A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF LUKE

Faith in Christ Replaces Fear

Luke 8 SCC 4/10/16

 

CONTRIBUTE FROM PRIVATE MEANS TO CHRIST LIKE MINISTRIES

Jesus made another tour around Galilee. With Him were the twelve discipleís v 1, plus some women whom He had healed and exorcized of demons, and many others v 2-3. These included some prominent women who were contributing financially to the trip out of their private means. Three are named, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, indicating the scope of Jesusí ministry reaching into the world of the powerful as wife of administrative official in Herodís court, and Susanna only mentioned here. They financially supported this group from their private means. So they were supported by individuals, not any organization or institution.

NB: We should personally individually support Christ-like ministries and/or receive support from Christ-like individuals. The passage shows godly individuals supporting and being supported by other godly individuals from their own financial resources. We should have money to give.

 

GODS WORD BEARS FRUIT FROM HEARTS THAT RECEIVE AND UNDERSTAND IT

Fruitful disciples overcome obstacles to growth

Verses 4-8: Jesus taught as the crowd gathered and as people came v 4. The crowds are interested but disciples must become committed. So Jesus addressed the crowd with a parable about sowing v 5a. Some of the seed fell on the side of the road and was trampled and eaten by birdís v 5b. Another portion of seed was planted in soil with a base of rock underneath v 6. Since the ground could not hold moisture it withered and was unproductive. A third portion falls on good ground but shared it with greedy neighborsóthorns v 7. Another outside factor prevented growth. A fourth portion lands on good soil, overcomes obstacles present and grows to bear more seed v 8. Jesus challenges this audience to respond.

Verse 9-10: The disciples know this is more than an agricultural lesson v 9. This illustrated something about God. Jesus explains that the word divides people into two groups v 10. Jesus and the disciples are granted access to understanding but the rest have not. Parables were introduced because of a previous lack of response and resistance to Jesusí teaching from the crowds (4:25-28) and the Pharisees (5:21, 30, 33; 6:7, 11). Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9 as a form of judgment concealing the benefits of revelation for those who are resistant of hearing. Isaiah had taken his message to an obstinate nation facing judgment and exile due to refusing to respond properly to God. This is a warning that hardness has its costs.

Verse 11-15: Here are various factors that prevent a response to the word v 11. The first group of seed represents the response that never has a chance to germinate v 12. Some of the failure to respond to the word is the devilís work. For such people, hearing is the most that happens. Satanís goal is to prevent belief. Here is a picture of the unsaved. The second group of seed faces first obstacle to fruitfulness, a shallow faith unable to survive pressure of persecution v 13. Belief is short-lived and unproductive because trial dissolves faith. The third group of seed also fails to bear mature fruit because other matters crowd out the words ability to cultivate v 14. Excessive concern for earthly affairs, possessions, welfare and comfort crowd out and choke off growth. The fourth group of seed response yields fruit v 15. Three keys: (1) an honest and good heart; (2) clinging to the word; and (3) patience to bear up under the pressures of living faithfully. It is opposite of responses in other soils. This is soil of discipleship.

Fruitful disciples are careful to receive Godís Word

Verse 16-17: The purpose of lighting a lamp is not to conceal the light but to illumine the room so all who enter can see v 16. This characterizes Jesusí teaching. His teaching is light given in public to illumine the way to God. Each person is to choose how to respond to it. Seeing the light means being responsive and open to Godís Word. Light not only illumines; it exposes v 17. Exposing secret things is bringing to light peopleís thoughts. He has done that previously with the Pharisees. The warning is Godís standard will be maintained, revealed and eventually executed. How you respond to his message is important. God will evaluate how each person responds to the word. What kind of soil are you?

Verse 18: Those who receive the word continue to receive more spiritual truth. Those who respond inadequately can expect to lose whatever they possessed. To ignore Gods teaching is to lose whatever spiritual insight one thinks one had. Be careful how you hear. That is your responsibility.

Fruitful disciples put their understanding of Godís word to use

Verse 19-21: After setting the context v 19, Luke mentions that Jesusí family is waiting to see him v 20. Jesus does not go to his family but uses the opportunity to teach about his mission. Who is special to Jesus? Those who do Godís word. Jesusí family are those who receive Jesus message. That reception is cognitive agreement expressed in action. The disciple doing Godís Word bears fruit.

NB: Jesus never put family first. He did not marry or have children or suggest that anyone else do that. He said He came to set family members against one another (Luke 12:51-53). And here He prioritizes the disciples. In the church, families like marriages are relatively unimportant. There are no marriage problems, just maturity problems. Marriage is just where your immaturity is most likely to be obvious. The parable is all about the fourth soil. Christ and the apostles are all about soil #4. The Church today is all about #s 1-3. Christ and the apostles never appealed to the masses.

