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May 21, 2022 4:00 am
One of the titles given for the coming Messiah in the Old Testament is Prince of peace, but in the New Testament, Jesus says he came not to bring peace but a sword.
So is he contradicting himself will find out today on Truth for Life weekend as Alistair Begg continues his investigation of seven questions God asks were studying the gospel of Luke chapter 12 beginning of verse 51.
We went out into the community without question. You think Jesus is received all variety of responses that are very interesting and nobody said they didn't know if we had gone out with this question this week. I think we would have discovered that there would be almost across the board, the same response from people if they had any response at all.
And that is if we asked them what you think the answer is to the question posed by Jesus.
Do you think I came to bring peace on the air. I think almost exclusively.
People would say only a century answered yes to that.
And if we press them on it they would say well if we know anything about Jesus, we know that he's about love that he is about forgiveness and that he is about harmony and in saying that, of course, they would be expressing truth in every instance, but of course not answering the question correctly, because the answer to the question is not, yes, but actually no understatement of Jesus makes in replying. In this way to his own question dealing I came to bring peace on earth. No I tell you what division it's all the more striking when we look at it in the wider context not simply of the immediate verses that are around this verse here but also in in the rest of the Bible.
And so, for example, let me quote to you some verses from the Bible with which you may actually be familiar and when which may have already come to your mind if you been thinking about this question.
A tall first of all, what about the arrival of Jesus. The birth of Jesus and the angelic chorus.
If you remember that from Christmas time at all. You will recall that when the angels sang they sang what glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men when it doesn't just seem to fit properly with Jesus answer here and what the angels sang they sang in accord with the words that the prophets have spoken strikingly in Isaiah chapter 9, which you will recall, if not from your Bible, or from Sunday school class from Handel's Messiah for under as a child is born to eyes a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders and he will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace. So what is Jesus on about here, dealing I've come to bring peace on their we've already gone to two very important passages that seem to contradict exactly what it is that Jesus is saying. So when we study the Bible and we come to a difficult question in the Bible. One of the ways in which we deal with it.
Of course, is to do just what we're doing now and that is to say if were not going to lift this tax from its immediate context and from the wider context of the Bible and we have to be honest and fair and say that what Jesus says here in Luke chapter 12. In answer to his own question, at least superficially seems to run counter to the whole drift of his emphasis both in his words and in his works, but it gets even worse than that because when after the ascension of Jesus. The Scriptures are penned not only in the Gospels but also in the Lancers we discover, for example, that when Paul looks back on the words and works of Jesus and seeks to describe them for those to whom he writes is Lancers, he describes what Jesus has done in terms of peace.
In second Corinthians chapter 5 in verse 19 he says that what was happening in the death of Jesus was that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them so it would seem that in expectation of the coming of Jesus.
In the words and works of Jesus. It would be very very hard to step away from the notion that somehow or another how Jesus lived. What Jesus said how Jesus died was without any question and revocably linked to the issue of peace do you think I came to bring peace on their no I tell you, but division. Let me try and unpack this for us in a way that will resolve the conflict and allow each of us at least a measure of relief before he comes to the question, do you think I came to bring peace on the earth, and then makes a striking response. He actually says to other things which are equally demanding. When you think about them. His preface to the question has to do with a fire on the air. He says and has to do with the baptism that he's about to face what is he mean by this. I have, he says to bring fire on the air, and how I wish it were already kindled. While this is a reference is not a unique reference because even already in the Gospels. There'd been mention of fire.
John the Baptist, who preceded Jesus and pointed to his coming use this metaphor concerning the coming of Jesus and what he would say and do. And indeed it is a picture that you find all the way through the Old Testament, but when Jesus says this he is referring to the find that fire does at least two things it burns up what is combustible and purifies what is noncombustible and this notion of a fire that is already kindled to which Jesus refers is a fire which will burn. And at the same time purify he's refilling actually to the fire of God's holiness, which will ultimately be unleashed against a world that persistently turns its back upon him. But why would Jesus look forward to this.
Why many say I wish it were already kindled one is looking forward to this because he looks forward to the day when evil will be removed entirely from the world.
Now, I haven't met many people who aren't intrigued by that possibility and indeed would be prepared to commit their lives to that eventuality every day as we turned our newspapers as we listen to the news. It is broadcasted to in various media forms we say to ourselves. I wish it were possible for all of this dreadful stuff to be done away with and what the Bible says is it is going to be done away that ultimately he who is described in Isaiah 9 as the Prince of peace will reign. He will reign eternally.
