- Sermon Notes
A GODLY STRATEGY
People are often preoccupied with statistics and iconic events when we begin a new year; this year we finish another Decade.
Some of those iconic news-makers you will be re-minded of from the last 20-years:
• 2001 – 9 l l
• 2003 – Iraq War
• 2004 – Facebook
• 2007 – Steve Jobs & Apple iPhone
• 2011 – Osama Bin Laden killed
• 2018 – Apple valued at $1T
What we do know about each of these is that they were not expected.
And what we know about 2020 or the next decade is no matter how smart or wise we are, some things will catch us by surprise.
• Some will be wonderful.
• However some things will test our faith!
I want to give us a Biblical Strategy to help us deal with these unpleasant surprises as we move into the next year. Everyone needs this strategy next year.
Even John the Baptist (JTB) needed this strategy in the account we are looking at in Luke chapter 7.
I. Expectations Defined By God
John the Baptist was in jail
• Courage to confront King Herod.
While in jail JTB hears about Jesus.
• He sent disciples to ask Jesus if He was truly the Messiah?
• This is an amazing question for a guy like JTB to ask – Why?
• His whole mission was to announce the com-ing of the Messiah.
John 1:29; The next day John saw Jesus coming to-ward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
When Jesus first appeared and John proclaimed Him as the Messiah – there were expectations.
Luke 3:16-17; John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you [a]with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
A. Worldly expectations weaken us
• He expected that Jesus would clean house!
• In JTB’s view all those opposing the Messiah would be burned up.
And his view was based on OT teaching –
Isaiah 35:4; Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”
JTB steps out fully expecting the Messiah to clean house.
• He rebukes Herod and is sent to rot in prison
• Romans remain in control
• No vengeance happens on the Kingdom
• Nothing going according to JTB expectations
His faith is shaken – he begins to wonder if he has it all wrong about Jesus – Maybe someone else is coming?
B. Faith by evidence
A critical point in our lesson – what shook his faith was that things were simply not going the way he expected.
Luke 7:21; At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind.
He lists His miracles as a sign and reminder of who He is, that He is the Messiah JTB has been announcing.
Isaiah 35:5-6; Then the eyes of the blind will be opened. And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
• Jesus constantly pointed to miracles as evidence.
John 10:25; Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Fa-ther’s name, these testify of Me.
John 3:2; “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
John said at the end of his Gospel if we recorded all of what Jesus did we couldn’t contain it…
John 21:25; And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not con-tain the books that would be written.
When you read of all the accounts of the Israelites fol-lowing Him around and often saying, “we’ve never seen anything like this …
II. Blessings Come From God’s Ways
John, I”m not running things the way you want me to –
Many call it the forgotten Beatitude.
• Blessed are the poor in spirit
• Blessed are those who mourn
• Blessed are the gentle
This one in vs 23 is the forgotten Beatitude; John, I’m not running things the way you want me to.
Another way to say it; Blessed is the person who lets God run His business His way…
JTB is going to need this beatitude shortly
• Herod’s Birthday and the daughter of Herodias dances for his guests.- he’s so pleased with her that he offers anything she wants.
• Prompted by her mother, she asks for the Head of JTB be brought on a platter for her to give to her mom.
• Herod distressed but his honor is now at stake – he orders it done…
A. Beatitudes bring blessings to us
We need this beatitude in our lives as well!
• So there is a great lesson here for our life as we look forward to a new year, a new decade –
B. Embrace God’s ways
God is not about ease and comfort, Jesus did not come to prevent bad things from happening in our lives.
Our business plans for life are centered around human comforts – but that’s not why God died on the cross.
His business plan is to make us into men and women of God.
Isaiah 55: 8; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
God loves us deeply – we ARE his business.
The message to us in 2020 is the same as it was for JTB – Let me run my business – your life – my way!
Blessed is the person who will let me disappoint any ex-pectation they have if I decide things should go dif-ferently in their life.
C. Confidence supported by evidence
Shadrach – Meshach – Abendnego
King Nebuchadnezzar commanded the people to bow down to him and they refused. Said God’s will be done, to save them or not.
But in vs 18 be it known to you, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
The motto here –
Even if He doesn’t bring things to pass your way, Blessed is the person…
He wants all of us to get to a place where we give Him permission to take us whatever direction He deems best
Our job is to be loyal and obedient – regardless.
Now if you can adopt this strategy for your life – not be impacted so much by the curveballs the world can throw at you – then there’s no surprise you can’t handle.
Your faith won’t shake – Disappointment, yes – but you will learn to even laugh at the enemy when many things come you way.
OK to have expectations, but don’t have unreal ones.
Remember this Godly strategy; blessed is the man who lets God run His business His way.
Luke 7:18-23 NASB
18 The disciples of John reported to him about all these things. 19 Summoning [a]two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the [b]Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” 20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the [c]Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’” 21 At that [d]very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 Blessed is he [e]who does not take offense at Me.”