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Sunday, February 27, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus and the End of the World"

“Jesus and the End of the World”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
February 27, 2011
Luke 21:5-38

This is the part of Matthew, Mark, and Luke when Jesus gives His fullest teaching about the End of the World.

It’s a longer passage and very complex, but it is woven together in one piece, so we’re going to take it all together in one message.

Jesus and the End of the World.

We have already heard Jesus talk about the end of the world in the Gospel of Luke.

In Luke, Jesus has already taught about the coming judgment, about the coming Kingdom, and about His own return.

But, now in this fatal last week of His earthly ministry before His crucifixion, Jesus teaches again about the end of the world.

And when Jesus talks about the end of the world, we need to listen.

Now, you need to know that, like most prophetic portions of the Scriptures about prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled, there are some differences in interpretation between earnest Bible-believing Christians on some of the details of Luke 21.  

I will point out a few of those different interpretations as we go along.  And I don’t claim to have the final word on all of those points of interpretation, but I do think some things are very clear in this passage and especially the application of those things is very clear.

So, we’re actually going to organize this message around three points of application. And they are going to be three “Don’ts.”  Three things to avoid, to not do, as we consider the end of the world.  And, conversely, three things to do instead.

And that, I think, as I’ve said before, is the most important role of biblical prophecy–application.  Prophecy exists so that we live differently in light of its truth.
               
[scripture reading, prayer]

What, in your life, is so big, and strong and certain that if it fell apart, it would feel like the end of the world?

Let me ask you that question again.

What, in your life, is so big, and strong and certain that if it fell apart, it would feel like the end of the world?

Have you ever had somebody say to you, “Well, it’s not the end of the world.”

And sometimes you agree.

And sometimes it feels like it.

Sometimes things feel like the end of the world.

Where were you when you heard that President Kennedy had been shot?
Where were you when you heard that the Space Shuttle had exploded?
Where were you when you heard about the towers falling on September 11, 2001?

How did you feel at those moments?

Some of you are too young to remember any of them.

Some of you remember all of them.

On September 11, 2001, I felt like it was the end of the world.

I was in Mercer at a pastors gathering, and I was scared to drive back, had to fight back my fears as I drove back on 80 to get home to my family and church family.

It seemed, at least a bit, like the end of the world.

In this passage, Jesus teaches about the true end of the world.  The one that is coming.

World History is not eternal.  It had a beginning and it will have an end.

It all started in verse 5.  Jesus’ disciples are amazed at the temple.  V.5

“Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, ‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.’”

You can’t blame the disciples for being impressed with the temple.

Remember, we just learned about the temple a few weeks ago?

King Herod had started the rebuilding of the temple and was making it huge.  He had more than doubled the size of the temple complex.

At this point, it took up one sixth of the land mass of old Jerusalem.  It was a wonder of the ancient world.  The outer dimensions would cover twelve football fields.

Remember that some scholars estimate that up to 75,000 people could be accommodated in just the court of the Gentiles!  That’s 5 times the size of the Bryce Jordan Center just in this front court.

But even more amazing than the size was the quality of the building materials. 

The Jewish historian, Josephus, describes it this way:
“The exterior of the building wanted nothing that could astound either mind or eye.  For, being covered on all sides with massive plates of gold, the sun was no sooner up than it radiated so fiery a flash that persons straining to look at it were compelled to avert their eyes, as from the solar rays. To approaching strangers it appeared from a distance like snow-clad mountain; for all that was not overlaid with gold was [stone] of the purest white. From its summit protruded sharp golden spikes to prevent birds from settling and polluting the roof.  Some of the stones in the building were forty-five cubits in length, five in height and six in breadth.”  (Quoted in Hughes, pg. 296).
That’s 67 feet long, twelve feet high and eighteen feet wide. 

Stones that big.  Bigger than a boxcar!

And gold everywhere.

Most of these disciples were from the Galilee in the North.  They had never seen anything like it.

They were Gomer Pyle in New York City.

“Shazam.  Well...gollly!”

The temple must have seemed absolutely solid and beautiful and certain and glorious.

And they knew that Jesus loved the temple.  He had called it His Father’s house.  And He had worked so hard to cleanse it earlier this fateful week.

They would have assumed that He would agree.

But instead, Jesus says, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

No!  Not really?  Total destruction?  Of our temple?

That must have been so shocking to hear.

Like if I said when you wake up tomorrow there will be no United States of America.

Route 80 will be closed for good.

And both the phone lines and the Internet will be shutting down.

Or, fill in the blank, with whatever seems certain and sure and solid for you.

Maybe, as of tomorrow you will have no more living family.  Whatever.

Being told that the temple would topple must have felt like the end of the world to these guys.

So, they ask.  V.7 Probably in total shock.  It’s amazing anyone ever got this down on paper.

“‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?’”

That’s sounds like the end of the world, Jesus!  And when will it happen and how will we know that’s come?

Well, in typical Jesus fashion, He doesn’t answer their question directly.

He tells them what they need to know, and not necessarily what they want to know.

Which would you rather get if you had to choose.

I’m sure that we all would like to be told what we want to know and what we need to know, but what if you had to choose?

I’d want to be told what I need to know and deal with the rest.

Of course, Jesus doesn’t ask.  He just tells us what He thinks best.

And what He says emphasizes how to live in light of the end of the world. 

#1. DON’T BE DECEIVED OR MISLED.  V.8

“He replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.”

There is a lot of confusion about the end times.

I’m thankful for John Forcey to spend a few weeks teaching our teens about what the Bible teaches about the end of the world.  Thanks, John!