But in the meantime, strife between good and evil continue. That's the fire. What about the baptism I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am, until it is completed, there's a fire that's going to burn and I wish it was kindled. I have a baptism on how I wish I was through it what he refers to now in his baptism is his death upon the cross, which will of course be the ultimate expression of his obedience to the father's will.
Again, the Old Testament spoke about how it was the father's will to bruise his son and to crush Jesus when he was baptized was saying.
Father, I have come to do your will and in my baptism here I'm declaring at least this to all who watch me and then they listen to his words and he watched them move towards Jerusalem and suddenly they begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It takes a while, but they eventually get and what Jesus is saying here in verse 50 is simply this, that he lives his life under the looming shadow of his death that he is living his life under the looming shadow of Gethsemane didn't the 22nd chapter of Luke's gospel. Luke describes for us the scene that Jesus has in mind father. If you are willing in the garden of Gethsemane, he says, take this cup from me you're not my will but yours be done in an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him listen and being in anguish. He prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground and this was in prospect of his death on the cross, whereby taking the place of sinners he would bring about a reconciliation again. Let me quote you from Handel's Messiah. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we were considering him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
What is happening here in the death of Jesus says one Roberts. How can God forgive people and accept them into his heaven, especially when people are sinners. How can God forgive, sinners, and accept them into heaven on the cross, Jesus stood in for others and took their punishment so that all who turn to him can be sure that they are forgiven by God. That is how committed.
God is to ensuring that we need not face the hell of separation from him which we desire. It is as if Jesus is saying to us, you will only go to hell over my dead body.
Jesus is covered in shame so that those of us who if were honest have shameful life's may be covered with his glory.
There is no story like this anywhere else that I've ever read in all of world religions. This is the story of a physician who heals by taking the patient's disease. This is the story of someone's soul committed to effecting reconciliation between God and his holiness, and men and women in their rebellion that he is prepared to put his very life on the lying in order to affect that reconciliation, I find a little book this week.
Written in 1905 by a man called the reverent WB Russell Kaylee MA, vicar of St. Matthias Lynn of England and I read it in and in a sitting there hardly any pages to the tall, and part of it was related to what were just looking at here and when he had explained in the course of this book, the wonder of what Jesus had done upon the cross. He then writes as follows is a little quaint but it works.
He says we must never forget. Ignore the necessity of personal acceptance and trust in the is it enough simply to know these things in your head or how do we move between just the awareness of these truths, and then becoming the kind of reality without express tonight and those have been baptized. I was an atheist, but I've come to trust in Jesus. I was brought up but I went away. I return there all talking very personal terms on the it is hard to avoid the fact that they there there apparently all on about some reality some experiential reality that not all trotting out just as standard textbook explication of religious orthodoxy. That's what this man is referencing is as we can ignore the necessity of personal acceptance and trust. The lifeboat is no good unless the drowning man gets into and no one else can get in for him. He must do it for himself. Yet surely he would never say that the hand which sees the lifeboat was his salvation. He could only view it as the means by which he apprehended the proffered safety now I've said enough to answer the question unanswered for what Jesus means here when he talks about division is directly tied to the work that he was to accomplish in effecting reconciliation so that when a man or a woman comes to understand this story this good news story, which is why the Bible is ultimately all about.
How can sinners be put right with God. How can my life be transformed and how can I discover forgiveness and so on. When a man or woman comes to trust in Christ.
In that way. Their newfound faith in Jesus will prove almost inevitably to be a divisive factor, and Jesus here was dealing with a Jewish mindset that viewed the idea of a coming kingdom in terms of tranquility and peace and harmony and everything being super may have been places where folks have said to you, you know, I think you should really try Christianity because it is all about tranquility and peace and everything becoming super, but that message doesn't come from the lips of Jesus, at least not in Luke chapter 12 doesn't do thing I came to bring peace on the earth.
He says I don't want you fellas to go out into a fool's paradise noises. I actually didn't come to bring peace.
I came to bring division what he means by that is clearly not that his ultimate objective was division but that the facts of his accomplishment of salvation would be division that when a life is changed it in its core in his direction and its values and its focus in its purpose in its dreams, whatever that change may be a change of the dynamic of interpersonal relationships and in the case of somebody coming to believe in Jesus coming to say I actually realize that when he died upon that cross.
