8/7/20

Luke 11:37-44


37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” ~ Luke 11:37-44

The Lord Jesus unleashed His fiercest threats on the religious. Of all the sins and inequities in the world, religion is the worst. The Lord Jesus was hardest on the religious who pervert the God of the Bible by presenting Him as a selfish ogre who is out to get us when we do anything wrong.

In today's text we learn religion is purely external. And, in order to live out one's religion and put on a convincing show, one has to accentuate the externals, including endless rituals, rules, and regulations. Of course, these rituals, rules and regulations are a means to earn the favor of God. But, we all know, we can't earn God's favor. Religion is not the answer because it is man reaching to God. The problem with that is we can't reach high enough.

In v.37 we read, "When Jesus had finished speaking..." The Lord Jesus had informed these religious leaders that they did not have a light problem, they had a sight problem. They were blinded by their sin which had not been atoned for and forgiven. 

In the middle part of v.37 we read, "a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table." The Pharisees defined themselves as the separated ones. They were not priests, they were fundamentalists. They were sticklers for the specific laws and the traditions of the Jews. They were self-righteous, proud, and they abused people for personal gain.

This Pharisee invited the Lord Jesus for lunch, and when He arrived at the Pharisee's house, the Lord Jesus intentionally did not wash His hands. And, according to v.38, "the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal." 

His response of note wasn't about dirty hands. This requirement of washing hands was a ritual that had not been issued by God. The religious leaders had come up with this ceremonial washing to outwardly show their desire to be clean from all the defilements of the world. But, this ritual was man-made and not to be found in the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus ignored the tradition, and the Pharisee was bothered.

In v.39-40 we read, “Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickednessYou foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?" Knowing what this Pharisee was thinking, the Lord Jesus questions him. He highlights the fact that this Pharisee had cleaned the outside of the plate which didn't matter. He cleaned the outside of the cup and the outside of the platter. The real issue was the inside of the dishes which the Lord Jesus uses to teach this Pharisee an important lesson. All of his symbolic rituals didn't address his real issue, the sinful condition of his heart. This man wasn't concerned about the wickedness of his heart.

Then, in v.41 we read, "But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you." The Lord Jesus understood the rituals inside and out. He knew that the Pharisees were more interested in the money, prestige and power than they were the real issues in a persons life. This made them hypocrites. In fact, it enabled the Pharisees to rob the people of their money. Therefore, He was able to render a verdict. Love on the needy. Stop making life about money, position, religion or a better you. This man needed a broken heart to be able to understand the most important issues in his life.

In v.42-44 there are three "woes" which are pronouncements  of judgment on the hypocrite. God prescribed giving for the believer, but if we give with the wrong heart, our giving is in vain. The Pharisees didn't love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, nor their neighbor as themselves. They were preoccupied with the minutia of religion. These Pharisees wanted to be admired, revered with their elevated positions and their religion and titles. 

The Old Testament required us to give a tenth of our income, but there was never a command to tithe "mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs." Even though, all of their righteousness was outward, there was no transformation of the heart. These Pharisees had no humility, no repentance, no faith in God's grace and power to forgive, no love for God and people.

In v.44 we read, "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it." These religious leaders put their reputation above God. Otherwise, the priorities of God would have been theirs. They thought that sitting in the right seats and being acknowledged by the right people would fulfill them. 

The Jews were careful not to be defilement by dead bodies, so, they made sure the graves were carefully marked. But the Pharisees were dead and like unmarked graves that did not look like graves at all! This meant that they were unconsciously defiling others when they thought they were helping them to become more holy! Instead of helping people, the Pharisees were harming them.

Once we have entered into a personal relationship with the God of the Bible, He will begin to give us His heart. When His heart begins to over take ours, we will reflect Him through our lives. We will begin to operate from His posture which is less of me and more of you.

8/6/20

Luke 11:33-36


33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” ~ Luke 11:33-36

Metaphorically, the world is both defined by light and darkness at all times. This is the most universal experience we all share. This universal experience in the physical world is a doorway into understanding the metaphoric meaning of light and darkness in the spiritual world. 

