Luke: Kingdom Realities (Part 2) 07/29/18

Message: Series Title

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Kingdom realities’ pt.2                 Text: Luke 13:10-21

Introduction:

PP: APP dated Tuesday, July 31, 2018 page 5A

  • Want to move out of your home on a Sunday? Can’t do that in Garfield, NJ.
  • Want to dress in clothing of the opposite sex, curse in public or spit on the sidewalk? Stay out of Teaneck, NJ.
  • Want to release a balloon in memory of a loved one? The skies above New Milford aren’t the place to do it.

People are always trying to control behavior or make people conform to a specific lifestyle. IT’s true today and it was true in Jesus’ day.

PP: Next Slide

In our text today, the ruler of the synagogue will rebuke Jesus for breaking one of the 10 Commandments (Sabbath keeping). And Jesus will correct him by using the healing of a badly deformed woman to show that

  • what the Law, evidenced by the religious leaders, was unable to do (Free the woman from her bondage)
  • Grace, evidenced by Jesus’ compassionate healing touch, was able to do (make her free).

It was Jesus’ heart of compassion that we looked at last week, that extended grace to a helpless, hopeless and broken woman… and forever change her life.

 Background: A little background to get us caught up to what we’ll look at today.

  • The scene has changed. Jesus is now teaching for what will be His last time, in a synagogue.
  • He notices a woman who wanted to be left unnoticed because of the shame associated with her deformity.
  • Out of a heart of compassion, Jesus heals that broken woman and frees her from her disability.

We saw that the topic of Jesus’ teaching that day was the KoG. And we found that compassion and freedom are major characteristics of Kingdom life…

  • Not just the future aspect of the KoG,
  • but more to the point, the present reality of Kingdom living.

Today we’ll see Jesus continue to teach about life in the KoG.

  • He’ll make His point to the ruler of the synagogue about freedom from the bondage to the Law.
  • He’ll then turn His attention back to His disciples, to reassure them, that the KoG will be so much more than they can ever imagine.

 Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 13:14.

 

  1. Luke 13:10-17 KoG: Freedom
  2. Luke 13:10-13 Jesus heals

PP: B. Luke 13:14-17  Jesus rebukes

But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by Him.

First, notice that the ruler of the synagogue doesn’t directly rebuke Jesus, or even talk to the woman, but instead spinelessly addresses the crowd, no doubt hoping to gain their approval.

Here’s the point. The religious leaders were only concerned about doing good to others

  • When it was done their way.
  • When it was done by one of their own.
  • And when they could get credit for doing it.

Jesus, not wanting the people to be misled will show the people that the ruler of the synagogue and religious leaders,

  • care more for animals, beasts of burden,
  • then they do God’s people, whom God created in His own image.

But back to the text. The ruler of the synagogue says  There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and

not on the Sabbath day.

Do you see it? Not directly addressing the woman, the ruler says to her…

  • Look, if you wanted to be healed, you could have come any other day of the week;
  • But you shouldn’t have done it on my time, on the Sabbath, in my synagogue, where this is my show, where we do things my way.
  • And we don’t break God’s holy Law, ever!

Well that wasn’t exactly true.

Jesus revealed that the religious leaders taught that on the Sabbath it was OK to show compassion towards common animals.

Jesus, using the rabbinical method of teaching from the lesser to the greater showed that:

  • If it’s right to show compassion, to help a lowly animal on the Sabbath
  • Then it’s more right, to show compassion, to help one of God’s chosen and beloved people, on the Sabbath.

What seemed like common sense, was kin to blasphemy to the religious elite in the room.

Why couldn’t the ruler and the religious leaders present, rejoice along with this woman who had been freed from this horribly disfiguring disease for over 18 years?

  • Because Jesus revealed their cold, selfish, hardened hearts to the people
  • and the text says they were put to shame. They were disgraced.

And it’s not just revealing the sad state of their hearts that put them to shame. Jesus had repeatedly revealed that the religious system Israel’s leaders had made, didn’t come close to what God intended for His people.

  • They mandated a religion of pure works and no compassion.
  • And rather than help the people connect with God in a real and personal way,
  • they instead placed burdens on them, bound them w/o any hope of being free to worship God from the heart, as both the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel had said God wanted.

The text ends by saying and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by Him. When God moves, unless your heart is hard a stone, you’ll se it and it will move you.

Jesus isn’t done teaching on the KoG. Now, He turns His attention back to teaching the 12.

 PP: II. Luke 13:18-21  KoG: expansion

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches. And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

OK, these two are a couple of the most debated of Jesus’ Kingdom parables. Based on their personal theological framework:

  • One group sees the parables talking about sin in the church.
  • The other group sees them talking about the growth and influence of the KoG.

I’m not going into that because, well, I just don’t have the time and I don’t see the debate as reasonably valid.

  • When you stay within the context of our passage,
  • it’s obvious to me that the parables are an encouragement to the disciples (Jesus’ intended audience) about the near and distant future of the KoG.

Let me try to explain both by using a true story about someone called ‘The Red Paper Clip’ guy.

