Preaching God's Word: Luke 1-12

Luke 1:1-4 

We begin with the first four verses of Luke’s Gospel.
In our first look at Luke’s Book, we ask four questions:
(1) What is Luke’s story about?
(2) Where did Luke get his story from?
(3) How are we to read Luke’s story?
(4) What can we learn from Luke’s story?
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(1) What is Luke’s story about?
We might ask this question differently: Who is Luke’s story about?
The answer is Jesus.
Luke is the writer of this Gospel.
Jesus is the Theme of the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel. He is the Good News.
Luke tells us many things about Jesus.
The first thing he tells us is this: Luke’s Gospel is “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1:1).
“Fulfilled” – This is not the beginning of the story. It’s the fulfilment of a story which has been many centuries in preparation. Long before the birth of Jesus, the prophets were speaking of the Messiah or Christ who was to come.
The story told by Luke is part of a much larger story – the Story which begins at the start of Genesis and continues on to the end of Revelation.
The Gospel of Luke tells us about “the things that have been fulfilled among us”. The Christ has come. Jesus is the Messiah. God has fulfilled His promises. God has sent His Son. He is Jesus our Saviour. This is the Good News. This is God’s Good News.
(2 ) Where did Luke get his story from? Luke’s Gospel is not a work of fiction. He didn’t make his story up. It’s not a figment of his imagination. He’s telling us about things that happened. His Gospel is based on eyewitness testimony. Luke tells us that these “eyewitnesses” were also ministers (or servants) of the Word.
* When we read of the Word, our thoughts turn to God. He is the One who has given us . It is His Word.
* When we think of the Word of God, we think also of Jesus Christ. He is the living Word of God.
* We think also of the Scriptures. The Bible is the written Word of God.
* Our thoughts also turn to the preaching of God’s Word. We study the Bible, learning what it says to us concerning our Saviour.
(3) How are we to read Luke’s story? Here, we can learn from the name of Luke’s first reader – Theophilus.
In Bible times, names had their own meaning. The meaning of each name was very important.
There are two shades of meaning in the name, Theophilus. These two shades of meaning are closely related to each other. They are both concerned with love. They are both concerned with God.
Theophilus means “loved by God.” It also means “lover of God.”
“Loved by God”, “Lover of God” – these two phrases indicate to us the way in which God wants us to read the Gospel of Luke.
* We are to read the Gospel of Luke with a view to learning about God’s love. The Gospel of Luke will show us how much we are loved by God.
* We are to read the Gospel of Luke with a view to increasing our love for God. The Gospel of Luke will help us to love God more.
As we read this Gospel together, let us pray, “Lord, show me how much You love me. Lord, help me to love You more.”
(4) What can we learn from Luke’s story? We will learn many lessons as we take a close look at Luke’s Book.
In his introduction, Luke highlights one very important lesson. It is the lesson of “certainty” (Luke 1:4). We read the Gospel of Luke so that we might “know the certainty of the things we have been taught.”
Our God is trustworthy. We can put our trust in Him with confidence. God’s Word is truth. We can trust His Word. It is His Word of truth.
Reading the Gospel of Luke will strengthen our faith.
Let us pray that the Gospel of Luke will change us, making us more like Jesus.

Luke 1:5-25

In the Gospel of Luke, the central character is Jesus Christ.
Before the Name of Jesus appears in Luke 1:31, we read of John the Baptist who paved the way for Jesus.
In the opening chapter of Luke’s Gospel, we remember a man whose name was given to him by God. The man’s name was John. His name means “The Lord is gracious.” His name speaks of the grace of God, reaching out to many people through His ministry.
When John the Baptist preached, he called on the people of his own day to learn from the faithful of past generations. John was sent by God “to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous” (Luke 1:17).
In the story of John the Baptist, we see the greatness of a man who was “great in the sight of the Lord” (Luke 1:15).
As we think of human greatness, let’s look beyond all of it to the greatness of God.

Learning from John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17; John 1:19-34)

The birth of John the Baptist was foretold in an angelic message (Luke 1:13-17) which speaks of prayer - “your prayer is heard” (v. 13), preparation – looking forward to a time of “joy and gladness” (v. 14), power - “filled with the Holy Spirit” ( v. 15) and purpose - “he will turn many of the people to the Lord their God … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (vs. 16-17). John’s ministry is described in John 1:19-34. In his ministry, there is prayer -pointing to Christ, the One who is worthy to receive our prayers (v. 27), preparation- preparing people for Christ (v. 23), power - pointing people to the power of Christ which comes to us in the gift of the Holy Spirit, purpose -pointing people to the purpose of Christ’s coming (v. 29). Prepare for Christmas prayerfully, remembering that the power of the Christian message lies in the purpose of Christ’s coming.

Luke 1:26-38

* At the beginning, we see God’s initiative (Luke 1:26).
* At the end, we see Mary’s response (Luke 1:38).
* In the centre, we see Jesus (Luke 1:31).
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We see here a picture of the Christian faith and the Christian life.
* “In the beginning, God” (Genesis 1:1).
* We say our “Amen” (Revelation 22:20).
* Jesus at the centre (the Gospels).
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* Jesus is the result of God’s initiative: “When the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4).
* Jesus is the cause of our response: “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for Me” (Galatians 2:20); “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
* Jesus is at the centre – the centre of history, the centre of the Bible, the centre of our faith, the centre of our life.
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Who is this Jesus who stands at the centre of all things?
God’s angel, Gabriel, was sent to Mary. He tells us who Jesus is.
(a) He is our Saviour. The name, “Jesus”, means “Saviour.” When we call Him Saviour, we call Him by His Name.
(b) He is the Lord our God. When the angel says, “He will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), He speaks to us of the uniqueness of Jesus. He is none other than “the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). He is no ordinary man. He is no mere mortal. He is nothing less than God the Son, sent down from heaven above to be our Saviour.
(c) He is our King. He is the King of kings – “His Kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:33).
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As we take a close look at Luke’s Book, we will learn much about Jesus. May we learn to love, worship, follow and serve Him.

Luke 1:39-56 

While at Elizabeth’s house, Mary praised the Lord. Her song of praise comes from the Lord and rises to the Lord.
At the heart of this song of praise, there is the “Saviour” – “my soul rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47).
Mary’s song of praise is both a joyful testimony and a call to worship.
* Mary’s song could be summed up in the words of Psalm 35:9 – “My soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation.” This is Mary’s joyful testimony. She rejoices in the Lord. She takes delight in His salvation.
At the heart of her joyful testimony, there is the “Saviour” – “my soul rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47).
* Mary’s song of praise comes to us as a call to worship, an invitation to join with her in praising the Lord. In her words of praise, we hear an echo of the call to worship, found in Psalm 34:3 – “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together.”
Mary praised the Lord. She rejoiced in the Saviour. What about us? Will we praise the Lord? Will we rejoice in the Saviour?
* When we read the Word of God, we must not read it only as an account of things that happened a long time ago. We must also ask, “What is the Lord saying to me here-and-now? This is what we must do as we read Mary’s song of praise to her Lord and Saviour.
* In Mary’s song of praise, there are many echoes of the Psalms. By looking at one of the Psalms, Psalm 138, in connection with Mary’s song of praise, we can learn to worship God like Mary did – worshipping Him with our whole heart, with faith in Him, with deep appreciation of His love.
* Taking the first and last verses of Psalm 138, we can look at Mary’s song of praise and learn (a) how she worshipped God and how we are to worship God; (b) why she worshipped God and why we must worship God; (c) about the great theme of Mary’s worship and the great theme of our worship.
(a) How Mary worshipped God and how we are to worship God
Psalm 138:1 – “I will praise You, o Lord, with all my heart.”
“With all my heart” – This is how Mary worshipped God. This is how we are to worship God.
Let us worship God with our whole heart.
(b) Why Mary worshipped God and why we are to worship GodPsalm 138:8a – “The Lord will fulfil His purpose for me.”
This was Mary’s joyful testimony. Her song of praise came immediately after Elizabeth’s words: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished” (Luke 1:45).
Mary rejoices in the God of perfect faithfulness. This is what we must do. We must sing from the heart: “Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me” (Lamentations 3:23).
(c) The great theme of Mary’s worship and the great theme of our worship
Like the Psalmist before her, Mary rejoices in “God’s steadfast love which endures for ever” (Psalm 138:8). Before the Psalmist and after us, the great theme of all true worshippers will be, “God has loved us and we are glad.” Mary looked back to God’s promise to Abraham (Luke 1:54-55). She looked ahead to us and beyond us – all generations” – “His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.”
Here, we see love at every point, love for all time, love for all of eternity.

Luke 1:57-66

* “The hand of the Lord was with him” (Luke 1:66).
 The words of Hebrews 11:4 – “he died, but through his faith he is still speaking” provide us with an apt description of John the Baptist. He belongs to the distant past, yet his words continue to speak to us today.
* “The hand of the Lord was with him.”
As we read of the ministry of John the Baptist, we read of a man who was fully devoted to the Lord, a man who was mightily used by the Lord.
* “The hand of the Lord was with him.”
Let us pray that the hand of the Lord will be upon us. With thanksgiving, we remember those whom the Lord who has so graciously and powerfully used for His glory in past generations. We are not, however, locked in the past. We learn from the past so that we can be greatly used, in this generation, to bring men, women and children to the Saviour.
* “The hand of the Lord was with him.”
John the Baptist was a bridge between the old and the new. He followed on from the Old Testament prophets. He pointed forward to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are to be like John the Baptist. We are to be a bridge across which people travel as they make their way to Jesus Christ, the living Saviour, We build on the past, basing our teaching on the Scriptures. We learn of the Saviour as we read the Scriptures. As we seek to point sinners to the Saviour, let us pray that the Spirit will work mightily in the hearts of many and that God will be glorified as many are brought to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
* “The hand of the Lord was with him.”
The ministry of John the Baptist had a great impact on a large number of people – a “multitude came to be baptized by him” (Luke 3:7). Let us pray that God will raise up many preachers who will call many people to return to the Lord. May God grant that His faithful servants will see much fruit for their labours.
* “The hand of the Lord was with him.”This is not only about John the Baptist. It’s about us. It’s about the purpose of God for our lives. He calls us to be His witness. He calls us to be faithful and fruitful in His service. We learn from John the Baptist – “a voice crying in the wilderness” (Luke 3:4). We look at the “wilderness” of today’s world. It is a world of “ungodliness and unrighteousness.” It is a world that has fallen under the judgment of God (Romans 1:18). Is there a way back to God? John the Baptist gives us God’s answer to this all-important question. He points us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He calls us to look away from ourselves. He calls us to look to Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). May our words, in this sinful generation, be a living echo of the voice of John the Baptist in his generation. May our words point to the Saviour. May our words call men and women to come to Christ and receive, through faith in Him, the forgiveness of all their sins.

Luke 1:67-80

Prior to the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, there was the birth of John the Baptist. At the time of John’s birth, his father, Zechariah, sang a song of praise to God. It is a song of praise which (a) gives thanks to God for His blessings in the past; (b) rejoices in the blessings God gives in the present; (c) looks forward to God’s blessings in the future.
* Zechariah looks back to “the holy prophets of long ago” (Luke 1:70).
* Zechariah rejoices in the birth of John – “a man sent from God” (John 1:6).
* Zechariah looks forward to the coming of Christ. John’s ministry was to “go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him” (Luke 1:76 b).
Past, present and future – This is the framework within which we live our life. We live in the present, looking back to the past and looking on to the future.
* What can we learn from Zechariah’s song of praise, as we make our journey from the past, through the future and on into the future?
- “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us” (Luke 1:70).
- “to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77).
- “the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
* How does all of this become real in our lives? – It is through “the tender mercy of our God” (Luke 1;77). From beginning to end – in the past, in the present, in the future, our salvation is the work of God, the work of His tender mercy, His amazing grace, His wonderful love.
* Where do we find God’s tender mercy, His amazing grace and His wonderful love? – In the Man who was born the Babe of Bethlehem, the Man to whom John the Baptist pointed his hearers, the Man who is none other than the Son of the living God – Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. He has come. He is with us now. He will come again.
(1) He is “the horn of salvation”, raised up by God. At the heart of the Gospel, at the heart of our faith, there is Jesus Christ – “the horn of our salvation”, Jesus Christ – raised from the dead by God. We look back and we remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. In Him, we find our true strength. He is our strong Saviour.
(2) Here-and-now, Christ is with us. He is the risen Saviour. He is the living Lord. He is Emmanuel – God with us. He is with us as the One who gives to us the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins. The knowledge of salvation, the forgiveness of sins – These are the blessings we know here-and-now. Christ is not only a figure from the past and a hope for the future. He is our Saviour here-and-now.
(3) Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God, will come from heaven. he will bring His redeemed people into everlasting light and everlasting life. All of this will become a reality – an everlasting reality, through His everlasting love. let us keep our eyes fixed on our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let Him lead you in the way everlasting, the way that leads to His heavenly and eternal glory.

