When Good News Is Great News - Part 2
August 25, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
“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?”
IV. When Sovereignty Is Venerated – 10:21-24
A. Venerating the Purposes of God – v. 21
- The miracle of sinners being redeemed is a constantly underestimated miracle.
- The only way any sinner can be saved is because of the good pleasure of God who determined to save sinners out of a heart of love.
- The great delight of the Lord Jesus Christ is the reality of the fulfillment of these eternal purposes of God – and that nothing could possibly thwart God’s purpose.
- Here we see Him setting an example of worship - that “at that very time, He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit …” – demonstrating that as God’s eternal purpose was unfolding and Jesus had had the opportunity to be “watching Satan fall from heaven …,” He saw the glory of God’s plan and worshipped His heavenly Father.
- Jesus knew God’s eternal purpose to save sinners and did everything that He did to accomplish that plan – even enduring the cross – cp. Hebrews 12:2
- Jesus’ ultimate delight is to see the Father’s will fulfilled – even as ours should be.
- Hence, Jesus erupts in Spirit-led worship of the Father – “I praise you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”
- “praise” [ἐξομολογέω] – describes an admission, to profess, or openly acknowledge something – and in this case in the form of worship – cp. Philippians 2:11; Romans 14:11
- Jesus address of God as “O Father” demonstrates the unique relationship that Jesus possesses with the Father – being of one essence with Him – something that caused the Jews to desire to avenge as they saw it as blasphemy.
- The reference to “Lord of heaven and earth” – is a traditional Jewish reference to God being the supreme and only God of the entire universe – Isaiah 66:1
- He also rejoices in the way that the Father has demonstrated those to whom His grace was extended – making Jesus as well as all those to whom He has revealed the truth grateful –
“You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent” – a statement that the good news of the Gospel is not something that is grasped by mere human intelligence – cp. 1 Corinthians 1:18 – “The wise and intellectual are filled up with their own learned ideas, and thus God, finding them filled, satisfied, and puffed up with what they have by their own abilities, can give them nothing.”
“… and have revealed them to infants” – a reference to those who have nothing, who don’t look to their achievements or attainments, but are eager to receive from God and are crying out for provision – Matthew 18:3.
- Nevertheless, we cannot make ourselves children – but even that state of being is a gift of grace wherein God chooses to reveal these things to us, and that makes us children – Matthew 16:17
- Thus Jesus again praises God – “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.”
- This is the way that the Father purposed to bring Himself the greatest satisfaction and glory – Luke 12:32.
B. Venerating the Prerogatives of God – v. 22
- The joy that Jesus takes in the good pleasure of God is clearly reciprocated by God the Father lovingly giving “all things” to Jesus – “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father …” – cp. John 3:35
- He then describes the exclusivity of understanding who Jesus truly is – and that “… no one knows who the Son is except the Father …” – Jesus point is that a sinner cannot know who Jesus truly is without Divine revelation.
- Jesus then follows up by claiming exclusive knowledge of the Father – “… and who the Father is except the Son …” – John 1:18
- Now we get to the real emphasis of Jesus point – “… and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
- Since God has given “all things” to the Son, it is Jesus’ call as to whom He will “reveal” [ἀποκαλύπτω] the Father – a word that means to bring to light, to disclose, or reveal – cp. 1 Corinthians 2:16.
- We must acknowledge that there is no reluctance on the part of Jesus to reveal the Father – but He takes His cue from the one’s to whom the Father chooses to reveal the Son – we can only come to the Father if we are drawn by the Father to Christ who then reveals the Father to them – cp. John 6:44; 17:6-8
- It all remains within the prerogative of the Godhead.
C. Venerating the Privileges of the Godly – vv. 23-24
- Jesus then finishes His prayer by turning “to the disciples, He said privately …” – indicating that this truth belonged exclusively to genuine followers of Jesus.
- “… Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see …” – a reference to the very things that had caused the condemnation of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.
- The realities of the Messiah who would reconcile us to God is something that had been the expectation of saints throughout the Old Testament – “… for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”
- The fulfillment of the expectation of all the godly was here and they had the privilege of seeing and hearing the glories of the Promised One – cp. 1 Peter 1:10-12
- As do we!
- How should God being “well-pleased” affect the believer? What can you learn from Christ’s example?
- What impact on you does realizing the truth have that the Father and the Son personally chose to reveal the Gospel to you? How should it affect you?
- Based on what Jesus said in Luke 10:13-15, what is the significance of vv. 23-24?