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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 20:1-20-26

 

“And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, and spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?  or who is he that gave thee authority?  And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:  The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?  And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?  But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us:  for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.  And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.  And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.  Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.  And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard:  but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent another servant:  and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent a third:  and they wounded him also, and cast him out.  Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do?  I will send my beloved son:  it may be they will revere him when they see him.  But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir:  come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.  So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.  What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?  He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.  And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.  And he beheld them, and said, What is this then written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?  [cf. Isaiah 7:13-16]  Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.  And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people:  for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.  And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.  And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly.  Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?  But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?  Shew me a penny [denarii].  Whose image and superscription hath it?  They answered and said, Caesar’s.  And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.  And they could not take hold of his words before the people:  and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.”

 

“‘Father we settle our hearts before you, as we continue.  And Lord we set before you the sins that so easily beset us, Lord.  You know each of us as individuals in this room, you know every broken heart.  Lord you know every believer here that is rejoicing and flourishing.  You know those Lord that are in some spiritual valley, those that are on a mountain peak.  Lord you know those of us that are newly come into your Kingdom, Lord, by faith.  Lord you know those of us that have been on the journey a long time, those that are rejoicing, those that feel weary, Lord.  We settle ourselves before you, Lord.  Forget about everybody around us, Lord, you know our hearts, our strengths, our weaknesses, our utter dependence on you.  Lord we thank you that we can gather publicly and sing your praises and study your Word.  But Lord we look for the filling of your Spirit this evening, Lord, a time of refreshing in your presence.  Lord, as individuals we look for a deeper experience, Lord, in your Word, and in your presence, Lord, a fresh unction, a fresh filling of your Spirit, that we may be, Lord, light and salt in this dark and perishing world.  Lord, we are in need of your strength.  You have been faithful to us and gracious to us.  We thank you for sending your Son to die in our place.  Lord, as we continue our study now in Luke’s Gospel,  Father we pray that we might behold wondrous things from your Word, that you’d fill us.  Give each of us our portion, Lord, as you divided the loaves and the fishes and sent everyone away full Lord, we know that you’re the same.  We commit these things to you, we pray in Jesus name, amen.’

 

“By What Authority Do You Do These Things?”

 

The last two verses of chapter 19 say, “And he taught daily in the temple.  But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do:  for all the people were very attentive to hear him.”  They’re seeking for a way to kill him, though he had wept over Jerusalem, though contrary to them, he was brokenhearted over their spiritual state, and over the blindness of the spiritual leaders, and over the state of Jerusalem.  And as he had wept over it, they, the religious leaders, contrary to that, are seeking how they might put him to death.  “they could not find what they might do:  for all the people were very attentive to hear him.”  And the idea is, they [the common people] were hanging on every word, is the idea.  They were longing to hear him.  And this is the last week, we’ve entered into his last week before his crucifixion.  [Comment: This is literally the last six days.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/lastsix.htm for a full-length harmony of the Gospels covering these last six days, following the day-by-day timeline of events.]  It was the week that those who came to worship for the Passover, millions, Josephus tells us in these days, era, normally there are around 200,000 lambs slaughtered for Passover.  And if you figure ten people to a lamb, 2 million at least, worshipping.  And the Temple precincts were crowded every day.  And it was the week that worshippers would come and present their lambs, and the priests would examine them, and very interestingly, Jesus each day of this week is in the Temple courts being examined by the religious leaders, questioned and probed, trying to trap him, as he is examined by them as the Lamb of God, in their midst.  The religious leaders seeking a way to destroy him, the people hanging on every word, “And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,”---the Sanhedrin, all the religious leaders---“and spake unto him, saying, Tell us by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?” (verses 1-2)  So, Jesus is in the Temple precincts, the common people are hearing him gladly, they have flocked to him, he is big news, the multitudes came out to meet him in the triumphal entry as he came into Jerusalem.  As he came into Jerusalem and he was hailed the Messiah, the religious leaders said ‘Tell the people to stop’, and Jesus said, ‘Well if they stop, the very stones themselves will cry out’, owning the praise that was given to him on that day, unlike the rest of his earthly ministry, where he sent people away, and wouldn’t receive their praise, and he wouldn’t receive what they were doing, as they tried to own him as Messiah and make him king.  On that particular day, he is the one who organized everything and he handled everything, and he owned that praise from the people.  So, that is part of the question, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, letting the people hail you as the Messiah?’  Then of course the next morning, coming into the Temple precincts and overturning the tables of the money-changers, driving out those that were buying and selling, because of the way his Father was being misrepresented, and disturbing the whole Temple court.  And it says after that, the children came and gathered around him and began to sing the Hillel Psalms, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the LORD”,  and “the stone that the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.”  And then they came back, the religious leaders, and said ‘Tell the children to be quiet’, and he said ‘Have you not ever read that the Psalmist said ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise, to still the enemy’’ and so forth.  So he is in this constant confrontation with the religious leaders, and because of those things they’re saying to him---they must have went away, had a big pow-wow, ‘Now who does he think he is, what seminary did he go to anyway, where’s his diploma, he’s a carpenter, who does he think he is!?’---and they went through all of their big ordeal, and they got themselves all riled up.  So here comes this big pompous group, coming with their robes, and you could see the crowd splitting, and here they come, there’s another showdown.  And I kind of feel like, personally, the people were kind of enjoying these showdowns.  Because the religious leaders would come to entrap Jesus, they would give it their best shot, Jesus would turn the tables, and then they would all scratch their heads and walk away.  And I think the people were kind of enjoying that. 

