We Have Some Hard Work To Do

In light of the failure of Georgia’s Governor to uphold the “Religious Liberty” bill I believe its necessary to have folks begin to dig out the real challenges surrounding this issue.

This is is NO WAY a slam against anyone wrestling with or completely at peace with their same sex sexual orientation. I have great compassion for those who struggle with it. I have a desire to love rightly those who are convinced their same sex attraction is normal and should be given in to. I don’t hate anyone. I want to love everyone rightly.

The desire to love folks does not in any way mean that I or anyone should cave on our deeply held convictions on what is true and what is not.

If one simply evaluates this issue based on the language of the culture surrounding same sex issues, the conclusion is that this is a civil rights issue, and this gets to the core of my problem with it all. No doubt, there are residual issues that are bothersome and deserve attention, but the core of my frustration is the unquestioned assumption that sexual orientation and race are equal issues. Really? A failure to protect religious organizations including Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians from legal action for not performing weddings or granting the use of their facilities to same sex functions CANNOT EVER BE EQUATED with the sinful failure of white establishment to grant equal access to equal humans due to skin color. We have to be prepared to make a compelling argument here.

It is simply assumed now that gay equals black.

As a white man, I can’t pitch a fit about this like I want to. I have no authority or experience in personal and systematic oppression of white privilege.  Having a black son, I have learned some hard lessons and had my rose colored glasses ripped off my noggin regarding how black men and women and children have to function and the classy way they handle such trash. I’m not that classy. I want to fight, and have had to be restrained a couple of times. But I digress.

This is wrong on so many levels (equating same sex issues to race), but I’m a white man and I’m offended for my black brothers in the faith. I’m not sure why there is not a systematic outcry against the equating sexual orientation to race. I don’t need to go into it all right now, but folks need to be offended on this one. I know Voddie Baucham has shouted this from the roof top with great thought and articulation, but not many others have that I’m aware of, and I may be wrong. I had the honor of sharing dinner with Voddie as he spoke at an even we were holding and hearing him articulate this position some 6 years ago. All he said has come to fruition.

I’m going to post two videos. The first one you are going to have to work to finish it. It’s not “embedable” so you’ll need to click the link to go to the website. If it doesn’t work properly, just let me know and I’ll try to repost. You won’t agree with it. See if you can pick out the problems and presuppositions. Don’t condemn, just critique the argument. The second video, you will agree with. It is posted in the blog post and you can watch it from the post. You can search on YouTube for more from Voddie. There are longer and more detailed talks. He has done his homework, and as a black man, he can speak with authority on the issue. Note how our culture has already assumed sexual orientation and race are equal issues and anyone disagreeing is placed into the category of 1960’s racist. This is not good.

Dear Christian, we have much work to do to be truthful and winsome here. We can’t be jerks and we can’t capitulate. Some things we can hyperbolize and use sarcasm to address. I’m not sure we can do that with this issue. We must love and welcome and hold forth truth in a genial, winsome and approachable way. But lets go to work on thinking deeply, evaluating well and speaking informed about what lies before us.

May the Spirit teach and empower his people in his Kingdom for the glory of Jesus, the rescue of sinners and our joy in him.

https://s.embed.live.huffingtonpost.com/HPLEmbedPlayer/?segmentId=510a8c422b8c2a138f000395&autoPlay=false

Luke 24 Worship the Risen Jesus

Luke 24 Worship the Risen Jesus

Resurrection Sunday, 2016

NOTE: SUNDAY POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE USED ALONG WITH THE SERMON. THEY ARE NOT FULL THOUGHTS WITH IDEAS WORKED OUT. YOU CAN LISTEN AS YOU READ ALONG AT http://www.threeriversc.org/#/sermon-audio

Remember Luke’s Purpose!

Luke 1:1-4

Everything in Luke is researched eyewitness accounts. Including Luke 24.

Luke gives us three accounts of Jesus’ resurrection to validate the assertion that Jesus is alive.

1. The Women

2. The Two Disciples

3. The Group

Observations of Luke’s Three Accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection

The Women

1. Luke is more concerned with facts than cultural presuppositions about what is trustworthy testimony v. 10

The women are the first to bear witness to the empty tomb. For whatever reason, women were not considered worthy testimony.

Even the apostles don’t believe their testimony (see verse 11).

