Sermon Series: ‘Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall…’ Text: Luke 8:16-21
Introduction: I read an article last week in the Bethel Seminary Alumni magazine titled,
- The Fade to Gray: Seeking Truth in a ‘Post-Truth’ World.
It was a response to the announcement by the Oxford Dictionary of their ‘Word of the Year.’
- So I went to the Oxford Dictionary website and read that each year they choose a word that had dominated the vocabulary and the mindset of our culture. In 2016 they chose as their ‘Word of the Year’ Post-truth.
They defined Post-truth as: relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant. (en.oxforddictionaries.com)
In other words,
- What people believe and feel has more influence on them in how they live than objective truth.
- So much so, that objective truth is no longer relevant or important to them.
Now, what does that say about our relationship to Jesus Christ, Who according to John 14:6 is The Way and the Truth and the Life?
And what does that say about our responsibility to teach the Truth, in a culture that views truth as unimportant and irrelevant?
- Should we just give up, resign ourselves to the knowledge that people no longer want to hear, nor will they believe the Truth of Jesus Christ?
- Do we then just circle the wagons of Christianity and keep our faith to ourselves, inside the walls of our church buildings?
Sadly, many Christians and churches have chosen one of two options:
- To concede to the worlds denial of absolute truth and make the Bible more ‘acceptable,’ more ‘accommodating,’ more ‘flexible’ by changing the Truth in Scripture, to make it and the church more appealing.
- Or, become inward focused and rather than reach out to the lost world around them with the Truth of Jesus Christ, they choose to just huddle up and talk about the way things used to be.
And folks, I hope you feel the same way I do…
- Neither of those choices are acceptable!
- Neither of those choices honor God!
- Neither of those choices will help build God’s kingdom.
This morning we’ll discover that the only acceptable choice, in a world that is ‘Post-truth’ is
- To be bearers of the light of Truth, reflecting Jesus Christ to all.
- And to proudly bear a family resemblance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 8:16. For it’s there I hope we’ll honestly and humbly ask the question: Mirror, mirror on the wall… Do you see Christ in me at all?
- Luke 8:16-18 Light bearing
Read: Luke 8:16-18
Allow me to take note of some of the details of the text, before we see how it all fits together.
First, let’s start with context.
- These verses follow Jesus’ parable of the sower. And are directly related to it. To rightly understand what Jesus is saying we need to read it in light of verses 4-15.
Second, light in Scripture is almost always associated with Truth, God’s Truth.
- Either it’s a reference to God’s Word.
- Or it’s a reference to Jesus, Who is Truth manifested in human form.
Third, verse 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Since the context is the parable of the sower, this verse must be read in light of the good news of the kingdom found in verse 10 that says: To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God.
OK, those are the details, let’s take a look at how it all fits together.
Jesus is telling His disciples and those who believed in Him and followed Him that He expects there to be fruit in the lives of those who are His by faith… we get that from verse 15.
In verses 16-18, He tells them another parable.
- Not only does the seed of God’s Word sown in good soil provide fruit:
- It’s fruit that everyone, everywhere, should see.
That’s why Jesus uses the illustration of a lamp, and the light it provides to places that are dark. Jesus doesn’t want His followers to think that He wants to keep the truths of the Kingdom to just a select few.
In other words it means our lives, how we live in a world of darkness, should reflect the truth of God’s Word that He has placed in our hearts and we have nourished
- If you remember from last Sunday, we nourish the soil of our heart; with regular worship, regular Bible study, regular prayer, regular fellowship and regular service.
Our lives should be a reflection of the light of God’s Truth
- to a world living in darkness,
- to a world that believes truth is no longer important or relevant to them.
Now, Jesus wasn’t revealing the Truth of His Kingdom so the disciples could feel good and keep it to themselves. He did it so those living in darkness could see and know the Truth (Jesus) and be set free,
- To take them out of the worlds darkness
- and in to the marvelous light of the Kingdom of God.
Then, in verse 18, Jesus says that God intends to plant many seeds of Truth in our hearts, all found in His Word. And as we nourish and care for the soil of our hearts, those seeds will take root and produce even more fruit.