Luke 2:1-20

The story of the shepherds at Bethlehem is just one part of a much larger story – the Story of the Divine Shepherd.
“The Lord is my Shepherd.” This is the great testimony of the Psalmist in the most well-known of the Psalms – Psalm 23. The Lord is the Shepherd of love. He is the loving Shepherd. The Lord loves us. He shows His love for us in the coming of Christ to our world.
The Christmas carols announce, for us, the love of Christ, our Saviour.
- “Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine.”
- “Son of God, o how bright, Love is smiling from Thy face.”
- “Sacred Infant, all Divine, what a tender Love was Thine, thus to come from highest bliss down to such a world as this!”
The love of the Shepherd, the love of the Saviour – This is what we read of in the story of Christ. Jesus is our Saviour, our loving Saviour. Jesus is our Shepherd, our loving Shepherd.
We see His love in his birth. We see His love in His whole story – His life, His death, His resurrection, His coming again in power and glory.
As we look together at the story of the shepherds coming to Bethlehem, let us see it in the broader context of the complete Story of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who died for our sins, the Great Shepherd who, in His mighty resurrection, triumphed over death, the Chief Shepherd who is coming again to establish God’s heavenly and eternal Kingdom.
(1) The shepherds came to Bethlehem to worship the Baby who was to become the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of all our sins.
The story of the shepherds and their journey to Bethlehem begins with Good News – The Saviour has been born (Luke 2:10-11). What a wonderful day it was! – the day our Saviour was born. It was a wonderful day, but it was only the beginning of a wonderful life. It was the beginning of a journey which took Jesus from the cradle of Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary. It was the beginning of a journey which would bring God’s wonderful salvation to undeserving sinners.
At the Cross of Calvary – the place where Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, laid down His life for us, we learn of our sin and God’s salvation. It was our sin which sent Jesus to the Cross. It is God’s salvation which Jesus brings to us through His death on the Cross. This is Good News of great joy – “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
(2) The shepherds came to Bethlehem to worship the Baby who was to become the Great Shepherd who, in His resurrection, triumphed over death.
On the night that Christ was born, the shepherds were given an almost overwhelmingly awesome demonstration of the heavenly glory of God: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests’” (Luke 2:13-14).
At the beginning of Christ’s life on earth, there was a mighty revelation of God’s glory.
At the end of His life on earth, there was another mighty demonstration of God’s heavenly glory – God raised Jesus from the dead.
One of the Christmas songs – “Mary’s Boy Child” – contains the words, “Man will live forevermore because of Christmas Day.” We could also sing, “Man will live forevermore because of Easter Day.” The Child who was born at Bethlehem became the mighty risen Lord – Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.
As we celebrate Christ’s birth – the beginning of His life on earth, we must allow our thoughts to move on to the end of His earthly life – His mighty resurrection from the dead. When we do this, we will understand the true and full meaning of the final verse of the Christmas carol, “Hark! the herald angels sing”: “Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! Light and Life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings. Mild he lays His glory by, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
(3) The shepherds came to Bethlehem to worship the Baby who was to become the Chief Shepherd who will come again to establish God’s heavenly and eternal Kingdom, the only Kingdom which shall endure forever.
Immediately after Christmas, our thoughts begin to turn towards the New Yea. the future is beckoning us. The future is calling on us. We must move forward. We must step into the future. God’s future. God is calling us to move into the future with Him.
In the story of the shepherds who went to Bethlehem to worship the Baby jesus, we have a striking contrast between the past and the future – what the shepherd were, what the shepherds became.
At the beginning of the story, we find the shepherds keeping watch over their sheep. At the end of the story, we find the shepherds glorifying and praising God. they were changed by what happened to them that night. They would never be the same again. They were new men. they had seen the lord and it had changed them.
“Glorifying and praising God” – This was the response of the shepherds to the revelation given to them on the night of Christ’s birth. They caught a glimpse of the heavenly worship and they began to worship God with hearts full of praise to Him.
In the story of the first Christmas, we catch a glimpse of something more – the Christ who came to Bethlehem is the Christ who will come again in the fullness of His divine glory: “Not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by, we shall see Him but in heaven, set at God’s right hand on high, when, like stars, His children crowned, all in white shall wait around.

Luke 2:21-40

Here, we have the naming of the Baby (Luke 2:21). His Name was given to Him by God. His Name is Jesus – “Jesus! Name of wondrous love.” His Name is the Name of our salvation. His Story is the Story of our salvation.
Following on from the story of His birth, we have the first step towards the Future, His future, our future in Him. We are pointed in the direction of this future by two people who had waited for the coming of the Saviour – Simeon and Anna. For both Simeon and Anna, the past (the time of waiting) had come to an end and the future (the time of salvation) had begun. The end of the old, the beginning of the new – This is particularly relevant at the beginning of a New Year. The New Year is not only a change in the number of the year. It’s a time when the Lord is inviting us to put the past behind us and move into the future with Him.
As we move forward with God, we can learn from Simeon and Anna. In the welcome given to Christ by Simeon and Anna, we learn that the Story of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, is a Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption.
- In Christ, there is revelation.
- In Christ, there is resurrection.
- In Christ, there is redemption.
* In Christ, there is revelation.
God has revealed Himself to us.He has spoken His Word to us. Jesus Christ is His living Word. God has made Himself known to us. He has shown to us the way of salvation. Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). He is the Way without which there is no going. He is the Truth without which there is no knowing. He is the Life without which there is no living. This is revelation. This is God making Himself known to us. We are not left groping around in the darkness, trying to find our own way back to God. Jesus is the Way to God. We are not left in a state of confusion – the confusion of uncertainty. we have received a revelation of God’s truth – Jesus Christ is the Truth. we are not left without hope. God has given us hope for the future. Jesus is our Hope. In Him, we have life – eternal life.
* In Christ, there is resurrection.
None of us knows what each year will bring into our lives. There may be hard times ahead of us. we have no guarantee that our life will be easy. In Jesus Christ, we have a Saviour who enables us to look beyond our present circumstances to our glorious, heavenly destiny. Jesus Christ is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). By ourselves, left to our own devices, we fall into sin, we fall away from God. With Christ as our Saviour, we are raised to newness of life (Romans 6:4). Through faith in Him, we receive God’s gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Christ is our life – not only for this life here on earth. He is our life – for all eternity in heaven.
* In Christ, there is redemption.
The future towards which we look forward, through faith in Jesus Christ, is not only a future which is summed up in the greeting, “Happy New Year.” It is a future which is summed up in the word, “redemption.” This is a word which teaches us that true happiness is not found in ourselves. True happiness is found in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. In Him, we have “eternal redemption.” This redemption has been secured for us by the shedding of the precious blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through Jesus Christ our Saviour, crucified and risen for us, God is calling us on to heavenly and eternal glory.
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At the time of Christ’s presentation at the Temple, the Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption was still in its infancy. The Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption was just beginning to unfold. The next step in the Story of revelation, resurrection and redemption is summed up in Luke 2:40 – “the Child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” In the growth of the Child, there is an invitation to us: Will we grow with Him? Will we go from strength to strength? Will we grow in grace? Will we increase in wisdom? May God help us to make real progress in spiritual growth. May God help us to grow in Christ. 

Luke 2:41-52

When Jesus was found in the Temple, He said something which Joseph and Mary didn’t understand. It’s something we must think about, something we must seek to understand of we are to understand Jesus – who He is and what is important to Him.
In the words of Jesus found in Luke 2:49, we come to the very heart of Jesus – who He is and what is important to Him. Jesus’ words are in the form of a question. It’s a question which reveals to us who Jesus is. He is the Son of God. It’s a question which reveals to us what was important to Jesus. He loved to be in His Father’s House. He loved to be about His Father’s business.
There are two different but closely related versions of Jesus’ question. Modern translations of the Bible put it like this: “Didn’t you know that I had to be in My Father’s House?” The Authorized Version puts it like this: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
From this question, we learn three lessons about Jesus – (1) He is the Son of God; (2) He loved to be in His Father’s House; (3) He loved to be about His Father’s business.
(1) Jesus is the Son of God.Each of the four Gospels tell us that Jesus is the Son of God.
* In Luke’s Gospel, we have the angelic declaration: “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the Name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32). Jesus is “the Son of the Most High.” He is the Son of God.
* Mark’s Gospel begins with a clear statement that Jesus is the Son of God. the very first verse says this: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Jesus is the Son of God. This is the first thing that Mark wants us to know about Jesus.
* John tells us why he wrote his Gospel: “These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 20:31). Jesus is the Christ. he is the Son of the living God.
* In Matthew’s Gospel, we have Peter’s great confession of faith in Christ: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This was Peter’s response of faith. This is to be our response of faith. It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we become God’s children. Through faith in Jesus, the unique Son of God, the eternal Son of God, we are able to call God, “our Father.”
(2) Jesus loved to be in His Father’s House.Worship was important to Jesus. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He affirmed His commitment to worshipping God. He said to Satan, “You shall worship the Lord your God.” He still says to us, “You shall worship the Lord your God.” Worship – This is the reason we come to our Father’s House. This is why we begin our service with the words, “Let us worship God.” Jesus worshipped God. We are to worship God. Jesus takes His place in God’s House. He invites us to join Him. He says to us, “Let us go to the House of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).
(3) Jesus loved to be about His Father’s business.As well as worshipping God, Jesus also witnessed for Him and worked for Him. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He affirmed His commitment to working for God and witnessing for Him. When Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God”, He did not stop there. He continued, “and Him only shall you serve.” Jesus spoke these words to Satan. he still says to us, “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (Luke 4:8).
When our service of worship, in the House of the Lord, comes to an end, our service of work and witness, in the world, begins. as we go out from the House of the Lord, God’s Word still says to us, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Luke 3:1-22

The third chapter of Luke’s Gospel begins with John. It ends with Jesus. The whole chapter may be summed up in the words of John 3:30 – “Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” Here, we have the vital principle of true Christian living and faithful Christian witness.
In our Christian living, we must pray that there will be less of self and more of Christ. In our Christian witness, we must seek always to point away from ourselves to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ baptism is described in Luke 3:21-22. In His baptism, we catch a glimpse of much more than Jesus, the Man. In Jesus’ baptism, we see God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the deep, eternal background to the Story of Jesus, the Man. When we look behind the scenes, we see God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Baptism is carried out in the Name of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is done in obedience to Jesus’ Final Commission to His disciples – “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
In baptism, we pray for the blessing of God. we pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will rest upon those who are baptized. In baptism, we commit ourselves to the God-given task of teaching those who have been baptized to live in obedience to Jesus Christ.
How are we to know the blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit? How will this blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – equip us for living in obedience to Jesus Christ? What can we learn about the blessing of God? How can this blessing become a reality in our life?
At Jesus’ baptism, there was a mighty revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This revelation of God was given while Jesus “was praying” (Luke 3:21). Jesus was praying. While He was being baptized, Jesus was praying. This tells us something very important about baptism. In baptism, we are praying. We are thanking God for His love. We are looking to Him for His blessing. Prayer is vital if we are to enjoy God’s blessing. God will not send His blessing to those who refuse to pray. God’s blessing comes when His people pray. We must learn to pray if we want to see God’s blessing coming upon us with power.
What happened when Jesus prayed at the time of His baptism?
Three things happened – three things which, together, formed a wonderful revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(1) Heaven was opened and the voice of God the Father was heard.
(2) Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God. This was the testimony of God Himself: “a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son, whom I love. With You, I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:22).
(3) “Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove” (Luke 3:21).
All of these things – this revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – can be summed up in the words, “heaven was opened” (Luke 3:21). The opening of heaven for the voice of God the Father and the descent of God the Holy Spirit marked the divine confirmation of the earlier opening of heaven when Jesus was born. This opening of heaven at the time of Jesus’ birth has been well expressed in the words of hymns of worship; “Who came down from heaven to earth? – Jesus Christ our Saviour”; “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.”
Jesus Christ is our Saviour. He is our Lord. He is our God. This is the testimony of God the Father. this is the testimony of God the Holy Spirit. Both the Father and the Holy Spirit direct our attention to Jesus Christ, our Saviour,m our Lord and our God.
* Why do we believe in Jesus? Do we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, simply because Luke, together with Matthew, Mark and John, tells us that He is the Son of God? No! Our faith is not based merely on human testimony. we believe in Jesus because God has told us, “This is my beloved Son.” We think back to the birth of Jesus. We remember the testimony of the angel: “Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Here, at Jesus’ baptism, we have the divine confirmation of this revelation concerning Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.
As well as the testimony of God the Father, we also have the testimony of God the Holy Spirit. we do not believe in Jesus, simply because we have heard about Him in the Bible or heard preaching about Him. it is the Holy Spirit who brings us to faith in Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who brings the words of the Bible to life for us. it is the Holy Spirit who takes the words of the preacher and brings them home to the hearts of the hearers with divine power. the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. the Holy Spirit still descends upon us as we read and hear God’s Word. The Holy Spirit leads us to put our faith in Jesus.
* What do God the Father and God the Holy Spirit tell us about Jesus? How does God, speaking to us in the power of the Holy Spirit, show us what Jesus means for us? God tells us that Jesus is His “beloved Son.” God tells us that He is well pleased with His Son – our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. God tells us that we, “in Christ”, we become God’s children – His sons and His daughters. God tells us that, when we are “in Christ”, having put our faith in Him, God is well pleased with us. At the time of Jesus’ baptism, God spoke from heaven and the Holy Spirit descended from heaven. This is part of the Story of our Lord Jesus Christ.Through faith in Jesus Christ, the speaking of God and the descent of the Holy Spirit become a part of the story of our life.
We must not think of our own story of coming to faith in Christ purely in terms of human influences. True faith is always more than something merely human. Faith is God-given. It’s the gift of God. Real faith in Christ is more than the work of a persuasive preacher or an eloquent evangelist. It’s always the work of God. The heavens are opened, God speaks, the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus is exalted among us and we put our faith in Him.

