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Blessings & Curses

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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April 3, 2022 12:01 am

Blessings & Curses

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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April 3, 2022 12:01 am

In His Beatitudes, Jesus pronounced blessings on those we would least expect. But Christ also declared curses on people that surprise us. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series in the gospel of Luke by contrasting these oracles of weal and of woe.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. We had this view of God is a cosmic bellhop of celestial Santa Claus is incapable of wrath is incapable of the judgment. I believe that for a minute.

Our God is a consuming fire and is a fearful thing to fall into his hands. In Luke chapter 6 Jesus declares blessings over several kinds of people were hungry. Those who but he also declares persons over another group of people today on Renewing Your Mind on Tracy's role returns to a sermon series to show us that just as God's love and blessings are real. So is his wrath last Sunday morning. We spent the entire time looking at the benediction that Jesus gave to the poor, and we spent time looking at the biblical view of the poor. How it's not a simplistic understanding. But the Bible differentiates among four distinct kinds of for people and I also mentioned last week that the qualifier that we find in Matthew's account of Jesus sermon is absent in Luke's Matthew said blessed are the poor in spirit, where Luke just simply records Jesus saying blessed are the poor. Again, this could have been two different occasions that are being reported that in any case, when we look at the next beatitude we see a similar lack of qualification that is found in Matthew verse 21.


Blessed are you who hunger now for you shall be filled in Matthew's version that's Blessed are you who hunger and thirst after righteousness for you shall be filled now. Sometimes the New Testament writers use a technique that is important for us to recognize and that is the technique called the… That is the elliptical form of the statement which is stated in brief, and it believes the implications tacitly assumed but not explicitly mentioned and that may be simply what Luke is doing here when he says Blessed are those who are hungry without adding the implication that Matthew fills in when it says the kind of hunger and the kind of thirst which Jesus speaking is that hunger and thirst for righteousness, it is common on the qualifier for just a moment.

We are people who have great ambitions and drive and goals wishes and desires to succeed and we train diligently in order that we may be successful in attaining the goals or weeks.E relentlessly that we may achieve a higher station in life, but who among us has the consummate goal of our law to be righteous once spoke to a man whom I respected as a Christian I asked him what his main goal in his life was the answer that question by giving me a specified amount of money a bottom line that he hoped to be worse by a certain age of his life, and I was deeply saddened by that comment, and I was actually mystified by that somehow the world can a Christian defined the great goal of his life in terms of dollars in Jesus priorities were different.

On another occasion, he said seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things will be added unto you. The word first there is the word protons, not first chronologically, but first in importance is that if you're going to follow me. The top priority should define your life is the seeking of the kingdom of God and of his righteousness, and all the rest is icing on the cake. All the rest will be added unto you.

The business of difficult challenge for us that we seek with great passion. Everything else but the kingdom of God. Everything else except righteousness. We need to have a passion for godliness setups Jesus that his meet and his drink was to do the will of the father. He, of all men who ever lived. Hunger and thirst for righteousness, and he achieved those are strong words, hunger and thirst, and words that we don't really relate to because when we say that were hungry. There are people in other parts of the world who would laugh at us for using words like hunger and thirst because there are few among us, to be honest, who have ever experienced. The depth of physical hunger. There are few among us who have ever been at the edge of starvation where a piece of bread would be the greatest joy that you can experience but that's what Jesus is talking about in the ancient near East. They had real hunger, the kind of hunger that is experiencing Third World nations even today in Jesus places a benediction upon them. He said blessed are the hungry. Blessed are you who hunger now obviously the stark contrast that Jesus sets forth in this sermon. The contrast between two life conditions, hunger and satisfaction grief and joy, poverty and wealth being despised by human beings and reviled by them and then being honored by them.

You see this study.

In contrast, the Jesus Springs now. In this sermon, but there's a second contrast and the second contrast, is this the contrast between now and then when the kingdom is fulfilled, my beloved in this present moment we live in a topsy Turvey world, a world where the values of the kingdom of God have been turned upside down. We want everything that we can possibly have now no pie-in-the-sky. We are so rid ourselves of any idea of pie-in-the-sky that we forget what that pie tastes like. But Jesus saying that this present world.

