When Good News Is Great News
August 18, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Gospel Verse: Luke 10:17–10:24
“When Good News Is Great News” - Part 1
Theme: Seeing Jesus glorified through the fruitfulness of the Gospel is the believer’s greatest delight.
I. When Souls Are Liberated – 10:17-18
A. The Indication of Liberation – v. 17
- The seventy disciples that Jesus had deputized had obeyed the Lord and went to spread the Gospel of Peace, preparing the way for Jesus to then travel to each city and place that they had visited – 10:1
- They were astonished by the significant impact that the message of peace with God through the Messiah had on the lives of people who were responding by faith.
- As a result, “the seventy returned with joy …” – apparently Jesus had set a terminus time and location where they were to rendezvous.
- They came delighted by the success they had seen – and apparently, they had all known success as there is no indication of any failure.
- They had been commissioned to “heal those … who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” – cp. v. 9
- One of the indications that people were truly being delivered from darkness was how that no resistance could withstand the message - “… Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
- The ultimate task of evangelism is to see souls delivered from the captivity of Satan through the power of Christ and the grace that provides repentance – cp. 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Colossian 1:13.
- Such power over darkness had caused the disciples to exult in the work that Jesus had given them to do.
B. The Impact of Liberation – v. 18
- Yet another indication that souls were being liberated from the domain of darkness and transferred into the Kingdom of Christ is Jesus’ response to the disciples.
- Essentially, he says: “I know, right?!” – “And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightening.’”
- Jesus reveals here that there were spiritual accomplishments He was able to observe no one else had the ability to view.
- Jesus’ statement that “I was watching” [ἐθεώρουν] – is an imperfect tense meaning that He “observed with sustained attention” – or it can mean “to perceive” - throughout the time that the disciples were working as laborers in the coming harvest of judgment.
- Jesus was viewing the spiritual accomplishment of Satan’s dominion diminishing through the advancement of the Gospel – He watched “Satan fall from heaven like lightening.”
- Satan “fall[ing] from heaven …” – is a reference to the crumbling of Satan’s influences “one rescued soul at a time through the seventy’s evangelistic ministry.”
- “like lightening” – conveys the instantaneous victory when a soul is saved – it isn’t a slow process; when a sinner repents, the impact is immediate and noticeable – compared here to “lightening.”
- This would be something that becomes a classic description – not merely of what happened historically through the ministry of the seventy, but also the normative impact of the ministry of the Gospel throughout the present age. Romans 16:20; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14
- There is great rejoicing in Heaven whenever a damned soul – struggling under the bondage to sin and the kingdom of darkness is recovered from that domain and entered into the Kingdom of Christ – cp. Luke 15:10.
- What thrills you more when you hear of a new believer: that they’ve been saved from God’s wrath or that Jesus’ worthiness has been recognized by yet another person?
- The Gospel of Peace is the key to loose sinners from Satan’s dominion – how does Jesus’ perspective of seeing Satan’s influences diminished affect your involvement in spreading the message?
- Notice that it is in the Name of Jesus that the disciples had power – how should this influence your reliance on Christ Jesus?
II. When Saints Are Invigorated – 10:19
A. The Strength of Our Authority
- This section begins with “Behold…” – This indicates an astonishing reality for those who are laboring in the fields with the gospel of peace.
- Jesus indicates that the resources we possess “…have [been] given …” – This is a perfect tense indicating an enduring resource given to us in the past - Matthew 28:19,
- The opposition we face is no challenge to the resource we have been given “… to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.”
- “serpents and scorpions”- This clearly, in the context, is a reference to the opposition to the gospel of peace - Revelation 12:9
- This “authority” [ἐξουσίαν] - is Christ’s authority & our access to it is by virtue of our being in Him and He in us - 1 John 4;4
- “… to tread on …” [πατεῖν - pres. act. Inf. – to be treading] – is a reference to the exercise of this authority over the spiritual forces to “stomp” upon them with the implication of destructive intent; to trample.