Luke 4:1-13

Jesus is like us. Jesus is different from us. How is Jesus like us? How is Jesus different from us? Jesus was tempted. That's how He's like us. Jesus didn't sin. That's how He's different from us. Jesus was in the wilderness. The people of God were in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:1-10). There's the similarity. Jesus found Himself in the same place of danger as the people of Israel. How is Jesus different from the people of Israel? They sinned. He didn't sin.
In Luke 3:23-38, we travel from Jesus back to Adam. As we compare Jesus and Adam, we find the same combination of similarity and difference. Like Adam, Jesus was tempted. Unlike Adam, Jesus didn't sin. Adam fell into sin. Jesus stood firm, victorious over Satan.
The story of our life is the same as the story of Israel and the story of Adam. It is the story of sin. The Story of Jesus is very different. His Story is the story of temptation, but it's not the story of sin. His Story is the story of victory over temptation.
Jesus won the victory over Satan. How did He win the victory? How can we be victorious in our battle with Satan? We read about Jesus in His wilderness of temptation and we ask, "How can He help us in our wilderness of temptation?" The wilderness is a terrible place. It's a place of great danger. When we are in the wilderness of testing, our faith is put to the test. We wonder, "Is God really there? Is God really with us? Will God really help us when we are in the wilderness of temptation?"
Jesus shows us God's answers to our questions. God is with us in the wilderness. God is there to help us. How does God help us? He helps us in the same way that He helped Jesus. The Spirit of God and the Word of God - These are the divine resources given to Jesus in the time of His testing. The Spirit of God and the Word of God - These are the divine resources which have been given to us.
Strengthened by the Spirit of God and armed with the Word of God, Jesus was triumphant over Satan. Strengthened by the Spirit of God and armed with the Word of God: This was the way of victory for Jesus. This is the way of victory for us. Why has God given us His Spirit and His Word? God gives us His Spirit and His Word so that we might do His will - living in obedience to His Word, as we obey the promptings of His Spirit. The Word of God shows us the will of God. The Spirit of God gives us the strength to do the will of God.
Must our story always be "Temptation leads to sin"? Jesus shows us another way. Jesus shows us a better way. Jesus shows us that we can be tempted without sinning. He says to us, "Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation" (Matthew 26:41). Temptation comes knocking on our door. Do we open the door to temptation? Or, do we keep the door of our heart firmly closed? We enter into temptation when we open the door of our heart to the temptations brought to us by Satan. We overcome Satan when we close the door of our heart to his temptations.
Temptation leads to sin. This is not an inevitable sequence of our life. Temptation leads to sin. This sequence can be broken. It can be broken by obedience, obedience to the Word of God, obedience to the promptings of the Spirit of God. We will be tempted. There is no question about that. There is, however, an important question we must ask ourselves: "When we are tempted, will we sin or will we win the victory?
There is a way of victory over temptation. God had given us His promise - His promise of victory over temptation. God tells us that when we are tempted, he will provide for us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Jesus is God's way of escape. Jesus is God's way of victory. The way of escape is the way of victory. The way of escape is the way of following Jesus. This is the way of victory - the way of following Jesus.
When we are tempted, we must believe that Jesus is with us in our temptations. He is our Saviour. He is there beside us to deliver us from evil. He is there to break the chain of evil. He is there to lead us from temptation to victory. Satan's chain of evil tells us, "Temptation leads to sin." Jesus tells us, "Satan's chain of evil can be broken."
How can we be "more than conquerors" in our battle with Satan? God's answer to our question is Jesus Christ. God points us to His Son, Jesus. He speaks to us of Jesus, our Saviour. He tells us that Jesus died for our sins. Through faith in Him, we receive the forgiveness of our sins. Through faith in Him, we are led in the way of victory over sin. God calls us to put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He calls us to come to Christ and receive and enjoy His wonderful salvation: "He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood availed for me. He speaks and, listening to His voice, new life the dead receive."

Luke 4:14-30

Behind the Story of Jesus as a Man, living on earth, there is another Story - the heavenly Story, the divine Story, the eternal Story, the Story of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We have seen this divine dimension in the stories of Christ's birth, baptism and temptations. Now, we see it again at the beginning of His ministry.
In the story of His birth, we have this description of Christ - "He will be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:32). We are told that His birth was a direct result of the work of the Holy Spirit. To Mary, these words were spoken, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you" (Luke 1:35).
In the story of His baptism, we hear the voice of God the Father - "You are My Son whom I love, with You I am well pleased" - and we see the descent of the Holy Spirit - "the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove" (Luke 3:22).
In the story of His temptations, we learn about the power of the Spirit of God and the Word of God in Jesus' life. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus defeats Satan by taking His stand on the written Word of God (Luke 4:1; Luke 4:4).
In His description of His ministry, Jesus says that He has come to preach the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. He has come to "proclaim the year of the Lord's favour" (Luke 4:19). He has come to say, "Now is the day of God's favour, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). He brings this message of Good News in the power of "the Spirit of the Lord" (Luke 4:18).
In this introduction to Jesus' ministry, we learn about (1) Jesus' message; (2) Jesus' hearers; (3) Jesus' power.
(1) Jesus' Message
What is the message that Jesus has brought to the world? Jesus brings "Good News" to the world. It is the Good News of God's love. This is the Good News that was announced by the angel at the time of Christ's birth - "I bring you Good News of great joy" (Luke 2:10). This is the Good News of which we read in John 3:16 - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." This is the Good News proclaimed by Paul in his Letter to the Romans: "God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
(2) Jesus' Hearers
To whom does Jesus bring this message of Good News? The Good News is for everyone. When the angel brought the Good News of Christ's birth, He said, This is Good News "for all the people"(Luke 2:10).' When Jesus spoke of God's love, He spoke of God's love for the world. When Jesus spoke of His ministry to "the poor", "the prisoners", "the blind" and "the oppressed" (Luke 4:18-19), He is not limiting His ministry to certain types of people. He is describing the spiritual condition of every one of us. He calls upon each of us to recognize our need of Him as Saviour.
We are spiritually poor. We are like beggars who can only come to God, pleading for His mercy - "Nothing in my hand, I bring. Simply to Thy Cross, I cling." Our spiritual poverty is described in terms of Satan's power over us. We are His prisoners. We are spiritually blind. we are oppressed by Satan. Christ has come to set us free - "If the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). He has come to open our eyes. He has come to show us Himself as Saviour. He has come to give us this testimony: "Once I was blind, but now I see" (John 9:25). He has come to give us a song to sing: "Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." Satan will oppress us - just like he oppressed our Saviour. Oppressed by Satan, we must look to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we look to our Saviour and see Him victorious over Satan, we must learn to see ourselves in Christ. In Him, we are strong. We stand in His strength. We are "more than conquerors in Him" (Romans 8:37).
(3) Jesus' Power
Jesus' ministry is described in Luke 4:22 as a ministry of God's grace - "the gracious words that came from His lips." The power of Jesus' ministry comes from the message given to Him by God the Father and the submission of His life to the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' ministry was a ministry of the Word of grace. It was a demonstration of the power of the Spirit of grace. If we are to be like Jesus, speaking gracious words, words which come from God, our loving, heavenly Father, words which are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, we must give careful attention to the Good News of Jesus Christ and we must pray for the powerful presence of the Spirit of God: "Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me." This is what we must pray for - the shaping of our lives by Jesus Christ through the Gospel he brings to us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
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Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord - in me abide.
O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival- start the work in me:
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessing now, O Lord, I humbly plead.

Luke 4:31-37

There is a great difference between the love of power and the power of love. We see this difference in the Story of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we see the power of love. In those who opposed Christ, we see the love of power. This contrast between the power of love (Jesus) and the love of power (the enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ) can be seen from the very beginning of His Story.
In Jesus' birth, we see the love of God and the power of God. Jesus' birth was a mighty demonstration of God's power. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was born of the Virgin Mary. The birth of Jesus - This was God at work in mighty power. Jesus' birth was the supreme demonstration of God's love. Jesus brings God's love to us. He is God with us. In Jesus, we see the power of love, the love of God.
The birth of Christ brought a terrible reaction from the evil king, Herod. His terrible reaction was motivated by the love of power. Herod was the king. He didn't want his power to be threatened by this Baby who had been born at Bethlehem. In love with his own power, Herod tried to do away with Jesus. He failed - but what a cost there was for other babies and families in Bethlehem. The love of power is a terrible thing. Thank God that the power of love has not been defeated by the love of power. Thank God that the power of love will not be defeated by the love of power.
In Jesus' baptism and temptations, we see the same thing again. In Jesus, we see the power of love. He is God's beloved Son. He is filled with the power of God's Spirit. Jesus' baptism was followed by His temptations. The temptation to do evil comes from Satan, a fallen angel who was so fascinated by the love of power that he tried to put himself in the place of God. He failed - but what a cost there has been in human lives, brought to ruin by Satan. When we think of Satan's love of power, we are filled with fear. When, however, we think of the power of Christ's love, we are filled with joy. Satan has failed to defeat our Lord. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, has triumphed. He has won the victory over Satan. The conflict between Christ and Satan continues - but it is not a battle between equals and there is no doubt about the final outcome. Christ is Lord. The victory belongs to Christ.
The contrast between the love of power and the power of love - This is what we have in the conflict between Jesus and the evil spirit which had taken control of the poor man in the synagogue.
Jesus was teaching God's Word with "authority" (Luke 4:32). The power of love was at work among the people when Jesus brought the Word of God to them. The power of Jesus was not, however, the only power at work in the synagogue that day. There was also the power of Satan. In Satan, we see something very different from the power of Christ's love. In Satan, we see the love of power. He will try to take control of our hearts and lives just like he took control of the man who shouted out in the synagogue.
This miracle in the synagogue - the victory of Christ over Satan in the life of the demon-possessed man - highlights the whole purpose of Christ's coming to our world: "The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). In this miracle in the synagogue, we catch a glimpse of Christ's final victory over Satan. Satan will be utterly and completely defeated. Christ's triumph will be an absolute and total triumph.
While we are here on earth, there will always be conflict. We cannot get away from this. Satan is very busy. He is doing all that he can to keep men and women from coming to Jesus Christ, putting their faith in Him, following Him, dedicating their lives to Him.
The Bible speaks to us of Christ's victory over Satan by pointing us back to the past. Christ won the victory over Satan when he died and rose again for us. It speaks also of Christ's victory over Satan by pointing us forward to the future. When Christ returns in great power and glory, His victory will be seen in all its completeness. Between the past - Christ's death and resurrection - and the future - Christ's coming again in great power and glory, there is the present - here and now. It is in the present, in the here and now, that we are to win the victory over Satan in the strength of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
By faith, we are to claim the victory, won for us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross for us, when he rose victorious from the grave. By faith, we are to begin to enter into Christ's victory over Satan, which will be seen, in all its fullness, when He comes again, at the end of time, to establish God's eternal Kingdom.
How are we to claim the victory Christ won for us? How are we to enter into the victory into which He is calling us? We are to put our faith in Him. Trusting in Christ means trusting in His Word and trusting in His power. We learn about trusting in Christ, as we look at the reaction of the people to Christ's great miracle in the synagogue - "All the people were amazed and said to each other, 'What is this teaching? With authority and power He gives orders to evil spirits and they come out" (Luke 4:36). Here, we have Jesus' teaching, Jesus' authority and Jesus' power. We trust in His teaching. We receive His Word. It is the Word of love, which brings salvation to us. We trust in His power. We believe that he is able to do great things in and through us. We trust in His authority. This is our confession of faith. Jesus is Victor. This is the faith upon which we must take our stand. Let's live by faith and walk in victory, and may news of Christ's love spread throughout the surrounding area (Luke 4:37).

