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Untitled Document
Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 2:39-52

 

“And when they had performed all these things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom:  and the grace of God was upon him.  Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.  And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.  But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinfolk and acquaintance.  And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.  And when they saw him, they were amazed:  and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?  behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me?  wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.  And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them:  but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”    

 

“‘Father we settle our hearts and Lord as we continue this evening, we continue to look for your presence, Lord, the ministry of your Holy Spirit in our midst.  We thank you Father that we can gather in a public building, sing your praises and lift our hearts before you.  Lord, that you’ve been so faithful that we can come with expectancy.  Lord, so many times as we’ve gathered together corporately, you have come into our midst and touched us individually.  Lord, so many times we’ve come with broken heart and you’ve met us, so many times with physical needs.  Lord how many have come, blind, and you sent them away seeing, born-again.  Lord, because of you, all that you are, and all that you’ve done, Lord our hearts are always filled with anticipation.  Father we pray that in these last days you would grant us boldness, Lord, that we would live without compromise.  And Lord, that there would be no inkling in us to water down your Word in any way, Lord, in a politically correct world that seeks to be friendly, Lord, to everyone to the point of obscuring the Truth.  Lord, allow us to be Light and Salt.  Father we see the harvest is great around us Lord, almost incomprehendable.  And Lord, we are so few in so large a harvest field.  Yet we lift our lives to you, Lord, never knowing what you might do.  Lord, you changed the known world with 120 people in an upper room as you poured out your Spirit.  Lord, as we gather here this evening, who can ever tell, Lord on some Sunday or Wednesday or Thursday, some prayer-meeting, some Bible study, somewhere Lord in Philadelphia or New York or Boston, Father, or Moscow, somewhere that you might decide, Lord, in these last days to pour out your Holy Spirit, and Lord, begin an awakening that would spread around the world.  Lord, because of your goodness and faithfulness, we continue this evening with anticipation, asking Lord that you would take your Word as you took the loaves and fishes so long ago and divide them to us, severally, Lord, each man his portion.  We know you’re the same, we settle our hearts and minds Father as we continue.  Open your Word to us, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

Jesus, from 8 days old to 12 years old

 

We have followed the life of Christ through Luke’s record of his birth, through circumcision on the 8th day, and then the 40th day, the time of Mary’s purification, coming into the Temple courts and encountering Simeon and Anna.  Mary keeping all of these things in her heart, amazed at all that the Lord was doing.  And verse 39 says, “When they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.”  Evidently from there, at some point, they return to Bethlehem and set up house there, knowing that the Scripture said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the city of Joseph’s house and lineage.  Somewhere between when Jesus was a year and a half to two years old the Wise Men arrive in Bethlehem.  We covered that in depth in our study last week.  Herod the Great tracking this whole event, decides to kill all of the children from two years old and younger in Bethlehem, knowing that the Wise Men had returned their own way and not come to him.  Joseph being warned in a dream, took Mary and the child and went down into Egypt.  The Bible tells us as they returned, several years later, they then come to Bethlehem, and again they’re directed of the Lord by an angel to go to Nazareth, the son of Herod the Great ruling [himself also being called Herod].  And Jesus then growing up in Nazareth, being known as a Nazarene as it were, from Nazareth, to fulfill the Scripture.  We pick up here, where those years are veiled to a great degree, from his earliest days until this point when he’s 12 years old in verse 40.  Interesting, the Holy Spirit gives us the simple details.  “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom:  and the grace of God was upon him” (verse 40). It just simply uses the most natural, most common word used for growth, the natural growth of a child.  I have photographs of our vacation last year, and I’m amazed to look at them, to see how little my kids looked one year ago, how much they grow in one year.  And this is the word that’s applied to Jesus, it is the most natural term in the language for just the process of a child growing.  It just interestingly says that Jesus grew, and he was filled with wisdom as the years passed by.  And it says the grace of God was upon him.  Now you might want to take note, that’s the first time the word “grace” is used in the New Testament.  You won’t find the word “grace” in Matthew, or in Mark.  You won’t find it until you come to this verse in Luke, where it says “the grace”, and fitting, the first time we hear of God’s grace is on Jesus, as he’s growing, “the grace of God was upon him.”  And in every indication we have that Jesus grew in the most natural coarse.  I believe that with all my heart.  It tells us in Zechariah, chapter 8, it describes the Kingdom Age in the Millennium, it describes the scene and society there, and it says that ‘the old folks shall walk in the evening upon their canes, and the children shall play in the streets.’  That’s God’s description, it doesn’t say the children will pray in the streets, it says ‘the children will play in the streets,’ God’s ideal in his Kingdom is that elderly people could enjoy the cool of the evening walking upon their canes, without being mugged or robbed and living in fear.  And by the way, in the Kingdom Age elderly people are 800 and 900 year-olds, they are elderly people, and children are playing in the streets.  The ideal in God’s Kingdom, you can let them out, they can play, they can be a child and enjoy the natural process of growth without fear, without being kidnapped.  Jesus in the most natural way now, we just get in a short verse that he grows. 

