Sunday, November 11, 2012

Review - Sunday November 11th

Review of Lord’s Day: November 11th 2012
Pastor Shane Walker
Luke 4

My take on Sunday's Sermons at Andover Baptist and other thoughts

Recent events in the word of cycling have resulted in many cyclists being convicted of cheating.  The most notable of these has been Lance Armstrong who has had all seven of his consecutive Tour de France titles removed.  One approach for dealing with the rampant cheating in cycling was to offer a period of amnesty so that the vast network of cheaters and their methods could finally become unravelled.  The problem with this approach is that one of the sport's main governing bodies would only offer amnesty if the amnesty covered the ruling body as well.  The implication is that the network of deception extended all the way to the governing body itself!

- accept Jesus' amnesty
- don't fall for the Devil's lies
- compete in the race with the Beloved

1) It is very interesting that Jesus does not quote all of Isaiah 61: 1-2. He leaves off the bit about the "day of vengeance of our God."  In doing so Jesus signals that now is the time not for vengeance but for liberty to be proclaimed to the captives.  This is the period of amnesty.  This is the period to come clean, admit your sins, repent of them, and put your faith in Christ.  The Jews would likely have thought of Jesus fulfillment of Isaiah 61 as a physical manifestation of the power to heal people of blindness and other physical maladies.  They begin to make statements that are consistent with their doubt that Jesus was the Messiah and was indeed the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, "Is not this Joseph's son?" To which Jesus replies with selections from the ministries of Elijah and Elisha.  He both puts Himself at least on the level of these great prophets and makes it clear that He is not just a miracle worker.  The point is that they should have had a better understanding of the spiritual way in which Jesus was fulfilling the Prophecy and not just the physical way.  Just as Elisha and Elijah did not heal everyone, their main ministry was a call to spiritual dealings of repentance and love for God.  So Jesus was not just a miracle worker to make everyone feel good but He was here to proclaim spiritual liberty to the captives by preaching the gospel and satisfying God's wrath.

2) Matthew and Luke's accounts of the temptation differ in the order of the temptations.  It is likely that the Matthew is indicating a chronological approach to his presentation by saying "then" before each temptation while Luke is taking a theological approach in his presentation.  This is consistent with other differences in the gospels such as the genealogies.  The gospel writers are dealing with the same historic details and events but are choosing to present these events with varying emphasis, level of detail, and order.

    a. the temptation to turn stones to bread is a temptation to do something that would not please God the Father.  It is not a sin to eat bread but the Godhead had a specific purpose for the wilderness fasting and Satan was bucking against it. Sin often tells us that we will die if we don't do it - and this may have been part of the temptation Satan used with Jesus.  The highlight of the sermon was the various discussions of sin (paraphrase), "Sin is like an itch.  It is like an itch from poison ivy. Everything in you wants to scratch it.  And when you scratch the itch it goes away and you are better for it right? No, when you scratch it the itch feels better momentarily and then gets worse and spreads."  Sin tells us we will die if we don't give in, but the reality is that if we continue in unrepentant sin we will die forever in @#!*% .

    b. The kingdoms of the world are presented to Jesus in return for a moment of worshipping the devil.  Jesus could have been the ruler of the entire world and would not have had to suffer.

    c. The temptation to throw himself off the pinnacle of the temple occurred in a religious setting with Satan quoting scripture.  It would have been very tempting for Jesus to unveil His power and vindicate His claims once and for all by having the religious establishment witness his power and command over angels.  But this was not God's will.  Another helpful discussion of sin: we need to quickly recognize the various variants of Satan's temptations.  For instance, sexual sin and temptations to it can come in the Bathsheba variant, the Joseph variant, or the Lot's daughter's variant.  Each one has various elements coincident with the main temptation of lust.  Perhaps laziness and lack of zeal for the work God has given us goes with the Bathsheba variant or the power of a boss and the threat of losing one's livelihood goes with the Joseph variant.  Lot had the problem of poor prior life decisions putting himself in a bad position which then led to his problems.   We need to be students of scripture to recognize these.  Its like General Patton who defeated Rommel by reading his book about tank warfare tactics. "I read your book!"

3) Compete in the race with the Beloved Son through faith.  Luke does point out that there is a difference between sicknesses and demon possession.  Jesus has the power of God over the demons and even they recognized His divine origin. 

Note: A.W. Tozer made a comment regarding Jesus being like a sharp sword in a battered and dented sheath.  

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