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3-6-22 “The Bread of Heaven”

“The Bread of Heaven” (Luke 4:1-13)

David Peterson / General

Luke 4:1–13

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Jesus laid down the pattern for his life and minstry, a life of trust in God, at his temptation. This pattern is to be ours as well.

Introduction

1. Laying down the pattern for life

The Gospel of Luke (The Battle with Temptation (Luke 4:1–13))

WE have already seen how there were certain great milestones in the life of Jesus, and here is one of the greatest. In the Temple when he was twelve there had come the realization that God was his Father in a unique way. In the emergence of John, the hour had struck and in his baptism God’s approval had come. At this time Jesus was just about to begin his campaign. Before beginning a campaign a leader must choose the methods to be employed. The temptation story shows us Jesus choosing once and for all the method by which he proposed to win men and women to God. It shows him rejecting the way of power and glory and accepting the way of suffering and the cross. (William Barclay)

I. Trust in God’s Method (Lk. 4:12)

The Gospel of Luke (3.2.3. The Testing of Jesus (4:1-13))

He wants to recruit Jesus to participate in a test of the divine promises of Psalm 91. In doing so, the devil overlooks the critical reality that the psalm is addressed to those who through their fidelity to God reside in God’s presence; even in the psalm faithful obedience to God is the controlling need. Moreover, the devil fails to recognize an even deeper mystery, known already to the believing community of which Luke is a part, that divine rescue may come through suffering and death and not only before (and from) them. Jesus, then, does not deny the validity of God’s promises as quoted by the devil, but he does deny the suitability of their appropriation in this context. He recognizes the devil’s strategy as an attempt to deflect him from his single-minded commitment to loyalty and obedience in God’s service, and interprets the devil’s invitation as an encouragement to question God’s faithfulness. Israel had manifested its doubts by testing God, but Jesus refuses to do so (cf. Deut 6:16). NICNT

My Favorite Illustrations (Suffering/Sorrow Difficulty)

Kites rise against, not with the wind. No one ever worked his way anywhere in a dead calm.—John Neal

My Favorite Illustrations (Suffering/Sorrow Difficulty)

I walked a mile with Pleasure,She chatted me all the way,But I was none the wiserFor what she had to sayI walked a mile with Sorrow,And ne’er a word said she,But O the things I learned from herWhen Sorrow walked with me.—Anonymous

My Favorite Illustrations (A Storm Cloud Ends)

A Storm Cloud EndsI was raised on a small farm in Alabama. One hot summer, as an eleven year old boy, I was hoeing corn in a field adjoining a neighbor’s farm. I was overjoyed to see a dark cloud approaching. I knew if it rained I could go to the house!The rain did come—on the neighbor’s field and right up to the fence between his farm and ours. Only a few drops fell on our field, so I had to keep on hoeing.I learned a lesson that day that has helped me through many storms of life. A storm cloud ends sometime, somewhere.

II. Trust in God’s Timing (Lk. 4:7)

Christian Discipleship Is Costly

You can pay extra these days to buy jeans with ready-made holes that make them look old. You can buy spray-on mud so that your 4×4 looks as if it’s been off-road (yes, I’m serious). But there are no easy shortcuts to maturity in the Christian life.

Rory Gallagher was an Irish Blues guitarist who played a battered old Fender Guitar. The paint was stripped off most of it, and it went well with the gritty blues it was used to play. Johnny Marr, of the Smiths, admired Gallagher’s guitar so much that he took his own guitar to the woodwork room at school, trained a blowtorch on it, set the guitar on fire and nearly burned down the school. But to get its battered blues look Gallagher’s guitar travelled a long road of Irish pubs and clubs over many years.

