Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
Thesis: True loyalty arises from love alone.
Introduction: It is a huge mistake for men to play games with the issue of loyalty to God. In the matter of religion, "godliness" is a highly valued characteristic. But, as in all things in this fallen world of ours, this characteristic can be used as an enormous deception. Paul said of the wicked that some of them use religion as a way to pad their own pockets because they think "godliness" is a way to obtain what they want out of life (1 Timothy 6:5). He said that out of his own historical background wherein he, and his fellow Pharisees, used God to build their own reputations. He also said that that particular background had put him into the category of "the chief of sinners".
This morning we are going to begin our studies of Luke 6. Luke, himself, would not have made a chapter break at this point in his record, but we will at least partially yield to entrenched tradition by saying, as we continue our studies of the reasons for the rejection of Jesus by the religious leaders of the nation, that we are beginning studies in chapter 6.
In Luke 6 we come full circle in Luke's presentation. At the beginning of his record of the rejection of Jesus, he told us that religious Israel decried Jesus as a blasphemer for appropriating the prerogative of deity for announcing to all the forgiveness of sins based upon faith in Himself. Now, as we approach the end of this record of rejection, we find Luke telling us that Jesus not only claimed that none would be forgiven but by Him and all who trusted in Him would be forgiven, but He also claimed that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
This claim did something that men hate: it forced the issue of "finalized faith" to the surface. Men typically hate to be in the position of having to commit themselves with no backward looks. As long as men can make decisions that they can go back on at a later time when the pinch sets in, they do not mind being told things that influence their decisions. But, few men like the idea that they are actually being called upon to set their course in life with no allowance for looking back. 1 Kings 18:21 is a classic example. Luke 9:62 is another. But, let us be clear here: there is no actual situation in life where absolutism in decision making does not exist. At the root of all decisions is this question: Who is to be God here? And the identity of God is not a mutable issue. No one who flip-flops on the God issue is really flip-flopping; he is merely playing games with those who witness his life...saying one thing while practicing another. Therefore, as we begin our studies of Luke 6 we are being drawn into the issue of "finalized faith".
August 12, 2007
- I. The Sabbath Thing.
- A. Exodus 31:12-18.
- 1. There is no question of the importance of this "sign".
- a. It was a "loyalty" sign as to the identity of God.
- b. Violations of it were capital crimes.
- 2. It was no accident that the Pharisees were on top of the disciples for their behavior on the Sabbath.
- B. 2 Chronicles 36:11-21.
- 1. There is no question of the context being a litany of charges against the nation for its lack of "loyalty".
- 2. There is no question of the fact that the people's ambivalence regarding observance of the Sabbath provoked wrath from God without remedy (36:16).
- 3. And there is no question of the fact that "loyalty" is not an outward manifestation and profession; it is, rather, an attitude of the heart or it does not exist [Romans 2:28-29].
- C. Luke's record.
- 1. It was on a Sabbath that Jesus set forth His identity and calling in Nazareth (4:16).
- 2. It was on the Sabbaths that Jesus pressed His case (4:31) [teaching is the pressing of one's case].
- 3. It was on a Sabbath that Jesus led His disciples through some fields of grain.
- a. According to 4:16 it was His habit to go to and from the synagogue on the Sabbath.
- b. Our text does not directly tell us whether it was early or late, but "dinner" was "after church", so it is highly likely that the men were on their way to the synagogue for the services held therein.
- c. This means that the group was very likely on its way to worship and express their loyalty to God.
- d. The implications are profound: either Jesus and His disciples were genuinely loyal to God, or they were simply going through the motions because of ulterior motives.
- 4. On their way, the disciples "snacked" on the heads of grain that were growing along the path upon which they trod.
- a. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia does not name "corn" as a crop in Israel; the word means "grain".
- b. Though Matthew 12:1 tells us the disciples' reason for their behavior, Luke does not.
- c. Something had happened to the disciples that permitted their behavior on the way to worship God.
- 1) They knew the rules.
- 2) They also knew their own behavior.
- 3) The "something" that had happened is that they had been transformed from the "vipers" who lived in the tension of rejection to the "children of God" who lived in the freedom of absolute acceptance.
- II. The Pharisaical Attack.
- A. They made no distinction between God's words and their "interruptive" interpretations and applications.
- 1. This tells us a very fundamental truth about them: they saw themselves as infallible interpreters of the Word of God.
- a. There is a reason why men do this.
- b. Their reason has nothing to do with God or His intentions.
- 2. This tells us a very fundamental truth about their "T"heology: God is hostile to everyone who refuses to bow to their rules.
- a. The hostility of God is a well-known commodity.
- b. The foundations of His hostility are not as well known, being, as they are, multi-tiered.
- B. They acted out their own "viper" temperaments.
- 1. There is no indication that they wanted to know why the disciples were eating on their way to the synagogue.
- 2. The question is not a question; it is an accusation.
- III. The Point.
- A. There is a huge difference between being an ignorant child who needs training and a mature viper who strikes out to kill.
- B. There is a huge difference between worshipping God and worshipping one's self.
- C. Loyalty is of the heart, not traditional behavior.