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The Message of the Master Luke 4;31-44 052007

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The Message of the Master (Luke 4:31-44)

As he looked down at the sick man, the doctor decided to tell him the truth. He said, “I feel that I should tell you that you are a very sick man.  I'm sure you would want to know the facts.  I don't think you have much time left.  Now, is there anyone you would like to see?” 

Bending down toward his patient, the doctor heard him feebly answer, ”Yes.” 

The doctor replied, “Who is it?” 

   In a slightly stronger tone, the patient said, “Another doctor!”

Intro: Perhaps you have faced a prognosis like this man, and perhaps you have requested a second opinion. We often face situations in life that are difficult. Not only do we face difficult times, but we often realize that we have no way of altering the course of our situation.

    Give Background. In our passage in Luke today, we are shown the wonder-working power of Christ. He casts out demons and heals various sicknesses. If we were living in Jesus day, we would say, “I want to see another doctor. I want to see Jesus.” But, I have not entitled my message, “The Miracles of the Master,” but rather, “The Message of the Master.” Why? Because we will also find that Jesus, Himself, reveals His purpose for coming down to earth. His purpose is to preach a message.  Read Luke 4:31-44

 

1.       both the master and the message were confirmed by signs and wonders (31-41)

a.        These signs and wonders are all set within the backdrop of conflict. The conflict between good and evil.

b.        The Message was confirmed – Source – From God

                i.      The authority of Jesus’ teaching confirmed that Jesus was not only God’s Son, the Messiah, but that Jesus had the message from God.

              ii.      Confirmation of where the ultimate power and authority resides.

c.        The Master is confirmed – Identity – God’s Son, The Messiah

                i.      The demons/ Satan’s henchmen declare who Jesus is.

              ii.      The healings and the exorcisms reveal who is behind this power –God Himself.

APP: We can believe God’s Word because it is true. Jesus really did these things.

 

2.       The message of the master was preached to the masses  (42-44)

a.        Jesus main purpose for coming to earth was to preach/ teach the message. He came at a time of transition. He was asking the Jews to change from belief in the promise of a person, the Messiah, to belief in a person who had come, that is Himself, the Messiah.

b.        Jesus preached the Fulfillment of OT prophecy/ Timing

c.        Kingdom of God established Now by His coming and to be continued until its completion at the return of Christ.

d.        Becoming a part of the Kingdom of God is possible through repentance and faith.

Matthew 4:17 (NKJV) From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mark 1:14-15 (NKJV) 14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

3.       Application (31-44)

a.        Turn from Sin and Trust Christ for salvation – Share the Gospel

b.        Trust that God is all-powerful …

                i.      to handle the enemy’s attacks. Demons cringe at the word of God.

             ii.      to heal any sickness. He may choose not to heal, but when He does not heal it is not because He is not able.

c.        Know the Word of God, so you can recognize the work of God.

                i.      Not just the facts of God’s Word, but to really understand it. The people knew the word, but they could not discern that Christ was the Messiah.

              ii.      Why do we need to recognize the work of God? So we can start to participate in what God is doing. He knows what we need in our personal lives, in our families, and in our church.

 THREE KEYS TO RECOGNIZING GOD’S WORK

1.        A right relationship with God – Obedience

2.        A right relationship with our neighbor (family, friend, foe)

3.        A right understanding of God’s Word. (There is no spiritual discernment apart from God’s Word. The Word of God shapes our thinking and our understanding so we can see what God is doing.)

d.        Recognize that we are called to be God’s messengers.

                i.      Jesus was sent.

              ii.      Jesus said to the disciples, “As I have been sent, So send I you.”

             iii.      Today we, who follow Christ, need to hear again the call of the Master that says, “so send I you.”

ILL: Ravi Zacharias, Hien Pham, and the Sovereignty of God

Conclusion: The message of the Master is that God is in control. He has brought about His purposes and plans. He sent His one and only Son into the world. Jesus ended up on the cross, but God’s purposes and plans were at work in all of this. God is able to conquer the evil, with good. Therefore we need to trust Him for salvation, we need to know Him more through His Word so we can weather the difficult times of life. We need to obey Him.

Invitation: Call the lost to salvation. Call the saved to new growth in their walk with God.

ILL: Ravi Zacharias tells an amazing story about God’s sovereignty and purposes. During his ministry in Vietnam in 1971, one of his interpreters who traveled with him was Hien Pham, an energetic, devoted young Christian who had worked very closely as a translator with the American military forces, purely as a civilian, with no official or military responsibilities.  He just knew English so well that he was able to be of immense help to them in their linguistic struggles.

By virtue of that same strength he also worked with the missionaries.  He and Ravi traveled the length of the country and became very close friends before Ravi bade him good-bye when he left Vietnam to return home.  Ravi and Hien were both very young, and neither of them knew if our paths would cross again.  Within four years Vietnam fell, and Hien's fate was unknown.

Seventeen years later, in 1988, Ravi received a surprise telephone call that began with, "Brother Ravi?"  Immediately He recognized Hien's voice.  They got caught up with their pleasantries, then Ravi asked him how he had managed to get out of Vietnam and come to the United States.  Ravi was not prepared for the story He was about to hear.

Shortly after Vietnam fell to the Communists, Hien was arrested.  Accused of aiding and abetting the Americans he was in and out of prison for several years.  During one long jail term, the sole purpose of his jailers was to indoctrinate him against the West - and especially against democratic ideals and the Christian faith.  He was cut off from reading anything in English and restricted to communist propaganda in French or Vietnamese.  This daily overdose of the writings of Karl Marx and others began to take its toll on him.