2. The angels command the women to remember the Lord’s teaching for their own benefit and fulfill their purpose to serve on behalf of those who inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14) v. 5-8

We now don’t need angels to remind us of Jesus’ words. We have the Holy Spirit whose job it is to remind us, guide us into truth and show us Jesus.

Holy Spirit had not been given yet to indwell, so the King sends some angels.

3. Great hope is beginning to dawn v. 12

Peter’s marveling is a shift in the account. The fog of devastation is lifting and hope is beginning to cut through.

The Two Disciples

1. These two disciples are probably the Cleopas and Mary of John 19:25

“…but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

That would make this uncle Cleopas and aunt Mary.

2. This is no chance encounter v. 13-24

Their conversation happened to be about Jesus. v. 14

Jesus draws near to walk with them. v. 15

Jesus keeps them from recognizing him. v. 16

Their confusion and doubt. v. 17-24

3. A gentle rebuke and a treasure trove of instruction v. 25-27

“…slow to believe ALL that the prophets have spoken!”

It’s easy to believe the Messiah passages that talk about Jesus’ rule. It’s harder to incorporate those passages about the Messiah’s suffering.

Oh to be a fly buzzing along old Cleopas’ stinky feet on this day!

One would get to hear the greatest teacher ever interpret (where we get the work hermeneutics from, the science of interpretation) in ALL the Scriptures the things about himself!

4. A little test of desire v. 28-29

Would they still want Jesus after they understood all the hard passages?

5. Jesus opens their eyes and their joy is full v. 30-35

The Whole Group

1. The revelation of resurrected glory v. 36-49

This is 1 Corinthians 15, new heavens and new earth, no sin, no brokenness, resurrected amazingness right here.

Jesus appears. Jesus eats. Jesus is physical. Jesus is spiritual. Jesus is in the state that we will be in.

Philippians 3:20-21

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

2. “I cannot believe it” kind of joy

This is the 1991 NLCS Francisco Cabrera singles and Sid Bream scores from second in the bottom of the 9th kind of “I cannot believe it” kind of joy.

You saw it. You witnessed it. But is was so unlike what you knew and so unbelievable that the reaction is “I can’t believe it”.

Not in disbelief but in disbelieving exuberant joy! The joy is so intense it’s hard to believe.

3. Jesus instruction on how to read and interpret the whole Old Testament v. 44-47

Interpretation

1. Jesus is alive!

2. Jesus makes himself known to his people on purpose

3. Jesus still teaches his people

4. In Jesus Christ there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore Psalm 16:11

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Application

1. Worship!

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

Journey to the Resurrection: The Triumphal Entr

Luke 19:28-44

Journey to the Resurrection: The Triumphal Entry

NOTE: SUNDAY POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE USED ALONG WITH THE SERMON. THEY ARE NOT FULL THOUGHTS WITH IDEAS WORKED OUT. YOU CAN LISTEN AS YOU READ ALONG AT http://www.threeriversc.org/#/sermon-audio

Our passage for this Palm Sunday is not a “go do these 5 things now” kind of text. It’s a kind of “come and see glory” kind of text.

We Don’t Forget Luke’s Purpose

Luke 1:1-4

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

Tempering Parable 

Jesus told a parable immediately preceding our passage for today for the purpose of tempering the Messianic expectations that had reached a feverish pitch.

The people wanted immediate rescue from the Romans and a King that would instantly vanquish Caesar and particularly Pilate.

Already not yet. There is so much of the kingdom is those three words. Jesus’ Kingdom was already present but not yet at it’s full revelation and wouldn’t be in the near days.

“Jesus’ parable countered their expectations with an allegory of his own life that spoke of his incarnation, his investment in his followers, his rejections by his enemies, his coronation as King (through his death, resurrection, ascension and advance to the nations), and finally his return to judge the world.”

Verse 11 – The purpose of the parable

Verse 12 – The incarnation

Verse 13 – Investment in his followers

verse 14 – Rejection by his enemies

Verse 15 – Coronation as King

Verse 15b – 16 – Judgment

See Jesus’ Mission-centric Preparation v. 29-34

http://newhistories.group.shef.ac.uk/wordpress/wordpress/africa’s-napoleon-the-coronation-of-jean-bedel-bokassa/

Here is a link you can follow to read about Bokassa I and his 22 million dollar coronation in the Central African Republic. Dignitaries, the display of his favorite of his 9 wives in her $73,000 gown and much more are on opulent display at a wicked man’s overpriced coronation.