Light reveals and darkness conceals. This is why blindness is so limiting. Light is everywhere. A blind person can't perceive it. All that light, all that revelation, and it's useless. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus is addressing here today in our text. It's not a question of light, it's a question of sight. 

These religious leaders did not benefit from the light because they refused to accept the facts. When the Lord Jesus called into question the legitimacy of their spirituality, they did not humble themselves. In fact, they became so embittered toward Him, they refused to believe that He was the Messiah. And thus, they refused to be saved from sin and themselves.

In v.33 we read, "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light." God’s Word is a light that shines in this dark world, but it is not enough that the light is shining externally, it must enter our hearts before it can do any good in our lives. 

In v.34 we read, "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness." The issue is not the lack of light, it is the lack of sight. Seeing depends on the condition of the eyes which are the lamps to the body. Our eyes are not the light, our eyes are the organs that delivers the light to our minds and therefore gives us the ability to see. When our eyes are clear, our whole bodies are full of light. It's the only organ channeling light to the mind. But when the eyes are bad, the body is full of darkness. 

Notice the phrase "when your eyes are healthy." The word “healthy” is a word that means “single” or “holding nothing back.” The only way we see the light is to be singularly focused on the Lord Jesus. Of course, we will not be perfect at doing this, but the more we become more singularly minded, the more light or truth we will recognize and see and understand.

In v.35 we read, "See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness." Before saying this, the Lord Jesus knew what their response was going to be: They saw themselves as the ones who understood all truth. So, He says, "The light in you may in fact be darkness." 

Then in v.36 we read, "Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you." For those who turn from the sin that blinds, for those who will honestly ask God to open their eyes, the gift of sight opens up limitless horizons. 

The word "whole," the word "full," and then on the negative side, the phrases, "no part of it," and then "full of light," all shed light on the subject at hand. It isn't until we become Christian do we get a little bit of light. Becoming a believer and having our spiritual eyes opened opens limitless vision to us so that we understand everything. We go from total blindness to spiritually sight. 

There will come a day when God turns out the light and since some won't believe, they can't believe. Since Israel wouldn't, they couldn't. If a person never comes to the light, it is questionable how long God is going to let the light shine. 

Three men in the Bible illustrate this truth. They began in the light and ended up in the darkness. Samson means “sunny,” yet he ended up a blind slave in a dark dungeon because he yielded to the “lust of the flesh.” 

Lot began as a pilgrim with his uncle Abraham. He ended as a drunk in a cave, committing incest, because he yielded to “the lust of the eyes." Lot wanted to serve two masters and look in two directions!

King Saul began his reign as a humble leader, but his pride led him to a witch’s cave, and he died of suicide on the field of battle. His sin was “the pride of life”; he would not humble him- self and obey the will of God.

Each of us is controlled either by light or darkness. The frightening thing is, like the religious leaders of the Lord Jesus day, some have been so hardened to the Lord they cannot tell the difference! They think they are following the light when, in reality, they are following the darkness.

How do we prevent walking in the darkness? By being in His word. We must begin each day in His word, seeking Him through it for He is the object of our pursuit, and it is through His word that we seek Him. Then, His word will become a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet.

8/5/20

Luke 11:29-32


29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here. ~ Luke 11:29-32

In only months, the Lord Jesus will be crucified in Jerusalem on the cross. Led by the religious leaders, the people of Israel have largely rejected Him. From now on, the ministry of the Lord Jesus is mostly judgmental toward them. Occasionally He speaks of grace and salvation to the outcasts, the tax collectors and the prostitutes and the criminals. And, He concentrates on His disciples, teaching them about His death and His resurrection and their subsequent ministry. 

In v.29 we read, "As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation." This is the final statement of the Lord Jesus on Israel. This Greek word ponros translated wicked is used also of Satan. And, the Lord Jesus is speaking of the most religious, moral, the Jews. These were the ones most concerned about keeping the law of God. They were intensely religious so that the whole of their lives were under the control of their religious duties and obligations and rituals. On the outside they were clean, but on the inside they were wicked in the most dangerous way.

When it comes to responding to the gospel we are better off immoral than moral. When it comes to responding to the gospel we are better off irreligious than religious because moral and religious people feel they are good and they feel that they have gained a measure of favor with God. The essence of the gospel is that we are sinners and there is nothing in us that is good and our morality counts for nothing, especially in God's eyes. These religious Jews hated the Lord Jesus for exposing their true condition.

