- Sermon Notes
Walking in the Light
May 23, 2021
Genesis 1:1-4, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
1. Light and darkness. At creation God separated the light from darkness, establishing a distinction between the two.
2. According to God’s Word, light represents God and all that is of God because His presence is glorious, His character is holy, and His deeds are righteous.
3. According to the Bible, darkness represents evil, all that is opposed to God, all that is not holy, all that is not righteous.
4. And ever since Lucifer rebelled against God and took one-third of the angels with him, there has been a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness.
5. Which will prevail, light or darkness?
6. As students of God’s Word and disciples of Jesus Christ, we know light will ultimately triumph over darkness because the Bible tells us so.
7. But tonight, we will not focus on the epic, cosmic battle between light and darkness.
8. Rather, we will look inward, to the battle within.
9. Luke 14:1-24 reveals important principles for Walking in the Light so that light may prevail over darkness in our lives.
Transition – The first principle for walking in the light is to. . .
I. Ask God to Search Your Heart
• That was David’s prayer request after he reflected on God’s awe-inspiring nature.
Psalm 139:23-24, Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
• Why should we ask God to search our hearts?
• So that He may reveal to us if there is any hurtful way in us.
o Hurtful towards others.
o Hurtful towards ourselves.
Transition – For example, verses 1-6 reveal why it is important to. . .
A. Ask God to reveal any hypocrisy
1. The context of Luke 14 is important to remember; it’s the Sabbath.
a. A day that God appointed as a day of devotion and worship.
b. A day that God appointed as a day to rest and be refreshed.
c. A day that God appointed as a day to draw near to God and glorify Him with our every thought, word, and deed.
Exodus 20:8-11, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
2. On this Sabbath day, a leader of the Pharisees invited Jesus to his home for a meal along with other distinguished Pharisees and experts in the Mosaic Law.
3. Likely, this group had just left the local synagogue where they had listened to readings from the Law and the Prophets followed by a teaching from a portion of those divinely inspired texts.
4. The end of verse one reveals the real motive behind the host’s invitation for Jesus to dine with him and Israel’s esteemed religious leaders on that Sabbath day, “they were watching Him closely.”
a. The Greek word for “watching closely” means “to lurk or to carefully observe.”
b. This word paints a graphic picture of just how dark the darkness was in the hearts of the Pharisees and lawyers.
c. You see the whole meal was a setup, a trap to snare Jesus and find grounds to accuse, convict, and condemn Him.
5. What was the trap? A man suffering from “dropsy” was also invited to the meal.
a. Dropsy is a painful disease where the body tissues fill with fluid often due to kidney or heart issues, or even cancer.
b. Now in Jesus’ day some rabbis thought if someone had dropsy it was a consequence of their immoral lifestyle.
6. So this poor, afflicted man was propped up before Jesus as a trap to see what He would do.
a. If Jesus did not heal the man, then He had no compassion on the afflicted.
b. But if Jesus healed the man, and that’s what the religious leaders were hoping He would do, then they could accuse Him of violating their Sabbath traditions.
7. But Jesus saw through their wicked scheme and did not take the bait.
a. In fact, Jesus turned the tables on them and shined the spotlight of God’s truth on their darkened hearts.
b. Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” (3)
c. Now, Jesus did not ask the question because He needed to know the correct answer.
d. Jesus knew the correct answer and revealed the answer when He healed afflicted souls at least seven other times on the Sabbath before this Sabbath day.
8. The Pharisees sat still and kept their mouths shut. They were thinking, “You make the first move, Jesus!” (4)
9. And that’s exactly what Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, did. He “took hold” of the man “and healed him, and sent him away.” (4)
10. Then Jesus fixed His gaze upon His dinner host and fellow guests and said, “Which one of you will have son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” (5)
11. What was Jesus’ point? That the Sabbath was intended by God for man’s good, so it is perfectly lawful to do good unto others on the Sabbath.
12. Jesus’ words and deeds shined the light of God’s truth on the hypocrisy and false piety of the Pharisees.
a. Just think about what they did; they used the Sabbath day and a man stricken with a terrible disease to trap Jesus, their Messiah.
b. They used the Sabbath day to accuse and condemn Jesus for doing good, for healing a man because, according to their man-made traditions, the healing happened on the wrong day of the week.
c. But they were the ones who were caught red-handed.
13. Their silence was deafening. These religious leaders and legal experts knew the answer to Jesus’ question but refused to say a peep because of the dark condition of their hearts.
a. Question. Did God’s purpose for establishing the Sabbath make any difference in the hearts of these esteemed religious leaders?
b. Question. Did the readings from the Law and the Prophets make any difference in the souls of these learned men who were well-versed in God’s Word?
c. The answer to both questions is a resounding “No.”
