Tag Archives: Gospel of Luke

Doubt and Uncertainty When The King Is Gone…

the king is gonePassage: Luke 19:11-28

When a choice becomes a “Choice”

•    Decisions are a funny thing

o    We make them all the time; most of them we don’t even thing about
o    Yet, there comes a time when a decision becomes a “Choice”

•    A choice becomes a “Choice” when it is made in spite of the situation surrounding it

o    Take a dating couple, the choice to get married is really not that big of a decision as it is made in the heat of passion

*    The real Choice to be married comes when the cards are down; when the pressures of life is pushing and pulling the couple apart

o    This is true for most any thing

*    When something is simply the next logical step on a journey, then it really isn’t a choice
*    It is when a decision is made against all odds, when nothing is known for sure, that is when a Choice is made.

•    The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is a perfect example of this
•    Holy Saturday was a dark day during which the followers of Jesus knew nothing but despair, fear and pain.

o    Yes, they had the Prophets and Jesus’ own words predicting his resurrection…
o    But they weren’t sure if these words were just empty rhetoric thrown out to give false hope to their desires of a promised Messiah.

•    It was at this time – in the darkness of life – when the Disciples made their real Choice to follow Jesus…

King is Away

•    Luke 19:11-28 is a passage foreshadowing Holy Saturday.
•    In verse 11 we see that the people thought that Jesus was getting close to ushering in the Kingdom of God

o    After all He had just healed a blind man, converted a tax collector and was headed to Jerusalem…

While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. (Luke 19:11)

•     In response to this mindset, Jesus tells a story about a nobleman who goes on a journey to receive His royal authority

o    This is a story about both Holy Saturday when he was in the tomb and the time between his Ascension and Second Return
o    You see, we currently live during a paradoxical time – a time between the now and not yet, as it is commonly called
o    This is a time during which God’s reign and rule is here – but not in its fullness
o    Just like the during between the election of a president and their inauguration
o    This is a story about the time during which we live

Continue reading Doubt and Uncertainty When The King Is Gone…

Giving It All Up

covered-in-the-dust-of-the-rabbiPublic Reading: Luke 18:15-34

•    Pairs

o    Little children and rich grownups (verses 15-22)
o    Lose everything to get everything (verses 23-30)

Little Children

•    People where bring their little kids for Jesus to bless

o    Think about that…getting blessed by God Himself!! Wow
o    It should be noted that this was a common practice back then
o    Still is a practice today…to a certain extent…we bless babies in church

•    The 12 disciples tied to stop this from happening

o    They figured Jesus was too busy and important to worry about children
o    Children, after all, are messy, noisy, get in the way a lot, ask too many questions…etc.
o    Like the old comment about kids been seen and not heard and rarely seen at that

•    Jesus saw things differently

o    He wanted the kids to come up to Him
o    In fact, Mark 10:14 says that Jesus was “indignant” that the kids were being kept from Him

*    Indignant means “feeling or showing anger because of something unjust or unworthy”
*    That is pretty powerful!!!

o    Jesus was angry at his followers – the guys he handed picked – because they tried to keep a bunch of little kids away….
o    Think about that for a bit…

*    If Jesus is that passionate for children, should we be too?
*    Shouldn’t we be doing everything in our power to make sure the folks that Jesus wants to hold and bless get to the chance to meet His?
*    Yet, How often do we, in our own way, try to keep the church clean by not invite those people?

•    Receiving the Kingdom of God

o    Jesus told his followers that the Kingdom of God belongs to the little children

*    That whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it…

o    That should get our attention!!!

•    What is Jesus talking about?

o    The phrase “Kingdom of God” is an odd one that basically means “the dynamic rule and reign of God”
o    It is a term that the Jewish people started using between the Old and New Testament to refer to the time when God would fulfill His promises to rule over the land and destroy evil
o    There are verses that talk about enter into the kingdom; other which say that the kingdom is coming; still others that it is in our midst; and is still a long ways off

•    Receiving and entering into…

o    In a nutshell, Jesus is saying that if we want to see the rule and reign of God, we are too humble ourselves and become like a small child…. Like the ones who crawled up into Jesus lap and was blessed by him
o    This doesn’t mean that we can’t ask questions – kids ask ALL kinds of questions!

