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36 Luke 9.37-56

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Luke 9:37-51

v    Opening Illustration:

Ø     Raphael Painting (1520)

§        I think that Raphael makes an important observation

·        There is a connection between Transfiguration and what happens next

v    Nothing in Scripture is by chance, random

Ø     Luke, by the inspiration of the H.S., arranges the Gospel story in such a way as to make a point

§        The point that Scripture is making here is…

·        Without Christ, we can do nothing


v    In the following 4 vignettes we see the disciples failing miserably

Ø     In their faith

Ø     In their understanding

Ø     In their pride

Ø     And in their Judgmentalism

§        And Scripture shows us this for a very important reason

·        Without the power of the living God in our lives

¨     We operate from the flesh

Ø     And when we operate like that…

§        We are failures

·        Look @ verses 37-43 with me…


READ v 37-43



v    Without Christ, we are a….

Failure in Faith (v. 37-43)

v    Here the 9 disciples remaining were unable to cure this one boy

Ø     Yet 31 verses earlier (v. 6) Jesus had sent them out and they were able to cure diseases

§        There they had gone out with the power of Christ

·        But here for some reason, the disciples did not believe that they could still cure

¨     I believe they looked at the boy and saw the impossible…

Ø     Instead of the possible

Ø     And that is what Faith is…

§        Belief in the impossible

§        Isn’t that what Christianity is based on…

·        The impossible becoming possible

¨      That’s what Hebrews 11:1 is saying

Ø     Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see

§        Being certain of the impossible!

v    Christians are called to have faith, to trust, to believe in the impossible

Ø     You see…

§        We should all be like the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the looking glass

·        White Queen tells Alice she’s 101 and 5 months and 1 day

·        Alice says she, “Can’t believe impossible things.”

·        Queen’s response

¨     When I was your age, I always (believed in the impossible) for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Ø     What a great Christian worldview!


v    It is not before breakfast, but it is before lunch…

Ø     So, here is a list of 6 impossible things we as Christians should believe in before lunch…

§        1) Belief that miracles happen

·        Like Red sea, water from rock, Manna, quail, Sun standing still

¨     Scripture asks us to believe in impossible miracles

§        2) Belief in the triune God

·        1 God, 3 persons

§        3) Believe that Christ was God and man

·        100% God & 100% man

§        4) Believe that Jesus died for our sins

·        One person atoning for the world’s sins

·        One person taking on my sins, past, present and future

§        5) Belief that we will live for eternity

·        If you trust in Christ, you will live for eternity

¨     From life to life

§        6) Belief in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead

·        Jesus is the only person to raise from the dead and never die again

¨     That he is alive today

v    There is our “white queen” 6 impossible things to believe before lunch

Ø     And with Christ’s help we can have faith in them!

v    In our second scene, we see the disciples fail in another area

READ v. 43b-45


v    Without Christ’s help, we are a….

Failure in our Understanding (v. 43b-45)

v    Here Jesus tells the disciples once again about his impending suffering

Ø     He told them once before after Peter’s confession (Lk 9:22)

§        But here we see that they clearly did not understand what Jesus was talking about

·        And there is a reason for this…

¨     Jesus had not breathed on them and given them the Holy Spirit

Ø     John 20:22

§        After this they understood and believed in the resurrection

§        After this they understood the reason for Christ’s sufferings

v    But this took place well before Christ gave them the Holy Spirit

Ø     And without Christ breathing the Holy Spirit on you

§        You simply cannot understand spiritual things

·        As Paul explains to us in 1 Cor 2:10-14

v    You see…

Ø     Without Christ giving them the H.S.

§        They could not understand or accept the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53

·        he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed…He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;… (he) was numbered with the transgressors.

§        What they wanted was the Messiah of Isaiah 42

·        Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.


