Hear the Word of the Lord
December 2, 2018 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Salvation Verse: Luke 8:16–8:21
“Hear the Word of the Lord”
Theme: The Gospel powerfully enables sinners of any kind to become the intimates of the Lord.
Introduction: Churches are filled with people who leave every Sunday with a disconnect from what they have just heard – no indication or inclination to do anything differently. There is little sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s enabling grace whereby they are prompted to “do something” with what they have just heard. Although it is important that the Word of God be applied by the speaker, it falls to the individual believer to listen to the Holy Spirit who directs us into all truth for the particular response that He intends for them as they hear the truth about Christ and His rule in our lives. It must be understood that this all begins with the proper response to the Gospel which ignites a heart that forever thereafter is characterized by a proper response to the Word of God that “makes us wise unto salvation.”
In our text today, Jesus indicates that God didn’t give His Word for us to receive it and then fail to do what He intends with it – it is designed to transform us through faith and then stir us to declare the grace of God by word AND deed so that others might hear as well. If we fail to properly respond to the Word of truth by faith, God will harden our hearts so that we cannot hear the truth. For such a one, salvation is out of reach until by grace they listen and obey the truth. For those who do hear and respond obediently, their intimacy with Christ intensifies throughout their lives as God’s grace compounds upon itself and they are conformed to the image of Christ. In this way, the gospel powerfully enables sinners of any kind to become the intimates of the Lord …
I. Hear the Wisdom of the Gospel – 8:16-17
A. The Stewardship of the Gospel – v. 16
- Jesus continues to teach those who believe in Him as those on whom the seed of Gospel has fallen upon the “good” and fruitful soil in the previous section.
- Those who are fruitful are compared to “lamps” – “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light.”
- It is God who provides the “light” – that is, the quickened soul of a sinner becomes an ignited “lamp” designed to provide light to the world – cp. John 8:12; Matthew 5:14-16
- God does not “light a lamp” to conceal its light, but intends for that “lamp” to enable others in darkness to “see the light”
- As we are brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we possess the “Light of life” and become luminaries to those around us.
B. The Success of the Gospel – v. 17
- This light is effective in shining into the darkest places in the world and “enlightens” everything – cp. John 1:4-5
- However, no one is able to avoid the “light” that shines – sourced in Christ Jesus, but radiated through each believer who becomes the “light of the world” – cp. John 1:9
- Now, Luke tells us “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
- God’s intention for the light is that it expose the darkness for what it is – and provide light so that they might turn from their sin, believe and repent so as to walk in the light – cp. Matthew 4:16; John 12:46
- All who come to the Light and believe are delivered from darkness and are blessed to become partakers of the Light – cp. Acts 26:16-18; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 1:12-14
- Nevertheless not everyone who is exposed to the light comes to the Light, but cowers in darkness so as to preserve their sin unmolested by righteousness – cp. John 3:19-21
- The Gospel exposes the sinfulness of the darkness in which the sinner sits enabling the sinner to come to the light so that the Gospel can produce the fruit of righteousness.
- At the same time, the Gospel exposes the dark and hidden things of the world – showing the sinner what he really is and will begin the process that will become full blown in the final judgment – cp. Ephesians 5:7-17.
- Do you see one of your primary reasons for being saved the ability to be a light to the lost?
- Reflect upon the last time you know when God used you to be light – why do you suppose it was so fulfilling?
- What reactions can you anticipate as you “expose” deeds of darkness in people through both your own “lighted life” and the words of life you provide?
II. Hear the Warning in the Gospel – 8:18
A. The Reward for Heeding the Gospel – v. 18a
- Thus, Jesus provides a warning that when we are exposed to the light of truth found in the Word of God we are to listen carefully – “So take care how you listen …”
- There is no excuse for failing to hear the Word of the Lord and take heed to it except a heart that is hardened, falls away, or is choked because of unbelief (see the soils).
- He provides a promise of blessing to those who believe – “… for whoever has, to him more shall be given …”
- This describes the believer who possesses genuine faith and obeys the truth by a heart that submits to the Gospel.
- For such a person, God promises that the grace to which they respond will result in “grace upon grace” – cp. John 1:16
- This is what is described by Paul when he declares that the riches of God’s grace is “lavished on us” – cp. Ephesians 1:7-8a
- This is an elaboration on the concept Jesus had just described in the parable of the sower – where the seed “produced a crop one hundred times as great” – Luke 8:8; Philippians 1:9-11.
B. The Regrets for Disregarding the Gospel – v. 18b
- However, “… whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”
- Those who fail to properly respond to the Gospel – false disciples – will lose everything.
- Those who are self-righteous and devoid of the righteousness of God found solely in and through Jesus Christ – will discover in the most tragic way – that they lose everything – cp. Matthew 7:21-23
- This is what Jesus referred to as a man “forfeiting himself” – cp. Luke 9:25.
- Given Jesus instruction to be careful how we listen, what can you do to listen to God’s Word more effectively?
- What can you do to go beyond “thinking you have something” when you actually do not when it comes to obedience to the gospel?
- What steps are you taking to become more effective in “rightly dividing the Word of Truth?”
III. Hear the Wonder of the Gospel – 8:19-21
A. The Assumptions in Relationship to Christ – vv. 19-20
- Luke provides an account that applies the truths of what Jesus has been describing in this parable – out of chronological order but fitting the context of what Jesus is teaching.
- There is an assumption that there are some who have a natural “relationship” to Jesus and Jesus takes this opportunity not to demean his biological family, but to elevate the eternal relationship that exists with those who come to Him in faith.
- “And His mother and brothers came to Him …” – a reference to the biological family of Jesus.
- Mary gave birth to Jesus first and then afterward had her other children.
- There are no biblical evidences that these siblings of Christ were by Joseph from a different marriage – everything points to them being Mary’s younger children – cp. Psalm 69:8.
- We are told that they came because they thought Jesus had lost his senses and was needlessly endangering Himself before the hostility of the elders of Israel – cp. Mark 3:21
- When they approached, “they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd.”
- So, there was a rush to inform Jesus that His family was there – thinking that those natural relationships would automatically supersede Jesus’ ministry relationships – “… And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.’”
- But to Jesus, these are not the priority relationships – even as His brothers, at this point, did not believe in Him – rejecting Him as the Messiah.
- Too many people believe that their relationship with God through Jesus Christ is automatic – either because they are born into the right family, go to the right church, have done the right things, or they’ve prayed the right prayer.
- In reality, we are not saved on the basis of things we do or that those around us do – but because of what Jesus Christ alone has done.
- The only person who has eternal life is the person who refuses any merit whatsoever and relies completely upon the work of Christ and their faith in Him.
B. The Authentication of Relationship with Christ – v. 21
- This is the essence of Jesus point – the only hope for the sinner is the Gospel and their obedience to the Gospel – repentance for sin and faith in Christ.
- This is what He answered: “But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’”
- This is the same thing that He said to those who claimed that His mother was particularly blessed – cp. Luke 11:27-28
- Anyone who hears the Gospel and responds to it in obedience enters into the closest relationship with God as possible – all through their knowledge of Christ Jesus.
- This is the wonder of the Gospel – there are no advantages, automatic.
- What do you think about the teaching that spiritual relationship is greater than even physical relationships? Why (or Why not) is this true?
- The particular focus of “doing” the Word of God is on obedience to the Gospel – how does this differ from legalism or gaining righteousness by the works of the Law?
- Take time to worship the Lord for the reality that regardless of what sin or sins you are guilty, you have the ability to be intimate with Jesus Christ through faith?