 

So Many Pulpits Are Filled With People That Have Been Recognized By An Organization, And Not Ordained of Heaven

 

Now they’re coming and saying ‘By what authority, who gave you the authority to do these things?’  Now, he’s going to give them a great answer, of course, that goes without saying, turning the tables on them again.  They didn’t understand at all that he didn’t need their ordination.  He didn’t need their approval.  The authority that he walked in was directly related to the Throne that he was submitted to [look up and read Revelation 4:1-6 to see that Throne].  You remember when the Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant, and he said ‘All you have to do is speak the word.  I understand, I’ Luke gives us the important word, ‘also am a man under authority.  I say unto one, Go, and he goes, and to another Come, and he comes,’ and he said, ‘You need only speak the word.’  What that Centurion was saying is, ‘I understand, because I’m a man under authority, and I’ve bowed my knee to Caesar and to Rome, therefore when I do transactions on behalf of Rome, all of the authority of Rome is behind me, and all I have to do is speak the word and it’s accomplished.’  And he was saying to Jesus, ‘Jesus, I see that you have bowed your life and your heart and your knee to some authority, to the Throne of God, and I understand authority, and because of that, you need only to speak the word and it’ll be accomplished.’  It said Jesus marvelled at his faith, one of only two times in the Gospels Jesus marvels.  It’s important, if Jesus marvels you want to take notice.  And Jesus is going to answer their question with a question.  “And he answered and he said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:  the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?”---John the Baptist, obviously.  He was non-denominational, he was called John the Baptist because of his ministry---“And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?  But if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us:”---and we hate it when that happens---“for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.” (verses 3-6)  So, Jesus answers their question with a question.  ‘Where is my authority from?  Where do I get this authority?  Well, let me ask you another question, and if you can perceive that, you will know the answer to the question you’re asking me.  John the Baptist, his baptism, his authority, was it from heaven?  Or was it from men?’  Now, they say ‘If we say John the Baptist, his ministry was from heaven, it was God-ordained, the people are going to say Why didn’t you believe him?’  Now that’s tough for them, because as the religious leaders came to John the Baptist, he stopped his baptism, and he looked up in front of multitudes and he pointed his finger at them and he said ‘Who warned you to flee, you brood of vipers!?  Who warned you of the wrath to come?  Think not to say within ourselves we have Abraham as our father, because God is able of these stones o raise up children unto Abraham.  Rather bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.’  Nobody ever talked to them like that.  John the Baptist had pointed his finger at Jesus, and said ‘Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.’  They couldn’t say that John the Baptist’s ministry was of heaven, because he tore them down and he lifted Jesus up and pointed to him as the Messiah, the One that was prophecied to come.  And they say, ‘We can’t say John’s ministry is of men, because then they’ll kill us, the people will stone us’, because all of the people held John as a prophet.  “And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.  (verse 7), and that’s why they couldn’t tell where Jesus was from, either.  “And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” (verse 8)  Now if they were to recognize John’s ministry as from heaven, they would have recognized the Lord’s ministry was from heaven.  One of the problems that plagues, I believe, the Church, is that so many pulpits are filled with people that have been recognized by an organization, and not ordained of heaven.  Oh, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Bible school or seminary, I think if that’s where God wants you, that’s where you’d better be.  That’s the most sacred place for you to be.  And there are some great men that have preserved orthodoxy, and thank God for them, that are professors and teachers there.  But if God hasn’t sent you there, you’re wasting time and money.  Because ordination is from God.  And anything that lends itself to helping us realize those things is wonderful.  But without heaven, nothing is accomplished.  I had a conversation with someone I respect once about ordination, God’s anointing, inspiration.  And he said “Well, all inspiration, without perspiration is irresponsibility.”  In other words, if you’re just saying ‘Oh I’m inspired of God’ and you don’t work at your craft, that’s irresponsibility.  “All inspiration without perspiration is irresponsibility.”  And I said, “Yeah, but all perspiration without inspiration is B.O.”  [loud laughter]  “Nothing more.” 

