Sunday, February 07, 2010

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus' Real Family"

“Jesus’ Real Family” Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
February 7, 2010
Luke 8:1-21

Let’s start today at the end.
We normally start at the beginning, a very good place to start.

But today, let’s start with verses 19-21.

“Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd.”

Verse 4 says that a very large crowd was gathering around Jesus at this point in His ministry.  He regularly draws a large following.  People were coming to Jesus from town after town.  He’s very popular right now.

Verses 1-3 tell us that Jesus has been traveling from town to town proclaiming the gospel–the good news about the kingdom of God.

He’s been traveling with the Twelve (a dozen handpicked apostles that we were introduced to back in chapter 6) and also with a group of wealthy women who were supporting them.

This is unusual.  Women at that time and place were not usually seen as disciples. But these women clearly are and they are even patrons who support Jesus and His apostolic team.

Again, this shows the unusual and inclusive character of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is very popular with big crowds of people.

And on this occasion, the crowd is so crowding that Jesus’ own family (Mary and his half-brothers) can’t reach him!

And someone passes on the word to Jesus that his family is here and needs to get a “backstage pass” to see the Rockstar!  V.20 “Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’”

And that seems like a pretty normal request, doesn’t it?

I does to me.

But Jesus utilizes this moment as a teaching tool.

And He busts out with this surprising statement:

“He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.’”

Jesus’ Real Family.

Now, He’s not disowning Mary.

And He’s not disowning James and his other half-brothers.

He still loves them.

As He dies, Jesus makes sure that Mary is cared for.

He continues a relationship with James and his other half-brothers.  They are, in a true sense, His family.

But in a very real sense, they aren’t the most important family to Jesus.

Jesus’ Real Family (v.21) “...are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Wow.  The Real or the True or the Spiritual Family of Jesus “...are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Are you a part of Jesus’ “mother and brothers?”  Jesus’ Real Family?

Here’s the test.  “My [real family]...are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Now, let’s divide that up and take it in two parts.


Now, that sounds easy, but there are a lot of obstacles to truly hearing God’s word.

Whether it’s Jesus preaching it like right here in this chapter or whether we’re hearing a preacher today give it, like I’m doing right now, or however the word of God comes to us–it’s not always easy to hear God’s word.

There are a lot of obstacles to truly hearing God’s word.

That’s the point the parable of the soils.  Verse 4 through 15.

Jesus told this parable to this large crowd.

He started verses 4-8 by giving just the parable, not the interpretation.

Let’s read that again.

“He told this parable: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.  Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.’ When he said this, he called out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”

The picture would have been very clear to Jesus’ audience.  They knew all about soil and seeds and plants and birds and rock, and moisture and thorns and fruit.  They lived in an agrarian society.

So the picture of these four soils with four kinds of outcome would have been pretty easy for them to grasp.

One kind of seed.  Four kinds of soils.  Only one kind of soil is productive.

But it’s not just a story about agriculture.  Or Jesus wouldn’t have said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Are you listening?

Jesus’ Real Family HEARS the Word of God.

His disciples are curious.  V.9

“His disciples asked him what this parable meant.  He said, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'”

Oh.  That sounds interesting.

Does Jesus tell parables to reveal truth or to hide it?

What do you think?  To reveal truth or to hide it?

What’s the answer?

Well, it’s both isn’t it?

Of course He tells parables to reveal truth.  Parables use everyday items to tell spiritual stories–to communicate God’s truth.  “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you...”

But, parables also hide the truth from those who don’t have ears to hear it.

That’s why Jesus quotes Isaiah 6 there in verse 10.  Isaiah was to go proclaim the truth, but even as he did, his ministry would be a condemnatory one because those he was sent to don’t want to hear the message.

So parables also hide the truth from those who don’t have ears to ear.  “Though seeing, they may not seee; those hearing; they may not understand.”

Jesus’ Real Family HEARS God’s Word.

They have hearts that want to hear what God has to say.

Even against all of the obstacles.   In verse 11, Jesus begins to explain the parable and talk about these obstacles.

“‘This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.  Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” Let’s stop there.

First obstacle: THE DEVIL.  Pictured here like the birds of the air who eat of the seed before it can take root.