This was in 1977. His coronation was ¼ of the entire nation’s budget.

Thankfully, his reign ended in 1979 after he had inflicted his cruelty on many, a French special forces group came as the hands of a successful coup.

This is an example of opulence without purpose that nations bestow on their leaders.

Not so with the King of the universe. Big contrast!

Jesus’ coronation of death, burial and resurrection will come at his own expense on a Roman cross, and be effective for an entire kingdom of sons and daughters to be priests to God who are justified, counted sanctified and glorified in one fell swoop.

Jesus is on a mission!

Jesus is executing the plan determined in eternity past to receive a people to himself from the Father v. 29-34 (Titus 1:1-3)

Why a donkey? Jesus is on mission, on point, executing the plan.

1. Zechariah’s prophecy (Jesus still executing the plan) Zechariah 9:9; cf. Matthew 21:4-5

2. The donkey identified Jesus with the kings in the royal line of David, especially with David himself

A donkey was regarded as a royal animal before and during David’s reign. After David’s reign, Hebrew kings switched to horses and the donkey was considered unsuited to the dignity of kings.

Father, Son and Spirit made the covenant with David (2 Samuel 7) that one from his line would rule over his people forever.

The gospels go to great lengths to give you the genealogies that connect Jesus to David.

David served as prophet, priest (Psalm 110:1-7; 1 Samuel 23:9), and king.

Prophet – speaks God’s words rightly

Priest – represents God to man rightly and man to God rightly

King – rules God’s people well under the laws and values of God

Jesus, fulfills and actively fills the roles of prophet, priest and king.

Prophet – Jesus spoke and continues to speak the living word to us through Holy Spirit (Matt. 5:22; et al.)

Priest – Jesus offered sacrifice for our sin, continually brings us near to Father, continually prays for us (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34)

King – Jesus continually rules his people well.

Jesus is letting people with eyes to see and ears to hear know that he is that promised King from David’s line.

3. The use of a donkey speaks to Jesus’ humility and the way of his kingdom Philippians 2:5-6

During a time in which kings rode horses, Jesus distances himself from the pomp of human installed kings and fallen humanity’s idea of leadership.

Humble service is of greater value than book trained leadership.

Humble obedience to Jesus’ leading is proper leadership.

Jesus is not showing up and expecting people to do what he says. Jesus is modeling the way of his kingdom in making good decisions and going first.

4. Everything works out just like Jesus said v. 33-34

Jesus Makes a Statement in the Triumphal Entry v. 35-40

1.The People spreading their cloaks on the road in reverence and submission v. 36

This displays reverence and a willingness for Jesus to take everything they had.

2. Jesus is adored as the king of Psalm 118 v. 38

Psalm 118:26  is a line from the Hallel Psalms that were chanted at the end of the Passover Supper and at the Feast of Tabernacles. This particular line would be modified over time and used as a greeting as they met one another headed to the temple.

It is, however, a beatitude addressed to the king as he approached the temple rightly used in it’s context.

The implicit kingly reference became explicit in this triumphal entry as they crowd modified it again and shouted verse 38, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The people added “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” This reminds us of chapter 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

Whether the crowed realized it or not, Father and Spirit were bringing praise to the Son through the lips of all whether they would betray him or follow him because their Creator and the Creator of the universe was present among them!

Lest you think this impossible that God can bring praise and truth from people regardless of their disposition, just look at John 11:50-52.

Father can bring truth and right from mouths that are wrong and unwitting. He spoke through a false prophet, Balaam. He spoke through Balaam’s donkey. He spoke through Caiaphas.

Father is bringing praise to the Son for his work about to be accomplished in Jerusalem at the cross.

3. Jesus is praised as the deliverer John 12:13

“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

The palm had been the symbol of the second Maccabean revolt. The Maccabean’s delivered the returned exiles from the clutches of Antiochus and other post-Alexander fiends before the Romans took over.

“Hosanna” was an anticipatory cry that literally means “save” or “save us”.

The people correctly viewed Jesus as their deliverer. But not in the way they thought.

The people wanted to be out from under Rome. Jesus came to deliver them from an much darker oppressor, the curse of sin. 

Isn’t that just like us now? We think our greatest problem is what is in or might be in the White House when in fact our greatest enemy is not our President but rather our own rebellion against the King and his Kingdom. 

