The Resurrection – Luke 24 – Sermon Notes

The disciples didn’t believe it until their eyes were opened. If you take this message into the centre of your life, you can see our family, friends, our world, transformed into a world of piece and justice. It’s the resurrection that gives us hope that the world can be transformed from darkness into light.

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Jesus says on several occasions that he would rise again. Yet the women bring spices instead of breakfast. The two men have given up and are walking out of the city. They’re talking about what’s happened. Maybe they don’t believe it, but they’re walking away. Jesus shows up and has disguised himself so they don’t recognise him. They call Jesus a prophet. Perhaps they had been disappointed. They’d had hopes that he was the messiah but now he’s dead. Lots of people are used to calling Jesus a prophet. We can let some stuff that he said pass by. Jesus can’t be just a prophet because he claims to be God. You can’t just like Jesus. Either he’s Lord or he’s nothing.

They think the resurrected Jesus is a ghost. His resurrection isn’t just spiritual, it’s physical. He asks them for something to eat and he eats it right in front of them. Death is final. It takes away your loved ones. Jesus shows them that death isn’t the end. All three groups weren’t expecting the resurrection.

Was this the plan all along?

Jesus told them this would happen. They needed to be shown that this was the plan all along. The men on the road couldn’t comprehend that this was part of God’s plan. He shows them from the scriptures that God’s anointed one would die on the cross and rise again. His death, his burial and resurrection all points to him. It wasn’t until Jesus showed them that they had their eyes opened. As humans, we’re all guilty. Jesus had to die to pay for sins. The resurrection shows it was paid in full. He’s showing them the gospel. The gospel message washes you clean. It gives you a resurrected life.

Why do you worship the dead when there’s one who is alive?

Standing on a hill, they worship him. Something has changed. They saw him. They touched him. They ate with him. The resurrection should change our world view. It ought to cause us to worship him. We are created beings and are wired to worship. They worship him because he’s worthy and is alive. Why worship your career? It’ll all come to an end.

Worship him because he’s God, for in him all things were made. He can’t die again. Worship him above all. Set your hearts and minds on him and on him alone.

John – Luke 1:5-25 & 57-80 – Bible Study Notes

This is the final study in this series. After looking at the births of Isaac and Samuel we now turn to Luke for the birth of John.

Read 5-25.

1. What do we know about Zechariah and Elizabeth from the first three verses?

As far as Judaism was concerned they were obscure and insignificant people. They were elderly and without children and their spiritual devotion was important.

2. Zechariah was given the task of burning incense. Why was this special?

It was such a high privilege that it could only be done by a priest once in a lifetime. He must’ve been nervous.

3. What does the angel do first? What prayer is being referred to?

The angel comforts Zechariah. The prayer could be his prayer for a son. It could be his official prayer as a priest, representing Israel.

4. Why did the angel refer to wine?

To assure those who saw his ministry that his inspiration was from the Holy Spirit and not from the spirits of strong drink.

5. What happens to Zechariah’s faith after hearing the angel’s promise?

It’s weak. He made a request for a sign. He himself became a sign. He could’ve been dumbstruck and feared saying something stupid.

6. Elizabeth remained in seclusion for five months. Why do you think this was?

She didn’t want to announce her pregnancy until she was clearly pregnant so no one could deny it. She would’ve had to serve as a spokesperson for her husband.

Read 57-80.

7. There is a family feud when naming the child. Why did people react in the way they did when Elizabeth interrupted? What does this show about Elizabeth’s character?

His name would’ve been Zechariah under normal circumstances. Elizabeth is determined and godly in what she was doing.

8. Why is it so important that the child is named John and not Zechariah?

The naming of the son after his father implied he would carry on in his footsteps. John would not. It’s the message implied by having any name other than Zechariah.

9. Zechariah’s psalm has two sections. What is he saying in verses 67-75 and 76-79?

The first section is praise directed towards God while the second section focuses on John and the impact of his ministry.

