Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
Thesis: Life as a forgiven person requires a continuous input of omniscience-based Truth.
Introduction: We have spent a great deal of time looking into Luke's presentation of the ministry of John, the forerunner of the Christ. This morning we come to the final direct statement that Luke made regarding John. He said, in Luke 3:18, that John "preached the Gospel" to the people with "many other exhortations". As we attempt to follow Luke's train of thought this morning, I am impressed with his commitment to making sure that Theophilus understood just how critical regular exposure to the Truth is to every believer. This seems to be Luke's "final" point in his record concerning John. So, in some ways, our study this morning is going to take the form of a "reminder" to the people of God to not allow anything to come between them and God.
April 23, 2006
- I. "Many Things Indeed Therefore Also Other".
- A. Luke "stacked" words upon words in order to compel his readers to realize that what he had told them was just the tip of the iceberg.
- 1. We have argued all along that Luke had a deliberate intention of presenting to Theophilus the most important issues of the history of the Christ as the Second Adam.
- a. To tell us that John proclaimed "many other things" -- without telling us what they were -- is a clear indicator that he wanted his reader(s) to understand that there is a veritable gold mine beneath the innocuous-looking "bump" in the landscape that surrounds us. It has been my habit for a long time now to characterize the words of God as "doors to the infinity of Life" -- each statement being an invitation to enter into the infinity of the truths of Life and run around in it until we have been filled up so that we can handle our circumstances with skill.
- b. To tell us that John "indeed therefore also" proclaimed many other things -- without telling us what they were -- is an emphatic declaration that John spent his time pursuing the most fundamental issue of "ministry": the consistent, regular, unveiling of God's Truth in ways that made it possible for those who embraced the "big picture" to live with skill.
- 1) That "big picture" is absolutely crucial.
- 2) But so are the "details".
- 2. The stacking of the words makes us realize that Luke was telling Theophilus that he needed to get out his "pick and shovel" and start treating the Truth like it is the treasure it is.
- a. Inevitably, any time anyone is urged to roll up his sleeves and go into hard labor, there needs to be a justification for the summons.
- b. The Truth is the treasure it is because it is a double-sided door.
- 1) On one side of the door is a path that inexorably and incrementally leads to the most unmitigated disaster that man's mind can imagine.
- a) John referred to this disaster when he pointedly told his audience that the Christ was going to baptize some folks with an unquenchable fire.
- i. He was referring to Messiah's destruction of the "chaff" that came from the process of the harvest.
- ii. He was emphasizing the reality of finality that is the most resisted truth in all of human thinking. Men have deeply embraced the notion of their "freedom" and "power" and hate, more than any thing else, anything that holds them accountable...binding their "freedom" to consequences and limiting their "power" significantly.
- b) John's reference to this disaster makes one point that men dare not ignore or treat as insignificant: the unquenchable fire is no "bad joke", nor is it a "metaphor" to be dismissed.
- 2) On the other side of the door is a path that leads inexorably and incrementally to a glorious blessedness that Paul declared is so great that it has not even entered into the heart of man (1 Corinthians 2:9).
- a) The same apostle took everything that man can dish out in the evil of his venom and simply declared that no part of it, nor any accumulation of all of it, is worthy to be compared to the glory God has in mind for His children (Romans 8:18).
- b) The "path" consists of the "details" of "many other things".
- i. The "other" in this text is interesting: it typically means "other of a different kind".
- ii. The implication is that it is "one" kind of thing to grasp the single issue of "forgiveness" and the "redemption" of "regeneration" to which it leads; it is "another" kind of thing to discover on a daily basis how the Life we have unfolds according to the details of the Truth as we learn them.
- B. Luke was making one point: "Life" is tied to "God" Who has tied man's understanding of Him to man's involvement with His inspired Word.
- 1. There are those who, seeing the diligent labor that is required for progress along the path, simply ignore the fact that God has tied man's progress into His Life to His Word -- and attempt to obtain the Life by some other "spiritual" means.
- 2. There are also those who, being by nature "studious", seek to acquire the Life by means of the words without understanding that the words are "direct contact" with God. These are they who seek not a relationship by means of the words, but a standing in the eyes of men by means of the intellect.
- II. Exhortations in the Proclamation.
- A. Luke deliberately presented John's preaching as "gospelizing".
- 1. He did not mean, by this, that John kept on telling the "redeemed" how to be "forgiven" (one of the greatest travesties of our day).
- 2. He did mean, by this, that John kept the "good news" of the indescribable glory before the redeemed so that they might be encouraged to pursue the path.
- B. Luke also deliberately presented John's preaching as a "host" of "summonses".
- 1. The problems of man are extremely numerous because his "snakiness" is not "done away" by his redemption.
- 2. The complexity of life is enormous and men need a host of instructions to give them the skills they need to live wisely.
- 3. The inspired words of God are the foundation for "Life" and sufficient for it (2 Peter 1:3 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- III. Our Understanding.
- A. Since we have been made alive, we now have a capacity for choosing the Truth that we did not have as snakes.
- B. Since we have this capacity, it behooves us to "choose" to make the Word of God an integral part of the lives we live so that we may profit by it.
- 1. It is no accident that the greatest single complaint of the children of God is the complaint that they cannot find a place where the explanation of the words of God takes center stage...the adversary is no dummy.
- 2. It is a fact that has always been true that those who invest the most heavily are the ones who profit the most...those who sow few seeds gather a sparse harvest.