- Jesus declares that Satan and his forces have lost – that our job is to “mop up” with opposition being certifiably damned and the elect certainly won.
B. The Sustaining of Our Authority
- The present tense references to these verbs indicate that this will be the new “norm” with reference to the Gospel – that it will be sustained and will be exercised “… over all the power of the enemy …”
- There is no “power” or “authority” that can stand against the authority that has been granted to us by Christ as we serve Christ in spreading the Gospel.
- In this sense, we are unstoppable – cp. Matthew 16:18
- This constancy in our victory is not dependent upon the apparent victory viewed by us, but by the progress of eternal purposes of God accomplished through the church – cp. John 16:33; 1 John 2:14; 5:5.
C. The Safety in Our Authority
- Thus, we need not fear the “serpents and scorpions” under the authority of the Devil as Jesus here declares that they can do nothing to hinder us from accomplishing the eternal purposes of God – “… and nothing will injure you.”
- Our safety is assured as God intends to use us to apply the victory that Jesus has secured by destroying the works of the Devil – cp. 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
- All of this provides the occasion when “good news” becomes “great news” that the believer simply cannot restrain the message from bursting out of a heart of delight and devotion to the Savior, which leads us to the final occasion in our text.
- How should the awareness of the authority that we possess embolden our desire to spread the Gospel of Peace?
- What kind of “safety” does Jesus promise us in this verse?
- What are the greatest threats to your spiritual vitality and fruitfulness?
III. When the Savior Is Celebrated – 10:20
A. The Prohibition of Celebrating Our Abilities
- Even as you and I are prone to do, the disciples were awed by what they were being enabled to do – participate in the crushing of Satan and his power, overcoming the very gates of hell, free from injury and able to be fruitful.
- Often when we know success in serving the Lord – we see people saved, or some other way that God chooses to use us – we can become enamored by our abilities.
- Jesus warns us in this verse that we cannot allow what we do Jesus to impress us – “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you …”
- Satan’s original fall from heaven was occasioned by his pride – and Jesus here warns the disciples that they must not become puffed up with their own significance.
- Too many professing Christians define their faith on the basis of what they do for Christ – they surrender to rules, sacrifice their pleasures, and serve a church and as a result their Christian confidence rests in themselves and in what they are enabled to do by the grace of the Lord.
- Because of the way that such service and sacrifice can characterize false faith, there is a better focus … cp. Matthew 7:21-23
B. The Priority of Celebrating Christ’s Accomplishment
- Jesus challenges the disciples to recognize the most important thing – it’s not what we’ve done for Christ that ought to cause the greatest delight, but rather what Christ Jesus has done for us!
- He says – “… but, rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” – Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 13:8
- Essentially, Jesus states here that the most awesome thing – the thing that ought to stumble us into complete humility and praise to the Lord is that we are saved!
- “The book indicates that the disciples are personally known by God and that their eternal presence before him is certain.”
- This is most relevant to us – even as demonstrated in the earlier occasion when Jesus had sent out the 12 – they came back and reported all that they had done (Luke 9:10) and soon thereafter began to compare notes on what they had done, resulting in an argument re: who was greater – cp. Luke 9:46.
- Yet Jesus by His own mercy, has saved us – enabling our names to be written in Heaven as one of the elect – Titus 3:5; 2 Timothy 1:9
- It is inappropriate to boast in ourselves – whether by assertion of our worthiness, or by reliance on our own efforts – Romans 4:2; 1 Corinthians 1:31; Jeremiah 9:23-24
- When we are more impressed with what we’ve have done for Jesus than what Jesus has done for us, we prove to be proud and distant from Christ.
- Those who truly know Christ wonder how someone as great as He could possibly love someone like me enough to settle my eternal destiny by causing my “… name [to be] recorded in heaven.”
- Jesus will elaborate on the reality of our salvation being completely to work of the Godhead in the next section.
- Why are Jesus’ disciples so prone to try to take credit for what He does?
- In each of our lives and in our thinking, what is the greatest thing that Jesus has done?
- What happened that enabled your name to be “recorded in heaven?”