 

Jesus’ Ministry and John’s Ministry Cried Out To The Common People

 

Jesus’ ministry and John’s ministry was ordained of heaven.  They cried to the common people, to the prostitutes, to the tax gatherer, to the heroine addict, to the junkie, to the congressman, to the politician, to Herod, to the soldiers, to the policemen, to the common man, to repent, because the Kingdom was [and is] at hand.  Jesus preached the Good News to the common people.  He said ‘Whosoever will, may come’, whatever condition they were in spiritually, whatever condition they were in by man’s judgment---again, man looking on the outward appearance, God looking on the heart.  But man looking on the outward appearance, here were these religious leaders with their long robes and beautiful outfits and very austere looking, and yet God says ‘all of our righteousness is filthy rags’, they were no better than the man in the street.  They were just as in need of God’s forgiveness as any human being on the planet.  There isn’t anyone in this room that needed the blood of Christ more than me, and there isn’t anybody here that needs it more than you.  And Jesus came with God’s ordination, with heaven’s ordination, and was opening up the door to life.  When he pointed the finger at the Pharisees and the Sadducees he said ‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, because you don’t enter in, and you shut the door of heaven so other’s can’t enter in.’  But Jesus was opening up the door so that all could come. 

 

We Don’t Need Man’s Ordination, We Already Have Heaven’s Ordination---All Of Us!

 

How desperately our nation is in need of heaven’s ordination, whatever the human being’s background is educationally, how desperately this nation is in need of Christians, men and women, that would be seeking God for his ordination, for his anointing.  Because it’s a desperate hour [and it is even more so now, 16 years later].  Look at the statistics in our country, suicide, drug addiction and of abortion, look at where we’ve come, and look at where we’re going, and we should be crying to heaven, ‘Lord, Lord, only you can interrupt the track that we’re on, the pathway that we’re on Lord, you’re anointing Lord, and outpouring of your Spirit Lord, and an awakening in the Church [greater Body of Christ], revival Lord.’  How desperately I’m in need, constantly of God’s ordaining, and of God’s anointing, of God’s quickening, of God’s unction, how desperately all of us are in need of that.  How desperate the man on the street is, or the woman on the street is, whose never heard the good news of Jesus Christ.  And here were are, the Bible says, able ministers of the New Testament, everybody in this room is a messenger.  Not only that, Jesus said ‘He who is least in the kingdom is greater than John’, you have more clarity than John the Baptist.  You’re not going to send a message to Jesus and say ‘Are you the One that should come, or do we seek for another?’  You know that he’s the Messiah, you know no one else has the words of eternal life.  And yet sometimes we listen to people who say ‘You’re not qualified---Who do you think you are?  How long have you been saved?  How can you be doing this?  What authority do you have to think you can teach a Bible study?’  Oh I hear it all the time, you’re friends and relatives love me.  ‘What seminary did that guy go to?  Where did he get ordained?’  Well, John the Baptist had the same problem.  Jesus had the same problem.  The apostles had the same problem.  D.L. Moody had the same problem.  Spurgeon had the same problem.  Morgan had the same problem.  And all of you.  I think how the Devil must tremble, hoping that we never awaken, in a sense, to the desperation of the hour that we live in, to the potential of every life in this room filled with the Holy Spirit and what might happen, in this city, in this neighbourhood, in this country.  If 120 people in the upper room filled with God’s Spirit could change the world [back in 30-31AD], imagine, imagine what could happen now.  That’s the authority we need, that’s the only authority, the only approval that we need is the approval of God.  And how desperate some of us are in regards to peer pressure, or to be approved of men, or how desperately we worry about what people will think about us, and how we ought to be, I ought to be, before the Lord…[It’s a question of] not how much of the Holy Ghost do you have, but how much of you does the Holy Ghost have.  ‘My life, Lord, not just speaking in tongues.’  The steam is not in the train to blow the whistle, it’s there to move the train.  Those who are led of the Spirit, the children of God, that’s pretty amazing authority.  I think sometimes when I’m driving in traffic I have to remember, if they knew who I was [laughter], the King’s kid, they’d never mess with me like that.  [Traffic must be horrific in Philly]  They’d be yelling apologies out the window.  ‘Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.’  The King’s kid, that’s a great thing, that’s a great thing, that’s an awful lot of authority. 