Luke 4:38-44

“I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, for that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed … (a Kingdom that) will endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).
“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Take both phrases together. The second explains the first. As well as thinking of God’s Kingdom as the one and only Kingdom which will stand forever, we should think also in terms of the Lord ruling over our hearts and lives here-and-now. When Jesus preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God, He was not simply preaching a Kingdom which would come in the distant future. He was also calling upon His hearers to submit their hearts and lives to the rule of God. This is still the Word of God to us today. This is the challenge of God’s Kingdom for us today. Here-and-now, God is calling us to submit to His rule by doing His will. When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”, we must also pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Story of Jesus is not only a story. It’s a story with a meaning. When we read the Story of Jesus, we do not only ask the question, “What is the story?” We also ask the next question, “What does the story mean?” We do not only ask, “What happened?” We also ask, “What is the meaning of the things that happened while Jesus was on earth?”
“I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God … that is why I was sent.” Here, we have Jesus’ answer to the question: “What is the meaning of Jesus’ life?” God is speaking to us when we read the Story of Jesus. God is speaking to us about His Kingdom. He is calling us to crown Him as the King of our life.
Let’s think about the Story of Jesus. What does it teach us about the Kingdom of God? In Luke 3, we read about John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. John did not draw attention to himself. He pointed away from himself to Jesus. John was the servant of God. Jesus is the Son of God. The baptism of Jesus shows us how special Jesus was - “You are My Son whom I love; with You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This is the first thing we must say about the Story of Jesus. It’s not only the story of what Jesus said and what Jesus did. It’s the story of who Jesus is. Jesus is much more than a mere man - even a great man. He is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16).
Following on from the baptism of Jesus, we read about His temptations in the wilderness. Satan refuses to submit to God’s rule. He refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and King. He tries to draw Jesus from His pathway of obedience to the Father’s will. Satan fails in his evil purpose. In the wilderness, we see Jesus as Lord and King. He was Lord and King then. He is Lord and King now.
Jesus is our Lord and King. He comes from the wilderness to begin His ministry. It is a ministry of love and power. In His ministry, we see the power of love. We see Jesus as the King of love. In His words, we hear the voice of love. In His actions, we see His hand of love, touching people’s lives and changing them, making them better. He changed peoples’ lives then. He still changes them now.
When we read about Jesus, we are reading about events which happened a long time ago. We are also asking about our life here-and-now, “How can the love and power of Jesus Christ our Lord and King become real in our lives in today’s world?” When we pray, “Thy Kingdom come”, we are not only thinking of a future Kingdom which is still to come. We are praying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to pray, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” Jesus did the will of God. we are to do the will of God. Jesus lived in obedience to God. We are to live in obedience to God. The life of joyful obedience is, for us, a foretaste of the heavenly and eternal glory of God’s Kingdom. Our life on earth is to be like life in heaven. This is what Jesus meant when He taught us to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” “As it is in heaven” - These are very important words. They remind us that living the life of God’s Kingdom involves looking beyond or life here-and-now, as we catch a glimpse of the glory of God’s heavenly and eternal Kingdom.
Here on earth, we see kingdoms rising and falling. We see them in their power and glory. We see them going into decline, becoming a mere shadow of what they once were. While all of this is happening, God is building His Kingdom, His eternal Kingdom, the only Kingdom which will stand forever. In all the confusing events of international politics, we must never forget this - God has not abandoned His purpose of salvation. He is still building His eternal Kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
Jesus preached the Good News of God’s Kingdom. His Kingdom will come - but we must wait for it. We must wait patiently. We must keep on believing that God’s Kingdom will stand for ever. When all earth’s kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents have come and gone, there will be one King who remains - our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. The message of Jesus still comes to us as the message of God’s Kingdom. Jesus made the Kingdom of God His highest priority and He calls us to make the Kingdom of God our highest priority: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
How are we to seek first God’s Kingdom? How are we to seek His righteousness? We must pray for more of the fear of the Lord. We must pray for more of the love of the Lord. The fear of God does not mean being afraid of God. It means loving God so much that we are afraid of hurting Him by sinning against Him. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” This is to be more than our hope for the future. It’s to be the dedication of our lives here-and-now. May God help us to crown Him as the King of our lives here-and-now.

Luke 5:1-11

Jesus calls us to follow Him. He says to each of us, "Follow Me." His words come to us as a Word of challenge. Before the Word of challenge, there is the Word of love. "Follow Me" - These words come to us from the Saviour whose heart is full of love for us. He speaks to us with amazing grace. He speaks to us with boundless mercy. He speaks to us with the wonderful love. His love is the greatest love of all. When we hear the words, "Follow Me", we must remember that it is our Saviour who speaks these words to us. His words speak to us of His love, His grace and His mercy. Once we hear the Word of Christ as a Word of love, grace and mercy, we see the real meaning of the challenge contained in the words, "Follow Me." God is calling us to live in the power of His love. We are to let His love change us. This is what it means to follow Jesus. It means that we are to be changed by His love.
In the story of the calling of the first disciples, we see the importance of building our lives on the Word of God. The story begins with Jesus preaching the Word of God. In Luke 5:1, we see Jesus standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. The people are crowding round Him. They are listening to the Word of God. In Luke 5:3, Jesus sits down and teaches the people from the boat.
The preaching of the Gospel and the teaching of God's Word - Here, we have the God-given foundation for our life of faith and obedience, our life of following our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God is the Word that comes from God. It is the Word that tells us of God. The Word of God comes to us as a Word of love, a Word of grace and a Word of mercy. The Word, which God speaks to us, is also a Word of challenge. It is a Word which calls us to follow Christ. God has spoken His Word to us. It is His Word of love, grace and mercy.
Now, we must speak His Word for Him. We gather together to worship Him. When we go out from the place of worship, we are sent out to the place of witness. Our service of worship comes to an end. It is the beginning of our service of witness. Once we have heard God's Word in God's House, we must go out and make His Word known to others. We must invite them to join with us in worshipping the Lord.
We see Jesus preaching and teaching God's Word. We see the people listening to God's Word. They are learning from God's Word. Like them, we must listen and learn. May God give us grace to be faithful - faithful in preaching and teaching, faithful in listening and learning.
What do we learn as we listen to the Word of the Lord? One thing we learn from Jesus is this - He didn't only preach in the synagogue. He was also an open air preacher. By the lakeside, Jesus preached. From the boat, Jesus preached. His message is to be kept locked up in our places of worship. We are to take His message to others. We are to pass on the message of His love to the people we meet.
Jesus challenged Simon Peter to "launch out into the deep." This is what we must do if we are to become "fishers of men." "Launching out into the deep" - This is the challenge of witness. It is also the challenge of worship. It is the challenge of reaching out to others. It is also the challenge of allowing the Lord to reach deeply into our hearts and change us. The Lord is looking at us and He is saying to us, "There needs to be more depth. Your love for Me is too superficial. It is too shallow. I want you to "launch out into the deep" with Me."
In Psalm 42:7, we read the words, "Deep calls to deep." The Bible speaks to us of "the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10). It speaks to us of "the deep truths of the faith" (1 Timothy 3:9). God is looking for a real depth of response from us. May God help us to listen to His Word. May God help us to learn from His Word. May God help us to really appreciate His wonderful love. May God help us to say with the Psalmist, "How precious is Your unfailing love!" (Psalm 36:7). As we rejoice in the love of the Lord, we will enjoy the abundance of His blessing - "They feast in the abundance of Your House; You give them drink from Your river of delights" (Psalm 36:8).

Luke 5:12-16

Jesus' healing miracles speak to us of His power to heal. They also speak of His power to save. When we read about Jesus, the Healer, we learn also about Jesus, the Saviour. Here, we read about a leper being healed by Jesus. Leprosy is a horrible disease. It ruins the lives of those who suffer from it. There is, however, another disease which affects every one of us. Sin is a horrible disease. There is only one cure from this deadly disease - Jesus, our Saviour. Jesus' healing miracles point us to another healing, which every one of us needs. It is the healing of His salvation. Jesus heals broken hearts. Jesus puts broken lives back together again.
There is a spiritual sickness which comes into our lives when we refuse to pay attention to what God is saying to us concerning the way He wants us to live. When we have turned our backs on God, He does not abandon us. He continues to call upon us. He calls us to turn around, to turn back to Him. Turning back to the Lord will involve listening attentively to what He says to us in His Word. It will involve taking time to pray to the Lord. This turning to the Lord will involve both public worship and private prayer.
In Luke 5:16, we see the importance of private prayer in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ - "He withdrew to the desert and prayed" (RSV), "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (NIV). "Often" - Over and over again, Jesus spent time, praying to God. This was not an occasional thing in Jesus' life. This was the regular pattern of His life. As we see Jesus praying, we are challenged to make prayer a central feature of our own lives: "Awake, my soul, and with the sun, thy daily stage of duty run. Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise, to pay thy morning sacrifice." Jesus lived a busy life yet He still found time to pray. This is a challenge to us. Are we too busy to pray? If we are too busy to pray, then we are too busy. If Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray! Jesus prayed, and the power of God flowed through Him. May God help us to make prayer thr great priority of our lives. May God help us to be the kind of praying people through whom God can work in mighty power as He brings the healing power of His salvation into our congregation and community.
Here, we see Jesus engaging in private prayer. On other occasions, we see Jesus gathering with other worshippers in the synagogue. Jesus knew that, in promising to bless the gathering together of His praying people, God had placed special emphasis on "the prayers offered in this place" (2 Chronicles 7:14-16). We also see Jesus gathering His disciples around Him. They receive instruction from Him. He teaches them to pray. When we Jesus in the synagogue and Jesus with His disciples, we understand that His withdrawal to lonely places was very different from the loneliness of those who keep themselves to themselves, refusing to commit themselves to worshipping and praying with others. That kind of loneliness is very different from His "being alone with God" we see here in Jesus. there is nothing spiritual about the attitude which says, "I don't need other people." There is a great deal of pride in those who refuse to give themselves to one another within the fellowship of God's people, gathered together for worship and prayer. As well as learning about the need for regular private prayer, we also learn, from Jesus, about the importance of worshipping and praying with God's people.
For Jesus, being alone with God was a vital part of His life. It is to be a vital part of our life. We must find time for being alone with God. Jesus had a busy public ministry. He needed to take time to receive strength from His Heavenly Father. We need the strength which comes from being alone with God. Jesus said, "Come apart and rest awhile." We might add the comment, "If you don't rest awhile, you'll come apart." We can learn a great deal about prayer as we follow Jesus, learning from Him in the school of prayer. We learn from the times that Jesus prayed. We learn from the way in which Jesus prayed.
(1) Praying to God the Father
Jesus didn't pray to a faraway God, a God who didn't care. Jesus prayed to His loving, Heavenly Father. When Jesus prayed, He was speaking to the God of perfect love. This is the God to whom we pray, the God who loves us. He is our Father, the Father who loves us with the greatest love of all. When we come into God's presence, we must remember this - He is our loving Father.
(2) Praying at all times
Many people only pray when they're in trouble. Jesus was not like this. He prayed in the hard times. He prayed in the good times. He prayed at all times. Let's follow Jesus, remembering to give thanks for God's goodness when things are going well as well as asking for His help when things are not going so well. If we are to learn to follow Jesus, we must learn to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Let's pray at all times with joyful thanksgiving. In our prayer, let there be thinking and thanking. Think about what God has done for you and thank Him for it. Let this be our "everyday" prayer.
(3) Worshipping the Lord in our prayers
Some people think of prayer in terms of asking for things. They bring a "shopping list" with them - This is what I want. For Jesus, prayer was much more than that. He worshipped God - "Hallowed be Thy Name." He entered into God's presence, enjoying fellowship with God. He was more aware of God, learning what God wanted - "Thy will be done" - rather than being preoccupied with Himself - "This is what I want." How can we learn to worship God in our prayers? How can we bring our lives into line with His will? We must learn to spend time listening to God as well as speaking to Him. He speaks to us through His Word. We speak to Him in prayer.