*    It just means that we trust Jesus even when we don’t like His answers
*    We just grab his hand and follow him…

Continue reading Giving It All Up

The Great Banquet

the great banquet everything is readyI found this old sermon saved in the drafts today and thought I would post it.  The audio file of the sermon is located here on the PRV website. Blessings.

Passage: Luke 14:1-24

The Story

•    Jesus dines at the house of a Pharisees

o    While there he heals a man
o    Some folks got made because it was on the Sabbath

•    Jesus then tells two short parables

o    First to the guest of the dinner
o    The second to the host

•    First one

o    Place of honor

*    Don’t pick the place of honor
*    Let the host bring you up

o    Commentary

*    Not only is this practical advice on life, it is very important spiritually
*    The guests in the room were most likely big time religious leaders who wanted the best seats for themselves
*    Jesus is telling them that they are to the humble

•    Let God (the host) raise them up
•    2 Peter 5:5b-7 – God cares about, be kind to each other and humble
•    James 4:1-10 – submit ourselves to God, be a peacemaker

•    Second story

o    Part one

*    Turning to the host, Jesus tells him not to just throw a party for those who can pay you back

•    Invite the folks who can’t repay you

*    Again this is very practical as well as spiritual

•    Instead of being focused on what we can get out of things, we need to be concerned with others

Continue reading The Great Banquet

God’s Unconditional Love

Public Reading: Luke 15:1-32

Sermon Introduction:

•    Three Parables; One Message

o    God’s unconditional love

•    A lot of times these three are treated separated

o    Especially the prodigal son

•    Yet they are really all connected to each other

o    As is Luke 16 and the first ten verses of Luke 17
o    Today we are going to focus on the three parables
o    Next week we will cover Luke 16 through Luke 17:10

•    Now before we dive into the first parable, let us look at the setting

o    Luke 15:1-2

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

o    Jesus was drawing the wrong kinds of people to himself.
o    The religious leaders may have been more hospitable or open to his message if only he would be harder on those who didn’t obey the rules
o    Their primary debate with Jesus that he received sinners and ate with them – granting them grace instead of punishment.
o    And in response to this grumbling, Jesus told these stories:

Parable One: Lost Sheep

•    What man among you would not leave your 99 sheep in the open country and go and find the lost?
•    How much more does heaven rejoices over one sinner repenting than 99 who needs no repentance?

Parable Two: Lost Coin

•    What women among you, having 10 coins and losing one, will not light a lamp and search for the lost coin?
•    How much more does the angels of God rejoices over one sinner who repents?

Continue reading God’s Unconditional Love

Giving Up Control To Jesus

Public Reading: Luke 18:25-35

The Story:

•    Hard teaching

o    You have to love Jesus more than anything
o    More than family, friends and even life itself

•    This passage has two audience

o    New believers need to know what they are getting into – they need to count the cost
o    Current disciples – daily pick up cross and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23)

•    Focus today is on the second audience

o    It is about control

•    Throughout history, humans have always wanted some type of control

o    The act of being able to make a decision about your life
o    What to eat, drink…how to dress…where to live…
o    Wars have been fought over this issue…
o    In the USA, we hang so tight to our “rights” that I think the rights take over and start control us…

•    Control can be both a good and a bad thing

o    After all the Bible clearly teaches that self-control is a good thing – Gal 5, fruits of the Spirit
o    Yet control is bad in the sense that it can keep us from following Jesus.