4. The Pharisees understood what was being communicated and Jesus didn’t deny it but rather encouraged it v. 39-40 

“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”

Whether their motive was fear of the Romans seeking to crush a perceived coup or the belief that the praise of Jesus was misplaced, we don’t know.

What we do know is that Jesus took this ordained moment to make himself known again to the masses that they may know. 

“I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

The anticipated moment spoken of in Genesis 3:15 was upon creation. All of heaven stands in awe as their Creator humbly and victoriously and resolutely strides toward the cross and if image bearing lips had of been silent, Father would have made the rocks give notice of what was taking place. 

What is the statement? The curse was about to be broken, salvation made available for saints of the past, present and future and a kingdom won through obedient sacrifice not rebellious brute force as the eternal Son of God would personally break the curse and make a way for guilty rebels to be reconciled back. 

This week we stand in the death of Christ anticipating the resurrection of Christ.

Praise

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

Luke 15 Journey to the Resurrection: The Seeking Father

Luke 15

Journey to the Resurrection: The Seeking Father

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus came, as the eternal Son of God, according to the covenant of redemption made in the Godhead (Titus 1:1-3) before creation, to come and redeem a people from the curse that was to be come due to rebellion.

Luke 15:1-3 “So he told them this parable:”

“So” indicates the purpose of the following stories. Jesus is teaching, through story, to correct the theological and therefore practical error of grumbling against him attracting and receiving sinners.

“Them” indicates the audience of the stories, the Pharisees and scribes who are grumbling against Jesus receiving sinners.

“Parable” indicates, in the singular, that the following stories contained in verses 4-32 are one parable told in three stories to emphasize certain aspects in different ways through repetition.

So, the parable is addressing the error made by the Pharisees and scribes by showing us what the Father is doing.

The Big Idea: Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Why?

1. The fall, and subsequently the curse, have ravaged all of humanity and creation.

2. Image bearers are alienated and at war with God.

3. Father has given the Son a kingdom of people from all nations (Genesis 11-12:1-3).

The gospel of John gives us a glimpse into this Inter-Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Spirit.

Let’s highlight the portion of that glimpse that focuses on Father giving the Son a kingdom of people.

John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Present/Active/Indicative – Those presently coming to Jesus in faith in spite of the hard teaching are from the Father as opposed to those who only wanted to come to Jesus because he fed them and turned the water into wine.

John 17:6, 9, 20 – 24 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.”

Present/Active/Indicative – Jesus has been obedient in giving the word to those given in his earthly ministry.

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”

Perfect/Active/Indicative – Jesus prays for those the Father has given him using the tense that indicates their security in him as being fixed.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

Perfect/Active/Indicative – Jesus desires that all the people given to him in eternity past, whose status is securely fixed in Christ, would see him as he is, in his full glory. (By the way, this is why you are secure and your completion in Christ is fixed and will be completed…Philippians 1:6)

THEREFORE Luke 19:10 tells us that Jesus came to seek and save those the Father has given him who have been lost and ravaged by the fall and subsequent curse by going to he cross, dying in their place for their sin and rising from the grave to secure the completion of their effectual calling, repentance and faith and persevering grace until all from all nations have heard and come.

THIS is precisely what the Pharisees and scribes are protesting! Jesus receiving the ones Father has given from the fall who they didn’t want to see come in…tax collectors and “sinners”.

By the way, the grumbling brother at the end of the 3rd story is the Pharisees and scribes.

So, Jesus tells a parable to drive home a mighty theological truth: Jesus is seeking out the lost because Father is seeking out his lost. John 5:19 tells us that Jesus does what he sees the Father doing, so Jesus is seeking out the lost. 

What Are The Theological Truths Jesus Wants To Communicate In This Parable?

1. The Lost Require Seeking v. 4, 8, 20-24

  • The sheep did not know how to get home.
  • The coin could not find its way back to the pocket of its owner.
  • The son would not come home until he knew his father to be good even to his servants.

The father had been seeking his son his whole life. Its just that the son was blinded by his sin, and when the blinders of sin were removed through reaping what he has sown, he remembered the goodness of his father and that draws him to head home.

The daddy’s rescue mission was his goodness to his son and that goodness birthing new life in the boy to cause him to come home.

