Ever truly been thirsty? Many years ago I climbed Mt. Rainier. Above 10,000 feet I could no longer eat or drink. I foolishly kept going, hours in the sun, not eating or drinking. When I got back to a lower elevation, I drank the most amazing amount! Three huge size cups…. Have you ever truly been spiritually thirsty?
This month we are walking through Isaiah 55. The prophet is speaking to people that are in exile, broken: “Time to go home.” He is speaking to the thirsty… those yearning for their deepest needs to be quenched… It has been 70 years since the people of Israel have been taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Most of the people have been born captives, knowing nothing else. Only a small percentage of the very oldest among them have childhood memories… Isaiah is sent by God to tell the people it is time to go home ….
The best example I could think of to show the sweetness of returning home is the a soldiers surprise for his/her family. Hundreds to choose from on Youtube, here is a two minute video of [Youtube Video of One soldiers incredible homecoming]….
Welcome ~ Faith in Jesus Christ makes all the difference…you are here to honor, remember, and say good by to Myrna Wood. A quiet woman who wanted peace in her world, she loved her children, she spoke well of all, a simple and good woman. She was a woman of faith who quietly found a measure of assurance and confidence in God. That does not mean she never doubted or wished for a different path… several times in the last year she just did not understand why cancer visited her too many times and she did not always enjoy being tethered to the dialysis machine, but she returned to God time and time again… she cared about people… (Click the READ MORE for slideshow and text of the message)
When Sally saw the title to this message, she wondered why I was preaching about myself…..
Pure honey is considered the standard of sweetness by which all other sweetness is measured… What is more perfectly sweet? The word of God, the hope of Christ.
I am thankful on this Sunday before Thanksgiving for the revelation of Jesus Christ who has revealed Himself to those who have eyes to see. The message is shouted in the skies, deposited in our hearts, written in God’s Word. As we look at Psalm 19, may the Revelation of God cause you to see with greater clarity the Glory of God.
Ps. 19 can be divided into four parts:
Living in the already not yet of Gods kingdom…
In order to understand our text today we need to begin with a brief history of the Jewish understanding of the Kingdom of God at the time of Christ. We heard last week the Pharisees asking Jesus “when the kingdom of God was coming” This was a question that was in the minds of many Jews at the time of Christ for good reason. The Hebrew Scriptures predict the coming Rule of God in the world. If you bear with me I’ll read a couple passages to you.
In Isaiah 2…
“the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
The Genius vs. the Simpleton. A proud and confident genius makes a bet with a simpleton: “Hey Simpleton, every question I ask you that you don’t know the answer, you have to give me $5. And if you ask me a question and I can’t answer yours I will give you $5000.” The simpleton agrees. The genius asks, “How many continents are there in the world?” The simpleton doesn’t know and hands over $5. “My turn,” says the simpleton, “what animal stands with two legs but sleeps with three?” The genius thinks hard for the answer but at last gives up and hands over $5000. “Dang it,” he says, “I lost. By the way, what was the answer to your question?” The simpleton hands over $5.
The story of the genius and the simpleton may not be exactly like the Kingdom of God question, but there are similarities. The Kingdom of God is a mystery to those who don’t understand/those that don’t see it; for those who get it they may not fully see. The answer to the simpleton’s question is that there is no answer, which is an answer.
As I tackle this scripture, my great desire is to try and understand the practical application of this passage ~ what difference does it make in daily life. Jesus is inviting His disciples to live with a Kingdom mentality. Kingdom of God means God is King, ruler, the one in charge.
An amazing way to increase your commitment to the Lord is through gratitude. May giving thanks become a way of life. Ingratitude is a killer. Here’s a silly little joke about ingratitude:
Two old friends met each other on the street one day. One looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears. His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”
The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you: three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.” “That’s a lot of money.”
“But you see, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.” “Sounds to me that you’ve been very blessed.”
“You don’t understand!” he interrupted. “Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.” Now the man’s friend was really confused. “Then, why do you look so glum?” “This week . . . nothing!”
