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Pictures That Tell a Story (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2022 4:00 am

Pictures That Tell a Story (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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March 19, 2022 4:00 am

Most of us enjoy a good story with an intriguing message. Jesus, however, often told stories that made his listeners increasingly uncomfortable. Hear three of those stories when you study along with us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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Most of us like hearing a good story with the relevant message but today I'm Truth for Life will hear about three stories Jesus told that probably made his listeners squirm a bit.

Here's Alastair back with part one of a message titled pictures that tell a story Jesus in the sermon is describing, amongst other things, the characteristics of Christian discipleship answering thought is the question what should a follower of Jesus look like, sound like be like how will a follower of Jesus treat those who are not like him or her. How will a follower of Jesus respond to those who frankly despise them and say unkind things about them in the instruction of Jesus is simply this, that we are to adopt an approach which is gracious and loving and forgiving. This says Jesus in his opening statement is the way of blessedness. Blessed is this individual, and blessed is the other and so on, reminding eyes that Christian discipleship is marked by a reversal of values and in verses 20 to 26 follower of Jesus is described as being one who prizes what the world thinks pitiable and suspects what the world thinks is desirable. So the follower of Jesus is going to be identified by the way in which he or she responds to where the mainstream of a culture is going and when it endorses that which is counter to what Jesus teaches, then the follower of Jesus will suspect that kind of emphasis and will be prepared to be regarded as something of a loser because he embraces that which the world things is pitiable, so mark one of Christian discipleship is a reversal that of values marked to in verses 27 to 38 is this die mention of love, which is actually an exceptional kind of love is not the kind of love that you find in the sports club. Another kind of love you ultimately would find going amongst people in the ebb and flow of life because he says in verse 32. If that's the kind of love will kind of credit is that to you if you simply have a lot of that is like the love that is found in the local bar, then don't make a fuss about it because pagans are able to do that if your friendship is simply the kind of friendship that is found on sports teams. If your hospitality is a kind of hospitality that simply invites your kind of people around because you like those kind of people and he says I don't want you to be boasting and talking about it is no different from what happens in the pagan world instead says she's as if you're going to be my disciple and I want you to be merciful, as your Father is merciful and God shows his mercy by being kind to those who are ungrateful and who are wicked as I want my followers not to be those who stand opposite where on the spires of their churches, and fire down to the people below say you know you really are a dreadful group of people in this country and this society and this culture in the political process is going into the dumper and it's because of the likes of people like you, Jesus. I don't want to hear that kind of censorious and is coming from you. I don't want you to be guilty of judgment to listen and condemnation, the kind that seeks to exalt oneself by disparaging other people. Instead he says I want you to be the embodiment of forgiveness and the embodiment of kindness. Christian discipleship marred by a reversal of societal values marked by an exceptional kind of love and marked in the end of the chapter to which will come next time by the kind of zealous and true obedience which Jesus demands that lesions than just one section of the sermon to which we now can't versus 39 to 45 in which Jesus says that Christian discipleship is going to be displayed in a life of integrity and in order to drive this home Jesus employs a series of pictures, each of which tells a story. Every picture tells a story really quite impossible to read this without understanding that it is in some measure, an invitation to introspection that Christ is calling for us to look inside of ourselves, as I ponder that this week I could hear numerous schoolteachers saying to the class and often I think probably directly to me after a piece of work had been assigned after they said you can turn your papers over. Now you know when you have to begin your test and and so on, and you turn the paper over and you immediately look around to see if everybody feels as bad as you feel about what the first question is especially an essay questions you immediately looking around and seeing if anyone is started or whatever is going on in the teachers is now my suggestion is this. Never mind looking around.

Just concentrate on yourself and is exactly what Jesus is saying here the call of the sermon is that one should not be preoccupied primarily and initially with the spiritual condition of others, but should instead be diligent in examining ourselves in light of the standard Jesus sets and that is if we're honest immediately.

A challenge because most of us regarded our prerogative to be immediately involved in the spiritual condition of others, not least of us who have been entrusted with opportunities and responsibilities in leadership. She says no I don't want you to begin there.

I want you to begin with yourself. I want you to make sure that the searchlight of my word and my standards is very, very clearly seen to be's gazing and looking beneath the surface of your own circumstances other than five pictures essentially that take us through to the end of the chapter, the fifth, we will leave until next time will make an attempt of the first four picture number one is there in verse 39 the dog in this parable can a blind man need a blind man. I think about that for just a moment. It has a sort of prophetic humor to it.

A blind man being led by a blind guide.