Jesus said that there would be deceptive false teachers who would come “in his name” and even claim to be Him.  Claim to be the Messiah.

And say, “Here it, folks!  Step right up, I’m the Messiah.  Get your ticket here.”

This happened in the first century, and it has happened in every century since then.

They have names like Sun Yung Moon and David Koresh and Jim Jones. And they are sneaky and don’t always look like bad people.

There is a man right now named José Luis de Jesús Miranda who lives in Miami that claims that He is Jesus Christ returned to Earth. He calls himself "Jesucristo Hombre" -- "The Man Christ Jesus.” And he has followers in 35 countries with a radio program that reaches 287 stations. People listen to this guy.

And catch this! He has a tattoo with the number 666 on his arm.

Why doesn’t that surprise me?

Don’t be deceived and misled.  Jesus says, “Don’t follow them.”

Instead, BE FOREWARNED AND FOREARMED.

Jesus has told us ahead of time what to expect.

And being forewarned is being forearmed.

And when you are, then you won’t need to be afraid.

#2.  DON’T BE WORRIED AND AFRAID.  V.9

“When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.’”

Now, the most important words in that verse is “do not be frightened.”

That’s not easy, but it’s what He says to do.

“Do not be frightened.”

When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.’

Catch that.  When we hear about wars and revolutions, we start to think about the End Times.  Oooh.  I wonder if World War II means that the end is here.

Or the Iraq war.  There are all of these books that tie in current events like wars and revolutions to the End of the World.

But Jesus says those things must happen, but the end will not come right away (KJV: “by and by” which used to mean “immediately” back when James was King).

And there is more, verse 10.

“Then he said to them: ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

And that sounds like the End of the World, but I think He’s saying, “No, that’s life in this chaotic world we live in.  That’s life between the comings of Christ, first and second.”

So, we aren’t supposed to get all worked up about national rivalry, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful events and even signs from heaven (which I think means comets and strange alignments of stars and that sort of thing).

Those things are normal.  It’s not the end of the world.  They don’t mean that the end is here.

In Matthew and Mark, Jesus calls them “birth pangs,” which means that they do point to something big coming and they are painful, but they aren’t the end.

But Jesus’ applicationary point here is to not be afraid.  “Do not be frightened.”

Christians live a life without fear.  Or, at least, we’re supposed to.

I think a lot of Christians ignore Jesus here.

We are more focused in our Christian books, at least, on signs of the end times, (see  most of those funky people on Christian television or check the aisles in any Christian bookstore–more focused on the signs of the end times) than we are on being fearless no matter what is going on.

But Jesus wants us to BE BOLD AND HOPEFUL.

That’s what he told His disciples to do.  Look at verse 12.

“‘But before all this (so I think that this next part is describing what will happen to the apostles and the early church in the first century), they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. [Doesn’t sound like much of a party.  Maybe a few reasons here to get scared?  No. V.13]  This will result in your being witnesses to them. [Be bold!]  But make up your mind not to worry [Don’t worry!] beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”

Now, Jesus is not saying that pastors should not prepare their sermons.

That would save me a lot of time each week!

He’s saying when you are dragged to prison and then the next day have to defend what you believe to possibly spare your life, don’t worry about what you’re going to say.  You don’t have to prepare.  God will give you the words.

And that’s what He did for the apostles. Read the book of Acts!

But it’s no Sunday School picnic.  V.16

“You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  All men will hate you because of me.  But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.”

Now, what?

Some of you will be put to death but not a hair of your head will perish?

The second one there is a figure of speech.

He’s saying that God will take ultimate care of you.

Spiritually, resurrectionly, in every way that really counts you will be safe.

Not a hair on your head will perish.

So, don’t be afraid.
Don’t be worried.
Don’t be terrified.
Don’t be apprehensive.

Live bold.  Live hopeful.

Witness!  Talk to people about Jesus.

What are they going to do to you?  Kill ya?

So what?  You’ve got a resurrection body on order.

Go ahead.  Kill me.  You can’t hurt me.

That should be our perspective.

Do you need to hear that?

Are you afraid to talk about Jesus to someone?
Afraid to invite them to the Wild Game Dinner?
Afraid to invite them to church?
Afraid to share the gospel with them on a little piece of paper?

What are you afraid they are going to do?

Not a hair on your head will perish.

Be bold!

Now, Jesus gets down to brass tacks.  He comes back to the subject of the temple and the end of the world.  And He tells His disciples about the coming destruction of Jerusalem.  V.20

“‘When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.  For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people [the Jews]. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

This was fulfilled in less than 40 years from when Jesus predicted it.

Now, this might also point to a future day of great tribulation.

But I think that Jesus is, here in verses 21-24, describing what will happen to Jerusalem and the temple in the year 70 AD.

The Jews revolted against Rome in 66 AD.  And they failed and failed and failed in their revolt.

And where do you think that all of the refugees and retreating fighters tried to hide?

Jerusalem.  The walled city on the hill.

But the Christians, of which there were thousands in Jerusalem, got out of town.

And I believe it’s because they were following Jesus’ counsel here.

Many Christians went to the town of Pella across the Jordan river.

So when Jerusalem fell, and fell it did, most of the Christians escaped.

But it hadn’t happened yet when Jesus predicted it.

Jesus says that it would be a great distress in the land and wrath against the people and that they would fall by the sword and be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Trampled on by the Gentiles.

That’s exactly what happened.

Josephus estimates that 1 million Jews were killed in 70 AD in Jerusalem.

And 97,000 prisoners were drug away in chains.

That must have felt like the end of the world.