In the scripture today, ten lepers are healed and one returns to give thanks. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem it says in Luke 17:11. He is on the border of Samaria and Galilee, Gallilee is a region within Israel, Samaria is a foreign nation ~ despised half brothers of Israel going back 700 years when Assyria invaded the northern tribes and intermarried with them, thus creating a polluted people in the minds of the Jews. Ten lepers spot Jesus in this no-man’s land between the two nations. Lepers are outcasts, feared, they band together, required to stand at a distance so as to not to spread the terrible disease. We in the U.S. don’t really know what leprosy is (today it’s called Hansen’s disease)... in the worst case it eats away the flesh…
Fishing for compliments. We draw attention to whatever it is we want complimented. We complain about how aweful we felt about our performance in an effort for people to disagree. A meme defines Awkward as “that moment when you’re fishing for complements by speaking badly of yourself and nobody disagrees.” At times we crave attention, want to be noticed, want to be affirmed.
Several people pointed out in the scripture from the past two weeks Luke 17:1 the text says Jesus is talking to his disciples. That is likely a large group of committed followers… Contrast Luke 17:5 it says specifically the “apostles” say to Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith.” This is likely the 12 who were set apart by Jesus. It appears they want to be elevated even above the other “common” disciples: Lord, set us apart, give us greater responsibilities… They are fishing for affirmation, fishing to be elevated…
“Increase our faith” isn’t even a question, it’s a demand: “Lord, you have to do this.” Once in a while I run into somebody that demands I as a pastor have to help them with money, because it is the church’s duty.” If you want to see a stubborn Carl go ahead and tell me I have to give you money. “Increase our faith.” Set us apart, elevate us, make us awesome super apostles so we can bless you even more with our wonderfulness.
There is a great need in today’s world for more people to make a commitment to follow Jesus /become active disciples/committed to learning, growing, loving, living for Him!
Jesus is speaking to the disciples. Luke 17:1 says, “Jesus said to his disciples…” The disciples are the insiders to Jesus teaching… Jesus is challenging the disciples to grow, to put into practice what it means to be a follower. BELIEVE IT and LIVE IT. Jesus was speaking to the first disciples ~~ he is also talking to His followers today.
Who is the insider today? Anybody who wants to make a commitment. (e.g. The Druze) The invitation to follow Jesus Christ is open. To make a commitment to Jesus is to say, “Lord change me. I want to be a different person, I want to be who you want me to be. This truth is captured in the first three words of Luke 17:3: “So watch yourselves.”
In Luke, especially in the last few chapters we have been reading, we see Jesus’ addressing 3 different groups of people:
In the first verse of our text today Luke tells us, “Jesus said to his disciples.” When Luke says, “Jesus said to his disciples…” I think it has two meanings.
First, Luke is relaying an eyewitness account of an event that happened. Jesus did say these words or he was remembered as saying these words to some of his original disciples, but Luke also uses the phrase “Jesus said to his disciples” to get the attention of his contemporary readers who claimed to be Jesus’ disciples.
When Jesus addresses the crowds or the Pharisees or the religious leaders, it might have been easy for contemporary disciples to ignore what Jesus had to say, or to think what he had to say didn’t have anything to do with them…
I’m in the minority when it comes to making sense of this story told by Jesus. I am amazed how many preachers/commentators say it is a true story to be taken literally. Really? It’s a parable/story used by Jesus to make a larger point. If it is a literal story we need to accept the whole, including the “fact” there is a telephone between heaven and hell: “So [the rich man] called [Father Abraham]…” (Luke 19:24) If the story is literally true, who is Father Abraham? How does Father Abraham fit into our ideas of heaven?
Those that take this story literally point out no other parable gives characters a name ~~ Lazarus. So what! Many healing miracles of Jesus have unique elements different from any other healing miracle like the time he used his spit to make mud and put on the blind man’s eyes. Jesus taught in many ways, wisdom sayings, hard sayings like it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man making it to heaven. This story adds to the depth of Jesus method of teaching. Jesus is using known fictional characters everyone understood. In our culture, if I tell a story about Robin Hood, you now it is a fictional story with a true to life message: a man striving for justice by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. The characters in today’s parable:
Carl Crouse, Pastor
At SACC we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Every Sunday the worship service includes a message from the Bible. My words are an attempt to understand and apply the Bible to our daily living. I post weekly sermons and other biblical messages on this page. May you find meaning and hope as you read through each message and seek to hear God's voice. Leave a comment to ask questions or inspire others with your insights.