Here’s what that looks like:
- The more faithful we are to regular worship, regular Bible study, regular prayer, regular fellowship and regular service,
- The more of the secrets of God Word will be revealed and the more of God’s Truth we will understand.
But, there’s a warning. Jesus says be careful how to listen to God’s Word.
- Fail to nourish the soil of your heart and not only will you not learn more of God’s Truth, what you knew will become lost, no longer important to you.
To make that clear:
- The relevance, the influence God’s Word has in your life, will fade,
- so that you’re like one who puts his lamp under a bushel or covers it up, so that the light is greatly dimmed.
Jesus wants His followers to be bearers of the light of His Truth, to a dark, Post-truth world, that no longer considers truth relevant or important.
- Luke 8:19-21 Family resemblance
Read: Luke 8:19-21
Most of you have seen my granddaughter Riley. Some of you have said that she has my eyes. What you’re saying is there’s a family resemblance, and I’m blessed that you noticed.
- But what I hope even more, is that when you look at me, you notice a family resemblance that links me to Jesus.
You see, Jesus tells us that when you’re a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ,
- people should notice a resemblance, a similarity in how you live
- and in what they read about Jesus and how He lived.
I don’t think Jesus, in this context, is saying that the spiritual family is more important than our biological family. His point is this:
- Those who are truly in His family, will bear His resemblance.
Look, we’re all born into a human family and as such
- we bear certain characteristics, certain qualities, some even physical, that connect us to our biological parents.
- Things that people can see, notice, recognize.
When we’re born again into God’s family,
- we too should bear certain characteristics, certain qualities, some even physical in how we live and act, that connect us to our Heavenly Father and to His Son, Jesus.
- Things that people can see, notice, recognize.
That’s exactly what happened to Jesus’ followers that Luke later tells us about in Acts 11:26 And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
It was the unbelievers in town that called the followers of Jesus who attended the church in Antioch, Christians. They saw Jesus, in His followers.
In Romans 8:29 the Apostle Paul tells us a very similar thing about those who are followers of Jesus Christ.
- For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…
Listen, that takes the idea of our family resemblance way back to the beginning, to before we were born. You see, it was always God’s plan
- that we would live like Jesus
- and look like Him to the world around us.
Just so no one makes any mistakes about who is part of God’ family, Jesus gets specific as to our family resemblance. …My mother and my brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.
Later, Jesus’ half-brother James will write this:
- But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:22-25)
Jesus is saying that key to a relationship with Him, key to all those who claim to be My follower, a Christian, is this:
- That you Obey My Word. All of My Word.
The Apostle John records Jesus saying this in John 14:21
- Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
To make His point even stronger Jesus in John 3:36 says: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Obedience, for the Christian, is not an option. And it’s perhaps the single most important trait that’s a part of our family resemblance to Jesus.
Conclusion: Yes, I believe we live in a Post-truth world. Everyone is doing that they thing is right in their own eyes:
- Because there is no one telling them it’s wrong anymore.
- Because there are few who are willing to live the kind of life that spreads the light of God’s Truth in the dark places around them.
So here’s the big picture, the flow of Luke 8:4-21:
- We hear God’s Word, seeds of His Truth have been planted in the soil of our hearts.
- We nourish the soil of our hearts, so the seeds of God’s truth can continue to produce fruit in our lives.
- Making us a light in the darkness to all those who are lost.
- And, as the seeds of God’s Truth are developing in the soil of our hearts,
- our obedience to those Truths, will reveal to a lost world, that we truly are part of God’s family.
One last illustration: One Sunday as they drove home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, there’s something about the preacher’s message this morning that I don’t understand.” The mother said, “Oh? What is it?” The little girl replied,
“Well, he said God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the whole world in His hand. Is that true?” The mother replied, “Yes, that’s true, Honey.” “Mommy, he also said God comes to live inside of us when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?”
Again, the mother assured the little girl that what the pastor had said was true. With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?” (Freddy Fritz)
I think we should regularly ask:
- Mirror, mirror on the wall, do you see Christ in me at all?