In v.29 the Lord Jesus said, "This is a wicked generation." The evidence of that generation's wickedness was tied to the fact that they were seeking yet another sign. With all of the evidence the Lord Jesus had given them, they didn't believe He was God. This is where we end up when we seek what He has to offer rather than seeking Him. This is true of any relationship. This is not love, and any relationship not build on love will not endure the crevices of our selfishness and greed.  

This is the most dangerous posture, to depend upon, our morality, to depend on our religion. This is what caused the Jews to reject the diagnosis of their wretchedness, their sinfulness, their unworthiness, their inability to save themselves. It is from the posture of need that our needs are truly met. They were condemned in the presence of the only One who could save them. They were blinded by their false righteousness.

In v.29 we read, "It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” In the same way Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish, so the Lord will be in the belly of the earth. And just as Jonah came out of His virtual death alive, the Lord Jesus will come out of actual death alive. This is the sign of Jonah. 

The Ninevites believed in God as a result of Jonah's miracle.  They hadn't seen a miracle. But when Jonah told them the story, they believed. They got the picture of judgment. They knew God was going to destroy them if they didn't turn from their sin. They believed this was a message from the true God, not because they had the Scriptures, but because God had performed a miracle which they believed only He could do.

The story of Jonah is an analogy of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. As Jonah was swallowed by the great fish, the Lord Jesus was swallowed by death on our behalf. When that type of love grips our hearts, we respond in kind. We love Him because He loved us first, and didn't we know that we did not deserve it.

In v.30 we read, "For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation." The resurrection is the final and greatest sign. What greater sign could there be? The Lord Jesus conquered sin and death. This is the greatest sign. The people of Nineveh heard one poor prophet who by his own confession was wicked. He only had one sign and they heard him tell about it, they didn't see it but they believed. The Jews standing before the Lord Jesus were blinded by themselves. They couldn't see it, most importantly with their hearts.

In v.31 we read, "The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here." A Gentile traveled many many miles to garner Solomon's wisdom which was steeped in His submission to the God of all creation.

The Lord Jesus was saying, "Gentile, pagan, idolatrous people, are going to stand up at the judgment and condemn you, the Jews, the people of God, the people of the promise." This was just intolerable to the Jews. They felt themselves so superior to the Gentiles. The Lord Jesus was speaking the most powerful words of condemnation, so that they would be jolted from their arrogant stupor.

In v.32 we read, "The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here." The Ninevites had one rebellious prophet, one prophet with one miraculous experience and the whole city repents. They had none of the privileges, none of the advantages the Jews had. 

The Ninevites repented and God's judgment was prevented for 150 years, through three generations. The Jews rejected the Lord Jesus and the truth, and that generation was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman holocaust. The Jews had the living God in their midst, unmistakably proving He was God and they rejected Him. And so, at the judgment the Gentile Ninevites who believed stand as symbols of condemnation over a greater privileged Israel because they repented at the preaching of Jonah.  And, behold indeed, something greater than Jonah is here.  The Lord Jesus saying, "It's Me. It's My message, it's My kingdom."

The Jews of Jesus' day were wicked due to their self-righteousness. Their morality and religion blinded them.  And it all comes down to what we do with the Lord Jesus Christ. They were worse off than uncircumcised Ninevites and a pagan, Gentile woman from the end of the earth who had very little spiritual privilege but made the most of the little privilege they had. The Lord Jesus was giving them a merciful reminder of the coming judgment. It should have produced a heart that recognized its brokenness and a need of a savior, but it didn't.

Brokenness is unwanted because pain is required, the entertainment of pain. It is hard to peer long enough into the eyes of pain to see its purpose. But, when we do, it yields a wisdom that pushes us to the savior. And, it is then that we see Him for the loving God that He is. And, when we see His heart, we will recognize He is trustworthy and worthy to follow.