 

Jesus and family regularly observed Passover & Days of Unleavened Bread in Jerusalem

 

Verse 41 says, “Now his parents went to Jerusalem”---notice---“every year at the feast of the passover.”  And it says “parents” plural, they went every year at the feast of Passover.  Now it wasn’t required of Mary to go every year.  No doubt Mary went every year, it was required of all the Jewish males to go on Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, but Mary evidently goes every year because of all these things that are in her heart.  She’s heard from angels and from shepherds and from Simeon, I mean, she doesn’t want to miss anything.  So she goes every year, evidently along with Joseph.  Jesus is 12.  Now in Judaism today, at 13, a young man is Bar Mitzvah’d, becomes “Bar” which means “the son of,” “Mitzvah”, which is the “Torah” or “the Law”, so “the son of the Law.”  Some scholars feel in this day (of Jesus) that it was at 12 that a young man was Bar Mitzvah’d, 2,000 years ago.  We do know from the Mishnah that a year to two years previous to a Bar Mitzvah, a young man, so it would be from 10 onward, was expected to go up to Jerusalem for the mandatory feasts.  So as a young boy then, he could familiarize himself with the worship that he would become part of.  So in either way, Jesus no doubt has some familiarity with the Temple precincts and with the feasts, at this point in time.  And at 12 it seems, because we’re going to find him dialoguing with the doctors of the Law, that he is a Bar Mitzvah, a “son of the Law.”  So they went up every year at Passover.  “And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.  And when they had fulfilled the days,”---plural, no doubt stayed the week [the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, cf. Leviticus 23:5-8, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm]---“as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.  But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance” (verses 42-44).  And I think this gives us an insight into the character of young Jesus, “supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey…And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him” (verse 45).  So you can imagine the scene again in the natural, we talked about that a little last week.  Here they go leaving Jerusalem, the custom of the day was for the women and children to travel ahead, the men would come up behind following.  The children typically would be with the women, but Jesus as a Bar Mitzvah may have walked with the men, 12 years old.  And a day’s journey out of Jerusalem, they supposing him to have been with the company, that’s the kind of kid he was.  He wasn’t the kind of kid that you had to worry about, pulling pranks or running away.  That was his nature (to be reliable), they supposed he’d be there with the family.  And as they get a day out, of course at the end of the day they take inventory, and Joseph says to Mary, ‘Where is he?’ and Mary says ‘Well I thought you had him.’  And Joseph says ‘What do you mean I thought you had him?  I don’t have him’ and they go back and forth.  And again, just imagine the feeling of loosing the Messiah.  Imagine how you would feel after angels talked to you, and prophets talked to you, and everybody talked to you, all of a sudden having this sense of ‘What in the world have we done?  Of all the human beings on earth, God entrusted the Messiah to us, and we’ve lost him!’  So they head back to Jerusalem.  And it takes them three days [to find Jesus].  And if you have children at home, imagine how you would feel if one of your children was missing for three days.  I doubt whether you’d sleep.  And again, I don’t think they slept, they were waiting for an angel to show up in their bedroom and say ‘What’d you do with him?’.  I’m sure they didn’t rest. 

 

We Can Lose Track of Jesus in Our Lives

 

Though I think sometimes it’s interesting, I think that as we look at the Church at large, I think we see many people who are never born-again [having never entered the process of salvation, never received the indwelling Holy Spirit within them], they join the Church through some formula, through some tradition.  You know, you can’t join the Church, you have to be born into the Church, the Church is a family.  I have children.  None of them joined, they were all born into our family.  You can’t join the Church.  There are many people who attend church, who are religious, who don’t know Christ.  They know about Christ, but they’re not born-again [i.e. they have not received the Holy Spirit and have not thus entered into the process of salvation].  And they think [Joseph and Mary, back to the story flow] he’s traveling with the company.  They assume he’s there in the crowd.  And what a shock it is to come to the end the journey and realize he’s never been there.  And I think how desperately we need an awakening in our nation.  I think though even as Christians sometimes, we can lose track of Jesus in our own lives, because we assume he will always be the way that he was.  We assume that he’ll always be where he always was the way he always was.  And you know, we get saved [enter the process of salvation, receiving the Holy Spirit] as young Christians [i.e. new-believers], and I think God is very gracious to us, I mean, many of us as young Christians, we know that the Lord is near because we get goose-bumps.  I mean, we come into this relationship, and he is very kind and condescending to do the things we need him to do, to let us realize his presence, to where we play this Christian roulette where we open our Bible, and sometimes he’s actually gracious enough to give us a verse.  [I remember those times, when I was first called.]  But as time goes on, it isn’t that he changes, because he’s ever the same, but it is that he is growing us.  We don’t find him, as we mature, in the same ways that we found him as we were younger.  Again, my 8-year-old daughter is very addicted to sitting on my lap, very addicted to hugging and very addicted to having the sensation of my physical presence.  She needs daddy-love she calls it, “I need some daddy-love”, she wants to get up on my lap, and she’s always there, and she needs that, that’s her assurance…Now I have one ten years older, an 18-year-old.  She does not want daddy-love [laughter].  If I come up to her in front of her friends and try to give her daddy-love, she’s embarrassed, she’s hitting me, she’s pushing me away.  It’s interesting, but the older one appreciates much more my love and my commitment, because as an 18-year-old she’s begun to understand the commitment that it takes, and the years that have gone by, and the late nights up with fevers, and the paying for the bills.  There is less of a personal need of my presence to prove my love, and more of a belief and assurance that I will always be there and care for her, whatever she needs, whenever she needs it.  And I think sometimes as we grow in Christ, we assume that he will always be the same way in the journey, and all of a sudden we’re shocked when he’s not giving us those early proofs anymore, where we need the goose-bumps or we need that Bible formula, and all of a sudden we’re saying, ‘Oh I’ve lost track of him.’  No, no he’s just growing us.  He’s just allowing us to grow, and we’re coming to the point where we actually believe what he says.  And we know that whether we feel him or not, he’s right next to us.  Sometimes when he’s right next to us, we sense his presence.  Sometimes when he’s right next to us, we don’t sense his presence.  But he’s in the same place, he never leaves us or forsakes us.  And when you don’t sense the presence of the Lord, you can be assured that he’s right next to you, but not wanting you to sense his presence.  It’s not confusing.  But I think sometimes as a younger child needs that constant encouragement, and God is so gracious to grow us, and he speaks to us as his children, and he says as we’re young children we need the sincere milk of the Word, and how as in Christ and begin to love the Scripture, that we begin to chew on meatier things and understand his love and depth of what he’s done for us.  And yet I think there’s a whole company traveling along with us who call themselves Christians, that have no idea that Jesus is not in their company.  You know, they’re Christian by name, they’re Christian by organization, but they’re not Christian by individual experience.  And the Bible is clear, that unless a man is born again [direct quote from John 3] he will in no wise see the Kingdom.  But it has to be an individual experience.  My children at home, my one daughter, couldn’t have an experience with me for my other daughter, for her sister.  She couldn’t have a relationship with me for her sister.  Her sister has to have it herself, or she has no relationship.  If I feed them and give them something to eat, the one can’t eat for the other. If the one could eat all day, the other one could still die of starvation.  She has to partake of life, she has to partake of what I am giving.  And I think sometimes even as Christians we go through that, you know, ‘Are we losing track of him?’  No, he’s always there, he never leaves us or forsakes us.  But I think we’re growing in our perception of who he is and how he deals with us. 

