Ascension – Luke 24:36-53 – Sermon Notes

The disciples think they’re seeing a ghost so Jesus asked them to touch him. He then showed them that he eats. All that had happened was planned (v44). Jesus opened their minds (v45). For us to understand the scriptures, it’s not about us being clever, it’s about our minds being opened by the Holy Spirit. It’s a good thing to pray (Psalm 119:18). We get a brief description of the Ascension. The disciples worshipped and obeyed him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.

What about the Ascension?

Where is Jesus now? In heaven (Acts 1:11). He’s at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). It’s the place where he has the approval and worship of heaven. In what form is Jesus there? Before he ascended to heaven, he had a scarred body. It’s impossible for us to describe what he looks like in heaven. All the fullness of the Godhead lives in bodily form (Colossians 2).

What’s happened as a result?

John gives us a look back in John 7:37. Jesus is teaching the Jews and he wants them to know who he is. He explained to the disciples that the Spirit would be with them and in them. On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), they were speaking in native languages because the Spirit had been poured out.

What is Jesus doing in heaven?

1 Timothy 2:5-6 – as well as being our mediator, he’s also our advocate (1 John 2:1-2). An advocate doesn’t just speak for you, they’ll tell you what kind of case you have. We’re guilty sinners but our advocate pleads his righteousness which becomes ours. He’s our great high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16). We have one who was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. It’s a throne of grace and he is there for us. Jesus is preparing a place for us (John 14:13).

What does all this mean?

Through him, we have access to the Father by one Spirit. We get through to the throne. That’s what Jesus has achieved by his ascension. Let us set our hearts on heavenly things.

The Life of Jesus – Luke 4:14-30 – Sermon Notes

In this passage is Jesus’ mission statement as he begins his earthly ministry. Throughout the life of Jesus on earth, he went to the poor. He was anointed to preach good news to the poor. Jesus often spoke about spiritual blindness. All kinds of things can oppress people in their lives. Jesus came to release the oppressed. Why did Jesus stop reading the scroll before “the day of vengeance of our God”? John 3:17.

How should we look at Jesus?

By seeing what people said about him. Firstly we need to hear what his Father said when he was baptized and during the transfiguration. We also need to look at what Jesus himself said – Luke 2:48 & John 4:34.

Why did Jesus come? To seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Though Jesus knew that going to Jerusalem was going to mean his death, he was determined to go. Everything in his life was pointing towards it. When he went into Gethsemane, he’s contemplating the agony he’s going to face (Luke 22:42). It’s impossible for us to imagine. We don’t know what it’s like to be perfect as our hearts are full of sin.

What the crowds said

Mark 7:37 – people were overwhelmed with amazement. They recognised that he has done everything well. Luke 4:22 – all spoke well of him. When Jesus received the approval of the crowds, he wouldn’t entrust himself to them (John 2:23-25).

What his enemies said

At the time when guards were sent to arrest Jesus (John 7:40-48), they were asked why they didn’t bring him in. They said no one ever spoke the way Jesus did. Even his enemies had to recognise that. In John 8:42-47, Jesus challenges the Pharisees on belonging to the devil. He asked them if they could prove him guilty of sin. They didn’t. Jesus’ sinless perfection is vital to the whole gospel story. He didn’t come to call the people who thought they were righteous. He came to call sinners.

What his family said

On one occasion they said he was out of his mind (Mark 3:20-22).

What his disciples said

When Jesus was bringing some hard teaching, some people left. He asked his disciples if they wanted to leave too. They said he had the words of eternal life (Mark 6:66-69).

What do you say?

There’s no neutral ground. Either Jesus is who he says he is, or he isn’t. Jesus doesn’t just call us to believe (John 5:24), he calls us to follow (Matthew 4:18-20).

Showing Love – Luke 10:25-37 – Sermon Notes

What does it look like to love someone? Loving is the high cost of following Jesus. The whole of the Old Testament is summed up by love (v27). Jesus said the same thing lots of times. Love is hard and costly. If you’re a Christian what does it look like to love God in a particular situation, and what does it look like to love this person in this situation?

Love comes from God

1 John 4:7-8 says love comes from God. God is the source of every good thing. We can love others because we’re made in the image of God. God’s love is like a never ending fountain. It’s not only Christians who love. Whether you’re a Christian or not, you can love because God made you. If we want to love others, we need to stay under the fountain of God’s love.

Love is a choice

Jesus told this parable of the good Samaritan. How many people do we pass by without a second thought? The priest and Levite were sticking with their law. There might be all kinds of reasons for why they walked past. Do we do the same? Love is a choice. Are we going to do the more costly thing of loving that person or just walk by? We don’t often think love is a choice. The security of love means choosing to love. If we choose to love, emotions will follow. The opposite is also true. God calls us to make this choice.

Love is self-sacrificing

Human love is self-serving but heavenly love is self-sacrificing. Do we choose our friends or partners based on what they can do for us? 1 John 4:9-10 says God sent himself as a sacrifice so we can be united with him. Look at the cross of Jesus. If we are to be followers of Jesus we are to love in the way that he loved. We are loved because we are secure in the love of Jesus. Jesus has already loved us, so we can love others. It means putting others before ourselves. That’s what God calls us to. Our call is to keep choosing to sacrificially love others.

What might it look like to choose to love others in the situations we find ourselves in? There are countless ways in which we can practically love others, even if it’s costly.

Touching Miracles – Luke 8:40-56 – Sermon Notes

Patience is a virtue. Most of us know what it’s like to be impatient. We can sympathize with Jairus. He was a respectable man, a synagogue ruler. We discover that he’s desperate (v41). He was a man with authority whereas Jesus was a carpenter. However he fell at Jesus’ feet as he needed him to do something viral for him. Why was Jairus so desperate? His only daughter was dying (v42). Jesus is the only hope he has for her. He has to come quickly, or it’ll be too late. Jesus is delayed by a sick woman in the crowd.

The miracle of the woman (v43-48)

This woman has been ill for 12 years. She’s squandered her money on doctors and is also desperate. She is miraculously healed. Jesus is aware of what’s happened. He turns round and searches the crowd for who has touched him. Jesus wanted to explain to her that her healing was a result of her faith in him. Identifying herself to Jesus wasn’t an easy thing to do. This woman gets more than she bargained for. She now knows what’s really important. It’s a life-changing relationship with Jesus.

The miracle of the young girl (v49-56)

Imagine the reaction of Jairus to the delay. He’d be frantic. Any doctor would in this situation go straight to the little girl who’s dying. Jesus takes time out in order to speak with this woman. He won’t be hurried and is in control of this situation. Jesus’ comments to Jairus are astonishing (v50). He’s telling Jairus to give more, to take his faith to a deeper level. Even though his daughter is dead, he’s telling him to trust him even more. Jairus had hoped his little girl would be healed, but she was raised from the dead. Jesus said the girl wasn’t dead, but asleep. What he says in verse 54 is a comforting statement. It’s a term of endearment. Death is no more than sleep. For who has the final word? Jesus. Death has no mastery over her. No wonder those around her are astonished.

The miracle for you

What impact should these two miracles have on your life today? What’s true for this sick woman and for Jairus’ daughter can be true for you as well. The sick woman learnt that Jesus is someone she must know. That can be true for us, too. Jairus learnt that Jesus’ way of looking at things is different from ours. Look to Jesus, not to yourself. Jairus’ daughter learnt that death is not the end. Jesus can and does conquer death. If you trust in Jesus, death itself will be just like falling asleep. It’ll bring you into the very presence of Jesus him.

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.