Satan does not want you and me to hear the word of God.

He will do whatever he can to keep us from receiving the seed!

What has Satan been up to recently in your life to try to take away the word from your heart so that you don’t really hear the word of God?

I have a friend that had been missing church for awhile and he was telling me about his problems.

And I, in my very caring pastoral way, just broke in on him and said, “You’re just giving in to Satan, aren’t you?”

Now, I don’t say that every day, but it’s true.  If you’re not hearing the word of God, you’re letting that old bird Satan snap up that seed.

Second obstacle.  THE FLESH.  V.13

“Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”

These are people who have no true root system. Their hearts are not truly changed by the word of God.  They outwardly “believe” in it.  They like the sound of it.  But, when hard times come, they curse God and fall away because they were never truly changed in the first place.

The flesh is all they have, not the Spirit.  Not a new heart.

We all know people like this, and it’s scarey.

Jesus’ Real Family Hears the Word of God.  And even a time of testing won’t keep them from believing it.

Are you going through a time of testing?

Now is the time to prove that you are real.

Don’t fall away.

Third obstacle: THE WORLD.  V.14

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”

This, I think, is the one that scares me the most about American Christianity.

It looks good at first but there are so many (v.14) “worries, riches, and pleasures” in this world, that the Word of God can get so easily choked out.


Isn’t it interesting that those are put together?

I might have separate worries from pleasures.

But Jesus recognizes that those two and riches, too, often go together.

That’s American culture right there: worries, riches, and pleasures.

Jesus’s Real Family Hears the Word of God no matter what worries, riches, and pleasures want to intrude?

Are you real?

That’s the fourth kind of soil.  Real soil.  V.15

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Did these kind of people get a different kind of seed?

No. There is only one kind of seed.  The Word of God (v.11).

But there are different kinds of soils.  Different kinds of hearts.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Jesus’ Real Family HEARS the Word of God.

And more than that, they obey the Word of God.

Remember what Jesus said in verse 21?

“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

They do it. They live it out.  They obey it.


They don’t just come to church and nod their heads.

They don’t just think about God’s Word on Sunday mornings.  They think about it and heed it on Monday mornings!  And Wednesday mornings!  Hump Day mornings.

That’s what Jesus means by “retain it.”  Keep it.  Stick with it.

Jesus’ Real Family doesn’t give up.  They persevere.

And it makes a difference.  The seed bears fruit.

Does that describe you and me?

It’s what you do with the Word that counts.

Not just whether or not you know it but whether or not it makes the difference in your life.  No matter the obstacles.

Let me ask you this question.

If you were on trial for being a Christ-follower, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

What truth of God’s Word are you putting into practice right now?

Don’t be ashamed to put God’s Word into practice.

I think that’s the point the proverb in verse 16.

“‘No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

I love the way that Jesus teaches, don’t you?

Jesus says, no one turns on their flashlight and then covers it up with a big black bag.

The point of light is to illumine things.

And if you have received the Word of God, let it shine through you!

Bear that fruit.  Practice that truth.  Obey that Word.

Live it out before men!

Don’t be ashamed to live out the truth of the Word of God.

Let people laugh at you.  God knows!

And one day, everyone will know.  Nothing hidden will stay hidden.  It will all be disclosed.  Nothing concealed will stay concealed.  It will be brought out into the open.

So let it out NOW.  Hear the Word of God now in such a way that you put it into practice NOW.  Let it shine!  Let it shine!  Let it shine!

That’s why Jesus says in verse 18, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen. [Don’t listen like those first 3 soils, the devil, the flesh, and the world!  Listen in such a way that you make use of it because...]  Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.’”

What He’s saying is that Jesus’ Real Family Hear the Word of God and Obey the Word of God.  If they don’t they don’t really have the word of God, and they will suffer for it.

This makes all of the difference in the world.

There are only two kinds of people.

There may be four kinds of soil, but there’s basically only two kinds of people.

Those who are in Jesus’ Real Family and those who aren’t.

Those who aren’t don’t have ears to hear.

We can talk until the cows come home, but they won’t be changed.

But those who are Jesus’ Real Family hear the Word of God and put it into practice.

Which are you?

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much