Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7
March 19, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<234> Thesis: The "Kingdom" is focused upon the legitimate pursuit of one's appointed tasks. Introduction: In our look at Luke's record of the questions that the penitents asked of John and the answers he gave, we saw that there is a fundamental characteristic of God's Kingdom that exists beneath all of the talk about "love" and "faith". God does love us, and justification is by faith apart from works, but justification by faith is a doctrine of methodology, not objectives, and God's love does not exclude eternal condemnation for those He loves. This means that we simply must understand at least some of the most fundamental issues that are involved. One of those is the fact that justification by faith, which allows the love of God to spare us from eternal death, is not a "bottom line" doctrine -- it is simply the only way the true "bottom line" can be achieved. John's instruction to those who embraced his doctrine of regeneration as a divine response to genuine repentance cannot, therefore, be used to attempt to unseat "justification by grace through faith". The only way his instruction can be taken is as instruction to the justified as the explanation of how the new life of regeneration can be lived. In this light, we saw in our study last week that the instruction to give food and clothing to fellow-members of the Kingdom who have none is simply the tip of the iceberg of the true character of the Kingdom of God. That instruction is not about creating a this-worldly, socio-economic system of communism or socialism in which all are provided for regardless of whether they live responsibly within the system or not. Rather, it is about creating both a sense of, and a practice of, the "system" of the Servant Kingdom in which every person makes a diligent effort to be a contributing part and is "taken care of" when their efforts have been stymied by things other than their own foolishness, laziness, or "fanginess". This, obviously, limits the practice of sharing with the needy who are so by their own wickedness. Enabling the wicked to practice their wickedness is not a "godly" activity. This is a complicated reality, and, certainly, one sermon on it is not going to address the complications very well, but one sermon can, at least, give us something to chew on. Now, this morning we are going to take a thoughtful look at John's instruction to the tax-collectors.