 

The Parable of God’s Vineyard

 

“Then he began to speak to the people this parable;”---Now, he’s going to do this in front of the multitudes, with the religious leaders there, indicting them---“A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.” (verse 9)  Now, all of the religious leaders were familiar with Isaiah chapter 5, verses 1 to 7, where it says this “Now I will sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.  My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof and planted it with the choicest vine, and builded a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein, and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.  And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge I pray you between me and my vineyard.  What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?  Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes it brought forth wild grapes.  And now go to, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard, I will take away the hedge thereof, it shall be eaten up, and brake down the wall thereof and it shall be trodden down, and I will lay it waste, it shall not be pruned nor digged, but there shall come up briars and thorns.  I will also command the clouds that they rain not upon it.  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant plant, and he looked for judgment [or justice], but he found none, but he beholds oppression, and for righteousness he beholds a cry.”  So Isaiah chapter 5, verses 1 to 7, they were all familiar with it, depicting Israel [all 12 tribes btw, 10 of which are no longer in the land] and Jerusalem as the vineyard of the LORD.  So as he begins this parable they are well aware of where he’s going.  They know it involves them.  ‘Now a certain man planted a vineyard, he let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.’---sharecroppers, he owns the property, he owns the vineyard, they’re going to work the vineyard, he will get a part of the fruit, the produce---“And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard:  but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent another servant:  and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.  And again he sent a third:  and they wounded him also, and cast him out.”---a picture of the Prophets and of the holy men that had been sent to the nation of Israel [to both the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah], Isaiah, sawn in half, Jeremiah, carried away.  You read about how they treated the prophets and the holy men God sent unto them---“Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do?  I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.”---Now I wonder how many of these religious leaders were around John the Baptist when Jesus was baptized, and the voice from heaven said ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’?  They’re questioning him about his authority.  ‘I’ll ask you about John’s authority’, they won’t answer.  And now he portrays himself in this parable as this beloved son that was sent.  “It may be” verse 13, “that they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir:  come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.”  (verses 13-14)  In the end of the last chapter they were seeking a way to destroy him.  Now in the parable the husbandmen are presuming that the owner is dead.  And that’s why his son is coming, they’re presuming that the man, the lord of the vineyard has died, and that is why his son is coming to them, they’re thinking ‘Oh, this is the heir, it’s his now, let’s kill him, then it’ll belong to us’, and how Israel [Judah] at that time was religious, almost as if God was dead.  Of course he wasn’t.  “let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.  So they cast him out of the vineyard, and they killed him.  What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?  He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.  And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.”  (verses 14-16)  Or, ‘Never should it be so’ is the idea.  So when Jesus tells this parable of the vineyard, he indicts them.  They treated the prophets shamefully, they cast away those God sent unto them, and finally God sends his only beloved Son.  And they look at him and say ‘Let’s kill him, the inheritance will be ours,’  Because it says Jesus was taking away their authority, the people were flocking after Christ, and the religious leaders wanted the authority, they didn’t like somebody else taking away their authority, they’re crying ‘Who gave you the authority to do these things?’  And they’re feeling that they’re loosing the crowds, they’re loosing their grip, they’re looking at what they thought was their inheritance in regards to the control over the nation of Israel.  “What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?  He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.”---of course the Church Age---“And when they heard it”, the religious leaders, they said “God forbid.”  They know, they are under conviction.  It tells us over in verse 19 because “they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them”, how about that?  “they said “God forbid.”  Look at verse 17, “And he beheld them” very interesting word, in the Greek it’s “he stared at them…”  So, imagine the scene.  He’s telling the parable, the people are quiet, he just whupped them on their challenge before this.  Now he’s telling a parable, ‘What shall happen to these wicked husbandmen?’  He’s going to send forth his army, as one Gospel says, here he says ‘He’s going to come and he’s going to destroy them, he’s going to give the vineyard to others’ and the religious leaders say “God forbid!” and Jesus turns around and stares at them.  I wonder how long that stare was?  I would like to have seen that stare from the side, not from the front. 

 

The Stone Which The Builders Rejected Is Become The Chief Cornerstone

 