And that temple?  It came down.

The Roman soldiers under their commander, Titus, pulled it down stone upon stone.

Especially to get at all that gold!

And it was left desolate.  The Jews were trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

I think that means until Romans 11 kicks in and there is a massive turning to Christ among, not just Gentiles like us, but ethnic Jews as well!  “All Israel will be saved.”

And that leads Jesus to actually talk about the end of the world.  V.25

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

I don’t think that Jesus tells us when that will be.

He says elsewhere that no one knows the day or the hour, not even Himself while He was on Earth.

But He tells us what it will be like.

It will be like nothing else.

Everything will be shaken.  Everything will be turned upside.  Everything!

Nothing will be certain.  Nothing will be solid.  Everything will be chaos.

And then we will see Him.  “Riding on the Clouds!”

The Son of Man.  Daniel 7.  The Messiah.  The Son of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ returning.  Coming a second time to reign and rule and bring redemption!

Notice again, it doesn’t say to get frightened about the end of the world.

Men will faint from terror and apprehension of what is coming on the world.

But not us.  V.28

“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Full redemption.

Not just salvation from the penalty and power of sin but the redemption of our bodies and the redemption of the whole world!

The world is not just going to end.  A new world is going to begin!

Hold up your head!  Hope!  Rejoice.  Take courage!  Be bold and celebrate.

Because the end of the world is a good thing for Christians!

Our redemption is drawing near.

Oh, we need to be reminded of that.  Every day.  Say, “Come, Lord Jesus!  Come!  Bring our redemption. We are not afraid!  We are glad.”

Lift up your heads.

Now, the most debated verses are verses 29-33.  And I just don’t want to get too deep into the debate.

There are several good possibilities of how to take them.  V.29

“He told them this parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  ‘I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Now, I think that Jesus took a break from talking about Jerusalem and 70 AD in verses 25-28 and comes back to it now.

And He’s saying that just like when you see the leaves sprout (oh, we’re ready for that, aren’t we?) then we know that Summer is on the way, so when we see the Destruction of Jerusalem and the desolation made of the temple, we know that we’re in the End Times and we have been now for almost 2000 years.

And the generation that didn’t pass away was the generation of the apostles and the earliest church.  They lived to see the destruction of 70 AD.

Other earnest Bible believing Christians think that the fig tree should be closely identified with Israel and that if you see Israel sprout again then the end is near.

And they are encouraged by the existence of the state of Israel.  And that’s possible.

I’m not convinced, but it’s certainly possible.

In that case, the generation that is not passing might be ours.

Which means we should lift up our heads. 

Other scholars that I highly respect think that verses 29-32 are closely connected to  verses 25-28 and are saying that when the major upheavals predicted there start happening then the fig tree is sprouting, and all the rest will happen quickly.

The generation not passing in that case is the generation that is alive when the end times begin.

Or perhaps generation should be translated “race” as the NIV footnote says and it would mean the Jews will survive until the end of the world.  Which is true, too.

Whatever interpretation makes the most sense to you (and let us all be convinced in our own minds), there is no mistaking Jesus’ main point in verses 33.

“Heaven and earth will pass away.”  We will have the end of the world.

“But my words (these predictions and all of His promises) will never pass away.”

And then Jesus gets (if possible!) even more practical on us.

#3.  DON’T BE WEIGHED DOWN AND TRAPPED.  V.33

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day [the end of the world] will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.  For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth [ready or not!.]  Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.

Jesus says don’t let your heart get weighed down with dissipation (that means wild living), drunkenness (that means drunkeness, drowning your sorrows and losing control to substances) and “the anxieties of life” I’m willing to be that that’s a bigger problem for many of us here than the other two.

Don’t let them weigh you down or you will not be ready and the end of the world will spring on you.

Instead, BE WATCHFUL AND PRAYERFUL.

Be spiritually awake.

Take note of you heart and make sure that it is right with the Lord.

And talk to Him.  Pour out your heart to Him.

Ask Him to be your Savior if you have not yet.

Declare your allegiance to Him as Lord if you have not yet and then do it again!

You want to be ready for Jesus to come back and to make all things new.

You want to escape the temptations of this world and stand in righteousness and purity and joy before the Son of Man, clothed in His righteousness and treasuring Him as your greatest joy.

Be watchful and prayerful.

Not deceived, not misled.
Not worried, not afraid.  Not terrified.
Not weighed down.

But watchful and hopeful and expectant and longing and prayerful and joyful.

Because of Jesus.

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
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple 
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Heidelberg Catechism on Gossip

Question 112. What is required in the ninth commandment?

Answer: That I bear false witness against no man, nor falsify any man's words; that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard; but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbour.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus' Turn"

“Jesus’ Turn”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
February 20, 2011
Luke 20:41-21:4

I’m going to call this message, “Jesus’ Turn.”

Because for several weeks now, Jesus has been on the receiving end of attacks.

He started it by coming into Jerusalem on a donkey, clearly symbolically claiming to be the Messiah.
But a Messiah that doesn’t conquer at first but weeps at first.

And then a Messiah that cleanses. He tore into the temple and stopped the commerce and purified the temple to become what it was supposed to be: a house of prayer.

And that started the attacks.

The various groups of leaders in Israel started to ask Him questions–and not to get answers but to try to stump Him and discredit Him and get Him thrown in prison and in trouble with the people and in trouble with the Romans.

By what authority do you these things?
Should we pay taxes to Caesar?
At the supposed resurrection, whose wife will she be?

Question after question.

And Jesus deftly answered them all.