•    Jesus said in verse 27, “whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

o    Remember at this point the cross was a instrument of death
o    It was not something nice to wear around your neck or post on your wall
o    Jesus is telling folks that they have to die to follow him
o    They must give up everything – give up control of their lives to follow Him

“Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” –Luke 14:33

Continue reading Giving Up Control To Jesus

God Sees Us

If you all are like me, you all are still searching and asking questions about the events that shocked our nation on Friday [the Newtown school shooting]. Why did so many young children have to die? Why did that man do that? You search the news articles and listen to the TV or radio, hoping to find something that will put you at ease…something that will make the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit together…

Yet sadly I don’t think the pieces will ever be put back together properly….

Well, not by us.

You see, we are at war with evil. This is not a metaphor or a churchy saying designed to create emotions. This is reality. We are at war.

The forces of darkness and Satan are playing twisted games with humanity – clouding their minds and darkening theirs souls.

St. Paul puts it this way in Romans 1:21, 28-32

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

This is why a 20-year old man gets to where he can walking into an elementary school and start shooting…this is why a parent can kill their own children…why people can steal babies, little boys and girls and sale them into slavery to be raped over and over and over again…this is why people can teach a six year old to kill and murder as is happening across Africa and the Middle East.

Christians feel as though this darkness is why people lie and cheat at work…why they look at porn sites so regularly or have one night stands…why they foster hatred and bitterness, forgiving no one, but always seeking revenge…this is why families are torn apart and people – men, women, adults, teenagers, kids – cry themselves to sleep…

It is a grim picture…one full of death, pain, heart-ache and darkness…

Yet it is into this darkness – into this life of pain and death and destruction and murder and lies and greed and evil that God stepped into – fully into. He didn’t keep one foot clean while dipping His toes into the water. He took upon himself the very nature of humanity – he experienced the pain of betrayal, the string of a fist, the hurtful words of friend…he was born amidst the cries of a massacre as all the young boys born near his birthplace was killed…murdered at the hand of a mad man…. Yet, throughout the cries of sorrow and hurt, God was there! He did not leave; he did not go back up into heaven. He walked with us; he stood by our side and joined with our pain and sorrow…why?

Continue reading God Sees Us

The Tension Of Suffering

Public Reading: Luke 13:1-9

The Story:

•    At first glance it can be a tad hard to see the connection between these two short passages (verses 1-5 and 6-9)
•    Yet they both tell the same story – abet from two different viewpoints

o    Like two sides of a coin

•    And let me warn you, the topic they are dealing with is a tough one
•    They are dealing with suffering – about the bad things that happen in life
•    Let’s turn to Luke chapter 13

The first passage (verses 1-5)

1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

•    The mindset of the people of Israel at this time is similar to the mindset of some of us:

o    Do good (i.e. follow God’s rules) and good things will happen to you
o    Do bad (i.e. don’t follow God) and bad things will happen

•    On one level this is true as Deuteronomy 28 outlines blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.

o    It is also true that not following Jesus leads you down a path of life that is self-destructive

•    However, the reverse is NOT true

o    Bad things happening to you does not mean that you are not following God
o    Good things happening to you does not mean that you are following God

Continue reading The Tension Of Suffering

Get Caught Working

Public Passage: Luke 12:35-59


Right after Jesus tells His followers that they are to store up ‘treasures’ in heaven, He launches into a short story designed to encourage His followers to say faithful and watch for His return. In this story, the servants are prepared and ready when their master returns. Only instead of the servants serving the master, the master serves the servants! It is a story of the upside down kingdom in which Jesus loves and serves us. The disciples, though, were not sure who Jesus was talking to – so they ask Jesus if it was for them or for everyone else. Jesus responds with further instructions for His followers to be actively following His instructions while waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom to arrive.