This veil of tears this place of warmth and poverty is not the final chapter of world history. Jesus came to proclaim his kingdom that he was going to establish and when that kingdom is consummated. They'll be no more poverty will be no more hunger will be no more sin no more grief no more tears, but in the meantime.

Blessed are you who are hungry now because you're going to be so. Blessed are you who weep now because someday you're going to laugh that morning is not the final chapter of the human experience.

But Jesus doesn't speak words of judgment against grief against pain and against morning. In fact, the Bible tells us that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to spend our time with fools because in the house of mourning in that place of grief. Foolishness is not welcome.

It's a time of sobriety is the only time for many people, that they ever think it all about the eternal things of God. There's one thing to have an attitude on the playground. There's another thing to be standing at the side of the grave of a loved one in the place of morning there's no room for foolishness. But he said now for many.

All I know is paying all they know tears now Jesus isn't saying that anybody who's unhappy is going to go to heaven or anybody who's stricken by grief is going to go to heaven.

This is not a universal promise. Again, the elliptical sense of this text is he speaking to the people of God, those people who in this world have suffered for the sake of the kingdom of God were hungry for the sake of the kingdom of God whom we for the sake of the kingdom of God and then Jesus gives this remarkable benediction when he says Blessed are you when men hate you the how's that for a life goal to be hated by his many people as you can possibly find that hate you not notice he doesn't stop there and say anybody who is reviled and anybody who is cast out of anybody was hated this can be great in the kingdom of God. There are many people reviled because their behavior is repulsive. There many people are hated because their characters are despicable. Jesus is speaking to Hitler and say boy it's a wonderful thing that you really great in the kingdom of God know he adds.

Blessed are those who are treated in this way for the Son of Man say that is if you're excluded if you are hated are few reviled because you are Christian if it's for the sake of Christ, then you come under the benediction of Christ and are called blessed.

Rejoice in that day. He said he doesn't just say smile and be content. He says jump blandly joy.

How great is it for you to be in that situation.

For indeed, your reward, listen carefully, is great in heaven. Don't listen to these people who tell you that heaven is going to be exactly in the same plane for everybody who's there and everybody's reward will be the same. Now the New Testament tells us again and again and again there will be a graduation of rewards in heaven. Jesus puts the character before the donkey is as a work for those rewards even though our entrance into heaven, will not be according to our works, but the rewards that we receive.

Once we get there will be according to our obedience and according to our rewards and some of us will make it. As the apostle Paul said by the skin of our teeth. Other ones will have heaped up treasures in heaven with multitude of rewards they say that in heaven. Everybody's glass will be full of some people's glass will be a symbol and other people's glass will be a 5 gallon drum.

So Jesus here promises great reward for those who are abased for his sake because this is the same way in which your fathers did to the prophets of finely in stark contrast to these benedictions.

Jesus now moves to the flipside to the oracles of woe, not the pronouncement of blessing, but the pronouncement of divine judgment and that judgment that comes across as the curse of Almighty God. Now again I said at the beginning we can't hear this, unless God the Holy Spirit opens our ears as I we don't want to hear this and we had this view of God is a cosmic bellhop us Alessio Santa Claus is incapable of wrath is incapable of the judgment don't believe that for a minute. Our God is a consuming fire is a fearful thing to fall into his hands, and to experience the curse of God is the worst calamity that could ever experience a human being and the only person who ever experienced in its absolute fullness was Jesus himself on the cross. But here now comes the warning woe to you who are rich you received your consolation careful now. Just as the Bible looks at different kinds of poor people.

So, the same may be said about the rich, the things that the Bible says about the rich are scary to those who are rich but there is no absolute condemnation that says that there is something inherently evil about being wealthy. Abraham was one the wealthiest men in the world. Job was one of the wealthiest men in the book Joseph of Arimathea was blessed of God and the countless examples of wealthy people in the Scripture, who receive the blessing of God. Yet wealth carries with it a peculiar danger and perhaps the biggest danger is this that when somebody is really wealthy. It is easy to focus on the power of one's wealth and on your independence, relatively speaking, and think that you can live without God. You don't need the things of God. Use expression were not in any trouble. That money can't get us out of there times I've said that that my own children, but there comes a day when we come into situations where all the money in the world is not enough to get us out in that day that the Lord promises that is calming is that day of judgment. There's a myth.