He died as a sinless man. Why is a sinless man when he died while apparently to affect reconciliation reconciling room reconciling someone like me to a God who is absolutely pure and holy. Now I understand that this is a magnificent thing which Christ is accomplished and I could never be the same again. Once I understood when I began to share it with my family. My mother said, you know, Penelope, your father and I have spent a large part of our lives, making sure that you were brought up with Christian principles and Christian values. And you know that we took you to such and such a place routinely and we don't want you coming down to the breakfast table with that new Testaments, and we don't want another invitation to one of your talks or your events or whatever those things are you going to your causing trouble in our family. Penelope never heard anything like that or what's happened to you. We always ate our meal at this time on a Sunday evening what you mean you've got to go twice. Who says you have to go twice.
No one says I have to go twice or why in the world would you go again you go the first time you get your ticket stamped it's over. Why are you going again. I like going what you mean you like going once it's done it's done.
You don't have to keep going back.
We've talked you properly about these things that I don't think you understand.
I have discovered Jesus as a living personal friend and Savior of his just go on or someone says to their wife as she's pulling your socks on the dimness of the morning before he heads out she's been inviting them to something that he absolutely is sick to death of hearing about and he turns to her as a parting shot and he says another strange thing about you.
Mary is the you of something weird is happening to you and you begun to suggest that somehow I'm not a Christian, tall.
I have a friend in Glasgow. My wife and I do a fine lady in suburban Glasgow lives near one of my sisters if she wants to meet with any other members of her family who shared her personal faith in Jesus. She is forbidden by her husband to have them in their home. He will have none of it for this lady. The reality of division is simply that reality. Let me wrap this up.
Jesus demanded careful obedience, costly loyalty and that's why not everyone is prepared to pay the price or to accept those who do pay the price. If you remember Pilgrim's progress. How does it start always starts with Pilgrim running down the road and Bunyan says that once he had looked into this book and he had asked himself the question what must I do to be saved and dizzy. It started out on his journey. Bunyan says and I saw in my dream that the man began to run. Now we had not run far from his own door when his wife and children perceiving it began to cry after him to return, but the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on crying. Life life eternal life. So we look not behind him, but fled forward to the middle of the plane and the neighbors also came out to see him run and as he ran some malt and others threatened and some cried after him to return. And among those that did so. There were two that resolved to fetch him back by force was a problem. What he had begun to run after Christ. In Ephesians chapter 2 Paul outlines the nature of things in a quite dramatic way he describes the person before they become a believer in Jesus. In this way, he says that's for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following his desires and thoughts. Like the rest we whereby nature objects of Roth because of his great love for his gardener is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions and it is by grace you have been see yellow phrase there like the rest we wear when someone is brought into Christ, they are no longer like the rest, and it is that very distinction which is the cause of division which is the answer to the question before us tonight faithfully following Jesus will undoubtedly create division and some of earthly relationships will gain eternal peace with God when we do listing the Truth for Life weekend with Alastair Bragg. We just heard how important it is to personally accept and trust Christ meant what were called to share the gospel. Despite the division it may cause evangelism is an extraordinary task. It's challenging, and for most of us it's intimidating but talking to others about the gospel is what God uses to bring people to salvation.
The writer CS Lewis has been used by God to bring many people of faith. He was skilled at presenting the truth about Jesus in a way that people found powerful the book were talking about today explores his approach to evangelism.
The book is titled mere evangelism and insights from CS Lewis to help you share your faith in the book, you will examine how to use Lewis's methods, things like humor pre-evangelism work and storytelling all Toledo unbelievers to Christ. The book mere evangelism takes 10 different approaches dedicating the chapter to each one. Things you can bring into your gospel conversations you can find out more about the book mere evangelism. When you visit our website at Truth for Life.org by the way, if you don't currently subscribe to the Truth for Life daily devotional. You can sign up for free each day you will receive a passage of Scripture with the corresponding commentary from Alastair.
This is a great way to start or end your day by reflecting on God's word. To subscribe, go to Truth for Life.org/lists about Lapine.
Thanks for listing. Join us again next weekend to find out why The Pursuit of Happyness is ultimately a depressing quest.
The Bible teaching of Alastair Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life for the Learning is for Living