Ø     The Disciples wanted the victorious Christ

§        The Christ that subdues the world

§        The reigning Christ

·        As we all do in our flesh

¨     But only through the Spirit can we understand the suffering Christ

Ø     That suffering must come before glory

v    Only through the Christ given Spirit can we understand that in our own lives as well

Ø     Suffering before glory

§        1) That suffering for Christ is good

·        That good can come out of suffering

¨      Rom 8:28

Ø     And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose

·        2) That suffering purifies us

¨      James 1:2-4

Ø     Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

·        3) That suffering for the Gospel actually speed his coming

¨      Col 1:24

Ø     Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church

v    These are all impossible things to accept and comprehend on our own…

Ø     But through Christ we can begin to understand them

§        I hope you have begun to understand these truths in your own life!

v    In our third scene, we see the disciples fall short in another area

READ v. 46-50

v    Without Christ, we are a….

Failure in Humility (v. 46-50)

v    Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries coined the phrase…

Ø     “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

§        In this scene we are given a dose of what having a certain amount of power does to us

v    The disciples are associated with a powerful man, and they know it

Ø     He performs amazing miracles

Ø     He teaches with authority

Ø     He is a very popular, charismatic figure

§        And they are on the inside

§        They are part of this

§        They are his special group

Ø     Not only that…

§        He has given them a certain amount of that power when he sent them out

·        And here we see the effects of that power…

¨     The two great enemies of humility

v    First we find the disciples arguing over who will be the greatest = FAME

Ø     They want Fame

§        This is a huge temptation, isn’t it?

§        This is the first great enemy of humility

v    CH Spurgeon said:

We have plenty of people nowadays who could not kill a mouse with­out publishing it in the Gospel Gazette. Samson killed a lion and said nothing about it: the Holy Spirit finds modesty so rare that He takes care to record it. Say much of what the Lord has done for you, but say little of what you have done for the Lord

Ø     We all want fame, notoriety, people to know who we are

§        Without Christ that is our natural inclination…

·        To seek fame

¨     Big or small

Ø     That is the temptation

Ø     But that is not to be the way for us Christians, is it!?

§        Christ taught right here

·        Whoever is least, will be greatest

¨     The way up, is down

A Christian minister once said, “I was never of any use until I found out that God did not intend me to be a great man.”

v    There is great Profundity here…

Ø     Sometimes we are so concerned with our reputation, that we jeopardize the work of the Lord

§        Are you willing to be one of the unnamed hoards working in the Lord’s fields

§        Are you willing to be one of the anonymous millions being obedient to God in all the small, ordinary, unnoticed things

·        Helping the poor and widowed

·        Loving your enemy

·        Praying for others

·        Using your gifts of service and mercy  unobserved

·        Sharing your faith in Christ

¨     If you are willing to be least, then you will be great

v    Second of all, we see them complaining about others that are claiming similar power

Ø     (Act out here)..”Bob, stop that, that is for us to do”

Ø     They want Special Status

Ø     They want to exclude others

Ø     They want a closed group…

§        A click!

§        This is another huge temptation, isn’t it?

·        To be part of a special closed group

v    This is the second great enemy of humility…

Ø     Exclusion

§        Look at what they told Jesus…

·        “He is not one of us!”

¨     That power is for us only!

Ø     This Special Status, closed group, Exclusive mentality happens in churches too

§        Small church starts growing

·        Members don’t like it

·        Not the same feel

·        Not the same intimacy

·        Don’t know the new people

·        Might not say it, but we think it…

¨     “They are not one of us!”

Ø     So the congregation does not make the new people feel welcome

Ø     And soon they go away

§        This will be a temptation for this Church!

Ø     When you get down to it

§        What is really being said is…

·        “Jesus is for us only”

·        “That salvation power is for us only”

¨      But Jesus in Matt 11:28

Ø     Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest

Ø     We have to be humble enough to give up our special status

§        And be inclusive

·        And the key to being inclusive is humility

v    In fact…

Ø     Everything about the Christian life is about Humility

§        Towards outsiders

·        Go the second mile

§        Towards others in the church

·        Phil 2:3

¨     in humility consider others better than yourselves

§         Towards leadership in the church

·        You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant

§        Towards Christ

·        Need humility to be saved

v    Humility is the bedrock, the foundation, the cornerstone upon which everything else rests

Ø     We are approach every situation from a bottom up perspective

§        Not a top down!