Source: Ian Sample, “Spray-on Mud: The ultimate accessory for city 4×4 drivers,” The Guardian (6-14-05); Josh Gardner, “Rate Guitars: Rory Gallagher’s 1961 Fender Stratocaster,” Guitar.com (5-16-19)

Our Instant Gratification Society Has a Cost

An article in The Boston Globe claims that our “demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives.” The need for instant gratification is not new, but our expectation of “instant” has become faster. The article states:

Retailers are jumping into same-day delivery services. Smartphone apps eliminate the wait for a cab, a date, or a table at a hot restaurant. Movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds. But experts caution that instant gratification comes at a price: It’s making us less patient …

We’ve come to expect things so quickly that researchers found people can’t wait more than a few seconds for a video to load. One researcher examined the viewing habits of 6.7 million internet users. How long were subjects willing to be patient? Two seconds. After that they started abandoning the site. After five seconds, the abandonment rate is 25 percent. When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone.” The results offer a glimpse into the future. As Internet speeds increase, people will be even less willing to wait for that cute puppy video. The researcher, who spent years developing the study, worries someday people will be too impatient to conduct studies on patience.

Source: Christopher Muther, “Instant gratification is making us perpetually impatient,” The Boston Globe (2-2-13)

Cathedral Took 632 Years to Complete

Consider the Cologne Cathedral. Begun in 1248, the Gothic jewel was to be the main place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperors. Frederick II, one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages, knew he would not see its completion. Consistent building continued until 1473. Halted during the sixteenth century, the construction was completed in 1880 according to the original plan —632 years and two months after the turn of the first shovel. Towering above the city skyline to this day, the building owes its overwhelming grandeur to its meticulous design and execution over centuries. Even with modern engineering and materials, it would be impossible to duplicate the Cologne Cathedral.

Source: Adapted from Michael Horton, Ordinary (Zondervan, 2014), pp. 32-33; see also “Cologne Cathedral,” Unesco.org

III. Trust in God’s Provision (Lk. 4:4)

My Favorite Illustrations (Holy Spirit)

Unlike other kinds of power, we do not harness God’s spiritual power: we yield to it in faith.

What Does Filled with the Spirit Mean?

Andrew Wilson writes in an article for Christianity Today:

When you’re sailing, is “being filled with the wind” an experience or a habit? Both. Catching the wind on a sailboat is clearly an experience. I vividly remember that first feeling of being seized and carried forward by a mighty power from elsewhere. But it is also a habit. If you don’t put the sails up, pull the mainsheet fast, or adjust the jib, you won’t go anywhere, even if the wind is blowing powerfully.

Sailing, in that sense, is the art of attentive responsiveness to an external power. You rely entirely on the external power to get you anywhere. Sailors never imagine themselves to be powering the boat by their own strength. But you also have to respond attentively to whatever the wind is doing, which comes through cultivating awareness, skill, and good habits.

Being filled with the Spirit involves the same both-and. We pursue the experience of the Holy Spirit – Paul uses the language of filling and drenching, drinking and pouring. We rely entirely on the Spirit’s immeasurable power, rather than our own strength, to get us anywhere. But we also develop habits. We respond attentively to what he is doing in and through us, a capacity that comes through awareness, skill, and practice. Paul mentions four such habits in subsequent verses: teaching one another, singing, giving thanks, and submitting to one another (Eph. 5:18–21).

Source: Andrew Wilson, “Paul Says to ‘Be Filled with the Spirit.’ How Do We Obey a Passive Verb?” ChristianityToday.com (7-21-19)

Conclusion

Each week at the meetings of a local Rotary club a different member was asked to give a brief statement about his job. When it was the turn of a Christian minister he stood up and said:

“I’m with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We have our representatives in nearly every parliament and board room on earth. We’re into motivation and behaviour alteration.

“We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centres, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death.

“We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants. Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There’s not enough money to buy it.)

“Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn’t own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a trial, and arose from the dead—I talk with him everyday.”

The church is the most amazing organization in the world!

Source: found circulating on the internet (quoted at https://storiesforpreaching.com.au/)

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