14. Rightly did Jesus later say about Israel’s religious establishment. . .
Matthew 23:27-28, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
APPL – What’s the takeaway for us?
• God is not fooled nor impressed by the outward appearance of religion.
• In fact, false piety makes a mockery of the true Christian faith because. . .
o It hurts those who are exposed to it,
o It deceives those who do so into thinking they are getting away with it.
Galatians 6:7, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
• Then what does God desire from us that these men did not have?
• Simply this, truth in our innermost being.
ILLUS – David, the man after God’s heart, knew a thing or two about hypocrisy.
Psalm 51:4, 6, Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge. . . Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
APPL – To know wisdom is to know that God is not mocked. To know wisdom is to know that it’s best to be honest with God and not play games with God. Walk in the light.
• Ask God to search your heart.
• Ask God to reveal any hypocrisy.
• Then ask God to transform your heart with His wisdom.
Transition – I’m sure at this point, the host and dinner guests realized they got a whole lot more than they bargained for. And Jesus was just getting started. . .
• He used this opportunity to shine more light onto other areas of their darkened hearts.
• From verses seven to fourteen we learn another important principle for walking in the light. . .
B. Ask God to reveal any self-promotion
1. Now there are two ways Jesus confronts self-promotion at this banquet.
a. First, Jesus confronts the maneuvers made by the dinner guests to promote themselves. (7-11)
b. Second, Jesus confronts the dinner host over his guest list. (12-14)
2. Jesus noticed that as the guests entered the host’s home, they were picking out the best spots around the dinner table, the places with the highest honor. (7)
a. Typically, banquet tables in Jesus’ day were U-shaped.
b. The best locations, “the places of honor,” were closest to the host, towards the center of the table, near the bottom of the U.
3. Similar to festival seating at a special event today, the guests were staking out the primo spots so that they could be recognized as important, men of significance, “status symbols.”
4. So, Jesus called them out for their self-promotion and gave them wise counsel.
a. Don’t pick the best seat because you might be asked to move to a lesser seat and be disgraced. (8-9)
b. Rather, select the lesser seat and, if you are elevated to a better seat, then you will be honored. (10)
5. Then Jesus gave an important principle to live by, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (11)
APPL – Again, what’s the takeaway?
• First, Jesus was not giving us a gimmick to be promoted through false humility. If your motive is to be elevated and recognized, then please know that taking the lesser position is still a form of self-promotion.
Warren Wiersbe warns, “The false humility that takes the lowest place is just as hateful to God as the pride that takes the highest place.”
• Second, God is opposed to those who promote themselves.
James 4:6, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
• Third, Jesus’ manner of life perfectly conformed to His teaching; He put others before Himself.
Philippians 2:3-8, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
6. Next it was the host’s turn. Jesus told him to invite those who could do nothing for him, so that he would be “repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (14)
a. In Jesus’ day it was consider improper to invite the poor or the infirmed to a banquet.
b. So Jesus’ points out that if you invite only those who can invite you in return, then you have your reward.
c. But if you invite those who can never repay, then you’ll have a greater reward in the kingdom of God.
APPL – Please note that Jesus is not saying that we should never get together with family and friends.
• Rather, Jesus is saying, “Don’t give to get.”
• If I do this for you, then you will owe me in return.
• This too is a form of selfish self-promotion.
ILLUS – Ultimately, when we bless those who cannot bless us in return, we are following the example of our heavenly Father.
• He has invited us to His heavenly banquet through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
• There is nothing that we can do to pay God back.
• If we could, then Christ’s death on the cross would have been unnecessary.
Galatians 2:21, I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
APPL – Instead of being concerned about promoting ourselves or wondering, “What’s in it for me?”. . .
• We need to see that the value of a heavenly reward far outweighs any reward received in this life.
Again, Warren Wiersbe notes, “You can’t get your reward twice!”
• If you want to position yourself, then get close to Jesus.
James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
• And if you want to be blessed, then bless those who can never pay you back.
• That’s walking in the light.
Transition – The second principle for walking in the light is to. . .
II. Ask God to Try Your Anxious Thoughts
• Based on David’s prayer in Psalm 139, ask God to try and know your anxious thoughts.
• If we wish to walk in the light, we need the Lord to reveal those areas which are causing us to stray, even our priorities. . .
