Did you know 90% of the choices you make involve areas where Scripture says surprisingly little?
Scripture forbids all clear-cut sins such as lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, or committing adultery. The Bible also clearly calls us to pursue Christ and grow in our faith. None of us seriously questions whether we should read the Bible, pray, or tell others about Christ. Scripture is unambiguous about those things.
We must consider the issues dealing with Christian freedom—things that fall between what God prohibits and what He commands. Underpinning this is that we should be focused on the reality that it is not by following the rules that we are saved as we read in John 8:36 - "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed".
One extreme is the church in Corinth who boasted about their freedom in Christ. Paul quotes them as saying they could act as they pleased and cautions them about this: “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV) and in chapter 10:23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
We have a freedom and liberty in Christ, we are not saved by the rules or ruled by rules – we are ruled by love and saved by grace! However the Corinthian Church takes a truth to such an extreme that it becomes a lie.
It’s no good if we go to the other extreme to the church in Corinth and make lots of rules and try to control each other. Every time we make a rule to measure others we are judging them. We can teach what the scripture says, point people towards the reality of the law of love but we must remember that we are all sinners saved by grace and need to treat each other accordingly. The error of becoming legalistic is no better than the Corinthian error!
We forget to ask “why?” and make do with asking “why not?”
Paul enunciates principles by which you can look at anything and judge whether or not it is the right choice to make. This is one of the exercises of a spiritual person. He gives us 5 tests – he wants us to not just know the liberty of Christ but to make positive choices based on our love of God and desire for His glory.
1. Is it helpful/beneficial? (1 Corinthians 6:12)
2. Will it rule me? Because we have an appetite or desire for something does not make it right. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
3. Will it teach me/build me up? (1 Corinthians 10:23)
4. Will it help with evangelism? (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)
5. Is it to God’s glory? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
For this message ‘Unexpected Hope’ we are continuing in the book of Luke. We have skipped ahead a chapter from the last few messages we have done on Luke Chapter 5, so our passage for this message comes from Luke 7:1-17.
We see in this passage two incredible encounters. Firstly we see the faith of the Roman Centurion who seeks healing for his servant. In the second part of the passage we see Jesus and the disciples come across the funeral of a widow’s son. Jesus speaks to the boy and he is raised from the dead!
Before we get into these two incredible encounters, it is important that we cover a bit of context from the chapter before. Luke starts Luke 17:1 with the comment “when Jesus finished saying these things” – referring to the teaching that occurred in Chapter 6. If you are unfamiliar with what was covered here, there were two main things – the start of Luke 6 covers a disagreement that occurs between the Pharisees and Jesus over the Sabbath. There is enough there for a message all on its own, but as we have seen over our last couple of messages covering Luke 5 – while perhaps at one point the Pharisees (who had appointed themselves the rulers and judges of all that is supposedly right, pure and holy) had hoped Jesus would join their cause – they are discovering that not only does he establish his authority over all the things they hold dear, but he also tells and shows them through action that they are wrong on practically every point.
The second part of Luke 6 is an incredibly profound section of scripture, and again warrants it’s own message – but in brief, it covers Jesus selecting his 12 apostles from the likely several thousand that now followed. He chose the 12 to invest in, and in the passage that follows their calling, he challenges them with the cost of the calling – teaching them the principles of the Kingdom of God, which to many were so foreign.
And so we see after this time of teaching Jesus has returned to Capernaum and while he is there word comes to him from a messenger of a Roman centurion.
Listen along as we explore the passage together.
This message picks up from a few weeks ago where we looked at another encounter from the start of Luke 5 (called Encounters – Jesus heals the leper – you can listen along below or I’ll include a brief summary in this message.) For this message we are looking at Luke 5:17-26.
In the last message, we read from Luke 5:1 that Jesus is travelling with his recently called disciples, and he comes across a leper whose body is riddled with leprosy. Jesus stops and does something amazing – he reaches out and touches the leper and heals him. Jesus sends the leper to make himself right at the synagogue – this man was to be physically and spiritually healed by Jesus and then accepted back to his community.
Jesus was also sending a message to the religious leaders - here is someone who touches the untouchable, here is someone who sets the sinner free – here is someone with the power to raise the dead.
We see at the start of the passage today that the message he sent was received load and clear by those at the synagogue. The message was obviously scandalous enough, because these religious leaders had not kept it to themselves but word had spread far and wide – verse 17 tells us that “some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.)”
While before this moment, much of Jesus’ teaching had occurred to those on the fringe of society, on this day we see the religious and political elite have joined the throng listening to Jesus as he speaks. While Jesus teaches, something incredible is happening outside!
Listen along to the message to be encouraged and challenged.