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The Inclusive Gospel

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Greeting

Good Morning Church.
To any of you who may be new here, guests, passing through, first-timers; WELCOME.
We’re glad you’re here to celebrate with us today.
Have a lot to Celebrate :: Baptisms
My name is Rob.
I’m one of the elders here at Hillside.
One small part of what I get to do here is preach from time to time.

Introduction

What you just saw was a video in which Paul Harvey interviewed Billy Graham at his farm in North Carolina in 1980.
If you have been a follower of Jesus or around Church for any length of time...
even if you haven’t - good chance you know who Billy Graham was.
He always preached very basic gospel message. 8th Grade Level.
Didn’t dive deep into Greek, Hebrew. Didn’t use fancy words.
Very definition of knowing nothing but Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2:2)
According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association...
He preached to more than 210 million people in more than 185 countries across the world.
With all that traveling and meeting people from...
different national and familial values
nations with different primary religions
different social and economic standing
The gospel proved to be the one message that had equal reaction in every nation and among every people.
As if it were a universal language that somehow broke through all cultural boundaries and cut all people to the heart.
What we’ll aim to see this morning is...

The Gospel has always been for all people.

Don’t have to talk about the implications for this being true in a room full of gentiles
But I will a little anyway.
Go ahead and stand with me if you’re able and
open your bibles to Luke 4. We’ll be in verses 16-30 this morning.
If you don’t have a bible with you the words will be on the screen.
Luke 4:16–30 ESV
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘ “Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.
You may be seated

Body

The books of Luke and Acts were both written to a gentile named Theophilus.
Beginning of Luke tells us that Luke wrote a “narrative of the things that have been accomplished” through the coming of Jesus.
Luke 1:1,4
Luke 1:1 ESV
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,
Luke 1:4 ESV
that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
Then in verse 4 he states that the purpose for writing this “Narrative”.
It was so Theophilus would have “certainty” in the things that he was taught.
Luke spent at least two years with Paul as he was imprisoned and still proclaiming the good news to the gentiles.
So Luke was a direct witness to proclamation of the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles alike.
So, one of the main themes in the Narrative of Luke
as Luke is attempting to strengthen the faith of Theophilus
is that the good news; the long awaited Messiah King came not only for Israel but for ALL people.
It would’ve been one of the most obvious foundational truths taught to Theophilus.
The Gospel has always been for all people.
We see this throughout both Luke and Acts.
A few examples of Luke intentionally making the “Gospel for ALL” point are...

1. The differences in Genealogies in Matthew and Luke.

Matthew goes back to Abraham. chapter 1
Matthew was written to a Jewish audience.
Luke goes back to Adam then God. chapter 3
to include the time before Israel was a people when God still had redemptive and restorative intentions.

2. Simeon’s Blessing in chapter 2 (Luke 2:32)

Luke 2:32 ESV
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
Simeon Says...
Luke 2:29–32 ESV
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

3. Luke’s Description of the ministry of John the Baptist in chapter 3 (Luke 3:6)

Luke 3:6 ESV
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”
Luke Says...
Luke 3:4–6 ESV
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ”
From the beginning of Luke to the end of Acts, Luke paints a picture of a gospel that reaches the gentiles.
There was a bigger picture to be discovered.
In our Narrative today we see Jesus come home to Nazareth.
He chose this passage on purpose. It wasn’t a mistake.
This text was one with obvious and known connection to the coming Messiah.
No one would’ve questioned that. This was written and understood to be about the Messiah to come.
Jesus reads it, gives the scroll back, then sits to teach.
I’m sure the anxiety there.
Jesus has already formed a reputation - vs. 14-15.
So, anxiety, heavy tension could be felt as they waited for him to expound on such a deeply meaningful text.
Didn’t spend the week before exegeting the text and developing main ideas and application of the text to prepare for his session. You can get by with that if the prophecy is written about you.
Luke 4:21 ESV
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
The grand explanation
The big idea
The proclamation Jesus makes
concerning this prophecy was… “I’ve just ushered in this ‘day of the Lord’s favor’ and this is about me.” “I’m him.”
So without apology or question, Jesus claims in the presence of all in attendance to be the Messiah; the King they’d been waiting on for generations.
He claimed to be the very Son of God.
Luke 4:18–19 ESV
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Notice their initial reaction in verse 22.
Luke 4:22 ESV
And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
They didn’t necessarily object right away!
All four Gospel accounts are include many moments in which Jesus claims to be Messiah
to a Jewish audience just like this
immediately they ridicule, hate, plot to kill him, etc.
Here they don’t.