 

“I Must Be About My Father’s Business”

 

Mary and Joseph in the meantime are in a panic, searching all over Jerusalem.  It says in verse 46, “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.”  Now these are the doctors of the Law, the scribes, the Pharisees, no doubt the greatest teachers, Gamaliel, the greatest teachers of the Law in that day were gathered there at the Passover.  Now when it says he was hearing them in verse 46, that means he was hearing their questions, because in verse 47 it says they were astonished at his answers.  So as his parents come in, here’s 12-year-old Jesus, he’s asking questions of the doctors of the Law, and listening to their answers, and they’re asking him questions in return, and they’re listening to his answers. So there’s this dialogue that is taking place.  And again it’s interesting, it says “And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (verse 47).  So he had gathered a crowd, and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and his answers.  Now that word in verse 47 there, “astonished” is the word that Luke most often uses of people’s reaction to the miracles of Jesus.  It has to do with trembling or astonishment.  It isn’t just that they are saying, ‘Man this is a smart kid.’  They are sitting there listening to 12-year-old Jesus, and there is a trembling, there’s a fear, there’s an astonishment, there’s a sense of a supernatural or a miraculous involvement in the dialogue in what they’re hearing, there is something there that is hard for them to understand.  And no doubt God is setting the stage for the ministry that will come years after this.  I wonder if Nicodemus is there?  And I wonder if he’ll remember what Jesus was like when he was 12?  I wonder if Joseph of Arimathea was there, or Gamaliel, I wonder if Saul of Tarsus is there as a member of the Sanhedrin?  It says “when they saw him,”---his parents---“they were amazed:  and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?  behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (verse 48)---just like mothers, I can’t even believe this, here’s mom even embarrassing the Messiah [chuckles].  ‘Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?’ you can imagine that, you know, even the Messiah, his mom comes in and embarrasses him in front of everyone.  ‘Don’t you know we were looking for you, where’ve you been?’  You know, that’s a mom’s job.  “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold,---look what she says, speaking of Joseph---“thy father and I have sought thee, sorrowing.”  And I guess they had been sorrowing.  “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me?  wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”  Now these are the first recorded words of Jesus also.  “Wist ye not”, beautiful King James language for “didn’t you know?”  “Didn’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?”  Now it’s an interesting answer in that he contrasts, ‘Don’t you know’ Mary says ‘Your father and I were looking for you?’  And Jesus says, ‘Really, well how is it that you didn’t know I had to be about my Father’s’, saying essentially that Joseph is not my father, ‘I had to be about my Father’s business.’  And the phrase there “I must be”, it’s a word of urgency, it’s a word that means he was constrained.  Now what it’s telling us is that God the Father, as they were evidently leaving Jerusalem, or as they had been there for the Feast, had gotten hold of the heart of 12-year-old Jesus in a particular way in regards to being in the Temple, and had taken hold of him and shook him.  And Jesus is saying ‘I was constrained, how is it you don’t understand?  No, I had to be here, doing this right now.’  And I believe that God the Father again was setting the stage for the ministry that would come years after that.  It was God the Father’s purpose to have this 12-year-old now, and I think his grace, exposed to the religious leaders and to the nation.  Annas was there, Caiaphas no doubt was in the midst, who would be high priest.  And no doubt God the Father, ministering his grace, because you know, a child is so disarming.  When you go to your friends and your relatives or your parents, and you try to share Jesus with them, you know how they get sometimes, don’t you?  Does somebody here know what I’m talking about?  [laughter]  But isn’t it much different when one of the kids, a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old says “Grandma, do you know Jesus?”  You know, Grandma doesn’t turn around and cut her head off like she does with you.  She’ll say, “Well, of course, honey.”  [laughter]  And the kid then says, “Well how come you don’t read your Bible?”  And “How come you don’t pray?”  I mean, isn’t it just like God the Father to have 12-year-old Jesus, the first experience that maybe Caiaphas and Annas and Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea and Gamaliel and Saul of Tarsus have with him, is at 12-years-old, they’re disarmed, they’re sitting there flabbergasted, they’re amazed, they’re mouths are hanging open.  And it says they’re astonished as they’re listening to him.  Doesn’t say anything about an offense.  Amazing. 