10. Luke summarises John’s life up until he started ministry in verse 80. Why is this significant? Why does Luke feel it’s important to include?

The verse speaks of John’s physical, but especially of his spiritual growth during his early years. It speaks of John’s preparation for public ministry and Luke informs us that John was being prepared for his public ministry in solitude.

11. What can we take away from this series?

God keeps his promises. We have the promise of Christ’s second coming and need to cling onto that.

Let us be a separate people, so that we may represent a holy God to an unholy world.

White Lies – Luke 16:1-15 – Sermon Notes

What really matters to you will come out in what you do. God values what is lost, broken and weak. Why do they value money? Money makes you look good. People respect you. Jesus says God detests that. If what you want is money you are not serving God. You can’t serve two masters. Do you value what God values?

The man who steals gets praise. Why? What is Jesus trying to say? We can learn from the manager. We should learn to be shrewd. People of the world are shrewd so we should be too. Shrewdness is planning. He calculated a precise plan. Jesus commands us to use our worldly wealth to gain friends. He calls us not put other things above building friendships for the gospel.

How gospel focused is your time/money spending? How calculated are your decisions? Jesus calls us to a more thoughtful way of life. We need to invest in people who don’t know Jesus. Are you using God’s possessions to their full potential?

Most Christians continue to make major decisions as if money is their god. We’re brought up to think the place we live should be dictated by our work. Everything else is serving making money. That’s not clever or wise. Jesus is basically saying ‘do you think God is stupid?’ in verse 11. If you don’t spend money on what matters to God you don’t care about what matters to God.

Good Things, Small Packages – Luke 13:10-21 – Sermon Notes

It would be crazy to buy a building to worship this homeless wanderer unless what he says is true. If you decide to follow Jesus he will ask you to do stuff that seems mad. If it really is real then everything is totally different compared to what you thought it was. Storing up treasures on earth isn’t sensible. Jesus says it’s stupid, evil. God will judge you for it. Jesus says not to worry about those things. Give generously to help other Christians. It’s right if what he brings is real. Will it mean being disliked? Yes. Do we interpret the existence of suffering as a warning from God? Yes we do.

It starts small, but becomes big (v18-19)

This kingdom that Jesus will bring looks tiny but it will become a big tree in which lots of types of birds can live. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was set up against God. Jesus was going to start a kingdom bigger than that. The mustard grains are small but grow into a bigger, better tree where different kinds of birds can shelter. Jesus turned out to be right. We have more reason to believe that than they did.

It seems invisible but changed everything (v20-21)

The yeast looks invisible. Leave it out and it makes a big difference. Its influence spreads and fills the whole dough. Think of everything that wouldn’t be done if it wasn’t for the influence of Jesus who never wrote a book. His influence will continue to spread until one day it will become more touchable and the world will be full of his glory as the waters fill the sea. Look at a skyline. You’ll see the architectural influence of a man who walked around talking.

Trust Jesus to shape who you are, how you live. This kingdom of undeserved kindness will influence everything. Eventually we’ll all be praising God for that. Whatever it is that you find crazy, he’s asking you to do it anyway, telling you it’ll be worth it.

The Authority of the King – Luke 6:27-36 – Sermon Notes

The Christian life is only real if shared. This new community is messy. Jesus says we should be suspicious of the things that the world values. He has something to say about the kind of communities we form.

These words aren’t spoken to super keen Christians. They are what Jesus says to anyone who is listening. How are we doing? Is that what our lives look like? The NT never encourages us to find assurance based on what Jesus has done in the past. We can defend truth until we’re blue in the face. If our profession doesn’t include doing what Jesus says we can’t be his followers.

Jesus covers all the bases. The way you behave, speak and love.

Who are these enemies?

Anyone who hates you or mistreats you for any reason. Some might be Christians. The command of Christ is simple. Do good towards them.

What does it mean to love them like this?