Another myth associated with wealth, one that you hear all the time and in every political campaign. The idea is the only way a person can become wealthy is at the expense of somebody else, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And if a person is wealthy. That's proof that's all the proof you need to know that they are corrupt, that their selfishness or greedy there all the rest of the only place I know for sure where they were only way a person can get wealthy is at the expense of somebody else is in a poker game but in the marketplace. That's not the case.

One of the things I think of off in this example of Henry Ford, who became one of the wealthiest tycoons of his era because he invented mass production of automobile and the way he got wealthy was not by tromping on the backs of people, but by making automobile transportation affordable to almost every family in the United States of America, through mass production is well brought up soon, not simply to himself but to the whole nation. Thomas Edison was a wealthy man and he gained that wealth after hours and hours of sacrifice to bring about an invention that brought so much literal light into the darkness of people's lives in this world. And so Jesus is not safe if you're wealthy, that means you're doomed not, but he is saying how hard it is for a rich man to get in the kingdom of God is easier for the camel to go through the eye, the needle that is for a rich man, because that rich man tends to put his trust in his riches, rather than in the riches of Christ, that a rich man were smart he would give away everything he owned. If he could just buy the pearl of great price, but I think you know by now dear ones with the pearl of great price is not for sale. Woe to you who are full you're full now hungry later again. He's not condemning having a good meal. But what is in view here is a philosophy of life view and what's in view here is the philosophy that we call hedonism and hedonism defines good in terms of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and of course the ancient hedonistic paradox discovered by first the cybernetics in their day and later philosophers was the paradoxes this the more you seek pleasure in your life if you fail to achieve that pleasure, you will be frustrated and if you achieve your goal of pleasure, you will be bored. So if your life is defined strictly in terms of the pursuit of pleasure you're doomed either to frustration or to boredom. It's the old story, the more you get, the more you want the wealthy man says how much wealth do you really need to have in the says just a little bit more. Jesus says if you're full now because that's all you concerned about is your belly. The day is coming when you will*you can laugh now with the hours coming where you were mourned and you will leave woe to you who see life as a game for cynics who make fun of the things of God to realize when you do that now. Just open yourself to the curse of God can laugh at a joke, but you left the things of God. You've made a date for the house of mourning, and woe to you when everybody speaks well of you.

Watch out for that person, of whom everyone speaks well why because the only way you can have a reputation where everybody speaks well of you as to where to faces and to be a man pleaser to make sure that you please everybody around you and if you are a man pleaser. The Bible does this. You cannot please God.

So if you are going to be a disciple of Christ.

I promise you, all men will not speak well of you and in order to be a Christian you must do as your Lord did make yourself of no reputation. It's one thing to lose your money. Another thing to have your home foreclosed upon those things can be recovered but what happens when you lose your reputation when your name is no good. Woe to you. When everyone speaks well of you for so did the fathers to the false prophets, false prophets were the most popular men in Israel.

Jeremiah Kaman said the judgment of God is coming.

The false prophet said no it isn't peace. Peace when there was no place God loves you additional pool that Churchill be full. Is this something to be able to live in a place where God doesn't require anything no repentance, no faith and love you unconditionally. I can't find that in here, he loves you and the beloved. He loves his son unconditionally, but everybody else has to put their trust in that son to receive the elements blessing of God. So where are you this morning. Under the benediction of God or under the judgment my prayers that nobody in this room will ever hear God say to them, that's Dr. RC Sproul with an urgent plea to everyone who's listening. Thank you for joining us for this Sunday edition of Renewing Your Mind. I'm Lee Webb, we have continued our verse by verse journey through the gospel of Luke in that we return to the series. Each Sunday morning about Jesus life and ministry resource offered today will help you as you continue your study. Contact us today and request a digital download of Dr. Sproles commentary on Luke and nearly 600 pages you will find helpful insight into every verse to receive it. Contact us today with your donation of any your faithful financial support allows people to access the teaching of Dr. Sproles and the leader teaching fellows through the many resources we publish, produce and distribute around the world so we're grateful for your generosity.

Next week we returned to Luke's gospel and Dr. Sproles tackle a difficult command from Jesus himself.

Love your enemies, I hope you make plans to join us again next for Renewing Your Mind

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