• peterfoxwell

Focused



The following is a summary of the sermon I preached on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

FOCUSED

Part 5 of Jesus-Style. Luke 4:42-44

March 26, 2017. The Cornerstone Church.

PRAYER and BIBLE READING - LUKE 4:42-44

INTRODUCTION

At the time of Jesus, everyone in Israel was focused on the coming Messiah. Their Bible told them there was a supernatural King on his way. And he was going to deliver the nation from Roman rule and usher in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 33:22). Living in the Kingdom, a restored nation of Israel would be devoted to God and his Law and living under amazing blessings - safety, prosperity, abundance, peace and so on. It would be a new day with a new covenant. Great!!!

So far in the Gospel of Luke, we have seen evidence after evidence that Jesus is the promised Messiah. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel called him the Savior, the Son of God. He was born in Bethlehem, the city of the Davidic dynasty. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit and God spoke out loud. He proved himself by healing the sick and driving our demons with a word. There is no doubt in Luke’s mind that Jesus was the Messiah.

The village of Capernaum was campaign HQ for Jesus. He did powerful miracles there. He healed all diseases with a word. He drove out demons with a word. And the people want him to stay and do some more amazing stuff. But this is where expectations ran into the wall of reality. Jesus wasn't going to do what everyone expected or wanted.

And this brings us to verses 42-44. It’s such a brief passage and what Luke is telling us is so subtle that it would be easy to glance over it and move on. BUT … what happens here is more amazing than all the miracles. When I discovered it, I laughed out loud. I was so excited. I was thanking and praising God. It's brilliant.

Here's how I'd like us to work through this today:

  • First, we'll take a brief look at the passage - get oriented. What did Jesus say?

  • Then, we'll spend the rest of our time answering the question: why was Jesus so focused on preaching the Good News of the Kingdom? Why did Jesus say it?

  • We'll finish with a brief application to our lives and our ministry here at the Cornerstone. What is Jesus saying to us today?

A. WHAT DID JESUS SAY?

At first, Jesus said nothing. He took off into the wilderness to get some alone time with God. Jesus loved connecting with the Father - see 5:16. His ministry of teaching, healing, delivering was exhausting. It took massive spiritual energy and he needed to rest and to restore his soul. He needed a spiritual fill-up for the days ahead. There's no better place for a fresh anointing than in the presence of the Father.

There was just one problem with withdrawing: the people wanted more of Jesus. Can you blame them? The Kingdom blessings had broken out in Capernaum. It was a beautiful time - heaven on earth. "Please stay here Jesus!" Aren’t you glad that we don't have to pray that; Jesus is resident in us by His Spirit permanently. We’re always living in his presence.

In spite of their pleas, Jesus would not stay. He loved them, but it wasn't all about them. He had other lost sheep to gather into his Kingdom fold. He had come to seek and to save the nation, not just a village. Isn’t it great that Jesus's vision is bigger than Capernaum, that it stretches to us too?

Jesus explained himself in very strong terms: "I must." The idea here is that he was a man on a mission - working on God’s plan and purpose. His compelling commission was to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. We got a brief overview of that good news in verses 18-19: salvation for the spiritually poor, blind, and captive. A nation restored and blessed, with God in the midst.

Through his preaching, Jesus announced the presence of the Kingdom. Through his miracles, Jesus proved it. His powerful victories over disease and demons demonstrated that the reign of sin and satan was ending because God's Kingdom rule was manifesting through him.

So, that's WHAT Jesus said. But, what we really need to know is WHY he said it.

B. WHY DID JESUS SAY IT?

Why did Jesus say that he was compelled to preach Good News everywhere?

Jesus was committed to preaching because he was ending the famine of the word in Israel. For over 400 years, God had been silent. He had not spoken through a single prophet since Malachi. There was a famine of God’s word - a judgment on his wayward nation:

"“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land---not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. [12] People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it." - Amos 8:11-12 NIV

Jesus was breaking God’s silence. Long before, God had promised to send a prophet like Moses; that is, a Savior who would speak for God and set the nation free - Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. That’s Jesus. His powerful word set the people free from disease and demons. Now, his preaching was going to set them free from their sin, to be a people set apart for the Lord. A new nation, in a new covenant. John reports that the crowds knew who Jesus was. The crowd cried out, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." - John 6:14

In Deuteronomy 18:15, it says, “you must listen to him.” As we follow Jesus through the pages of Luke, there’s going to be the question on our minds: will the people of Israel listen to Jesus, will they follow their Savior, will he set free from their captivity to sin? After centuries of famine, Jesus was offering a feast of God’s word. Will the people eat it?

C. WHAT IS JESUS SAYING TO US?

Think of your family and friends who don’t know Jesus. Is it true to say that they are living in a famine of the word? That’s not a good place to be. It’s a sign of judgment - of being out of fellowship with God.

Here’s how we can apply what we’ve learned today: Let’s do all we can to offer a rich feast of God’s word to as many as we can. The world is full of needs but the greatest need is to hear God’s word - the Good News about Jesus. Romans 10 makes this so clear:

13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” - Romans 10:13-15

That’s our mandate right there. Get the word out. To as many as we can. Using every method we can. Pulpit preaching here on Sundays is one way and it’s very important because this is the main way God builds a people for his glory. But there are so many more ways. And we can all be involved.

Think of yourself as a messenger on a mission for God. You are here, alive, in this generation as God’s mouthpiece - a prophet of good news. So, be ready.

  • Be prayed up - “Lord, open doors of opportunity.”

  • Be filled up - “Holy Spirit, work through me.”

  • Then, speak up - using every means available: personal, social media, books, tracts, videos, invitations to church - Case for Christ. Safari Zone, home studies, and so on.

Let’s give the world a feast of God’s word.


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