“And he beheld them, and said, What is this then written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” (verse 17)  And this is what the children had been singing the day before when he cleansed the Temple.  “The stone which the builders rejected” Psalm 118, “is become the head of the corner?  Whosoever shall fall on that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (verse 18)  Now, throughout the Scripture, the Lord compares himself to the Rock or to the Stone.  He was the Rock in the Wilderness that Moses struck, and Paul says that Rock was Christ.  And throughout the Scripture we see him portray himself as a Stone, as a Rock.  Now, it is interesting, because to the Jew, he’s a stumblingstone.  Isaiah 5 is the first place, and I’ll just read it quickly, that we have that, I’m sorry, Isaiah 8 says, “And he shall be for a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both Houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare unto the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”  Isaiah starts it, that when he comes he’s going to be a rock of offense, a stumblingstone.  Paul picks that up and gives it to us in Romans, we have it in 1st Corinthians chapter 3, we have it in 1st Peter chapter 2, verse 8, over and over, that to the Jew, to the religious person, Jesus is a stumblingstone.  Then we hear to the believer, those who come to Christ in faith, that he is the chief Cornerstone for our lives.  For the nations of the world, that are not Jewish or religious, they’re not believing, they’re setting up their own kingdom as in the days of Babel---now we see that happening again---to them, to the world kingdom that refuses Christ, he is the destroying stone or the crushing stone from Daniel [cf. Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45], the smiting stone.  He is a stumblingstone to the Jew, because Paul says it, 1st Corinthians 3, the Jew didn’t understand.  ‘You mean to tell me, all my life I’ve kept the dietary law, circumcised on the 8th day, went to temple my whole life, kept the Law, made the sacrifices, studied the Torah, never committed adultery, never committed murder, never did any of these things, and what you’re telling me is that these Gentiles in Galatia and Corinth and other parts of the Roman world, all they have to do is ask Jesus to forgive them, and they’re going to heaven [be admitted into the Kingdom of heaven] and I’m not?’  Now you have this same situation with your “religious” relatives.  I grew up in a family that was religious, Christian religious, representing two of the biggest denominations [Catholicism and Lutheran], I had the best of both worlds.  [See http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch3.htm for more on Catholicism.]  But my parents weren’t saved.  They didn’t know Christ, they knew Church, they knew religion, and they watched my life fall apart.  They watched my hair grow down my back, they watched me wear holes in my jeans deliberately, my bellbottoms, so I could patch them up.  They watched me get as raggedy looking as I possibly could.  They watched me drop out and freak out, and turn on.  My mother used to cry when she’d look at me sometimes, just look at me and cry, if that tells you anything.  And then one day, you know, I had been a vegetarian for a couple years, I mean, I had just, you know, I was swallowing rags and doing this yoga exercise, pull the knolly, just meditating.  They didn’t know what to do with me.  I was off the deep end.  And all of a sudden I come home, talking about Jesus, eating hot dogs.  ‘Jesus, I’m saved, Mom you need to get saved!  Jesus is coming!’  and they’re going ‘Oh, what’s left, flying saucers?  What is he going to do now?  What is this?’  And I’m saying, ‘No, you need Jesus, not just Church, you need Jesus, you need him, it’s a relationship.  It’s not a religion, he saved me, washed me, cleansed me.’  I was on fire, probably burning up more than I should have, leaving tracts everywhere, driving my whole family nuts, my relatives hated me, I was driving everybody crazy.  ‘Jesus! You know you’ve gotta go to Jesus!  Jesus is coming, look what it says, the Lord’s coming!’  And they’re like ‘Oye, oye yoye’  And then they started, ‘You mean to tell me those friends, you and those friends of yours, those freaks, smokin’ pot, snorting cocaine and droppin’ acid and huffing glue, that crowd, that all they need to do after all that nonsense in their life is ask Jesus to forgive them!?  And I went to Church my whole life, and I put the offering envelopes in, and I helped put the carpet in the church, and I was a member of their ladies auxiliary, and I do all this, and you mean to tell me those freaks are going to heaven, and you’re trying to tell me I’m going to hell!?’  ‘Yeah, Ma.’  [loud laughter]  ‘And I don’t want you to.  I want you to go to heaven.’  And to the religious person, he’s the stumblingstone.  Can it be that simple?  You mean to tell me somebody on Death Row, whose committed a terrible crime, all they need to do is ask Jesus for forgiveness, and he will forgive them?  Yes.  That’s the Good News.  [applause]  And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done this evening, the Good News is the same.  By what authority do I say these things.  Right here, heaven and earth, the Bible says, is going to pass away, but his Word is not going to pass away, not one jot, not one tittle, not a period, not a punctuation mark.  By that authority, if you turn to Christ this evening, and ask him to forgive your sins, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done.  It’s not religion, it’s relationship.  You don’t want anything phony.  If you grew up around religion or the Church, and you walked away and said ‘Oh man, they’re a bunch of hypocrites, that’s phony,’ well what you’re saying is ‘I don’t want anything phony.’  And I agree.  And you know what?  God doesn’t want anything phony either.  He talks more about hypocrisy than you do.  So he has a great transaction.  He provides the Saviour, you provide the sinner, and guess who that is.  And it’s that simple, and it’s that wonderful.  And his love, his death, his bloodshed were for you, for you.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, he knew it, and he died for you anyway.  [See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm]  But for the religious person, that is hard to swallow, it’s hard to swallow, because of all their religious acts, that they have to admit really don’t amount to a hill of beans.  Because the heart, the Bible says, is desperately wicked [cf. Jeremiah 17:9].  Maybe you’ve never committed a murder, but you’ve done it in traffic, you’ve done it in traffic.  How many times I said, ‘Lord, in the Millennium let me have the ministry you know of having a special car, and people who just pull out a little too far of their driveways and stuff, I’ll have a car that just cuts the front of their car off and drives away with it.’  [laughter]  The Bible says if you’ve lusted after someone of the opposite sex, you’ve already committed adultery [cf. Matthew 5:17-48], sin in your heart, sexual sin.  You haven’t done it physically because you’ve done it internally.  And that’s what concerns God because internally God is not corrupt, he is pure light.  And that puts a vast difference between us and him.  So all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  So anybody here tonight, anybody here tonight is a sinner, everybody here tonight is a sinner, and anybody here tonight can be saved, come to him.  For the religious person, that’s tough to swallow, Jesus is a stumblingstone.  [I might add, to the religiously self-righteous person, Jesus is also a stumblingstone.  Yes, when you accept Christ, and receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, Jesus starts to clean you up.  Law & Grace is a complex subject, but essential, even though you “come as you are”, you don’t remain that way.  But the temptation is, that for those who do become godly Law-abiding Christians, they’re tempted to look at the obedience or lack thereof of other’s instead of focusing on their own Christian walk.  That is legalism, focusing on the obedience or lack thereof of others.] 

