Monday, March 10, 2008

See Jesus and rejoice (part 2)

Download MP3 - Dave Bish - Luke 10:1-24 at Grace Church Bristol

v10-16. When peace is not received
In some villages, v10, peace will not be received. Then, v11 they’re to cast judgement on such people. But nevertheless – the kingdom of God is near. The gospel word always brings the kingdom of God to people. God comes near to give life. Or God comes near to judge. When the gospel is preached there is no third option. Life and death stand before all people.

Tragically, men and women have what Calvin called the “sacrilegious audacity” to treat God’s word as if it were on a par with all the other words. Scan reading the page. Pressing ‘mute’ to what he says. Yet, look at v12-16, how terrible it is to refuse the grace of God! Such rejection is worse than the infamous sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, Tyre and Sidon.

Indeed. they would have repented at such an offer of peace, v12, compared to those who reject the disciples teaching the fate of Sodom will be more bearable “on that day” of God’s final judgement. Too often we Christians speak of this with lightness and disengagement. Surely only because we’ve not engaged with the scale of the offence committed. God's judgement is a subject to speak of with tears and anguish. It's gut-wrenching. Heartbreaking. The gospel isn’t just a product for sale – it’s not a matter of ‘take it or leave it’. God declares his rule. His rule either means peace for you. Or his rule means wrath for you.

Question – why is rejecting the disciples teaching so bad?

Notice in v16 the closeness of the disciples, their message and the Son and the Father. This is astounding logic from Jesus:
• First, to reject the gospel is to reject Jesus.
• Second, to reject Jesus is to reject the Father.
• Like the heralds of Isaiah 40v9 they’re saying “Behold your God”

The disciples come speaking the word of God. When it is ignored it remains living and active, staking God’s claim upon every one. This challenges any multi-faithism that wants to align the ‘great faiths’ and say they’re all the same. To reject Jesus is to reject the Father. Such is the intimate closeness of the Trinity, the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father. Any ‘way’ that rejects Jesus as God differs fundamentally from Christianity.

Caught up in the love of the Trinity, in Christ, are the disciples by their teaching. So that the following three questions are all the same:
• What are you doing with God the Father?
• What are you doing with God the Son, Jesus?
• What are you doing with the disciples teaching, with the apostolic gospel of peace secured by the cross of Christ?

The Father comes to us by the apostolic teaching. God comes to us clothed in his gospel word. And he comes speaking of blood-bought peace. Recently I preached this good news of peace with God at Exeter University, one student wrote in response: "I rarely want to use physical violence on people, I could even remain numb around paedophiles at court but he made me so angry"

God speaks peace through his disciples. Christians can expect to be opposed for speaking peace. The preaching of God’s word exposes the animosity people have toward God. Deep rooted hatred of humanity for God’s message of peace in the cross of Christ. This message stirs otherwise rational and nice people to foam with fury… why? Because God offers peace!
How darkened is the human heart?
How confounded is our thinking?
This is more than ordinary communication because the word of God has power to expose the human heart, to remake it so it can see the glory of Jesus or to declare God’s curse. The worst thing in the world would be to reject the disciples teaching. Boot camp lesson one - take the disciples teaching, the apostolic teaching more seriously. Engage heart and mind with God’s word to his rebellious world. What we do with it is what we do with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
To be continued (Luke 10v17-24)

1 comment:

  1. I hope my mum and dad and sisters listened very attentively!