 

Single Parent Family of Jesus

 

“And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them” (verse 50), “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject [that’s in the present perfect tense, “was continually subject unto them.”] unto them:  but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart” (verse 51).  Now, by the way, this is the last we hear of his step father, Joseph in the New Testament was in this scene.  [Now I am, being the extreme history buff that I am, going to recommend you read the chapters titled “Section Two:  Jesus’ “Missing Eighteen Years” (Ages 12-30)” pp. 154-180, from Steven Collins’ book “PARTHIA The Forgotten Ancient Superpower And Its Role In Biblical History”.  Evidently, as Collins’ seems to prove, Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus’ uncle.  And when Joseph died, he took over the raising and instruction of Jesus, as an uncle would do for a deceased brother or brother-in-law.  He could have been an uncle on Mary’s side or Joseph’s side, we do not know.  But it would appear that Joseph of Arimathea was a prosperous merchant who held Roman citizenship.  It is very interesting extra-Biblical reading.  It doesn’t affect Scripture in any way, but may lend understanding to certain events.]  Ah, Jesus grew up at some point, under a single mom, for all of you single moms out there.  He understands your heart, he understands your struggle, Jesus himself being in that environment, being the oldest, with sisters, with James and Jude, his younger brothers.  Maybe you’re the oldest at home and had to bear the responsibility for younger brothers and sisters.  You can go to Jesus too.  He understands exactly where you’re at.  Maybe you’re a child who didn’t have the family you thought you should have, because a parent was missing or something was wrong, or one died untimely, and you felt robbed.  Jesus knows exactly where you are too.  The amazing thing to me is, here is God in human flesh, coming down to Nazareth and being subject to his parents.  This takes away all of our excuses, teenagers have no excuses when they read this verse.  Jesus, who was God, came and subjected himself continually to imperfect parents. They weren’t always right, they didn’t always do the right thing, they made mistakes.   But Jesus came and was subject to them, because of a greater Father, again, we talked about this Sunday, he had a greater Father who he was really subject to.  He knew that the Law said that he should honor his mother and father [the 5th Commandment].  And it’s clear in the Bible, when you study, that all honor, all glory, all dominion, all power belongs to God.  And it’s his choice, the sovereign choice to take some of his honor and place it upon parents, and then command children to honor your mother and father with the honor that he has honored them with.  Not because they’re always right, not because they’re the smartest, not because…it’s because God says it.  And Jesus here never broke the Law, here he is, a teenager, who really does know more than his parents, subject to them.  I think it was Mark Twain who said he was amazed how smart his parents became by the time he was 20.  [laughter] 

 

A Mystery About Jesus

 

“And Jesus increased with wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (verse 52).  It certainly is a verse that describes the mystery of his incarnation.   How could he be totally God, and increase in wisdom?  And yet, if he wasn’t totally man, he couldn’t be our Kinsman and Redeemer.  He was totally man, “he had to increase in wisdom and stature, like a human.  “He increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.”  No sense arguing about it, we don’t understand it.  But I’m glad he did it, because he can relate to us as we increase in wisdom.  That’s a blessing.

 

Luke 3:1-17

 

“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.  Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father:  for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:  every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?  And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.  And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose:  he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:  whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

 

Beginning of John the Baptist’s Ministry

 

“Now in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, and Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness” (verses 1-2).—Luke is going to do this, Luke is a great chronicler, and he gives us at least six names to place when this is taking place.  He chronicles well.  So he names a group of rulers, “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius”  [14AD + 15 = 29AD] who was the adopted son of Augustus Caesar, now he’s giving us the time, “Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea,” and scholars mocked that for a long time, because there was no literal record of Pontius Pilate anywhere.  Of course, the interesting thing occurred this century, when they built the Aswan Dam in Egypt, which was prophecied, by the way in Isaiah 19, they built the Aswan Dam, the Aswan Dam as it held back the waters of the Nile, the amount of silt that used to wash up along the shore of the Mediterranean on the coast of Israel was brought way down.  And the huge sand dunes that were all along the beaches of Israel, north of Nathanial and that area in Caesarea, they began to dwindle, and the dunes began to get lower.  And from a helicopter, a military helicopter, some of the Israeli military saw a huge horseshoe in the sand beginning to appear.  So they went and they unearthed it, and here was the amphitheatre that Paul sat before Agrippa and the whole city of Caesarea by the Sea was found, discovered.  And one of the things they discovered there was a stone, a large stone, and on it, it says Pontius Pilotus, and it speaks of him being governor of the area.  And once again the scholars crawled back into their holes with their tails between their legs, that always happens, the Bible is always true.  So Pontius Pilate, it says at this point in time was governor of Judea.  No doubt his headquarters were in Caesarea.  Paul was there for two years, held under guard.  Luke was attending to him while he was there.  No doubt a lot of these things Luke recorded as he talked to eye-witnesses and people that knew the whole story. He tells us in the first chapter, right from the beginning, no doubt a lot of that was probably done right there in the area of Caesarea.  It says “Herod” that’s Antipas “being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip the tetrarch” and you don’t want to confuse him with Herod Philip, “of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests,” notice the plural there, it is unusual, because there should be one high priest.  At this time “the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.”  This is John the Baptist.  Now Annas and Caiaphas, Annas was high priest first, and I think he was high priest from about AD 3 or 4 to about AD 15, and Caiaphas was appointed high priest, he was a Roman appointee from about AD 15 to AD36, so over twenty years.  So both of them were recognized.  The Jews recognized Annas because of his lineage to Aaron, but the Romans appointed Caiaphas because they had trouble controlling that part of the world, and being a Roman soldier and getting a tour in Judea was almost a curse.  So they appointed Caiaphas high priest because they had control over his life.  He was actually the son-in-law of Annas.  So at this point in time, there were two high priests, a Roman appointee, and a Jewish high priest after the order of Aaron.  So it mentions that, it was an unusual time, and it takes note of it. 