Luke 5:17-26

The forgiveness of our sins - What a wonderful blessing this is! God invites us to come to Him and be forgiven by Him - "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18). As we think together about the forgiveness of our sins, may we join with the Psalmist in praying, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7).
The forgiveness of our sins - This is the great theme which stands at the heart of this marvellous story of divine healing. We read about a miracle of healing. We also read the precious and treasured words of Luke 5:20 - "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The forgiveness of sins lies at the very heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful blessing it is to hear the Word of the Lord, which says to us, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The story of the healing of the paralyzed man teaches us about the forgiveness of our sins. It also speaks to us about bringing others to Jesus so that they also may hear His Word of forgiveness. We don't need to remove the tiles from the roof! We can bring our friends through the front door of God's House, praying that they will come to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive His great blessing - the forgiveness of their sins.
"Friend, your sins are forgiven." Jesus wants to speak these gracious words to every one of us. "Friend, your sins are forgiven." Jesus wants us to bring others to Him so that they also may hear these wonderful words of love. The Good News of God's forgiveness is for all. The love of God is reaching out to all people. Each and every one of us is invited by the God of love to come to him and enjoy the wonderful blessing described for us by the Psalmist in Psalm 103:12 - "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us."
"As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our sins from us" - What a wonderful way to describe God's forgiving love. Jesus spoke about the coming together of the east and the west, as well as the coming together of the north and the south, the coming together of God's people, the gathering together of all who love the Lord and worship Him. Jesus gives us a vision of hope for the future. He says that "many will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the Kingdom of God" (Luke 13:29). Let us pray that this place of worship, at the centre of our community, will be a place of welcome for people, coming from east and west, and people, coming from north and south. The Church is to hold out the Lord's welcoming hand to all people. The Church is not to be like a private property with the poster which says, "No entry. Trespassers will be prosecuted." The Church's message must be very different from that. We are to say to the people of our community, "Come right in. Trespassers will be forgiven." What a wonderful message we have to bring to the people of our community. As the Church at the centre of our community, we have the great privilege of letting the people of our area hear the wonderful words of Jesus: "Friend, your sins are forgiven." This is not only a great privilege. It is also a great responsibility. We must pray for the people of our community. we must ask God to give us opportunities to share the love of Christ with our neighbours. We must pray for opportunities to bring our neighbours with us to the House of the Lord, the place where they will hear of the Saviour's love, the place where they will come to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
How does God's forgiveness come to us? How will the people of our community come to know God's forgiveness? In Jesus' words about many coming, from east and west and north and south, to sit at table in the Kingdom of God, we are reminded of the way in which God's forgiveness reaches us. Sitting at the Lord's Table, we think of the wonderful thing that Jesus has done for us so that we might be forgiven by God: "He died that we might be forgiven." It is because Jesus died for us that we can now receive the forgiveness of sins from God. He died for you. He died for me. he died for all of us.
What does God's Word teach us about forgiveness? Here are four lessons - (1) The fact of forgiveness; (2) Our response to God's forgiveness; (3) Forgiveness changes us; (4) The warning which comes from God to those who refuse to come to Him for forgiveness.
(1) The fact of forgiveness
The sixteenth-century Reformer, Martin Luther, tells of a dream he had. He dreamt of a book in which all of his sins were recorded. He dreamt of the devil, pointing to the book and saying to him, "Martin, here is one of your sins. Here is another of your sins." In his dream, Luther replied to the devil, "Take a pen and write, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin'."
(2) Our response to God's forgiveness
This is summed up well by another voice from the distant past. St Augustine (354-430) prayed, "I will love You, O Lord and thank You ... You have forgiven me my evil deeds." Love for God - This is to be our response to God's forgiveness.
(3) Forgiveness changes us.
The opening verse of the hymn, "Dear Lord and Father of mankind", sums up the way in which forgiveness changes us: "Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways. Reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives Thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise." Praising the Lord and serving the Lord - This is the way of life words which God calls those who have received from Him the forgiveness of their sins. We must always remember the words spoken by Jesus when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness; "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only" (Luke 4:8).
(4) God's Word of warning for those who refuse His gift of forgiveness
God's Word tells us that the only person who will not receive forgiveness is the person who refuses to confess his/her sins to the Lord, the person who refuses to pray to God, asking for His forgiveness.
May God help us to hear Christ's words, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." May God help us to live as those whom He has forgiven. May God help us to love Him, to worship Him and to serve Him.

Our new life is life in Christ (Luke 5:20,32,37-38).

Christ’s Word of forgiveness – “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20) and His call to repentance – “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32) – are followed by another great theme of Christ’s Gospel – conversion. This is emphasized in Luke 5:37-38: “no one pours new wine into old wineskins … new wine must be poured into new wineskins.” The contrast between the old and the new – This is what Jesus is speaking about here. Our old life is our life without Christ. Our new life is our life with Christ. Our old life is life in ourselves, life in our sin. Our new life is life in Christ, life in our Saviour.

Luke 5:27-32

New Life in Christ
The dramatic transformation of Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road was marked by a change of name. He was no longer Saul of Tarsus. He became Paul the Apostle. Here, we read of another man whose life was transformed. this great change was marked by a change of name. He was levi. He became Matthew. In the letters of the name, "Levi", we have the story of the great change. Levi was evil. He followed Jesus, and he really began to live.

Luke 5:33-39

Our New Life is Life in Christ.
Christ's Word of forgiveness - "Friend, your sins are forgiven" (Luke 5:20) - and His call to repentance - "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32) is followed here by another great theme of Christ's Gospel - conversion. This is emphasized in Luke 5:37-38: "no one pours new wine into old wineskins ... new wine must be poured into new wineskins." The contrast between the old and the new - This is what Jesus is speaking about here. Our old life is our life without Christ. Our new life is our life with Christ. Our old life is life in ourselves, life in our sin. Our new life is life in Christ, life in our Saviour.

Legal Obedience and Gospel Obedience

Legal Obedience and Gospel Obedience - It’s the contrast between the Law and the Lord. It's the contrast between the old wine and the new wine (Luke 5:36-39). It’s the contrast between living in the weakness of the flesh – “the law was powerless … because it was weakened by the flesh” (Romans 8:3) – and living in the power of the Spirit – “the Spirit gives life” (Romans 8:10).
The Law has only one thing to say to us, “You must obey.” That’s bad news. Again and again, we fail. We need more than the Law. We need the Lord – Jesus, our Saviour. He says to us, “There is forgiveness of sins for those who have failed to obey (that’s every one of us – “All have sinned … ” (Romans 3:23). To those who know that they need more than the “old wine” of the Law, Jesus comes to us with the “new wine” of the Gospel. He gives us new life.
We ask, “How am I to live the Christian Life?”
To this question, the Law gives us no answer. Its way of life speaks to us of morality – but it doesn’t speak to us of Christ, the Saviour who forgives our sins and gives us new life.
Before we can live “the Christian Life”, we must receive the Christian Life.”
To those who have nothing to offer to us but “the old wine” of the Law, Christ says there is something so much better. We can receive Him as the Saviour who forgives and forgets our constantly repeated failure to live in obedience to God’s Law. When we come in faith to the Saviour, everything changes – “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). We begin to live as a “new creation” (Galatians 6:15).
This doesn’t mean that we’ll ever obey the Lord perfectly. Our obedience will always be flawed. Paul tells us that we are involved in a life-long battle. It’s the battle between “the flesh” and “the Spirit” (Galatians 5:17). This was Paul’s own experience: “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). About himself, Paul says this: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Romans 7:18). This is true of every one of us.
When the “old wine” of the Law comes to us, saying to us, “Don’t stop trying. Keep on trying”, it’s no help to us.” It doesn’t address our problem: all our trying doesn’t make any difference. The word “failure” is written over all our attempts to obey God’s Law.
What is it that lifts us out of Legal Obedience and brings us into Gospel Obedience? We may change that question to “Who is it … ?” It’s not a thing – the Law. It’s a Person – Jesus. While it’s still true that “sin lives in me” (Romans 7:20), there’s something else that’s also true – Christ lives in me (Romans 8:10).
“Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2) – This is Paul’s way of saying what Jesus was saying when He contrasted the “old wine” and the “new wine.”
If we are still battling against our sinful nature, what does it mean to say that we have been set free by Christ? – Our freedom in Christ is like the freedom of a prisoner of war who escapes from the hold of the enemy. While he’s a prisoner of war, he can’t fight in the war. He’s under the control of the enemy. When he escapes, he’s free to get take part in the war. The Christian life’s like that. Being set free doesn’t mean that we become perfect overnight. It does mean that our life is no longer under Satan’s control. We’ve begun to fight against him.
How are we to fight against him? – -There is no victory in the “old wine” of the flesh. If there is to be victory, we need the “new wine” of the Spirit: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).
When we read Old Testament books like Exodus and Leviticus, we must ask God to reveal to us “Christ in all the Scriptures.” If we fail to see Him, we’ll miss the point of it all. When we do see Him more and more clearly as we read even the most obscure and difficult parts of God’s Word, our life will be filled with the light of God’s love. Our obedience will not be that of the “old wine” of the Law – “Keep on trying and hope for the best.” It will be “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). We will obey our Lord Jesus Christ as those who have come to know the truth of His precious promise: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). It will be loving Him who first loved me.”

Old Wine and New Wine (Luke 5:39)

In “The Believer’s Bible Commentary”, William MacDonald suggests that, in Luke 5:36-39, we have three parables – (i) verse 36 (ii) verses 37-38; (iii) verse 39.
He draws attention to the common theme – there’s a great difference between law and grace. What we must remember is this – “we are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
By speaking of “three parables”, MacDonald helps us to look at verse 39 on its own rather than wondering “How does verse 39 relate to verses 37-38?”
Commenting on verse 39, He writes, “This pictures the natural reluctance of men to abandon the old for the new … law for grace …”
In his book, “Paintings by the Master: Understanding the Gospels through Christ’s Word Pictures”, Donald P. Orthner points out that those who are “addicted to the Old Way” do not “leave it immediately or easily.” They “prefer the Old Way of working for salvation.” They say, “The old is better” (p. 145).
What we must remember is this: When we come to faith in Christ, it’s not because we have a natural inclination to come to Him. Our natural inclination is to go our own way rather than His way.
It’s the Holy Spirit who draws us to the Saviour. Through His working in our hearts, we come to see that the way of “salvation by our own good works” is a spiritual dead-end street. The Holy Spirit leads us to see the truth of Paul’s words: “By grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
The Pharisees, in Jesus’ day, were faced with a challenge. Jesus challenged them to be changed by Him. They didn’t think that they needed to be changed. They said, “The old is better.” They were so preoccupied with their own attempts to keep the Law that they failed to see that He was offering to them God’s great gift – the forgiveness of sins. They thought that being accepted by God was something they had to earn by their own good works. Jesus was saying to them, “It can’t be done.” These men were extremely religious. Jesus said to them, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life” (John 5:39-40).
This is not just ancient history. It’s a warning to every one of us. We must not come to God with our morality in one hand and our religion in the other hand, saying, “Look at me. Look at how good I am. You have to accept me.”
What does this have to do with salvation? – Nothing at all. God’s Word says this: “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21).
May God help us, by His grace alone, to say “No” to every attempt to ‘save’ ourselves – “I have done, I have done that, I have done the next thing.”
Such talk doesn’t come from the Lord. It comes from Satan. He is full of pride. He sets himself up as God’s enemy. Whenever we exalt ourselves, our voice becomes an echo of the arrogant voice of Satan.
He tells us that “the old is better.” Jesus says to us, “Don’t believe him.”
May God, through His grace, lead us to Jesus. He is our Saviour. Through the shedding of His precious “blood”, He has opened up for us the “new and living way” to God our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Luke 6:1-11

Called to a Life of Obedience
We've been thinking about forgiveness, repentance and conversion. We now turn our attention to obedience. Those who have received the forgiveness of their sins, turning to the Lord and receiving new life from Him, are called to live in obedience to Him. Jesus obeyed God perfectly. His obedience to God was very different from the religion of the Pharisees. In our obedience to God, we are not to be modern-day Pharisees. We are to follow Jesus.

Luke 6:12-16

What Is The Lord Saying To Us From The Call Of His First Disciples?
Jesus says, "Follow Me." These were the words spoken by Jesus to His first disciples. They are still the words He speaks to us. Christ calls us to follow Him. He invites us to be changed by Him. He calls us to move forward with Him. Moving forward with Christ and being changed by Him will involve listening to Him. Listening to Him - This is the point which is emphasized by the prophet Isaiah - "The Sovereign Lord wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears" (Isaiah 50:4-5). As we read the Story of Jesus Christ, we are to listen to His voice. What are we to do when we hear the voice of Christ speaking to us through God's written Word? The prophet Isaiah speaks to us about listening to the voice of the Lord - "The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back" (Isaiah 50:5). We are to listen and learn. We are to let Jesus change our life.

Luke 6:17-26

When we read the words of Jesus Christ, we are reading the words of a Preacher who spoke the truth without fear of man. Again and again, as we read Jesus' words, we find that there is a striking difference between what the world says and what the Lord says. the way of the world and the way of the Lord are two very different ways. When Jesus preached His challenging messages, there were those who closed their minds to the Word of God. They closed their hearts to the love of God. They closed their lives to the power of God. As we read Jesus' words, we are challenged. Jesus challenges us: Are you open to the Word of God, the love of God and the power of God? Is your mind open - to receive the challenging teaching of God's Word? Is your heart open - to enjoy the heart-warming influence of God's love? Is your life open - to experience the life-changing effects of God's power?

Luke 6:27-36

When I am conducting a wedding service, I speak to the couple about two kinds of love - human love and divine love. I emphasize that our love for one another grows stronger when it is grounded in God's love for us. Jesus speaks about human love and divine love. He tells us that we are to "love our enemies" (Luke 6:27). He tells us that our love for our enemies is to be grounded in God's love for sinners: "The Most High is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:35-36). God has shown His love for us. We are to show His love to others. While we were His enemies - sinners who had rebelled against Him, He loved us and gave His Son to die on the cross for us as our Saviour.

