Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 5 Study # 5
Thesis: Jesus, as a disciple-maker, was discerningly committed to the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.
Introduction: Now that a few days have passed since the turning of the year, it may well be a good time to consider how this year will be spent. To be sure, unless we die unexpectedly, it will be spent somehow. And, just as surely, it will be spent within the context of the inescapable "competition of values " that attend all the days of our lives. Nothing is done that does not embrace the value of that which motivates it and, simultaneously, deny the value of that which would prohibit it.
Therefore, there is always going to be this question: Whence the value that drives? And, likewise, there is the next question also: Is the value that drives, valuable ? In the text before us this morning we are told that Jesus was faced with such a "values" issue. We are also told what His decision was.
January 7, 2007
- I. The "Situation".
- A. Jesus is in the wilderness, a place where the contrasts are remarkable.
- 1. No decision to go anywhere will be pursued easily.
- 2. When difficulty is all around, the question of the value of values is most important.
- B. He is approached by the "multitudes" (in contrast to the "multitude" in the opening verse of the next paragraph).
- C. He is suddenly saddled with a decision...
- 1. Does He succumb to the "pressure" of the lust of the multitudes?
- 2. Does He resolutely pursue His "calling"?
- II. The Significance of the Situation.
- A. At issue is, perhaps, the most highly contrasting issues of "value" in the universe.
- 1. Luke 16:15, in the midst of a highly contested "conflict of values", clearly declares that men and God are poles apart on what is valuable.
- 2. John 12:43 compared to John 5:44 reveals just how deadly this "conflict of values" is.
- 3. Galatians 1:10 flatly denies the discipleship of anyone who values the opinions of men.
- 4. The "minor" fact that a huge segment of our entire culture would collapse in ruins in an instant if the adulation of the crowds was to be removed from it proves how far from God we are.
- 5. And in the realm of the American "church" it is no accident that nickels and noses are the standards of success...we are no different than the Pharisees who despised Jesus because they were lovers of money and He would not let it pass.
- B. At issue is the "value" of "preaching the Kingdom of God" to the generation of vipers of the wilderness.
- 1. For the most part, such preaching is as futile as spitting into the wind as far as men are concerned.
- a. The reason for such an attitude is that not many men are willing to hear the truth.
- b. Even when the truth is attended by the most powerful of demonstrations of the good intentions of the Truth-teller, there is very little legitimate response.
- 2. The "problem" is that God has determined that "seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" is far more valuable than seeking material goods...even if it has the same kind of results that Noah's preaching had.
- III. Luke's Point for Theophilus.
- A. All revelation is an unveiling of God -- indicating what He is really like.
- B. God's fixation on what is valuable and worthy of pursuit is immutable: all judgment will be graceless.
- 1. Grace precedes judgment so that judgment can be beneficial.
- 2. But once judgment comes, grace takes a back seat to Truth.
- C. Men who refuse to be moved by revelation to adjust their pursuits will discover just how ashamed of them God is when He reveals their refusal to the public.
- 1. The major question this reality raises is this: Does God give to each person a sense of purpose, or is this reserved for "special" people who fit certain crucial circumstances in the development of the Kingdom?
- a. Clearly there are texts which indicate a "general" sense of purpose.
- 1) "Laying hold of that for which I was laid hold of..." -- Philippians 3:12-14.
- 2) "Laying aside every weight..." -- Hebrews 12:1-2.
- 3) "Run so as to obtain the prize..." -- 1Cor. 9:24; Philippians 3:14.
- 4) "As stewards of the manifold grace..." -- 1Pet. 4:10.
- b. Just as clearly, there are texts which indicate a certain "ease" in setting aside any "sense of purpose".
- 1) "I am rich and have need of nothing..." -- Revelation 3:17.
- 2) "Making shipwreck of the faith..." -- 1 Timothy 1:19.
- 2. The facts are these...
- a. Our present circumstances dictate a large majority of our "calling" in terms of the details.
- b. The issue is not our current responsibilities; it is the "baptizing" of our lusts into Jesus so that we justify what we want to do that has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God or His righteousness.
- 1) If a person "must", then a person "must".
- 2) But, if a person can refrain with no sense of "spiritual loss", the question then arises: Should I...??
- a) We are free to do as we choose with what is ours (Acts 5:4) even if what we choose is going to reduce our reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
- b) But what we choose to do will have a direct bearing on the outcome of that Judgment.
- D. But men who are willing to periodically evaluate their pursuits in the light of what God says is worth pursuing will discover how pleased God is with them when He reveals their willingness to adjust.