 

John the Baptist, Last of the Old Testament Prophets

 

And then it says this, “the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.”  It’s interesting, because it’s the only time in the New Testament anywhere where is says “the word of God came to…”  Now it was used often in the Old Testament of the prophets, “the word of God came to Elijah,” “the word of God came to Isaiah,” “the word of God came to Jeremiah.”  But it’s interesting, Luke will tell us in chapter 16, verse 16, “that the law and the prophets were until John.”  So John the Baptist is the last of the Old Testament prophets.  And the last time we have in the Bible this phrase “the word of the God came unto” is in regards to John the Baptist.  Jesus would say this, Jesus would say ‘Of those born among women, he’s the greatest prophet that ever lived.’  He was greater than David, greater than Elijah, greater than Jeremiah, greater than Abraham, he was the greatest prophet that ever lived.  And the reason is twofold.  One is, he was the prophet that was prophecied of by Isaiah, “Behold I send my messenger before my face, declaring the way of the LORD.”  He was the prophet that the prophets had prophecied.  And secondly, of all the prophets, and the Bible tells us in Revelation 19, “that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”, it’s what drove prophets, was the testimony of Messiah.  He was the only one of all the prophets that could actually take his finger and say, “Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”  Isaiah had longed to do that, and Jeremiah had longed for that experience, so had David.  John the Baptist, the greatest man ever born of women, Jesus said, the greatest prophet that ever lived.  John chapter 10 tells us that John the Baptist did no sign, he never spoke in tongues, never did a miracle, never healed anybody, the greatest prophet that ever lived, greater than all of Elijah’s ministry, with his calling down fire from heaven.  John the Baptist, the greatest prophet that ever lived, but listen to this, Jesus says he who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.  Now, don’t you think that makes Satan tremble?  Here’s [within his congregation, a typical Calvary Chapel mega-church] close to 2,000 people that are greater than the greatest prophet that ever lived---sitting here.  He’s just hoping you won’t realize that.  And the reason is, is because the clarity of your message is even clearer than the clarity of John’s.  Because John would point at Jesus and say “Behold, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world”, but a short time after that he would be put in the prison Marcarus, and from there he would send two of is disciples to Jesus to say “Are you the One that is to come, or should we look for another?”  John’s saying:  ‘You know, in my heart, and in my vision, I saw one coming with his winnowing fork in his hand to thoroughly cleanse the threshingfloor and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire, and I don’t understand, are you the One, or is there another One fulfilling some of this?’  Whereas you and I have no doubt.  We see clearly.  You and I have the ability to say to somebody on the street, and to say to somebody that we work with, “You know, Jesus Christ is the Messiah.  He’s the One whose prophecied, he’s the One whose returning, and you can turn to him today, and ask him to forgive your sins and you’ll have eternal life.’  Not turning to the Church, can’t join it, you’ve got to be born into it, not turning to a minister or pastor, but turning to Jesus.  You and I have the clarity of that message on our hearts.  And here we sit, sometimes we go to work and we think, ‘I’m not worthy to tell somebody about Jesus.’  I mean, Satan says, ‘You’re not worthy’, because he doesn’t want you to open your mouth.  Saul of Tarsus, slaughtering Christians, ruining Christian families, hauling Christians off to prison, it says at the point of the sword he forced Christians to blaspheme the name of Jesus.  And God saves him.  And he becomes the apostle of grace.  And his message becomes ‘God can save anybody, because I’m the chief of sinners, and that means all the Indians can get saved if the chief got saved.’  You should have the same message, that’s your testimony.  No, I’m not perfect.  ‘We heard you yelling at your wife the other day, you’re Christians.’  ‘Heck, we used to punch each other, now we just yell, Jesus is changing our lives.’  [loud laughter]  Isn’t that your testimony?  Can’t that be our testimony? 

 

John the Baptist’s Message

 