Luke 6:37-42

Jesus teaches us to live in the light of the Kingdom of God. He turns the values of this world upside-down - "Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the Kingdom of God" (Luke 6:20). He calls us to make the Kingdom of God our highest priority. Living our life in the light of God's Kingdom, we will come to see that the things which we have are not ours at all. They have been given to us by God. They are to be used in His service. Living as God's servants will mean living a life of love - "Love your enemies" (Luke 6:27). Jesus teaches us that loving leads to giving: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38).
Jesus' words, "Give, and it will be given to you", are followed by a precious promise and a strong warning. To those who choose to live a less self-centred life, choosing to live a life which is more God-centred and other-centred, God gives this precious promise - 'You will not be the loser. You will be blessed by the Lord. His blessing will be poured into your life.' "Give, and it will be given to you." This is God's promise. Will we take Him at His Word? Will we live in obedience to His Word, convinced that "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)?
God has given great promises to those who will "trust and obey": "Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey." Sadly, however, we are often much more self-centred than God-centred and other-centred. Very often, when we are called to give ourselves in the service of God and others, we react in a self-centred way. We don't ask, "Will I please the Lord, if I do this?" We ask, "How's this going to affect me?" We don't ask "Are other people going to be blessed, if I do this?" We ask, "How's this going to fit in with my plans for myself?"
"Give, and it will be given to you." Along with Jesus' precious promise, we have His strong warning. If we give little of ourselves in the service of God and others, we will know little of the blessing of God in our own lives. "Give, and it will be given to you." Whenever the word, "giving", is used in the Church, people think about money. It is right that we should think about the giving of money, since it is a part of of our giving to the Lord. It should, however, be emphasized that it is only a part of our giving to the Lord. It is sadly possible to give money to the Lord without really giving ourselves to the Lord. When we think about giving, we are to think about the giving of money to God, but we must not stop there. God is calling us to give ourselves to Him.
* How are we to give to God? How are we to give ourselves to Him?
(1) We must begin by trusting God.
When Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you", He means it. If we are to learn to live a more God-centred life, a more other-centred life, we must learn to believe God's promise to those who are living by the values of His heavenly and eternal Kingdom. To those who are getting too attached to the things of this world, God's Word comes as a Word of challenge: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." To those who are hesitant about committing themselves to the Lord, God comes with His Word of promise, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
You won't be the loser if you give yourself to the Lord. He will bless you abundantly, as you give yourself to Him. If, however, you hold back from giving yourself to the Lord, you will miss out on so much of the blessing He wants to give to you. Trust in the Lord, believing that He will bless you greatly as you give yourself, more truly and more fully, to Him - "Give, and it will be given to you."
(2) We learn to trust in the Lord as we take time to remember how much the Lord has done for us.
It's easy to forget. Some of us have known much of God's blessing in the past. We have been hungry for God's blessing. God has poured out His blessing upon us. Somewhere along the line, we have become complacent. We have begun to settle for less of God's blessing. We have walked more closely with God in past years. With the passing of the years, we have allowed things to slip. Our desire to know and love God is a lot weaker than it once was. God is calling us back to himself. Remember how much God blessed you when you walked more closely with Him. Come close to the Lord again. He will bless you more than ever before. To each of us, Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you."
(3) Our giving is to be whole-hearted, generous and consistent. It is to be the giving of ourselves to the Lord.
Once, we were whole-hearted in our commitment to the Lord. We have allowed ourselves to become half-hearted. Is this the sad story of your life? How sad it is when our zeal for the Lord grows weak. This is the sadness of a joy which has been lost. Once, there was joy in our hearts. Once, there was joy in our lives. Now, the joy has gone. Is this the sad story of your life? How sad it is when we lose the joy of the Lord. Can the times of joy come again? Yes! Jesus says, "Give, and it will be given to you." When we give him His rightful place - the first place - in our hearts and lives, the blessing will return. God gives His blessing to those who are whole-hearted. Those, who are content to remain half-hearted, will miss out on God's blessing.
The importance of choosing the way of whole-heartedness rather than lapsing into the way of half-heartedness is emphasized very powerfully in James 1:5-8 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." These words of James are concerned with asking God for wisdom and receiving wisdom from God. Wisdom is not the same as intellectualism. There are many people who have learned a great deal about many different subjects. Sadly, they have still to learn that truly God-given wisdom can be expressed in a few simple words, which can transform our way of thinking and our way of living.
Jesus' words - "Give, and it will be given to you" - are full of wisdom. He calls us to be generous and consistent in giving ourselves to Him and to others. he shows us the way of generous and consistent giving. Throughout his whole life, he gave Himself for us. In His death, He gave Himself for us. In His self-giving, in His life and His death, we see the God-given pattern for our giving. We are to learn from Him. We are to become like Him. In the Story of Jesus, we read of His death. We also read of His resurrection. God raised Him from the dead. In Jesus' own life, there is the perfect fulfilment of His promise: "Give, and it will be given to you." Jesus gave His life for us. God gave Him His life again. God can give life to you and me - the life of His Spirit of life; the life of Christ, risen from the dead, but we must give ourselves to Him. if we are to receive His blessing, we must open our hearts and let Him pour His blessing into us.

Luke 6:43-49

Jesus is the Rock of our salvation. He's the solid Rock upon which our faith is built. He's "the Church's one Foundation." He's the Sure Foundation upon which the Church is built. Jesus tells a story about two builders. The wise builder builds his house on the rock. The foolish builder builds his house on the sand. Jesus is teaching us to build our life on Him. How are we to build our life on Him. In Ephesians 2:20, we learn that we build our life on Jesus when we build on the teaching of the apostles and prophets. This point is emphasized in the hymn, "Jesus loves me": "Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so." How do we know that Jesus loves us? - "The Bible tells me so." The prophets looked forward to His coming. They said, "He will come." The apostles looked back to His coming among them. They said, "He has come." We need the Old Testament Scriptures. We need the New Testament Scriptures. From both Testaments, we learn of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.* Why do we read the Scriptures? We read the Scriptures so that we can learn to build our life on the Saviour. as we read the Bible, we learn of Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation. we learn that He is the Rock upon which our faith is built. We learn that He is the Rock upon which the Church is built.* Why do we remember the Saviour? So many years have passed since He lived here on earth. So many centuries have passed since He died on the cross. Today's world is very different from the world at the time when Jesus came to this earth. So much has changed since the time when Jesus died for us. Jesus hasn't changed. He doesn't change. He will never change. Unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable, Jesus Christ is the Rock of our salvation.* How does Jesus Christ become real for us today? This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of the living God who makes Jesus real to us. When we read the Bible, God's written Word, we pray for the power and presence of the Holy Spirit - "Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus, to reach out and touch Him, and say that we love Him. Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen. O, open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus." Through the living power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus draws near to us. He makes Himself known to us. He assures us that our faith is built on a Sure Foundation. He is the Sure Foundation. He is our Rock. As we remember Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for us, we give thanks that He is "the Church's one Foundation." We remember what Jesus Christ has done for us. We remember His death on the cross for us. In the cross, we see Jesus. He is the solid Rock upon which the upon which our worship is based. We hear the preaching of the Gospel. We rejoice in Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation. We celebrate the Lord's Supper. We rejoice in Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation. In the past, present and future, Jesus Christ is the Rock of our salvation. The hymn, "The Church's one Foundation" takes us to the cross of Christ where we learn of the past, present and future dimensions of our salvation.(a) the past - We remember what the crucified Christ has done for us: "From heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride. With His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died."(b) the present - We are sustained by the living presence of Christ, the risen Lord. We are reminded of the importance and value of the Lord's Supper in the Christian's journey of faith: "One holy Name she blesses, partakes one holy food, and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued."(c) the future - We anticipate the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In Him, we have the glorious hope of eternal salvation: "The consummation of peace forevermore", "The vision glorious", "The great Church victorious", "The Church at rest." Following these great descriptions of the great future God has in store for His people, there is this final prayer: "O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, like them, the meek and lowly, on high may dwell with Thee."In the Lord's Supper, we look backward, and we remember Jesus as the Rock of our salvation. We look to Christ now, and we thank Him that, every day, He is still the Rock of our salvation. We look forward, on to eternity, and we rejoice that Jesus has been, is and always will be the Rock of our salvation.

Luke 7:1-10

As we read about Jesus, the centurion and the centurion’s servant, we learn about love, faith and hope - the love of Jesus, the faith of the centurion and hope for the centurion’s servant.
  (1) The love of Jesus
In Jesus’ miracles of healing, we see love. It is the greatest love of all. It is the love of God. Jesus loved the centurion. Jesus loved the centurion’s servant. He loves you. He loves me. He loves us with a perfect love. He loves us with an everlasting love. His love changes us. We see this in the story the centurion and his servant. This is a story which invites us to be changed by the love of Jesus.
  (2) The faith of the centurion
There is no suggestion, in this story, that the centurion actually met Jesus. We are told, at the beginning of the story, that he had “heard of Jesus” (Luke 7:3). He then “sent some elders of the Jews to Jesus, asking Him to come and heal his servant” (Luke 7:3). As Jesus was approaching the house, He received another message from the centurion. It was a confession of faith in Jesus - “Say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). Jesus then commended the centurion for his faith - “I tell you, I have not found such great faith in Israel” (Luke 7:9). At this point, we are told that when the men, who had been sent to Jesus, returned to the centurion, they found that the centurion’s servant was well (Luke 7:10). As we seek to learn from the centurion’s faith, there are three things we must note.
  (a) He was a Gentile.
  (b) He heard of Jesus.
  (c) He didn’t meet Jesus face-to-face.
From each of these parts of the centurion’s story, we learn important lessons concerning faith.
  (a) He was not a Jew. He didn’t belong to the nation described in the Old Testament Scriptures as God’s chosen people. The story of the centurion teaches us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all nations. Christ is not only for the Jews. He is for every person in every nation. This vital point - Christ is for all nations - is underlined in the story of another centurion, Cornelius, in Acts 10. Christ is for all nations. This is also highlighted, in Romans 1:16, by the Apostle Paul: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jews, then for the Gentiles.” Christ is for all of us. He is for every one of us. He is for you. He is for me. He is the Saviour of the world.
  (b) The centurion heard of Jesus. He believed in Jesus. In the centurion’s story, we learn the lesson taught by Paul in Romans 10:17 - “faith comes from hearing the message.” Paul emphasizes the connection between hearing and believing. Following his statement of the Gospel principle - “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13), he asks a number of questions, “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent” (Romans 10:14-15). God sends us out into the world to share His message of love with the people we meet. This is the way in which our neighbours will hear of Jesus and come to faith in Him.
  (c) The centurion didn’t come face-to-face with Jesus. In noting this point, we highlight an important lesson, taught by the risen Christ. Speaking to Thomas who needed to see before he believed, Jesus said this: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
  (3) Hope for the centurion’s servant
At the beginning of the story, his situation seemed to be hopeless - he “was sick and about to die” (Luke 7:2). Jesus changed everything. Jesus brought new, life-giving, wonderful hope into this man’s life. The hope which Jesus brings is heavenly, eternal and glorious: “Where, o death, is your victory … Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57).

Luke 7:11-17

The widow's son is raised from death by Jesus. What a wonderful miracle this is! In this great miracle, we see the love of God, the power of God and the glory of God.
(1) Love - "When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said,'Don't cry'" (Luke 7:13).
(2) Power - "He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!' The dead man sat up and began to talk" (Luke 7:14-15).
(3) Glory - "They were all filled with awe and praised God" (Luke 7:16).
In this story, we hear the Word of the Lord. It is the Word of His love. It is the Word of His power. It is the Word of His glory. This is the Gospel. It's the Good News. There's a place in God's heart for us. His heart is full of love for us. This is the Good News that comes to us with power. It's the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. It's the Good News that leads us on to glory. It leads us on to God's heavenly and eternal glory.

Luke 7:18-35

We met with John the Baptist in Luke 3. We meet with him again, here, in Luke 7. In chapter 3, we saw that John the Baptist was a man of faith. He was proclaiming the Word of God to the people. His message was clear. He was speaking with great boldness. His message is summed up in Luke 3:4 - "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him." Here, in chapter 7, everything is very different. John is uncertain. He doesn't know what to think about Jesus. He asks the question, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Luke 7:19). Here, we see John's changing emotions. Sometimes, he is full of faith. At other times, he is full of uncertainty and confusion. We see ourselves in John. Our emotions are in turmoil. Our thoughts are confused. Everything seems so confusing. Sometimes, our faith is strong. At other times, we are very unsure of the things that matter most to us. It seems that our faith has almost gone.