With amazing skill and wisdom so that (verse 40), “no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

But that doesn’t mean that the questions are over.

Now, it’s Jesus’ turn.

#1.  TO CONFOUND THE QUESTIONING CRITICS.

Okay, you guys all had tough question.  Let me ask you one. V.41

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David?”

And we’ll see what He means by that question.  He goes on to say (v.42)...

“David himself declares in the Book of Psalms (Psalm 110): ‘'The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’'  David calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?’”

Okay, you’ve asked tough questions.

Here’s one for you.

Which is greater, the father or the son?

How would the Jews answer that question?

The answer would be–the father.

The father is greater than the son.  The son comes from the father.

The Jews expected a Messiah to come.  And they believed that Psalm 110 was a prediction of that Messiah.

And the believed that the Messiah would come as a descendant of the greatest king Israel ever had–King David.

And the Messiah would be a king like King David.

And conquer Israel’s enemies.

Good enough.

But Jesus wants to stretch their categories and make them think beyond what they’ve ever thought before.

If the father is always greater than the son, Jesus says, then how do you explain Psalm 110?

In Psalm 110, David says, “The LORD (God) said to my Lord (the Messiah), ‘Sit at my right hand (the right hand of GOD!) Until I make your enemies a footstool for my your feet–total victory.”

And Jesus says, “Notice what David calls the Messiah. He calls him, “my Lord.”

“How then can he be his son?”

Now, Jesus is not suggesting that the Messiah will not be Davidic and come from David’s line.

He is asking, “How can this be?  If the father is always greater than the son.  Why does David call his son, “my Lord?”

What’s the answer to that one?

Well, what do they answer?

What do the Pharisees, Sadducees, Chief Priests, Elders, Teachers of the Law, all of those leaders say to answer Jesus’ question?

Do you hear the sound of crickets in the background?

Now, it doesn’t say it here, but I think they were dumbfounded.  Confounded.  Conquered.

At the same place in the book of Matthew it says, “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

So, what is the answer?

We’ll find out in chapter 22.  And Peter answers it in Acts chapter 2.

The answer is that sometimes the son is greater than the father.

And this is one of those times.

The Messiah is David’s Son.  But He is also David’s Lord.

He is Great David’s Greater Son.

And His name is Jesus!

Here’s the application of this one.

Settle it right now: Jesus is Lord.

He is not just David’s son.

He is not just another leader in a long succession of leaders.

He is not just another guy.

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand (the right hand of God!  The greatest place of power and authority in the universe) until I make your enemies (death, Satan, the world, your enemies) a footstool for your feet.”

That’s who Jesus is.

Settle it in your mind right now.

Perhaps you are skeptical.

You’re not sure what to make of this Jesus person.

I challenge you to get to know Him.

He is the most amazing person in all of the universe.

He is Lord.

He asks questions that no one else can answer.
He answers questions that no one else can answer.

He is the answer to questions that no one else can answer.

Jesus is Lord.

And He showed it by dying on the Cross and coming back to life again.

At the end of chapter 22, these same people are going to ask Him another question.

This time, He’s going to be beaten and mocked and insulted and covered in His own blood.

And then they’re going to say, “If you are Christ, tell us.”

And Jesus will answer, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer.  But from now on, the Son of Man (His name for Himself) will be seated at the RIGHT HAND OF THE MIGHTY GOD.”

Jesus is Lord.

He is the fulfillment of Psalm 110.

He is great David’s greater Son.

He is Lord.

And we need to settle that in our minds.

Trust in Jesus as your Lord and your Savior and you will be saved.

Submit yourself to Him and follow Him as your King.

Jesus is Lord.

It’s Jesus’ Turn...

#2.  TO CONDEMN THE HYPOCRISY OF THE LEADERS.

Jesus takes advantage of the silence of His enemies to condemn them for their behavior.  V.45

“While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.’”

Those are fighting words.

And they were true.

Jesus issues a strong warning.

“Beware of the teachers of the law.”

Jesus hates all sinful pride.  But He hates religious pride the most.

“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes..”

They like to dress for success.  To be recognized as the godly ones because of their power clothes.

Be careful of dressing to impress–especially at church.

“Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.”

They like to be first.

They like to be honored.

Who doesn’t?

But that’s not why you become a spiritual leader.

Do you know anyone like that?

They want to be seen as a leader, not to serve but to be served.

This is a temptation for Christian leaders.

I’ve felt it.  I want to be honored as a Christian leader.

It’s really nice to be told, “Come sit up here up front.”

But that’s not what it’s all about.

It’s not about being honored (even though we should honor those who lead us).  That’s not why we do what we do.

We do what we do to serve and to honor God!

These guys were all show.

They were wearing masks.

And under the masks was evil.  V.47

“[These leaders] devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.’”

Now this devouring of widows’ houses does not mean that they ate bricks and mortar.

It means the widows’ households.  Especially, their household budgets.

It appears that these leaders were taking advantage of poor, defenseless, right-less widows.

Some may have managed the property of widows in such a way that they profited themselves.

Some may have taken widow’s homes as pledges of debts that they knew could not be repaid.
Some may have taken advantage of widows’ hospitality.

Including receiving their gifts when they could not afford it.

My mind goes almost immediately to the television preachers who beam themselves into widows’ homes today and ask for money.

“Keep us on the air by sending your check!  And God will bless you!”

Says the guy with a gold watch a jet in his backyard!

“They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.’”

The whole time they are stealing from widows, they are praying.

That’s the worst part.

They pray away as they devour widow’s house.

These guys are the teachers of the law!

What does the Old Testament Law say to do with widows?

Take care of them, right?