John the Baptist comes on the scene, it says ‘the word of God comes to him.’  He’s been in the wilderness, like Moses, like David, like Elijah, Daniel, like John on Patmos, Paul in Arabia, God has raised him up in solitary places, and spoken to his heart, and now he releases him on the nation.  “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (verses 3-6).  Now, the interesting thing is this, the religious Jew in the day of Jesus believed that a Gentile proselyte, a Gentile convert to Judaism needed to be baptized for the remission of sin, because they believed that they [the Gentiles] were unclean.  A Jew practiced ablutions, there were ritual washings, but that didn’t have anything to do with the washing away of sin.  The Jew believed that if a Gentile came to the faith of Judaism, that they needed to be baptized for the remission of sin.  John the Baptist is calling the whole nation, he’s calling the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the religious leaders and every Jew in the nation, he’s calling them all to the baptism of the remission of sins.  And the people are startled at his ministry.  He said to the multitude in verse 7, “Then he said to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”  Matthew says “O brood of vipers”, he understood them well, he lived in the desert.  Now it’s interesting that Matthew tells us more specifically that he said it to the Pharisees and the scribes that came from Jerusalem.  And nobody had ever talked to these guys like this before.  Now these guys were the big mahaffs.  It says the people were coming from Decapolis and from Judea and from all the surrounding districts, with great expectancy in the air, and John the Baptist is down there with a leather girdle like Elijah, and people are wondering ‘Is this the One?  Is this the Prophet, is this the Messiah?  Is this the One Moses spoke of?’  And they’re coming from all over.  And the religious people get jealous because they see everybody going there. So they go down to see what’s going on.  And as they come to John the Baptist, John the Baptist points his finger at them and calls them a brood of vipers, and warns them ‘Whose warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’.  And you can imagine that, nobody had ever in their lives talked to them like that.  And I imagine some of the people went [suppressed sounds of laughter].  Jesus would say to them, “If Abraham was your father” and they’re going to claim that here, “you would do his works.  Your father is the Devil.”  Maybe that’s why they’re called a brood of vipers.  In Genesis chapter 3 God said to the woman and to the serpent and to Adam, he said to the serpent “he” definite, masculine singular, “He will crush your head, but you will bruise his heal.”  Maybe in that, speaking to the serpent, brood of vipers, John warning them to flee from the wrath to come.  “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father:  for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”  Very interesting, because we’re told in John chapter 1 that he is baptizing in the area of Beth Bara.  “Beth”, “house of” “bara” “the passage, the way crossing over”, that he was baptizing in the area “of the house of the passage.”  And he says to the crowds, ‘Don’t think to say within yourselves ‘Abraham is our father,’ because that’s what they claim, ‘We’re not proselytes, we don’t need baptism for the remission of sins.’  He says ‘No, bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.’  ‘Let’s see it in your walk, not just in your talk.’  Don’t just think because you’re a Lutheran or a Catholic or you go to Calvary Chapel or you’re a Baptist, don’t think because you have this name around you, let’s see evidence in your life.  [Comment:  You can ask Jesus into your life, what they call, ‘calling upon the name of the Lord.’  But if you don’t start to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, if there is no evidence of the Holy Spirit working in your life, you are no more a believer than your cat.  You are like the Pharisees and scribes John is addressing here.]  And he challenges them.  And then it’s interesting, he says, “Because God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”  And if you follow, I think it’s interesting it tells us in Joshua chapter 4 and 5, that when Joshua came to the fords of Jabok to cross over, and to come into the area of Jericho, that the priests went forth with the ark of the covenant, as they put their feet in the Jordan River the water began to pile up.  And it tells us they went and they stood in the middle of the riverbed, which dried up, and the children of Israel crossed over.  And God said to Joshua, ‘Joshua, take one leading man from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, and I want each to take a large boulder out of the riverbed that they can carry on their shoulder, bring them up and stack up 12 stones here on the side as a testimony that they came out of the riverbed of the power of God, that they crossed over this river by faith.  And then it says he took 12 stones from the shore, and put them in the riverbed. They’re still there somewhere in the Jordan.  Wouldn’t it be fun to find those?  But I think when John the Baptist is saying ‘Don’t think to say in your hearts we have Abraham as our father, because God is able of these stones, “at the house of passage”, was he pointing to the pile of stones that signified the faith of the children of Israel as they finally crossed into the Promised Land?  Was he saying, ‘Hey, God is able of those who believe, they are the children of Abraham.’  We’re told that, it was reckoned unto Abraham, righteousness was reckoned unto him because he believed God.  Was John the Baptist pointing at that pile of stones that Joshua had piled up in the fords of Jabok by Beth Bara?---and said ‘Of these stones.’ 

 

The People Ask John, “What Shall We Do?”

 

Right now he says, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees:  every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?” (verses 9-10).  Now they are under conviction, powerful preaching.  ‘What shall we do?’  “He answereth, and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise” (verse 11).  Now he’s saying to them, ‘Bring forth good fruit, fruit of repentance.’  What is it?  Being gracious to other people, loving them, understanding the need of people around you.  If you have two coats, give one to somebody who doesn’t have any.  He that has food, extra, give it to the one likewise who doesn’t have any.  “Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you” (verse 12).  Now you know he’s a powerful preacher, because the I.R.S. has come to listen to his message.  They said unto him, ‘Master, what shall we do?’  Now he’s down by Beth Bara, the three main tax offices of the day were in Caesarea by the Sea, in Capernaum, and in Jericho.  We know that in Capernaum the head tax gatherer was Matthew Levi.  We know that in Jericho the head tax gatherer was Zacchaeus.  We’re not sure who it was in Caesarea.  But now these tax gatherers have come also to hear John.  ‘What should we do?’  Is Matthew there?  I wouldn’t doubt it if he was.  ‘What shall we do?’  ‘Well, don’t take any more than is appointed of you,’ because it was a purchased position, you could buy the position, it went up for bid once in awhile when a tax gatherer died, and people bid on the position.  And then they collected taxes for Rome, with a Roman soldier with a spear behind them, backing them up.  They got [or exacted] a certain percentage for Rome, but anything over that amount they charged for Rome they put in their pocket.  And they were famous for doing that, they were considered traitors.  John the Baptist says ‘Don’t take anything more than is appointed you.’  “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?  And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (verse 14).  And by the way, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a soldier, my own position.  I think there are some great Christian godly men and women in the Armed Services, and we need to remember to pray for them.  I think they’re worthy of our prayers, and they serve us well.  “Do no violence to any man”, the idea is in an unfair or unjust way.  “neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.”  They would get what was called a Salarium, part of their wages, Roman soldiers.  We get the word salary from it.  It was a portion of salt that was given to them.  Because in those days you needed salt sometimes for your food so that it wouldn’t poison you, the salt cleansed the germs out of it, you needed salt for a wound sometimes, so the Salarium was a portion of their pay, just threw that in for nothing.  