 

Jesus Is The Cornerstone We’re All Measured Off Of

 

For you and I that have come to Christ, it says that he is the chief cornerstone, it says here  “that the stone the builders rejected is become the head of the corner”, the idea is, that’s the stone that everything else was measured off of.  And for you and I, I know for me, isn’t it amazing?  You know, I think of my day, every day, I don’t think of Sunday, I love Wednesdays and Sundays because I get to be with you guys.  But I mean, every day I get up, and it’s the same for me, I get up and I just love to be with him.  I love to sit with his Word, and I love to pray, and I love to spend time with him, I love to hear from him, because my day is built off of him, my life is built off of him, my future is built off of him.  The way I love my children is built off of him and my wife, it is built off of him.  My life beyond the grave, and there is more there than there is here, he’s saved the best for last, is built off of him.  My perspective of history, and of the news, and of morality, and of love, and of forgiveness, it’s all built off of that cornerstone.  Oh, and I’m still growing, I haven’t arrived.  [See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm for more about that process of growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.]  But I’m pressing forward to the mark of the high calling in Christ, Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone.  For us to believe, how wonderful. Can you imagine living today without Jesus?  I mean, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be alive in the world, and not know the Scripture is the Word of God, not be able to [properly] interpret the news in light of the Scripture, not know what the world is headed for.  I can’t imagine what I’d put my hope in.  I’d probably be moving somewhere to the mountains, guns, rice, digging deep into a mountain somewhere, or waiting for the Space Brothers or something, I don’t know.  I am so glad that I know Jesus, and that I know that I know what the news is bringing, because I’ve already read it [i.e. in the prophecy sections of the Bible.  See:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/Prophets_Prophecy.html for the full story, hundreds of hours of reading on the subject].  CNN doesn’t have a clue.  [applause] 

 

For The Unsaved World That Is Against Christ, He Will Be The Smiting Stone

 

So for you and I, Jesus is the key Cornerstone of our lives.  For the world that is adamant against him, is hardened against him, that is rejecting him, that is building their own kingdom, that wants nothing to do with him, Daniel sees him come, in chapter 2, as the smiting Stone.  He comes to break down, ultimately, the tyranny of the kingdoms of this world.  Can we be happy with the kingdoms of this world?  Look at them today.  35,000,000 abortions in the last the last 24 years [it’s now up to 65,000,000 abortions].  Look at the bigotry in the world today.  Look at the injustice.  Look at the flow of drugs into our inner cities.  You mean they couldn’t stop it?  They could stop it.  You know what would happened if they stopped it?  If they stopped it, countries in South America couldn’t pay the interest on the loans to American banks, and everybody would default, and things would go down.  In the Middle East oil is worth more than blood.  Our loyalty to Israel is waning, because of this, the almighty dollar.  Could anybody put their hope in this world?  This world needs to be smashed by Jesus, and it will be, it will be.  “The stone that the builders rejected,” he said, “has become the head of the corner.”…”And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people:  for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.” (verse 19)  You could see the steam blowing out of their ears. 