God loves widows and orphans.

Take care of them.

And what are these guys doing?

Praying, praying, praying, and preying.  P-r-e-y-ing.

“Beware.  Such men will be punished most severely.’”

Now, the application of that is to beware of religious pride and hypocrisy.

To beware of it in other people and to beware of it in ourselves.

Yes, we are supposed to look out for charlatans.

For those who look good on the outside but are fakes and frauds and thieves.

But even worse is to be a fake, fraud, and thief ourselves.

Are we for real?

Or are we just faking it?

God wants the real deal.

That’s one of the things I love about Lanse Free Church.  The folks here are trying to really live out the Christian life.

Not that we’re perfect.  Far from it.

In fact, I’m sure that most of us are faking it on some level.

But this is not a bunch of frauds.

We aren’t in it for the praise of men.  We are in it to build God’s Kingdom.

A couple of the guys getting ready for the Wild Game Dinner in a couple of weeks wanted me to make sure that I communicate during my part that we aren’t putting on the Wild Game Dinner to get more people to come to OUR church even though we’d be glad to have them.

We don’t care if they come to OUR church.

We care if they come to Christ and His Church!

We aren’t in it to get money for our offering plates.  We don’t want to devour widow’s houses and just make a show of it with lengthy prayers.

We want to be real.

How about you.  Are you faking it?  Or are you for real?

It can subtle how hypocritical pride sneaks through.

This last week, our house sprang a leak.

We were getting that thaw, you know, and we have a place in the front yard where we used to have a lamp.  Well, the lamp was knocked over a few years ago and that left the pvc pipe with the powercord in it exposed to the elements.

Last year, we crimped off the top of the pvc pipe and put tar across it to seal it.

But it obviously broke the seal. 

On Thursday night, Heather and I were playing pool in the basement, and we looked over at the other end of the room, and there was water on the floor.  Our house had sprung a leak.

Well, what did I think to do?  Put a bucket under it and go to bed, right?

Well, a bucket wasn’t big enough.  It needed a trash can.  Put a 30 gallon trash can under it at 7pm.  We’ll empty that before bed and then go to sleep and deal with it in the morning.

Pride can be like that.  Seeping into a little crack in our lives. 
Hypocrisy can be like that. Seeping into a little opening in our defenses.

The key is to deal with it now.

You know what?  I went down to check it out before bed that night.

The 30 gallon can was FULL.  In two hours.  Water was flowing into our house at 15 gallons an hour!

If we had gone to bed, we would have had a disaster on our hands the next morning–because the whole hillside seems to flow right to that point and it wasn’t freezing that night.

We had to deal with it right now.  Right away.

My wife is like a female MacGyver.  Heather had the idea of putting a tin can over the opening and sealing it up from the outside.  And it worked!

If you are faking it, don’t wait for it to fix itself.

Repent now of your pride and hypocrisy.  Take action and stop it while you can before disaster strikes.  V.47

“Such men will be punished most severely.”

We must be real.

There was one very real person in that crowd.

And I don’t think it was a coincidence that she was a widow.

A poor person.  The kind of person that the religious system was taking advantage of.

She gave all she had.  And it was Jesus’ turn to:

#3.  COMMEND THE GENEROUS WIDOW.  Chapter 21, verse 1.

“As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury [Yeah, the rich people are giving, woo hoo!].  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. [Greek: two lepta, the smallest coins you can get.  1/64 of a denarius, 1/64 of a day’s wage.  Only a fraction of a penny.]  ‘I tell you the truth,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”

When the rich came, they poured money into the trumpet like heads of the offering cans.

You can hear it pour in. 

When this poor lady walked up (isn’t it always the poor who are the most generous?), you couldn’t even hear the clink of her two coins.

But Jesus says, “She gave more.”

Jesus doesn’t count the coins.  He weighs them.  (Bock, pg. 1642)

And her gift was weighted more than all the others.

The application of that is to give generously.

Jesus commends this woman.

She gave from her heart.

She gave sacrificially.
She gave something small that was huge!

And we’re still learning from it today.

Give generously.  To God. To His church.  To people in need.  To the work of global missions.  Give generously.

But don’t miss this:

This is still a condemnation of the those prideful, hypocritical leaders.

My friend, Kipp Wilson, says that those leaders, if they were doing what they should have been doing, they would have noticed this WIDOW and walked up to her and said, “No, Mother, you don’t need to put that in here.  You don’t take care of us.  We’re supposed to take care of you.  Thank you for your gift.  Now...”  And then reached down into that horn up to their elbows and pulled out a whole slew of coins and gave a gift to her!

But they don’t.

They are in it for the show and for themselves.

It is no wonder that Jesus will (starting in the very next paragraph) talk about the destruction of that very temple in which they are standing.

Judgment is coming on them. V.47, “Such men will be punished most severely.”

Give generously AND give God your all.

Jesus says, “All these people gave gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in ALL she had to live on.”

Shame on the leaders.
Good for her.

She trusted God and gave up everything.

Now, I don’t think that this is calling us to all cash in our houses and give it all away to the poor and needy or to some missions organization.

Though if you feel called to do that, that’s awesome.

But it is a call to give your all, yourself, everything your money stands for–you, to God.

Literally, it says that she threw in all of her life.

The King James says she “hath cast in all the living that she had.”

This widow gave God her all.

What are we holding back?

What am I holding back?

What are you holding back?

Give your all to the Lord.

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
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple 
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Leo Aikman on Gossip

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."

-Leo Aikman quoted in Gossip by Palatnik & Burg

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Writer's Block Yet

Of course, I haven't started trying to write either...