Such a picture has disaster written all over it is not uncommon for some of us to see a blind night wanted to cross a very busy street and in our sightedness. We go in order to enable them to cross. But if you imagine a very large highway with traffic going both directions and a blind man trying to get across and another blind man comes to the help of the blind men trying to get across the one white man helps the other blind men trying to avoid four lanes of traffic going in every direction. It is disaster written all over it and that is just the point of Jesus make CDs as listeners were well aware of the rugged terrain which was full of pics and portholes. The New Testament is quite a lot to say about falling into pits and being pulled out of pits. Why is that well because presumably the roads in Palestine were fairly similar to the roads in Northeast Ohio. Sometimes you fell into a hole that was actually expressly Doug for you by the authorities and other times he fell into a hole that was being disregarded by the authorities. But you couldn't go 15 yards without the potential fall into a pit and so is listeners would understand that the answer to Jesus first question was clearly to be in no can apply mainly to blind man answered no and the answer to his second question was clearly to be a yes.

Will they not both fall into a pit yes no by means of this one mentor for this mental picture Jesus is pointing out the folly and the futility of a blind man acting as a guide and also of the disastrous consequences of following a guide lead who is himself blind Nyers request. How does this tie into the preceding portion of Jesus discourse and how does it fit with all that follows. Why have thought a great deal about this this week and my best attempt at it is to say this, but since the context is very much in relationship to an instruction that is taking place within the framework of the Pharisees who themselves were all eyes Jesus then in addressing this issue of blindness is pointing out that these individuals who regarded themselves as those who really had their eyes wide open when point of by the very blind guides that he warns those who are listening to them against following what I why do I say that will look at verse seven of chapter 6 is that the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking looking reference to site looking for a way for a reason to accuse Jesus and then notice the phrase so they watched him very closely to have this picture of these guys going around with her eyes wide open. Jesus is not as talented, just as your question in a blind man leader blind man despite a fight that these folks are walking around with her eyes wide open that actually blind. Jesus is already stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and he is read from the portion of Isaiah which contains the phrase the recovery of sight for the blind and having given up on the scroll he sat down and he said now is this scripture fulfilled in your hearing, the Pharisees who prize themselves in being able to see everything so clearly when in point of fact, blind guy's and Matthew's gospel in chapter 15 and 14.

Jesus is actually recorded as referring to the Pharisees as blind guides and the reason that he speaks so clearly concerning it is because disaster attaches to following a blind guy is not that these individuals were purporting information that was simply benign is dreadfully dangerous and people who speak falsehood, especially as it relates to God and to the Bible should not be regarded as a benign presence in society, but they should be regarded with gravity and they should be avoided at all costs. Resolving below, zero, you know, I go to church with the Bible isn't taught. The gentleman is a very nice man. He may be a very nice man but he is a very dangerous man.

If he is not teaching the Bible is not propounding the truth of God's word. He is a blind guide and you yourself will be blinded by him. If you stay there and you will both fall into a pit that kind of phraseology is regarded as dogmatic a search of proud and arrogant and abusive. If it is true. None of the adjectives apply if of course, Christianity is not true that none of the adjectives are relevant when Paul is addressing Timothy concerning the false teachers the blind guides of his day. He says to them. To sister Timothy. They are teaching will spread like gangrene as a graphic picture of a putrefying condition which makes a very fast advanced through the body.

So Jesus in asking this question in employing this first picture is distinguishing between these blind teachers who thought they can see and warning his followers less, there tended to become like that brings us to the second picture the teacher and the pupil or the teacher and the student in the days in which Jesus is addressing this matter. The pupil was virtually totally dependent upon his teacher for guidance and for instruction in the absence of literature much literature they would walk with their teacher. They would eat with their teacher. They would often live with their teacher in order that in the walking and the talking. They may be. Clearly a student of that teacher and in the same way that her son no matter how advanced he may become in life is always a son to his father in the same way a student no matter how he may excel or she may excel and go beyond the instruction in the academic qualifications of the of the initial teacher individual. You will find if there worth their salt and honest, a tall, will always when they are acknowledging their academic accolades pay testimony to their teacher and maybe I schoolteacher maybe a principal and an elementary school, but they will say, you know, in accepting this PhD today. I wonder acknowledge that I am still the student of Mrs. X or whatever it is because they recognize their dependence upon that instruction of Jesus makes that point and in making the point. There is an inherent warning, namely, make sure that you don't choose the wrong teacher because the student won't get beyond the teacher and if you choose these blind guides is your teacher, then you will end up in the pit. Therefore it is imperative that you leave behind these teachers and that you come and follow.

He who is the great teacher, namely Jesus himself. The warning I think is also matched by an implied exhortation and it simply, this if his followers are going to be teachers and they are then they need to be on their guard against the blinds in this which marked the Pharisees and what was the blindness that marked the Pharisees over the blindness of unbelief.

But what contributed, it would seem largest of all to their condition.

The answer is that they were self deceived that they thought they could see when in point of fact they were blind that they thought they understood who is in and who was out and Jesus says no, that's not the case of tall before judging others. Jesus is essentially saying we better first judge ourselves last week to become blind leaders of the blind is a very sobering statement says Calvin. Nothing is worse than men who think that they see when they are in reality blind and when in their delusion.