 

A Period of Expectancy in the Air---like now---‘Is Christ Coming?’

 

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he was the Christ [Messiah], or not…” (verse 15)  So there was an air of expectation.  I think there is an air of expectation today.  I think we’re approaching the year 2000, I think Time Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, all of these people are writing, people are waiting for flying saucers…people are waiting for all of this weird stuff.  I think there is an air of expectancy today, you know, people are wondering what’s going to happen.  Don’t find yourself caught up in –a-musement.  You know the word “muse” means “to think.”  They mused.  They thought about these things.  One of the largest industries in the United States is a-musement.  When you put the prefix in front of muse, it means “not to think.”  One of the things we pay the most money for is “not to think.”   Take me somewhere where I can turn my brain off.  Take me back to nifty-fifties, take me back to the past, I don’t want to look at the future, it’s bleak, give me happy-days, take me somewhere else. I think you’re either musing or amusing these days as you look at the horizon.  I pray this evening that you’re musing.  I pray you have enough insight, if you’re not a Christian this evening, and you don’t know Christ personally, I pray that you are musing and not a-musing.  If you’re musing, it means you’re thinking.  And I pray you’re using your brain.  Look around at the world that we live in---where do you think it’s going?  How long do you think it will last?  Who will straighten it out?  Whose going to disarm nuclear weapons?  Whose going to stop the air pollution and the water pollution?---and AIDs?, and the bacteria that’s coming back because everybody has filled themselves with antibiotics.  Look where we are headed.  Man has never built weapons he hasn’t used.  They say the United States has a five-earth arsenal.  It means we can blow up every square inch of the earth five times over, in case we don’t do it right the first four times.  The Russians have a four-earth arsenal [even now, in their diminished military capacity].  One Trident submarine [or Russian Typhoon class submarine] has ten times the detonating power of all the ammunition used in WWII by every side, the Japanese, the Germans, the Americans, the French, the Italians, and the Russians, one Trident [or Typhoon class] sub, ten times the detonating power of all the weapons detonated in World War II by all sides. [I guess that’s why prophecy in our day and age has ceased to be interesting, especially to the world.  We don’t want to think about what may be coming around the corner.  So the public in general has turned wholesale to the amusement industry, driving it to new levels and heights.  If you want to get God’s picture on the future, log onto the prophecy section of this site (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html, check out the section on the Minor Prophets, just added to it, kind of exciting stuff with tons of nuggets of gold in there.]  I pray that you’re musing.  Now for us, there’s kind of an excitement attached to all of this.  It isn’t because we are morbid or sick.  It’s because Paul says that God has chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel over the wisdom of this world.  Man with all of his wisdom has brought us to the precipice, we are to the edge.  How many days are left ahead of us before things break lose in the Middle East?  Things are going to break loose again in the former Yugoslavia.  Things are going to break loose it seems between North and South Korea.  Things are going to break loose again maybe between China and some of the smaller countries.  How long with it go?  Look at man with all of his wisdom, where has he brought us?  Look at what we are teaching our children, look at what is going on in the schools, look at our immorality, look at our murder rate, look at our suicide rate.  With all of our technology, look at where we have come.  That’s why God says he’s chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel of Christ over all of the wisdom of this world, because it says “the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”  Let me tell you, the best news that you will ever hear is this, that you can be saved from all of your sin, eternally, by asking Jesus to be your Saviour.  And when you do that, you can wait for him to return from heaven, and take you out of this world to his kingdom forever. That’s what the Bible says. [Comment: There is also an interesting scenario about the 2nd coming of Christ which has recently come to light, and sits about halfway between the Dispensational interpretation and the Classic Pre-Millennial interpretation, incorporating, harmonizing the Scriptural passages used both by Dispensationalists and Classic Pre-Millennialists.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm to read it.]  Now if you can find better news than that, I’m open.  If you find better news than that on the News or on CNN, you let me know, you let me know.  But until then, that’s where I’ll be camped.  As we sang tonight, “I was a wretch”, me personally, he forgave me, he washed me, cleansed me.  I was blind, now I see.  I now have purpose to my life, and now I look forward to it every day.  No more emptiness, no more striving to fulfill my life with the pleasures of this world.  You need to make a choice.  I pray this evening that you’re musing, that you’re thinking, and not a-musing, living a life of “not thinking.”  Because there are people out there that are amused, I pray you’re not. 

 

The Wheat is Gathered into Christ’s Barn, the Chaff into His Furnace---You Have Two Choices

 

