Archives from August 2018

What Is Heaven Like? The Parables of Jesus: The Good Samaritan

Sunday Sermon Series The Parables of Jesus

Luke 10:25-37 … An expert in the law asked Jesus how to get to Heaven and Jesus asked him what he thought the answer was based on the law. The lawyer answered, to paraphrase, love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus says he is right. The lawyer, trying to make it easier, asks who is neighbor is. Jesus then tells a parable that explains who our neighbor is and how to love them. … There’s an injured Jewish man laying on a dangerous road. A priest sees him and walk by on the other side. Then a Levite does the same. Finally, a Samaritan sees the man. Now, Jews and Samaritans did not get along at the time. Jews considered the Samaritans to be unclean and were pretty racist towards them and Samaritans frequently robbed and harrased Jews. Yet, this Samaritan stopped and took the injured Jew to an inn. Then he paid for the injured man’s stay and told the innkeeper that he would also pay for anything else the man needs. Jesus asks the lawyer who the injured man’s neighbor was. The lawyer replied “the man who helped him.” He couldn’t even say, “the Samaritan” but he recognized that being a neighbor means helping your neighbors.

What does it mean to love our neighbors?

Who, when, and how much?

Who: anyone we see in need.

When: whenever you see a need.

In the 1700’s Jonathan Edwards listed out the most common excuses Christian people give for not helping those in need in His book The Duty of Charity.

Excuse #1: We only help people when they’re in dire need. … This violates the principle of loving them as ourselves.

Excuse #2: They brought on their trouble themselves. … So did we. We brought the trouble of sin on ourselves and Jesus helped us.

How much: in a way that takes their burden onto yourself.

Excuse #3: “I can’t afford to help the man in need.” … We are told to take each other’s burdens on ourselves.

Why should we love our neighbors? … When we read a parable, we should ask who we are in the story. One way to view this parable is that we are the injured man in need of help and Jesus is the Samaritan who rescued us. We have been shown love by Christ and should pass that on to others.  

The Story of Serve Coffee County … At some point we realized that we do all of these mission trips to other places but too often neglected our own city and county. This ministry is a way for us to help out in our home community.

Luke 17:10 -- So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ … There is only one response to this, and that is to be a servant of Christ and to do all we can to serve Him.

What Is the Kingdom of Heaven Like? The Parables of Jesus: The Cost of the Kingdom

Sunday Sermon Series The Parables of Jesus

Luke 14:25-33

So far we have learned there is a present and future aspect of the Kingdom, that the invitation is open, and that one characteristic of the Kingdom is the grace found within.

If the invitation to the Kingdom is wide open, and if the Kingdom is characterized by grace, how can there be a cost to the Kingdom? … You ever see anyone giving away puppies for free? They might be free initially, but they will cost you a lot in the long run. … That’s one way to show how something free can have a cost. … In Luke 14:25-27, Jesus says we must put Him first. Even to the point of leaving our families behind if He asks, He implies there will be suffering when He says we must pick up our cross daily.

One cost of being in the Kingdom is obedience. We are under the authority of the King and must obey the scripture the King has given us. We do whatever the King requests of us. We may be heirs to the King, but we are still under His authority.

Another cost is persecution. There will be spiritual opposition in our lives. In the USA, we are fortunate to have the freedom to believe what we want and say what we believe without much fear of physical harm, but there are other places where this security doesn’t exist.

Jesus tells two parables that advise us to count the cost of the Kingdom:

The Parable of the Tower Builder (Luke 14:28-30) … Don’t be like the builder who started building a tower before knowing if they could afford to finish it.

The Parable of the King Going to War (Luke 14:31-32) … There is also a cost for not obeying Jesus. … Before we start following Jesus, we live in rebellion. We have to ask if we can defeat Him on our own or if it’s better to surrender and be part of the Kingdom. The Bible makes it pretty clear we have no chance of beating Jesus.

It’s easy to become a Christian, and it is also hard to become a Christian. Anyone can do it, but people don’t like to give up the things Jesus may ask us to give up.

What Is the Kingdom of Heaven Like? The Parables of Jesus: The Grace of the Kingdom

Sunday Sermon Series The Parables of Jesus

This week we look at more parables that are about the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember that the Kingdom of Heaven is already here and not yet complete. Last week we saw that it’s like a party. This week we see that the Kingdom is characterized by grace.

Grace means being treated better than you deserve. No one deserves to be in the Kingdom. We are included by grace. We who are recipients of grace must extend grace to others. … The parables we are looking at today were told in response to people who refused to extend grace.

The Parable of the Generous Landowner (Matthew 20:1-15).

… In this parable, a landowner with a vineyard went out to hire some day workers in the morning. He offers to pay them the normal wage for a day’s work. Well, every few hours he goes back and hires more workers. At the end of the day, he pays them all the same. The workers who were hired first complained that they worked longer and should be paid more than the ones who worked less. The workers who were complaining didn’t understand that we all need grace. One day they might be in the opposite position and change their tune.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7).

The Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10).

The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-31).

… Jesus tells us there is great rejoicing over just one sinner who repents. Heaven gets excited when someone repents of their sin. #ThatsAmazing … The third parable here adds another element. The brother who stayed home was upset that the father threw a party when the other son returned. He didn’t understand that he also needs grace and should extend grace. … Showing grace does not mean we don’t hold each other accountable. Showing grace to others means holding others accountable while still showing them love.

The Parable of the the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14).

… Are you confident of your own righteousness? Do you look down others for having “bigger sins” than you? If so, do you also realize your own need for grace? These parables have been about people like you who don’t think they need grace and don’t want grace to be extended to others.

What Is the Kingdom of Heaven Like? The Parables of Jesus: The invitation to the Kingdom

Sunday Sermon Series The Parables of Jesus

Luke 14:15-24; Matthew 22:1-4

The plan is to spend the next nine weeks looking at twenty or so parables about the Kingdom of Heaven.

The interpretive key to understanding the parables is:

The Kingdom of Heaven is already here.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not yet here in full.

The lessons we learn will apply to the now as well as the future; the Kingdom that is already here and the fullness of the Kingdom that is yet to come.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a party.  … The King of the Kingdom offers joy, a deep joy. … We see that Heaven will be like a party (the “not yet” part), but we can also live a life of celebration and joy (the “already” part). ,,, Isaiah 25:6-8 tells us partially what Heaven will be like as it describes a big banquet, a party.

Jesus says there are two ways you can miss the Kingdom:

  1. You can miss the Kingdom by rejecting the invitation (Luke 14:15-24; Matthew 22:1-10). … A man was throwing a party and sent out invitations that were accepted. Then all the people who were coming suddenly had stuff they needed to do. The man then invited the poor and homeless, so many that if anyone who was invited before had come, they would not get any food. … God invited the Israelites to a party but they didn’t come, so He threw the door wide open and invited everyone, the bad as well as the good. Anyone can attend the party and have joy in life.

  2. You miss the Kingdom by refusing to put on the righteousness of Christ (Matthew 22:11-14). … You can be part of a congregation and stil not get in. We are given the righteousness of Christ and must put iot on. We must allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ. There are some in the church who will be kicked out of the party because they did not cooperate with Jesus and let Him transform them.