They make bold to act as leaders and guides for others and always as the worst possible teacher to have the teacher who is completely self to see the individual who does not understand what they actually looked like every so often, in a humorous way. We fed the dreadful experience of being in a party or sunny weather. There we were walking around and they're all doing that small talk and every you come up and talk to somebody and they got some dreadful smudge or something on their face when they got a piece hanging from somewhere that you may hang in there there there and one of our glasses is out or whatever it is you don't really know the person and you and your trying to, you want to say you know whatever it isn't you can bring yourself to do it and you should because they're going and how are you and everywhere they go. You know that everybody can see what they can see and eventually they go to the restroom and emergent burst into tears because he realized they look like this for ages now are completely self deceived.

They think you look great.

They look funny now. It is this notion that Jesus then employees in his third picture, which is the picture if you like of the Twain and the plank. I don't miss the wood for the trees here, let's try and see these things as clearly as we can in order to avoid being a blind teacher, we must first place. Our lives under the divine searchlight. That's what he said before we start in on other people.

Let's make sure that we are undergoing the x-ray before we start running around with a mobile CAT scan for everybody.

Let's make sure that we ourselves have been through that you because a knowledge of oneself and the preparedness to take oneself in hand is says D's is a prerequisite for the individual who is going to become something of a reformer.

Indeed, without self-examination and without self preparation, our actions will be the product of presumption rather than the product of love understand what I mean by that that if I am unprepared to face the dreadful list of my own heart. If I am unprepared to acknowledge with Lori McShane, who died at the age of 29 is a Presbyterian minister and in the other seeds of every sin known to man dwell in my own heart, that in a moment I could erupt like a volcano I could explode. I could be a disaster in an instant unless I truly understand that and believe that then when I go to deal with others. The temptation will be that I go to take the high ground of presumption rather than I, along the low ground of genuine love.

There's all the difference in the world and we know it we feelings. We it's it's palpable when somebody comes along like this. And somebody comes along like this in Jesus saying if you're going to be kind to the ungrateful and the merciful, you're gonna have to be able to come along like this. And if you're going to learn to come along like this and you have to put yourself under the CAT scan of my word, and you have to realize that you've got things hanging off you and bitten your face and all kinds of nonsense which actually are known to other people and you yourself are blind to them.

I said I want you to fix this up before you start on anybody else see what an amazing purifying thing discipline is within the body of Christ people in the regular church discipline tend to think immediately about communion tables and this franchising in this fellowship in people with a real church discipline is a discipline that starts with our own hearts.

Church discipline starts with me and my brother know my sister but is me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer is not really my wife the needs fixed, it's me is not really my kids that are the problem, it's me. But everything in me militates against that and I would far rather come and tell some other people about some of their dreadful conditions and fake smile.

He trivialized you go to the zoo and you see there's chimpanzees in those monkeys and baboons weird creatures. I think that God is given to us as a joke. Quite frankly I do not believe for one single solitary second that there is any progression between them and us, and there is no need for that God gave us monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, orangutans to show as how blooming stupid. We actually Luke a lot of the time, and if we did not have a soul and we did not have the same kind of brain that basically what we would like, but it's not what we came from.

To this he says I give you these guys so you can see now what they do take each other what is it with these things. Taking each other always doing this part in each other's hair during the picking things and you said I want to widen something thinking as a right to do that to us to his brother or whoever it is, whether to assist her. If that thing could see what it looks like it would cut that they cannot Notes go get a shower would go and never come back this good stuff coming from everywhere but doesn't matter if I did an Internet and and that he cannot looking at it showing the person to see that they do stop, don't know what we're doing at 7 billion years ago know how we doing it this week just doing it differently doing what difference rooting around in each other's business to pick it up and sure to each other.

Jesus is Nellis and there's a place for dealing with the twitch, but let me tell you what the process is first the 2 x 4 then that way don't get it out of sync because if you do, you're a Pharisee you're a blind guy and you'll never be better than your teacher. There is great danger in judging others before we first examined our own spiritual condition listening to Alastair big this is Truth for Life weekend. We just learned how dangerous false teachers can be, as Alastair explained. False teaching can spread quickly like gangrene through the entire congregation.

That's why it's important for us to understand the Bible so that when God's word is taught we can discern truth and confidently confront false teaching. That's why were excited about the book were featuring today. It's entitled know the truth, a handbook of Christian belief. The word doctrine is a pretty common term and as it relates to Christianity doctrine means beliefs that we as followers of Jesus affirm to be absolutely true. The book know the truth presents these core beliefs one by one, it gives in-depth explanation of biblical truth that forms the foundation of our faith, the author of the book is Bruce Millman and he covers topics like the Trinity, God as creator God's providence. You can find out more about the book know the truth when you visit our website Truth for and while you're with us online you can download any message from Alistair's teaching library for free. Use the search feature in the top blue bar to find a sermon by topic or by series or by Scripture reference thousands of messages are available to download or to share with others at no cost once again go to Truth for Life.for you can also easily download insurer messages using the free Truth for Life mobile app I'm Bob Lapine. There are false teachers all around us. No churches exempt from their invasion next weekend will learn three ways to distinguish genuine Christian disciples from those who would seek to lead us astray. The Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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