8/4/20

Luke 11:24-28


24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” 27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” ~ Luke 11:24-28

Spirituality is not the same as morality. Certainly morality is better than immorality, but morality is more dangerous than immorality. Our morality has a way of getting in the way of God's expression to and through us. There is serious danger in moral reformation without regeneration. Reformation without transformation puts us in a very dangerous position. The moral successfully clean up their lives on the outside, but neglect the heart. You see, the only way the heart is addressed is when we give it to Him. The only heart that we give Him is a broken heart. And, if it is not broken, arrogance has a way of showing up.

The Lord Jesus had just cast a demon out of a man and the Jewish religious leaders accused Him of casting the demon out by the power of Satan. In v.24 we read, "When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left." The demon passes through waterless places seeking rest. The Lord Jesus is speaking metaphorically for the barrenness of a demon floating around without an abode. And if the demon can't find any other place, it says, "I will return to the house I left." 

When the demon left, the man’s condition improved immediately, but the man did not invite God to come and dwell within. In other words, the man remained neutral. This is what happens in legalism. This is what happens when we try to be good, try to be moral, try to clean up our own lives by moral effort and religious activity. We temporarily see the dismissal of the demonic power that was so accommodated in our sinfulness, only to be put back in the box that it once lived. 

According to v.25, the demon finds the house from which he came, swept and neat. In Matthew 12:44 we read, "Found it swept and unoccupied." And therein, my friend, lies the problem of morality. The problem in the moral person's heart is it is unoccupied. The Spirit of God is not there to express the life of the Lord Jesus to and through him. 

Morality makes us double sons of hell. It is better to be immoral than moral without Christ. It is better to be irreligious than religious without Christ, because morality and religion are a seduction. Morality and religion give the deception of all is well with God when it is not. Morality and religion is a soul-numbing deception. When a person comes to believe in his own righteousness, he is not redeemable.

It was never the immoral people who blasphemed the Lord Jesus. It was always the moral ones. It was never the harlots, prostitutes, or tax collectors. It was the religious people. It was the self-righteous people. When we are religious, moral people we are confident in our own righteousness. We are utterly deceived into believing that we have been delivered from the powers of Satan because we live moral lives.  

So, in v.25, the demon comes back to find the whole place cleaned up but empty. And if the living God is not present in a heart, we have a disaster. There really is no more serious danger than the danger of morality. An attempt to clean up our lives without Christ is to be exposed to an even greater danger. There is no benefit in reformation without regeneration, and this is exactly what happened in this story.  

On the other hand, in v.27-28 we read, "27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

In this illustration, here is a woman who says in a beatitude, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." This was the highest compliment she could pay to anyone in that part of the world at that time. She is calling the Lord Jesus blessed. She is affirming that He is the Messiah. 

In v.28, "He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." The Lord Jesus is saying it is not enough to complement Me. Being with Him means we hear the Word of God and we do it. To be morally religious is to be against Him. The difference is the heart, a broken heart where His heart enters.

This is the difference that God makes when we turn to Him with our understood need of a savior. And, the "change" in our lives is often visible only to Him. His presence yields a different way of understanding Him, and His ways. When we first believed, an inner birth took place. 

This inner birth liberated and is liberating us not only from sin, but from our old way of viewing God. It is yielding intimacy with Him rather than morality or religion. This new found relationship with Him is yielding an ability to see Him with our inner being. It is yielding a faith that is characterized more by a passionate pursuit of Him more than just religious belief. And, the emphasis will be increasingly more of Him and less of us. 

8/3/20

Luke 11:17-23


17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. 22 But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.
23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”  Luke 11:17-23

Today, we continue in this discussion the Lord Jesus is having with the religious leaders of Israel. No one is a spiritual orphan. We are either a child of God, or a child of the devil. And it all depends on what we decide about Jesus Christ. If we believe in Him, then we are the children of God. If we do not believe in Him, we belong to Satan. That is the central theme of today's text. 

To this point, the Lord Jesus had been ministering for nearly three years, and it was made unmistakable that He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. The evidence is absolutely complete and sufficient, and now we begin to see the crystallizing of the people's decision. Like them, we are either with Him or against Him. We are either running to Him or we are running from Him.

Accusing the Lord Jesus of being of Satan, even though He had just delivered a deaf and mute man from a demon, these religious leaders were turning the crowd away from Him. And the Lord Jesus reminds them that blasphemy against Him lacks rationality. 