Hien began to buckle under the onslaught.  MAYBE, he thought, I have been lied to.  Maybe God does not exist.  Maybe my whole life has been governed by lies.  Maybe the West has deceived me.  The more he thought, the more he moved toward a decision.  Finally, he made up his mind.  He determined that when he awakened the next day, he would not pray anymore or ever think of his Christian faith again.

The next morning, he was assigned to clean the latrines of the prison.  It was the most dreaded chore, shunned by everyone, and so with much distress he began the awful task.  As he cleaned out a tin can filled to overflowing with toilet paper, his eye caught what he thought was English printed on one piece of paper.  He hurriedly washed it off and slipped it into his hip pocket, planning to read it at night.  Not having seen anything in English for such a long time, he anxiously waited for a free moment.  Under his mosquito net that night after his roommates had fallen asleep, he pulled out a small  flashlight and shining it on the damp piece of paper he read at the top corner, "Romans, Chapter 8."  Literally trembling with shock, he began to read:

    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....

    What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ...

    ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

    ...  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

(Rom. 8:28,31,32,35,37-39)

Hien wept.  He knew his Bible, and he had not seen one for so long.  Not only that, he knew there was not a more relevant passage of conviction and strength for one on the verge of surrendering to the threat of evil.  He cried out to God, asking for forgiveness, for this was to have been the first day in years that he had determined not to pray.  Evidently the Lord had other plans.

The next day, Hien asked the camp commander if he could clean the latrine again.  He continued with this chore on a regular basis, because he had discovered that some official in the camp was using a Bible as toilet paper. Each day Hien picked up a portion of Scripture, cleaned it off, and added it to his nightly devotional reading.  In this way he retrieved a significant portion of the Bible.

The day came when, through an equally providential set of circumstances, Hien was released.  He promptly began to make plans to escape from the country.

After several unsuccessful attempts he began again to build a boat in secret. About fifty-three other people planned to escape with him, and Hien was taking the lead.  All was going according to plan until a short while before the date of their departure when four Vietcong knocked on Hien's door.  When he opened it, they accosted him and said they had heard he was trying to escape.  "Is it true?" they demanded.  Hien immediately denied it and went on to distract them with some concocted story to explain his activities. Apparently convinced, they reluctantly left.

Hien was relieved but very disappointed with himself.  "Here I go again, Lord, trying to manipulate my own destiny, too unteachable in my spirit to really believe that You can lead me past any obstacle."  He made a promise to God, fervently hoping that the Lord would not take him up on it.  He prayed that if the Vietcong were to come back again, he would tell them the truth. Resting in the comfort of that impossibility, he was thoroughly shaken when only a few hours before they were to set sail the four men stood at his door once more.  "We have our sources, and we know you are trying to escape.  Is it true?"  Hien resignedly gave his answer, "Yes, I am, with fifty-three others.  Are you going to imprison me again?"  There was a pronounced pause. And then they leaned forward and whispered, "No.  We want to escape with you!"

In an utterly incredible escape plan, all fifty-eight of them found themselves on the high seas, suddenly engulfed by a violent storm.  Hien fell with his face in his hands, crying out to God, "Did You bring us here to die?"

As he concluded his story, he said, "Brother Ravi, if it were not for the sailing ability of those four Vietcong, we would not have made it."  They arrived safely in Thailand, and years later Hien arrived on American soil where today he is a businessman - forever grateful for America and praying that she would open her heart as a nation to Christ.

    The famed poet William Cowper wrote:

    God moves in a mysterious way

    His wonders to perform;

    He plants His footsteps in the sea,

    And rides upon the storm.

    His purposes will ripen fast,

    Unfolding every hour:,l,]b fn]nnlhlhlhhhhhhhhhhssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    The bud may have a bitter taste,

    But sweet will be the flower.

    Blind unbelief is sure to err,

    And scan His works in vain:

    God is His own interpreter,

    And He will make it plain.

Farmer Joe decided his injuries from the accident were

serious enough to take the trucking company (responsible

for the accident) to court. In court  the trucking companies

fancy lawyer was questioning farmer Joe. "Didn't you say,

at the scene of the accident, 'I'm fine'?" said the lawyer.

Farmer Joe responded, "Well, I'll tell you what happened. I

had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the......."

"I didn't ask for any details," the lawyer interrupted, "just

answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the

accident, 'I'm fine!'"

Farmer Joe said, "Well, I had just got Bessie into the trailer

and I was driving down the road..."

The lawyer interrupted again and said, "Judge, I am trying

to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this

man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was just

fine. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue

my client. I believe he is a fraud.  Please tell him to simply

answer the question."

By this time the Judge was fairly interested in Farmer Joe's

answer and said to the lawyer, "I'd like to hear what he has

to say about his favorite mule Bessie."

Joe thanked the Judge and proceeded, "Well, as I was saying,

I had just loaded Bessie, my favorite mule, into the trailer

and was driving her down the highway when this huge

semi-truck and trailer ran the stop sign and smacked my

truck right in the side.  I was thrown into one ditch and

Bessie was thrown into the other. I was hurting real bad

and didn't want to move.  However, I could hear ole Bessie

moaning and groaning. I knew she was in terrible shape

just by her groans. Shortly after the accident a Highway

Patrolman came on the scene. He could hear Bessie moaning

and groaning so he went over to her. After he looked at her

he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. Then the

Patrolman came across the road with his gun in his hand and

looked at me.  He said, "Your mule was in such bad shape

I had to shoot her - how are you feeling?"

Miracles can happen, but not as often as some claim.  Three mistakes concerning miracles:

  1. Assuming certain passages of Scripture which have a specific application can be applied generally today.

  2. Failing to distinguish between the different commands of Jesus.

  3. Claiming that salvation guarantees wholeness here and now.

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