Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 7
Thesis: Jesus' second "Woe" is directed toward those who are willing to settle for the "comfort" of physical diversion.
Introduction: Last week we turned from Jesus' declarations of blessing to His pronouncements of "Woe". We saw that He deliberately followed a pattern of parallelism with the beatitudes and stated the antitheses to them. If the "poor" are "blessed", the "rich" are under a significant "woe". But, we attempted to accomplish two things last week. First, we attempted to make it as clear as we could that "blessing" and "woe" are "Kingdom of God/Heaven" truths -- the realization of their reality will not dawn with finality until this present situation under the dominion of evil has been completely reversed. To ignore this is to put eternity under time and to value the temporal above the eternal. The second thing we attempted was to show that material wealth has absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing to do with one's experience of the Life which God has to offer. Those who think it does are holding off the consolation which God has to offer and the day will come when their refusal to embrace God and His consolation will be permanently set as a final state of affairs...and then there will be no consolation of any kind forever. The so-called "rich" will be revealed to be eternally "poor".
This week we come to Jesus' second "Woe". This one has to do with those Jesus described as "having come to fullness now", and His pronouncement of "Woe" consists in His declaration that they will experience eternal "hunger". It is our goal to attempt to understand what it is about which Jesus is warning us.
November 11, 2007
- I. Another Metaphor.
- A. As with the "economic metaphor", Jesus sought to impart understanding by means of a "material realm" issue as it illumines a "Kingdom of God" issue.
- 1. In the "economic metaphor", Jesus used "wealth" and "poverty" to address the issue of whether, or not, a person would experience the "consolation of God".
- a. This metaphor is fundamentally a "tertiary mechanism" metaphor: it addresses the issue of "how", or "whence", the provision of the provision of the provision for Life comes.
- b. This metaphor posits alternative and oppositional "gods" as "means" to an "end".
- 1) "God" is the executor of the "power" necessary to obtain a given "end".
- a) The ultimate perversion of God's creation is rooted in the substitution of the creature for the Creator...using God to obtain a "greater" god.
- b) The ultimate perversion of prayer is the use of petition for the obtaining of some "thing" that will impart Life.
- 2) Jesus' declaration is that when material wealth is seen in any sense as the power to obtain the Life of God, the one so "believing" is doomed.
- 2. Now the next approach is a "gastronomic metaphor".
- a. This metaphor is fundamentally a "state of being" or "secondary mechanism" metaphor: it addresses a condition of "established contentment" [the verb is a "perfect, passive" indicating a present state of being that rests upon a past event] arising from gastronomic fullness.
- 1) In respect to the previous metaphor, this one sees "fullness" as a result of having enough money to buy all the food one wishes to eat.
- 2) By means of this metaphor, Jesus moves closer to His intention to reveal just what the primary mechanism of God's Life is.
- b. This metaphor posits alternative and oppositional states of being as secondary causes of the experience of the Life of God.
- 1) Being full of food produces opposite possibilities.
- a) If one is seeking "Life by performance", being full of food provides an abundance of energy to go and "do".
- b) If one is seeking "Life by insulation", being full of food provides enough anesthesia to go and "sleep".
- 2) In neither case is "Life" the real result: the real result is just getting one step closer to one's ability to put a greater "tool" into play.
- 3) Jesus' declaration is that when "fullness of food" is seen in any sense as the basis for the experience of the Life of God, the one so "believing" is doomed.
- II. Another Illustration.
- A. Obtaining the true Life of God is easily possible IF ...
- 1. God imparts His Life to His creatures in harmony with a very simple principle: He gives grace to the humble.
- 2. But God's creatures are subject to an enormous amount of deception; some of which is self-induced, and some of which is produced by others.
- B. The deceptions are many.
- 1. The most fundamental deceptions are two.
- a. There is a basic distortion of "grace" that takes initiative from God and puts it in the hands of the creature so that the creature is the one defining the character of ends and means [what is valuable and what is true?].
- b. There is a basic distortion of "humility" that, having already displaced God in the "definitions" issue, goes one step further and displaces God in the "evaluation" issue: man sits in judgment upon God as he evaluates God's actions by his definitions.
- 2. Then there are the deceptions Jesus addressed in the Beatitudes/Woes.
- a. Man says "wealth" is the answer to all things; God says "poverty" is a better tool.
- b. Man says "health" is the answer to all things; God says "hunger" is a better tool.
- III. The Point.
- A. Paul wrote of a group of people "whose god is their belly" (Philippians 3:19).
- B. He said of that group that their "end is destruction".
- C. Jesus said that those who link "eating" to the Life of God are those people.
- D. What has gotten lost in the shuffle is Jesus' example in the desert: His absolute refusal to tie His physical well-being to His spiritual well-being because He had already tied His spiritual well-being to righteousness.
- E. In a "wealthy" country where over 60% of the people have eaten more than they needed for a long enough time to have put their physical bodies in danger because of their lack of willingness to deal with the breakdown in their relationship with God, this "Woe" deserves more than a passing glance.
- 1. Gluttony is a sin.
- 2. But gluttony is not unforgiveable even though the consequences do not "go away" upon confession.