2. The Father is Diligently Seeking v. 4, 8, 20-24

Notice that there is great work undertaken to find what is lost.

Note, however, in the story of the lost son how, in verse 20, that the Father spots his son “while he is a long way off…(and)…ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

This is because the father was diligently looking for his son to return. His eyes were straining on the horizon in anticipation of his son’s return.

(Don’t read too much into the details of the story, it’s not an alegory, it’s a parable. The point is not to try and match every detail up but to get the theological point. That point is that Father is a seeking Father.)

Church Phillips of Cafe 1040 told the story in Perspectives about an older man and business owner who traded in sheep, goats, rugs and any needed good in the desert in North Africa. This man rescued Chuck from a breakdown in the middle of the desert where that sort of thing would end in death due to dehydration, therefore, before returning to civilization Chuck  had the honor of going with on a trip to buy and sell  to the Burbur people in the desert. Accompanying the older man and Chuck were some younger hired hands.

Chuck tells the story of several days further into the desert there is an argument between the older man and his young guys. The older man then leaves the main road headed straight into the desert. Chuck barely knows any of the language and has no clue what has happened. So Chuck decides to take his chances with the older man who rescued him. These two travel on foot 2 days into the dunes. Chuck has no clue what is happening, if he will ever survive and get home.

As they crossed a dune, down in the hot and sandy valley there was a lone sheep. That man went, put that sheep on his shoulders and took him back the two days to be with the rest.

The old man left the rest and went to go get his beloved sheep. The hired hands thought it too invaluable to risk life to go get. The one to whom the sheep belonged was not willing that his sheep should be left.

True Story.

As a shepherd will go after one that strays, so the Father will go after his lost sheep from all nations.

He is a seeking Father!

  • There is no barrier he won’t overcome to get to those that are his.
  • There is no distance he won’t go.
  • There is no danger too dangerous that he can’t deal with.
  • There is no hard heart too hard to be regenerated by the Spirit.
  • There is no will too steely that he can’t break it.
  • There is no closed country where Father isn’t already at work seeking to fulfill his promise to Abraham and give the Son a redeemed humanity. So we go.
  • Because Father is a seeking Father, we go seeking the revealing of the children of God with the effectual good news.
  • Father is looking and ready to embrace his found.
  • No one can say they are unloved.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost but now I’m found…

3. The Father Finds the Lost v. 5-6, 9, 17-19

Notice the language of the stories. They say, “And when…”

Its not a matter of “if”. It’s a matter of when the Father brings to the Son those he’s purchased at the cross.

The effectual work of the father in the 3rd story is that he was good and good to his boys. So when the fruit of sin caught up with that boy, his father’s goodness was evident and it regenerated his heart to head for home content to be a slave.

Father will find the lost.

The goodness of the gospel seeks out the lost. Jesus becomes better than life and people repent and believe.

  • The seeking Father will effectually find and bring his gift of a redeemed humanity to the Son.
  • The seeking Father will never fail to woo and draw those who are his.

4. The Father Celebrates and Restores v. 5-7, 9-10, 22-24

The God of the bible is a happy God!

I’m convinced that mankind likes to throw events and parties because God throws heavenly events and parties. It’s just that broken image bearers pervert what is holy and turn it into an opportunity to continue the rebellion. That is no excuse for the Christian to avoid throwing good and right and happy and fun celebrations!

He’s promised us a feast with good things and the fruit of the vine when the kingdom is fully and finally established.

The God of the bible sings and dances (Zephaniah 3:17).

The God of the bible also restores.

The son in the 3rd story thought he’d beg to be taken back a slave. No such thing.

See, it does the sinful flesh good to tone the gospel down a bit and reserve some punishment for us so that we can have a part in atoning for our sin. It does not work that way.

Grace plus works ruins grace.

If the son had been taken back as a slave he’d be less than a son.

But he is a son. So, there will be no justice for him. The father accepts the loss of his property, puts the ring on his finger and shoes on his feet and throws a dad gum party!

When sinners come home, there is no second class to it. There is nothing to pay back. There is no payment that has to be paid nor could it be paid. The Father paid the debt himself at the cross as his punished the eternal Son for all the sinning we had/are/will do so that when we come home he restores “what the locust has eaten” and treats us like the sons and daughters we are!

Father restores and he celebrates.

What Should We Do With The Truth God is a Seeking Father?

Praise him!

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”