Luke 13 – Verse by Verse

Photo for Luke

In this chapter, Jesus reminds us in various ways of the dangers of false or misguided religion.  Specifically, he will point out that a person can be very close to the kingdom of God without getting in.

Luke 13.pdf

Luke 13.mp3

Here is a link to the livestream video:  https://www.facebook.com/horizoncentral/videos/204064051025237/

A Prayer Prompted by Luke 13

Heavenly Father,

At present, we see that good and bad things happen to both good and bad people.

We accept the way that you maintain your control over the world, allowing evil and tragedy to exist side-by-side with everything that is good.  Even within the church, the living expression of Christ’s life on earth, we see that there is corruption.  Help us not to be a part of that problem, but rather be part of the solution.

Help us not to trust in ourselves, in our own goodness, merit or virtue or righteous works.  We see that before your holiness, the only safe way to approach you is in humility, admitting our guilt and seeing our need for repentance.

Forgive us of our sins, fill us with your Spirit.  Help us to live completely for you, relying on your power, the power of Christ’s resurrection life at work with us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

A chance to repent – Luke 13:1-5

When extreme tragedy strikes, there is an almost universal tendency to see that the person somehow had it coming to them.  Call it karma, call it something else, the tendency has always been there.  The Bible has a version of this, memorably expressed by Paul in Galatians 6:7-8.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

At the same time, the Bible sees this principle as limited, at least in this life.  The story of Job is an excellent example.  A perfectly righteous man endures terrible hardship, while his friends try to make sense of it as best they can.  Perhaps inevitably, they resort to blaming Job for his own troubles.  They were wrong, but they add much insult to Job’s injury before they are forced to see it.  God sets all things right at the very end, but it took Job a long time and a lot of undeserved suffering to get there.

Jesus encountered this kind of thinking one day and answered it perfectly as always.  Let’s read it from Luke 13.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The Galileans killed by Pilate and the victims of the fallen tower were no worse people than anyone else.  The twist in Christ’s version is not that they were especially innocent in God’s eyes, but that everyone else is comparably guilty.  This is the biblical view of sin.  It is the bad news that makes the good news of the gospel good.

We are all in need of repentance.  That is one of the earliest lessons that the Bible aims to teach us.  At some level, we are guilty before a perfectly holy God.  Sure, there may be mitigating factors to the particular level of our guilt.  A certain temptation was especially difficult.  Under the circumstances there were no good choices.  We have a natural tendency to do this or that.  Someone or something drove us to a point where we reacted, which was wrong.  But, in the end, we are wrong too.  We have sinned because we are fundamentally flawed members of a flawed race who eventually lived up – or maybe down – to our potential.  We sinned and fell short of perfect holiness, which is the standard of the one and only thoroughly holy God.

The solution is repentance.  We are not to hold onto our sin and cherish it.  We are to turn from it and turn our hearts toward our divinely provided Savior.  This is the point made by Jesus when he says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

John 3:16 steers us directly to this principle.  We have a chance to repent right now.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Luke 12 – Verse by Verse

Photo for Luke

Mark Radke was scheduled to take this chapter while Ginger & I were in Texas.  In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, everything changed, but we decided to stick with Mark and Luke 12.

Luke 12.pdf   (Mark Radke)

Luke 12.mp3   (Mark Radke)

Here is a link to the livestream video:  https://www.facebook.com/horizoncentral/videos/1399883910195033/

Our treasure will lead our hearts – Luke 12:32-34

32 Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Jesus begins by reassuring us that it is the Father’s “good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  It is not something we have to compete for, haggle over or bid on like participants in an auction.  He wants to give the kingdom to us as members of his royal family.  But do we want what the Father wants to give?

Maybe.  Or yes, probably so, deep down, when we are quietly thinking about the subject.  But how often do we think so quietly?  In the systematic blur of day-to-day endeavors and obstacles, we may never quietly think about we want deep down and long-term.  By “long-term” I mean in eternity.  Really long-term.  

Jesus knows this about us.  So he immediately teaches us how to get our hearts in the right place.  The next two verses tell us how to get our hearts in proper alignment with God’s, and it all starts with our treasure.

It may involve giving up some of our treasure here on earth, such as selling things and giving to the needy.  There is be more to it, of course, but it is not Jesus’s goal to give us a lengthy how-to lesson.  That might only bog us down in the details and distract us from his ultimate priority.  He wants us to store up treasure in heaven.  In part, that is so we will have treasure in heaven, plain and simple, which is, in itself, is a good thing.  There is, however, something else.

Storing up treasure in heaven taps into an overriding and stable principle, which is where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Jesus wants us to invest in heaven, because the treasure we have there will ultimately lead our hearts into alignment with God’s while we still inhabit the earth. 

We need some skin in the game.  If we don’t invest in our heavenly future, we will remain stupidly focused on the here and now.  Yet both experience and observation indicate that the here and now becomes the there and then all too soon.  Heaven is eternal. There we find moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”  

Heaven is where our Father eternally resides.  Heaven is where Jesus is now and that is where he wants our hearts.  Our hearts invariably follow our treasure; our treasure will lead our hearts.

Luke 11 – Verse by Verse

Photo for Luke

Jesus often taught off the cuff as people asked questions or made comments.  We get several examples of that here in Luke 11. Some of them may be familiar to us.

Luke 11.pdf

Luke 11.mp3