Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 5 Study # 4
Thesis: Having genuine discernment is absolutely essential to "Life", but obtaining it requires responding to God in humility.
Introduction: There is a word found in our text at the end of the two paragraphs which have been the focus of our most recent studies that functions as a kind of summation of the material in the paragraphs.
In the paragraph of Luke 7:24-29, Jesus compels His audience to come to grips with the ministry of John as the "more than a prophet/greatest born of a woman" who was, specifically, the one promised who would arrive on the scene before the coming of the Lord. At the end of this attempt by Jesus to force His hearers to begin to live on the basis of a legitimate rationality, we are told by Luke that "all those who heard, including the tax-gatherers, acknowledged God's justice." This is the NASB translators' choice of words for a single word in Luke's record.
In the paragraph of Luke 7:30-35, Jesus makes a big point of the main characteristic of "the men of this generation" and winds up what He was declaring by saying, "Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children." This is, again, the NASB translators' choice of words.'
But Luke used the same term in both cases, a word that is typically translated "justify". This morning I want to pursue Luke's "point". What was he trying to accomplish by the use of this "summation word"?
November 9, 2008
- I. A Look At "Justification".
- A. The word translated "acknowledged ... justice" and "is vindicated" is a word that typically describes a response by one person to a question about the legitimacy of another person's choices/actions.
- 1. This word is used regularly by Luke's mentor to address the most critical issue before any man: how God, as the Enforcer of Justice, has decided, or is going to decide, the future of any/every person who stands before Him as Judge.
- a. One of His decisions will be to declare the accused to be "righteous" so that any/all accusation(s) simply cannot "stick".
- 1) This is the significance of John's message and ministry: all who are "forgiven" find that God simply will not hold them accountable for their sins in any "judicial" sense.
- 2) If, when a person stands before God as Judge, it is discovered that the person has been "forgiven", God will declare the person "righteous" and court will be adjourned.
- b. The other of His decisions will be to hold the accused accountable for every action that he/she has taken that has resulted in "accusation".
- 1) This is the significance of Jesus' warning that men will give an account for "every idle word" that they have spoken in their lifetime.
- 2) If, when a person stands before God as Judge, the "account" given by the person accused does not stand up to the facts established by the court, God will declare the person "guilty as charged" and impose upon him/her whatever Justice requires.
- 2. That Paul/Luke used this word in this way on a regular basis means that we have to deal with this meaning when we run into it in the text.
- B. Luke's use of this word as a summation word at the end of each of these two paragraphs means the same thing.
- 1. At the end of Jesus' questions/declarations regarding John, Luke told us that the people who had accepted John's message and ministry "declared God's argument valid" in the court of their opinion.
- 2. At the end of Jesus' comparision of the men of this generation to children in the market place, Jesus told His audience that the children of wisdom "declare wisdom's argument to be valid" in the court of their opinion.
- a. This statement is crucial in this context.
- 1) The issue is "generation" as a "point of origin".
- 2) Jesus deliberately spoke of "the children" of wisdom; i.e., the "generation" of wisdom.
- 3) Jesus did not say "Yet/But wisdom is justified..."; He said "And".
- a) The point is this: Jesus did not introduce a 'contrast' between what the men of the "viper generation" said and what the children of wisdom say.
- b) What Jesus did is say "And every child of wisdom knows this."
- b. This statement also requires us to accept Jesus' method of insisting that we live on the basis of a legitimate rationality.
- II. A Look At What Every Child of Wisdom Knows and By Which He/She Must Live.
- A. Jesus' comparison of the "men of this generation" to children in the marketplace.
- 1. The description of the children "sitting and calling to one another".
- a. The issue is "complaint": you don't do what we want.
- b. The more crucial issue is "independence": you can't make me.
- c. The bottom line: each child does two things at once.
- 1) He/she attempts to get the "others" to "play the game his/her way".
- 2) He/she refuses to let the "others" determine how the play will proceed.
- 2. The application of the illustration to "the men of this generation".
- a. God sent "this generation" two "opposite" kinds of "living illustrations of wisdom".
- 1) One man lived out his calling down to the very food he ate.
- a) His calling was a summons to repentance; a "negative" issue in light of the issues of "self-indulgence".
- b) His calling was to "mirror" his "issue": one cannot be "self-indulgent".
- 2) The other man lived out His calling down to the very food He ate.
- a) His calling was a summons to "Life"; a "positive" issue in light of the issues of "viper-generation".
- b) His calling was to "mirror" His "issue": "Life" is extremely more preferable than the "Death" of not being a part of the "generation of wisdom".
- b. But these men who never grew up, did not "like" either of God's agents of summons.
- 1) They called the one who mirrored the dangers of self-indulgence a "demoniac".
- 2) They called the One Who mirrored "Life" as preferable to "Death" a "drunk glutton who hob-nobs with the wicked."
- 3. Jesus' point was that "the men of this generation" absolutely refuse to yield to "legitimate rationality" in favor of simply being able to dictate all of the terms of "life" all of the time.
- B. Jesus' comparison brought two issues to the light.
- 1. A person can be selfish, or reasonable, but not both.
- 2. A person cannot "Live" unless he/she is willing to be "reasonable".
- C. Jesus' declaration: everyone "generated" by wisdom knows and demonstrates this truth.