 

“Render To Caesar The Things That Be Caesar’s, And Unto God The Things That Be God’s”

 

“And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.”  (verse 20)  Now, this is a futile effort, spying on God and trying to trick him.  [laughter]  This is very frustrating, very, very frustrating trying to do this to God, spying on God and trying to trick him.  “…which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him to the power and authority”---there’s power and authority---“of the governor.”  Because, the Jews couldn’t execute the death penalty.  The Romans had taken it away from them.  They were no longer allowed to stone someone to death.  Of course that was necessary, because of the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God that the Messiah would be crucified, as the Psalmist prophecied in Psalm 22.  Here, they wanted some reason to hand him to the civil authorities.  “And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither accepting thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:  Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?” (verses 21-22) Man, are they buttering him up.  When someone does that to you, look out.  ‘Boy, you are the greatest, Jesus, we know that.  You’re the best.’  They’re laying it on.  Now, by the way, they’re communicating the common opinion of the people, when they’re doing that.  Now they may trap me that way.  You see, I’m a sap.  But not him.  You know, people might appeal to our ego, to entrap us.  You probably don’t know what I’m talking about, by the puzzled look on your faces.  They’re trying to appeal to his ego here, to set him up.  ‘You’re the best teacher, you teach the truth,’  “Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?  But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?  Shew me a penny, [a denarii] Whose image and superscription hath it?  They answered and said, Caesar’s.  And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.  And they could not take hold of his words before the people:  and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.” (verses 22-26)  I guess they did.  They come to Jesus, set him up, in front of the people.  They think they have him.  Because they’re going to say “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar”, one thing that Israel hated was being subjected to the Romans.  They were using Roman coinage.  Jesus is going to say, ‘Whose got a coin.’  One of the guys who were giving him a hard time pulled it out of his pocket, which means he’s submitted to Rome.  You ever heard of the Golden Rule?  He who has the gold rules?  That’s the golden rule.  And whatever government you pay taxes to, and whatever government’s money you use as a tender, is the government that’s governing you.  And the Jews hated it.  So they come to Jesus, they think they’ve got him trapped, they’ve got this one all cooked up, ‘We’re going to ask him, Is it lawful for us as Jews, as God’s nation, to pay tribute to Caesar?’  If he says yes, the people will hate him, and we’ll finally have our victory.  If he says no, we’ll report him to the Romans as a revolutionary whose telling the people not to pay money to them.’  They’ve got him.  [he’s chuckling]  No they don’t.  They think they have him.  They put the bait in this word, verse 22, “or”.  “Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?”, ‘one or the other, which one is it?  Which one is right?’  Now, they’re asking an insincere question.  How many times have we been trapped by our own insincerity?  We say something to somebody, we don’t really mean it, we’re just trying to butter them up.  How many times have we asked a question where we’re not really asking a question to get the answer, we already know the answer, we’re setting up a question so we can prove our own opinion or our own point?  It doesn’t bother Jesus that Israel’s paying tribute to Rome.  It bothers him that so many insincere questions are being asked.  Because here he is, the Light of the world, the Truth of the world standing in their presence, and instead of coming with genuine questions, as religious leaders on behalf of the nation [like Nicodemus did, cf. John 3], they’re constantly coming with treachery and insincerity.  And I think what heartbreak it must have been.  “Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?”…[tape switchover, some text lost]…he perceived their craftiness, it says, ‘Why are you tempting me?  Show me a penny, a denarii.’  They take it out of one of their pockets, ‘Whose image and superscription is on it?  They answered and said, Caesar’s.’  Dependent on which coin it was, they minted a brass coin in Israel in that day, the Romans trying not to offend the Jews, and on that brass coin was wheat or a vine, it was not an image of a human being, as a tender that could be used in Israel and not be offensive.  But the word here is denarii, a day’s wage, silver coin.  And Caesar was still Caesar.  And Tiberius was on that coin, and it said on that coin that he was the high priest.  And there was another silver coin, was Augustus, that said he was deity.  So either one was blasphemous to the Jew.  ‘Whose image and superscription is on the coin?’  ‘Caesar’s.’  Caesar’s image, the impress of his face, and his superscription, his name and his title.  Jesus then says, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” (verse 25)  Now there’s an interesting play on words here.  They say to him, “Is it lawful for us to give that’s an important word, “tribute to Caesar, or no?”  “To give” is dedomai, it means “to give.”  Jesus, when he answers them, says “Render to Caesar therefore the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”  The word “Render” is apodedomai, which means “to give back to.”  Dedomai means to give, “Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no?”  Jesus says Render, give back to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and” not “or” unto God the things which be God’s.”  The word apodedomai implies a debt, to pay back to.  You’re indebted to Caesar, and give back to Caesar the things that are his, and unto God, because you’re indebted to him, the things that are God’s.’  Whose image and superscription is on the coin?  Caesar’s. 

 

Whose Image Is On You, And On All Human Beings?

