jesus just gently sent him on His way. I listened to Alistair Begg's sermon on this very passage, and he did a very good job with it by the way.
I thought about just playing his sermon tonight for you. But he suggests three tests that we see in these 14 verses, and here's the first test. It's the test of hypocrisy. We see by the way these religious leaders plotted against Jesus that their hearts were duplicit. So what do I mean by duplicity?
Well think about it. They invited Jesus under the guise of hospitality, but in their hearts they were planning to arrest Him if He broke the Sabbath law. So the Pharisees were two-faced. That's what it means to be duplicit. They had the appearance of kindness, but their hearts were full of cunning and malice as they were already plotting against Jesus.
In fact, they were plotting to kill Him at this point. Charles Spurgeon said, duplicity is abominable to God, and his soul hates it. I looked up duplicity.
According to Webster, it's a kind of deception in which you intentionally hide your true feelings or intentions behind false words or actions. And so I want to give you a really good picture of duplicity. Take your Bibles, if you will, and turn to Acts chapter 5. Acts chapter 5. Look at verse 1.
You're probably familiar with the story of Ananias and Sapphira. It says, Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. And with his wife's full knowledge, he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. So he's given this money to the church. Then Peter said, Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold?
And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? Well, what made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings, but to God. When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.
That's how God feels about hypocrisy, by the way. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter asked her, Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?
Yes, she said, that is the price. And Peter said to her, How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen, the feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also. At that moment, she fell down at his feet and died.
Then the young men came in, and finding her dead, carried her out, and buried her beside her husband. Don't want to be hypocritical, do you? So what did this couple do wrong? Well, they were duplicit. They implied that they gave all the money from the sale of the land to the church.
However, in reality, they kept back part for themselves. And this is what hypocrisy looks like. You act one way, but in your heart, you're someone all together different.
But let me ask you a question. Don't we all do the same thing? Do you act one way when you're here on Tuesday nights and act another way in the 19th hole, or when you're hanging out with your social friends?
Or they're two different people that people are seeing? Do you have a reputation for being honest, do you have a reputation for being honest, but you had items from the IRS? Do you sometimes alter the truth slightly to make yourself look good? Do you smile when you meet someone, but deep down inside, you desire, you despise that particular person? Do you have the appearance of being a good Christian, but you harbor secret sins in your life?
And I could go on and on. Are we not all guilty of being hypocrites? I know I am. Lots of the time we look in the mirror, we're seeing a hypocrite, are we not? So what should we do? Well, first, we should recognize our hypocrisy as sin, knowing that God hates it. And second, we should confess to God, knowing that He will forgive it. And then third, with the Holy Spirit's help, we should strive to live inwardly and outwardly, men, as the same man.
In other words, who you are on the inside, the way you act on the outside, should match who you are on the inside. It shouldn't be two different men. So that's the test of hypocrisy. Now let's consider the test of humility.
Look at verses 7 through 11. Luke writes, When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable, When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, give this person your seat. Then humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, friend, move up to a better place. And then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. So I want you to understand how the seating arrangement worked at these parties. Think about some of your basements where maybe you have a big TV room and you take three couches and you put them in the shape of a U.
And so that's what they would do. They had three couches in the shape of a U around a low table so that they could recline on the couch. And that the center couch at the bottom of the U was the most prominent couch. And the seat in the middle was for the most honored guest. And then the seat to the left of the center seat was the second most honored. And the seat to the right was the third most honored. And then the other two couches, the seats in the center, were for the next honored guest. And that's the way it went. And everybody knew it. Everybody wanted to be a witch couch.
The center one. And so when that dinner bell rang, there was a mad rush to get the best seats. And Jesus just stood there watching as they made this, knocking each other down, trying to get to the best seats. Some of you probably do a lot of flying. It reminds me what happens at an airport when a flight is canceled. The airline representative will come out there. We'll get the microphone and announce the cancellation at the same time.
Says there are 10 seats available on a connecting flight at a different gate. And it's departing in about 15 minutes. And about 50 businessmen, respectable businessmen, will grab their briefcases and make a mad dash. And if I were there, I'd be right there with them.
I'd be leading the pack. This is what happened at this party. And Jesus just stood there and watched. And then he gave them a lesson on pride and humility. Look at verse 8 again. When someone invites you to a wedding feast, Jesus says, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.
