- Sermon Notes
Responding to the Lord
Last week in Luke chapter 7, God’s Word revealed an amazing insight into the how a believer can lead an effective spiritual life. It comes from an understanding of what it means to be under the authority of God's Word, that is to say, to be under the authority of Christ, our Lord, well.
The principle revealed is that of the Roman centurion who had the faith to believe that Jesus had authority to simply speak the word and his servant would be healed. The centurion believed by faith that Jesus had all authority because He was under the authority of His Father well. In fact, remember the scripture that we also read, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth…" Matthew 28.
That becomes an exceptionally powerful principle for us to understand also. If we will be under the authority of God's Word well, that has everything to do with the effectiveness of our prayers and the authority of who we are Jesus Christ.
The next verses that we are reading in Luke chapter 7 help us understand a deeper insight into these principles of being under the authority of God’s Word by responding to the Lord with a right heart.
I. Accept God’s Purpose in Your Life
- When Jesus finished speaking to the multitudes about John the Baptist, many in the crowd acknowledged God's justice in the words of Jesus.
- But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves.
- This is filled with insight for us because part of being under the authority of God is to accept God's purpose for our lives.
- And what is God's purpose for our lives…?
A. To understand that God calls the tune
- Jesus then illustrated His point beginning in verse 31 by comparing that generation to children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another and say, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance."
- What can this mean? He’s talking about a children's game in which someone would play a flute and the others would dance or someone would sing a dirge and the others would weep; but in Jesus’s illustration, the children wouldn't dance when the flute was played.
Illus – I play a game like that with my grandkids. I sing, "If you're happy and you know it… clap your hands," and they're supposed to clap their hands, or roar like a lion, etc.
- The point of illustration is to ask the question, who responds to whom?
- The Pharisees and lawyers didn't want to respond to God, they didn't want to come under God's authority, they didn't want to respond to God's Word, even though they were supposedly experts in the law, instead, they wanted God to respond to them.
- That's out of order and the result of such a heart will be disaster.
- If someone wants to "call the tune" and have God respond to their demands, they will be sorely disappointed.
Illus -When I was going through Bible college and waiting tables, another waiter once said, "Hey, Rich, you're going to Bible college aren’t you?" "Yes," I responded. "Say something religious," he challenged…
- When God sent John the Baptist, they rejected him and his message, when God sent the Son of Man, they rejected Him also.
Deuteronomy 8:3, That He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
B. That we become like our Teacher
- In verse 35 Jesus said, "Yet wisdom is vindicated by her children." In other words, wisdom is vindicated by the results it produces in our lives.
- To accept God's purpose for our lives and come under the authority of God's Word well means that we become like our Teacher. That’s God's purpose for our lives.
- And the wisdom of that will be seen in the amazing, wonderful, Christ-like changes that will become a wonderful blessing for our lives and for those around us.
1 John 2:6, The one who abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
Philippians 2:5, Have this attitude (of heart) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…
- At the Wednesday service we looked at an amazing Psalm that shows us this point very powerfully…
Psalm 112:1 -9 What transformation looks like…
C. Respond by loving God much
- From verse 36 and following there is the story of a Pharisee named Simon who invited Jesus to dine with him.
- While Jesus is in the house, behold, a woman came in who was a sinner, in other words, her sins were well-known, she was a woman of ill repute.
- The woman was broken and weeping; she wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with perfume.
- Simon was indignant that Jesus would allow that sort of person to touch Him, but it becomes an opportunity to teach us all a valuable lesson.
- In verse 50, Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." In other words, the woman had the faith to believe that Jesus had the authority to forgive even sins like hers and she had the faith to believe that Jesus would love her and offer her forgiveness.
- And that's why she loved much.
- She was honest about how great her sins were and humbled herself under God's love and grace.
- But Simon did not see what this woman saw in Jesus. Simon did not even offer Jesus the common courtesies of hospitality of the day. Therefore, he loved, not at all.
John 14:23, Jesus answered, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words;"
Matthew 22:36-38, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment."
II. Welcome God's Word in Your Heart
- In chapter 8, beginning in verse 4, Jesus gives a famous parable about a farmer sowing his seed.
- Jesus explains that this is a parable about God sowing the Word of God, but there are different types of soils, or, in other words, there are different types of hearts that receive the Word of God differently which brings about vastly different results in their lives.
- We’re going to look at this parable in more detail next week, but I want to look at just the first type of soil because it fits in so well with our study this week.
A. Some hearts are hard
- Some seed falls on the path where everyone walks and has become hardened.
- They won’t take the Word of God into their hearts, they simply won't receive it. And because they won't receive it, they won't receive any blessings from it either.
- Resistance to the Lord is seen in stubbornness.
Jeremiah 18:11-12, Thus says the Lord, “… Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.” But they will say, “It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.”The word “imitate” in the Greek is “mimic.”
- But if we would only know how great are the blessings that come from receiving God’s Word into a broken heart.
- A seed is an excellent illustration of the Word of God. A seed is full of life and if it takes root and begins to grow, it will bring forth fruit 30, 60, or 100 fold.
Illus – Human DNA has over 3 billion base pairs containing 750 Mb of information. Did you know that wheat DNA has more than 15 billion base pairs? It's amazing what evolution has produced isn't it?
- The Word of God cannot take root unless in penetrates into the heart. But this soil is hard.
- What makes a heart hard? There are several possibilities:
Arrogance; this is the condition whereby someone is convinced that their perspective is better than anyone else's. In other words, they’re completely unteachable.
Illus – is this not the sum of those who, in their teens, can’t see how much they don’t know.
Proverbs 12:15, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Proverbs 21:2, Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.
Bitterness; there are many people who have been so hurt that they simply cannot let go of it, not understanding that it prevents the Word of God from bringing fruit in their lives. But forgiveness brings freedom from bitterness so we can receive the truth and the peace of God.
Illus – Corrie Ten Boom tells of when she learned the power of forgiveness so that she was no longer a prisoner.
- What we need is for God to give us His heart when He pours His life into ours.
Ezekiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
The seed is taken away
- Jesus explains that the seed is snatched away by Satan; the opportunity is lost.
- The scripture also tells us that Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4, And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
B. Hard hearts can be changed
- Hard hearts must be broken. This is the only condition that allows the seed to penetrate the heart and take root.
Illus - If a farmer wanted to sow in soil that had become hard, he would take his plow and break up that hard soil.
Illus – There is a song by Steve Camp that says it well. “O Lord take Your plow to my fallow ground. Let Your blade dig down in the soil of my soul. For I’ve become dry and dusty, O Lord I know there must be richer lines below.”
- The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword. When it moves deep in the heart, in does surgery.
- The woman that came to Jesus in tears in Luke 7 is an example of a life that is being changed…
Psalm 51:17, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Luke 7:30-50 NASB