Today was the last week for straight research.  Next time I have a full writing day (scheduled for March 8th), I am going to try to actually write something!

Today I studied all of the scripture passages that I have gleaned from the best articles and books on resisting gossip.  I had already done all of the passages that use the word "gossip" in NIV, but this was more than that.  This was related passages, passages talking about the phenomenon of gossip without using the word, other passages about the theology of words, what to do when attacked with verbal weapons and so on.  And I tried to do it with an eye on the original languages, context, etc. 

I expanded my study to think about slander and reviling, too, as they are important for thinking about evil speech.  There is more to be read and thought about, of course, but this was a good work out.  The next research step is to re-read them all and look up as many of them in commentaries as seems important.

The final print out was more than 100 pages long.

Here's the list if you want to see what I was studying today:

Old Testament

Genesis 9:22
Genesis 37:2
Exodus 20:16
Exodus 23:1-2
Leviticus 20:9
Numbers 13:32
Numbers 14:36, 37
Numbers 16:1-3
Deuteronomy 19:15-21
1 Samuel 2:23-24
Nehemiah 2, 4, 6
Job 1:9-11
Psalm 15:1-3
Psalm 28:3
Psalm 31:13
Psalm 34:19
Psalm 35:15-16
Psalm 37
Psalm 41:7
Psalm 50:20
Psalm 55
Psalm 56:5-6
Psalm 64
Psalm 71
Psalm 101:15
Psalm 119:11
Psalm 125:1-2
Psalm 133
Psalm 140:3
Psalm 141:3
Proverbs 3:29-30
Proverbs 6:12-19
Proverbs 10:12
Prov. 10:18-19
Proverbs 11:9
Proverbs 11:11-13
Proverbs 12:6
Proverbs 12:17-22
Proverbs 14:5-7
Proverbs 14:6-8
Proverbs 14:15
Proverbs 15:1-4
Proverbs 15:11
Proverbs 15:28
Proverbs 16:2
Proverbs 16:27-28
Proverbs 17:4
Proverbs 17:9
Proverbs 17:20
Proverbs 17:27-28
Proverbs 18:13
Proverbs 18:17
Proverbs 18:21
Proverbs 19:9
Proverbs 20:19-20
Proverbs 21:28
Proverbs 22:10
Proverbs 24:28-29
Proverbs 25:7-10
Proverbs 25:23
Proverbs 25:26
Proverbs 26:17
Proverbs 26:19
Proverbs 26:20
Proverbs 26:28
Proverbs 28:3
Proverbs 29:9
Proverbs 30:10
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
Ecclesiastes 10:11
Jeremiah 9:4,2
Jer. 20:10
Ezek. 36:3
Zechariah 7:10
 
New Testament

Matthew 5:11-12
Matthew 7:12
Matthew 10:25-27
Matthew 12:34-36
Matthew 15:18-20
Matthew 18:15-22
Mark 7:20-23
Luke 6:22-23
Luke 6:26
Luke 6:45
Luke 12:2
John 8:44
John 21:20-23
Romans 1:28-32
Romans 12:18
Romans 14:19
1 Corinthians 4:13
1 Corinthians 5:11
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
1 Corinthians 15:33
2 Corinthians 12:20-21
Galatians 5:13-15
Galatians 6:1
Ephesians 4:15
Ephesians 4:29-32
Ephesians 5:1-16
Ephesians 5:19-20
Colossians 3:8-10
Colossians 4:6
1 Thessalonians 3:6-7
1 Thessalonians 4:11
2 Thessalonians 3:11
1 Timothy 3:8
1 Timothy 3:11
2 Timothy 2:16
2 Timothy 3:1-5
1 Timothy 5:13
1 Timothy 5:15-21
Titus 2:3
James 1:29
James 3
James 4:10-11
James 5:9
1 Peter 2:1, 12
1 Peter 3:14-17
Jude 9
Revelation 12:10

Dolls

"Dolls" by Robin Joy Mitchell, a creative writing paragraph

I love dolls! Dolls are very fun to play with!  They are my best friends.  We do everything together.  We have the best times together...We read together.  We listen to music together.  We play all the time together.  Dolls are awesome!

Spurgeon on Gossip #2

"Would it not be a great degradation of your office if you were to keep an army of spies in your pay to collect information as to all that your people said of you? And yet it amounts to this if you allow certain busybodies to bring you all the gossip of the place. Drive the creatures away. Abhor those mischief-making, tattling handmaidens to strife. Those who will fetch will carry, and no doubt the gossips go from your house and report every observation which falls from your lips, with plenty of garnishing of their own. Remember that, as the receiver is as bad as the thief, so the hearer of scandal is a sharer in the guilt of it. If there were no listening ears there would be no talebearing tongues. While you are a buyer of ill wares the demand will create the supply, and the factories of falsehoood will be working full time. No one wishes to become a creator of lies, and yet he who hears slanders with pleasure and believes them with readiness will hatch many a brood into active life" (Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 328).

[HT: JT]

Writer's Block

I'm not planning on having writer's block with this project (ahem).

But just in case, I've been noting all of the remedies for such that I can.

30 Ways to Bust Out of Writer's Block
Pub Toons #13

And my favorite (HT: 22 Words) -- The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of Writer's Block (a peer reviewed article which is as funny as it is unhelpful.):


Sunday, February 13, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus and the Sadducees"

“Jesus and the Sadducees”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
February 13, 2011
Luke 20:27-40

We are studying together the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

King Jesus has ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey–clearly claiming to the be the foretold Messiah of Israel.