You see, pride says I deserve the first, I deserve the best, and I deserve the most. I was trying to think of something that would illustrate this point. And I remembered about the time when my mother, I hate to pick on my mother, she took us off snow skiing one year out west. I was probably about 30 years old.
She was in her 50s. And I'll never forget coming down the slope behind her the first day we were there. And when she got down to the bottom, and I was probably 100 yards behind her, there were about 200 people in line waiting to get on the lift. And I watched my 5 foot 2 mother get right to the front of the line and break in line. And she pointed to me to come join her. Guess what I did?
I made sure nobody was looking at me, and I got right there with her. This is a picture of pride. We thought we deserved better than all those people waiting in line, and we shouldn't have to wait like everybody else.
Not a pretty picture, is it? But that's what we did. Humility is an entirely different picture.
Humility is nothing else but a true knowledge and an awareness of oneself as one really is. Think about it. We are all selfish human beings.
Most of the time, we're just thinking about ourselves, right? Why wasn't I recognized like that other guest? Why are they always getting the credit?
Why is that person going so slow in the traffic lane? Don't they know I'm in a hurry? See, I'm always just thinking about myself.
Why is it my dinner ready when I come home, wife? And I could go on and on and on. But you see, the humble man is not someone who thinks less of himself but who thinks of himself less. I witnessed a picture of humility. I remember this. This happened back in 1993 when the Franklin Graham Crusade took place. I was at the time there was a four-night crusade, and Franklin preached the first three nights, and the fourth night too. But on the last night, Billy Graham came, and I was actually the finance chairman. And the last night, I'll never forget it, they'd asked me to say a few words, and Billy Graham was going to be sitting right there.
And I would have paid somebody a thousand dollars to take my place. But before the whole thing took off, and that night there were 21,000 people there because I remember someone announced that they'd broken James Taylor's record. He'd been there the weekend before.
21,000 people. And before the whole thing started that night, all the dignitaries were over in here in a tent backstage. And I was standing outside walking around feeling like the low man of the totem pole, which I was. And Johnny Evans, who was the chairman of the whole event, he wandered outside and said, Russ, what are you doing out here? Don't you want to meet Dr. Graham? And I've been wanting to meet Dr. Graham my entire life.
And so he ushered me in, and the room was shaped in an L, and there were probably 50 to 75 people in there. And we walked through all the people and turned the corner, and there was Dr. Graham sitting on the couch by himself. And we walked over, and Johnny Evans said, Dr. Graham, this is Russ Andrews. He's the finance chairman. And he started to stand up, and I said, Dr. Graham, you don't need to stand up for me.
He said, son, I'll always rise for the finance chairman. And we sat down on that couch. I was on one arm.
Johnny was on the other arm, and Dr. Graham was in the middle. I didn't want to talk to him my entire life. I couldn't think of a thing to ask him.
And he carried on the conversation like we were in his living room. And I've never seen such humility in a man. Men, if we're honest, we must admit that we all fail this humility test time and time again, do we not?
Because we're always thinking about ourselves. And I've got a big arrow pointed right at me. You see, the Pharisees failed the hypocrisy test. The Pharisees failed the humility test. And now Jesus is getting ready to show them that they're going to fail the hospitality test. Look at verses 12 through 14. Then Jesus said to his host, when you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors. If you do, they may invite you back, and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed.
Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. Now let me tell you first what Jesus is not saying. He is not saying that you should never invite your friends or relatives to your home for a dinner party, even though that's what it seems like he's saying. Why do I say this? Because he's using exaggeration to make a spiritual point. And let me give you a couple of examples.
And these are in your outline. In Matthew chapter 6, 19 and 20, Jesus says, do not store for yourselves treasures on earth, but store for yourselves treasures where? In heaven. Now clearly Jesus is not saying don't have a bank account. He is simply pointing out that we should have a heavenly and an eternal mindset when it comes to how we use our money. You with me?
Here's another example. In John 6 27, Jesus says, do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. Now clearly Jesus here is not saying don't work. He's simply pointing out that we should have any a heavenly and eternal mindset when it comes to how to our work, and for that matter anything that we do. So what is Jesus saying about who we should spend our time with?