Offer yourself up for the possibility of another slap. We hope they see guilt. There’s a mocking of those who insult us. To love our enemies isn’t all about telling them that they’re wrong even if they are. He’s demanding that we give to people who take. Do good to them and pray for them. It’s a personal passage. Though we call ourselves followers of Jesus, our philosophy is to do to others as they do to us. It’s easy to delude ourselves. That’s the trouble. ‘Ask my friends’. Anyone can say that. Don’t be deluded into thinking you love your enemies just because you love your friends. Treat them better and more generously than we even manage to treat our friends.

How can we do it?

It seems impossible. Two words to take note of – sinners and children. The father is merciful. If we listen to Jesus we must conclude that we’re sinners and sons. The power to live this impossible life that Jesus demands comes from believing exactly that – that I’m a son and a sinner. If I’m not a son, not someone who has received mercy, I can’t afford to do this. Jesus says his father is merciful. God will be kind and give me his great reward. There will be enough.

We know profoundly how undeserved we are of God’s kindness. That’s all you need. By the mighty power of Christ’s death, resurrection and the Spirit that he sends, the impossible is possible. Christianity: only real if shared with enemies. The power to love our enemies comes built into the words.

The Forgiveness of the King – Luke 5:12-32 – Sermon Notes

We don’t really grasp the shock of this. Why? We don’t understand the problem. They would look at a leper and think it was God’s judgement. Leprosy is a picture of God’s judgement on sin.

The horror of sin

Sin is horrifying. We numb ourselves to its diagnosis. We don’t fully believe how serious it is. We might minimise it. Sin in this leper is revealed as a disease. The man was covered. It’s a corruption of what is good. A parasite feeding on a live host and eating it alive. An external picture of the internal condition of our hearts.

It’s a disease that this man is helpless to do anything about whatsoever. Not only are we corrupted, but away from Jesus we are helpless. In his helpless disease the leper is dead. This is someone in a living death. The people would’ve been appalled.

He is willing

Jesus says something and he does something. The two go hand in hand. Jesus starts reaching out his hand. He grabs him. Who knew when this man was last touched? This is the compassion of God himself revealed in his son. His words are of a peace with his action. Instantly the leprosy left him.

He is able

Why can Jesus do this? What is it that their faith has led them to do? Jesus looks at the paralytic and says his sins are forgiven. The Pharisees and teachers of the law think it’s blasphemous. They think sin is for God to deal with himself. Sin isn’t primarily to be pitied. It is to be loathed. Jesus has laid claim to that which only God can do. Jesus stands ready to forgive.

This is why he has come

We’ve seen a sick man. We’ve seen ourselves. Do we understand our sin that we run to Jesus? Jesus came to seek, to heal, to save, to restore, all who come in faith.

The Mission of the King – Luke 4:14-30 – Sermon Notes

Whatever you do with Jesus, you simply cannot ignore him. How does someone like Jesus with such extraordinary claims connect with someone like me? Luke went to great lengths to ensure he got his facts straight.

Jesus came to preach

Luke emphasises this. Everywhere you find Jesus, the chances are he’s preaching. God works through his spirit-filled word. Are you listening?

Jesus preached good news to the poor

He sat down to preach (custom). He says eight words that would change the course of history. It’s all about him. The waiting is over. God’s servant to proclaim good news to the poor. Our initial response is ‘what does that mean?’ Is it a literal liberation? People have constructed a liberation theology. If Jesus only came for the literal poor, what about John the Baptist or the whole Jewish people? Jesus’ message of good news to the poor is primarily to be taken spiritually. We’re all empty of any spiritual resource to buy God round. Spiritually speaking we’re all prisoners and we’re blind to any hope of deliverance. Leviticus 25 – principle of jubilee. Jesus says he’s come to make that year of jubilee a reality. You can be friends with God again.

Good news to the poor is for whoever takes Jesus at his word

Jesus twists the knife into their big objection. No prophet is accepted in their hometown. Jesus tells two stories. One is economically poor, the other rich. Before God they’re both desperate. They were both Gentiles. God invites us simply to believe in Christ promising that if we do, we’ll be saved forever. Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61 but stops his midway through. The day of vengeance hasn’t come yet. One day the ticket will expire. Take him at his word today.

