Luke: Ours is a message of peace-01/07/18

‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Ours is a message of peace’             Text: Luke 10:1-16

Introduction:   Advice columnist Ann Landers, before she died, received about 10,000 letters a month from people requesting advice. When asked what her most common question was, she answered that people seem to be afraid or worried about something.

  • They’re afraid of losing their health, they worry about their job, and they’re filled with concerns about their family.
  • People are wracked out about their neighbors or frustrated with their friends.
  • A great number of letters described broken relationships and family friction.

In short, people are looking for peace, but just can’t seem to find it. (adapted from Chuck Sligh)

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older. (ADAA.org)

Clinical Depression affects over 16 million Americans. Suicide as a result of depression is the 2nd leading cause of death in ages 15-44. (dbsalliance.org)

Anger. Includes road rage, something of which I am personally acquainted. 1 out of 5 people in the US have an anger management problem.  (Mindyouranger.com)

Divorce: The divorce rate in the US is just over 50%. Perhaps the most disturbing statistics come as a result of divorce. Children from broken homes account for

  • 70 % of those in those in juvenile detention.
  • 57 % of all prison inmates.
  • 63 % of teen suicides.
  • 71 % of teen pregnancies.
  • 90 % of homeless juveniles and runaways.
  • 71 % of high school dropouts.
  • 75 % of all drug users.
  • 85 % of behavioral disorders. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

We are increasingly becoming a culture of hurting, broken, desperate people who don’t know where to turn to find healing. Scripture names the cause of that truth in Isaiah 59:8 The way of peace they do not know…

  • You see that’s the key… God says there is a way to peace and it can be known.
  • And God’s peace… heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

And what we’ll see in our text this morning is 72 ordinary people who take God’s message of peace, to those who, the way of peace they do not know.

Luke 10:1-2  Sending out the 72

Read: Luke 10:1-2

As someone with a Master’s degree in social work, the first thing I see is that helping to build the Kingdom of God, is a grass roots effort. Grass roots refers to:

  • Using community members to contribute by taking responsibility and action for their community. (Wikipedia)

Even today with all that social media and technology offers, helping to build the Kingdom of God is still about one person telling another person about Jesus.

Notice we’re not told any of the 72’s names. Why? Because it indicates that they were ordinary people who loved Jesus but were not part of the 12 Apostles.

  • God uses people, ordinary people, often where they are, to help build his Kingdom.

The text tells us that the 72 were Jesus away team, preparing the people living in the towns Jesus planned to visit on His way to Jerusalem.

For the past couple of Sundays, we’ve been hearing, reading and singing about Jesus’ return. Christian, you are Jesus’ away team, tasked with preparing people in your town for His return.

I recognize that’s a HUGE undertaking. And I understand that you probably feel it’s too big for you. Jesus agrees.

  • First, that’s one reason He sent out the 72, in pairs.
  • Second, He told the 72 to pray for more laborers / workers / servants to help with the harvest, with building the Kingdom of God.

Christian, there’s still a great need for laborers to bring in the harvest. And most of them, most of us, don’t need to go outside our sphere of influence. But we do have to get out of our boat. Let me explain

ILL: Steven Cole tells the story of when  missionary Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man named Peter who rejected the gospel but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard, but no one made any effort to save him. Taylor sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. But no one on board joined Taylor in his frantic search.

Taylor saw a fishing boat nearby and yelled to them to help, but they wouldn’t do it without money. Finally, after bartering for every penny that Taylor had, the fishermen stopped their fishing and began to look for Peter. In less than a minute of dragging their net, they found him, but

it was too late. They were too busy fishing to care about saving a drowning man.

  • Jesus said: …The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

We may condemn the selfish indifference of the fishermen,

  • but are we too busy with our jobs, our families, our hobbies and other activities
  • to take the time to rescue those who are perishing without Christ?

We need to get out of the boat!

By telling the 72 to pray, Jesus reveals His heart for the hurting, for the lost:

  • One by telling them to pray.
  • And two by emphasizing His urgency when He told them to pray… earnestly.

Christian, our motivation to reach those in our sphere of influence with the good news of the kingdom; should be, must be, the very heart of Jesus.

Luke 10:3-4  Total dependence upon God

Read: Luke 10:3-4

Since Jesus basically told the 12 Apostles the same thing when He sent them out, I will only briefly address it here.  What Jesus is telling the 72 is this.

  • Each step on your journey the Father will be with you, the Father will provide, all, of your needs.
  • There will be those who will want to do you harm because of your message Don’t worry, the Father will protect you.
  • I don’t want you to take extra money or supplies, they will only distract and slow you down. Don’t worry, the Father will provide for your material needs.

The Jewish disciples would have known the Father as Jehovah Jireh: The Lord will Provide. Jesus was encouraging them, and us as we help to build the Kingdom of God;

  • To trust God, to depend completely on God to equip us and provide all that we need to do what He has called us to do.