He has wept over Jerusalem’s rejection of Himself and the misery it will cause.

Jesus has cleansed the temple–tossing out the merchandisers and moneychangers.

And He has begun teaching every single day at the cleansed temple about the good news of the kingdom of God.

And His enemies are furious. 

Jesus is popular, and they are not. He threatens them just by being Himself.

And they have tried to confront Him and confound Him and catch Him with a trick question to get rid of Him.

Lots of different groups of leaders have tried their best to defeat Him.

They asked Him by what authority He did all of this.

So, He asked them a question that put them between a rock and hard place.

And they chickened out.

The answer, of course, was by God’s own authority. He is God’s son.

And then they tried to put Him between the rock of fickle popularity and the hard place of Roman rule by asking if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar.

But Jesus wasn’t afraid and deftly answered their trick questions.

He called them (what we saw last week), to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s (which is taxes and submission) and to God what is God’s (which is our very selves).

So, no group has yet been successful at landing a blow at Jesus.

And one more group, one that hasn’t yet spoken on their own in the Gospel, steps up to try.

This group is the Sadducees.

The Sadducees were a group within the ruling class of Israel that had a distinct set of beliefs.

They only believed in the first 5 books of the Old Testament. What we call the Pentateuch or the Torah.  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

They didn’t accept the rest of the Old Testament as inspired and authoritative for today.

And they also didn’t believe in the doctrine of the resurrection.

V.27

“Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.”

The Sadducees did not believe that there was going to be a resurrection from the dead.

And so, they were “Sad You See!”  Get it?

Actually, they were not very sad in general.  They were rich and successful and powerful.  So they were earthly happy.

And they scoffed at the idea of the resurrection.

In fact, they thought that anyone who believed in the resurrection was ridiculous.

They said that the resurrection wasn’t taught in the Torah and therefore it didn’t exist.

And they went further than that. They were basically anti-supernaturalists.

They didn’t believe much in the supernatural at all.

They didn’t expect God to intervene in the world He had made.  We are basically on our own.  And when we die...we die.  That’s it.

Those were the Sadducees.  And it’s their turn to take a swipe at Jesus.

They come up to Jesus to play stump the chump.

They want Jesus to be laughed at and mocked and discredited.

So, they bring their best game.  Their best stumper of a question.

This is a question that has always worked for them so far.  They’ve used it to stump Pharisees before.  It’s a killer question.

And they think that it will stump Jesus.

Have you ever had anyone scoff at what you believe?

Have you ever had someone treat your beliefs as ridiculous?

It can really make you feel bad.

It can make you feel like there is something wrong with you.

That maybe you’re missing out on what everyone else knows.

Maybe it’s your view of creation.
 
Or maybe it’s your view of the relationship between men and women in the church and the home.

Or maybe it’s even more basic.  That you believe the Bible.

And someone has scoffed at you as ridiculous for believing that stuff.

Do you really believe everything in that book?

Don’t you know that it was written a long time ago?

Don’t you know that science has disproved all of that?

Do you really believe all of that sin stuff and miracles stuff?

Or maybe even more basic.  You believe there is a God who made everything?

Well, then who made God?

As if that question really is a stumper.

Have you ever been tempted to disbelieve what you believe because of a scoffer?

How about the resurrection?

Do you believe there is a resurrection to come?

Do you believe that one day those who have died will come back to life?

Do you believe that?

The Sadducees did not.

And they thought they had a stumper of question to PROVE it.

To make it seem as ridiculous as it clearly was to them.  V.27...

“Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘Moses wrote for us (Deuteronomy 25) that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother (that’s called Levirate marriage and it was part of the Torah, the law. The point was to preserve the family name). [Hypothetical now. V.29] Now there were seven brothers (1,2,3,4,5,6,7). The first one married a woman and died childless. [Levirate marriage time.] The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the (3,4,5,6) seven died, leaving no children. (No heirs.  No one married to her with a greater claim on her because they gave her a son. V.32)  Finally, the woman died too.  Now then (O Great Teacher), at the (supposed) resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?’”

She’s been a good girl.  She’s been monogamous.  At least one at a time. But who is going to get her now?

Answer?  Resurrection is ridiculous!

There is no resurrection.

You die and turn to dust, and that’s it.

The end.

Resurrection is ridiculous.

Now, how would you answer them?

Would you answer them?

Would you be tempted to just give up on the resurrection?

Yeah, maybe it’s not true after all.

Or maybe you would say, what, well the resurrection is taught in the rest of the Old Testament. It’s really clear in Daniel 12, verse 2. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Or maybe you’d just say, “I don’t care what you think” and walk away.

Or you’d be silenced and not know what to say.

I think that all of those would be options I might be left with.

How do you answer people and think about things when what you believe is under attack as ridiculous?

Our Lord Jesus was not intimidated by the Sadducees.

The Gospel of Mark quotes Jesus as saying right here, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?”

He saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

And that’s how He answers the Sadducees.  V.34

“Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.  But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection.  But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.’  Some of the teachers of the law responded, ‘Well said, teacher!’  And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Jesus is not intimidated.

He says, “You’ve got it all wrong. You, Sadducees, have all of the wrong presuppositions.”

There is a Resurrection!

But things are going to be very different when the resurrection comes.

Everything is going to change.

The fatal mistake that the Sadducees were making was to assume that things were always going to be like they are right now.

That the age to come, if it came, was going to be fundamentally like the present age.

But they had it all wrong.

The resurrection is going to come, but it’s going to change nearly everything.

Life will be very different in the resurrection!

#1. NO MORE MARRIAGE.  Look at verses 34&35.

