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11-13-22 The One You Can Trust

The One You Can Trust (Luke 21:5-19)

David Peterson / General

Anxiety; Faith; Trial; Confidence; Hope / Luke 21:5–19

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: In our vulnerability as limited creatures we are tempted to hold onto things other than God. Only God can give us security in this world.

Introduction

I. False Priorities, False Security (Luke 21:6)

1. Explanation

Mark’s account is more specific: “As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!'” (13:1).

There was no hyperbole in this. The temple was considered one of the great wonders of the Roman world. It had been under reconstruction for forty-six years (cf. John 2:20) and was nearing completion, which would come in A.D. 63, a mere seven years before it was destroyed. Its spectacular location on Mt. Moriah gave it an imposing dominance over ancient Jerusalem. From a distance it looked like a mountain of gold, because its nine massive gates and much of its exterior were plated with gold and silver and jeweled sculptures such as the famous grapevine bearing a cluster the size of a man. Josephus wrote:

The exterior of the building wanted nothing that could astound either mind or eye. For, being covered on all sides with massive plates of gold, the sun was no sooner up than it radiated so fiery a flash that persons straining to look at it were compelled to avert their eyes, as from the solar rays. To approaching strangers it appeared from a distance like a snow-clad mountain; for all that was not overlaid with gold was of purest white. From its summit protruded sharp golden spikes to prevent birds from settling upon and polluting the roof. Some of the stones in the building were forty-five cubits in length, five in height and six in breadth.

The incredible size of the foundation’s stones, almost the size of boxcars, was breathtaking.

The temple was indeed a wonder.

Luke 21:5

(Preaching the Word Commentary)

2. Application

3. Illustration

II. The Temptation of Anxiety/Fear (Luke 21:8ff)

1. Explanation

The Bar Kokhba revolt (Hebrew: מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא‎, Mereḏ Bar Kōḵḇāʾ‎), or the ‘Jewish Expedition’ as the Romans named it[5] (Latin: Expeditio Judaica), was a rebellion by the Jews of the Roman province of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba, against the Roman Empire. Fought c. 132–136 CE,[6] it was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars, so it is also known as the Third Jewish–Roman War or, the Third Jewish Revolt. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt)

During the revolt, the Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva regarded Simon as the Jewish messiah, and gave him the name “Bar Kokhba” meaning “Son of the Star” in Aramaic, from the Star Prophecy verse from Numbers 24:17: “There shall come a star out of Jacob”. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_bar_Kokhba#Nicknames)

2. Application

3. Illustration

What do you worry about? What is it that makes you anxious? Journalist Eric Sevareid (1912–1992) said, “The biggest business in America is not steel, automobiles, or television. It is the manufacture, refinement, and distribution of anxiety.”

Wilson, J. L., & Russell, R. (2015). The Big Business of Anxiety. In E. Ritzema (Ed.), 300 Illustrations for Preachers. Lexham Press.

Fear Releases the Tyrant Within

In his book Fearless, Max Lucado writes about the power fear possesses to turn us into beastly people:

[Fear] turns us into control freaks … [for] … fear, at its center, is a perceived loss of control. When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of our home, the armrest of a plane, or, in many cases, people. The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become. We growl and bare our fangs. Why? Because we are bad? In part. But also because we feel cornered.

Martin Niemöller documents an extreme example of this. He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler. When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemöller stood at the back of the room and listened. Later, when his wife asked him what he’d learned, he said, “I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man.” Fear releases the tyrant within.

Source: Max Lucado, Fearless (Thomas Nelson, 2009), p. 9

III. The Key to Standing Firm (Luke 21:19)

1. Explanation

a. The decision must be made beforehand (Lk 21:14)

• A settled disposition (Lk 21:19)

The Importance of Decision

Someone said there is a point in the Rocky Mountains where raindrops fall ever so close together. However, those falling on one side of the ridge flow westward toward the Pacific Ocean; those falling on the other side of the ridge flow southeastward toward the Gulf of Mexico. The raindrops fall so near each other, but wind up so far apart.

This may be an apt illustration of people making decisions for Christ. Persons may be in the same family or social group. Yet their decisions for or against Christ determine whether their eternal destiny is heaven or hell. At the moment the difference may seem so slight. But destinies are bound up in the decisions they make. Persons are to ponder long in deciding about so vital a matter.

Hobbs, H. H. (1990). My favorite illustrations (p. 78). Broadman Press.

b. It is grounded in Christ’s promise (Lk 21:15)

c. Nothing can keep us from winning (Lk 21.18-19)

2. Application

3. Illustration

Nothing to Fear

During the [civil] war, a chaplain asked a severely wounded youth if he was a Christian. The soldier gasped, “Yes.” The chaplain said, “Then you have nothing to fear,” and left to die the future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Source: “The Untold Story of Christianity & The Civil War,” Christian History, no. 33.

“Spiritual reality is a matter of perception, not of proof.”—Peter Marshall

Stott, J. (2018). The Preacher’s Notebook: The Collected Quotes, Illustrations, and Prayers of John Stott (M. Meynell, Ed.). Lexham Press.

Conclusion

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