Luke 7:36-50

The forgiveness of sins - What a wonderful blessing this is! This is the great message which comes to us from the story of Jesus being anointed by "a woman who had lived a sinful life" (Luke 7:37). This woman had been touched by the love of Jesus. She had received forgiveness from the Lord Jesus. Here, we see her expressing her love for Jesus. Here, she shows her gratitude to Jesus. We recall the description of Jesus given to us in Luke 7:34 - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. What a wonderful statement this is - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. What a marvellous declaration of the Gospel this is - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. This is the amazing grace of Christ's Gospel. It was amazing grace for the sinful world. It is still amazing grace for us - Jesus is the Friend of sinners. What a blessing it is to know that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners! What a blessing it is to know that Jesus Christ receives sinners!

Luke 8:1-15

“The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). This is what Jesus’ parable of the sower is all about. It’s about the Word of God. God’s Word is sown in our hearts. God’s Word bears fruit in our lives. The sowing of God’s Word in our hearts requires patience. We don’t reap the harvest right away. We must work patiently for the harvest which God will give to us in His time. Let us be faithful in sowing the seed of God’s Word. Let’s keep on praying that God will give to us the “hundredfold” harvest (Luke 8:8). May God help us to be faithful in sowing and fruitful in reaping. God’s Word comes to us. It is given to us by the Lord. What are we doing with His Word? When God’s Word is sown in our hearts, what kind of soil does it find there? Are we allowing it to grow in our hearts? Are we allowing God to produce His abundant harvest in our lives? God’s Word emphasizes to us the direct connection between sowing and reaping: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.” Let there be good soil. Let there be good thoughts and actions, good habits, golod character and a great destiny.

Luke 8:22-25

This is not only a story about a change in weather conditions. It's a story about a change in Jesus' disciples. Jesus calmed the storm. He stilled the winds and the waves. He also calmed the storm in the hearts and minds of His disciples. As we read about the storm and the calm, our thoughts turn to conflict that is going on in our own lives. It's the conflict between our enemy, Satan, and our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. The storm comes from Satan. The calm comes from our Saviour.
* Satan sends his evil storm into our lives.
- Satan is seeking to distract us. He wants us to take our eyes off Jesus.
- Satan is seeking to disturb us. He wants to throw us into a state of chaos and confusion.
- Satan is seeking to demoralize us. He wants to send us into a state of deep depression.
- Satan is seeking to destroy us. He wants to defeat us. he wants to triumph over us. He wants to be victorious over us.
In the face of such a powerful enemy, we're in big trouble. The storm, sent by Satan, is a ferocious onslaught. It is, however, only part of the story of our life. As well as the storm, sent by Satan, there is also the calm, which comes to us from our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is greater than Satan. He has won the victory over Satan. he has won the victory for us. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can say, with confidence in Him, "With Christ in the boat, we can smile at the storm."
At the end of this story of the calming of the storm, we have two questions
(a) a question about Jesus: "Who is this?"
(b) a question for us: "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25).
(a) Who is this?
Jesus is no ordinary man. We look at Jesus. We see God.
"O Lord God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty, O Lord ... You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mound up, You still them" (Psalm 89:8-9).
"The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea - the Lord on high is mighty" (Psalm 93:3-4).
We look beyond the man, Jesus. We catch a glimpse of God. We see Him as the "Trinity of love and power."
- "Eternal Father, strong to save, whose arm hath bound the restless wave, who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep its own appointed limits keep."
- O Christ, whose voice the waters heard, and hushed their raging at Thy Word, who walkedst on the foaming deep, and calm amid the storm didst sleep."
- "O Holy Spirit, who didst brood upon the waters dark and rude, and bid their angry tumult cease, and give, for wild confusion, peace."
(b) Where is your faith? This is Christ's question to us. He is calling us to put our faith in Him.
- He calls us out of confusion and into peace.
- He calls us out of depression and into hope.
He says to us, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me ... Peace, I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:1, 27).
Christ is calling us to put our faith in Him. He is calling us to enter into this great blessing: "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Along with the call to trust in the Lord, we have God's promise of "perfect peace."
* Isaiah 26:3: The Promise - "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you."
* Isaiah 26:4: The Call to Faith - "Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal."
- "Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin? The blood of Jesus whispers peace within ... Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round? In Jesus' presence, nought but calm is found ... It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease, and Jesus call us to heaven's perfect peace."
- "Like a river glorious is God's perfect, over all victorious, in its bright increase: perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day; perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way. Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest."
God's promise of peace comes to us with a call to prayer: "Do not be anxious about anything,but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
"The peace of God" - This is summed up for us in the words, "Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side."
* Where is your faith? This is the question our Saviour's puts to each and every one of us. We must give our answer to His question - "Lord Jesus Christ, my faith is in You. You are my Saviour. I put my trust in You."
The question is asked of us - "Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?" We must give the answer of faith: "We have an anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love."

A Question from Jesus - ‘Where is your faith?’(Luke 8:25).

Immediately after this question, we read about Jesus casting out demons. Those who didn't have faith were puzzled by the demon-possessed man. They were even more puzzled when they found him sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. Without faith, they could not understand what had happened to the man. This was strange. It filled them with fear.
Jesus' question, "Where is your faith?", is a call to move beyond the fear of the unknown to a real trust in the love and power of Jesus which brought deliverance to the demon-possessed man.
When Jesus comes with the question, "Where is your faith?", some beg Him ‘to depart from them’(Luke 8:37). They don't want to know! Others long to ‘be with Him’(Luke 8:38). They don’t want Him to go!
For those who didn't have faith, the deliverance of the demon-possessed man seemed strange. They didn't understand Jesus. They were afraid of Him. They begged Him to depart from them.
Where there is faith, there is a longing to be with Jesus. We take time to be with Him. This doesn't mean that we can fully comprehend His miracles. It does mean that we have been touched by His love and we are learning to worship Him with joyful trust.
His miraculous power is no longer just something strange. We no longer need to run away because of the fear of the unknown.
Catching a glimpse, by faith, of the love and power of Christ, we bow down before Him and we say, "To God be the glory! Great things He has done." We say, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes."
How do we get beyond fear? Fear needs to be replaced by faith. We still have awe - a reverent fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom - but this is a very different thing from the kind of fear which needs to be cast out by perfect love.
The miracles of Jesus still invite us to give our answer to Christ's question, "Where is your faith? Whether we remain gripped by fear or get delivered from fear will be determined by our response to His question.

How good it is that Jesus leads us in the way of faith. His way is better than the way of fear. We give thanks to Him for what He did in the life of the demon-possessed man. What are our "demons"? They're anything that keeps us in bondage to fear. Jesus is stronger than these "demons." Let us put our trust in Him and we will know the truth and the power of God's Word - "We are kept by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time" (1 Peter 1:5). "Salvation ... at the last time" - This is the ultimate deliverance from every "demon" that keeps us in the grip of fear!

Luke 8:26-39

In Luke 8:39, we take note of two important points - Jesus' instruction to the man: "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."- The man's obedience to Jesus' Word: "So tthe man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him."What is God saying to us from this verse? There are three lessons for us here. (1) God has given us Good News. (2) We are to share God's Good News. (3) God's Good News is for the people of our town.
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(1) God has given us Good News."How much God has done for us" - "I'm so happy and here's the reason why, Jesus took my burden all away; Now I'm singing as the days go by." What is it that gives us a reason to rejoice and a song to sing? It's the Good News of God's love. It's the Good News of God's peace. It's the Good News of God's joy.(2) We are to share God's Good News."Tell how much God has done for you." Here, we have (a) God's call to us - "Go and tell the story of what the Lord has done for you"; and (b) our obedience to Him - "Stop and let me tell you what the Lord has done for me."(3) God's Good News is for the people of our town."Theres' a work of Jesus none but you can do." "There's a work for Jesus, ready at your hand." "There's a work for Jesus, humble though it be." "There's a work for Jesus, precious souls to bring." "There's a work for Jesus ... Faint not, grow not weary, He will strength renew." "There's a work for Jesus ... Work for Jesus, day by day."
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May God help us to hear Jesus' Word to us, in Luke 8:39a - "Return home and tell how much God has done for you."May God help us to do what He tells us to do, in Luke 8:39b - Let us go and tell all over the town what the Lord has done for us.
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Luke 9:18-27

"Who is Jesus?" "What does Jesus do for us? To these question, we must make our response.
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(1) Who is Jesus?
Peter confesses his faith in Jesus - "the Christ of God" (Luke 9:20), "the Christ" (Mark 8:29), "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16), "the Holy One of God" (John 6:68-69). Where does this faith come from? - "This was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 16:17). This is not the faith of a single moment or a single individual. It' s the clear teaching of the Gospels from their very first chapters - Luke 2:10-11, Matthew 1:21-23, Mark 1:1, John 1:1-2, 14. The words of John 20:31 describe the purpose of each of the four Gospels - "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name."
"Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" - This answer to the question, "Who is Jesus?", leads us on to the second question and its answer, "What does Jesus do for us?" - He gives us eternal life. How does He bring eternal life to us? We answer this question by looking at the events which lie at the heart of the Gospel.
(2) What does Jesus do for us?
To answer this question, we must look back to Christ's death and resurrection. We must also look forward to Christ's Second Coming. Jesus speaks to us of these three events - His death and resurrection (Luke 9:22), His return in power and glory (Luke 9:26). The importance of these events is underlined by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 - His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), His glorious return (1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
(3) Our response
Will we confess Him? Will we be ashamed of Him? In Luke 9:26, Jesus warns us against being ashamed of Him. Jesus calls us to confess Him. Confessing Jesus is not just a matter of saying the right words. In Luke 9:23, Jesus calls us to deny ourselves. he calls to take up the cross. He calls us to follow Him. In Luke 9:24-25, we are asked the question, "Who is most important to you?" Is it Jesus? Is it ourselves? Are we living to please ourselves? Are we living to please Jesus? Let your response be the response of faith. Let it be the response of real, life-changing faith.
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Luke 9:37-45

"O faithless (or unbelieving) and perverse generation ... Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you" (Luke 9:41, 44). Jesus still speaks these words to the people of this generation. What are the benefits of listening carefully to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ? As we listen to the Story of Jesus, paying close attention to what He said and did, we become aware of the greatness of God (Luke 9:43). Amazing! Astonishing! Marvellous! How does God reveal His greatness? He reveals His greatness in Christ's triumph over evil. This triumph is accomplished in His crucifixion (Luke 9:44). In Christ's crucifixion, we see more than "the hands of men." We see the hand of the Lord at work. God is accomplishing His purpose of salvation. Evil men only appeared to have the upper hand. Victory belongs to the Lord. He triumphs over evil.
What was Jesus talking about? What did He mean? These were the thoughts of His disciples. How can His meaning become clear to us? How can His meaning be no longer hidden to us? How can it be revealed to us? It is "by faith" that "we understand" (Hebrews 11:3). The truth of the Gospel is "hidden" from "the wise and learned." It is "revealed" to "little children." We must become like little children - "Come to Me ... and learn from Me" (Matthew 11:25, 28-29).
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"O faithless (or unbelieving) and perverse generation … Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you” (Luke 9:41, 44).