In v.17 we read, "Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall."  These unbelievers were saying He cast the demon out of the man by the power of Satan. They were saying the Lord Jesus is satanic. 

Then, in v.18 the Lord Jesus said, “If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul." He is saying, "If you are right, then Satan is in the self-destruct mode. If you are right then Satan has empowered Me to destroy his own kingdom, this is an absurdity."  

Their accusation was really an admission of His power, for He could not defeat Satan unless He were stronger than Satan. The Lord Jesus invaded Satan’s territory, and has led those who were in the captivity to Satan, free. Though Satan has been permitted limited authority, he is the defeated enemy. 

In v.19 we read, "Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges."  

Among the religious Jewish leaders there were some who had engaged themselves in exorcisms. And these Jewish exorcists were said, by the Rabbis, and it is recorded in their literature, to be doing the work of God. These religious leaders had taken an uncritical approach to their own exorcists. But the evidence spoke a different conclusion. 

So, the Lord Jesus says, "If I'm casting out demons by Satan, are you telling me your sons are casting them out by God's power?" The Jewish exorcists were ineffective in exorcising demons. The religious leaders lacked honesty and integrity. There is no way they could say that what the Lord Jesus was doing was by Satan and what the Jewish exorcists were doing was by God unless Satan was far more powerful than God.

In v.21, the strong man is Satan. The stronger man is the Lord Jesus. We must always remember, "Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world." 

According to v.22, "But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. " The Lord Jesus came to earth to undo the works of the Devil. When the Lord Jesus came, He, through His ministry, started binding Satan, the strong man. There are six accounts in the Gospels of the Lord Jesus casting demons out of people. Then, at the cross of the Lord Jesus and through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the work of defeating Satan was finished which will culminate at the end of the Millennium which is the thousand year reign of Christ on earth after the seven year Tribulation. 

The people were making up their minds. And, the Lord Jesus brings this encounter to its culmination in v.23. "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." The Lord Jesus, with such simple words, grasps such profound realities and makes them unmistakably clear to us. These Jews couldn't see what was obvious because they refused to do so. They were not convinced enough that the Lord Jesus was and is God.

Someone recently asked me, "How much faith does one need to be saved?" I responded, "God never brings attention to the amount, He always highlights the object. It is the object of our faith who saves us, not the amount." We are either running to Him or we are running from Him.

7/31/20

Luke 11:14-16


14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. ~ Luke 11:14-16

Everyone in this world falls into one of two categories, we are either with Christ or we are against Him. And our eternal destiny is determined by which of these two we follow. There is no third option. In the war between God and Satan, between good and evil, between light and darkness, between truth and lies there is no middle ground. Those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are in partnership with Satan whether they know it or not. It is not necessary to oppose Jesus Christ to be against Him. 

Our text for today begins in v.14 with "Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed
Yet again, the Lord Jesus performs the miraculous to free another man from the domain of Satan, all the while, providing His hearers with another piece of evidence of His deity.

The tragic reality is some in that crowd that day, according to v.15, concluded the Lord Jesus was from hell, not heaven. They concluded He was of Satan, not of God. They concluded He was a liar, He was not of the truth. They concluded, He's the source of death, not life, He's from the darkness, not the light. They concluded the exact opposite of the truth.  

They opposed the Lord Jesus because it suited their self-righteousness. This is why the nation rejected Him. They didn't just sort of stumble into this, they were led into it by their false leaders. And it wasn't just the scribes and the Pharisees that wanted Him dead. Eventually the whole crowd screamed, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!"  They had been sufficiently brainwashed over months and months and months, even over a couple of years to buy the party line against the Lord Jesus.

In v.14 we discover a man who was  accuse the Lord Jesus of doing this miracle by Satan's power. 

In v.15 we read, "By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons." This is an absurd statement. No rational person would assume that statement to be true. This response is different than what we saw in John 7:20 where the multitude said, "You have a demon." In the middle of some marveling, the religious leaders sow this lie. 

And yet, according to v.16, "Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven." These people didn't need more information. They had been given so many reasons to believe in the Lord Jesus. This wasn't about getting more information. All the evidence had been manifest. And this is where they end up. 