Rescued – Luke 22:39-46 – Sermon Notes

This is a wonderful world but it’s also dangerous. We only have one life. Our greatest problem is that God is angry and he must punish the guilty. Guilt and anger don’t sit easily in contemporary society. From Eden onwards, the Bible unpacks the judgement on sin. God is uncompromising in his justice. Salvation was the plan of Father, Son and Spirit. When his birth comes, his entire ministry is looking forward to his death.

The Bible is also a story of two cups. What does Jesus mean by ‘this cup’? A symbol of God’s wrath and anger. It is God who judges, a psalmist says. This cup of wrath is willingly drunk by Jesus so that through his death, the cup of God’s wrath becomes the cup of God’s blessing on you.

‘Anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it.’ – CS Lewis.

God is angry at sin and the enormity of what that means is seen at the cross. This cup becomes his cup so that wrath falls on him and not me.

The passage begins with Jesus’ concern for others.

Jesus says there is a greater danger still. Guilt stains that you can’t wash. Divine wrath that you can’t remove. Jesus is our only hope. We will really see salvation that humbles and lifts us to see the face of our saviour.

Mission Impossible – Luke 18:18-30 – Sermon Notes

People felt they had a right to be in God’s kingdom but Jesus was teaching that wasn’t the case.

What must I do to inherit eternal life?

You can never do enough

Same question is asked in 10:25 and Jesus threw it back at him with God’s law. Here, Jesus answers the question himself and quotes the commandments. Why would Jesus answer them differently? He was responding to the motives of the people asking him. The man here thinks the commandments are too easy. Jesus only quotes five commandments whereas the others focus on attitude rather than actions. The man has failed to love God and his neighbour as he loves himself. If he really believes Jesus is God he should be worshipping. It shows he doesn’t love God. He chose to trust in his own morality. Jesus acknowledges that it is impossible. We’ve all failed to love God and are all utterly powerless. We can never do enough to inherit eternal life.

But God can

Jesus offers great hope. The impossible is achieved with God. Jesus invited the man to follow h but he chose to put his faith in money and himself. The disciples had trusted Jesus and they had started to understand that their salvation lies in him alone.

It will be costly

Why does Jesus expect such sacrifice from his followers if there’s nothing we can do to earn salvation? He loves us. We can get distracted from other things. It is for our benefit that we make sacrifices.

But it will be worth it

The chances are we’ll be less well off but we’ll also be richer as we inherit the kingdom of God. When Jesus returns, do you think we’ll miss anything we’ve given up in this world? Of course not.

How do we respond?

What’s the basis for my hope in the future? Our only hope eternally speaking is following Jesus.

What stops me following Jesus wholeheartedly? We’ll never be disappointed in following Jesus.

Phoning the Samaritans – Luke 10:25-37 – Sermon Notes

The expert of the law asks what he can do to inherit eternal life.

What does loving God mean?

Unrestrained love

We should have complete, utter dependence on God but our temptation could be to hold some back for ourselves. Is it possible for anyone to reach that level of devotion? Unconditional, unrestrained love is exactly what God deserves. The lawyer wants to place limits on who his neighbours should be.

Indiscriminate love

The implication of this parable is far more hard hitting than we often think. We get caught up in self satisfaction. The good Samaritan wasn’t some stranger. The love that Jesus depicts is indiscriminate.

Costly love

The Samaritan disregards his personal safety and gain and pays for the man’s stay. He was actively caring and providing for him. This level of selfless love is what Jesus calls us to. He demonstrates that we should seek to be the best neighbour we can to everyone.

Although we don’t deserve it, Jesus came to show us mercy, despite our rejection of him. Our lives should be centred around our relationship with God and out of that, our relationships with others. We should put others first. We need to be careful as to where our motivation lies. The reality is that we can never live up to the image that we’re given through Jesus.