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49 Luke 13.1-9

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“Good Ol’ Run-of-the-Mill Sinners”

Luke 13:1-9

v    Since June 1974, there have been 6 church shootings

Ø     Where a person has entered a church and begun shooting

§        Resulting in 19 dead and 30 injured

·        Add to that…

Ø     Last Sunday a man walked in to Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church, in Detroit, Michigan

§        And shot a woman and wounds a girl next to her

·        Q: What was the reason?

¨     Apparently it was a dispute over the woman’s daughter that led this man to do what he did

v    These types of tragedies are especially disturbing because they happen in churches…places of worship

Ø     These types of crimes seem so senseless and out of place

§        So we search for the reasons behind them

§        Of the 6 church shootings

·        The reasons given online were:

¨     Mental illness

¨     Racism

¨     Anti-Semitism

¨     Family dispute

¨     Political views

v    Today in our text, Jesus is told of an awful event that took place in the temple…

Ø     The sacred place of worship!

§        And, like today, the people were searching for answers

·        But they are looking in the wrong place...


READ 13:1


v    Explain what Pilate did to the Jews in the Temple

Ø     What an abominable thing to do!

§        People killed in the holy temple

·        And they, like us, ask the question “why”

·        What reason could possibly explain this tragedy?!

¨     And from Jesus’ answer, we can understand the answer they came up with

READ 13:2-5

v    Here Jesus debunks some bad theology   

Ø     The people did not feel that the Galileans were killed because of racism or a family dispute or even political views…

§        They thought that they were killed because of their sin!

·        That they were being punished because they were particularly egregious sinners!

v    To that, Jesus says, “That is ridiculous!”

Ø     To show how ridiculous he gives another example

§        The tower of Siloam disaster

·        18 people killed doing a good thing

¨     Helping to bring water into the city of Jerusalem

Ø     “Do you think they were more guilty than all others in Jerusalem?!

§        In other words…

·        Were they worse sinners than anyone in Jerusalem that they were singled out?

v    What Jesus is debunking is the belief that circumstances and sinfulness have a one-to-one cause and effect relationship

v    Jesus is answering the age-old question…

What is the relationship between Sin and Judgment

Ø     The Jews believed that sin and punishment were inextricably linked

§        They thought of it in a cause-effect way

·        If a person life was going south, then they obviously had been sinning

¨     Thus by syllogistic logic the opposite was true…

·        If a person’s life was going well, then they must be leading a less sinful life

Ø     What the Jews and some people today believe is that sin and quality of life chart together

§        This is exactly the bad theology that  Job’s counselors gave him

·        Job 22:5-10 ~ Eliphaz

¨     Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked. You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry, though you were a powerful man, owning land— an honored man, living on it. And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless. That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you

Ø     What Eliphaz is telling Job is that…

§        You must have done something bad to deserve this

v    This bad theology, I’m sorry to say, is alive and well today…

Ø     I have had people sit in my office and tell me during a difficult time in their life that they are being punished by God

Ø     I have learned of pastors who tell people who are going through a bad time that there must be some unconfessed sin

§        Are they being punished by God for some great sin?

·        Jesus’ answer is the same now as then…

¨     “I tell you, no!”

§         Remember in John 9:1-3

·        As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

¨     What they were asking is the same question here…

Ø     What egregious sin has caused this?

§        Jesus’ answer…

·         “Neither this man nor his parents sinned”


v    What Scriptures teach us is that…

Ø     This life is not fair

§        Reward and punishment are not meted out in proportion

·        The rain falls on the just and unjust alike

·        Habakkuk’s second complaint (1:13)

¨     Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

·        Ecc 9:11 sums it up…

¨     I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

v    This life is not fair, but the next one is!

Ø     Specific sin is not the cause of it…

§        The Fall is

·        We live in a sinful fallen world

¨     Where the world’s rules are not as they were created to be

¨     And where mankind is all equally guilty of sin before God

Ø     And that is where Jesus takes the discussion about sin and punishment…

§        The question is not…

·        Why did these people die?

§        The right question Jesus says, is…

·        What right do you have to live?

Ø     Because…

§         All are sinful

·        V. 4 ~ do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no!

·        All people are sinful

¨      Job 14:1, 4

Ø     “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!

·        All are sinful…

¨     It is just a matter of degree

Ø     Some people sin more than others

Ø     Some sin less…

§        But all are sinful and deserve death!

Two men were studying a volcano when it began to erupt. As the fiery molten rock gushed out of its gaping crater, they fled in the only direction open to them. All went well until they came to a stream of hot, smoking lava about thirty feet across. Sizing up their situation, they realized that their only hope was to get over that wide barrier.