Jesus still speaks these words to the people of this generation. What are the benefits of listening carefully to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ? As we listen to the Story of Jesus, paying close attention to what He said and did, we become aware of the greatness of God (Luke 9:43). Amazing! Astonishing! Marvellous! How does God reveal His greatness? He reveals His greatness in Christ’s triumph over evil. This triumph is accomplished in His crucifixion (Luke 9:44). In Christ’s crucifixion, we see more than “the hands of men.” We see the hand of the Lord at work. God is accomplishing His purpose of salvation. Evil men only appeared to have the upper hand. Victory belongs to the Lord. He triumphs over evil.
What was Jesus talking about? What did He mean? These were the thoughts of His disciples. How can His meaning become clear to us? How can His meaning be no longer hidden to us? How can it be revealed to us? It is “by faith” that “we understand” (Hebrews 11:3). The truth of the Gospel is “hidden” from “the wise and learned.” It is “revealed” to “little children.” We must become like little children – “Come to Me … and learn from Me” (Matthew 11:25, 28-29).
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Luke 9:46-62

Jesus was a Man with a purpose. He was opposed by evil men. He faced their opposition with the confidence that God was leading Him on to a glorious future. this glorious future is described for us in the words of Revelation 21:2-4. This is the glorious future towards which God is calling His people. It is this glorious hope which enables us to look at the most terrible events without being overwhelmed with sadness. "The Kingdom of God" - This is our glorious hope for the future. As we think of world leaders, battling for supremacy, let's not forget that there's a divine purpose in human history (Daniel 2:44). The final fulfilment of God's eternal purpose is summed up in Revelation 11:15. God's Word assures us that the time of conflict - the conflict between God and the devil - will come to an end with the mighty triumph of the Lord our God (Revelation 12:10-12). the Lord is "King of kings and Lord of lords" "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. let us rejoice and exult and give Him glory" (Revelation19:16, 6-7).
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The Word of Warning and the Word of Love

"The people there did not welcome Jesus" (Luke 9:53).
We are called to look to Christ, to listen to Him and to learn from Him. To those who refuse to look, listen and learn, God issues His Word of warning: ‘See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking’ (Hebrews 12:25).
Jesus "‘set His face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51).
He was going to the Cross - for us. This takes our attention beyond the Word of warning to the Word of love.
Note the conversation that takes place in Luke 9:54-55 - "When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them."
The Word of warning - "See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking" is not a call for divine judgment there-and-then. It's a call to turn to the Lord and receive salvation from Him. There is, of course, the reminder: "How, then, shall we escape if we pay no attention to such a great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3).
By rebuking James and John, Jesus was indicating that the refusal of the people to receive Him was not to be viewed as a final refusal upon which there must be immediate judgment.
From the Cross, Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
The people refused Him. Jesus prayed for them. He prayed that they would see what they had done. He prayed that they would stop refusing Hiim and start receiving Him.
Let's not be too quick to pronounce judgment when Jesus is still praying that those who have refused Him will return to Him and receive His forgiveness.
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Luke 10:1-24

Here, we see God's servants, doing the work of the Lord. As we look at them, we should also look at ourselves. We should ask ourselves, "Am I living as a servant of the Lord?" We should ask ourselves, "Do I pay Him lip-service or give Him life-service?" We look at their service. we learn about our service. Serving the Lord is much more than "only an hour on a Sunday." As we think about serving the Lord, it is important that we focus our attention on Him rather than ourselves.
From the beginning of the mission, we learn that the Lord's servants were sent by the Lord (Luke 10:1-3). From the end of the mission, we learn that they were saved by the Lord (Luke 10:17-20). God's true servants have been saved by Him and sent by Him.
(1) We have been saved by the Lord.
"Rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). We must never forget Jesus Christ, He is our Saviour. Remembering Him will keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves. We are only servants. Jesus is the Saviour.
(2) We have been sent by the Lord.
* "Sent on ahead of Him" (Luke 10:1). We are to prepare the way of the Lord. We are to be like John the Baptist. we are to point away from ourselves to Jesus.
* "The harvest is plentiful, the labourers are few" (Luke 10:2). Will you be a labourer or a spectator?
* Go, I send you" (Luke 10:3). Will we go for Him? Go in peace. Go in joy. Go in love.

Luke 10:25-37

In the parable of the good Samaritan, there are several characters. Behind the parable, there is Jesus. He is the Storyteller. We look at the story Jesus told. We look at the characters in the story. consider the characters in the parable. We also focus our attention on Jesus. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord.
The parable begins with the words, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho" (Luke 10:30). There were others who were also travelling on the road to Jericho - (a) the robbers; (b) the priest and the Levite; (c) the good Samaritan. In these characters, we see three very different attitudes to life. As we look at these characters, we are challenged concerning our own attitude to other people.
(a) "What's yours is mine. I'll take it" - This is the attitude of the robbers.
(b) "What's mine is mine. I'll keep it" - This is the attitude of the priest and the Levite.
(c) "What's mine is yours. I'll share it" - This is the attitude of the good Samaritan.
Behind these characters, there is Jesus, the Storyteller. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord. Here, we must imagine ourselves in the position of the man who was robbed and beaten up. We are helpless. Our situation is hopeless. We need Someone who will help us. We need Someone who will give us hope. We need Someone who will have compassion on us. We need Someone who will come to us with the love which will lift us up and give us a new beginning. We need Jesus. He is our Saviour. He is the One who "shows mercy on us" (Luke 10:37). Jesus is our Saviour. He is also our Lord. He ends His story of the good Samaritan with these words, "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37). we are not to be like those who "passed by on the other side" (Luke 10:31-32). We are to be like "the one who showed mercy on him" (Luke 10:37). We are to be like Jesus. Through faith in Him, we have this great testimony: "I received mercy ... The grace of our Lord overflowed for me ... " (1 Timothy 1:13:14). "Love the Lord your God ... and your neighbour" (Luke 10:27).

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus had a meal at the home of Martha and Mary. We can compare this meal to the Lord's Supper. Martha concentrated on meal. Mary concentrated on the Lord. In the Lord's Supper, we have bread and wine. That's not all that we have. There's more than bread and wine. There's Jesus. Jesus came to the home of Martha and Mary. In Mary, we see what it means to come to the Lord. We are to come to Him with a deep desire to be near to Him. The Lord has come to us. Let us come to Him.
* Let us come to Him with humility, confessing that we have sinned against Him.
* Let us come to Him with thanksgiving, rejoicing that that our Lord Jesus Christ has borne our sins so that we might receive His salvation.
* Let us come to Him with a hungry heart, longing that we may be fed by Him.
* Let us come with dedication, committing our lives to the Lord that we might live as His disciples.
* Let us come to Him with praise, giving glory to the Lord for all that he has done for us.
* Let us do "the one thing needful": Come to Jesus Come to Him with humility, with thanksgiving, with a hungry heart, with dedication, with praise.

Luke 11:1-13

"Ask ... seek ... knock ... " (Luke 11:9) - Jesus is calling us to pray.
" ... how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him" (Luke 11:13) God answers prayer. The Holy Spirit is God's answer.
* God is good. God is love. This is Jesus' teaching. This is the teaching which encourages us to ask, seek and knock.
* God is good. God is love. This is the teaching which gives us the assurance that God is waiting for us to come to Him.
* God is good. God is love. This is the teaching that assures us that God wants to bless us.
* God is good. God is love. This is the teaching that calls us to prayer.
- We ask the Lord to reveal Himself to us. He is the God who loves us.
- We seek the Lord's presence. We pray that He will come to us with His blessing.
- We knock on the door of God's heart. We pray that He will open His heart to us. We pray the He will pour upon us a superabundant blessing.
The Lord loves to hear and answer the prayers of those who long to know Him and serve Him. He answers our prayers by pointing us to Jesus, His Son, our Saviour.

“Ask … seek … knock … ” (Luke 11:9).

Jesus is calling us to pray.
“how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him” (Luke 11:13) God answers prayer. The Holy Spirit is God’s answer.
* God is good. God is love. This is Jesus’ teaching. This is the teaching which encourages us to ask, seek and knock.
* God is good. God is love. This is the teaching which gives us the assurance that God is waiting for us to come to Him.
* God is good. God is love. This is the teaching that assures us that God wants to bless us.
* God is good. God is love. This is the teaching that calls us to prayer.
- We ask the Lord to reveal Himself to us. He is the God who loves us.
- We seek the Lord’s presence. We pray that He will come to us with His blessing.
- We knock on the door of God’s heart. We pray that He will open His heart to us. We pray the He will pour upon us a superabundant blessing.
The Lord loves to hear and answer the prayers of those who long to know Him and serve Him. He answers our prayers by pointing us to Jesus, His Son, our Saviour.

Luke 11:14-32

Here, we see the Lord's demonstration of power. Where did His power come from? Jesus makes it perfectly clear that His power comes from God. This is the power of God at work. When we understand who Jesus is, we will understand that the power we see in Jesus is the power of God. Jesus is "Emmanuel." He is "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). Recognizing who Jesus is - God with us, we see the power of God at the ministry of Jesus. It is by the finger of God that Jesus drives out demons (Luke 11:20). In Jesus, we see the Kingdom of God. In Him, the Kingdom of God has come to us (Luke 11:20). Jesus is God with us. He is with us in mighty power. This is the power which overcomes evil. This is the power which brings the Kingdom of God into our lives.
As we see the presence of God in Jesus and the power of God in the ministry of Jesus, we may ask, "How can the presence of God and the power of God become a living reality of blessing in us?" God's blessing - the blessing of His presence and His power - comes to us through the Spirit, the Scriptures and the Saviour.
(1) God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).
(2) God's blessing comes to those who hear and obey the Word of God (Luke 11:28). It is through the Holy Scriptures that God leads us in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. It is through the Holy Scriptures that He leads us in the pathway of blessing.
(3) The Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures point us to the Holy Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is greater than Solomon and Jonah (Luke 11:31-32). In Him, there is fullness of blessing (John 1:16).

Where did Jesus’ power come from? (Luke 11:20)

Jesus makes it perfectly clear that His power comes from God. This is the power of God at work. When we understand who Jesus is, we will understand that the power we see in Jesus is the power of God. Jesus is “Emmanuel.” He is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Recognizing who Jesus is – God with us, we see the power of God at the ministry of Jesus. It is by the finger of God that Jesus drives out demons (Luke 11:20). In Jesus, we see the Kingdom of God. In Him, the Kingdom of God has come to us (Luke 11:20). Jesus is God with us. He is with us in mighty power. This is the power which overcomes evil. This is the power which brings the Kingdom of God into our lives.
As we see the presence of God in Jesus and the power of God in the ministry of Jesus, we may ask, “How can the presence of God and the power of God become a living reality of blessing in us?” God’s blessing – the blessing of His presence and His power – comes to us through the Spirit, the Scriptures and the Saviour.
(1) God gives the Holy Spirit to ask Him (Luke 11:13).
(2) God’s blessing comes to those who hear and obey the Word of God (Luke 11:28). It is through the Holy Scriptures that God leads us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. It is through the Holy Scriptures that He leads us in the pathway of blessing.
(3) The Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures point us to the Holy Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is greater than Solomon and Jonah (Luke 11:31-32). In Him, there is fullness of blessing (John 1:16).

Each of us must choose – light or darkness? (Luke 11:33-36).

When we read Jesus’ words – in Luke 11:33-36 – , we have a powerful reminder that choosing light rather than darkness means more than outward religious observance. Jesus wants to change us on the inside. This is where real change comes from. The right attitude leads to right living. We walk in the light when we follow Jesus. Those who walk in darkness show their true nature by their reaction to Jesus (Luke 11:53-54).
When we, like Jesus, face opposition from those who choose darkness rather than light, we must not be afraid (Luke 12:4, 7). We are not to fear men. We are to fear the Lord (Luke 12:5). The fear of the Lord is to be a very positive thing in our life. It is the deep appreciation of God’s love as a holy love. When we know that we are loved by God, we know that we are remembered by Him (Luke 12:6) and valued by Him (Luke 12:7). When, in the fear of the Lord, we remember that the God of perfect love is also the God of perfect holiness, we do not take God’s love for granted. We rejoice, with great joy, in the wonder of His love.

Luke 11:33-12:7

Each of us must choose - light or darkness? (Luke 11:33-36). When we read Jesus' words, we have a powerful reminder that choosing light rather than darkness means more than outward religious observance. Jesus wants to change us on the inside. This is where real change comes from. The right attitude leads to right living. We walk in the light when we follow Jesus. Those who walk in darkness show their true nature by their reaction to Jesus (Luke 11:53-54).
When we, like Jesus, face opposition from those who choose darkness rather than light, we must not be afraid (Luke 12:4, 7). We are not to fear men. We are to fear the Lord (Luke 12:5). The fear of the Lord is to be a very positive thing in our life. It is the deep appreciation of God's love as a holy love. When we know that we are loved by God, we know that we are remembered by Him (Luke 12:6) and valued by Him (Luke 12:7). When, in the fear of the Lord, we remember that the God of perfect love is also the God of perfect holiness, we do not take God's love for granted. We rejoice, with great joy, in the wonder of His love.

Luke 12:8-34

(1) The call to make a commitment of ourselves to Christ: "Whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8). This means more than paying lip-service to Christ. Choosing Him means choosing to live a life which shares His priorities. It is to be a whole-hearted commitment. Jesus teaches us what we are to avoid and what we are to seek.
(2) What we are to avoid - "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15).
(3) What we are to seek - "Seek His Kingdom" (Luke 12:31).
(4) The choice we make reveals what is really important to us: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:34). A real confession of faith in Christ as your Saviour and Lord leads to a life lived in the light of eternity, a life which is shaped by the values of eternity, a life which the Bible calls "eternal life." This "eternal life" is not only far away in the in the future, far away in heaven. It is life here-and-now. It is life which is being transformed by the eternal perspective which Christ brings into our life.
Christ challenges us: Will you treasure the things that are above? Or Will you place value only on the things that are below?

Luke 12:35-59

Get ready for the Lord's return (Luke 12:40). We pray "Thy Kingdom come." We also pray, "Thy will be done on earth." (Matthew 6:10). "Seek first His Kingdom" (Matthew 6:33) - This is to be our greatest priority while we are here on earth. We are to wait on the Lord and renew our strength. This has to do with here-and-now. The teaching of the Lord concerning His return is to be the inspiration for our Christian living. "I will come again" (John 14:3). "This Jesus will come" (Acts 1:11). Our life is to be a prayer: "Come, O Lord" (1 Corinthians 16:22). He says, "I am coming soon." We say, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20). This is to be more than words. This is life , the whole of life, lived in the light of His coming. The return of the Lord is not to be put to the back of our mind. It is to be at the forefront of our attention: "You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour" (Luke 12:40).

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