“And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not; John answered, saying, unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose:  he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:  whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly [thoroughly] purge his floor, and will garner the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will  burn with fire unquenchable” (verses 15-17).  Now take note of that, because John helps us.  Jesus is coming, he will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.  What does that mean?  A lot of people of the Pentecostal persuasion, and I am a Pentecostal, a lot of people take that and put it in the Book of Acts, and say ‘Well he baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire,’ because there were tongues of fire, the flames above their heads [cf. Acts 2:1-4].  It doesn’t say there were flames above their heads, their hair would have all caught fire.  It said there were tongues as flames of fire.  It doesn’t say there was fire on all their heads.  It doesn’t say it.  Certainly God baptized them with the Spirit and with power.  And we can see fire in that, we understand the analogy that people make, but by the Scripture’s definition, the fire is the cleansing of his threshing floor with unquenchable fire, is the judgment of the end of the age.  You are either gathered into his granary or you are burnt up with unquenchable fire.  Those are the alternatives.  You’re either gathered in, or you’re cast out and burned.  [And those prophecies of the coming Tribulation in that prophecy section above show how this will all come about.  Be sure to check those links out.]  Simple.  You know, we watch with kids in the house, Mr. Rogers, “Can you say NEIGHBORHOOD?”  Can you say TWO CHOICES?  ‘If God’s a God of love, how could he send people to hell?’  He’s not sending anybody to hell.  He’s saying to you, ‘Choose.  There’s a door, and here’s a door.  One leads to eternal life of forgiveness, one leads to separation from God, outer darkness, where the flame dieth not, the fire’s not quenched. [Comment:  The Body of Christ has various beliefs about heaven, hell, and how we receive eternal life.  Check out http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm to read about some of these differing secondary beliefs.]  He’s not sending anybody.  You’re not a beast of the field, you’re a human being, created in his image and likeness, you have the capacity to choose.  The salmon don’t have the capacity to choose, they go back every year to the same stream they’re born in. The birds travel in their migratory patterns.  They don’t have a right to choose, it’s in their instinct, it’s in their DNA.  You are created in God’s image and likeness. Don’t sit here and say ‘How can a God of love send people to hell…’  No, no, no, no, God loves you so much, that he brought you here this evening to an old meter factory to hear somebody in a Hawaiian shirt tell you how much God loves you, because he couldn’t get you into a normal church.  [laughter]  That’s how much he loves you.  Now you choose, muse, use the brain God gave you, you have a brain.  [There is a nifty sign attached to a three-story high British triple expansion steam engine similar to the two which were on the Titanic, and it states:  “This machine has no brain.  Use yours.”]  You don’t have to be a-mused by the world and shut your brain off, use your brain, use your heart, listen to the Holy Spirit speak to you, if he’s calling you, to God’s love, and to God’s forgiveness.  Because this will be on heaven’s video machine forever, this evening. And God will say “There you were sitting in the crowd.  Don’t ask my how I can send you to hell, I gave you a choice.  You were there, you listened, you heard about my love, there was an open door in front of you.  Here you are, look at the replay button, there you are, there you are, there you are, see there you are sitting in the crowd.”  And you know what, he loved me so much, that he got one of my friends who used to be a druggy when I was in the world, to come back to me and tell me about Jesus, and I saw that his life was changed.  And he comes here every Sunday morning, and I see him sitting over there.  [laughter]  And he shared the love of Christ with me, not church, not a pastor, not a priest, not a denomination, but the love of Christ.  It changed my life forever.  It can be the same for you.  He baptizes with the Holy Ghost [i.e. the Holy Spirit] and with fire.  If he baptizes you with the Holy Ghost, it means that he places his own Spirit in your heart.  You’ve heard Christians talking about you being born-again, and Jesus said that which is born of the flesh, the natural birth, is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  No we don’t need to be born again naturally.  But we need to be born again inwardly.  And if we ask Christ to forgive our sins, the Bible says he will dwell in our hearts.  Then it says that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, at the end of your life, will quicken your mortal body, you will look forward to a resurrection, because the same Spirit that raised him from the dead will be effective in our lives to raise us incorruptible in the resurrection.  Do you have that hope?  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm for more about this 1st Resurrection to Immortality.]  That’s the question.  We’re in two categories.  We’re either baptized with his Spirit, that means placed into, brought into the Body of Christ, or we’re set aside on the threshing floor, in the place where the chaff would be saved and then burned with fire.  Choose, the Bible says.  Simple, it’s two things.  It isn’t like going and looking at a menu in a diner, and you sit there for hours and say ‘I can’t pick this, there’s thousands of things here.’  No, two choices.  No brainer.  It must be, because I got in.  [chuckles]  The one choice is Christ.  And he’s the Saviour of the world, not a guru, not a teacher, a Saviour.  If you have an electrical problem, you get an electrician, if you have a plumbing problem, you get a plumber.  If you have a sin problem, you get a Saviour.  Jesus is the Saviour.  He’s not a guru, he’s a Saviour.  We know we can trust what he says because he rose from the dead, there’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem.  And this evening if you’ll accept Christ as your Saviour, you can have the hope of eternal life, your sins being forgiven once and for all.  The other choice is to reject him.  That means at the end of your life, you will step out through the veil into eternity without him.  And if God really is there, and he will be, then you will stand in front of him in your own righteousness, and God will say to you ‘Why should I let you into heaven [into the kingdom of heaven], into my holy kingdom?’  And you can say, whatever you’re going to say, ‘Because I was a good guy, I never hurt anybody, ah, never got a ticket,’   What are you going to say?  Because the Bible says we’ve all sinned, come short of the glory of God, if we even think a lustful thought after a woman, the Bible says we’re guilty of adultery.  Whose going to stand in front of him and say ‘I never did anything.’  When he asks me ‘Why should I let you into my kingdom forever?’  I’m going to say ‘Because I accepted your Son Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and I’ve been cleansed in his blood.’  And he will say ‘Enter in, well done, thou good and faithful servant.’  And I will go ‘Wheh!’  [laughter]…Read ahead, we come next week to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 2:39-52; 3:1-17, given by Pastor Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

 Related links:

 

Passover & the Days of Unleavened Bread:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/Holydayshadows.htm

 

Prophecies of the Bible:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm

 

Varying beliefs about Heaven & Hell:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm

 

Resurrection to Immortality:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm

 

Accepting Christ into your life:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/baptism/What%20is%20Baptism.htm

 

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