Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3
Thesis: A "generation" has at least one of three main characteristics: a time frame identified by a specific "marker"; a people group identified in that time frame by a specific "characteristic"; and a "root cause" for the characteristic of the people in the time frame.
Introduction: As we have considered Luke's record of the need for a love-driven faith, we have seen that there is a fundamental issue involved besides the one that drives the "need": the bottom-line doctrine of John the Baptizer. "Need" has to do with the consequences that are coming. In John's "doctrine", those consequences are wrapped up in his "wrath to come" terminology (Luke 3:7). When we address the "bottom-line doctrine" in the light of this "need", we see that his most fundamental concept is "repentance". He said that if one would "repent" he would escape "the wrath to come". This is his make-or-break doctrine.
Because of the fact that this was his bottom line, Jesus had to either "correct" it, or "reinforce" it. He, therefore, made absolutely sure that the people knew that He was completely in John's doctrinal "camp" by compelling them to consider the facts about John and telling them that he was the prophesied forerunner of "the day of wrath".
But, just as it is today, so it was then: there were people who accepted the doctrine and there were people who rejected it. That raises a huge question: why do people remain in their jeopardy? I believe that the rest of Luke's record in chapter seven is designed to answer that question. In the first half, Luke revealed that the method of meeting the need is a faith that embraces the doctrine of escape through repentance. But, if people really can escape the wrath by faith, why don't they "repent" so that they may escape? In the last half of Luke's chapter seven he gives the answer: they are all "Patrick Henrys". They would rather die than be subject to the Love of God.
This morning we are going to begin our study of Luke's presentation of those in love with Death, slaves of their own sense of "liberty". They are called "the Pharisees and the lawyers" in 7:30, but Jesus called them "the men of this generation" in 7:31. This morning we are going to spend all of our time attempting to understand what it means to be a "man of this generation".
November 2, 2008
- I. At The Most Superficial Level: A Pharisee or Lawyer.
- A. Luke did not mean "Pharisee" or "Lawyer" per se.
- 1. In the biblical records there were, very occasionally, some whose vocation was 'Pharisee' or 'Lawyer' who did not reject Jesus.
- 2. The issue of these two groups was their absolute commitment to "status lust" and the way it plays out before God as the teaching that a man can determine his own destiny by the choices he makes and the actions he takes.
- a. The issue here is that of "man" insisting upon his "self-evident inalienable rights" and his belief in his own goodness.
- b. For such men there is no place for the abject humility of repentance.
- 1) The 'lawyers' practice was to stack up the responsibilities of others by way of the "words of God": Luke 11:46 and 52.
- 2) The 'pharisees' practice was to act like they actually fulfilled the precepts of those lawyers: Luke 11:44.
- B. Luke's meaning starts in the heart where the "loves" are found and flourish.
- II. At A More Basic Level: Those Who 'Reject the Counsel of God'.
- A. A person does not have to be a pharisee or lawyer by profession to have embraced their most basic commitments.
- B. The issue here is a man's rejection of a clear manifestation of the Truth of God in specific regard to His attitude toward man in his Sin.
- III. At the Most Fundamental Level: A Participant in a Particular 'Generation'.
- A. Jesus deliberately raised the question, not of what 'example' existed in the culture that would show what pharisees and lawyers were like, but of what 'example' existed that would show what "the men of this generation" were like.
- B. By this action Jesus put forth a most fundamental truth.
- 1. To understand this truth, we must understand what "this generation" means.
- 2. To do that there are several complexities we have to grasp.
- a. The first of these complexities is the fact that sometimes a "generation" is an "age" that is deliberately tied to a specific "marker".
- 1) In Matthew 12:41-42 Jesus shows us what He means by "generation": a people group that is tied to a specific anchor, be it person, thing, or event.
- 2) An un-anchored "generation" is unidentifiable because of the flux of people through time (living and dying in a constant stream).
- b. The second of these complexities is the fact that sometimes a "generation" is tied to a specific "characteristic".
- 1) In our text, there are "the men of this generation" who are clearly identified in contrast to "the people who hear and the tax collectors".
- 2) Jesus was obviously excluding those who had embraced John's doctrinal bottom line from His characterization of "the men of this generation".
- 3) In this context, the specific characteristic is given: they reject God's revealed intention.
- c. The third of these complexities is the fact that sometimes the choice of "generation" deliberately raises the "why" question that began our study.
- 1) The Greek language has a perfectly good word for an "age".
- 2) The Greek language has no difficulty "characterizing" people as in "the men of Nineveh" and "the Queen of the South".
- 3) The Greek language also ties "generation" to its most basic meaning: "those 'generated'".
- 4) There are only two kinds of "generating": man's generating of children by his own seed; and God's "re-generating" children by His own seed.
- C. By His terminology Jesus tied His "children in the market place" simile to John's basic message: snakes have to be re-generated if there is any hope of them escaping the wrath to come.
- D. By His terminology Jesus also loosened the "this generation" from its "age marker" so that His words apply to men in every age.
- 1. This is not "absolute" because Jesus referred to the ministry of John and of Himself: events which only occurred in one "generation" (as an "age" with a "marker").
- 2. But it is the introduction of a new "marker" per se: those born of Adam and not born of the Spirit.
- IV. Luke's Intention: To Explain the Cause of Unbelief in the Face of the Need.
- A. A snake immuntably values what snakes value: the nature drives the love.
- B. If there is to be any hope of a Kingdom of God that includes people, their love has to change and that requires a change of nature.