“Jesus Rejected at Nazareth” is the title in most bibles.

It doesn’t look like he was rejected as Messiah based on their reaction.
So, why was Jesus “rejected at Nazareth”?
In chapter 2:34-35 Simeon said to Mary regarding Jesus...
Luke 2:34–35 ESV
And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
After their initial response Jesus does just that.
He reveals what is in their hearts.
Jesus makes two quick references from the history of Israel. Two stories.
and it’s then that the Nazarene’s reveal what’s in their heart. | murderous thoughts arise | Eyes that looked on him with awe became enraged and Mob-like.
both of these stories happened during times when Israel was rebelling against God.
They were worshipping other gods | There were other, more important objects of their affection | Yahweh had been forgotten.
And in each of these stories, despite Israel being in need, God sent two of the most revered prophets in Israel’s history (Elijah and Elisha) to minister to and heal GENTILES instead.
They didn’t reject him as Messiah. They rejected him as a Messiah for ALL people.
And just as John the Baptist told those who came to be baptized by him in 3:8...
Luke 3:8 ESV
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

Jesus knew - their hearts | they believed it was about them | they believed they were deserving of Messiah and others weren’t.

He knew what what was in their hearts and he brought it to the surface.
Augustine said…
“They love truth when it enlightens them, but hate truth when it accuses them.”
But if we’re honest; completely honest…don’t we as well?

Application

In the very same way we’ve seen this “inclusive” gospel revealed | need for it is absolutely as inclusive.
We all equally need the gospel.
Let us not fall into the same way of thinking as the Nazarene’s did here.
We all are bent toward thinking it’s about us.
That we have a right to God’s mercy.
That we’ve somehow earned his grace.
We forget that this is absolutely based on the sovereignty of God and not on any merit of our own.
Romans 9:15 ESV
For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Just as we’ve learned in Genesis so far...
Noah: Chosen not earned grace.
Luke 18:13 ESV
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
Only when we think like the Tax Collector in Luke 18:13 do we rightly understand our position with God.

We MUST be a church family who understands that when Jesus says...

Mark 1:14–15 ESV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
It means we have things for which to repent.
We have sins from which to turn.
There are folks in churches all across this nation right now that believe
church attendance will save them.
Kindness to neighbor will save them.
A good work ethic will save them.
Reading the Bible will save them.
When Salvation only comes if we repent and believe the gospel.
There are men and women in every church across America who believe in a gospel that isn’t true!
Not only would it be wrong to assume HBC is different. It would be irresponsible and naive.
The baptisms that we’re about to go witness are not magical or mystical. It’s water. That’s it.
It’s a beautiful act of obedience but it does NOT save the people being baptized from the wrath of God.
So, if you’re here and you believe you’re a son or daughter of God simply because you’ve been baptized or because your name is on a church membership ledger...
If that’s the basis, then it’s very likely that you’re not a son or daughter of God at all.
Hear my heart here. I’m not trying to demean anyone’s denominational background here.
This is a salvation issue. A soul issue. So I care much more about that than everyone liking me when we’re finished here.
Let’s not make the same mistakes as we’ve seen in the story this morning.
The Gospel has always been for all people.
It’s meant for you, don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s about you.
This whole thing is about God.
From Adam and Eve deciding they would be their own gods in the very beginning...
to me being more angry with my boys because they have disobeyed almighty me, than I am that by disobeying their parents they’ve disobeyed God himself.
And it’s about God. He’s the central figure.
This whole thing is about a God who...
Created a perfect paradise where there was only one rule.
Created humanity in his image to enjoy him and his creation and to fill it with his image.
And as creation held up its fist to Creator and declared, “we will be our God”,
bleeding in utter agony on the cross he said, “Father, forgive them”.
Romans 6:10 ESV
For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
2 Peter 3:9 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
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