He's saying the same thing. We should have a heavenly eternal mindset when it comes to who we associate with, who we do things for, and who we spend our time with. So let me ask you this. Do you spend all of your time with people of your same socioeconomic level? of your same socioeconomic level? Do you spend all of your time with people of your same skin color? Looks like we do. Do you spend all of your time with people just like you? Aren't we all guilty here?
In fact do we not all fail all through these tests from time to time? We don't have time tonight to look at the parable of the great banquet because that's really part of my favorite part of this chapter but I just don't have time to get into it. However I do want to point out one thing and that y'all are familiar with that you have to do that for this week. The parable of the great banquet where you know he sends out an invitation to all these basically rich people and they've all got these excuses why they can't come to the banquet. So then he says in verse 21 follow with me. But what I want the point I'm trying to make here I want you to notice who is being invited by God basically to heaven. Okay look at verse 21. Then the owner of the house that would be God became angry.
Why? Because all the rich people were too busy to come to the banquet and make excuses so the owner again God ordered the servant go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor the crippled the blind and the lame. Now listen man doesn't it make sense if the poor the crippled the blind and the lame are the primary people who are going to accept God's invitation to heaven. Doesn't that make sense that we should spend more time with those people sharing the gospel with them as opposed to wasting our time with a bunch of rich people. Does that mean don't associate with any rich people? No but we need to realize that it's more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Are you with me?
We need to spend more time with people that don't look like us because that's what heaven is going to be populated with a lot of people that don't look like you and me. Now let me ask you a question if you had 14 tickets to an ACC football game on a beautiful Saturday afternoon what would you most likely do? Invite 13 of your best friends right?
Not so with Neil Gustafson and Rob Shields. What did they do? They had 14 tickets this past Saturday to the Duke Virginia Tech game and you know what they did? They invited John Luck at the CEO of the Raleigh Rescue Mission along with about a dozen men some of who had been homeless and others who were just down and out. They picked them up in two vans after they had picked up Smithville's barbecue. They arrived in at the Duke parking lot outside the football stadium and chowed down on barbecue and fried chicken for about 30 minutes.
Then they spent three to four hours at a wonderful football game. That's what they did. We can do the same thing.
So if you're interested in serving by the way in some capacity with the Raleigh Rescue Mission Neil's going to be up here they have a mentoring program where you can mentor a man for four weeks I think it's a four-week program right Neil and so if you have any interest in that Neil's going to be standing down here see him on the way out he'll give you one of these little programs here. So what should we do as we look at these three tests? We need to be men involved in kingdom work. See what God is at work and then join him in that work. We should strive to let our inner hearts match our outward appearance. In other words if we claim to be Christians then our walk should match our talk. We should look for opportunities to put others first ahead of ourselves and we should look for opportunities to help and serve others who are much worse off than we are. In closing let me share with you out what Alistair Begg said when he concluded his sermon on this very same passage of scripture and this is the way I feel myself but I want to give him credit because these are his words not mine but I'm making them mine. When I look at the word hypocrisy I'm prone to it. When I look at the word humility I'm far from it and when I look at the word hospitable I'm suspect in it.
But maybe it's just me. Let's pray. Heavenly Father thank you for this day. Thank you Lord for your word. Thank you for these men and Lord we just pray that you would help us to be more kingdom-minded in the way we live, the way we act. Help us to be true to you and true to those around us by the way we act.
That our walk will match our talk and that who we appear on the outside will match who we really are on the inside and vice versa. Lord I pray that you would bless these men, watch over them, watch over their families and Lord bring us back safe after thanksgiving. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. 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. Here's a Finding Purpose Minute with Pastor Russ Andrews. Can you see the gospel message in Genesis 3 15? Do you understand why it's now called the proto-Uuangelion, the first gospel? It's the first mention of the gospel in the Bible and the gospel is all about the cross. Never lose sight of the cross because your salvation and my salvation depended upon what Jesus would do on the cross. Now listen I want to share with you a few more prophecies that were fulfilled from the Old Testament at the cross and I want you to really notice the accuracy of scripture. This is when you really begin to realize how supernatural the Bible is that it was God-breathed, that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In Psalm 22 verse 18 which was written a thousand years before the birth of Christ, David wrote, they divide my garments among them. Finding Purpose is a triangle-based ministry for men offering small Bible studies, biblically based counseling and more. Visit findingpurpose.net. That's findingpurpose.net. This is the Truth Network.
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