·        That is what we are commanded to do

¨     And we need Christ’s help to do so

v    The last scene that displays our need for Christ is found in v. 51-56…

READ v. 51-56

v    Without Christ, we are a….

Failure in Judgmentalism (v. 51-56)

v    Q: Did you ever have a nickname?

v    Scripture tells us (Mark 3) that Jesus had a nickname for James and John

Ø     “Boanerges”

§        Sons of Thunder

·        And you can see why!

¨     They want to destroy a town for not welcoming them!

Ø     They were fiery, wild men

§        Same two asked Jesus to let them sit on right and left of him in glory!

·        These are two men that you would say have a long way to go

v    Illustration: My mother used to say

Ø     Christ-likeness is a journey

Ø     Say the west coast is perfect Christ-likeness

§        Some start out in Denver and have a short way to go

§        Some start out in Chicago and have a longer road ahead

§        Some start out in NY and have a long road to travel

·        James & John started out in Nova Scotia!

v    They want to reign down final judgment on those people

Ø     Judgmentalism

v    But with Christ’s strength, look at how John changed

Ø     This same John who wanted to destroy a whole town

§        Became known as the apostle of love

Ø     Listen to what he later wrote

§        1 Jn 3:10

·        This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

§        1 Jn 4:8

·        Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love

§        1 Jn 4:20

·        If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar

Ø      Does this sound like the same man who wanted to reign down fire on a town that did not welcome him?

v    What was it that transformed John from ‘Boanerges’ into the apostle of love?

Ø      Simply…

§        Christ in him

A heavyset woman went to an exercise and diet clinic. The first thing the trainer did was draw a silhouette on a mirror in the shape she wished to become. As she stood before the mirror, she bulged out over the silhouette. The instructor told her, "Our goal is for you to fit this shape:'

For many weeks the woman dieted and exercised. Each week she would stand in front of the mirror, but her volume, while decreasing, still overflowed. So she exercised harder and dieted more rigidly. Finally one day, she stood in front of the mirror she was conformed to the image of the silhouette.

v    When you become a Christian, God draws a silhouette on the mirror of your life

Ø     In the form of his son Jesus Christ

§        At first, you bulge out and overflow that image in all sorts of ways

·        You don’t have the faith you should have

·        Perhaps you spill over that image and misunderstand what God says

·        Perhaps you seek the world’s leading instead of the humble path of God

·        Maybe you bulge over with judgmentalism

¨     As we look at ourselves in that mirror, we must remember…

Ø     Without Christ, we can do nothing

v    With Christ’s help we can slowly begin to fit into the silhouette

Ø     It takes time and work to be conformed to the image of God's Son.

§        The discipline of sorrow and suffering

§        The exercise of pain and trials

§        The application of obedience and humility

v    But one day, by God’s grace, we will all stand before that mirror and be conformed to that perfect silhouette


In the year 1847, a doctor from Edinburgh, Sir James Simpson, discovered that chloroform could be used as an anaesthetic to render people insensible to the pain of surgery. From his early experiments, Dr. Simpson made it possible for people to go through the most dangerous operations without fear of pain and suffering. Some people even claim that his was one of the most significant discoveries of modern medicine.

Some years later, while lecturing at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Simpson was asked by one of his students, “What do you consider to be the most valuable discovery of your lifetime?” To the surprise of his students, who had expected him to refer to chloroform, Dr. Simpson replied, “My most valuable discovery was when I discovered myself a sinner and that Jesus Christ was my Saviour.”

Ø     By the grace of Christ we can

§        Have the faith of Christ

§        Gain the understanding

§        Emulate the humility of Christ

§        Display the mercy instead of judgment

v    Lk 6:37ff


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