A. Ask God to reveal any misplaced priorities
1. After one of the guests heard Jesus talk about rewarding the righteous at the resurrection, he said, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (15)
2. Instead of agreeing with the fellow dinner guest, Jesus again used the opportunity to confront the darkness in the hearts of those present.
3. As elsewhere in Luke, Jesus speaks about the kingdom of God using another parable about a great banquet.
4. At this banquet, many guests were not only invited but had given their RSVP. (16)
a. In Jesus’ day, guests would be told the day of the feast but not the time of the feast.
b. Once the guests had received their hand-delivered invitations, the host would prepare the feast based on the number of people who said they would attend.
c. Since they did not have convection ovens back then, feasts of this sort were typically served in the evening.
d. On the day of the feast, a slave would travel by foot to notify all the attendees that dinner was served. (17)
5. But in Jesus’ parable, the guests who said they would attend gave excuses for their absence instead. (18)
a. The first guest, likely a rich fellow, said he had bought a field and needed to check it out. (18)
• Who buys a piece of land without checking it out first?
• How well will you be able to check out your new property by candlelight at night?
b. The second guest, a wealthy man, had just purchased five yoke of oxen, and needed to try them out. (19)
• Who would fork out a lot of money to buy ten oxen and not try them out first?
• That would be like going to a used car dealership and buying the first car you see without taking a test drive.
c. The third guest said, I am newly married.
• Now that’s not an excuse. (20)
• He would have known about the timing of his new marriage and the banquet well in advance.
• If he did not want to attend, he should have said, “No” when he first received the invitation.
6. So the servant tells his master about all the excuses. The master is furious. This is not only rude; it was considered a great insult in Jesus’ day. The food is on the table and needs to be eaten before it goes bad.
a. So the master tells his slave to invite the “poor and crippled and blind and lame;” does that sound familiar? (21)
b. The slave says, they have already been invited and there is still room for more. (22)
c. The master tells his servant to go out to the “highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.” (23)
d. But the master adds, “None of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.” (24)
APPL – What is Jesus’ point?
• If the Jews really wanted to be part of the feast in the kingdom of God, then they would have received Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords as their Messiah.
• But instead of receiving Christ’s kingdom offer, they were carefully watching Him to find cause to accuse, convict, and condemn Him.
• They did not want the kingdom of God as God offered it.
• They wanted the kingdom of God as they defined it; without Jesus, the Son of God.
• To conceal their pride and their misplaced priorities, they made excuses.
• But excuse don’t work with God.
o Because excuses reveal that the person making them really does not want to change.
o And excuses reveal that the person making them really wants to be in charge, the captain of their soul.
• Our highest priority must be the kingdom of God; on God’s terms not our own.
• He is the gracious Master and divine Host.
• We bring nothing to the banquet table.
• We are there because of God’s mercy and grace.
• We come just as we are, in need of a Savior, and He changes us now in preparation for eternity.
Matthew 6:33, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
B. Ask God to lead you in the everlasting way
1. The message of this parable is just as much for us today as it was when Jesus shared it with those attending the banquet.
2. Jesus offers us salvation, an eternal Sabbath rest, entrance into the kingdom of God.
Matthew 11:28-29, Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
3. Today is the day of salvation.
4. Today is the day which could define your eternity.
5. It begins with being honest with yourself and God, to walk in the light.
6. I invite you to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and be saved.
Psalm 34:8, O taste and see that the Lord is good;
how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Let’s pray. . .
Luke 14:1-24 NASB
1 It happened that when He went into the house of one of the [a]leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him [b]closely. 2 And [c]there in front of Him was a man suffering from [d]edema. 3 And Jesus responded and said to the [e]lawyers and [f]Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. 5 And He said to them, “[g]Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” 6 And they could offer no reply to this.
7 Now He began telling a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, 8 “Whenever you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not [h]take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9 and the one who invited you [i]both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then in disgrace you will proceed to occupy the last place. 10 But whenever you are invited, go and [j]take the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are [k]dining at the table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
12 Now He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “Whenever you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor wealthy neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you to a meal in return, and that will be your [l]repayment. 13 But whenever you give a [m]banquet, invite people who are poor, who have disabilities, who are limping, and people who are blind; 14 and you will be blessed, since they [n]do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
15 Now when one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
16 But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is ready now.’ 18 And yet they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I purchased a field and I need to go out to look at it; [o]please consider me excused.’ 19 And another one said, ‘I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; [p]please consider me excused.’ 20 And another one said, ‘I took a woman as my wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ 21 And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here those who are poor, those with disabilities, those who are blind, and those who are limping.’ 22 And later the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and the hedges and press upon them to come in, so that my house will be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my dinner.’”