They didn't even use the word Satan, they used the word Beelzebul. That goes way back into the Old Testament. It was one of the names of the Philistine god Baal (2 Kings 1:1–3); it means “lord of flies.” The Jews often used this name when referring to Satan.

This is the third miracle of deliverance the Lord Jesus performed that elicited from His enemies the accusation that He was of Satan (Matthew 9:32–34; 12:22–37). Instead of rejoicing that God had sent a Redeemer, the religious leaders were rebelling against the truth of God’s Word and seeking to discredit Christ’s work and character. Imagine people being so blind that they could not distinguish the work of God from the work of Satan!
He offered them the same that He offers us: a personal relationship with the Father, wherein we experience Him. The abstracts, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control are important, but most important is knowing Him. Most people pursue the abstracts of God but it is really about pursuing Him and knowing Him. 

We, like these religious leaders, struggle with our doubts. And, if we are not friendly with the skeptic within, we will take the safe path of being our own god. This is what they did, they were not willing to embrace the Lord Jesus by honestly wrestling with their questions. A quote from Philip Yancey helps to clear the air at this point: “Faith means believing in advance what only makes sense in reverse.” 

So, we must entertain the skeptic within. We must wrestle with the scary questions. We must make it our habit of running to Him with our skepticism, worries, trials, troubles, and anxieties.  Have you got your running shoes on? What are you waiting on?

7/30/20

Luke 11:11-13


11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” ~ Luke 11:11-13

Today's text is the continued response of the Lord Jesus to His disciples who had asked Him earlier to teach them to pray. In teaching the disciples to pray, the Lord Jesus utilized a parable that included a promise which is: Fathers do good to their children. 

Whereas the Lord Jesus gave us an illustration in v.5-10 of how the Father in heaven responds to the request of a friend, in v.11 we read, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” Here, the Lord Jesus highlights the father heart of God. The principle that is underscored is: fathers care for and give good gifts to their children. 

Then, in v.12 we read, “Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” In biblical days, there were these yellow scorpions that resembled the color of an egg. These scorpions would curl up in a little ball and they looked like a small egg. The Lord Jesus is giving us another glimpse of the Father who is trustworthy.

According to v.13, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” 

God is a loving Father who gives the best gift to His children The best gift is the gift of the Holy Spirit who reveals to us God's Father heart and who guides us into all truth. We ask for comfort and the Father gives us the Comforter. We ask for help and the Father gave us the Helper. We ask for truth and the Father gave us the Truth teacher. You see, this is the generosity of God. We ask for the gift, He gives the giver. We ask for the effect, He gives the cause. We ask for the product, He gives the source. That is the generous heart of God revealed.  

Everything that has happened to us as believers is a product of the work of the Holy Spirit. We were given liberty from the law of sin by the Holy Spirit. We are able to walk in righteousness by the Holy Spirit. We are indwelt by and filled by the Holy Spirit. When the Lord Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit, He gave us everything. By His presence, by His power, by His grace we are permanently the possessors of everything we need in order to know the Father who loves us immeasurably. 

In today's text, the Lord Jesus argued from the lesser to the greater: if an earthly father gives what is best to his children, surely the Father in heaven will do even more. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us best in our walk with the Lord. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us into truth. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to us the Father!

This is what prayer is, it's the seeking of the Father, it's the deepening of our personal relationship with Him. Since we are on a never-ending ride on a runaway rollercoaster, it is imperative that we lean on the Holy Spirit in our relationship with the Father. It is as if this programmed rollercoaster called life speeds us through the abrupt corners of life. It jerks us over impossible summits. It propels us through incredible valleys. We find ourselves trapped in and we begin to lose perspective as we focus on the dangers that are all around us. The more we worry, the more helpless we feel. 

God knew that anxiety could do this to us. That’s why He gave us His resource of the Holy Spirit who heralds to us God, your Father can be trusted. He quietly and calmly calls out to us daily with these precious words: trust me. It’s the only way to hit the brakes and bring anxiety to a halt. Once halted, the director of this seemingly out of control ride is revealed to be none other than our Father who loves us beyond measure.

Luke 11:37-44

Click here for the Luke 11:37-44 PODCAST 37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and recl...