 

Whose image and superscription is on you?  Whose image and likeness were you created in?  Who put their stamp on you?  God.  And the superscription, you know there was writing on the coin.  You know, that because of all the uproar with AIDS in our society, what a terrible disease it is, and all the research we’ve been doing, scientists are now all convinced, those that are honest, that there is a digital code in the DNA.  That means somebody put in the meaning.  If we decide S.O.S., dot, dot, dot; dash, dash, dash;  dot, dot, dot, means danger, there’s no rime or reason, we decided it.  We decided three short dots is an S, three long dashes is on O, three short dots is an S, and S.O.S. will from henceforth mean “HELP! I’M IN TROUBLE!” So when you see S.O.S. this is the meaning, because we’ve programmed it, we’ve given that meaning to it.  Well we’ve discovered the code in the DNA is all digital, there’s a programmer.  What it means is a horse will never evolve into a cow.  That a fish will never evolve into a lizard, it’s impossible, it’s a digital code.  If you write S.O.S. a million times it’s never going to be The Lord’s Prayer.  It’s always going to be S.O.S.  His image is on you, and his superscription is written in you.  He’s the programmer.  You’re indebted.  I’m indebted to him.  As good citizens, American citizens, we render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, I hate to tell you that, you need to do it.  It says in Romans 13 that the powers that be are ordained of God.  If you use Uncle Sam’s streets, and you call Uncle Sam’s Police when you’re in trouble, and you use Uncle Sam’s money when you buy your bread, and you buy Uncle Sam’s gas at the gas station, you are indebted to Caesar.  God has allowed this government to exist.  To be citizens that are Biblical, where there is an indebtedness, we owe to society.  And it is primarily to be salt and light.  I don’t think you should give Caesar any more than Caesar deserves.  But I think you should give him everything that’s rightfully his, as a wise steward over your finances.  But you know that if you take a coin or a dollar and you deface it, you’re in trouble with the government.  Well, if you take a human being, and you deface him, even if it’s yourself, you’re in trouble with another government.  Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give back to God, you’re indebted to God, the things that are God’s.  Isn’t it interesting how people are so consumed with how they spend “their money.”  It’s not your money, it’s not your money.  You’ve got it temporarily.  You worked for it, it’s legal tender, the government owns it, you don’t own it, you just use it, you borrow it to barter, to buy.  And we’re so consumed with how we do that.  Are we as consumed with how we spend our lives, so that we would get the most return as possible?  And I think the more we love him, the more we realize what he’s done for us, the more we care for his glory, and for his name, and for his reputation, for his Kingdom, the more he lives in our hearts, the more of his love we enjoy, the more we’ll live for him.  You know, Daniel says that even our next breath is in his hand, that he sustains our life from moment to moment.  You know the reason that Israel was paying tribute to Caesar was because they hadn’t rendered to God the things that were his.  If they had rendered to God in ancient Israel what was rightfully his, they’d never have been carried to Babylon, they’d never be under Roman bondage.  The problem wasn’t paying taxes to Caesar, the problem was what they hadn’t given to the Lord [cf. Malachi 3:8-12, read it.  See also http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm].  And in the final analysis, in my life, and in your life, as Christians, as believers, the real problems of life will be related to heaven [ie the Kingdom of heaven], not to earth.  It’s temporary, we’re passing through [this physical existence].  We do the best we can, we’re stewards over certain things.  But it’s in this relationship in the vertical that the horizontal comes into focus, and is everything it’s supposed to be.  I’d like to challenge those of you who don’t know him personally this evening. Is he in your life, a stumblingstone?  I don’t think so.  You know, there are some people out there just so offended at Jesus, they don’t even want to hear his name.  And I don’t imagine you’d be here tonight if you were that hard, unless a friend promised to take you out to a steak dinner when this church service is over, and you’re sitting here thinking, ‘Oh come on, this guy’s a blow-hard, I wish he’d finish so I could eat dinner.’  Well we got you here, so we’re going to give you the business while we got you here.  You know, I don’t think you’re hardened that way.  Maybe Jesus has been a stumblingstone to you, and you’re thinking ‘Can it really be that easy?’  You know, look around the room, look at the joy in the faces of the people that are here, look at this room, look at the diversity of cultures and people, look at what God has done.  Only God can do this.  The difference in age, you know there’s people here that are bald, there’s people here that are hairy, there’s people here that are young, there’s people here that are old, people that are black, people that are white, people that are cool, people that are square [laughter].  Just look around the room, and God’s in this holding it together, look at what he’s done.  Are we all out of our minds?  And I’d rather be a fool for Jesus, than the wisest man in this world [cf. 1st Corinthians 1:25-29].  [applause]  I want to have the musicians come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 20:1-26 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

Jesus is the Cornerstone we’re all measured off of. The Laws of God and Word of God are Jesus in print, what we are supposed to measure and “square” our lives to morally.  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm

 

We “square” our worldview, how we interpret world news, and modern society to him through his Word in Bible prophecy.  See:

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

 

Are we “Rendering unto God the things that be of God”?  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm 

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