PP: Kyle Macdonald

  • Kyle MacDonald was stuck in a dead-end job and he was strapped for money. So he came up with an improbable plan: starting with one red paperclip, he would trade on the Internet until he exchanged it for a house.
  • First, he traded the red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen. Next, he traded the pen for a doorknob.
  • He traded the doorknob for a Coleman stove. He traded the Coleman stove for an electric generator. He traded the electric generator for a Budweiser sign and a keg of beer, which he then traded for a snowmobile.
  • Exactly one year and only 14 trades later, MacDonald finally reached his goal: he exchanged a part in a Hollywood movie for a home in Saskatchewan, Canada.
  • The true story of Kyle MacDonald is told in his book One Red Paperclip. Now apparently the book is being made into a movie. Fame, fortune, a book, a movie deal, and a home; it all began with one red paperclip.
  • Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? And yet Jesus teaches that the growth of the kingdom of God will be even more incredible. (Freddie Fritz)

This nobody guy had garnered enough items to trade that he eventually got a home to live in. And he used his growing influence to have a book and movie done about his life.

Back to the text… Remember CONTEXT…

Jesus is hammering one of the last nails in His own coffin, as far as, His relationship with the religious leaders and His welcome mat into the Israel’s synagogues is concerned.

Jesus’ disciples saw the writing on the wall. He had been aggressively confronting the religious leaders about their ethics, morality and even more personally, their lack of true spirituality.

  • The disciples looked around and only saw a hand full of guys who were truly committed to following Jesus.
  • Yes, we read about the 72 whom Jesus sent out to minister in His name, but they were only part-timers, so to speak.

I’m fairly certain the 12 were wondering how this ‘Jesus the Messiah’ thing was all going to work out, because it’s doesn’t feel like it’s starting out that well.

Jesus, knowing that He was soon going to be leaving them, knowing what was in their hearts and minds, tells these two parables to comfort and encourage them.

So, Jesus makes the connection between the healing on the sabbath to the parables of the mustard seed and leaven with the word, therefore.

What Jesus is saying is that

  • in the same way His healing on the Sabbath was a sign of the kingdom qualities of compassion and freedom,
  • so these two parables are about the growth and influence of the Kingdom.

So, what does Jesus say about the KoG?

PP: It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches. (Luke 13:18-19)

We’ve all perhaps been taught that the mustard seed is very small/tiny in fact. Yet, Jesus said, when put in the ground, it’ll grow into a large tree/bush that even the birds of the air will find rest, protection and nourishment.

Similarly, Jesus tells them another parable.

PP: And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

Leaven is like yeast that’s put in with flour and water to make bread rise… spread.

With these two parables it’s as if Jesus was telling His disciples,

  • Look, I know you think it’s just you guys.
  • I know I’ve been saying that I must go to Jerusalem and give my life.
  • I know you’re wondering how My kingdom will ever get off the ground with Me gone.
  • But, don’t worry. It won’t be just you guys.
  • It looks like My Kingdom is off to a slow start, but when I’m gone, it’ll gain momentum… it will grow, it will influence people to the ends of the earth.

Think about it. The Gospels (especially Luke) tell us that everywhere Jesus went He preached the KoG. Everywhere, all the time, He spoke about the Kingdom. He spoke of things pertaining to the Kingdom… that’s what He talked about.

  • Do you think with that much emphasis on the KoG, that Jesus would just let it fizzle out to nothing when He’s gone?
  • Do you think that with the constant display of the power of Almighty God throughout His ministry, that His kingdom, the present reality of His Kingdom, will be any less powerful and influential?

Consider this:

  • After Jesus ascended into heaven, in Acts 1 there were 120 followers of Jesus together.
  • After Peters sermon on Pentecost, there were over 3000.
  • Within forty years of the Resurrection, there were churches in every major city of the Roman Empire.
  • Within 250 years the Gospel spread throughout the entire Roman Empire.
  • Today the last remaining 6000 or so unreached people groups on earth are being prayed for, strategically chosen, and engaged with the Good News. (Gene Brooks)
  • In 1900 Korea had no Protestant churches. Today there are over 7000 in the city of Seoul alone.
  • In India 14 million of the 140 million untouchable caste have become Christians.
  • In China, even the most conservative estimates show that China will soon have more Christians than any other country in the world. (Dan Meyer)

Leaven, like yeast, once you put it into the dough,  you can’t reverse the process. It’ll do what it was intended to do… spread.

  • And so it is with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • By God’s grace and through His power, it will spread, and it is spreading even today.
  • And the most perplexing thing is that God has chosen to use us to help build His kingdom.

PP: And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14, ESV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8, ESV)

That’s the growth, that’s the influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, building the KoG. And as I see it, it’s the comfort and assurance Jesus wanted His disciples to understand and experience.

PP: Next Slide

 Conclusion: Allow me just a few brief moments to give you some takeaways from our text this morning.

From your small seed or tiny piece of leaven, something great can grow that glorifies God.

  • Don’t ever think that because you’re not as gifted or talented as another Christian, that because you are too old, or too young, too shy or too… whatever, that God can’t use you to bring glory to His name and help build His kingdom.
  • Don’t ever think that because as a church body, we’re small in number, that God isn’t using us to help build His kingdom here and around the world.

God calls us to use what we’ve been given to do the work He’s assigned to us. When we’re faithful in serving Him and others, the KoG advances.

  • So, are you being faithful with what God has given you? Are you using it to help build His kingdom?
  • And in the same way, as a church fellowship, are we being faithful with what God has given to us? Are we using it to help build His kingdom?

Finally, remember that Jesus Christ still has the same Kingdom power in His touch this morning!

  • If you’re lost, He still has to power to save you!
  • If you’re hurting, whether it be emotionally, spiritually, relationally, or physically, He still has the power to heal you.
  • If you’re bound by the many things that the world entices you with, He has the power to set you free!

Yes, the KoG IS a present reality AND we serve and are loved by our King, Jesus.