Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5
Thesis: Jesus was campaigning for our ultimate love.
Introduction: In our extended studies of the "authority" issue we have seen that Luke considered this a very fundamental problem area for all who would "live". There are multiple "problems". Perhaps the two greatest of them are the fear-driven lack of love that causes men to pull back from obedience, and the qualifications-driven lack of faith that enables them to "justify" their pull-back. How many times have we witnessed someone who claims to love God deliberately refuse to obey His Word simply because of "vested interests" ("love-substitutes"), and then turn around and "explain" their lack of love with words that boil down to one basic reality: the use of "facts" to "qualify" the meaning of God's Word so that it does not "mean" what is being refused? These seem to be the real issues when "authority" is on the table.
In Luke's record of the recognition of Jesus' "authority" by the people, there is a presentation of two facts that address these twin issues. On the one hand, the text tells us that the demon did not hurt the man when he came out. On the other hand, the text tells us that a "report" about Jesus began to circulate in the entire region. What is the point? I believe these are two "seeds" that we need to allow to be planted deeply in our hearts. This morning I want to pursue the nature of these two seeds.
November 19, 2006
- I. Luke's Record of the Demon's Restraint.
- A. Luke deliberately records the demon's response to Jesus' authority.
- 1. This is fundamental to his "picture" of Jesus as our Kinsman-Redeemer.
- a. In order for redemption to have any finally good impact, the Redeemer must be able to absolutely dominate the circumstances of the redeemed.
- 1) Of what value is a redemption that allows its objects to end up in Gehenna?
- 2) What must be in place if Gehenna is going to be absolutely banished from our future? [An authority that is greater than that of the forces of Gehenna.]
- b. In the final analysis, the Kinsman-Redeemer must have absolute, and final, authority over the spiritual forces of wickedness whence the rebellion and Gehenna ultimately derive. [Paul claimed that our struggle is against those forces.]
- c. Redemption is of little value without a qualified and competent Redeemer.
- 1) Jesus' response to His "temptation" proves His "qualifications".
- 2) Jesus' ability to effectively command demons proves His "competency".
- 2. The record, however, has two parts.
- a. On the one hand, the demon is reported to have "thrown the man into their midst".
- 1) The word is used in contexts wherein the "throwers" are often desperate to get rid of the thing thrown -- Judas in Matthew 27:5 as he throws the silver in the temple, and the sailors in Acts 27:19 and 29 as they throw tackling and anchors into the sea.
- 2) But it is also used in a couple of places wherein the "throwers" are revealing their disgust with the thing thrown -- as in Luke 17:2 where particularly offensive people are thrown into the sea with a millstone around their necks.
- 3) The point here is that the demon knows he cannot disobey Jesus' demand, but he is not above doing as much as he can as he rebelliously obeys.
- a) This means, on the one hand, that the demon would have flatly disobeyed if he could have.
- b) But it also, on the other hand, means that Jesus' authority (not the demon's) is the point and that that authority -- in the between-times [Jesus was not ready to destroy the demons] -- does not protect us absolutely.
- b. On the other hand, however, Luke deliberately tells us that the demon did not "hurt" the man.
- 1) It was not Luke's "point" that the demon did not want to hurt him.
- 2) It was Luke's "point" that the demon was restrained by Jesus' authority from being able to hurt him.
- B. Luke was making a huge point -- he was providing us with a significant "seed" to nurture in our hearts.
- 1. The kingdom of darkness is malevolent: it actively seeks our destruction.
- 2. The King of the Light is the opposite: He actively seeks our redemption.
- 3. But, during the interim, certain "hurts" will be allowed.
- a. The "absence" of hurt in our record is not absolute, but it is insignificant.
- b. Our problem is that we have an over-magnified sense of "hurt" that disallows us to be "hurt at all" without it throwing our "fears" into high gear.
- 1) All of us have witnessed the child (or adult) who screams bloody murder at the sight of a little blood even though the "hurt" is of no significant consequence.
- 2) All of us have also marvelled at Paul's determined declaration that our "light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us an eternal weight of glory that is beyond all comparison."
- a. The things he called "light afflictions" were pretty "heavy" to the "weanies".
- b. But the larger picture is of pains that cannot compare to the final joy of our redemption.
- C. This addresses the legitimacy of our confidence in His love so that our love can be sufficient to the loyalty task.
- II. Luke's Record of the "Report" That Went Out.
- A. Clearly, a "report" will not normally be sufficient for the kind of faith required to respond with love.
- 1. In Matthew 16:17 Jesus discounted vague "reports" as having any ability to generate the kind of faith that is necessary to carry the weight of our lives...indeed, He discounted even a heavy exposure to the facts.
- 2. But in Mark 4 He clearly indicated that the "Word" of God could break out in 100-fold fruitfulness.
- B. But a "report" does, at least, get the ball rolling.
- 1. There has to be a beginning point for the development of the kind of faith that can handle our circumstances without compromise and foolish "explanations".
- 2. For Luke, in 4:14, 4:37, and 7:17, the issue of a "report" is important, but its value consists only in the "seed-likeness"...it is a beginning point.
- C. This addresses the necessity of a "faith" that is not looking for excuses for disobedience.
- 1. The "situation" in Jasper when the entire future of the church was threatened.
- 2. NO "qualifications" that arise out of fear of losses are to be permitted.
- III. Luke's Interest in Our Lives.
- A. Luke was a seasoned "warrior" and a witness to Paul's example of the living faith.
- B. He wrote from the perspective of final reality.
- C. His interest was "Theophilus".