“Jesus replied, ‘The people of this age marry and are given in marriage.  But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage...”

News flash.

There will be no more marriage in the new heavens and the new earth.

Everything that marriage was supposed a foretaste of will be fulfilled by then.

And while there will be no marriage, it will be better than marriage.

So, don’t worry folks who have not yet been married.  You will not miss out on a partner for eternity.  There are no partners for eternity.

And don’t worry if you’re in a bad marriage.  This life is short and you won’t be married in the world to come.

And don’t worry if you have a fantastic marriage.  The resurrection will be so much better!

And don’t scoff at that like the Sadducees.

They couldn’t imagine a world without marriage–and certainly couldn’t imagine it being better.

But that was their problem.  No more marriage.

Life will be very different in the resurrection.

Here’s why #2.  NO MORE DEATH.

You might have mixed feelings about no more weddings.

But how do you feel about hearing this–no more funerals.

None.

Verse 36.  “...and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.”

They can no longer die.

No more death.

Can you imagine?

No more funerals.
No more grieving.
No more crying over lost loved ones and the pain of separation.

No more death.

No more stinkin’ enemy of death to deal with every day of our lives.

Unless the Lord returns soon, everyone here is going to die.

And everyone that you love will soon die, as well.

In the next 100 years, everyone here will die.

And that’s all that the Sadducees could see.

But that’s not all that will be.

No more death.  The resurrection will change everything.

No more death. 

#3. NO MORE SIN.

I think that’s what Jesus means in verse 36 when He says, “They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

He might be saying again that they cannot die because they are like angels.

But I think He’s saying more than that.

I think He’s saying that they are God’s children–and they bear the family resemblance. 

They are holy as God is holy.

They are God’s children, children born of the resurrection.

No more sin.

In 2 Peter 3, Peter says, “[I]n keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. [I love that name for the age to come–the home of righteousness.  He goes on to say...]  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

No more sin.

Can you imagine?

Pastor Kent Hughes said of this passage, “[In the resurrection...]we will have no unrighteous desires, no covetous cravings, no proud thoughts, no depressions of spirit, no pulls of self-will, no inclinations to sin. Our habitual sins that afflict us so much will finally be gone. Like the angels, we will perpetually worship God." [R. Kent Hughes on Luke 20:27-40]

I don’t know about you, but that thrills me.

The Sadducees could not imagine a world without sin.

Without everything going on as it always had been.

But you can, can’t you?  You can imagine the world as it’s going to be.

Sinless.

Like Jesus.

Now, I love this last one. In verses 37 and 38, Jesus is going to turn the tables on the Sadducees.

He’s going to use their beloved Torah to prove the resurrection.

They said that they only believed the first five books of the Bible.

So, Jesus says, “Okay.  I’ll use those.  How about Exodus chapter 3?  Can’t get any more Torah than that, can you?!”  V.37

“But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'   He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.’”

Okay Sad Guys, read your Bibles!  It does not say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  It says, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

They still exist.
They are still alive to me.

And so are my promises to them.

#4. NO MORE WAITING.

No more waiting for the promises to come.

In that day, Abraham will be back in the body.
Isaac will be alive again in the body.
Jacob will be alive again in the body.

And they will not have to wait any longer for all of the promises that God made to them to be fulfilled.

No more waiting.

Just life forever with the God of the Living!

Just life forever with the living God!

And I love verse 39.

Even His enemies have to applaud that one.

“Some of the teachers of the law responded, ‘Well said, teacher!’”

He showed them!

He stopped the Sadducees in their tracks.  V.40

“And no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Game over.

Oh, they’ll be back.  But until they have the upper hand including Roman swords, they won’t try to ask him any more attacking questions.

Jesus has won.

Now, let me give you four quick applications from what we’ve seen so far.

Four things that we can do this week because of what we’ve learned.

#1. Don’t Scoff.

Don’t be like the Sadducees.

Don’t scoff at the idea of miracle, of God at work in the world, of resurrection.

God is a God of miracles.  God is a God of life.

The Bible is God’s Word.

Jesus came back from the dead.  Really!

And one day, we will, too.

No more marriage, no more death, no more sin, no more waiting.

Don’t scoff. That’s on the way.

#2.  Don’t worry.

Don’t worry about what other people think of what you believe if you know it to be true.

Stand your ground.  Get better answers, more complete answers if someone’s questions shake you.

There are good answers out there.  Don’t let someone shake your faith with a stump the chump question.

Don’t worry.  This is all real.

There is a resurrection coming and it will change everything.

#3.  Hope in Jesus.


That’s how we get to the resurrection.

Maybe that little phrase in verse 35 scared you a little.  Maybe it should.

“Those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead...”

Who is that?

Who is considered worthy?

No one but Jesus is worthy.

But Jesus shares His worth with those who hope in Him.

And we are “considered worthy” if we do.

Jesus’ righteousness is reckoned to our account when we trust Him as our Savior and Lord.

He makes us worthy in Him to enjoy the wonders of the resurrection.

Hope in Jesus.

If you have not yet put your hope and trust in Jesus, I invite you to do that right now.

Don’t be a like Sadducee standing out in the cold when there is a warm home to go to through Christ–the home of righteousness.

No more marriage, no more death, no more sin, no more waiting.

Just life forever with Jesus.

Hope in Him.

And #4. Get Ready for Home.

Anticipate the resurrection to come.

Fill up your mind and heart with these great promises.

No more marriage, no more death, no more sin, no more waiting.

Just life forever with the God of the living, the living God.

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
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple 
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar