53 Luke 14.1-14
Sent to the ‘Principles’ Office
v Jesus got there early. He had been invited to the house of a high ranking Pharisees for dinner and it was polite to be a few minutes early to say that he appreciated the invite. After some brief pleasantries he was shown to his place and he reclined at the table.
v He watched as all the right people filed in. Those with money, those with connections, those with
v He watched as the guests then proceeded to play musical chairs, fighting for the most prominent spots closest to the head of the “U” shaped table
v He watched and he knew that this was not going to be a relaxing dinner. He knew because he had been invited to dinners like this before. He could see the rather indiscreet pointing, the quick glances out of the corner of their eyes, the feigned politeness with which he was greeted.
v Jesus knew something was up so he just waited for the other shoe to drop.
v The hall was full. The musical chairs had finally subsided. The guests had finally stopped fighting over who was to sit where. All the chairs at the table were full except for one. One on the very end.
v A weak knock was heard at the door. The host got up and walked to the door all the while glancing back at Jesus. He opened the door and there stood a man who was obviously afflicted with some type of disease. This man was certainly was out of place in this hall full of prominent, wealthy, high ranking guests.
v No one else heard it, but Jesus certainly did. It was a very distinct thud. The other shoe had just hit the floor.
v This situation was not new to Jesus
Ø He had been confronted again and again by the Pharisees
§ Especially on the Sabbath
v But this day was different
Ø Jesus looked around and saw an opportunity
§ The hall was full of men who had the responsibility to teach Israel about The Kingdom of God
· His Kingdom!
v Yet these men perverted the word of God
Ø What they were teaching his flock was full of error
§ And Jesus saw an opportunity to correct them in three areas
v The first correction…
Ø The Kingdom of God is all about Mercy
It is our misery that calls forth God's mercy.
A parent knows how this is. When a child is suffering from a severe cold with a sore throat, runny nose, severe congestion, and assorted aches and pains, and all he can do is throw his arms around your neck and cry, what does this evoke in you as a parent? It awakens your pity, and you reach out and try to relieve the child's distress in any way you possibly can. Why? Because his misery has called forth your mercy.
v And this man’s misery awakened Jesus mercy
Ø Because that is what the kingdom of God is all about!
§ You can see that in the two questions Jesus asks
· Should be answered with a “yes”
¨ V. 3 and 5
Ø Most of all on God’s day…the Sabbath
§ Mercy should be shown!
v But that is certainly not what had been modeled and taught about God is that…
Ø He was not a merciful God
Ø He was full of judgment and wrath
Ø He sat up there just waiting for them to make a mistake so he could punish them
§ Isn’t that the view that many people have of God the Father today?
v Youth Group Illustration
Ø Anderson flipping to the back of the Bible and reading Rev 22:18-19
§ I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Ø His question was: Why does God threaten me? Why does God want to take away people’s lives?
§ Do you see the view of God that he has?
· He doesn’t see (because he doesn’t know) that God wants to protect his Revelation because it finally answers the two questions that plague man about God
¨ Why do bad people prosper? (Fairness of God)
Ø They don’t!
¨ Why do bad things happen to god’s people?
Ø They do…in this life
Ø This life is not fair!
§ But Jesus is coming to correct all that
· The next one is perfect!
§ But the youth just saw the wrath and judgment of God in that verse
· Not the grace and mercy
v I think it takes us a while to truly understand and see the mercy of God in our own lives
Ø How he cares and protects us
Ø How he puts his hand of protection over us
Ø How he shields us from so much
Ø How he does not give us what we deserve so many times
§ For that is the definition of mercy…
· Justice is getting what you do deserve
· Grace is getting what you do not deserve
· Mercy is not getting what you do deserve
¨ We all deserve punishment for our sins
¨ We all look like this man spiritually
Ø Describe dropsy
§ We are miserable in our sin
· But our misery calls forth God’s mercy
v The Kingdom of God is all about mercy
v The second correction…
Ø The Kingdom of God is all about Humility
v Boy! You can imagine the squirming that was going on while he told this parable!
Ø Jesus was hitting them right between the eyes
§ With all the musical chairs at the beginning of the dinner
· Pushing and shoving to try to sit next to the right person
· Rushing to get to the head of the table
v But those were the rules for life that the Religious elite had modeled
Ø The Kingdom of God was for the prominent, the important
§ It was…
· Salvation by recognition
· Eternal life through temporal significance
· Immortality through notoriety
Ø The religious class had taught that the rules for this life were to be
There is an unusual bicycle race in India. The object of the race was to go the shortest distance possible within a specified time. At the start of the race, everyone cues up at the line, and when the gun sounds all the bicycles, as best they could, stayed put. Racers were disqualified if they tipped over or one of their feet touched the ground. And so they inch forward just enough to keep the bike balanced. When the time was up, the person who had gone the farthest was the loser and the person closest to the starting line was the winner.
Imagine getting into that race and not understanding how the race works. When the race starts, you pedal as hard and fast as you possibly can. You're out of breath. You're sweating. You're delighted because the other racers are back there at the starting line. You're going to break the record. You think, This is fantastic. Don't let up. Push harder and faster and longer and stronger.
At last you hear the gun that ends the race, and you are delighted because you are unquestionably the winner. Except you are unquestionably the loser because you misunderstood how the race is run.
Jesus gives us the rules to the eternal race of life. The finish line is painted on the other side of our deaths, right in front of the throne of God himself. The winning strategy for this life and for all eternity is caring about others and not about ourselves. It is letting others go first and not pushing to the front. It is giving without the expectation of getting in return. It is realizing that the first will be last and the last will be first. It is to be humble, like Jesus.
v The Pharisees in their desire to be prominent…
Ø In their desire to be first…
§ Failed to remember how the race of life is won
v They overlooked the warning of Zephaniah 3:11
Ø On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill.
v They ignored what Prov 16:19 instructs
Ø Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
v They simply forgot the simple rules of life that Micah 6:8 teaches
Ø He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God
§ I am sure that this was ringing in Jesus’ mind as he saw them scramble for the seats of prominence
· But what Jesus was telling them…
¨ And what he is reminding us today is that…
Ø After rushing for the best seats, the most honored seats at the table of the feast of the lamb, the Lord will take his chair and put it at the other end of the table!
v The third correction…
Ø The Kingdom of God is all about Generosity
v Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
Ø We all know him for his famous discovery of the the law of gravity
Ø Brilliant mathematician
Ø Studied the planets and came up with theories about how they were governed
Ø Did foundational works in the study of light and the speed of sound
Ø But one of his most important work was done in the field of classical mechanics
§ 3 Laws of Motion
· An object at rest tends to stay at rest
· Acceleration is directly proportional to the force exerted and the mass exerted upon.
· To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
v The Pharisees didn’t know it, but they were actually applying Newton’s third law in their spiritual lives when it came to generosity
Ø To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
§ When they did something, they expected something in return
· That is how they lived
¨ A Quid Pro Quo type of existence
v They give with the expectation of getting something in return
Ø They give with strings attached
§ But that is not Kingdom generosity
v Kingdom generosity has 3 laws as well…
Ø The first law of kingdom generosity states…
§ Give with no strings attached
· How you show this is by giving to those who cannot repay you
¨ Here the poor, crippled, lame, blind
Ø The second law of Kingdom generosity states…
§ Give knowing that the blessing is not in this world
· The quid pro quo is not in this lifetime, but the one to come
John Rascus put $300 in the collection plate when it passed, and he said softly, "I'll see you in heaven." Those around him said, "Old John is getting senile. He says he is going to see that $300 in heaven. He may meet his Maker over there, but he certainly won't meet his money."
Now, the church treasurer used some of that $300 to pay the electric bill. He gave some of it to the preacher to buy gasoline. Some went to ministerial students, and some to the mission field.
Early one morning John Rascus died in his sleep. On that first Lord's Day in glory, he walked down the golden streets and a young fellow came up and said, "Thank you, brother John. I was cold and lonely and it was a dark night. I saw the lights on in the church. Just to get out of the dark, I went in. While there, the darkness left my soul and I found Jesus."
Another came to him saying, "The preacher came to the filling station. As I filled his tank, he told me about Jesus and I gave my heart to the Lord."
Next John met a throng of people who said, "I want to thank you for those students you helped. They preached the gospel to my family, and we found the Lord."
He next met those of strange tongues who said, "Thank you, brother, for sending us the gospel across the seas."
Finally old John came to Hallelujah Square and, turning to an angel, he said, "Ifeel sorry for you angels. You have never known what it is to be saved by the blood of Jesus, My Lord."
John Rascus mused a moment, then added, 'and you do not know what it is to transform the possessions of earth into the treasures of heaven."
§ You see…
· It is not about getting something here
¨ It is about giving something for eternity
Ø The third Law of Kingdom generosity states…
§ Be Magnanimous in your giving
· Give above and beyond what we think we are capable of
¨ For an example of this we have to look no further that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
¨ Turn to Philippians 2 (pg 1827)
Ø He generously gave up his deity to become like us
§ Phil 2:6-7
· Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Ø He generously gave up his life for us
§ Phil 2:8
· And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
¨ Nothing more valuable than your life
· And verses 9-11 of Philippians proves the second Law of Kingdom generosity all over again
¨ Phil 2:9-11
Ø Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Ø to teach these men who should have known about the Kingdom of God
· Jesus was about to take this opportunity to teach 3 principles of the Kingdom of God
v In order to be part of the social elite, you had to go to the right dinner parties, cocktail parties and events
Ø In order to get into that circle, you had to throw a dinner party and invite the “right” people
§ Then they were indebted to you and they would invite you to their next event
· But what Jesus says here is…
¨ A selfish quid pro quo life is not kingdom life
v Jesus looked around the hall and saw who was there
Ø The prominent, the wealthy, the elite
§ Perhaps he even looked into their hearts, as he could, and saw the reason for the invites
· So that they would be invited to their next party
¨ You see, society 2,000 years ago is much like it is today…