“It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” –Jesus, Luke 12:43-44

The Story

•    Background

o    The last few chapters of Luke has shown Jesus answering various questions from the disciples, legal experts/Pharisee, and random folks in the crowd
o    The beginning of chapter 12 starts with Jesus encouraging the disciples to stand strong and trust him.
o    Then someone in the crowd ask Jesus to settle a legal dispute
o    Jesus turns the question on its head and challenges the heart of greed within the questioner
o    Near the end of Jesus statement about greed, he goes into a short parable…which is where we are going to pick todays message

•    The parable of the serving master

o    Let’s pick up the story in verse 32 as the passage is not broken up via headings

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.35 Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. –Luke 12:32-38

o    We are to be ready

*    Dressed with our boots on and ready to work
*    Lights are to be ready at any moment

o    Servants “eagerly awaiting” their master who “withdraws” from the banquet for a moment

*    The Greek can be read either way….
*    I like this way as it shows the servants in a state of readiness
*    It also shows that the wedding banquet is not over, which means that it can be at anytime

Continue reading Get Caught Working

Be on your guard against all kinds of greed…

Passage: Luke 12:13-34

The Story

•    You can tell a lot about a person from their questions
•    Take the question in verse 13 for example.

o    The questioner is clearly in a position where he wants Jesus to solve the problem
o    He is in the middle of a dispute with his older brother

*    I say “older” brother as the law of the time dictated that the eldest brother would be in charge of the estate after the father died
*    This, therefore, would be the younger brother who wants Jesus to force the older brother into giving him some of the property and/or coin

o    The question also reflects how this man saw Jesus

*    Not as someone who came to change lives, but as a legal expert
*    We do this sometimes in our prayers when we pray, not for changed hearts – our and others – but for Jesus to force others to do what we want them to do

•    Jesus responds in a way that cut to the heart of the questioner

o    He told the man that he wasn’t going to go down the path of forcing people to do anything
o    He also warned the man about his soul and about chasing things

•    The parable

o    There was a rich man whose crops produced a great yield

*    Notice that the man is already rich

•    This wasn’t a man who was trying to get rich
•    But a story about the abundance given to him by God

o    In other words, being rich is not a sin
o    It is a state of one’s heart and what one does with the wealth that matters, as well will soon see

*    I say, “given to him” because the wealth came from his crops,

•    Crops that he did not cause to grow
•    God is the one who causes all living things to grow

Continue reading Be on your guard against all kinds of greed…

In Whom We Trust

Public Reading: Luke 12:1-12

The Story:

•    We are nearing the end of Jesus life

o    You will notice that the writing of St. Luke is shifting slightly.
o    Instead of talking about Jesus’ actions, like he did at the beginning of the book, St. Luke is starting to record more and more of his teachings

•    We are also seeing the religious leaders get more and more upset with Jesus

o    At first they were just curious about this new teacher
o    Now they are mad at him because of two main teachings

*    Jesus is telling the wrong people (sinner, tax collectors, etc.) that they can find salvation without going to the temple
*    Jesus is calling out their secret sins

o    In other words, their jobs and their reputation were being threatened by Jesus.

•    The crowds, on the other hand, were increasing

o    They kept coming and coming and coming
o    So much so that St. Luke says, “they were tramping on each other.” (vs 1, TKNT)

•    In the middle of all this, Jesus turns to his disciples and says:

“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. –Luke 12:1c-3

•    Why? What is Jesus saying?

o    Think about this, the Pharisees and the religious leaders used to be the top dogs in the yard.

*    They had all the best seats in the house
*    They had folks coming to them
*    Now the crowds are going to Jesus

o    As such, I see Jesus cautioning the disciples that if they are not careful, they will become like very religious leaders they warned the people about.

*    Fame is a funny thing in that if you are not careful, you begin to think that you are better than everyone else.
*    Think about the Beatles or any of the famous musicians or movie stars

•    A lot of them start out as good people with a heart of gold
•    Yet the pressures and joys of fame does something to them
•    It turns down the wrong path – as we see in the nightly news

o    Jesus is cautioning the disciples to be careful

*    They are to know that whatever they say in private
*    Whatever back door conversations they have…. one day it will all be made know to the public
*    Think about Watergate….a few of the most powerful men in the world couldn’t keep a secret very long at all…

Continue reading In Whom We Trust