Then Jesus tells them something rather odd, he says, Greet no one on the road. Isn’t that counter to taking the good news to the broken, hurting people in the towns? Not in this case.

  • Jesus called them to specifically go to the towns that He was going to visit on His way to Jerusalem.
  • Stopping to talk with everyone along the way would greatly slow down preparing the townspeople for Jesus arrival.

Luke 10:5-9  The message of peace

Read: Luke 10:5-9

It’s here in verses 5-9 that we get to the heart of the text. Because it’s here where we learn the message the 72 were to share with the broken and lost people in the cities. Let me sum it up.

  • The King, Jesus, is coming.
  • He’s bringing His kingdom with Him.
  • All those who choose to live in His kingdom will find peace with God and the peace of God.

How’s that for a message? People who are hurting, confused, depressed, lost, hopeless, broken… don’t know the way of peace, but you do… and because you do, they can too.

We often read some Bible passages too quickly and in doing so, we miss the fullness of what it says. This is one of those times. Jesus told the 72:

  • Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’

Remember, the 72 were going to the towns that Jesus was going to visit on His way to Jerusalem. When He arrived, He would do what He was doing in all the cities. Luke 4:18-19

  • The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Folks, that’s peace. Peace with God, and the peace of God… dramatically experienced in the lives of all those who repent and place their faith in Jesus.

In Isaiah 59:8 it says The way of peace they do not know… The 72 were preparing the broken and lost people in the towns, to discover that Jesus, is the way to peace!

And just how is this message of peace to be shared with the townspeople? By connecting with them in the normal, everyday routines of life.

  • In a home, over a meal.
  • Hanging out with people. Listening to their stories.
  • Caring about the tragedies in their lives.
  • Being involved in the things that they’re interested in.
  • Helping to heal their illnesses. That can be done in any number of ways: Offer to pray for their healing, take them some chicken soup or help with some of the errands they are unable to do because they’re sick.
  • Develop a relationship with them, one that has compassion, as its motivation.

Then, Jesus tells the 72, and by way of application, He tells us, to bring in to the conversation that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, you want them to know that:

  • The King, Jesus, is coming.
  • He is bringing His kingdom with Him.
  • All those who choose to live in His kingdom will find peace with God and the peace of God .
  • Entrance to His kingdom is by asking Jesus to forgive your sin and by asking Him to be your King, your Savior.

The Apostle James wrote …a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:18) Offering peace, living out peace in front of those who have no peace, brings a harvest (there’s that word again from our text) brings a harvest of righteousness, that’s salvation.

That’s why the Apostle Paul could write Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 10:10-16  Those who reject the message

Read: Luke 10:10-16

Christian, ours IS a message of peace! But, it’s sad that most people won’t see it that way. Most will reject Jesus’ offer of peace with God.

And for those who do… judgment, awaits them.

  • There’s no nice way to says it folks, but that judgment is the very real place called Hell.
  • A place where peace… will never be found.

That’s the truth of verses 10-16.

And Jesus wanted the 72 to understand that when people reject their message, it’s not that they’re rejecting them, they’re rejecting the King, Jesus,  and the Kingdom of peace He brings with Him.

Christian, we must warn people that rejecting Jesus’ offer of peace has consequences. That’s what Jesus meant when He told the 72 to say:

  • Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near. (Luke 10:11)

This is not said in anger or retaliation, but as a sincere and compassionate warning. The writer of the Book of Hebrews put it this way:

  • For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

(Hebrews 10:26–27)

Understand something. When Jesus spoke about judgment, He wasn’t speculating. He spoke with authority, because He, Himself, will be the judge.

 Conclusion:  Community is a theme that runs throughout the text even though the word is not used.

  • The idea of Jesus sending out His followers 2×2 is to show us that we help each other in the effort to build an authentic community of people working together to do God’s will.
  • When we live in a community where Christian relationships are demonstrated, we give people an opportunity to see, to feel, the life of the gospel, and not just hear it.

And of course, peace is a theme in our text, as it is in all of Scripture.

  • So let’s tell hurting, broken and lost people about the peace with God and the peace of God that knowing Jesus brings.
  • Let’s tell them how God will give rest for the weary and burdened people who come to Jesus.
  • Let’s tell people that Jesus, Himself, is our peace. And when we have Jesus in our lives, we will also have His peace.

Christian, there are broken, hurting, lost people all around us, and we have a message of peace!

  • Every time we extend grace to the broken and lost, we help build the kingdom of God.
  • Every time we show mercy to the broken and lost, we help build the kingdom of God.
  • Every time we display love/compassion to the broken and lost, we help build the kingdom of God.
  • Every time we do all of that… together, we help build the kingdom of God.

Christian, ours is a message of peace!