One of the men was old; the other was healthy and young. With a running start, they each tried to leap to safety. The first man went only a few feet through the air before falling into the bubbling mass and was incinerated. The younger, with his greater strength and skill, cata­pulted himself much farther. Though he almost made it, he still landed in the molten rock and perished. It did not matter that he out-distanced his companion, for he, too, perished in the burning lava.

Sin is falling short of a standard, the glory of God. Though some may fall short of the standard by far more than others, all fall short nevertheless.

§        Romans 3:23

·        For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God

¨     It may be that some people sin less than others…

Ø     But all fall short

Ø     The other side of the chasm is unreachable

§        All perish

·        And that is what Jesus says to the crowd…

¨     All people deserve death

v    But Jesus says there is a way to bridge the chasm…

Ø     Repent before it is too late

It was spring at Niagra Falls, and the ice was breaking up and rushing down the river towards the falls. On top of one of the large blocks of ice was a carcass of dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came closer to the edge of the deafening falls, one by one they spread their wings and flew away so as not to get too close to the edge.

One gull, however, delayed. It was engrossed in the carcass of the fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls, it spread its powerful wings to fly away only to find its feet frozen to the block of ice. The bird flapped and flapped but it had delayed too long. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss.

Ø     Jesus says to the crowd

§        Unless you repent, you too will all perish

·        If you continue to concentrate on the carcass and not repent

¨     You will eventually go over the edge into the abyss


v    And he warns of the impending abyss through a Parable


READ 13:6-9 ~ The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


v    This parable displays the amazing patience and mercy of God

Ø     Fig tree does not produce the first 3 years

Ø     4th years crop belongs to Lord (Lev 19:23-25)

Ø     Vineyard owner waited 3 years beyond that

Ø     7 years before decided to uproot

§        Incredible patience!

·        And even when he decides to uproot it

¨     He is convinced to give it one more year!

Ø     What mercy!!

v    You look around at the world

Ø     Hatred, wars, racism, genocide, greed, lying, rampant homosexuality, the proliferation of pornography

§        As a Christian, you would think that God would come now and uproot it  

·        But God is incredibly patient and merciful with the world, just like with the fig tree

¨     2 Peter 3:9

Ø     The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


v    God is patient because he loves his creation and wants to see it saved

Ø     But because God is patient and merciful…

§        It does not always seem like the edge is coming

§        It does not seem like the abyss is before us

§        It does not seem like the uprooting is impending

·        Man just goes on his way, concentrating on the carcass…Sinning

¨     Presuming on the patience of God

Ø     Not realizing that there is a fine line between God’s patience and his wrath

v    An Anonymous writer penned the following poem

Ø     I think it sums up what Jesus is saying through his parable

There is a line by us unseen

That crosses every path,

The hidden boundary between

God's patience and his wrath.

O where is that mysterious bourne

By which our path is crossed,

Beyond which God himself has sworn

That he who goes is lost?

How far can one go on in sin?

How long will mercy spare?

Where does grace end and where begin

The confines of despair?

An answer from the sky is sent:

Ye who from God depart,

While it is called today repent,

And harden not your heart.

v    We don’t know when the end is coming

Ø     It could be today, tomorrow, next week…

§        Jesus says…

·        Don’t presume of the patience of God

·        Harden not your heart

¨     While it is called today…

Ø     Repent


§        True repentance is

·        Intellectual

¨     Acts of mind

·        Volitional

¨     Evidenced by actions

·        Emotional

¨     Felt by emotions

Ø     To varying degrees

Ø     Because of sin, all are going to die

§        V. 3 & 5 ~ You too will all perish

§        Death is not the cause of any one sin

·        It is the punishment for original sin

¨     Genesis 2:16

Ø     You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die

§        Death is a product of original sin being introduced into the world

·        Possibly define “original sin”

·        Sinful acts are the symptoms of a sinful heart

¨     Jer 17:9

Ø     The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can trust it?


v    What is the answer?

Ø     Jesus says…

·        That is…

¨     Until something horrific happens,

Ø     Like these Jews until the temple massacre happened

Ø     Or like America until the Twin Towers Terrorist attack

Ø     That is when we ask the question


v    But the Scriptures teach us that the uprooting is coming

Ø     2 Peter 3:10

§        The abyss is coming

§        The world will be uprooted


Ø     Sin and the Patience of God

§        Do not use God’s patience as an excuse to sin

§        Do not test the patience of God

v    Run of the Mill

This expression alludes to fabrics coming directly from a mill without having been sorted or inspected for quality.

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