 

FAITH IN CHRIST SHOULD OVERCOME OUR FEARS

Overcome fear of threatening circumstances

Verse 22-25: Luke summarizes the next setting in v 22. They launched out on a boat. While Jesus naps a violent storm instantly rages v 23. In danger of being swamped the disciples rouse Jesus while on the verge of death v 24. The contrast is striking. Powerless to protect themselves, the disciples doubt and panic while Jesus rests. Jesus acts by rebuking the wind and waves taming the elements and delivering the disciples. The point is the disciples should trust Jesusí ability to care for them v 25. This is faith applied in the midst of pressure trusting reasonable evidence. The disciples rightly ponder this evidence.

NB: Without a Christology that recognizes Jesusí authority there can be no real hope in him. Otherwise we have no where to turn. Disciples then must be convinced of Jesus claims to sovereign power over all.

Overcome fear that does not lead to faith

Verse 26-34: Three descriptions of the demoniac: (1) he was possessed by multiple demons; (2) he was unclothed roaming naked; and (3) isolated himself amongst tombs v 26-28. The portrayal of unusual strength in v 29 shows the spiritís power. Jesus faced multiple demonís v 30 and they knew they were in a bad situation v 31. Despite their numbers they knew they had no authority. They make a request to be sent into swine v 32. If Jesus would not permit them to remain in the man an animal would do. The abyss was a foreboding place for them. Their request did not seem to do them much good v 33.

PT: Jesus does not command the animalís reaction. OT animal sacrifice were done for the sake of man. Jesus later teaches that people are more important than sparrows. The removal of sin is always costly. The loss of the swine graphically pictures the cost of purging evil. Animals are for mans sake.

Verse 35-39: Jesus ministry produces much talk. The manís demeanor is entirely opposite of what it was v 34-35. The fear of the people that followed does not lead to faith. The cavalier loss of property scared the people. They want nothing to do with Jesus so he departs v 36-37. Unbelief often flees from an encounter with God. The former demoniac responds positively and Jesus gives him a mission to return home and testify v 38-39. He preached and testified of Jesus work.

PT: Our mission is the same. Some will travel with Jesus away from home while others are to remain where they are and testify about him there. Not all believers are to serve Jesus in the same way. Although Jesus was leaving the region, he was leaving a presence there.

Overcome fear of being powerless

Verse 40-48: While traveling to heal the daughter of a synagogue official named Jairus, Jesus in interrupted by a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years. This hemorrhage was a source of embarrassment since no one was able to do anything for her v 43. Approaching from behind is a way to be inconspicuous v 44. Jesus pressed twice indicating someone had touched him and her worst nightmare had come true v 45-46. She too, trembles, like the disciples had. Like the people of the Gerasenes had. She now publicly spills her agonizing story v 47. Jesus declares her faith has delivered her. She can go in a peace thatís been absent for twelve years.

Verse 49-56: This delay was costly v 49. Jariusí daughter has died. Jesus declares that faith, confidence on Godís power with evidence everywhere, is capable of delivering the child v 50-51. Jesus remark that the child is asleep v 52 suggests that her body had died but her spirit had not gone on into eternity. It would be given back to her. The crowd laughs at such talk but Godís power is capable of surprises v 53. Jesus calls her to rise and the girlís life is immediately restored v 54-56. First her spirit returns to her body. Second, with the return of her spirit her life is restored. Amazed, Jesus instructs them not to tell anyone what happened. Jesus knows he is heading toward a different kind of ministry than people will want from him. The type of commitment Jesus requires should people follow him will be one of suffering not comfort. He did not come to repair every wrong but for spiritual realities.

 

SO WHAT?

1. Jesus kingdom is opposed by destructive spiritual forces determined to undermine the work of God.

2. People would rather heed the destructive nature of darkness than submit to life-giving ministry of Christ. John says that his own did not receive him. Jesus said men love darkness rather then light.

3. Faith in Christ is the only turn around. No matter what Satan may promise, the demoniac is a shocking demonstration of what he delivers.

4. Faith, even timid faith, has significance mobilizing the power of God. The faith that moves mountains is any faith in what God is doing. Little faith trusts a little of the evidence. It has some commitment, but it does not trust all of the evidence. Mustard seed faith trusts in all the evidence. It may lack commitment, but its commitment is to all of the evidence in what God is doing